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Zimbabwe Election Boycott Urged

Washington Post

In Shift of Tactics, Opposition Also Calls for Street Protests

By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 26, 2005; Page A18

JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 25 -- Opposition leaders in Zimbabwe have urged voters to
boycott legislative elections on Saturday and instead prepare to take to the
streets and challenge President Robert Mugabe after 25 years of increasingly
authoritarian rule.

Although it appeared unlikely that street protests would begin soon,
analysts predicted an extremely low turnout for the elections, which come at
a time of increasing economic problems, public discontent and tensions
between the Mugabe government and the United States.

Opposition leaders said a very low turnout would signal the end of a
six-year period in which they attempted to bring political change through
elections. During that time, however, there was recurring evidence that
Mugabe was manipulating the results.

Mugabe, in pre-election campaigning, has called for a heavy turnout to
demonstrate the vibrancy of Zimbabwean democracy.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher W. Dell, who was threatened with expulsion this
month after publicly criticizing the government, was quoted Thursday in
Zimbabwe's weekly Financial Gazette accusing Mugabe of "Nazi" tactics.

The front-page story, from a Nov. 8 interview, quoted Dell as saying, "It is
interesting that the government is using tactics used in Nazi Germany, where
you accuse another of doing exactly what you are doing as a distraction."
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not dispute the

In recent years, Mugabe has closed newspapers, outlawed many forms of
political freedom and overseen the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy. In a
drive to clean up crowded urban communities, he has also demolished poor
districts and driven residents out, drawing international criticism.

The nominal focus of Saturday's vote is the election of members to the
Senate, a new upper chamber of parliament that opposition figures have
dismissed as little more than a jobs program for regime cronies. It will
have few official duties and will not be able to block legislation passed by
the lower chamber.

But the call for an election boycott by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
has turned the vote into a referendum on the usefulness of elections
themselves. The elections have also been opposed by influential groups that
include the National Constitutional Assembly, Women of Zimbabwe Arise and
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

"The elections have brought nothing by way of meaningful change to
Zimbabwe," said Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, speaking from Harare,
the capital. "Mr. Tsvangirai is organizing Zimbabweans to confront the
dictatorship. . . . Only through people power can Zimbabweans change their

Tsvangirai has long endured criticism from other opposition figures and
outside analysts for not challenging Mugabe more aggressively, especially
after national elections in March and in 2002. Protests are illegal in
Zimbabwe without explicit police permission, and Tsvangirai has said he was
reluctant to put his supporters in harm's way.

Now, his call for new tactics, including the boycott, has met fierce
resistance from within his own party, the Movement for Democratic Change. A
dissident wing of the MDC, dominated by the minority Ndebele ethnic group
from southern Zimbabwe, has refused to take part in the boycott. It also has
accused Tsvangirai of using heavy-handed tactics and undermining party

The dissident wing has fielded 26 candidates in the 50 contested races. An
additional 16 seats will be appointed, making for a total of 66 in the
Senate. Analysts agreed that a strong showing among the dissident candidates
could weaken Tsvangirai's leadership and his drive to move toward stronger
tactics against Mugabe.
A poor showing by the dissidents, coupled with a weak turnout nationwide,
could by contrast strengthen Tsvangirai. It could give him momentum heading
into the party's national congress in February, which will seek to settle
the direction of the opposition movement.

John M. W. Makumbe, a Zimbabwean political analyst, predicted that the
turnout Saturday will be less than 20 percent, far below the previous record
low of 31 percent in 1996. That result, he said, would lead to a major shift
in the Movement for Democratic Change, which was founded in 1999 by union
leaders, human rights activists and civil society groups.

"It will stop taking for granted that you can remove a dictator from power
through democratic means," said Makumbe, speaking from Harare. "Make the
dictator struggle to keep peace."

Faced with such complex political dynamics, Mugabe has been campaigning
almost entirely in the southern region, where the opposition party and its
dissident wing are strongest.

The leading state-owned newspaper, the Herald, on Friday predicted a turnout
of more than 3.2 million in a country of 12 million, well above what most
analysts expect in an election that has produced few rallies, campaign
posters or advertisements on radio and television.

Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly,
predicted that the vast majority of opposition supporters would not vote.

"They are getting fed up," he said in a telephone interview from Harare.
"You will see."

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Vote - The Senate is a fact

Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2005 8:25 AM
Subject: Re: Vote - The Senate is a fact

Dear Mike and Fiona

I am sorry to disagree with you.  It is academic as far as I am concerned,
as we cannot vote anyway due to the fact that we have been stripped of our
citzenship and  taken off of the voter roll.


1    the pro-senate faction has been riddled with CIO and ZPF under-cover
supporters.  We know this, and we have names.

2    it makes no difference whether one votes or not.  The simple fact is
that the poll WILL be rigged.

3    Some senate seats will be "won" maybe by MDC "candidates".  These are
the ones already in the pay of ZPF or who can/will be used/manipulated.

4    There is NO democratic process in Zimbabwe whatsoever, and MDC must
first re-visit their constitution that is now out of date and does not take
into account the situation in 2005 as opposed to the situation in 2000 when
there was still a way to gain "democratic space".

5    The Senate will do nothing useful for the people of
admit this yourselves below, and it will be just another tool of repression.
Let us be frank...MDC have no territory anyway, they can do nothing that is
not crushed by the ruling party anyway, so let's stop kidding ourselves.  A
message of boycott would be much more effective to the international
community.  Taking part however is the legitimisation once again of the
regime.  There are those who firmly believe that MDC made their biggest
mistake by taking up their seats in Parliament in April.  I agree.

These are the simple facts on the ground, and I know that 98 percent of all
of the populace THAT COUNTS will not vote.  The only ones that will vote are
the rabid types and the poor people, who as I write this, are being loaded
into trucks and taken to the polling stations where they will be forced to
vote for ZPF candidates tomorrow.  This is the reality that we have learned
of today.  Highfield is a particular example tonight, according to my

Have we learnt anything from all of the previous elections?  Obviously not.
Democracy does not exist, your vote counts for nothing, and the NCA, ZCFTU,
WoZa and all of civic society are right.  Tsvangirai may have made some
technical/legal "woopsies" on this one, but he is absolutely right to
boycott...he has the people's interest at heart.  To take part in this farce
is in fact the ultimate insult to those who have paid the ultimate price
over the last five years.  And also especially the hundreds of thousands of
victims of "Operation Murambatsvina"!

Please, I may be wrong, and these are my personal views, but somehow I doubt

Best Regards

----- Original Message -----
From: Mike and Fiona Lander
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2005 11:52 AM
Subject: Vote - The Senate is a fact


The Senate is unfortunately a fact. It is understandably thought by those
who have fought, won and now represent the territory for the MDC that it
must not be infiltrated by ZANUPF in any way. This was a people decission
and not an idividual view represented by the 33-31 albeit narrow vote. This
is the Democratic process

Every sensible thinking person disagrees with the principle of a Senate,
but, and most importantly, it was impossible to prevent the legislation
being passed

To Boycott is to further split a people not just a party already divided.
This is just another battle. It is better to fight and unify against tyrany
rather than abstain. If you really support Democracy :-

VOTE TOMORROW - the 26th November 2005

It's your priviledge and right - Do not allow the peoples scrifices to be

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Zimbabwe elections a farce, says Downer

ninemsn, Australia

Saturday Nov 26 12:36 AEDT
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has dismissed the senate elections in
Zimbabwe as a farce and a "cynical act of political patronage".

Nineteen of the 50 contestable seats in the upper house are already ceded to
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party because no opposition
candidates were running in those districts.

Another 10 seats are reserved for traditional chiefs chosen by the fiercely
pro-government Council of Chiefs and six senators are appointed by Mr

"They (the elections) appear to be aimed at creating expensive sinecures for
ZANU-PF cronies, while the real needs of the people of Zimbabwe remain
unmet," Mr Downer said in a statement.

"The senate elections will be conducted on the same unlevel playing field as
(the March elections) - gerrymandered boundaries, flawed electoral rolls and
a range of repressive legislation to control political debate.

"This farce is being played out at a time when the people of Zimbabwe face
increasingly dire economic times - 75 per cent unemployment, over 300 per
cent inflation and acute shortages of necessities of all descriptions caused
by gross economic mismanagement."

Mr Downer said he hoped the southern African nation's neighbours could
persuade the government to change course.

Australia would maintain its smart sanctions against Zimbabwe in the mean
time, he said.

The federal opposition has called on Prime Minister John Howard to use the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta to help bring Mr
Mugabe before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over human rights

The 81-year-old former Marxist guerrilla leader came to power in the newly
renamed republic of Zimbabwe in 1980 after fighting a long war against Ian
Smith's Rhodesian Front government.

He won power on a wave of popular support but his early political promises
of reconciliation and democracy subsequently gave way to a strong
authoritarian rule amid persistent allegations of ballot-rigging and brutal
crushing of opposition.

He is blamed for plunging much of his country's population into poverty and
driving thousands from their homes.

Around 3.2 million people are eligible to vote at 4,500 polling stations
across the country, but a low turn-out is expected.

The ruling party won a two-thirds majority in elections earlier this year
and used its numbers in parliament to amend the constitution and create a

İAAP 2005

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No room for principles as Commonwealth club meets

Independent, UK
By Anne Penketh in Valletta Published: 26 November 2005

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Zimbabweans on US blacklist named

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 26/11/2005)

The United States has publicly blacklisted the business partner of Charles
Davy, father of Prince Harry's Zimbabwean girlfriend.

The list, published this week, declares Webster Shamu, policy implementation
minister in President Robert Mugabe's office, one of many "specially
designated nationals and blocked persons".

Mr Shamu, 60, is a business partner of the wealthy white farmer and safari
operator, Charles Davy, the father of Chelsy, 19, the prince's girlfriend of
the past 18 months.

Mr Davy has always refused to distance himself from Mr Shamu, a Zanu-PF
leader and a close confidant and crony of Mr Mugabe's.

A US citizen found trading with any individual, company or entity on the
blacklist is liable to prosecution and a fine of up to $500,000 (£290,000).

The latest list was published by the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets
Control on Thursday and marks the first time those included have been named.

According to a White House statement, President George W Bush ordered US
authorities to "block the property of additional persons undermining
democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe, their immediate family
members and anyone assisting them".

The latest list expands sanctions already imposed by the US on 77
Zimbabweans in March 2003.

Designated officials would have received letters informing them of their
status as of Jan 1, this year, which also means they would not be granted US

Mr Shamu was already on a similar EU list which includes a freeze on any
assets held in European banks.

Mr Davy rejected criticism of his association with a key member of Mr
Mugabe's inner circle in a June interview with The Daily Telegraph.

He said: "I am not involved in politics in any way but I reserve my right of
association, as any person should, and I really do not see that the leaders
of any political party have the right to choose my friends or my business

Mr Davy, 53, lives in a mansion in the rugged bush of one of Africa's
largest private game reserves, Lemco.

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