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

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Zim cops threaten arrests
30/03/2005 10:03  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe police warned on Wednesday that voters casting their
ballot in Thursday's parliamentary elections should leave polling stations
immediately after voting or risk arrest.

Police assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted in the
state-controlled daily Herald on Wednesday as saying that police would
"arrest those who were bent on causing mayhem and anarchy at polling

"The so-called vigils are attempts at disturbing the peace and everyone is
strongly warned against participating in illegal activities," he said.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been urging its
supporters to wait outside polling stations until counting is over, as a
safeguard against attempts to rig the ballot.

At a rally in Harare Sunday MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai cautioned thousands
of supporters: "Don't go away and celebrate that you have won (after
voting), you can only win after the count. We don't want them to steal the
vote. If they cheat, they are going to have problems with the people".

New controversy also emerged late on Tuesday when the head of a leading
pro-democracy organisation said electoral authorities had illegally changed
the rules for announcing results after the vote count.

Mike Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association, said
that political party representatives attending training sessions on Tuesday
for party polling agents, were instructed to station themselves inside
polling stations to monitor voting.

After the votes were counted, they were told, the results in each polling
station would have to be forwarded to the administrative centre in each

Polling agents were told "they are not allowed to communicate the results
until the constituency result is announced," Davies said.

"This is a direct contravention of the electoral act which requires that the
result in each polling stations be announced to the public immediately after
the count," he said.

"It raises the spectre of the rigging that occurred in (presidential
elections) in 2002," he added. - dpa
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Zimbabwe Excludes 100,000 from Voting

Mar 29, 2005 Harare
With time running out before Zimbabwe's parliamentary election on Thursday,
there have been many last minute problems. One of the biggest so far is the
exclusion of up to 100,000 government workers from voting.

Close to 100,000 government workers have recently been commissioned by the
Zimbabwe government to work at the country's 8,000 polling stations on
election day, making it impossible for many of them to cast ballots in their
own election districts. The one option they did have to vote was by absentee
ballot, but the deadline for casting ballots by mail was March 21 and many
of the government workers did not learn of their poll monitoring duties
until after the deadline had passed.

Though their political allegiances are seldom talked about, the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change says many of those working for the government
in urban areas do not support the ruling ZANU-PF.

Another issue of concern is the government's move to increase the number of
polling stations in rural areas.

Bryant Elliott, an expert on Zimbabwe's elections, says the new measures to
increase the number of voting stations means that a maximum of 600 votes
will be cast in each ballot box. This, he said, would undermine the secrecy
of the ballot because it makes it easier to identify how people voted
village by village.

Bishop Sebastian Bakare, head of the Anglican church in Zimbabwe's eastern
Manicaland province, says rural people are worried that if they are
suspected of voting for the opposition, they will be denied food. Only the
government is allowed to hold any stocks of the staple food, maize.

The opposition also has concerns about what happens after the voting. The
results at the polling stations may only be announced by a central electoral
authority, the National Logistics Committee. The committee is staffed by the
Commissioner of Police Augustine Chihuri and other leading government
officials. No independent observers or opposition members are allowed to
monitor the committee.

The opposition went to court two weeks ago asking that the committee not be
allowed to be the sole announcers of the votes. So far, the court has not
heard the case.

In addition, an opposition group, Justice for Agriculture, claims ZANU-PF
has warned several of the few remaining white farmers that if people vote
for the opposition at polling stations on their farms, they will be evicted.

ZANU-PF held a major rally in a rural area 50 kilometers north of Harare
Tuesday. The main speaker, Elliott Manyika, called for a free and fair poll
without violence.
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March 30, 2005

~~~ Newsletter 059 ~~~
Open letter to Morgan Tsvangirai

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Life & Peace - let us make our way, together, to the polls

For both life and peace, Zimbabwe needs a change of government.

The rallies are proving it, the TV debates are showing it, and the buzz on the street lets us know that everyone is ready to get to the polls on 31 March. We are hearing that zanu pf officials and supporters are running scared. Zvakwana hopes that this momentum will soon turn into the people of Zimbabwe demanding more than MDC in Parliament. The MDC must insist that mugabe stands down so we get a change of government. And all Zimbabweans must stand UP and take what is theirs: a better future.

In this newsletter:
- zanu pf caught red handed with fake fliers
- Open Letter to Morgan Tsvangirai, President of the MDC
- You can’t be neutral on a moving train
- Blog for freedom

Fake boycott fliers printed by desperate zanu pf

What a desperate regime will do
As we approach Election Day, the small dictator is showing his true colours. Last night at approximately 7pm zanu pf campaigners in Highfield in Harare were caught red handed giving out fake fliers which were telling people lies. These fliers were printed by zanu pf and were trying to tell people to boycott the elections. The interesting thing is that they had printed the MDC’s logo on these fliers. This goes to show how desperate and dishonest this regime is at it approaches D-Day. Zvakwana urges Zimbabweans to be vigilant and to verify information with people or organisations they respect before they accept it as fact.

Open Letter to Morgan Tsvangirai

A copy of this letter was couriered to Morgan Tsvangirai’s Harare residence on 28 March 2005

Dear MT,

We need you to give our views respect“No way will elections kick out zanu pf. They cheated in 2000 and 2002. They will rig these elections. And when they do, I hope that people get so disillusioned that they really organise against this government and kick them out by a non-violent, popular mass uprising.” - Archbishop Pius Ncube

We would like to take this opportunity to share some of our thoughts with you.

We firmly believe that the MDC, and civil society, cannot possibly accept the results of this forthcoming election. More than that, they cannot simply reject the election results through legal challenges, or press statements, or observer briefings. We need a unified, well-led, coordinated protest regardless of the outcome of these elections. Anything less would be an insult to the people of Zimbabwe and a betrayal of democracy.

Unless the MDC wins 101 seats to zanu pf’s 19 (enough to be able to rewrite the Constitution), Zimbabwe will remain in the political deadlock it is currently experiencing. Even if the MDC won a Parliamentary majority, the ministers and commissions which are
appointed by mugabe will remain in force, and the MDC’s effectiveness would be largely compromised.

We understand that the MDC is constrained by the protocols associated with being a political party in Parliament. For this reason it is essential that civil society be encouraged to
spearhead the people's protest against another rigged election. Civil society's voice needs to be supported with the people power the MDC is able to mobilise. Without MDC's active collaboration to commit and mobilise its rank and file in support of these protests, civil society's efforts will be all bark and no bite.

Like the MDC, civil society is not free of dissent and discord. However, we can take strength from the knowledge that we all wish to see the end of mugabe's destructive reign. There is very little time left, so it is imperative that the right strategy is employed to co-ordinate and combine resources. All possible partners need to be lobbied in these last few days before the election to co-operate and co-ordinate as equal partners in the struggle for a democratic

We believe that waiting for 2008 for a change of government is a dangerous strategy. After 8 years of supporting an opposition party, Zimbabweans may well feel fatigued. zanu pf might have listened to some of its reformists and convinced mugabe to accede to a younger, more vibrant successor. There is little doubt that the General Election 2005 will have given zanu pf a sharp wake up call. We can expect them to improve on their governance so that they don’t reach the 2008 Presidential Election as bankrupt as they currently are. The MDC will have spent 3 more years trying to raise funds, build and maintain structures and quell internal power struggles. It will have to yet again print material, campaign, deploy polling agents and monitor elections in a hostile environment. And it will yet again have to confront another rigged election with the “new zanu pf” intent on keeping power at all costs. All this while trying to promote democracy under a dictatorship that aligns the MDC with the likes of Osama Bin Laden!

At no other time in zanu pf’s history have they been more unpopular. Surely this is the time to move in and end zanu pf’s tyranny? We do not doubt the MDC’s capacity to meet the many
challenges ahead. Indeed, you have consistently demonstrated that you can contest flawed elections. What we question is the usefulness of allowing three more years to pass as a contained parliamentary opposition while waiting for the 2008 election.

No matter how you look at it, accepting the results of Thursday’s election through occupying Parliament, or even contesting them through “traditional,” legal structures does not deliver the
transformation that the Zimbabwean people are depending on the MDC for. The only way to achieve that transformation is to flatly refuse to accept the election results in the most public and active of ways. The MDC must take a unified stance and refuse to take up its seats in Parliament - be they 5 or 95 seats.

In the recent examples of Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and most recently Kyrgyzstan's Tulip Revolution, civil society and opposition parties have united against a dictator to declare
“enough” to dictatorship, repression and subversion of the people’s will. The situation in Kyrgyzstan mirrors ours in many ways:

“If unchallenged, last month's elections would have cemented
(Kyrgyzstan President) Akayev's hold on power. With the voting
rigged, his son and daughter both won seats in the new Parliament,
along with a phalanx of corrupt cronies.” (Another People’s
Revolt, Frank Brown, NBC, 27 March 2005).

It will take courage, strong leadership, and creative mobilisation to challenge this dictator in ways other than Parliamentary grand standing. But we know that if the MDC can rise to this challenge, civil society and the majority of Zimbabweans will be behind you.

The time is now. Stand UP and take it. We are behind you.

We wish you strength and wisdom in the time ahead.


Zvakwana - -
Sokwanele - -

It comes to me as a big astonishment and shame for the residents of Unit D, Zengeza Constituency. They seem to forget the pain and suffering they are going through. Almost 98% of the youths are jobless and they continue supporting the regime which does not have any care for the people. You see them wearing zanu pf t-shirts every day just for a plate of sadza nematumbu ehuku chaiwo. Ngatimukei rushambanzou tinyadzise zanu pf.
- Disgruntled, Daddy Dee, Chitungwiza

You can’t be neutral on a moving train
In this world where the efforts of caring people often pale in comparison to what is done by those who have power, how do I manage to stay involved and seemingly happy? I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world. There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

Looking at this catalogue of huge surprises, it's clear that the struggle for justice should never be abandoned because of the apparent overwhelming power of those who have the guns and the money and who seem invincible in their determination to hold on to it. That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervour, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, and patience.

Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don't have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don't "win," there is fun and fulfilment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, and kindness.
What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places--and there are so many--where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.
- Howard Zinn

Freedom needs courage!

Blog for freedom
Join us todayWhat is a blog? A blog is simply an online diary – the word blog derives from the term ‘web-log’.
Visit the Sokwanele blog by clicking here. We have invited a network of blog contributors to join us. They are based all around Zimbabwe, and come from all walks of life, and are ready to share with us their thoughts, feelings and humour about life in Zimbabwe in the run-up to Zimbabwe’s parliamentary elections. All of our contributors – or bloggers – are committed, as we are, to the Sokwanele principles of achieving peace and democracy in Zimbabwe through non-violent means. Blogging gives a voice to the people. We know that not everyone has access to the Internet, or to email, so we have asked our bloggers to report not only on their experiences, but also on the stories they hear from other people. We are also aware that security is a very big concern for people in Zimbabwe, especially when it comes to telling the truth in a climate where free expression is restricted and controlled, so we have made it possible for all of our bloggers to write for the blog anonymously. Please circulate this message widely and invite other people to subscribe to the Sokwanele mailing list. Visit

Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough!!

Make sure you SPEAK OUT - keep discussion alive, keep information flowing.

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.

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Enough is enough, Zvakwana, Sokwanele.

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      Zimbabwe decides

      Nelson Banya
      3/30/2005 8:23:35 AM (GMT +2)

      ZIMBABWE'S sixth parliamentary election gets underway tomorrow, amid
growing indications of a relatively high voter turnout following a notable
decline in cases of violence and intimidation, the bane of the country's
polls in the recent past.

      Although opinion remains divided over the extent of the country's
compliance with regional electoral standards adopted by Southern African
Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government in Mauritius last
August, Zimbabwe has witnessed a significant drop in political violence,
while opposition groups have been granted access to public media and have
also managed to hold campaign rallies in areas previously rendered
inaccessible by militant youths and war veterans aligned to ZANU PF. The
ruling party, which is running on the "Anti-Blair" mantra, has vowed to bury
the opposition and reclaim some seats it conceded to the opposition party in
      Although indications on the ground are that it would be a very close
race, two opinion polls conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute
(MPOI) and University of Zimbabwe academic Joseph Kurebwa, widely seen as
sympathetic to the ruling party, have predicted a ZANU PF victory.
      The MPOI survey found that of the 46 percent decided voters, 30
percent would vote for ZANU PF, while 16 percent would vote for the MDC.
Although MPOI said the survey results had been affected by uncertainty, at
the time, over the MDC's participation in tomorrow's election, the institute
officials decline to divulge the results of another recent poll, saying they
had been commissioned to do the survey "on behalf of a private client."
      An official who spoke to The Financial Gazette yesterday could only
say the latest survey had registered a significant change on the initial
      Kurebga, whose survey has been dismissed by the MDC as partisan,
yesterday defended his findings, which show a string ZANU PF showing that
could see the ruling party getting its desired two-thirds majority.
      "They say our survey is partisan, but it does show the inroads they
have made in some previous ZANU PF strongholds, doesn't it? Anyway, we
expect political parties to say things like that, it is the language of the
time, but our findings stand to be proved or disproved by the election
results," Kurebga said.
      The MDC, on the other hand, is also upbeat about its chances, with
party president Morgan Tsvangirai urging supporters across the country that
they should go out and vote to "complete the process of change we started in
      MDC candidate for Harare Central, Murisi Zwizwai said his party
expected "an overwhelming victory."
      "We expect an overwhelming victory that will push Zimbabwe out of the
current mess. The MDC will be the majority party, making it possible for us
to push legislation through parliament that will improve the lives of
ordinary Zimbabweans.
      "We shall surprise ZANU PF in Masvingo, Manicaland, the Midlands, in
Guruve, Shamva, Mutoko, Hwedza and many other previous ZANU PF outposts in
Mashonaland and beyond," Zwizwai said.
      Lovemore Madhuku, whose National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
recently produced a report alleging widespread violence and intimidation in
the run-up to the poll, discounted predictions of a high voter turnout.
      "There is no basis for that, in any case, the notion of voter turnout,
where there are no percentages, could be subjective. I predict that about 50
percent of the 5 million or so registered voters will turn out. Now whether
that is high or not is subjective," Madhuku said.
      He also reiterated his sentiments that tomorrow's election would not
change anything.
      "The MDC will get about 50 seats or less. Optimism by the parties is
fine, but is the two to three weeks of the MDC appearing on television and
campaigning in areas they could not access previously going to reverse five
years of repression and intimidation? There has been no political activity
except in the past three or so weeks," Madhuku, whose NCA insists that the
constitutional framework within which the elections are being held is
flawed, said.
      Tomorrow's election, set to be another explosive and closely fought
affair between the two major parties- the ruling ZANU PF and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has, like the last parliamentary
election five years ago and the presidential poll two years later, attracted
global attention.
      Apart from ZANU PF and the MDC, the late Ndabaningi Sithole's ZANU and
up to fifteen independent candidates, who have forged a loose coalition, are
contesting in the poll. This is a far cry from the 560 plus candidates who
stood for election in 2000.
      The current campaign, which got off to a lethargic start due to the
MDC's boycott threat, has gained momentum in recent weeks after the
opposition party rescinded its decision and if crowds attending the two
biggest parties' rallies are anything to go by, a respectable percentage of
Zimbabwe's 5.6 million voters will turn up at the 8 772 polling stations
dotted around the country tomorrow.
      Ballots will now be cast in all 120 constituencies, after the courts
paved way for voting the Chimanimani constituency, whose incarcerated Member
of Parliament Roy Bennet of the MDC had initially succeeded in getting the
results of the nomination court which sat on February 18 annulled. Bennet's
wife Heather will now represent the MDC.
      In 2000, the MDC almost shocked ZANU PF out of power when it claimed
57 mainly urban seats, with the ruling party winning in 62 constituencies
and ZANU retaining its sole seat.
      Just a few months prior to the June 2000 poll, the MDC and pressure
groups allied to the opposition had engineered ZANU PF's first defeat at the
polls, in the constitutional referendum which frustrated the ruling ZANU PF
government's plans to introduce a new constitution which would, among other
provisions, reintroduce the Prime Minister's office while retaining the
executive presidency.
      In this current campaign, ZANU PF has raised the stakes, indicating it
was going all out for a two-thirds majority in order to push through some
constitutional amendments, possibly the reintroduction of the Prime
Minister's office and the creation of a Senate.
      The MDC on the other hand, has rolled up its sleeves to not only
thwart ZANU PF's quest for the two-thirds majority in Parliament, but for an
outright victory which would signal the end of ZANU PF's 25-year old hold on
      Despite facing an uphill task in this regard, given the fact that
President Robert Mugabe has a constitutional prerogative to appoint 30
non-constituency Members of Parliament, the MDC is upbeat about its chances.
      Voting in the country's first single day election starts at 7am and
poling stations close at 7pm, with the counting of ballots starting
immediately after. All results are expected to be in by Saturday.

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      Police, army on high alert

      Njabulo Ncube
      3/30/2005 8:24:55 AM (GMT +2)

      THE government has put the country's security agents on high alert to
quell any incidents of violence triggered by the outcome of tomorrow's
parliamentary elections, amid talk from both protagonists - the ruling ZANU
PF and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - of victory
in the polls.

      Government sources said the deployment of police and the army had been
completed during the Easter holidays, while roadblocks manned by heavily
armed personnel had been posted in all major highways.
      They said the state would brook no nonsense from any political
supporter during and after the elections.
      Although the Zimbabwe National Army spokesman could not immediately
disclose the actual number of soldiers stationed on the ground, police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told The Financial Gazette that the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP) had deployed a strong force of 30 000 officers.
      Bvudzijena said of the 30 000 officers in and around the country, 24
000 were full officers while the remainder were reservists.
      "We are on very high alert," said Bvudzijena. "The figure of 30 000
includes those officers and reservists posted at police stations but the
majority is already at the polling stations in and around the country," he
      "Officers are now firmly on the ground following the deployments that
were made over the weekend. With these developments everyone is assured of
safety and security as they go to vote on Thursday. Let those with
intentions to disturb the peace on this important day be warned that the ZRP
is prepared and will deal with them firmly and in accordance with the law.
We encourage owners of any property to secure it when they go and vote. On
our part, contingency plans have been put in place to deal with everyday
criminality," he said.
      George Chiweshe, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC), revealed last week that his organisation had established 8 222
polling stations. Bvudzijena said each polling station would be under the
surveillance of security officers to thwart any politically motivated
      The army, airforce and the police yesterday held high-powered meetings
at the police headquarters in Harare to put in place contingency plans in
the event of "overzealous" party supporters disturbing the general peace
that has prevailed in the run-up to the election.
      Since January 1 2005 to yesterday, the ZRP has recorded 153 cases of
politically related crimes by both ZANU PF and the MDC. Bvudzijena said of
the 153 cases, ZANU PF supporters had committed 75 while the remaining 78
were attributed to the MDC.
      The police spokesman reminded voters that it was an offence for more
than 12 people to gather, canvass for votes, utter slogans, distribute
leaflets or pamphlets, organise or engage in public singing or dance and/or
use bands or loud speakers within a radius of 200 metres from a polling
      It is also an offence for anyone to obstruct any voter at a polling
station or on his or her way to a polling station.
      Since January 2005, the MDC and ZANU PF have held a total of 2 555
rallies. ZANU PF held 1 638 while the MDC has staged 876.
      The MDC accuses the police of cancelling its rallies while allowing
ZANU PF to meet, charges the ZRP has denied.
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      Heads to roll after poll

      Felix Njini
      3/30/2005 8:25:55 AM (GMT +2)

      PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, who has hinted at quitting active politics at
the expiry of his sixth term in 2008, is expected to resume his cleansing
act within ZANU PF and the government after tomorrow's polls, starting with
the announcement of a new-look Cabinet.

      Constitutionally, according to legal experts, tomorrow's poll will not
change the government.
      "Mugabe can appoint the Cabinet from the reserved 30 seats in the
unlikely event that the MDC wins all the 120 seats being contested. It is
constitutional for Mugabe not to appoint MDC members to Cabinet posts. This
boils down to what we have been saying - that no election makes sense under
the current Constitution because it won't change the government," said
National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku.
      President Mugabe, the veteran nationalist who temporarily stopped the
purge within the fractious ruling party probably fearing further splits
ahead of the parliamentary elections, is likely to wield the axe on at least
three Cabinet ministers.
      As part of the Cabinet reshuffle, the 81-year-old leader will also
fill up posts left vacant following the dismissal of former government
spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo and the arrest in April last year of Finance
Minister Christopher Kuruneri on allegations of externalising foreign
exchange and violating the Citizenship Act.
      The elevation of the country's first female Vice-President, Joyce
Mujuru, to the presidium late last year also created a gap within the Water
Resources Ministry.
      Sources told The Financial Gazette this week that President Mugabe,
who is eyeing a two-thirds majority in tomorrow's tricky election, might
flush out once-trusted lieutenants linked to the infamous Tsholotsho indaba
that has since claimed the scalps of six provincial chairmen.
      These include Energy and Power Development Minister July Moyo and
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who might escape censure because of a
shortage of legal minds within ZANU PF and the fact that he showed
      "He (President Mugabe) is aware that the post-March 31 election
Cabinet is probably the last before the expiry of his term of office.
Obviously, the thrust is to minimise fights and dissent, which were quite
widespread in the current Cabinet. This is regardless of the outcome of the
election," said the source.
      "The grand plan is to neutralise threats to his grip on power by
breaking the spinal cord of those sympathetic to Speaker of Parliament
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the (would-be) ultimate beneficiary of the Tsholotsho
      Ministers who fail to make the grade in the parliamentary race might
also find it difficult to get places in the new look Cabinet. Those that
quickly fell by the wayside in the ZANU PF primaries include Labour Minister
Paul Mangwana and Industry and International Trade boss Samuel Mumbengegwi.
      Ambassador Tichaona Jokonya is likely to be shafted into the Foreign
Affairs Ministry, taking over from Stan Mudenge, who could be moved to a
less influential ministry.
      Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Herbert Murerwa, who has been
the acting finance minister since April 2004, is likely to replace Kuruneri,
who has been battling to secure his freedom since April last year.
      Olivia Muchena, the current Minister of Science and Technology, could
replace Mujuru, while Webster Shamu is expected to be moved from the
Ministry of Policy Implementation to the Information Ministry.
      The names of Mashonaland Central Governor Ephraim Masawi and Rugare
Gumbo, the Minister responsible for parastatals, have also been mentioned
among those tipped to replace Jonathan Moyo.
      ZANU PF has already banned from the party July Moyo, who was also
chairman of the Midlands province, Jacob Mudenda (Matabeleland North),
Themba Ncube (Bulawayo), Daniel Shumba (Masvingo), Lloyd Siyoka
(Matabeleland South) and Mike Madiro (Manicaland) for attending the
unsanctioned Tsholotsho meeting.
      Jabulani Sibanda, the defiant leader of the war veterans believed to
be close to Mnangagwa, was also suspended for four years. Mnangagwa, long
touted as President Mugabe's heir apparent, has since been relegated to a
lesser influential post of legal affairs secretary in ZANU PF's supreme
decision-making body, the politburo.
      Previously, Mnangagwa was the secretary for administration.

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      The day ZIYA stole ZTV's Happison show (A personal comment)

      Mavis Makuni
      3/30/2005 8:27:37 AM (GMT +2)

      You are an interviewer but the interviewee turns the tables and starts
firing questions at you instead. What do you do?

      This is the unusual situation television anchors Happison Muchechetere
and Robson Mhandu had to contend with during an episode of the political
discussions aired by Zimbabwe Television in the run up to the parliamentary
elections on March 31.
      The episode featured two representatives from the obscure Zimbabwe
Youth Association, one of the political groups that "mushroomed" overnight
after it was announced that in line with the Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) Protocol on Democratic Elections all political parties
fielding candidates would be allocated air time on television and radio.
      The broadcast was hilarious from start to finish. The two "youths"
were featured after appearances on the same programme by heavyweights from
the main political parties such as Herbert Murerwa of ZANU-PF, Tendai Biti,
Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mush-onga and Professor Welshman Ncube of the
Movement for Demo-cratic Change (MDC) and some independents. I must confess
that my initial reaction was to switch off my television, reckoning that it
was not worth my while to watch a couple of lightweights whose participation
would not make an iota of a difference.
      In any event, I wondered how they would cope with relentless
interrogation by the media practitioners, who had previously gone all out to
verbally ambush more articulate and experienced candidates.
      I must say I am pleased that I decided in the end to watch the
discussion. Apart from enabling me to experience the most rib-cracking
laughter in a very long time, the episode taught me a number of political
      The first and most obvious is never to judge a book by its cover.
      What the two ZIYA representatives lacked in sophistication and depth,
they more than made up for in fearlessness and conviction.
      They were quite clear what their perceived grievances were and would
not be verbally pushed into a corner by the aggressive and prosecutor-like
line of questioning by Muchechetere.
      They told it like it is and proved that you do not need to parrot
tired political rhetoric to make your point! They were so genuine and
sincere that even when they did not have the foggiest idea what a question
meant, they still answered it with heartfelt conviction.
      They were at their best when they threw questions back at Mhandu and
Muche-chetere, who found themselves on the defensive.
      At one point when he was challenged for refusing to accept something
that was self-evident as far as the ZIYA representatives were concerned,
Mu-chechetere was obliged to cool things down by confessing without being
asked, that he was a war veteran.
      For a moment, I thought the journalist had opened himself up to more
trouble. I was sure the next question he would be asked was whether he was
moderating the discussion as a journalist or a war veteran. Fortunately,
they let him off the hook without further ado.
      As the gripping discussion progressed, I found myself thinking that it
would be far better to have these rough gems who call a spade a spade than
slick politicians who are experts at playing the game of trying to be all
things to all men.
      The no-holds- barred approach adopted by the youth representatives
proved beyond doubt that the skirting around issues that characterises most
political interviews on television and other media is totally uncalled for.
      I have no problem with journalists asking tough, probing but objective
      Any politician worth his salt should be able and willing to face
grilling by the media. I find it hard to accept however, when media
practitioners show bias by asking certain politicians leading and subjective
questions designed to enable them to weave an elaborate web of deceit,
untruths and half-truths.
      It is a disservice to the listening public for an interviewer to align
him or herself with a guest. After all, the interviewer represents the
listener or viewer and should facilitate a balanced exchange.It is equally
unacceptable for a moderator or interviewer to be so hostile as to verbally
bludgeon an interviewee into submission to unfair and untrue pre-conceived
ideas and accusations.
      Blatant bias results in the creation of an erroneous impression that
public officials constitute a body of experts possessing unusual skills and
intelligence. Some lines of questioning that have been seen on ZTV are
designed to convey the message that because of his inadequacy and lack of
expertise, the voter should surrender all his power to the all-knowing
      The point that has to be made is that the performance of the ZIYA
representatives demonstrated beyond doubt that one does not need intricate
technical knowledge to identify national objectives that cater for the
interests of all.. As the song goes, it takes different strokes to move the
world! In the context of political discourse in Zimbabwe, who can deny that
in any controversial situation, the more voices expounding and expressing
opinions the better?
      A country, after all, is the sum total of its people - mavericks,
flamboyant characters and eccentrics should all be allowed to enrich the
country's political traditions.
      The opening up of the airwaves that has been allowed in the run-up to
the parliamentary elections should become a permanent feature so as to
expose the electorate to diverse opinions all the time. This can only lead
to political maturity all round.
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      Stranded polling officers redeployed

      Felix Njini
      3/30/2005 8:29:16 AM (GMT +2)

      THE more than 800 polling officers barred from covering elections in
Mudzi and Kotwa, were yesterday being re-deployed in various polling centres
despite demands by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that
they be send back to Mudzi.

      The re-deployment also comes amid increasing concern over the calibre
of polling officers in Mudzi and Kotwa, areas where the polling officers,
mainly school teachers from Harare were chased away.
      Some of the outraged polling officers who spoke to the Financial
Gazette yesterday said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) forked out
over $300 million in allowances for the stranded polling officers, who were
bussed to and from Mudzi, one of ZANU PF's strongholds.
      Frantic efforts by ZEC officials to re-deploy the polling officers
come when some international observer missions have started querying the
institution's handling of the situation and the involvement of ZANU PF
aligned officials in choosing their preferred polling officers.
      Recounting their experience, the polling officers, who have been
camped at Queen Elizabeth School since Sunday, said they were ferried to
Mudzi in ZUPCO buses and open trucks, only to be told on arrival that, they
could not run the elections since they were coming from Harare".
      "We slept outside government offices where we had been dumped. We were
later addressed by a police officer who told us to go back to Harare, saying
he had been given a directive to turn us back," said one of the polling
      Election monitors and observers fear that the turning away of trained
polling officers could see the election being run by ruling party aligned
      "We were categorically told that people from Harare are not welcome to
conduct elections in Mudzi," said one Harare based schoolteacher.
      "The local leadership there said conducting elections was a job, which
had been reserved for locals, they accused us of coming from Harare to take
their children's jobs," he added.
      The MDC, which is battling it out with ZANU PF in tomorrow's decisive
parliamentary polls allege that the ruling party played a hand in turning
away the polling officers, accused of being MDC supporters.
      "We challenge ZEC to prove that it is in charge by ensuring that all
the polling officers are sent back to Mudzi East to run the elections. We
believe that the usual ZANU PF machinery, which will conduct the elections
is geared to rig the poll and steal the people's vote," fumed MDC secretary
general Welshman Ncube.
      "How does one explain a situation in which the District
Administrator's office, an institution, which has nothing to do with the
running of elections can make such a decision as sending back polling
officers who have been deployed by the commission?" Ncube asked.

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      Council to spoil Makwavarara?

      Staff Reporter
      3/30/2005 8:30:33 AM (GMT +2)

      THE Harare City Council might splash over $1 billion on furnishing the
lavish Gunhill mansion which is now occupied by political turncoat and
commission boss Sekesai Makwavarara, The Financial Gazette learnt this week.

      Sources at Town House, the administrative centre for the city, said
the commission running the affairs of the council is mulling coughing out $1
billion of ratepayer's money towards the curtaining and furnishing of the
controversial mansion.
      This is despite the collapse of service delivery in the capital, once
touted as the African continent's "sunshine city".
      Council workers riled by the planned spending told The Financial
Gazette this week that the council, operating on a shoestring budget, cannot
afford the luxury at a time when it has sometimes failed to pay them their
salaries on time.
      Infrastructure in the capital city has virtually collapsed, they said,
as dramatised by the burst water and sewer pipes, potholes in city roads,
uncollected refuse and the failing public lighting system.
      Ironically Makwa-varara and the Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo have berated dismissed executive mayor Elias Mudzuri's administration
of extravagant spending council on things such as sugar, soap and drinks.
      "All this is happening at a time council is failing to meet its wages
bill," said an insider.
      Contacted this week for comment, council spokesman Leslie Gwindi
scoffed, "We are not in the business of commenting on issues to do with
      Makwavarara, riding high on the crest of ZANU PF patronage, following
her defection from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, has also
ordered the Town Council's chief legal officer, a Mrs Dangwa out of her
Highlands house, which is council property, for unexplained reasons.
      Nomutsa Chideya, the town clerk, switched off his mobile when
contacted for comment.
      "She (Makwavarara) is now evicting the chief legal officer at Town
House from her council house because we suspect that she wants the house
renovated by council as a matter of urgency. The question is why now when
she is already occupying the official mayoral residence", said the source.

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      Stand up and be counted

      3/30/2005 8:31:25 AM (GMT +2)

      Well this is it Zimbabwe - the week that defines the future of this
great nation. This is the time for every Zimbabwean to show that exceptional
personal responsibility by exercising their inalienable suffrage at
tomorrow's Parliamentary poll.

      There is no need to be apprehensive about this election whatsoever,
for there is a sea change in this country's political culture. In perhaps
the most decisive rupture with the past, Zimbabweans have this time around
shown a rare degree of political maturity underlined by growing tolerance
for political opponents and minimal, if any, confrontation even as the
politicians were girding their loins for political high stakes.
      It is indeed a breath of fresh air, to note that in the run up to the
election day, there has not been systematic bullying, intimidation and the
orgy of violence, raping and maiming of innocent people as was the case when
political attack dogs were in the past unleashed on opponents, creating a
crisis of public confidence in the country's electoral process.
      We have to be unstinting in our praise of Zimbabweans for such a
pleasantly surprising peaceful election campaign. People should therefore
leave their homes in droves to go and cast their votes to further the
democratisation and expansion of political pluralism - so that the country's
nascent democratic dispensation can emerge the winner. As has been said
before, to reach a port we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes
against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor. In this case, no
Zimbabwean can afford to be neutral. Your voice has to be heard, loud and
clear whichever political horse you are betting on. Apathy is the greatest
enemy. It would be a gross error of judgment on the part of those who do not
vote because the flip side of this is that they will be voting for what they
do not like.
      Be that as it may, we are not here going to tell Zimbabwe which party
to vote for. Suffice it to say that experience shows that the more
high-falutin phrases and empty declarations a political manifesto contains -
the less real content it has. Sadly both the manifestos of the ruling ZANU
PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change have such phrases that
promise the proverbial pie in the sky. This tends to muddy the waters
insofar as clarity of vision, mission and objectives of each party are
      That is why we feel that voters should go beyond the politicians'
populist phraseology and do some soul-searching as regards the party that
stands for the interests of the nation because therein lie the people's
interests too. It is important for the electorate to note that despite
self-serving veils of altruism, motivations for aspiring for political
office are as varied as the people that seek it. Infact, less altruistic
motives predominate. Blind faith and impetuosity could therefore lead people
into further difficulties.
      That Zimbabwe is in a state of siege, joblessness is on the rise and
that there is a deep well of disenchantment given the socio-economic
difficulties, is beyond argument. The ruins must not however obstruct the
prospects because we don't believe our needle is well and truly stuck. There
is hope for Zimbabwe. The economic fortunes of the country can still be
turned around with a consistent implementation of sound policies.
      It is therefore imperative for Zimbabweans, as they prepare to cast
their ballots to understand how this siege came about. Our modest and humble
submission is that while there understandably is no consensus on the reasons
behind the country's crisis, it can largely be concluded that land-related
issues are at the core of Zimbabwe's woes today.
      Be it concerns over Law and Order issues, the violence that
traumatised the nation and left disenfranchised families with emotional
scars, high country risk ratings which really reflect perceptions as regards
the country's economic well-being, international isolation that has seen
balance of payments drying up, donor stand-off, low investment, adverse
publicity and matters concerning the independence of the judiciary were all
touched off by the land question. Problems with the past immediate Supreme
Court bench arose because contrary to popular belief, jurisprudence is not a
colourless or neutral science, which is why even the colonial bench,
expounding and articulating the same Roman Dutch principles applied today,
justified settler capitalist expropriation of Zimbabwean land and its
judgments were called justice.
      What is clear is that to a large extent the problems besetting
Zimbabwe can be traced back to the land reform programme, which to all
intents and purposes is now irreversible. A darling of the Western world
whose political yardstick changes with changing interests, Zimbabwe became a
target of bitter attacks from Western governments around the same time the
fast track land reform started. Almost overnight, the country transformed
into a land of contagion, shunned by investors, international bankers,
donors and financiers, soon after the government which hitherto had been
revving its engine without moving into a higher gear, embarked on its fast
track land reform.
      Zimbabwe needs no reminding of the hue and cry raised by the emotive
land issue both from the domestic and international community. It raised
partisan shots from both sides of the aisle indicating disagreements over
the form, style and approach of the process. As we said in one of our
editorial comments recently, some critics said it was wrong, while others
argued government should have tried to strike a balance between legal
security and economic flexibility in order to provide the optimum
opportunity to achieve the objectives of the land reform. However both
proponents and critics of the land reform acknowledge its historical
validity as well as the folly and hopelessness of any failure to address the
      And so it is the same land issue, which should therefore form part of
any attempt to deal with the multitude of the country's deep-seated
problems. Be it MDC or ZANU PF, Zimbabweans should go for the party that, in
their minds, has flexible, courageous and evolutionising politicians who
have the capacity to ride the next wave and systematically polish up the
land reform programme, follow it up with technical supervision and support
so as to ensure overall success of the land reform programme and return the
country's agriculture to its pre-crisis levels. The party should have the
capacity to come up with a triumphant response to the challenges that lie
ahead insofar as the land question - in which the international community
has shown a lot of interest as can be typified by the Land Donor Conference
of 1998 - is concerned. After all is said and done, everything else will
definitely fall in place. The significance to the economy of agriculture,
which previously had the biggest sectoral contribution to the country's
gross domestic product, cannot be over-emphasised. Good luck Zimbabwe.
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      And now to the Notebook . . .

      3/30/2005 8:09:10 AM (GMT +2)

      Rule of law?

      So after the Great Uncle himself insulted an Administrative Court
ruling on an appeal by jailed opposition Movement for Democratic Change
member of Parliament Roy Bennett against the rejection of his nomination
papers, the court which had allowed a thoroughly violated citizen to have
his right to vote and be voted for, suddenly changed its mind and ruled that
he can no longer enjoy this right?

      Would there be anything wrong if CZ, or any other progressive Zimbo
see this as unwarranted interference by the executive arm of government in
the operations of the judiciary? CZ is suggesting that the Great Uncle
unduly used his influence to secure a court ruling favourable to his party
ZANU PF. This is uncouth . . . he threatened the judge in question. No
wonder the same judge ended up disagreeing with his own ruling!
      So where is the rule of law here? In a normal democratic set-up,
someone should be up on contempt of court . . . ask big-mouthed Patrick
      If only . . .
      Zimbos tomorrow vote to choose which politicians to have the privilege
of dozing off in the august house. All candidates will be expecting to do
better than their opponents and CZ wishes them all the best in their
      If only Zimbos were a politically mature people, this was the time to
bury our differences and possibly try to work together for a much brighter
future. Yes, it is very true that we might not like each other, or agree
with each other - we are not required to that just for the sake of it - but
sometimes it is better to pretend we like each other for a common good.
      This election is an election with a difference. It is frighteningly
peaceful. This is not what we have been used to, so we get scared. Imagine a
violent father suddenly coming back from a beer drink and remaining quiet
and peaceful.The children would be scared.
      The peace that is prevailing now is something to worry about, isn't
it? It all goes a long way to show how much leaders of political parties are
responsible for whatever happens in elections. All the violence that we have
seen in the past was because the ZANU PF leadership, which had panicked at
the prospect of handing over power, told its war veterans, youths, police,
army etc to beat up people and that nothing was going to happen to them as
patriots. Remember stories about B Sc. Violence? And what followed was
bloodshed and untold terrorisation of the people. Because this time ZANU PF
is more confident of winning the elections, its leadership saw no reason to
terrorise people, hence the relative peace we have today.
      Now if only the political leadership of this country took advantage of
this prevailing peace to please extend the olive branch to the other side
and try to work together for a better Zimbabwe. I don't think there is any
Zimbo in his right mind who would not want to live in a better Zimbabwe, is
      CZ believes the Great Uncle has finally accepted there is an
opposition that has a considerable following in this country. A real big
following that is even threatening the continued existence of his party!
Suppose the MDC wins say 40 percent of all seats in the next parliament,
what would be wrong if he picks 40 percent of his next Cabinet from the MDC?
      Shortfalls notwithstanding, there are some really brilliant brains in
the ranks of the MDC and why does Zimbabwe have to wait until the party
becomes a ruling party (if ever) for it to tap this resource?
      There are people really better than the Mades of our present
government and should individuals' parochial and selfish interests come
before common good?
      Or the Great Uncle simply inviting Morgan for a breakfast meeting to
discuss areas of common interest . . . what would be wrong with that? Would
any of the sides lose anything from just behaving like civilised Africans?
They all know that all the trash they say about each other is just mere
trash.without any substance in that should not preclude them from
putting this country first. PLEASE!
      Has anyone out there bothered to notice that the esteemed members of
our police force have perfected their own special type of English for easy
use when dealing with ordinary "members of the public?"
      Ever listened to what most police chiefs and spokesmen will actually
be saying in their Policeese when they appear on our TV screen "to encourage
members of the public that the professional force is more than just geared
up to deal with any forms of malcontent behavioural manifestations that may
arise.blah blah," or something to that effect. Has anyone really bothered to
decipher what our very professional colleagues would be dying to put across?
      More often than not, they end up saying a lot but literally nothing.
Last week there was this one from none other than the ZRP chief Cde
Augustine Chihuri himself: "We (police) have personally written to Madhuku
to come forward and validate the claims in the report.blah blah!"
      Ever heard about investigations in a grievously bodily harm case
involving the use of unknown sharp object in the beheading of a victim's
left hand . . . people who are arrested driving under the undue influence of
yet unknown but dangerous alcoholic substance?
      When our radio and TV morning travel and traffic reports were
introduced you could hear an officer advising the motoring public that there
is a broken down bus "standing" between this and that street . . . that the
"robot at the intersection of this and that road is in bad working order.
      Investigations are still in process!
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      Two-thirds majority win is what ZANU PF is aiming at

      Marume Jeya
      3/30/2005 8:05:01 AM (GMT +2)

      It is a foregone conclusion that ZANU PF will definitely win the
simple majority vote considering that the Zimbabwean constitution determines
that voters elect only 120 of the 150 parliamentary seats, while President
Robert Mugabe handpicks 30. As such, the main challenge facing the ruling
party is to garner the two-thirds majority vote.

      A two- thirds majority win by ZANU PF has several political and legal
      The current political dispensation in the country has seen the ruling
party encountering internal and external forces that will be eliminated by a
two-thirds majority win.
      What are the internal challenges facing the ruling party? It is clear
the ruling party has of late been experiencing infighting as aptly captured
by the succession struggle that culminated in the Tsholotsho debacle. It
appears the succession issue has triggered an ethnic dimension in our
political equation.
      The "Karanga" and "Manyika" groups are fighting for political space
within the ruling party power structure. Although the Tsholotsho factor has
apparently simmered down, it will probably rear its head again in the near
future because the political stakes are high.
      In some political circles the "Kenyan or Rainbow" scenario is already
being suggested as a possible political reality in our polity.
      It is argued that some significant political gladiators from the
ruling party might join forces with the opposition and civil society and
fight the ZANU PF establishment. In politics anything is possible, as there
are no permanent enemies but permanent interests.
      This has happened before in Zambia, when the United National
Independence Party (UNIP) was ousted by the Movement for Multi-party
Democracy (MMD). A similar situation occurred in Malawi when the Malawi
Congress Party (MCP) was defeated by combined forces of opposition and
former ruling party officials.
      Given the foregoing it is imperative for the ruling party to garner
the two-thirds majority vote in order to effect major constitutional
amendments that will appease various political forces within ZANU PF.
Already, President Mugabe has suggested the creation of a Senate.
      The Senate will certainly accommodate senior and young politicians
from various "disgruntled" groups. This upper house is an appropriate
sanctuary or rather retirement home for the ruling party's old guard. Thus,
the Senate will house the old and wise and conversely Parliament or lower
house will accommodate the young and clever. In such a situation there will
be a proper mix of continuity and change within the ruling party power
structures. Obvious candidates for the senate are the likes of Dumiso
Dabengwa, Mudhumeni Chivende, Naison Ndlovu, Nathan Shamuyarira, Thenjiwe
Lesabe, Victoria Chitepo (if as expected she loses the current race for
parliament and rehabilitated suspended "chairmen".
      Surely, a Senate will minimise conflicts and the fights between the
"old guard" and the so called "young turks". Furthermore this will certainly
keep the ruling party together considering the mess that occurred during the
primary elections which resulted in many popular candidates being sidelined
through party restrictions.
      Another political instrument that can be effected if ZANU PF wins the
two-thirds majority is the creation of the Office of Prime Minister. The
creation of such a powerful position will certainly assist the ruling party
in its ethnic balancing or power restructuring.
      The balancing is important because the political career of President
Mugabe is nearing its end. He has already expressed his wish to retire at
the end of his current term. It is therefore almost definite that Mugabe
will not run in 2008 considering that his political soulmates have already
voluntarily left office. Sam Nunjoma of Namibia left just yesterday,
Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia and Joachim Chissano (best man at his wedding
with wife Grace) readily come to mind.
      A proper power balancing formula backed by a two-thirds majority will
certainly ensure an honourable exit for Mugabe and a smooth transition.
      As pointed out earlier, the Tsholotsho factor is a serious internal
contradiction that needs proper "management". Suspending and firing party
cadres and officials will only open wounds. After all the Tsholotsho
beneficiaries had the support of six provinces. Some say seven! Wow!
      The two-thirds majority advantage might be used by the ruling party or
President Mugabe himself, to amend the constitution to include political
safeguards. The "Mwanawasa" or is it "Mutharika" factor will certainly
prompt President Mugabe to effect safeguards in order to protect himself
from possible impeachment or indictment from future "hostile" parliaments or
      From an international angle, a two-thirds majority win will certainly
show the international community that the ruling ZANU PF is unassailable and
the only way to deal with it is engagement. Already there is a strong
feeling within and without Zimbabwe that the MDC is a poor, incapable and
dangerous alternative. Trevor Ncube's recent analysis in local and regional
newspapers is very instructive. It is believed that some backers of the MDC
have since lost confidence with the MDC and are now looking at influencing
reform in Zanu PF itself.
      If ZANU PF attains the two-thirds majority margin, the abandoned
intra-party talks will be revived or even direct talks between the ruling
party and the opposition's western backers will start. Already indicators to
such a scenario are apparent. The United States and the United Kingdom have
since withdrawn their "regime change" ambassadors Joseph Sullivan and Brian
Donnelly and put in place more affable ambassadors. This indicates the US
and Britain are willing to talk. So far, the hard talk against President
Mugabe and his government is coming from the State Department and the US
ambassador to South Africa, Jenday Fraser. The US ambassador to Zimbabwe
Chris Dell seems be pursuing a more cautious approach and is even heaping
praise on the government's economic reforms as he did recently in an
interview on ZTV's Talking Business with Supa.
      Furthermore, if ZANU PF wins the two- thirds majority, it will
strengthen its support base within Africa and in SADC specifically. Major
backers of Zimbabwe like Thabo Mbeki will have more arsenal in defending
Harare and ensuring that Zimbabwe's rift with the international community is
      It is clear that the ruling ZANU PF needs the two-thirds majority
vote. For ZANU PF this election is about winning the two-thirds majority.
With the two-thirds majority in its bag, it will be able to manage its
internal contradictions, a smooth and dignified exit for President Mugabe
and the hostile international forces.
      Thursday's vote certainly means more than just winning!
      lMarume Jeya is a Harare-based political scientist.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

No vote for thousands

Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-30

THOUSANDS of polling officers, mostly teachers, are unlikely to vote in
tomorrow's crucial parliamentary polls after being deployed outside their
constituencies, The Daily Mirror has learnt.
However, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) quickly allayed fears that
Zimbabwe's sixth general elections had hit a snag, suggesting that all
affected civil servants could cast their votes via postal balloting.
Utloile Silaigwana, the ZEC spokesperson said: "There is a possibility of a
postal ballot for all civil servants that would be on such duties."
While the exact number of teachers affected could not immediately be
established yesterday, the main opposition MDC yesterday claimed that an
estimated 50 000 teachers would not vote due to logistical problems.
Said MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi: "Over 50 000 polling officers,
most of them teachers, will not be able to cast their vote in the March 31
parliamentary elections because they have been deployed outside their
constituencies. This vindicates our position that the regime had not made
adequate preparations to ensure a free and fair election, a position which
the regime has always denied."
The MDC argued that teachers, like the uniformed forces, must exercise their
full democratic rights to elect legislative representatives of their choice
as enshrined in the Zimbabwe constitution through the postal ballot system.
Nyathi also suggested an ideal situation should have seen the concerned
teachers being deployed in constituencies they are registered to vote in.
"The teachers should have been deployed within the constituencies in which
they are registered to vote, or they should also have been accorded the
opportunity to cast their vote using the postal ballot as has been done with
members of the uniformed forces," he said.
Yesterday, ZEC - the responsible authority for deploying polling officers
among other duties - hinted at the possibility of the postal ballot for the
affected civil servants.
But ZEC pointed out that the onus was with those officers deployed out of
their constituencies to apply for the facility.
"It was up to the individual to apply for postal voting but the deadline for
that facility was March 20 and some applications are being processed. We
have already sent ballot papers to members of the army, police and Foreign
Affairs (embassies)," he said.
Silaigwana added: "We cannot say anyone was denied the right to vote because
we do not know whether that person had registered to vote in the first place
and as such, it would be misleading to say they were supposed to vote but
were denied."
So far, he said, ZEC had received no complaints from the polling officers
who had allegedly been disfranchised.
Silaigwana described some media reports that soldiers had already voted as
unfortunate and misleading.
"We only sent out postal ballots to those that applied, but no one has voted
as yet," he said.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Independent chickens out

From Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo
issue date :2005-Mar-30

BULAWAYO South constituency independent candidate in tomorrow's crucial
parliamentary polls, Alderman Charles Mpofu, has chickened out of the race.
Mpofu, who was poised to battle it out with MDC legal affairs secretary
David Coltart and the Minister of Small Scale and Medium Enterprises
Development Sithembiso Nyoni of Zanu PF, dropped the bombshell here
In a letter addressed to the Registrar Secretary's office a copy of which is
in The Daily Mirror's possession, Mpofu said he decided to pull out after
consulting with his campaigning team and advisors.
The MDC city councillor's letter read in part: "I have considered a number
of factors surrounding the elections and had consultations with my campaign
committee and our advisors. We have come up with a decision to withdraw from
the race for reasons basically known to us."
Reached for comment yesterday, Mpofu declined to explain his reasons for
throwing in the towel at the last minute. He becomes   the third
parliamentary candidate to pull out of the race following last week's
withdrawal by Zanu PF Matabeleland South chairman and independent candidate
for Beitbridge, Lloyd Siyoka and Ottilia Maluleke in Chiredzi North.
Siyoka is said to have succumbed to mounting pressure from ruling party
bigwigs in the province to tow the party line while Maluleke has thrown her
weight behind Zanu PF candidate Celine Pote.
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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Madhuku faces prosecution

Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-30

POLICE are still studying the controversial National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) document alleging a violent pre-election environment in Zimbabwe with
a view to prosecuting its chairman Lovemore Madhuku.
With the general elections - which both the governing Zanu PF and main
opposition MDC have predicted victory - due tomorrow, chief police
spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told a news conference in Harare yesterday
that police patience with Madhuku was fast fading.
He said: "We are still studying his document. Our position is clear that it
is false. We gave him sufficient time and treated him as a citizen with a
moral obligation to assist us, but he was not forthcoming. We are studying
the document with a strong view to prosecute."
The damning NCA report alleged among other charges, participation of the
uniformed forces in politically motivated violence, rape, and murder and
forced school closures.
Last Wednesday, Madhuku snubbed a police invitation to a news conference to
substantiate his claims arguing he was not a journalist and had no
obligation to furnish them with the evidence.
Police gave him until last Thursday to validate his allegations, but the
deadline expired without the constitutional lawyer forthcoming.
Madhuku maintains, legally, he is not obliged to endorse his claims.
Meanwhile, 146 MDC supporters were arrested on Sunday returning from a star
rally addressed by Morgan Tsvangirai at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield.
Bvudzijena said the opposition backers were apprehended at the intersection
of Harare Road and Simon Mazorodze Road in Mbare. They had since paid $25
000 guilty fines for breaching the Miscellaneous Offences Act.
"The supporters, along the way, shouted and ridiculed others resulting in
their arrest more than six kilometres from the rally venue," Bvudzijena
Outgoing MDC Harare Central MP and candidate for the constituency Murisi
Zwizwai was picked up by police, cautioned and released on March 24 after
his supporters allegedly disrupted traffic along Nelson Mandela Street.
Zwizwai had addressed them at the Quality International Hotel in the city
Since Friday last week, police have recorded 18 more politically related
cases allegedly committed by Zanu PF supporters compared to 12 misdeeds by
the MDC supporters.
The latest report brings to 153 cases committed by both parties since
January 1, 2005. The MDC committed 78 offences to Zanu PF's 75.
Yesterday, police assured the nation that peace and tranquillity will
prevail during and after the election.
"Officers are now on the ground following the weekend's deployments. With
these deployments, everyone is assured of safety and security as they go to
vote on Thursday, March 31, 2005," Bvudzijena said.
Meanwhile, the police have urged the public to return to their respective
homes soon after voting arguing that if people cluster at polling stations,
this could cause disturbances.
Said Bvudzijena: "Some political leaders and candidates are urging their
supporters to remain at the polling stations after casting their votes on
Thursday.the so called vigils are attempts at disturbing the peace and
everyone is strongly warned against participating in illegal activities.
"Members of the public are reminded of the provisions of the Electoral Act
(Chapter 2: 13) and Public Order and Security Act (POSA) (Chapter 11: 17)."
The top cop went on: "We would like to make it very clear that in terms of
Section 62 of the Electoral Act, it is only the presiding officer and such
polling officers, monitors and observers besides the candidates and election
agents for each candidate who are allowed to be present at the counting of

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Election watch

issue date :2005-Mar-30

Zanu PF Harare THE ruling party held campaign meetings in the province on
March 25 addressed by the respective candidates for the constituencies at
the following venues: Dunkorths Farm Primary School in Harare South
addressed by Hubert Nyanhongo; Budiriro 2 Flats open ground in Budiriro
addressed by David Makufa;
 Gwenyambira Shopping Centre in Mufakose addressed by Sabina Thembani;
Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfield addressed by Roderick Nyandoro;
Kuwadzana Home Industries in Kuwadzana addressed by David Mutasa; Glen Norah
Stadium in Glen Norah addressed by Victoria Chitepo; Zengeza 2 Open Ground
in ST Mary's addressed by Patrick Nyaruwata and High Street Open Ground in
Mabvuku/Tafara addressed by Pamela Tungamirai.  The major theme in the
addresses was the revival of service deliveries by council since the last
five years of MDC representation has seen their rapid decline.  The
candidates also chronicled the achievements of their party in the past 25
years as explained in their party election manifesto.

Zanu PF held campaign meetings on March 26 at the following venues in the
province; Gaths Mine Stadium in Masvingo North constituency addressed by the
party's candidate Stan Mudenge; at Tshovani Stadium in Chiredzi North the
meeting was addressed by Celine Pote the party's candidate as well as
National Chairman John Nkomo and in the Uzeze Area of Masvingo Central the
meeting was addressed by Shylet Uyoyo, the party's candidate.  At the
Masvingo Central meeting, 23 MDC members led by two brothers, (names
withheld) defected to Zanu PF.   Members of the Sadc observer team also
attended the meeting. In Chiredzi Celine Pote urged party supporters to
report anyone provoking violence to the police.  She predicted a resounding
victory for Zanu PF throughout the country.

Mashonaland Central
The ruling party held seven campaign meetings in the province at the
following venues: Murembe Secondary School, Shirikadzi Business centre,
Matepatepa Sports Club and Batanai Hall in Bindura constituency addressed by
candidate Elliot Manyika; at Kajakata Business Centre and Mugagau in Shamva
constituency the meeting was  addressed by candidate Nicholas Goche and at
Chahwanda business centre in Mt Darwin South addressed by the party's
candidate Saviour Kasukuwere.
In Bindura, Manyika blasted the opposition MDC for serving imperialist
purposes and seeking to reverse the gains of independence. He urged party
supporters to defeat the enemy once and for all.
Mashonaland West
The MDC held four campaign rallies on March 26 and 27 in the province at the
following places; Kapfunde Business Centre in Hurungwe West the meeting was
addressed by the party's candidate Godfrey Gumbo and at Donain Shopping
Centre  in Ngezi the meeting was addressed by Flora Hotyo, the party's
candidate for the constituency.  The general theme in the addresses by the
two candidates centred on blasting economic problems currently facing the
country.  They promised that an MDC government would bring back donors and
an end to sanctions. They also promised to give land back to former white

Matabeleland South
The opposition party on  March 26 held five campaign meetings in the
province at the following venues: Gampo and Matshinge business centres in
Bulilima constituency addressed by out going legislator Moses Mzila Ndlovu;
at Matshemhlope and Mambale business centre in Mangwe constituency addressed
by the candidate for the area Edward Mkosi Moyo and at Tshapfuche dip tank
in Beitbridge constituency addressed by Murumwa Siphuma, the party's
candidate.  Siphuma urged the people to vote for the MDC, promising that the
opposition party will bring better lives for them.  He alleged that the Zanu
PF government has failed the people in the past 25 years of independence.

Mashonaland East
The MDC candidate for Marondera East Ian Kay held two campaign rallies on
March 26 at Dombotombo bus terminus and at Marondera Rural District Council
offices.  Kay urged the people to vote the MDC, which he said would restore
economic prosperity by engaging the western countries.  He added that if he
wins the elections, he would ensure that enough jobs are created for the
unemployed in his constituency.

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Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Observers to submit reports before final results

Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Mar-30

ALL local and foreign observers should submit their preliminary election
reports to the Election Supervisory Commission (ESC) before final results of
tomorrow's general polls are announced, ESC chairperson, Theophilus Gambe,
said yesterday.
Addressing the observers in the capital, Gambe said the timely production of
these reports was necessary to enable the ESC to come up with a detailed
report of the parliamentary elections - Zimbabwe's sixth successive since
independence from Britain 25 years ago.
"As the ESC, we request that preliminary reports from observers be presented
to our monitors and supervisors on the ground prior to the announcements of
the results. The timely presentation will also help us produce a timely
report of the elections," he said.
Gambe also said it was essential for the observers to highlight any
irregularities they would have noticed and attention them to ESC officials
for speedy rectification.
"If observers see irregularities or apparent irregularities they should
bring them to the attention of the ESC officials who will then bring them to
the attention of presiding officers so that they rectify the anomalies there
and then if it's possible," he said.
Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) chairperson, Justice George Chiweshe,
said preparations for tomorrow's vote were almost complete.
"Our state of preparedness is almost 100 percent complete and all 10
provincial offices are now in place and being manned by their provincial
election officers and staff," he said.
On postal votes, Chiweshe said ZEC had since dispatched all application
forms to the ministries of defence, home affairs and foreign affairs, and
their processing was in progress.
"Application forms for postal votes have been dispatched to the ministry of
home affairs, defence and foreign affairs. The processing of the application
forms is still in progress and all participants in the elections are
involved," Chiweshe said.
He also sharply dismissed reports some soldiers had already voted
ZEC has set up 8 256 polling stations countrywide where three queues at each
station would be arranged alphabetically.
Registered voters with surnames beginning with letters A to L would form
their own queue. Those with surnames starting with the letter M, and N to Z
would also form their own queues.
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Yahoo News

Australia complains its broadcaster barred from Zimbabwe polls

SYDNEY, (AFP) - Australia complained that its national broadcaster had been
barred from covering this week's Zimbabwe elections, which it said were
"unlikely" to be fair.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said it was "regrettable" that Zimbabwe
authorities had apparently denied the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
(ABC) access to cover Thursday's parliamentary elections.

"I call on the Zimbabwean authorities to reverse this decision," Downer
said, noting that the same ban affected the BBC and other British news

While Downer noted that there had been "a pleasing reduction in political
violence" and fewer restrictions placed on opposition parties during the
campaign than in previous elections, he said the polls "are unlikely to be
free and fair".

"Sadly, the people of Zimbabwe will have little opportunity to pass
judgement on a government that has eroded democratic and human rights and
the rule of law and blighted its people's daily lives by severe economic
mismanagement," he said.

The elections pit veteran President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party
against an opposition headed by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and
its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Australia has, alongside Britain, played a leading role in trying to isolate
Mugabe's regime, which it accuses of widespread corruption and human rights

Downer said that despite some signs of improvements during the current
election campaign, "the electoral playing field remains strongly tilted in
favour of the ruling party".

He charged that intimidation of voters was "pervasive", including through
the use of food supplies, while "significant question marks" remain over the
state of electoral rolls, recent changes to electoral boundaries and the
independence of electoral authorities.
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      Zimbabwe is a nation dying on its feet .. yet this old man still
clings to power and will use every trick he can to remain there

      By Anton Antonowicz And Mark Ellis

      HE IS an ageing tyrant who has turned his country from a bread basket
into a begging bowl.

      He presides over the fastest-shrinking economy in the world,
contracting 30 per cent in the past five years. Inflation has hit 600 per
cent. There are critical food shortages, with at least four million facing

      Three million people - a fifth of the population - have fled abroad.
Nine out of 10 who remain live on less than $1 a day. Unemployment runs at
80 per cent.

      In a free and fair society no president would be elected with that
kind of economic performance.

      But Zimbabwe is neither "free" nor "fair". And that is why despot
Robert Mugabe - aged 81 in a land where average life expectancy has fallen
to 33 years - will win the parliamentary elections tomorrow.

      To do so, he has used every trick in the megalomaniac's manual.
Indeed, with 25 years of unbroken power, he can lay claim to having written

      CHAPTER 1: "Food Buys Votes."

      FOR the past four months Mugabe has been secretly importing grain from
South Africa to hand out to supporters of his Zanu-PF party.

      This is the same President who last May declared that the country was
reaping a record harvest of 2.8 million tonnes of grain and there would be
no imports of food.

      He also ordered the World Food Programme to wind up its food
distribution operation. "Why foist food on us?" he demanded. "We don't want
to be choked."

      Agricultural monitoring agencies, farm unions and even Zimbabwe's own
Parliament dismissed his claims of a bumper harvest, forecasting the real
figure would be 700,000 tonnes - half the amount needed to feed the nation.

      Human rights agencies say that in 2002, a year after Mugabe began his
disastrous policy of seizing farms from white owners, the government took
total control of grain supplies, restricting movement, raiding farms and
seizing stocks.

      Famine relief agencies were banned from providing food. A state
monopoly, the Grain Marketing Board, effectively became the sole distributor
of maize in rural areas.

      But the people there could only buy grain if they produced Zanu
membership cards. Bags of maize have been handed out at polling stations to
ruling-party supporters, human rights agencies say.

      "People are starving in at least four of the country's 10 provinces,"
says Renson Gasela, agricultural spokesman for the rival Movement for
Democratic Change. "Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa. Now it imports
more than it produces.

      "We have seen trains loaded with unmarked bags of grain arriving from
South Africa. It is no mystery that the food is being distributed to those
areas where Zanu holds sway.

      "Mugabe's youth militia have been sent to depots to vet people coming
to buy food. Last week one Zanu candidate openly told people they will be
denied maize if they vote for the MDC. Mugabe is buying votes with food.
Simple as that. But what happens after the election, when the food and
what's left of the money runs out?"

      The answer is obvious. Mugabe will appeal to international donors,
and, in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, they will provide the food his
policies have squandered.

      CHAPTER 2: 'How to Rig Votes.'

      VOTE counting will be administered by the army. Ballot boxes are made
of transparent plastic. Counting will be done during the night.

      Rural voters account for nearly two thirds of the population. At their
polling stations, counting will be done by candle- or torchlight. The
soldiers are fed and paid by the government.

      "In remote rural areas, polling will end at 7pm," says MDC MP David
Coltart. "Votes will be counted in a tent 40 miles from the nearest phone,
with a soldier running the process, police around him, a Zanu war veteran
observer appointed by Mugabe, the agent representing Zanu as a party - and
one MDC representative.

      "It's going to be a brave MDC guy, deep in the bush at night, 40 miles
from a phone, to say: 'No, that's not a Zanu vote, that's an MDC vote.'"

      New laws mean three million people living and working abroad, most of
them opposition supporters, cannot vote.

      At least 800,000 dead people are known to be on the electoral
register. But opposition candidates have not been allowed to scrutinise that
register. Those who have tried say they have been promised it some time next
month - after the election.

      Villagers have been told a "central computer" will be able to identify
which village voted for whom - a clear and cynical threat aimed at people on
the edge of famine.

      CHAPTER 3: 'Wave a Big Stick.'

      MUGABE has recently received a huge consignment of arms from China. He
recalled all reservists ahead of the election, raising fears tha tthe army
will stage a coup in the unlikely event of a poll defeat. The hardware,
moved secretly from the Mozambique port of Beira, includes heavy assault
rifles, military vehicles, riot equipment and teargas.

      Mugabe's defence chiefs threatened an army coup if the 2002 election
went against him.

      They have taken to repeating those threats now, claiming they could
never allow their country to be ruled by anyone who did not fight in the
1970s war of independence from Britain - a reference to opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

      CHAPTER 4: 'Gag The Media.'

      THE government has closed down five independent newspapers in two
years. Two journalists have been tortured and the Harare-based Daily News
was bombed twice in 2003.

      Meanwhile, Mugabe's state-run media is working full-tilt to maintain
the old man's fairy-tale, Cloud-cuckoo-land Zimbabwe.

      One paper shows a photograph of a dead cow lying in a lush pasture.
The caption reads: "One of the many [cows] dead from eating too much grass."

      This in a country threatened by famine. This in a country ruled by
plain, bare-faced cynicism.

      Another article, this time responding to criticism of the government
by Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "Tutu - an embittered vassal of imperialism. He
should pray to the real God, not false gods like Bush and Blair..." the
paper rants.

      One high-placed education official tells us: "The people are being
starved of information. Living here is like living in the old Soviet Union.
We know nothing about the opposition - all information is

      CHAPTER 5: Blame the West'.

      IN 1990 Zimbabwe had one of Africa's best health-care systems. But in
recent years Mugabe has cut its budget to channel funds into the army and
central intelligence organisation on which he relies.

      As a result, the health system has collapsed - while the country reels
from an Aids epidemic.

      One in eight children in Zimbabwe will now die before the age of five,
the highest mortality rate in the world, according to the United Nations
Children's Fund.

      About 70 per cent of the deaths are due to Aids, which kills a child
there every 15 minutes. Another million children - one in five - have been
orphaned by the disease.

      The country has the world's fourth-highest HIV/Aids level - 24 per
cent of the population is infected. Neighbouring countries generalise and
blame Zimbabwe's economic migrants for spreading the disease.

      Because of his policies of diverting funds to maintain power, donor
organisations - the World Bank, the Global Fund and the US - have shunned

      Yet, while the health crisis is largely of its own making, the
government has grown louder in its appeals for the international community
to solve the problem it created. It also demands control of any money aid
would provide.

      It is the begging bowl in one hand feeding fat wallets in the other.

      CHAPTER 6: 'Play the Race Card."

      MUGABE has seized 4,000 white-owned farms, leaving only 500 to produce
sufficient tobacco and other crops to earn vital hard currency.

      Despite this, his land reform has largely failed. Agriculture has
slumped and he can't use white farmers as electoral whipping-boys any more.
So this time his bogeyman is Tony Blair, "the latter-day British

      He, according to Mugabe, is the poisonous power behind the opposition
MDC. Blair, a man who employs homosexuals - Mugabe is virulently anti-gay -
in his government.

      "What is he doing here?" Mugabe asks. "Does he want to take away our

      Then he turns his attention to citizens working abroad, particularly
Zimbabweans who left to work in the NHS - "running away", Mugabe scoffs, "to
wash the bodies of the elderly people in England."

      The Tyrant's Textbook comes with a Conclusion: This focuses on South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, President Bush's so-called "Pointman" for
the region.

      Without Mbeki's support, Mugabe would be finished. But old allegiances
die hard. Once, they were both freedom fighters, as Mugabe never stops
reminding his old pal.

      So Mbeki wrings his hands, voices serious concern for his neighbour.
And does diddly-squat. As a result Mugabe the tyrant will continue to rule
and his people to suffer.

      The only consolation, mentioned earlier: the President should have
died 48 years ago. That may be a mean average. But one thing is certain. The
tyrant does not have many chapters left in him.

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South Africa's failure in Zimbabwe
By Padraig O'Malley  |  March 30, 2005

PARLIAMENTARY elections will be held tomorrow in Zimbabwe in conditions that
assure they will not be free and fair.

This is due to the systematic evisceration of every vestige of due process
in Zimbabwe under the regime of Robert Mugabe, whose Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front has ruled the country since 1980.

In 2000 the once invincible ZANU party lost some support to an emerging
opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change, led by trade unionist Morgan
Tsvangirai in parliamentary elections that independent observers, with the
exception of the African National Congress, pronounced neither free nor
fair. In 2002 Mugabe narrowly beat Tsvangirai in a presidential election,
pronounced neither free nor fair by most election observers, again with the
exception of the ANC.

Since 2002 Mugabe has cracked down on political opposition, conducted a
reign of terror against MDC supporters and party workers, expelled foreign
journalists, and shut down the independent media. He has packed a once
independent judiciary with hand-picked ZANU lackeys and used the courts to
prosecute opponents on trumped-up charges. He has had Tsvangirai tried for
treason (he was acquitted). The ZANU-controlled Parliament has passed laws
that restrict freedom of association and assembly. Government-sponsored
militias were sent into the countryside to intimidate, terrorize, and, if
necessary, kill. With elections tomorrow, the electorate is unlikely to
forget the likely consequences of voting the wrong way.

The people starve, in part because the land seized from white farmers in
2000 and thereafter was turned over to liberation war veterans, Mugabe
cronies, an assortment of landless peasants, farm tenants, and party
loyalists, few of whom can farm. In the country once regarded as the
agricultural breadbasket of the sub-Sahara, the World Food Program estimates
that about half of Zimbabwe's 12.5 million people are at risk of starvation
while Mugabe bans food aid, the better to use what food there is as a
political tool.

Earlier this month, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch each issued
a report that said the systematic human rights violations by the Zimbabwean
government made free participation in the elections impossible.

Mugabe is in substantial breach of every election protocol of the Southern
African Development Community, of which Zimbabwe is a member; he has failed
to implement the recommendations of the African Union's Commission on Human
and People's Rights; he flouts international law, and he has banned the
presence of observer teams from all countries and nongovernmental
organizations that might conclude that the elections might not be free and
fair (China qualifies, the European Union does not).

Rather than rebuke Mugabe for his crimes against his own people, South
Africa assists in their persecution. When Zimbabweans, desperate for food
and work, sneak their way into South Africa, they are incarcerated in the
Lindela Repatriation Center, a prison that would put any apartheid-era
prison to shame.

Sadly, black South Africans seem to have forgotten that all of Africa took
them in and championed their cause, often at risk to themselves. Just weeks
ago, President Thabo Mbeki pronounced, ''Nobody in Zimbabwe is likely to act
in a way that will prevent free and fair elections being held" -- the blithe
sentiment of the mightily unperturbed.

A mere 11 years ago, South Africa held its first free, fair, and nonracial
elections, which brought 40 years of apartheid ignominy and 300 years of
institutionalized racial discrimination to an end. It ushered in an era of
democratic governance, with the ANC the lead actor. However, before the ANC
would agree to elections in 1994, it insisted on a level political playing
field. The actual casting of a ballot, the ANC well knew, is the next to
final act in the process of a free and fair election, not the first. The
world supported the demands the ANC made on the white minority government.
It stood in solidarity, and across the globe people took to the streets on
its behalf, on behalf of millions of black South Africans. It flooded the
country with election observers from across the world to ensure free and
fair elections.

The result is history, and South Africa has been eager to share the secrets
of its success with other democracies in the process of transition.

Except with its next-door neighbor.

In the days ahead, the South African government's observers have a chance to
redeem their country's honor, but few here are holding their breath.

Padraig O'Malley is a senior fellow emeritus at the McCormack Graduate
School at UMass-Boston.
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