The Sunday Times (SA) - 3 March 2002
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION MARCH 2002 - THE RIGHT TO VOTE
PART A. VOTING REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES.
WHO QUALIFIES TO VOTE?
Anyone who is a registered voter.
To be registered as a voter a person must be:
- Above the age of 18.
- A citizen of Zimbabwe or has been a permanent resident since 31st
December 1985. Under the constitution a permanent resident may vote in a
Presidential election regardless of the fact that you may have chosen to retain
your foreign citizenship over Zimbabwean citizenship.
WHERE DO I GO TO VOTE?
- For the Presidential election you must vote in the constituency in which
you are registered as a voter.
- To find out where polling stations or a mobile polling stations will be
in your area look in the newspaper or contact the Provincial Registrar’s office
or the local officials of the party you support before the start of the election
on the 9th and 10th of March. If you live in the rural areas find out from your
District Council Offices or nearest business center, school or police station. A
polling station will usually be found at one of the following places a nearby;
school, business center, hospital, clinic, community hall, farm or hotel.
- For residents of Harare and Chitungwiza voting in the Mayoral and Council
Elections, as well as, the Presidential Elections, YOU MUST DO ALL YOUR VOTING
IN YOUR WARD. The Electoral Supervisory Commission advises that, “ If you try to
vote outside your ward, though in your constituency, you can only vote for the
President. And once your hands are inked, you cannot go to your ward to vote for
the mayor and councillor”. Remember to go and vote in your ward for all the
candidates of your choice.
WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO ENABLE YOU TO VOTE IN THE PRESIDENTIAL
One of the following national documents:
- Either your national ID (the metal card or the temporary paper
- Or your valid Zimbabwe passport. If you are a permanent resident your
valid foreign passport with the relevant residence stamp.
- Or your Zimbabwe drivers licence. This must have recorded on it your
photograph and ID number. Rhodesian or Zimbabwe/ Rhodesian drivers licences do
not have a record of your ID number.
WHAT ARE THE VOTING PROCEDURES?
- On entering the polling station your qualification to vote will be
- Your hands will be checked to ensure you have not already voted.
- Your name will be checked against the voter’s roll.
- Your hands will then be dipped in the ink so that you can not vote
- You will now be given your stamped Presidential ballot paper.
- Go to the polling booth and vote by making a cross in the empty square
next to the Presidential candidate of your choice.
- Fold your ballot paper
so no one can see the choice you have made and place your ballot paper in the
- Important Note:
Please remember not to shake hands with anyone
prior to voting. You do not want to lose your opportunity to vote by having your
hands stained by fraud ink inadvertently.
WHAT IS INVOLVED AND REQUIRED FOR THE MAYORAL AND COUNCIL ELECTIONS IN
HAARARE AND CHITUNGWIZA?
- You may be required to produce proof of residency. As a precautionary
measure it is recommended that you take with you a ZESA or Rates and Water or
PTC (TelOne) Bill.
- As a lodger or tenant who does not pay light, water, rates or telephone
bills proof of residence in the form of a letter from the landlord must be
- Domestic workers living on the property of their employer may require a
letter from their employer stating they reside on their property. Employers are
encouraged to take their domestic employees with them when they go to vote to
help them confirm their residency.
Voting procedures for the Mayoral and Council Elections in Harare and
The general procedures are the same as for the Presidential Election with
the following important differences;
- YOUR NAME WILL FIRST BE CHECKED ON THE WARD VOTER’S ROLL.
- THEN YOUR HANDS WILL BE DIPPED IN THE INK.
- YOU WILL THEN BE GIVEN ONE BALLOT PAPER FOR THE MAYORAL VOTE AND ONE FOR
THE COUNCILLOR VOTE.
- NEXT YOUR NAME WILL BE CHECKED ON THE CONSTITUENCY VOTER’S ROLL FOR THE
- YOU WILL NOW BE GIVEN YOUR PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT PAPER.
- PROCEED TO THE POLLING BOOTH AND SELECT THE CANDIDATES OF YOUR CHOICE ON
THE INDIVIDUAL BALLOT PAPERS.
- MAKE SURE YOU NOW PLACE YOUR BALLOT PAPERS IN THE CORRECT BALLOT BOXES.
THE PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT IN THE PRESIDENTIAL BALLOT BOX, THE MAYORAL BALLOT IN
THE MAYORAL BOX AND THE COUNCIL BALLOT IN THE COUNCIL BOX.
ANY LAST ADVICE?
“YES”. This is vitally important. On your ballot paper put only an “X” next
to the candidate’s name you want to vote for as President. DO NOT WRITE ANYTHING
ELSE ON YOUR BALLOT PAPER. DO NOT WRITE YOUR NAME OR ANY OTHER INFORMATION ON
IT. DO NOT MAKE ANY PERSONAL COMMENTS AS THIS WILL RESULT IN YOUR BALLOT PAPER
BEING DECLARED SPOILT. THIS WILL MEAN YOUR CANDIDATE WILL LOSE YOUR VOTE, AS IT
WILL NOT BE COUNTED.
PART B. ELECTORAL ISSUES THAT MAY ARISE.
IS MY VOTE SECRET?
It is your right and duty to vote. Every vote is vital. Every vote counts
and may be the one that makes the difference. It is important for you to know
that your vote is your secret and confidential. When you enter the polling booth
you are free to vote for the candidate you want to see become President. No one
can know how you have voted. No matter
what those who seek to intimidate and
threaten you say no one can see which candidate you vote for. It is important
for you to know the following;
- There are no hidden cameras or spy satellites taking pictures of how you
vote. No calculators or cell phones can be used to tell someone the way you
- No matter who you have to line up behind to vote, even if it is the chief
in your area or your headman or any other person, once you are in the ballot or
voting booth no one can find out how you vote.
- There are those who may tell you they can change shape and as a fly or an
insect inside the polling booth they will be able to see who you vote for. This
is a rumour; it is not possible and must be squashed.
- No one can write your name or ID number on your ballot paper. Nor can
anyone ask to touch or handle or tamper with your ballot paper in anyway before
you put it into the ballot box. No person can ask you to show him or her how you
have voted. This is illegal and must be reported immediately to the Presiding
Officer and, if you are not happy with his or her response, then report the
incident to your party polling agent, as well as, any observers or monitors
present at the polling station and the police. Any person or election officials
who try to find out how you have voted are guilty of an offence and can be fined
- There are stories about how the purple light and ink can be used to tell
how you have voted. These stories are all untrue. The light and ink is used to
stop any person from voting more than once.
- Remember no matter what you may be threatened with, be brave enough to
vote for the candidate you believe will be best for you and your future.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE BUT REGISTERED AS A
To begin with find out the exact reason why you are not being allowed to
vote. For example, is your name on the roll, is it spelt correctly, is your ID
number or address wrong, is it a citizenship issue? Seek first the assistance of
the Presiding Officer. Do not just give up and leave the polling station.
Challenge any decision, especially, if you can prove that any information on the
roll is only a minor entry error. If needs be insist the Presiding Officer
contact the Constituency Registrar to find out whether you can be allowed to
vote. This is your right. Insist on it if needs be. If you are still not allowed
to vote inform your party polling agent, as well as, any observers or monitors
present. Your party should publish help line telephone numbers that can be
contacted if you have a problem during the election. Make use of these to seek
advice and assistance. Ask your party polling agent or your local party office
to provide you with these contact numbers. Remember, as has happened in the
past, it is possible that a person’s name is not on the roll at one polling
station but is on the roll at another polling station. If you go to a polling
station and find your name is not on the role, be willing to check at other
polling stations. This can, also, happen where constituency borders meet. A
voter may not be on the roll in the constituency he lives in but may be on the
roll in the neighbouring constituency. This election is too important to deny
yourself the opportunity to vote.
WHAT DO THOSE VOTERS WHOSE NAMES HAVE BEEN REMOVED ILLEGALLY FROM THE
VOTERS ROLL AS A RESULT OF THE DUAL CITIZENSHIP ISSUE NEED TO DO?
In the light of the recent Supreme Court and High Court rulings your name
should be reinstated on the voters roll. Although this might not happen you
should insist on your right to vote. Take the following with you to the polling
station; all your permanent residence and citizenship documents along with any
notice of objection form or judgement you have received or outcomes from any
appeal made. Draw the Presiding Officer’s attention to the Supreme Court
judgements overturning the Electoral Law Amendment Act and, also, the High Court
Citizenship Act amendment giving you another 6 months to determine your
citizenship status. Insist that the Presiding Officer check if your name is on
any supplementary roll or any additional voters register issued after the
closure of the voters roll, even if this means phoning the offices of the
Constituency Registrar or the Registrar General to do so. If you are still
denied the right to vote inform the polling agent of your choice, as well as,
any observers, monitors and journalists who may be present. Please, remember to
request to talk to such people outside of the polling station.
CAN I BE TURNED AWAY IF I AM IN A QUEUE WHEN THE POLLING STATION
The answer to this is “NO”. The Presiding Officer has to allow every voter
to record his vote, who at the time the polling station is due to close, is
inside the room or tent, vehicle or any other place in which the ballot box is
located or is in a queue in the vicinity of the polling station. You may find a
Presiding Officer who on day one insists on closing the station before you can
vote and tells you to come back the next day. Although this should not be
allowed to happen and must be reported if it does, the Presiding Officer
concerned can not be permitted to do this again at the end of day two if people
are still waiting to vote.
WHAT CAN BE DONE IF YOUR EMPLOYER WILL NOT GIVE YOU TIME OFF TO VOTE?
If you are a shift worker, for example, who would normally be working
during voting hours, your employer is obliged under the law to allow you time
off to vote, without any reduction to your wages.
DUE TO A DISABILITY OR OLD AGE YOU CAN NOT STAND FOR LONG IN A VOTING
Presiding Officers are instructed to assist such people by allowing them to
come to the head of the queue so they may vote at minimum inconvenience and
discomfort to themselves. Draw your plight to the attention of one of the
policeman, who is to be found at the entrance of the polling station, and ask if
you can speak to the Presiding Officer or their deputy to explain your condition
to him or her. If you are unable to do this yourself ask the person who is
accompanying you to explain your situation on your behalf.
Mugabe's 'Taliban' torture opponents in terror camps
Sunday March 3, 2002
Torture camps where
suspected opponents are being murdered and mutilated
have been set up in
Zimbabwe as Robert Mugabe unleashes a reign of terror
ahead of elections this
Faced with defeat for the first time since his party came to power in
after overthrowing white minority rule, the 78-year-old President is
on his own people in an orchestrated campaign of violence and
As Commonwealth leaders meet in Australia today to decide
whether to take
action over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, an Observer
uncovered evidence that Mugabe's state-security apparatus
has created dozens
of camps where civilians are being tortured for suspected
the ruling Zanu-PF government.
Mugabe, who last month
reassured the international community that the
elections would be 'free and
fair', has barred British newspapers from
reporting them. The Observer
entered the country illegally last week and
found scores of incidents where
ordinary Zimbabweans had been shipped to the
camps, beaten and in some cases
killed after being branded opponents of the
During a 625-mile
trip through Matabeleland, where Mugabe's notorious Fifth
an estimated 20,000 people in the Eighties, we saw
horrific wounds after being held at camps by gangs of
youths dubbed 'the
Taliban' by local people.
The youths, whose ages range from 10 to 30, are
officially members of the
National Youth Training Programme, a supposedly
formed last year by Mugabe's government to instil
'patriotism' in young
people and remind them of the sacrifices made in the
war against Ian Smith's
Instead, after training at
military camps, the 20,000-strong militia has
been deployed to set up camps
and round up suspected dissidents,
're-educating' them by means of
psychological and physical torture.
In what one leading Zimbabwean
academic described as an attempted coup
d'état by Mugabe, youth militias last
week seized dozens of suspected
opposition sympathisers identified by agents
of the Central Intelligence
Organisation, the Stasi-trained secret police
Fearing exposure by international election observers in Zimbabwe
the poll, the youths were operating after dark, blocking roads
rural areas away from the main cities and terrorising the
With blood still oozing from his ears,
his arm broken and a gap where his
front teeth had been knocked out, Trust
Sibanda, 31, slumped under a tree as
the sun rose and gave a chilling insight
into the militia, whose members
receive wages and food from the
Sibanda had been seized two days earlier as he arrived home
dusk after going to a depot 200 miles north of Bulawayo,
second-largest city, where maize is usually sold. Chronic food
meant there was no maize.
Twenty youths approached him,
waving a piece of paper with his name at the
top. They accused him of being a
supporter of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), the opposition party
tipped in unofficial polls to win the
elections, and demanded to know why he
was not carrying a Zanu-PF membership
One man kicked him in the
crotch. As he collapsed, four others grabbed each
limb and threw him into the
back of a waiting truck. He was taken to a camp
where a dozen other suspected
sympathisers were being held.
'They hit me with clubs and sjamboks [thick
leather whips used by South
Africa's apartheid-era police forces],' said
Sibanda, displaying red weals
across his back. 'I was sure I was going to
At one stage, a group of men forced his mouth open under a tap of
water. He could not breath or swallow. Then the men started beating
again. He was dumped unconscious outside his wife's hut.
hundreds of miles of seemingly idyllic Zimbabwean countryside,
stories were repeated again and again last week.
Mthoko Ncube, 25, was in
hiding at a 'safe house' occupied by the opposition
in Matabeleland. He had
been released from hospital 24 hours earlier after
being seized, with 12
other friends, as he walked through a rural area last
month. None of the
group, which included three girls, was carrying a Zanu
They were taken to a camp on a farm commandeered as a base for
militiamen. One of the girls was taken to an outbuilding. The rest
captives were told to do physical exercises: press-ups, sit-ups and
on the spot. They were then forced to strip and graze on grass.
resist brought blows from clubs and sjamboks . Then they, too,
under running taps.
'I did not ask the girl they took
about what happened to her,' said Ncube.
'I could see different men going
over to the outbuilding while they were
After a political
're-education programme' and professing allegiance to
Zanu, Ncube was
released at dawn. He was one of the lucky ones. Methuseli
Ndlovu, 33, was
being held at the same camp for not having a Zanu card.
After being beaten,
he refused to confirm his support for Zanu. 'He was too
Ncube, shaking his head.
One of the youths stabbed Ndlovu in the eyes.
Another stuck a knife into his
side and he was dumped by the road. He was
taken to hospital, and pronounced
dead on arrival. Officially, more than 100
people have died since the
disturbances began in 2000, with dozens more
unaccounted for. The majority
have been supporters of the MDC.
only youths lacking patriotic memories of the liberation struggle are
terrorised. Eddie Nhlanga, 45, fought for Mugabe's guerrilla force
war of Independence, which ended in 1979 with victory against
rule. Nhlanga trained in Ethiopia and Zambia before being
sent to fight with
Last week, Nhlanga was again living in the bush. This
time he was hiding
from his former comrades after being denounced as a
traitor with suspected
A proud, articulate man, the
war veteran agreed to be interviewed after
complicated messages were relayed
to him at his hideout by the one person
trusted with the location. His eyes
darting around thick surrounding scrub,
Nhlanga said: 'They want to
assassinate me. But I will not vote for a
government that is acting against
its own people.'
He did not plan to return to his home, where his wife
and four children
received visits from the militia each night, until after
Asked if Mugabe should face retribution if defeated, Nhlanga
they should arrest him and take him to one of his
More than a dozen other victims gave accounts of similar violence
intimidation. Their testimony was yesterday backed by human rights groups
Zimbabwe. The militias have established 72 base camps across the
according to the Human Rights Forum. 'In many cases the militia are
at the bases and in other cases using them as launch pads for raids
villages in the rural areas or suburbs in the cities,' a spokesman
Independent human rights monitors have recorded similar beatings,
rapes and killings, in both rural and urban areas. In Harare, the
two men were fighting for their lives last night after being
burning for suspected MDC sympathies.
In Marondera, about
60 miles east, a man was beaten and had the initials
'MDC' carved into his
back with a knife. In the south, a woman was beaten to
death after being
caught reading the Daily News, Zimbabwe's leading critic
of the ruling
There was evidence that food supplies were being manipulated for
benefit. Crowds gathered outside a shop and take-away known as a
place for MDC members. The windows had been smashed after an attack
than 100 militias. Maize, the local staple, had not been delivered
than 48 hours. Families were taking turns to queue day and night.
broke out among women when the last 110 kilos were
Fifty miles away, beside a 600-strong camp of Zanu militia,
unloading sacks of maize. A steady procession of villagers
walked back to
their huts - past bill posters of Mugabe stuck to trees every
few yards -
with enough food to last weeks. Opposition politicians said
allowed food only if they swore to vote for Mugabe; this could
The President is battling for his political life.
Amid unconfirmed reports
that he has made contingency plans to leave the
country aboard a helicopter
on 24-hour standby at his palace in Harare,
political analysts, opposition
groups and local journalists believe Mugabe is
using terror to create a low
turn-out at the elections, which begin on
Saturday morning and end on Sunday
Yet there is widespread
confidence among the opposition that Mugabe, who
narrowly avoided defeat in
parliamentary elections two years ago, is facing
humiliation at the polls.
'There is no question about who will win,' said
Gibson Sibanda, the MDC's
vice-president, at the party's Bulawayo
headquarters, being rebuilt after a
fire-bomb attack by Zanu militias
earlier this year. 'The MDC will win. The
people want change.'
Asked whether MDC supporters would be too scared to
vote, he added: 'The
people have had enough. This election is about life and
death. People have
had enough and they will turn out in their millions to rid
Zimbabwe of Uncle
Bob. The people will vote for change. The people want
It may not prove that simple. Morgan Tsvangirai, a former trade
whose fiftieth birthday is on the day the polls close on Sunday,
Mugabe's sole threat for the presidency, was arrested last week and
with plotting to assassinate his opponent. The charge, which carries
death penalty or life imprisonment, was made after Tsvangirai was
vidoetaped talking of the 'elimination of the President'. The man
tapes was later shown to have links with Mugabe. Tsvangirai was
bail amid confusion over whether he would face trial. He has
sue over the allegations, which were broadcast on local
The MDC, formed with the backing of white businessmen after
began two years ago, has been criticised by Mugabe as the
stooges of white
racists intent on overthrowing legitimate black rule.
Although funded by
white money, the MDC has a strong streak of black support
and a network of
local activists who no longer see race as an issue affecting
There have been concerns about
whether Mugabe will attempt to fix the
results of the poll by tampering with
ballot boxes. There is no evidence to
suggest he is planning this, but there
were reported irregularities during
the 2000 elections. There is more at
stake this time: they were for
Parliament, these elections are for
Addressing thousands of supporters in Mashonaland, his tribal
Mugabe dismissed international criticism last week, vowing to
power for the next six years whether the international community
rejected the outcome of the poll.
The opposition, which
believes in non-violence to achieve its aims, fears
that there will be a mass
uprising if Mugabe rigs the election or introduces
martial law. Senior MDC
officials claim they do not have enough weapons to
wage a war against Mugabe,
who has reportedly ordered home more than 8,000
soldiers fighting over
'blood' diamonds in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
'We don't know what
will happen,' said Sibanda as the sun burned below the
heralding another night of violence in isolated rural
communities. 'If things
are fair, we will win. If they are not, who knows?
The people blame Mugabe,
not whites, for our troubles. We cannot hold the
Mugabe men's blood gems
Businessman says generals and Ministers make fat
profits from smuggled
Paul Harris and Jason Burke
March 3, 2002
Top Zimbabwean generals, government
Ministers and close relatives of
President Robert Mugabe have made millions
of dollars from the illegal
smuggling of 'blood diamonds', a US diamond
executive has claimed.
In a series of extraordinary encounters with the
diamond dealer last year,
senior Zimbabwean officials, including the
President's nephew, Innocent
Mugabe, offered for sale gems looted by
Zimbabwean forces fighting in the
Congolese civil war.
by John Marsischky, who runs the American-based diamond firm
Color, cast a spotlight for the first time on the vast smuggling
blood diamonds at the highest levels of Mugabe's regime. It
government engaged in plundering a neighbouring country and a
shady world of
contraband and backhanders involving some of the most
valuable gems in the
Marsischky's account also accuses controversial Canadian lobbying
Dickens and Madson, which recently released a video claiming
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai plotted to kill Mugabe, of also
involved in diamond smuggling. The firm is headed by former senior
secret service agent Ari Ben Menashe. Marsischky alleges that Dickens
Madson ran security checks on him and were to arrange bank accounts to
for illegal stones.
Campaigners against blood diamonds have
demanded an inquiry into
Marsischky's claims, saying gem smuggling has
fuelled conflicts around the
world and gems are often swapped for arms. 'This
investigation. Once again the diamond industry is being used
as a source of
conflict in both Congo and Zimbabwe,' said a spokesman for
Witness , which has investigated the blood diamond
It is thought that blood diamonds are worth about $300 million
year, making up 4 per cent of the global diamond industry.
become a recent focus of the trade because of its involvement in
Democratic Republic of Congo, where its army backed the government of
President Laurent Kabila and were rewarded with lucrative
Marsischky alleges he met numerous Zimbabwean
officials, two representatives
of Dickens and Madson and a local businessman
called Bob Codrington, who
tried to sell him smuggled diamonds on behalf of a
network of top Zimbabwean
public figures. Codrington and Menashe have
dismissed Marsischky's story.
'We have never dealt in diamonds,' Menashe
said, adding that he did not know
Codrington and that his firm did not carry
out security vetting. Codrington,
who owns a firm that supplies mining
equipment to Congo said he met
Marsischky but they did not discuss selling
him diamonds. 'I am not in the
diamond trade,' he said.
says he is telling the truth. 'I stand completely by my story.
Not only were
they trying to sell me blood diamonds, but they were fully
aware they were
blood diamonds,' he said.
Opposition sources in Zimbabwe agreed with his
account. Officials with the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is
fighting elections in just
over a week, say that Mugabe's government has
systematically looted large
areas of Congo and drained its wealth to line its
own pockets. 'It is not
about civil war, it is all about profits,' an MDC
Marsischky arrived in Harare on 16 January last year
with his wife and
business partner Alisa Ballestra and booked into the city's
hotel. They had been invited to the country by officials of
state-controlled Minerals Business Company, which operates legitimate
mond concessions in Congo. At first they were offered a Zimbabwean
flight to the Congolese capital, Kinshasa. However, the
Kabila on 17 January scuppered the trip and instead they
were told officials
would meet them in Harare to discuss diamond deals. Over
the next 10 days no
legitimate diamonds were ever offered. Instead,
Marsischky says, blood
diamonds were put up for sale.
contact was with the head of the Zimbabwe Air Force, General
who spoke to Marsischky twice on the phone and told him he
had a parcel of
more than 2,000 carats of rough diamonds available for sale.
commander of the notorious Fifth Brigade, which massacred
Zimbabwean civilians in a crackdown in the early 1980s. He
for the gems, which came with no certificates of origin or
When Marsischky said he would not be able to take the
diamonds out of the
country without proper papers, Shiri replied: 'Surely
there must be some
other way. Other people do it.'
The next series of contacts was with
Mugabe's nephew, Innocent, a
high-ranking officer in the feared Central
Innocent approached Marsischky and his wife in
their hotel on 22 January and
told them their credentials were to be checked
out for a diamond sale. After
the checks, Innocent arranged to meet
Marsischky at the home of his mother,
Sabina - Mugabe's elder sister - where
a parcel of diamonds was waiting to
be inspected. Marsischky claims that when
he asked if the correct
documentation would be available he was told it would
be forwarded to the US
after the diamonds had left the country. Marsischky
refused to come to the
The Zimbabwean government has not
responded to questions put by The Observer
to confirm these details. Innocent
Mugabe died in a road accident last
After the deal fell
through, a third series of contacts occurred involving
Bob Codrington, who
told Marsischky he represented private diamond-selling
networks for Zimbabwe
army chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe, and the Speaker
Emmerson Mnangagwa. Marsischky met Codrington on 24 January,
when he says
Codrington offered to supply diamonds from Congo but with South
documentation. Marsischky refused the deal and decided to leave the
the next day. 'We were convinced none of this material had proper
documents or certificates of origination,' Marsischky said.
phoned Marsischky when he was in a taxi on his way to the
several hundred carats worth of gems that would be
available in a week.
Marsischky did not accept the offer.
Codrington, however, insists he
never discussed selling any diamonds to
account also implicates Dickens and Madson in diamond
smuggling. At the
meeting with Innocent Mugabe, Marsischky was told
employees from the Canadian
firm would visit the couple's hotel room to run
security checks on them.
Later two men, who identified themselves as from
the company, arrived. 'They
looked threatening,' Marsischky said. The men
spent about 45 minutes with the
pair and quizzed them about their interests
in the diamond business. They
passed the test.
Marsischky also alleged that Dickens and Madson's
interests went further.
Codrington allegedly told Marsischky at their meeting
that the money
transfers to seal the deal would be conducted with the aid of
Menashe has denied the allegations. 'We are active in Africa,
but we don't
do diamonds,' he said. But it is not the first time he has been
controversy. The firm has been at the centre of bitter political
over its issuing of a video tape purporting to show Tsvangirai
assassinating President Mugabe. The tape was dismissed by the
MDC as a
forgery and Tsvangirai is suing the Australian television channel
Menashe also sold false stories to reporters about
Israel's atomic bomb and
claimed in a book that he saw then US Vice-President
George Bush meet
secretly with Iranian officials in Paris on 19 October,
1980. At the time
Bush was in Washington.
Marsischky's account depicts
corruption at the heart of Zimbabwe's
government. It is a murky world of
clandestine meetings, of millions of
dollars changing hands and of Congo
being looted by its supposed ally. It is
also a world of danger. Marsischky
believes that by going public with his
allegations his life may be at risk.
'Blood diamonds are a very dangerous
business,' he said.
says he has come forward now because of a fear that Mugabe would
try to fix
next week's elections. 'We have not come forward before now, as
we hoped the
elections would be fair enough for a change of leadership. This
seems to be
slipping away now,' he said.
2 March 2002
By Martin Meredith
Perseus Press, £15.99, pp.243,
The editor of the Standard, Mark Chavunduka, was held by military
intelligence officers ... in an army barracks in Harare for ten days. His
interrogators were initially restrained … On the third day, they started beating
him. On the fifth day he was taken to a basement with blood on the walls. ‘Do
you think your blood is more special than that which is on the walls?’ he was
asked. He was beaten with a plank and given electric shock treatment on his
I could go on. And not only about the life-threatening torture and violence
against the country’s opposition press, and the actual killing of supporters of
the opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in
recent years: the work of Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s Zimbabwe government, its army,
its police and the ruling Zanu-PF political party. I could also quote Martin
Meredith’s book about the horrific violence associated with the invasions of the
country’s commercial farms initiated by President Mugabe in February 2000 and
led, until a mysterious illness killed him in a Harare hospital, by the
unspeakable Chinjerai Hunzvii. He was the Zanu-PF ‘comrade’ who mobilised a
motley army of more or less bogus ‘veterans’ from Zimbabwe’s freedom struggle to
mount the farm invasions — and was happy to style himself Hitler. As for the
farm invasions, they are still alive and well after their leader’s death.
But there is not enough space to linger at length in the gallery of horrors
and corruptions which have been the dominant features of Robert Mugabe’s regime
at least since he unleashed his army’s North Korean-trained 5th brigade against
the luckless Ndebele in the early 1980s. Spectator readers have, however, been
supplied with excellent Zimbabwe coverage over the spell of nearly 22 years
since Mugabe came to power in 1980. They will not have missed much. In any case
my main purpose in citing evidence for these horrors is rather particular.
For me writing about Mugabe’s regime presents a problem similar to that
identified by Professor Charles Harvey in discussing a recent study of HIV/Aids:
‘It is difficult to write [about it] in an objective way without sounding
callous or unfeeling.’ So for me in the case of writing about the last dozen
years of Mugabe’s power — to which incidentally Martin Meredith rightly devotes
roughly three quarters of his book. In what follows I attempt what is mainly an
objective and analytic approach to Mugabe and his policies. But I should not
want anyone to think that I am insensitive to the horrors of torture or of farm
invasions — or indeed to the near complete collapse of the Zimbabwe economy,
with widespread resulting destitution and starvation, which have flowed from his
policies of wickedness and folly, and ultimately from his personal power mania
and greed. Reading and reflecting about all that has made me be both thoroughly
depressed and really angry. By adopting an analytic approach, I don’t want to
obscure those dismal feelings.
An election for Zimbabwe’s presidency is due to take place next week, with
Robert Mugabe as his own party’s candidate and Morgan Tsvangirai, a former
general secretary of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), running for the
opposition MDC. Assuming that the event is not cancelled before it happens,
whether with the declaration of a state emergency or in some other way, either
candidate could clearly emerge as the official winner, because whatever the
actual votes cast, Mugabe is in a position to steal a victory: by seeing to it
that the votes counted do not tally with those cast. In an extreme and limiting
case, Mugabe could just possibly follow an example set by Chief Leabau Johnson,
the prime minister of the Southern African kingdom of Lesotho in the 1960s, and
pronounce the election null and void while counting was still going on. What we
know from his past history is a) that the intimidation of voters and violence by
the regime can backfire, as it has done before in Matabeleland; but b) that
Mugabe has never lost an election (as opposed to a referendum) which he wanted
to win. For what it’s worth there were already reports as this was being written
that the violence of Zanu-PF had started to backfire. The party has apparently
trained youth groups of so-called green bombers. They are said to have been
going round the country raping, maiming and killing MDC supporters; but not, by
all accounts, winning that many friends.
Mugabe is fighting the election on the specific issue of the 5,000-odd
so-called commercial — and nearly all in fact white-owned — farms, and seeking
support for his proclaimed policy of their so-called ‘fast-track’ and frequently
‘farm-invasion led’ expropriation, and their more or less concurrent
distribution to poor and landless blacks. More generally, he is fighting on an
anti-white and ‘whites out’ platform.
But here I must at once acknowledge that there is a compelling case in
justice for a major exercise of land redistribution: from the overwhelmingly
white commercial farmers to completely landless and other poor blacks. What
needs to be corrected is the totally unfair land distribution between the races,
enacted by white governments in an original Land Apportionment Act in 1931 and
in successive later amendments to it. Very roughly, and in quantity that
legislation allotted roughly equal land areas to a few hundreds of thousands of
whites — never more than a quarter million — on the one hand and high
single-digit millions of blacks on the other. As for quality, virtually all the
good land was assigned to whites. It is also true that the original whites paid
nothing for the land they acquired. At least since independence in 1980, all the
main interested parties — including the Commercial Farmers’ Union, successive
Mugabe and British governments, and most recently the MDC — have acknowledged
that these arrangements are both unjust and unsustainable. As against that, only
small corrective steps were taken before the start of the ‘farm invasions’ and
the championing of them by Mugabe early in the year 2000. Moreover, research has
shown that during the first 20 years of his power: a) a substantial acreage of
good but unused ‘white land’ was available for distribution to blacks and b)
that a significant percentage of ‘white land’ actually so distributed ended up
in the ownership of relatively rich blacks and especially of Mugabe’s cronies
and not of their poor or landless counterparts. All of which suggests some
scepticism about the origins of Mugabe’s recent political championing of the
commercial farmland and redistribution issue. He has clearly taken it as a
potential vote-winner and an excuse for violence.
Which brings us to the key question: what are Robert Mugabe’s fundamental
beliefs and values? In our search for an answer we should perhaps start by
moving fast forward through the opening quarter of Martin Meredith’s quite
admirable and marvellously well-timed biography. What we find is, of course,
that, like most other African leaders of the first post-colonial and/or settler
power generation, he began by presenting himself as a Marxist, or anyway as a
socialist. On the other hand and despite having accumulated an array of
university degrees, both during his ‘prison graduate’ days under Ian Smith’s
regime and earlier, he never seems to have attempted to develop any specifically
‘African socialist’ or ‘African Marxist’ ideas, unless indeed his championing of
the ‘farm invasions’ should count as that. According to Martin Meredith, during
his years at Fort Hare, the then great black university in South Africa, ‘the
most important influence on him … was Mahatma Gandhi’. But whether that is
understood to refer to the Mahatma’s doctrines of passive resistance or of
homespun technologies, it was an influence which had long disappeared by the
time Mugabe embarked on his own career as a political leader. As for any
enduring influence upon him of earlier socialist values I may cite a telling
passage from Martin Meredith. It is early 1998 and there have been food riots,
following a series of food price rises:
In the same week as the food riots, the government spent more than US$2
million acquiring 50 new ministerial Mercedes-Benz cars. Ten days later it put
forward legislation to provide sumptuous retirement benefits for Mugabe, his
wife and their children … The Presidential Pension and Retirement Benefits
Amendment Bill proposed to give Mugabe and his family substantial increases in
pensions, plus free vehicles, bodyguards and medical attention and staff for the
rest of their lives.
Readers of Mugabe: Power and Plunder in Zimbabwe must themselves decide by
what values — or other thrusts — he has been driven in his political career.
Before reading this book I myself used lazily to think of him as simply and,
despite the truly wonderful example of Mandela, not altogether unreasonably
animated by a fierce racial hatred of Zimbabwe’s whites. What I now think is
simpler: that what we are dealing with is a paranoid and Goliath-sized ego; or
in more homely American language an all-overwhelming me-me obsession. I wouldn’t
have missed for anything one most notable specific on the matter offered by
Soon after one ambitious MP, Tony Gara, had likened Mugabe to the ‘second
son of God’, he was appointed a deputy minister.
But enough. By devoting all this precious space to Robert Gabriel Mugabe, I
have none left for his presidential opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai. The latter has
already shown a combination of outstanding courage and splendidly prudent
restraint. Eventually it will, of course, be Africans who see off Mugabe. The
cheering latest message reaching London from Zimbabwe is that Morgan
Tsvangirai’s example of courage is spreading. Nevertheless, Martin Meredith’s
most timely and admirable Mugabe: Power and Plunder in Zimbabwe should be
required reading not only for those, if any, who are to monitor the forthcoming
election but for all those who believe that only in genuine political
democracies can the African renaissance, so much longed for outside as well as
inside the continent, be achieved.
Oh, and I should also pass on that the Daily News, which splendidly bounced
back onto the streets the very day after its presses were firebombed by
‘political thugs’ two years ago, is serialising Animal Farm in the run-up to the
Independent (UK) (Book Review)
Mugabe: power and plunder in Zimbabwe by
Into the heart of Zimbabwe's darkness
04 March 2002
Whatever happens in Zimbabwe's tension-ridden
presidential election, Robert
Mugabe is unlikely to be held to account for
whipping up terror or for his
wilful destruction of Zimbabwe's economy –
thanks, not least, to a generous
offer of safe passage by the government of
Most African leaders apparently feel that the Zimbabwean leader
is worthy of
great respect. We are left to guess whether this is for his
his country's liberation war or his bad-tempered acceptance of
form of multi-party democracy. This African solidarity is
when the evidence so overwhelmingly reveals Mugabe to be a
out of touch with the world and, most tellingly, with large
numbers of his
His rule may have started with great hope,
but over the past decade it has
descended into a tragedy that threatens the
delicate political, social and
economic equilibrium of southern Africa. At
78, and having held power for 22
years, Mugabe is oblivious to the irony of
his "total independence and
liberation" shirt and cap. His obsession with the
injustices of old Rhodesia
certainly has historical justification, but the
revolutionary rhetoric comes
across as entirely hypocritical.
Meredith's insightful study shows the man to be a unique product of
country's colonial history, an uncompromising and increasingly
figure who uses the ills of Ian Smith's Rhodesia to justify his most
Born and reared on a Jesuit mission station in
Zvimba, Mugabe emerged in his
twenties both as a focused intellectual and an
awkward loner. These
characteristics combined into a dedication to
revolutionary struggle during
his 11 years of detention in Smith's jails
between 1963 and 1974. His
articulate manner, says Meredith, "disguised a
hardened and single-minded
In the late 1970s, he used an
iron hand to take control of the fractious
Zanu-PF movement, which
represented the majority, but always disunited,
Shona people. Fresh from
these struggles, and probably feeling insecure, he
accepted the outcome of
the 1979 independence negotiations with obvious ill
will, frustrated he could
not finish off the war.
The honeymoon of the new part-capitalist and
part-revolutionary Zimbabwe was
short-lived. Mugabe not only began to suspect
the white community of siding
with apartheid South Africa but turned
viciously on his rivals in Zapu, the
party of the conciliatory Joshua Nkomo.
North Korean instructors were
brought in to train the notorious 5th Brigade,
which undertook a reign of
terror in Matabeleland costing at least 10,000
civilian lives. These
shameful events of the mid-1980s set the precedent of a
simply refused to be held to account.
While the new
elite shared the spoils, the war veterans who had been
promised money and
land received nothing but contempt until Mugabe decided
to adopt their cause
in the very recent past. In both the first and the more
redistribution processes, the foremost beneficiaries were always
figures and ministers.
The overriding pattern of the past 20 years has
been the self-enrichment of
the elite, the widening of the gap between rich
and poor, failure to manage
the public sector and the constant stepping-up of
pressure on a battered and
diminishing white community. For at least the past
10 years, the poor have
harboured as many grievances against the ruling elite
as they had against
the settlers. There is little doubt that the opposition
Democratic Change is a vehicle for a much more productive and
approach, although, if it wins, it faces some tough
Mugabe was always alone and aloof, but the death 10 years ago of
and charming first wife, Sally, may have isolated him further.
certainly thinks so. "Surrounded by sycophants, he knew few
His destiny, he believed, was to rule for as long as he
wanted." Will he
listen to the will of the voters?
Zimbabwe Opposition Outstrips Mugabe
Sunday March 3, 2002
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - In the final weekend of campaigning
hard-fought elections, a defiant President Robert Mugabe denounced
opponent Sunday as a stooge for whites and Western
Opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai called for national
Mugabe attracted about 4,000 supporters at
each of two rallies in the
impoverished townships of Mbare and Glen Norah in
About 20,000 rapturous, cheering supporters gathered to
speak in the nearby township of Highfield, Mugabe's former
home and the
birthplace of the black nationalist struggle that led to
Mugabe's followers, comparatively muted,
whistled in support of his attacks
on Britain, the former colonial power he
accuses of supporting the
opposition in hopes it will reverse the
government's seizures of white-owned
land for redistribution to landless
British-backed white Zimbabweans are still trying to oppress the
majority, he said.
``Zimbabwe is for black people not white
people,'' Mugabe said.
He also admonished Britain for accusing his ruling
ZANU-PF party of using
violence and repressive legislation to rig the
``We have a tradition of democratic elections with no cheating
at all,'' he
said. ``No one should teach us about democracy and human rights.
none until we fought for them.''
Mugabe, 78, is fighting
for his political survival in the March 9-10
presidential elections after
nearly 22 years in power. He is facing
Tsvangirai, 49, whose Movement for
Democratic Change narrowly lost
parliamentary elections in June 2000 also
marred by violence and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair
showed ``poor judgment and a poor
intellect'' by backing Tsvangirai's
``Tsvangirai has gone down, down, deep down, no matter
what Britain says,''
Mugabe said, brandishing his fist.
took a more restrained tone Sunday, urging his supporters to show
up in large
numbers for polling next weekend.
``This election will be won on the
basis of turnout. If we lose it, God
forbid, this country will be doomed,''
An MDC government would restore law and order and convene an
commission to investigate political crimes, political violence
``We intend ... a process of national healing not
retribution,'' he said.
``We will have zero tolerance for corruption. ZANU-PF
corruption. We want that money back.''
his party had ``a clear program for a turnaround and new
direction for this
Tsvangirai also criticized government efforts to seize land
farmers without paying compensation and give it to Mugabe's
About 4,000 white farmers own half
``Everyone in Zimbabwe wants land reform to proceed
but it must proceed on
an equitable and transparent basis so we can ensure
productivity,'' Tsvangirai said.
Zimbabwe is suffering acute
shortages of corn meal that the World Food
Program has blamed mainly on
Zimbabwe's political and economic chaos and the
violent, two-year occupation
of white-owned farms that has disrupted the
Floods and erratic rainfall have also been
The farm occupations and Zimbabwe's plunge into chaos began more
years ago after the defeat of a government-sponsored
referendum, Mugabe's first electoral loss during his rule.
MDC Complains to Election Observers
UN Integrated Regional
March 3, 2002
Posted to the web March 3,
With nine days to go before presidential elections, Zimbabwe's
opposition party on Wednesday reiterated its concerns that the
climate of political violence prevented a free and fair
In a submission to the Southern African Development Community
parliamentary forum, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) team said
violence "made it impossible to campaign". They raised concerns over
activities of pro-government militia in allegedly intimidating
communities, and draconian legislation which prevented the opposition
Grace Kwinjeh, who was among the
three-member MDC team briefing SADC, told
IRIN that a number of other key
issues remained outstanding ahead of the
9-10 March election.
that the MDC still had not had a chance to inspect the voters'
was "one of the most contentious issues". Kwinjeh alleged there
was a 30-45
percent reduction in polling stations in urban areas, that are
expected to be
Although there are 5.4 million registered voters,
Kwinjeh said the MDC "had
information" that seven million ballot papers had
been printed. "We do not
have much confidence in the voting process. We feel
as a party we need to
know who printed them [the ballot papers] and their
Secretary-General of the SADC parliamentary forum,
Kasuka Mutukwa, told IRIN
that the MDC's concerns would be "crosschecked with
the government side".
But he added that the issues raised in the opposition's
rejected in a following briefing by a ruling ZANU-PF party
With 66 observers, the SADC mission is the largest international
Zimbabwe. Its members are to be deployed throughout the country on
"Our interest is to have a credible election," Mutukwa said.
"When we go to
the provinces we are going to assess the situation on the
ground - how the
preparations are going, how the campaign is being
Sunday, 3 March, 2002, 14:14 GMT
Mugabe banned foreign journalists in Zimbabwe as
Correspondent's John Sweeney reports
Ten mass graves lie in the heart of an abandoned army
camp - hard evidence of what happens to people who fall foul of Robert Mugabe.
Despite a ban on the BBC reporting, John Sweeney uncovers Zimbabwe's culture of
impunity for those who today torture and kill for Mugabe.
Outside, a car pulls up, a door slams. Silence. Everyone goes still. There
are six of us in the room, three black, three white.
Michael, our eyewitness, a torture victim, who helped bury some of the 300
bodies he saw. His brother - also tortured. The translator whose father has been
kidnapped and is almost certainly dead. The owner of the house whose lover has
been framed by the police for something he did not do. And the two of us from
the banned BBC.
All six would make a pretty catch for the Central Intelligence Organisation,
the CIO. Robert Mugabe would be delighted.
It is a false alarm, the car belongs to a neighbour returning from shopping.
The terror camps
Michael continues his story in Ndebele. "I buried them in the toilet pits,"
he said. Go on.
When they realised that one man was nearly dying they would
order us, the other detainees, to bury that one ... even when he was still alive
"Some people were beaten even if they did not have any reason to beat you up.
When they realised that one man was nearly dying they would order us, the other
detainees, to bury that one. We would throw him in a pit even when he was still
Michael worked very hard at digging the holes in the ground for the toilet
pits and dumping in the bodies, lest they kill him too.
All of that happened long ago, in 1984, at Bhalagwe Camp, the base for the
Fifth Brigade, trained by the North Koreans, during the 'Gukurahundi' - a Shona
expression meaning "the rain which washes away the chaff before the spring
But no-one talks about it, in the open. Michael has never spoken before to
anyone outside his immediate family about what he witnessed.
No-one goes to Bhalagwe Camp. The fear of being caught near the abandoned
site of Robert Mugabe's biggest concentration camp is too great.
The camp visit
Two men offered to take us to the camp, one white, one black. They both
risked a very great deal to do so.
At the camp, there was not much left. A few brick guard houses, roofless.
Shards of asbestos crackled underfoot.
The grave-tamperers did not even bother to fill in the
In the middle of the camp is an ornamental pond in the shape of Zimbabwe and
around it a cluster of ten big holes in the ground. "The bones never lie," they
But Robert Mugabe's killers are not taking any chances. At some point between
Michael dumping the dead and dying in the grave pits in 1984 and a few weeks
ago, someone has gone back to Bhalagwe Camp and dug up the remnants of the
murdered and dumped the bones elsewhere, leaving the holes in the ground.
The silence was prickly, the heat intense. A motorbike coughed in the near
distance. Our two guides, producer/cameraman Will Daws and I stopped dead. Our
cover - that we were English bird-watchers on holiday in Zimbabwe - might not
last a cursory examination from the CIO.
But beneath our feet was more than evidence to start a war crimes
investigation against Mugabe for his part in the killings of up to 20,000
people. The motorbike coughed again, further off, and we carried on filming.
Accusations of murder
In a safe house in Harare the phone rings and the voice down the end of the
line says: "We've got an architect for your casino", gives an address, a time,
and rings off. We didn't have a casino. And he wasn't an architect.
The architect turned out to be the national treasurer of the opposition, the
Movement for Democratic Change, Fletcher Delini.
Fletcher Delini, the national treasurer of the
opposition, is accused of
He is an elderly Christian, suffering from diabetes, a gentle man with a
slight frame and - according to Mugabe's police - a double-murderer. Delini was
charged with the double murder last November and spent a month in one of
Zimbabwe's grim-beyond-belief prisons.
They didn't give him proper treatment for his diabetes, his blood sugar count
went higher than 20 and he started losing the sight of his one remaining eye.
There is just one problem with the case against him. Delini was 500
kilometres away on the day he was allegedly plotting his double-murder in
Bulawayo. Amongst his alibi witnesses are 20 MPs and the Speaker of the House of
Stephen Chasara immediately after being
Stephen Chasara was also picked up and questioned for his part in the
Bulawayo double murder plot. He has never been to Bulawayo, he told us. But he
is active in the MDC and they tortured him.
Can we film your face, use your name? "Yes, show my face." When you hear
people like Stephen - despite his broken body - stand up to Mugabe in this way,
one begins to wonder how long the regime can last.
Meeting the opposition
To interview the Leader of the Opposition, Morgan Tsvangerai, was not easy.
His home is watched by the CIO. Last June they had deported me for the crime of
working for the BBC. They had marked my card on that trip so the return journey
was a little bit dodgy.
Had the police stopped a car going into Tsvangerai's home a few days ago and
opened the boot they might have been surprised to see me, huddled up, mumbling
into a night vision camera.
John Sweeney, climbing into boot of car, to sneak a
meeting the leader of the
The car stopped, the boot opened. It was Tsvangerai. I shot out my arm and
said: "I'm from the BBC. Is the election going to be free and fair?"
He feared not. Tsvangerai analysed Mugabe's career, from "hero to zero". They
have tried to assassinate Tsvangerai twice, shot at him and charged him with
He said he felt threatened, not afraid, and it was support of the ordinary
people that kept him going.
Who is going to win the election? If you count the posters, Mugabe. We
criss-crossed Zimbabwe from west to east and back again, thousands of
kilometres, and we didn't see a single Tsvangerai poster.
But that is because you can go to gaol, even be killed if you put one up. But
a straw poll of every petrol station attendant told a different story. They were
all going to vote for Tsvangerai. I met no-one who was going to vote Mugabe.
He has lost Matabeland, because of the 20,000 murdered in the Gukurahundi. He
has lost the cities because of the corruption. And now he is losing the
countryside even in his own heartland, Mashonaland. He has even lost some of the
police and some of the CIO.
But will the election be fair? Or, rather, how unfair is the election going
Mugabe is making sure the votes are going to be counted correctly. He has
asked the CIO to assist in the smooth running of the election. Just in case.
Zimbabwe Burning: Sunday 3 March 2002 on BBC Two at 1915GMT.
Producer/cameraman: Will Daws
Reporter: John Sweeney
Editor: Fiona Murch
Mugabe, economy and fear dominate Zimbabwean
HARARE, March 3 — Zimbabwe's March 9-10 presidential poll
will be fought
around President Robert Mugabe's aggressive personality, a
economy, food shortages and the role of foreigners.
Two recent opinion polls -- one by the independent Financial
newspaper and the other by a private institute headed by one of
country's leading political analysts -- have suggested Mugabe is heading
a crushing defeat.
But analysts say the 78-year-old ruler does
not seem prepared for
such an outcome, and that the threat of violence makes
unreliable at best.
''There are so many issues in
this election, too many factors at
play, and it's difficult to see things
clearly one way or the other,'' one
diplomat told Reuters.
run-up to the election has been marred by a campaign of violence,
largely on militant supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party, that
keep many supporters of the opposition from turning out to vote.
rights groups and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
headed by Mugabe's
challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, say a campaign of violence
militants has left over 100 people dead over the last two years.
''There is an element of fear hanging in the air, and in the
has had some negative effect,'' said Emmanuel Magade, a political
the University of Zimbabwe.
There is also the fear that
the army, whose top brass has openly
warned that it will not accept a victory
by Tsvangirai, will back its word
with the gun.
But the government
says it is Western powers who are trying to
frighten the voters into electing
Tsvangirai by imposing and threatening
more sanctions against
For Mugabe, the contest pits a nationalist champion of
interests against a puppet of Britain and the white farmers that
rule left behind.
Pushing his credentials as a hero of the
liberation war, he calls
Tsvangirai a ''shameless traitor and sellout''
sponsored by Britain to
defend the interests of the former white rulers at
the expense of Zimbabwe's
told his first rally: ''This election is not a
contest between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai, but for Zimbabweans to choose between
hope and doom.''
Mugabe refuses to accept any blame for plunging Zimbabwe into its
crisis since the former Rhodesia gained independence from Britain
The former Marxist guerrilla fighter says the economy has
roundly sabotaged by Western-backed opponents who want to punish and
him for seizing white-owned farms for blacks.
But his critics
say Mugabe has wrecked one of Africa's most promising
economies with a spate
of failed policies including the land seizures, price
exchange rates and a military intervention in the Democratic
ECONOMIC WOE Zimbabwe's economic indicators tell a sad
Inflation is running at a record 117 percent, unemployment
than doubled to 60 percent in the last 10 years, and 75 percent of
population lives below the poverty line, up from 40 percent in 1990.
currency black market is booming.
Thousands of desperate
Zimbabweans queue outside shops daily waiting
for deliveries of the staple
maize meal, which has been in short supply for
weeks due to drought and
reduced output on farms occupied by supporters of
In what looks like an attempt to keep the army on Mugabe's
soldiers and policemen are allowed to jump the queues.
this may appear a small bonus, critics say it is in line with
of looking after his own. They say the Congo gave Mugabe got
opportunity to reward the military with lucrative business deals
Tsvangirai has responded to Mugabe's personal attacks
on him by
challenging him to answer the question ''Why is a country that was
breadbasket of southern Africa a basket case today?''
points to perennial droughts in the last 20 years.
But many analysts
disagree, among them the renowned Zimbabwean writer
''When nature joins in conspiring against the chief,'' he said, ''the
have turned their backs and it's time to pass on the staff to
Mugabe cash flow hints he might flee
By STELLA MAPENZAUSWA
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has sent millions of dollars
through the Channel
Islands over the past three months, hinting he may flee
Zimbabwe if he loses
next weekend's presidential elections. Most of the more
than $27 million
that Mr Mugabe has moved through financial institutions
knowledge has ended up in Malaysia, according to the Sunday
Malaysia has strong links to the Mugabe regime, financial
Their inquiries have led to the discovery of up to
$165 million in cash that
has left the African country in recent
The investigators were helped by information from the opposition
for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, which said none of the money was
the President's name.
A Financial Services Commission
spokesman on the Channel Island of Jersey
confirmed it was investigating Mr
Mugabe's movements of cash on the island.
A Zimbabwean-based financial
investigator said: "Bank accounts with
perfectly respectable organisations in
the Channel Islands have been used to
channel money out of the country
"Movements over the past few months leave no doubt Mugabe is
flee," he added.
The Foreign Office has hired the US firm
Kroll Associates to spearhead the
investigation into Mr Mugabe's
Robert Mugabe greets the crowd at an election rally
|‘The Grievance of
his toughest election, Mugabe hotly denounces Zimbabwe’s white
|By Tom Masland and
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), charges that at
least 107 of its supporters have been killed by Mugabe’s thugs over the past
year. The regime also has cracked down hard on independent journalists. And last
week the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, said he was detained briefly by police,
who questioned him on potential treason charges. “The actions of Robert Mugabe
are completely undemocratic and wrong and dictatorial,” said Prime Minister Tony
Blair of Britain, the country’s former colonial power. On his way to a
Commonwealth conference in Australia, where action was expected against
Zimbabwe, Blair told reporters Tsvangirai could still win the election. At a
rally in northern Zimbabwe, Mugabe fired back at the British. “Go to hell,” he
said, asking, “Why should they poke their pink noses in our business?”
issue — His Press Secretary tried to cut off
the interview, but Robert Mugabe would not be silenced. Back home in Harare
after a campaign swing last week, the 78-year-old President seemed tired and
touchy—and fed up with Zimbabwe’s white inhabitants. “I am a proud African. I
don’t want insults from anybody,” he told NEWSWEEK. He said he had “extended the
hand of reconciliation” but claimed that “the whites have stood aloof.
Maintaining their racist superiority, so called; not wanting to be integrated
into our society, really,” he continued. “Wanting their little schools, wanting
their little sporting activities.” Mugabe said the white man cares only about
his own interests. “Deep down he remains a racist,” the president said. “I would
rather the lot left this country. The lot of Britons.”
|AS A FREEDOM FIGHTER
a generation ago, Mugabe battled both the white rulers of colonial Rhodesia and
African rivals for political power in what became independent Zimbabwe. He won
the presidency in 1980 and has clung to power ever since, through economic
decline, corruption and ugly violence against both white farmers and African
political opponents. This weekend, Mugabe faces a presidential election he
probably cannot win if he fights fairly. With his support in opinion polls at 30
percent or less, he has long since reverted to strong-arm tactics.
Another old tactic revived by Mugabe is a promise he made three decades ago:
to give the country’s rich farmland—most of which was owned by about 6,000 white
farmers—back to its native people. Over the past two years, groups of pro-Mugabe
“war veterans” have invaded about 1,500 white-owned farms, forcing the owners
out and sometimes killing them. The violent disruptions combined with severe
drought have sent agricultural output into sharp decline; food has become scarce
and living standards have fallen. Zimbabwe’s war of independence ended with a
negotiated agreement that protected white property rights, but now Mugabe wishes
he had not compromised. “We were fools,” he told NEWSWEEK. “I would have rather
we finished it through the barrel of a gun.” Even today, he said, land is “the
grievance of all grievances.” He thinks he can finish the redistribution “in two
Decades ago, Mugabe was a pillar
of the black liberation struggle; for 11 years, Rhodesia’s white rulers kept him
in prison, where he earned advanced degrees in law and economics. South Africa’s
black leaders remember him as an intellectual beacon, a man supremely confident
in his own powers and unbending in his purpose. His policy of reconciliation
inspired a continent that was still shocked by the bloody excesses of Uganda’s
Idi Amin. From then on, most of black Africa refused to listen to any criticism
of Mugabe—even as his forces were starving or executing some 8,000 civilians
loyal to his former ally, Joshua Nkomo. “We have degrees in violence,” Mugabe
The habit persisted. Now, outside the cities,
pro-Mugabe youths at unofficial roadblocks terrorize people at night. “There’s
no way I’m going to vote,” says a poor craftsman in Mutare. “We’re all afraid of
getting hurt.” Last month a Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front mob
smashed down the home of an opposition leader and cut off his head. “Many of us
think there will be a civil war, whatever the election outcome,” says a house
painter in Ruwa, near the capital, Harare. (Mugabe says his opponents started
the campaign violence.) “Neither Mugabe nor the MDC will accept the other’s
victory, and then what?” Chronic political violence could turn out to be a
gifted leader’s legacy to a country that deserves better.
With Karen MacGregor and Jan Raath in Harare