New York Times
By MICHAEL WINES
Published: November 28, 2005
JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 27 - To nobody's surprise, the governing party of
Zimbabwe on Sunday appeared assured of an overwhelming victory as officials
tallied the results of this weekend's election of candidates to a newly
created upper house of Parliament.
The most striking feature of Saturday's vote, political analysts said, was
the record low turnout - perhaps 15 percent. The previous record for a low
turnout there was 30 percent, in 1996.
With votes in many districts not yet counted, the governing Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front was leading in or had won all but a handful
of the races for the 66 seats in the new national Senate, said Reginald
Matchaba Hove, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a
pro-democracy election watchdog.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change, mired in a bitter dispute
over whether to boycott the election, had so far won but three seats in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city and an opposition stronghold, Mr. Matchaba
Hove said. Turnout there was only 6 percent, he said.
The opposition had fielded candidates in 26 of the 66 districts over the
protests of its president, Morgan Tsvangarai, who urged his supporters to
boycott the vote. The low turnout probably reflected a number of factors,
including Mr. Tsvangarai's call for a boycott, a deep economic crisis that
has left Zimbabweans bereft even of gasoline to reach polling places and
confusion about the purpose of the new Senate.
President Robert G. Mugabe, who abolished the Senate in 1990, pushed through
a constitutional change this year to bring it back. Critics say the sole
purpose of the Senate, which can veto measures passed by the lower house, is
to provide sinecures to Mr. Mugabe's allies.
The election was also notable for the near disintegration of the Movement
for Democratic Change. Mr. Tsvangarai had expelled the 26 candidates in the
Senate election, but party leaders ignored his order and instead voted to
suspend him as president and to order him to appear before the party's
disciplinary committee on misconduct charges.
JANE FIELDS IN HARARE
ZIMBABWE'S main opposition party said yesterday that it had suspended its
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as voters appeared to have heeded his
controversial call to boycott senate elections in massive numbers.
Partial results from the controversial elections held on Saturday showed the
ruling party of Robert Mugabe heading for another massive victory, but the
turnout was said by independent monitors to be between just 15 per cent and
20 per cent.
Mr Tsvangirai had ordered his supporters not to vote in the weekend senate
elections, even though the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was standing
in 26 constituencies and had passed a resolution to contest the poll.
Gift Chimanikire, deputy secretary general of the crisis-torn MDC, yesterday
confirmed that Mr Tsvangirai had been suspended for "willful breach of the
constitution and pronouncements that are in contravention of the interests
of the party".
"The offender has been advised and he has to prepare in some form for a
hearing, at which a judgment will be made," he said.
"I've enjoyed working with him for the past six years. [But] Morgan
Tsvangirai is not the party ... every member has a duty to observe the
constitution of the party."
In some northern and eastern suburbs of the capital, riot police were seen
guarding near-empty polling stations.
"We can safely say it's the lowest turnout since independence [in 1980],"
said Reginald Matchaba-Hove of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support
According to partial results announced live on state radio last night, the
MDC had won only five seats, all of them in the party's traditional
Mr Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) had
won 31 senate seats, and the ruling party is guaranteed 16 further
Speaking to reporters yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai said that his suspension
reflected the "desperate and immature state of mind gripping my erstwhile
He described the polls as a "non-event" and said the low turnout was a vote
of no confidence in ZANU-PF.
Mr Mugabe's party was preparing itself for another widely-predicted victory,
just eight months after it also won parliamentary elections by a large
Mon 28 November 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday
dismissed attempts by other party leaders to suspend him as political
gimmickry which had no force or effect because only the party's congress
could censure him.
His spokesman William Bango told ZimOnline that the MDC constitution
did not mandate the party's disciplinary committee headed by deputy
president Gibson Sibanda to mete disciplinary measures on Tsvangirai or to
"The suspension has no force or effect because there are no grounds in
the MDC constitution for the censuring or impeachment of the president, only
congress can do so," Bango said.
He added: "The people saying they have suspended Tsvangirai have no
authority to do so. It is a political statement resulting from frustration
associated with the low turnout in the senate election."
In a letter dated November 24, Sibanda told Tsvangirai that the
disciplinary committee had decided to suspend him for among other things
violating the party's constitution by calling for a boycott of a senate
election at the weekend.
"Please be advised that the national disciplinary committee of the
party met on the 20th November and resolved to suspend you from your
position as president of the party with immediate effect," Sibanda's letter
to Tsvangirai reads in part.
But Bango said Sibanda's committee is only mandated to deal with
ordinary party members and not its president, who was elected by congress.
Besides, by convening his committee, charging Tsvangirai in absentia and
deciding to suspend him, Sibanda had rolled himself judge, jury and executor
all in one, Bango pointed out.
Sibanda could not be reached for comment on the matter last night.
The six-year old MDC, the only party to pose a real challenge to
President Robert Mugabe's 25-year rule, was split over whether to
participate in Saturday's poll.
Tsvangirai ordered the opposition party to boycott the poll saying
there was no point in running in an election certain to be rigged by Mugabe.
He also opposed the poll saying it was a waste of resources in a country
that should be focusing its energies on fighting hunger.
But secretary general Welshman Ncube and Sibanda revolted against
Tsvangirai saying the MDC should contest because its national council
narrowly voted for the party to do so, adding that Tsvangirai was being
dictatorial in refusing to abide by the council vote.
The bitter wrangle over the senate poll has left the MDC on the verge
of splintering, a development that political analysts have said could dilute
opposition to Mugabe and reduce Zimbabwe to a virtual one-party-state. -
Mon 28 November 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party romped home to an expected
landslide victory in a weekend senate election, partly boycotted by the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
President Robert Mugabe's party had by late last night won 40 of the
46 senate seats whose results had been announced, with the remainder going
to the MDC. ZANU PF also controls another 16 seats in the upper chamber
because Mugabe appoints six senators while pro-government traditional chiefs
appoint another 10 senators.
Added together, the ruling party was effectively controlling a massive
56 seats in the 66-member senate while the MDC controlled a paltry six by
late last night.
Election authorities said they were unable to get results from the
four constituencies of Hwange East, Hwange-Tsholotsho, Binga and Gokwe
because of heavy rains.
With the exception of Gokwe, the remaining constituencies are
traditionally MDC-supporting areas. However going by the trend set across
the country, the opposition party might still lose those seats. But whatever
the outcome it will have no meaningful impact on ZANU PF's commanding lead.
The MDC, which went into the election sharply divided after party
president Morgan Tsvangirai called for a boycott of the poll, had started
off well grabbing an early lead by winning all the five seats in its
stronghold of Bulawayo.
But ZANU PF quickly surged in front as results from other
constituencies started coming in. The ruling party won five seats in Harare
and grabbed several more seats in the southern Matabeleland region, all
traditionally strongholds of the MDC.
The Saturday poll was largely boycotted by Zimbabweans who appeared to
have heeded calls by Tsvangirai to stay away from the election which he said
was a waste of resources for a country which should be directing its
energies towards fighting hunger. The MDC leader also said there was no
point in contesting a poll that was sure to be rigged by Mugabe and ZANU PF.
But MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube and other top leaders of the
party revolted against Tsvangirai and fielded candidates in 26
constituencies out of the total 50 that were up for grabs.
Poll observers estimated voter turnout at 20 percent or less while the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that runs polls in the country said it was
unable to give figures of turnout until all results were in. - ZimOnline.
Mon 28 November 2005
HARARE - A record low turnout in a senatorial election at the weekend
was the clearest sign yet that Zimbabweans have grown wiser and are no
longer gullible consumers of propaganda churned by President Robert Mugabe
and his ruling ZANU PF, according to analysts.
They said the poor turnout was not only an indication that Zimbabweans
will not be diverted from the real problems afflicting their lives, it was
also a damaging blow to Mugabe's credibility particularly because opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Morgan Tsvangirai had
called on voters to boycott the poll.
The voter stayaway was also a potentially fatal blow to MDC secretary
general Welshman Ncube who led a faction of the opposition party that
revolted against Tsvangirai and fielded candidates in 26 of the 50 senate
The MDC faction heavily lost even in traditional strongholds of the
party, winning only six seats against ZANU PF's 40 seats with only four
constituencies remaining as of last night.
The chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) civic
alliance Lovemore Madhuku said the voter boycott had not only shown
ordinary citizens' unwillingness to be diverted from "real issues" but had
generated a momentum that could see a greater push by Zimbabweans' for wider
He said: "The fact that most people did not vote shows that people are
not buying into ZANU PF propaganda which is designed to divert people's
attention from the real reforms necessary to redeem Zimbabwe from certain
Madhuku, whose NCA campaigns for a new and democratic constitution for
Zimbabwe, added: "We must ensure that we keep the momentum of active
resistance to push Mugabe to initiate reforms.
Tsvangirai ordered Zimbabweans to ignore the poll saying it was
pointless to contest a poll sure to be rigged by Mugabe and ZANU PF.
The MDC leader also opposed the poll saying it was a waste of
resources in a country that should be focusing its energies on fighting
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis described by the
World Bank as the worst in a country not at war.
Inflation is beyond 400 percent while food, fuel, essential medicines,
hard cash and just about every basic survival commodity is in critical short
supply. This, at a time when a burgeoning HIV/AIDS epidemic is killing at
least 2 000 Zimbabweans every week.
And at the weekend, very few people particularly in urban areas
bothered to vote as many were preoccupied with the search for food, fuel or
For example, at one polling station near a bank in the second largest
city of Bulawayo, there were several times more people queuing in the
banking hall than the five people ZimOnline reporters saw at the polling
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Wellington
Chibhebhe said the powerful labour body had urged workers to boycott the
poll because it was time "for us to show that we cannot be fooled by these
unnecessary political events which add no value to our survival."
Chibhebhe said the union's leaders would now meet its general members
across the country for consultations before deciding on a programme of
action to demand better living conditions for workers as well as to press
Mugabe to open up democratic space.
"Mugabe has abandoned real national projects by running the country
through political events such as the just ended election," added Chibhebhe.
The senate election was the fourth time in five years that Zimbabweans
were being called to the polls after having voted in two general elections
in 2000 and 2005 and in a presidential poll in 2002. All have been won by
Mugabe and ZANU PF.
The senate, abolished more than 10 years ago, is being re-introduced
after Mugabe controversially amended Zimbabwe's constitution last August to
pave way for the upper chamber, which political analysts however say will do
little more than merely extend the 81-year old President's patronage
Mugabe denies the charge saying the senate is a vital national
institution that will enhance Zimbabwe's legislative process. - ZimOnline
I often wonder if some of the MDC politicians are so far into the forest
they cannot see the wood from the trees. As far as I am concerned MDC should
be dissolved and rebuilt from the ground up. Or it gets a strong leader who
can purge the ranks of deadwood and collaborators. Unfortunately for Morgan
he has shown decisive leadership too late in the game. My view is that
Morgan is a great man but he is caught between a rock and a hard place. The
people, and a few others, that the Pro senate faction has asked MT to fire
should be fired in my opinion or most of them at least. However if MT does
fire them then he as an individual is left vulnerable to the whims of the
Pro Faction, not good.
The sad fact is that MT is very popular country wide and expected to be the
next president by the masses (as ZPF so eloquently calls them). He is
popular with the Women's league and with the Youth league which makes up
most of the MDC power base. If MT is relinquished of his duties and
relegated into political oblivion there seems no one else waiting in the
wings able to capture the hearts of Zimbabweans, especially after this
latest fiasco. Unfortunately the internal and personal bickering in the MDC
has set back everyone's struggle for freedom, an indictment on the
leadership - ALL OF THEM.
Whilst politically I understand the reasons for participating in the Senate
elections, they by no means out weigh the reasons against. MDC is powerless
against ZPF whether they have many or few seats in parliament or the Senate;
it is not democratic space by any stretch of the imagination. You should be
honest and say the sitting MP's, and if luck prevails, the very few Senators
are merely passive spectators who will be witnesses to the illegalities
prevailing in our fake democratic institutions. There will always be
witnesses, whether MDC is physically in parliament or not. It can be
construed that MDC is in actual fact tacitly supporting ZPF by even
attending these compromised institutions. Thereby assisting in the
oppression of Zimbabweans by legitimizing these institutions and prolonging
our suffering whilst they manage instead of fight ZPF!
MT is still respected despite what he has done against the constitution of
the MDC because he takes a decisive and deliberate stand. Some even respect
him for it despite the technical illegalities. He refuses a government of
unity which I believe Welsh and his team is pushing or hoping for, he takes
a hard stand which many of us identify with. As opposed to the stereotype
intellectual politician who dances around the truth with fancy tongue work
whilst professing "for the good of the country". MDC leadership has for the
last five years failed repeatedly to treat the cause of the problem and as a
consequence has flopped lazily into treating the symptoms instead; another
indictment on ALL OF THE LEADERSHIP.
I can't help but notice the comfortable air which has surrounded the MDC
leadership over the last few years. The Top 6 have increased in their belt
sizes by more than a few notches. And in African culture being well covered
like that is a sign of wealth and success - comfort zone. It is evident that
the Leadership, not just the Top 6 but the sitting MP's and others in the
National Council and National Executive, have become all too satisfied with
managing the rotten system instead of fighting it. When MDC did fight it and
naturally took casualties which are inevitable in any war, and we are at
war, they had the most success, e.g. 2000. Since then they have repeatedly
attempted failed strategies despite better advice and let Zimbabweans down
every election since then.
Having been involved in the last election with the core organs of the MDC I
could not ignore the indifference of the leadership to good advice. Many of
us activists and party employees provided good information and great ideas,
which incidentally had been put forward numerous times and prior to previous
elections. Instead of adopting them and putting them into action, we were
told "great ideas" can you change this and this etc, until our ideas were
watered down and reworded to suit what they wanted hear. An example of this
was a post election strategy this year, if ZPF stole the election again, we
given assurances that a plan was in place and would be executed on command.
Nothing happened, very naive of us and very sad for the MDC!
Until MDC shows the people of Zimbabwe they have coherent and comprehensive
policies and a dynamic organized leadership there is no reason to vote for
them. It is a sad reality, but we are better off with ZPF in government than
the MDC. At least ZPF has experience, knowledge and policies, even if they
are corrupt and oppressive. It is a bitter pill to swallow for me as I have
a passionately worked with, for and supported MDC (and The Cause) for the
last six years. MDC should have a shadow cabinet, with each shadow minister
having a comprehensive Policy document and a serious portfolio to implement
once they take charge. When asked for these documents to put on the website
they were none existent, except the two old RESTORE and RESTART documents,
which are good but by no means cover all ministerial policy.
The MDC should withdraw from all participation with government. They should
create a government in waiting with functional developmental policies. They
should appeal directly to the bureaucracies and their civil servants who
prop up this government and demonstrate why they should opt for an MDC
administration. To do this effectively MDC needs POLICY! Economically the
time is right for any sensible civil servant to withdraw from supporting ZPF
opting for a different administration. How can they be expected to do this
when there is no alternative? How can the Army or Police be expected to do
this when there is no alternative to support them in their change of heart?
What is MDC's social policy? What do they intend to do to counsel and
support the indoctrinated, abused and manipulated Border Gezi Youth? What is
the MDC policy on National Reconciliation or even better a Truth and Justice
Commission? We don't want a verbal reassurance that you will do something,
we want a written thought out document stating clearly why we should risk
our lives, and our family's lives for the MDC. You have nothing
comprehensive to offer so why should we support you or the MDC, especially
in this Senate election? I can't help but feel we will be providing these
aspiring senators with a nice well paid job for them to sit and monitor ZPF
corruption from an elevated position in society. And incidentally they will
be being paid with corrupt money, because this government is broke so where
the money for this senate is coming from must be dubious!
This is not a vindictive letter; it is a concerned freedom fighter giving
his observations and constructive criticisms.
"Today is the day to complete what you worked toward yesterday. And a
wonderful new opportunity to achieve what you dream to accomplish tomorrow"
By Peta Thornycroft at Ngawarati Farm, Norton
One of Zimbabwe's last remaining white farmers was strangled and burned to
death in an attack inside his home yesterday.
Don Stewart, 68, was set upon shortly before dawn in the bedroom of his
tightly-guarded homestead near Norton, 25 miles west of Harare. He was one
of the last 300 white farmers left in Zimbabwe. There were 4,000 five years
Police insisted that Mr Stewart's murder was the work of common criminals
and had no political motive.
His assailants were unable to penetrate the barred windows and reinforced
doors of his homestead on Ngawarati dairy farm.
Instead, they entered through the roof and strangled Mr Stewart in his bed.
Then they covered him with a mattress, doused it in petrol and set him
Several of Mr Stewart's workers tried to rescue him. But when they got
inside the house, also through the roof, he was already dead. Nothing was
stolen but a hunting rifle.
Mr Stewart, who was born in Britain, lived alone. After the strain of five
years of continuous violence against white farmers, his wife, Margaret, had
returned to Britain.
His son, David, worked alongside him on Ngawarati farm and lived a mile away
in a cottage. He was too distraught to speak yesterday.
John Worsley-Worswick, the chief executive of Justice for Agriculture Trust,
a pressure group, said: "We are appalled at the cold-blooded murder of yet
another of Zimbabwe's few remaining productive commercial farmers. It was
particularly abhorrent at this time of Zimbabwe's acute food crisis."
Zimbabwe's summer rains started last week but few crops have been planted.
Commercial agriculture has collapsed following President Robert Mugabe's
purge of white farmers.
Mr Stewart's murder came as the self-destruction of Zimbabwe's opposition
allowed President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to sweep to an easy victory
in elections for a newly-created senate.
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
We had a taste of what so many of our loved ones back in Zimbabwe are
experiencing. Suffering. For us it was voluntary and temporary - but
nevertheless it wasn't easy spending the night outside the Embassy in
freezing weather. Our protest was at the waste of our nation's resources on
the puppet Senate. Even Cornwall, normally the warmest part of Britain, was
swept by blizzards. But inventive hands used our tarpaulin and banners to
make a rough and ready shelter of the kind all too familiar to people back
home. For warmth we relied on dancing and singing, including the
appropriate song "I don't know the reason why".
We were encouraged by the kindness of passers-by. Two young white men
joined the dancing. They knew nothing of us but they turned out to be
Zimbabweans, one of whom spoke Shona and the other Ndebele. They bought
everyone cheeseburgers. A Nigerian was drawn by the unusual night time
singing and when he saw what we were about, he said "Brilliant".
We salute the brave souls who kept the Vigil going through the dark, cold
hours, including the Vigil child, Tinotenda. She was there at 2 am wrapped
in a blanket on her mother's back to hear Washington Ali, Chair of the
MDC-UK District, who stressed the need for unity in the struggle for change.
He went on to say that the MDC in the UK was supporting the party's leader
in saying the Senate elections should not be contested. The elections were
pre-determined because of the unlevel electoral playing field. We should be
concentrating on bread and butter issues particularly the humanitarian
crisis caused by Murambatsvina.
Ephraim Tapa, Chair of Central London MDC, said we should not be distracted
by personalities: the MDC would solve its internal differences and tackle
the "personality" who really mattered: Comrade Mugabe (PhD Edinburgh now in
dispute). He said the Senate project was illegitimate and rejected the
argument that by not participating the MDC was ceding democratic space. Our
energies should be going into finding other ways to achieve change. It was
evident that the grass roots in Zimbabwe were against participating in the
Those who arrived for the normal Vigil were inspired by the determination
and spirit of those who had seen through the night and yet were still
singing and dancing. They could even handle a US camera crew in the
afternoon. The group did a great piece to camera with Patson from Leicester
speaking passionately about the suffering back home and leading the group in
an enthusiastic toi-toi.
We thought we would have low numbers after the all-nighter for the daytime
Vigil but the passion continued. We had supporters from all over the UK:
Dunfermline, Rochdale, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham,
Leicester plus many from London and South East England. Our non-Zimbabwean
friend, Hugh, was very welcome with his offer of pizza and coffee and it was
lovely to have our English school girl supporter, Francesca, and her mother
coming to donate to the Vigil money she had made from selling "Make Mugabe
We were cheered by news that the US has greatly extended its targeted
sanctions against Mugabe's cronies and are confident the EU will follow
suit. Lord Triesman, Minister for Africa, told the Vigil this month that
the Zimbabwe situation must be addressed by concerted international action.
(His full letter follows after this diary item.) "Slowly, slowly, catchee
monkey" may not be to everyone's taste, but the noose is closing
relentlessly round Mugabe's throat. We hear that the spirits taunt him as
he approaches his 82nd birthday - the Vigil is confident they will have him
FOR THE RECORD: we had 40 supporters overnight and another 50 supporters
during the day.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 28th November, 7.30 pm, Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at
the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand
from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn
right and you will see the pub - nearest stations: Charing Cross and
Embankment). Geoff Hill, author of "What happens after Mugabe?" and
Southern African correspondent for the Washington Times will be the speaker.
You will be pleased to hear that his book is back in print now after the
first edition sold out in just 12 weeks.
TRANSCRIPT OF A LETTER FROM DAVID TRIESMAN, THE LORD TRIESMAN OF TOTTENHAM,
PARLIAMENTARY UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE, FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE TO
JULIUS MUTYAMBIZA-DEWA OF THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL.
DATED: 11 NOVEMBER 2005.
Thank you for your letter of 13 October to the Prime Minister about Zimbabwe
enclosing a petition*. I am replying as the Minister responsible for
Africa. We are fully aware of the appalling situation in Zimbabwe and share
your concerns. The Foreign Secretary, the Prime Minister and I have all
made statements, repeatedly, condemning the latest outrages and detailing
the actions we have taken in response. The Prime Minister discussed
Zimbabwe with G8 leaders at Gleneagles. They issued a statement underlining
the strength of international concern. It called for an end to the
(Murambatsvina) campaign, an assessment of the damage, and respect for human
rights and the rule of law. We will continue to speak out, and raise
international concern, until the Government of Zimbabwe ends the bad
policies and bad governance it currently pursues.
Zimbabwe remains a high priority for this government and we continue to
believe that external pressure, particularly from within Africa, coupled
with support for organisations working for the restoration of democracy
within Zimbabwe, offers the best hope for encouraging reform. We have
therefore taken every opportunity to raise Zimbabwe with African leaders,
encouraging them to recognise and respond to the full horror of what is
happening in Zimbabwe.
We welcome efforts by the African Union to engage President Mugabe through
first a Special Envoy and then the nomination of former President Chissano
to facilitate talks of national unity. We regret Mugabe's rejection of
both efforts but will continue to work with our African and UN partners and
together consider what further steps must now be taken to press for the
return of democratic governance in Zimbabwe.
We and our EU partners have also expanded the scope of the targeted measures
first adopted in 2002. These measures include a travel ban and assets
freeze on Zimbabweans close to Mugabe's regime, as well as an arms embargo.
There are now 126 names on the targeted measures list. Regarding the
increasing of sanctions, we will consider other measures as and when
appropriate. Concerted international action is the only effective option.
We are also working directly with the UN Secretary General. Kofi Annan has
said he is increasingly concerned by the human rights and humanitarian
impact of the recent demolitions of what the Government of Zimbabwe has
called illegal settlements. His Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, issued a
hard hitting report on 22 July, emphasising the scale of the humanitarian
crisis and the direct role the Government of Zimbabwe has played in creating
it. Supported by a number of partners, we ensured that the report was
discussed at the UN Security Council on 27 July and again on 4 October. We
will continue to work with our African and UN partners and together consider
what further steps now must be taken to press for the return of democratic
governance in Zimbabwe.
We are also concerned about the humanitarian impact on innocent Zimbabweans.
DFID (Department for International Development) has responded to the latest
evictions by committing £1 million to a co-ordinated international response
mainly through the International Organisation for Migration and UNICEF.
This has so far reached over 23,000 beneficiaries, and includes food,
blankets, soap and other essential items. Emergency water and sanitation
facilities are being provided where appropriate and child protection
activities are being put in place. In total, DFID spent some £25 million in
Zimbabwe in 2004 / 05. DFID will contribute £30 million in 2005 / 06,
through multilateral agencies and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs),
making the UK one of the three largest donors in Zimbabwe. We expect to
increase the UK spend on HIV prevention, care and mitigation to around £1.5
million over the next year. I hope this is helpful.
*The petition reads: "NO SHAKING HANDS WITH MUGABE. The latest elections in
Zimbabwe were once again stolen by the Mugabe regime with the connivance of
its neighbours. Retaliation is now being meted out to people who supported
the opposition. We urge the British government to end Mugabe's reign of
terror and halt his drive for legitimacy: 1) Bring the matter to the UN
Security Council. 2) Make it a priority during term as President of the EU
and G8 (group of leading industrial nations). 3) Put pressure on South
Africa to allow democracy in Zimbabwe. 4) Extend targeted sanctions against
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
· Tsvangirai calls for shift to mass resistance
· MDC dissidents win seats in defiance of party leader
Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria
Monday November 28, 2005
Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
emerged divided last night as supporters of President Robert Mugabe won a
majority of seats in senate elections.
Turnout was low, estimated at 15%, and a victory was already guaranteed for
Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF, which ran unopposed in 19 of the 50 elected seats. Mr
Mugabe and his supporters can also appoint 16 more senators.
Incomplete results yesterday saw the ruling party take six senate seats in
Harare while the MDC won five seats in the second city of Bulawayo. Results
from rural areas were still trickling in. But the MDC's success in Bulawayo
left the opposition movement divided both on political and tribal lines, as
the seats were contested despite a call by the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
for a boycott of the polls.
Mr Tsvangirai said yesterday that he was vindicated by the low numbers of
voters. He vowed to lead a newly radicalised party prepared to take to the
streets rather than contest elections.
"We were proved right in our assessment of the national sentiment," said Mr
Tsvangirai. "We must change gears from discredited election processes that
bring pain to our people to an era of democratic mass confrontation with the
dictatorship - an era of non-violent mass resistance." He said the MDC
should set aside its internal squabbles to demand a new constitution.
A group of 26 MDC members defied Mr Tsvangirai and stood for senate seats.
They were backed by a substantial part of the MDC, especially in its
stronghold in the southern Matabeleland region, who argue that the party
must strive for as much representation as possible.
Mr Tsvangirai expelled the 26 candidates, an action which his rivals within
the MDC said violated the party's constitution. The senate elections come as
Zimbabwe is gripped by a dramatically worsening economy. Inflation is 411%
and rising. Hunger has reached from the rural areas into the cities and the
collapse of the country's water supply and health service has caused deaths
from malnutrition and dysentery.
"This is yet another tragedy for Zimbabwe," said Iden Wetherell, an editor
of the country's two remaining independent newspapers, the Zimbabwe
Independent and the Standard. "At the moment when the country is crying out
for solutions, both political and economic, the best democratic alternative
has collapsed into name-calling. The MDC intends to go down fighting,
unfortunately not Zanu-PF but itself."
The senate, a legislative upper chamber that will approve or reject bills
passed by the lower House of Assembly, is of little consequence. After
abolishing the senate in 1990, Mr Mugabe pushed through a constitutional
amendment to re-establish it earlier this year.
Critics say the reconstitution of the senate was merely a way for Mr Mugabe
to increase his patronage. The new house has no veto powers over legislation
passed by the ruling party-dominated lower house. "The new senate is nothing
more than Mugabe hitching additional carriages on the Zanu-PF gravy train,"
said Daniel Molokele, a political commentator.
The Movement for Democratic Change has posed the greatest challenge that
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party, Zanu-PF, has faced since it came to
power at Zimbabwe's independence in 1980. Founded in September 1999, the MDC
is a coalition springing from the unions, church groups and other
organisations. The MDC also draws support both from the majority Shona and
the minority Ndebele ethnic groups, black and white citizens and from the
cities and rural areas. The MDC came within a whisker of winning the June
2000 parliamentary elections, taking 57 of the 120 elected seats, despite
violence and vote rigging. Despite the unfair electoral system, the MDC
never took to the streets to challenge Mr Mugabe's increasingly dictatorial
rule. The new split in the MDC divides the party along regional and ethnic
lines with Morgan Tsvangirai heading the Shona side in Harare and Welshman
Ncube leading the Ndebele group in Matabeleland.
Posted to the web on: 28 November 2005
ZIMBABWE has survived largely on loans from the Cairo-based Africa
Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) over the past five years, the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe has confirmed.
With most western balance-of-payments support frozen and lines of credit cut
over policy differences, Zimbabwe could have been worse off economically had
it not been for Afreximbank and institutions such as the African Development
The central bank has also said Zimbabwe's negotiations for a loan with SA
were still on, despite problems encountered during the process.
Zimbabwean central bank governor Gideon Gono said the country had received a
steady supply of forex from Afreximbank since 2001.
Gono said late last week the money had "come in handy for the country",
which has no meaningful foreign exchange reserves, and whose economy is
crumbling under the weight of inflation and lack of fuel, power, production
inputs and basic commodities.
Afreximbank, which will hold its annual general meeting in Harare this week,
has since 2001 been baling out Zimbabwe with a string of loans.
It has so far provided a total of $900m to buy fuel and grain and to meet
export finance needs.
The money was provided over five years in tranches of between US$25m and
Gono said Zimbabwe was still locked in negotiations with SA for a loan to
pay for critical imports and to settle mounting foreign debts. He said talks
between the two countries' negotiation teams, led by the respective finance
ministers, were still under way.
Zimbabwe, gripped by a political and economic crisis, has no significant
forex reserves due to poor export performance, drying up of international
balance of payments support and lack of foreign direct investment and
development aid. The country has little capacity to import fuel,
electricity, maize, drugs and other essentials.
Despite SA's insistence on political and economic reforms being attached to
the loan, Zimbabwe seems unlikely to walk away due to its desperate
Negotiators include Gono and SA Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni.
"The negotiations are continuing. There will be no 'megaphone negotiation'.
In banking you never, never disclose confidential negotiations for a loan by
anybody," he said, sidestepping the issue of how long the loan would take to
The negotiations have been on since August, when Zimbabwe was racing against
time to pay its US$295 million arrears to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) to avoid expulsion.
Although SA refused to release the money, variously estimated at between
$500m and $1bn, Zimbabwe still managed to raise $120m at the eleventh hour
to reduce its debt.
However, the IMF is probing the source of the money after an SA-based
Zimbabwean tycoon, Mutumwa Mawere, wrote to the fund complaining that his
seized companies' coffers were raided to pay the debt.
The IMF delayed until January a decision to expel Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Gono also said talks between the Zimbabwean government and Rand
Merchant Bank for a fuel line of credit were still on. Harare is trying to
ease a chronic fuel crisis which has been ongoing since 1999.
Gono said the Afreximbank meeting would be an opportunity to market the
country, which is overwhelmed by negative publicity.
"Exporters will have a rare opportunity to showcase their products to the
rest of Africa and banks will be able to interact and exploit opportunities
with their counterparts," he said.