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Mugabe's Fight Back Strategy

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 21:28

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and his vanquished Zanu PF are plotting to
storm back to power through overwhelming force, it has emerged.
This came as government stepped up deployments of army, police and
intelligence units countrywide to campaign for Mugabe.

Reports also said government had ordered arms from China to bolster
its depleted arsenal amid fears of anti-government riots in the aftermath of
elections which Mugabe and Zanu PF lost.

The crisis has raised the concern of the international community,
including neighbours. Botswana is said to have put its security forces on
high alert due to the explosive Zimbabwe situation on its doorstep.

Well-informed sources said this week that Mugabe and his loyalists are
pulling out all the stops to reverse their recent defeat.

A series of meetings have been held countrywide by party structures
since the recent politburo gathering which reviewed Mugabe and his party’s
loss. This has raised fears of a violent political campaign ahead.

Signs of violence are already evident in farm raids and attacks on
opposition members.

The sources said Zanu PF would pursue a multi-pronged strategy to
regain a majority in parliament and then win the presidential election via a
run-off or re-run by hook or by crook.

The fight back strategy includes delaying results to buy time to close
ranks and reorganise; recounting of votes; run-off or re-run; and a
carrot-and-stick approach, which entails the use of public funds to buy
votes and widespread use of coercion to force voters to cast their ballots
for Mugabe.

The sources said the Zanu PF strategy included the following
calculated measures designed to achieve Mugabe’s victory by fair means or

*delaying results to manage Mugabe and his party’s unexpected defeat
while recovering from the electoral shock and buying time to reorganise;
*demand for recounts of parliamentary and presidential elections
results and possibly fiddle with the ballots in the process to retain some
*deploy senior party members, the war veterans and collaborators,
youth militias, security forces, including army, police and intelligence
units, onto the ground countrywide to campaign and mobilise the voters on a
massive scale by all means necessary;
*mobilise overwhelming social and economic resources to support the
bid; and
*seek diplomatic and financial support outside to back the electoral

Sources said Mugabe wants the presidential poll results withheld for
as long as necessary while the party restrategises on what to do to come
back from the alarming setback.

This means results are most likely to come out after the 21-day window
period for the presidential election run-off has elapsed this Saturday,
according to the Attorney General’s interpretation of the run-off clause in
the Electoral Act.

The AG has told government that days for the run-off start counting
from the day of the “previous election” — March 29 in this case. He said
even if the law implies that it would have to be after the results are
announced the assumption of the law-makers was that results would be
announced a day or two after voting.

However, other lawyers say the run-off follows after results are
announced. The issue has created a potential problem which favours Mugabe
who can decide to call for the run-off, using the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) at his own convenience.

A group of opposition MPs are said to be planning to make a court
application seeking clarification on the run-off.

ZEC appears to be working with Zanu PF by giving in to its demands for
recounts in 23 constituencies even though some of the demands are illegal as
they were lodged more

By Dumisani Muleya

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Tsvangirai Returns From Botswana

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 21:24

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai who has
set up camp in Botswana due to personal security fears and to gear himself
for further political battles in his bid to win power is expected back in
the country today.
Sources said Tsvangirai is scheduled to address a press conference in
Harare upon his arrival. The sources could not however say whether
Tsvangirai was returning to Botswana or staying.

The MDC leaders secured temporary asylum and a base in Botswana last
week after meeting the country’s new president, Ian Khama.

Party sources said Tsvangirai managed to secure a house, offices and
logistics from the host country.

They said the MDC leader has also been loaned a private jet which he
has been using to fly to meetings and conferences, although it was not
immediately clear who provided it.

Tsvangirai reportedly relocated to Botswana last week with his family,
security aides, personal assistants and support staff. His main venue for
meetings is said to be Johannesburg.

Last Thursday Tsvangirai flew to Johannesburg for a meeting with South
African President Thabo Mbeki before flying back to Gaborone the following
day. Prior to that, he was in Johannesburg on Monday meeting ANC President
Jacob Zuma.

On Saturday he flew from Gaborone to Lusaka for a Sadc summit on
Zimbabwe. After that he went back to Gaborone.

On Monday Tsvangirai flew from Gaborone to Johannesburg for a meeting
with the other MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara.

The two discussed ways of working together in parliament where
combined they have a majority over Zanu PF.

Tsvangirai has been planning his regional diplomatic trips, sources
said, from Gaborone where he can fly in and out of the country without
hassles. — Staff Writer

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Discord In ANC Over Zim Crisis

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 21:18
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has no jurisdiction to nullify
results of the March 29 elections after vote recounts, legal experts said

In interviews ahead of Saturday’s expected ZEC vote recounts in 23
constituencies across the country, lawyers said the commission was not
empowered to unseat a previously declared winner in the legislative
elections even after a vote recount it emerges that he or she lost the poll.

Harare lawyer, Andrew Makoni of Mbidzo Muchadehama & Makoni, said
Section 66 of the Electoral Act says a declaration by the constituency
elections officer or the chief elections officer shall be final, subject to
reversal on petition to the Electoral Court.

“Nothing in Section 67A expressly provides for changing the previously
declared result of an election if a recount produces a different result from
the original,” Makoni said. “This could then be interpreted to mean that
only the Electoral Court has jurisdiction to unseat a previously declared
winner on the strength of a recount.”

Makoni said the section does not in any way show that ZEC has the
jurisdiction to reverse a declaration made by the constituency elections
officer. He added that an elections officer cannot review his/her own
decision and results from a recount can only be used as evidence in the
Electoral Court, which has the authority to reverse the result.

“An electoral officer cannot reverse the result as doing so will be a
reversal of his/her declaration. Only the Electoral Court has that mandate,
but the new result can be used as evidence in challenging the previously
announced result,” added Makoni.

A constitutional law expert who insisted on anonymity said Section 67A
contradicts Section 66 of the same Act, which says the election officer’s
declaration is final and recourse can be sought only through the Electoral

He, however, said that there were two legal views to the issue as
provided by Section 66.

“A court will have to decide on what happens after a recount as it is
not clear whether the ZEC has the jurisdiction to unseat a previously
declared winner,” the constitutional law expert said. “On the other hand the
recount will have no purpose because even after the result is reversed, the
complainant still has to go to court.”

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human rights said that the Act does not give the
electoral commission the authority to unseat a previously declared winner as
it is silent on what should be done if the recount reverses the result.

However, deputy chief elections officer (operations) Utoile Silaigwana
yesterday said the commission has the mandate to announce a new winner in
the event of vote result reversal.

“Yes, we have the jurisdiction to declare a new winner if the result
is reversed after the recount,” said Silaigwana.

He said that the purpose of a recount is to correct mistakes and as a
commission it’s their duty to make amends.

“We did the same when we corrected a mistake in which the wrong
candidate was declared the winner in Mazowe South. In fact all the
candidates are aware of what will happen after the recount,” added

Section 67A of the Electoral Act permits any political party or
candidate who contested the election to ask ZEC for a recount of votes in
one or more polling stations in a ward or constituency.  The request must be
made within 48 hours of the declaration of the winning candidate.

After a request to the ZEC by Zanu PF, vote recounts for all four
elections - local authority, House of Assembly, Senatorial and Presidential
will be carried out in Buhera South, Chimanimani West, Mutare West,
Goromonzi East, Zvimba North, Bikita South, Bikita West, Zaka West, Chiredzi
North, Masvingo Central, Masvingo West, Gutu Central, Gutu North, Gutu
South, Lupane East, Bulilima East, Zhombe, Silobela, Gokwe-Kabuyuni,
Mberengwa East, Mberengwa West, Mberengwa North and Mberengwa South.

By Lucia Makamure

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War Vets Revive 'Terror Camps'

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 21:11
SUSPECTED war veterans and Zanu PF militia have revived liberation
struggle night vigils (pungwes) in Mashonaland East as politically-motivated
violence spreads across the country to coerce the electorate to vote for
President Robert Mugabe in the anticipated presidential run-off against the
MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai.

According to statistics compiled by human rights organisations, more
than 150 people have become victims of political violence since the March 29
harmonised elections.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) reported yesterday that war veterans
had established “terror bases” in Mutoko South where villagers were being
forced to attend day and night vigils.

“About 10 war veterans using a new B1800 and two Toyota trucks, all
armed, are moving around Mutoko beating up people suspected to have voted
for MDC Tsvangirai,” read the ZPP report.

“They are forcing villagers to attend meetings during the day and in
the evening with the help of Zanu PF youths who beat up people.”

The ZPP said the ex-combatants had established torture bases at Corner
Store, Kushinga, Jari, Nyahondo and Rukanda.

At Mutoko Police Station, the ZPP reported, war veterans ordered
police officers not to arrest Zanu PF members perpetrating violence in the

“On Thursday, April 10 a police officer (name supplied) said war
veterans visited Mutoko Police Station where they ordered the member in
charge to call all police officers at the station for a meeting,” read ZPP’s

“They (police officers) were allegedly threatened with death if they
arrested any of the perpetrators and were also ordered that during the
run-off all police officers should cast their votes at the office before the
member in charge.”

In Mashonaland West province, the ZPP reported that four MDC members
sought refuge in nearby mountains from a war veteran known as “Black Jesus”
and a soldier identified as Thomas Ganure.

The human rights organisation reported that in Marondera East three
houses were burnt down and people were being assaulted by Zanu PF

Last Friday three MDC activists were heavily assaulted at Rapid Farm
and were being guarded by Zanu PF youths so that they do not access

The victims were assaulted by war veterans.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said they
had seen and treated 157 victims of organised violence and torture.

As of Tuesday, the doctors said, 30 of the victims were still in

Women, according to ZADHR, were the most affected victims as the
political tension predominant in the former Zanu PF strongholds of
Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East and Manicaland continued to soar.

The doctors said the “commonest injury” was extensive soft tissue
injury of the buttocks.

“One third of the patients are women, including a 15-year old girl who
was abducted with her mother from her home, made to lie on her front and
beaten on her buttocks. Her mother, who is pregnant, was similarly beaten,”
ZADHR reported.

The doctors alleged that the suspected perpetrators were threatening
medical staff in volatile areas not to attend to the victims of political

The doctors appealed to other health professionals not to selectively
attend to patients based on political affiliation.

“We call upon all political parties to cease the use of intimidation,
violence and torture as a form of retribution or victimisation,” the ZADHR

The ruling Zanu PF lost control of the House of Assembly in last month’s
elections for the first time since Independence. Zanu PF won 97 seats
against MDC-Tsvangirai’s 99. The Arthur Mutambara-led faction won 10 seats.

Zanu PF garnered 30 out of the 60 senate seats, while the
MDC-Tsvangirai got 24 and Mutambara the remainder.

Independent election tallies revealed that the 84-year old Mugabe, who
has been in office since 1980, lost the presidential election to Tsvangirai,
although failed to garner the mandatory 50% plus votes to assume office.

The Zimbabwe Election Commission is yet to announce the result of the

Meanwhile, the United States government has condemned the recent spate
of violence by suspected Zanu PF supporters against opposition members.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack accused members of
Zimbabwe’s security forces and supporters of Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF of
using violence and intimidation after the presidential, parliamentary and
council polls.

“These incidents appear to target individuals who voted against Zanu
PF candidates during the elections,” McCormack said in a statement.

Urging Mugabe’s administration to bring an end to the skirmishes and
uphold human rights, McCormack said there was “no place for violence or
intimidation in a democratic society”.

The State Department also warned American citizens residing in
Zimbabwe of a “continued risk of arbitrary detention and arrest” when
travelling to rural areas and high-density suburbs of Zimbabwe.

In contrast, South African president Thabo Mbeki, en route to last
Saturday’s Sadc extraordinary meeting in Zambia, told journalists that there
was “no crisis” in Zimbabwe.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said perpetrators of
political violence would be arrested.
“Our position is very clear, we arrest all perpetrators of violence,”
he said without saying how many people had so far been apprehended.

By Bernard Mpofu

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NGOs Suspend Rural Operations

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 21:08
NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisations involved in humanitarian work have been
forced to suspend operations in rural areas due to increased post-election

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent this week, National
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) spokesperson Fambai
Ngirande said they were on high alert following reports last week of the
deployment of the army to allegedly coordinate key functions in the rural

“Humanitarian activity has come to a virtual standstill given the
upscale in election-related violence in most rural areas,” Ngirande said.

He said the establishment of bases by war veterans and war
collaborators in areas such as Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West had
created a politically volatile environment which was not conducive for
humanitarian organisations to carry out their work in line with
international principles and standards.

Ngirande said the organisations also feared for the safety of their
workers based in the rural areas.

“We fear for the security of personnel currently stationed in rural
areas given the long held assumption by sections within Zanu PF that NGOs
are proponents of the regime-change agenda,” Ngirande said. “We are
particularly concerned with election observers who had been sent by Zimbabwe
Electoral Support Network as they are the prime targets of election

He said civil society was in the process of establishing security and
protection mechanisms which include access to legal and medical assistance
for victims of the ongoing violence.

Ngirande said Nango and other civil society organisations had since
embarked on a campaign to exert pressure on the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission to immediately release the results of the March 29 presidential

The campaign also calls for the demilitarisation of communities to
allow democracy to take its full course in Zimbabwe.

It involves mass-based non-violent social actions such as marches,
peaceful protests, petitions and dialogue with relevant authorities.

The civil society organisations said they noted with great concern the
absence of international election observer teams as the electorate anxiously
awaits the presidential results and a possible presidential run-off.

They said they would continue to urge a more proactive United Nations
intervention to avoid a possible humanitarian crisis emanating from the
failure to resolve the challenges stemming from the elections.

By Lucia Makamure

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Zanu PF Restructures As War Vets Take Control

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 21:05
AS Zanu PF intensifies its campaign to win the anticipated
presidential election run-off, the party has embarked on a restructuring
exercise to replace its provincial leadership with war veterans.

The ex-combatants would be expected to mastermind the party’s violent
campaign in rural areas.

Sources in Zanu PF said the restructuring of the provincial executives
was meant to purge leaders accused of failing to effectively campaign for
President Robert Mugabe - widely believed to have lost the March 29
presidential election to the MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai, according to independent analysts, failed to
garner the mandatory 50% plus votes to assume office, prompting a run-off.

The sources said the new provincial leadership headed by war veterans
would work hand in glove with traditional chiefs to co-ordinate Mugabe’s

Soldiers, the source said, had since been seconded to some of the
country’s 52 districts and would supervise the Zanu PF campaign strategy.

Provinces targeted for restructuring by Zanu PF, the sources said,
were Harare, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South, Masvingo, Manicaland
and Mashonaland West.

“The party agrees that Bulawayo and Harare are beyond redemption,” one
of the sources said.

“There is a general consensus that provinces like Masvingo,
Manicaland, Matabeleland North and South can be redeemed, while the party is
worried with the inroads and support the opposition MDC gained in
Mashonaland West where Mugabe comes from.”

As part of the ruling party strategy, this week war veterans stormed
the Zanu PF headquarters in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, and demanded a
meeting with provincial chairman Rido Mpofu.

They reportedly accused Mpofu of letting Mugabe down by failing to
campaign for him before last month’s historic harmonised elections.

After failing to get a satisfactory response, the war veterans
allegedly manhandled Mpofu resulting in the police being called to the
headquarters to quell the violence.

Mpofu this week declined to comment on the fracas insisting that it
was an “in-house” issue.

“The issue was in-house, it was not an attack, there was nothing
serious that happened,” Mpofu said.

“We had a discussion with the war veterans and that is how we operate
in the party and if the police intervened maybe they had reasons for doing

Police in Gwanda confirmed the incident. The war veterans allegedly
said Mpofu was no longer the provincial leader and announced that provincial
war veteran leader, Leonard Mathuthu, was now in charge of the province.

By Loughty Dube

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Makoni To Launch Party

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 21:02
INDEPENDENT presidential candidate in last month’s elections, Simba
Makoni, will in August launch a political party that will reportedly draw
some of its leaders from the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC and Zanu Ndonga.

Makoni, who contested against President Robert Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai of the MDC and independent aspirant Langton Towungana, is
believed to have come a distant third in the presidential race.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is yet to announce the results
of the poll, three weeks after it was held, although Tsvangirai has since
claimed victory.

Reliable sources said the national management committee of the Makoni
movement met in the capital on Monday and agreed to form a party.

The meeting was chaired by Makoni and was attended by the movement’s
provincial coordinators and cluster convenors and fundraiser, former
Minister of Industry and Commerce Nkosana Moyo.

Makoni’s spokesperson Denford Magora yesterday confirmed the meeting
saying a steering committee had since been put in place to spearhead the
formation and the launch of the political party.

“Provincial coordinators reported that there is great impatience
amongst the people all over Zimbabwe for the movement to transform itself
into a proper political party,” Magora said. “As a result, the process of
formalising the movement into a political party was kicked off during the

Magora said it was envisaged that the Makoni movement would be able to
hold a national convention in August, should all the groundwork be completed
by then.

“It is here that national office holders will then be elected and the
movement formally inaugurated as a political party,” Magora said.

The meeting, the sources said, set up a steering committee chaired by
Makoni and tasked it to consult widely on the formation of the party for six
weeks before reporting its findings to the national management committee on
May 28.

By Constantine Chimakure

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Court Refuses To Remand ZEC Official

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 20:59
A BULAWAYO regional magistrate last week declined to place on remand a
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) constituency elections officer accused
of tampering with President Robert Mugabe’s votes in the March 29
presidential election.

The move by magistrate John Masimba dealt a blow to Zanu PF claims
that the presidential poll results were rigged in favour of opposition MDC-T
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Masimba criticised the police for lack of professionalism in handling
the case.

Dismissing the state application to place Virginia Sibanda on remand,
Masimba said the state case was a shame and a disappointment given the way
it was investigated.

He said the police had no case against Sibanda as they could not
substantiate the allegations against her.

The magistrate ordered her immediate release.

Sibanda, a district education officer for Bubi, who was the
constituency elections officer, was arrested together with other election
officers countrywide on allegations that they understated votes garnered by

She was charged with fraud and criminal abuse of duty as a public

The state also alleged that she understated votes cast for independent
presidential candidate Simba Makoni.

Sibanda, the state alleged, publicly displayed and published results
for wards 1 to 23 and deliberately left out results for wards 3, 10, 11 and

She allegedly posted results indicating that the Zanu PF presidential
candidate President Mugabe had polled 6 268 votes instead of 6 979.But in a
sudden turn of events in court, the ZEC district elections officer, Mark
Ndlovu, under whose supervision Sibanda served, testified that she did
nothing wrong and instead said everything was done after consultation.

Ndlovu explained to the court that everything pertaining to the
results was in order and challenged the state to produce evidence of any

He further indicated that results of the polls were displayed at
Inyathi Command Centre and stated that the police did not even consult him
to check their facts when they instituted investigations into the matter
against Sibanda.

The investigating officer, Detective Constable Tshabalala, under cross
examination from Sabelo Sibanda of Sibanda & Partners representing Sibanda,
failed to justify why the accused should be placed on remand.

Tshabalala told the court that the complainant in the case was Officer
Commanding Matabeleland North, Senior Assistant Commissioner Edmore Veterai,
but the defence queried why he was the complainant in the case since the
election results have not been announced to the public.

Tshabalala said Sibanda should be placed on remand since he needed two
weeks to complete investigations as he was only assigned to the case last

He, however, was unable to answer questions put to him and insisted
that Veterai was the best person to explain the case. Masimba ruled that the
state could proceed by way of summons if it gathers compelling evidence
against Sibanda.

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Chinamasa Goes Job Hunting

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 20:56
THE outgoing Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has started looking
for a job amid reports that a fortnight ago he approached the Advocates
Chambers intending to join them as an advocate, the Zimbabwe Independent has

Impeccable sources in the legal fraternity said the former
attorney-general had expressed interest in joining the chambers after he was
defeated in the House of Assembly elections on March 29 in Makoni Central by
the MDC-Tsvangirai’s John Nyamande.

Nyamande garnered 7 065 votes against Chinamasa’s 4 555.

“There is an expression of interest from Patrick Chinamasa to join the
Advocates Chambers,” one of the sources said.

“He will be required to submit it (interest) formally and it will be
considered by a committee which will consider a number of things, but most
importantly whether there is space to accommodate him.”

The sources, however, could not be drawn to divulge more information
on what else they will need to consider before coming up with a decision on
Chinamasa’s application.

The committee, the sources said, was divided on whether to accept or
reject Chinamasa’s application.

“The committee is divided with some wanting to hire Chinamasa because
Zanu PF will bring them big business, while the other group wants nothing to
do with him,” the sources said. The Advocates Chambers is a pool of lawyers
who offer expert advice and are hired by various law firms to take

The Chambers’ members fall under the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ),
which Chinamasa last month said the government no longer treats as a
professional body, but an opposition political party.

Ironically, Chinamasa is also a member of the LSZ.

“Regrettably, they are no longer a professional body and as a Minister
of Justice I will no longer treat them as a professional society, but a
political opposition party,” said Chinamasa.

Chinamasa was the legal brains behind the government and the chief
architect of the Constitutional Amendment No18 that saw the country
introducing synchronised presidential, legislative and council elections.

He was Zanu PF’s chief negotiator in the Sadc-initiated dialogue
between the ruling party and the MDC.

Chinamasa was one of the first black lawyers in the 1980s to become a
partner in Honey & Blankenberg, which at that time was a predominantly white
law firm.

President Robert Mugabe appointed Chinamasa a non-constituency
legislator and cabinet minister in 2000. He was re-appointed to the same
position five years later.

In September 2006, Chinamasa was cleared by a judge of trying to
defeat the course of justice after he was accused of trying to stop
prosecution of a witness, James Kaunye, from testifying in a case against
the Minister of State for National Security Didymus Mutasa who had been
accused of inciting public violence in the countdown to the 2005 general

By Lucia Makamure

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'Zimbabwe Worse Than War-Torn Iraq'

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 20:47
DOING business in Zimbabwe is tougher than doing business in Iraq. At
least that is what the World Bank says in its 2008 “Doing Business” report.

The report ranks Iraq higher than Zimbabwe on the main indicator,
“Ease of doing business”, with Iraq placed at 142 while Zimbabwe is a
distant 153 out of 178 countries.

The two countries are both tied at 107 on the indicator “protecting

Despite the exploding bombs, war-torn Iraq has been doing much better
than Zimbabwe on almost all counts. It was ranked higher than Zimbabwe in
most areas — licencing, employment, registering properties and paying taxes.

Even its 2007 year-on-year inflation rate was much lower than Zimbabwe’s
staggering 100 580%. Iraq recorded an inflation rate of 65% during the same

“It has been a very difficult environment for us as the business
community to work in this country,” said Zimbabwe National Chamber of
Commerce (ZNCC) president Marah Hativagone.

“We have been living from hand to mouth trying to get by in a hostile

With critical foreign currency shortages, price controls, declining
manufacturing and mining capacity, soaring unemployment, policy incongruence
and high skills flight, Zimbabwe smacks of the stuff most international
investors would shun.

And they have done so and in the process, greatly reduced their risk.

University of Zimbabwe (UZ) business lecturer, Professor Tony Hawkins
said investors could not be blamed for avoiding Zimbabwe.

“If you have record high inflation, a collapsing currency and
inconsistent government policies that threaten to indigenise all companies,
why would anyone invest in such a country? Investors would be forgiven if
they fled and watched from a safe distance,” said Hawkins. But for those
already with investments in the country, the economic environment has been
an absolute nightmare, which has been worsened by the uncertainty
surrounding the country’s elections.

Amongst the setbacks suffered by business has been the recent seizure
of funds in Foreign Currency Accounts (FCAs) by the Reserve Bank to fund the
election and grabbing of farms by war veterans which has also affected
confidence levels.

“When investors see farms and FCAs being seized they tend to hold on
to their money and hold it quite dearly,” said Harare-based economist, John

“It is no different from farm seizures, there can be no investor
confidence in such a climate.”

The economic crisis has affected all and sundry, including
organisations with an international footing and decades of experience in
specific sectors. Their performance has been a far cry from companies of
their pedigree and size.

International banking giants with a foothold in Zimbabwe, Standard
Chartered and Barclays Bank, performed rather dismally. So did local banks.

Standard Chartered Zimbabwe posted a 2007 year-end after profit of
$13,6 trillion while Barclays’ net income stood at $15,5 trillion.

This was only sufficient to buy an average of nine houses in Harare’s
upmarket suburbs last December.

At current rates, each bank’s net income would be inadequate to buy a
single house in Harare’s leafy suburb of Gunhill. Other companies have
experienced worse misfortunes, posting losses. The profits have continued to
dwindle in value with each passing day, making it not only difficult to plan
but also next to impossible to grow any business.

Companies have pointed to an extremely hostile operating environment
caused by “inflationary pressures”, shortages of foreign currency and
erratic power and water supplies.

But Robertson said it was abnormal for big companies like Stanchart,
CBZ and Barclays to register poor results as they did for 2007.

“Ideally, they should be making much more than that,” Robertson said.

 “The trillions of dollars they are making are worthless; in real
terms it is not surprising to find that the value of their investments has
been declining in US dollar terms.”

Not only have companies been shortchanged by the environment, even
individuals have been victims with properties currently undervalued. In
January 2007, a house in Avondale was worth $850 billion (US$425 000 at the
prevailing parallel market rate).

Today, a similar house in the same neighbourhood is worth $8 trillion
(US$114 000).

A house in Mufakose high-density suburb cost $120 billion (US$60 000)
in January. It now costs $1,5 trillion (US$21 000). Economic analyst, Daniel
Ndlela said running a business in Zimbabwe was next to impossible and that
only big companies with external links could survive the economic crisis.

“Big companies, which are part of international conglomerates, have
survived,” Ndlela said. “They are waiting for things to get right and are
not making any money by their standards; they are just hanging in the
balance and keeping their heads above water.”

Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector is currently producing at all-time
lows of 5% capacity utilisation.

Widespread food and basic commodity shortages have set in forcing
businesses to import commodities.

The 2007/8 agricultural season is set to be the worst the country has
experienced since Independence.

Only 300 000 tonnes of maize are expected meaning more food imports.

However, to import food and other commodities, both government and the
business community need foreign currency which is only available on the
parallel market. Government has denied buying foreign currency on the
parallel market. Instead, it has accused the business community of actively
dealing in this market.

“We hardly have raw materials. We are forced to rely on the parallel
market and cross border traders to survive,” said Hativagone, who accused
government of also sourcing foreign currency on the parallel market.

Ndlela said business was fighting against a predatory state bent on

“The Zimbabwean currency is not overvalued even by overvaluation
standards. That is a gross misstatement. It is grossly misaligned and a
product of a distorted exchange rate. We have class interests owing to a
predatory state preying on a national purse,” Ndlela said.

By Kuda Chikwanda/Bernard Mpofu

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Zim Most Hostile To Business

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 20:41
ZIMBABWE has been ranked 153 out of 178 countries in a 2008 World Bank
report on “Doing Business” which looks at how regulatory environments
influence the operations of business.

It was ranked lower than war-torn spots such as Iraq, Sudan, the West
Bank and Gaza which were positioned at 142nd, 144th, and 118th respectively.

The report analysed 10 stages of a business’s life which were starting
a business, dealing with licences, employing workers, registering property,
getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders,
enforcing contracts and closing a business.

The 10 indicators, which are used to analyse economic outcome and
identifying reforms that have been successful and why, are then factored
into the main index, “Ease of Doing Business” in which Zimbabwe has fared
rather badly.

On starting a business, Zimbabwe was placed at position 143, proving
that the regulatory environment governing the entry of new businesses was
burdensome, according to the report.

“Economies differ greatly in how they regulate the entry of new
businesses. In some the process is straightforward and affordable,” the
report stated. “In others the procedures are so burdensome that
entrepreneurs may have to bribe officials to speed the process — or may
decide to run their business informally.”

This indicator is calculated using data compiled on how easy it is for
small to medium sized companies to start operations legally.

On dealing with licences, Zimbabwe’s rank was a dismal 172 with only
Kazakhstan (173), Ukraine (174), China (175), Liberia (176), Russia (177)
and Eritrea (178) behind it.

The country’s track record on the issue of licensing has been poor
following the controversial handling of Econet’s cellular phone licence
application in the late 90s and TeleAccess’ fixed line phone licence in

Zimbabwe’s rank on the index of protecting investors was 107 and
according to the report, this means the country has poor corporate
governance practices, high corruption and weak internal systems in most

“To document the protections investors have, Doing Business measures
how countries regulate a standard case of self-dealing — use of corporate
assets for personal gain,” the report stated.

Zimbabwe was also ranked 123rd on employing workers, 79th on
registering property and 97th on getting credit.

However, given the time frame of the report — from April 2006 to June
2007 — Zimbabwe could very well be near the bottom in almost all indices,
according to economists and analysts.

This follows government’s infamous crackdown on the business community
in July last year when government forced businesses to slash prices and in
the process forcing several businesses to close.

Independent economic analyst, Daniel Ndlela said latest research
showed that Zimbabwe’s ranking had worsened since June last year.

“It is not a secret that Zimbabwe has done badly since then. It could
be sitting very close to the bottom with just two or three countries under
it,” Ndlela said.

Ndlela said the period from July 2007 to date had been extremely
difficult for the business community, especially small to medium size

Harare-based economist, John Robertson said Zimbabwe had fallen to a
lower ranking since June 2007.
“We probably have fallen to worse levels by now. Furthermore, the
investment climate has been damaged by indigenisation plans by government,”
he said.

Zimbabwe’s economic environment has been described as hostile by both
the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries. Manufacturing is at all time lows of 5%, while mining is at less
than 15% of capacity.

By Kuda Chikwanda

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Inflation Rate To Worsen Beyond Political Change

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 20:38
  ZIMBABWE’S economic meltdown may show signs of receding should the
political impasse be amicably resolved.

The latest official inflation figure for February is reportedly 165

Should the inflationary pressure maintain its recent momentum till
year-end, then Zimbabwe’s official inflation will be 2 017 000% by mid year
further worsening to 24 672 000% by year-end.

Once inflation reaches such high levels as Zimbabwe’s, it tends to
move at an accelerated pace. This is based on current trends — price
controls, shortages, money supply and exchange rate disequilibrium. It
should be noted that only three months ago, inflation was around 20 000%,
now it’s 10 times higher.

Whilst price controls and other strong- arm tactics can temporarily
delay the slide, the presence of the black market makes it difficult to
contain inflation by simply imposing price controls or threatening business.
A major policy shift will be required to get Zimbabwe back on track.

It is difficult to conceive how inflation can be stabilised first,
then reduced subsequently, without political settlement. During the election
period, every province got some ploughs, tractors, combine harvesters,
computers and a whole lot of other goodies as is normal in our motherland
ahead of elections.

The policy is: give now and pay later. So the full price of such
unbudgeted expenditure will have to be factored into future inflation, since
the money printing machines worked overtime ahead of elections.

The inflation rate is, therefore, expected to worsen before it can be

This could get worse should there be a run-off election, since more
money will be printed to fund that campaign as well. The above inflation
forecasts could turn out to be very conservative.

Price controls as an inflation busting measure have created a new
problem — that of having driven up activities in the informal market.
Zimbabwe’s formal sector has been shrinking at an alarming rate since
everything is now available on the black market or underground.

This trend has disastrous consequences for the fiscus. Black market
activities are difficult if not impossible to tax. This means the government
loses an important tax base which would have normally been available under
normal circumstances.

This represents multiple revenue loss since underground hustlers can’t
be taxed: no income tax, no VAT and no sales tax.

Once the tax base starts eroding, it’s almost impossible to re-cast
the net effectively to return to optimal revenue collection through

The tax system is central to the public finance system. This is why
governments the world over try to please taxpayers.

But once the nation relies on printing money, the importance of
taxpayers and the tax systems is diminished. Any other public finance
pattern that’s materially divorced from the tax system is likely to result
in a fatal outcome such as unsustainable budget deficit or hyper inflation
as in Zimbabwe’s case.

Given that Zimbabwe is at such an important transitional period, it is
important that the tax base be widened and strengthened.

This requires deliberate and careful planning as many stakeholders are
likely to be suspicious of any attempts to make them accountable in a manor
that does not show any clear benefits for them.

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Money Supply Up 64 113%

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 20:33
MONEY supply (M3) growth continued on an upward trend, increasing to a
new record of 64 113% in December last year from 51 768,8% the previous
month, officials figures showed this week.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) this week said annual broad money
growth recorded a 64 113% growth during the month of December.

Largely contributing to the increase in broad money growth were
increases in credit to the private sector at 177 043,5% and to public
enterprises at 60 826,8%.

“Net credit to government increased from $993,4 trillion in November
2007 to $118,5 trillion in December 2007. Domestic credit also rose by 156
168,6% to $490,5 trillion in December 2007,” the bank said.

Narrow money rose by 66 658,6% from December 2006 to December 2007.

Quasi-money grew by 88,3% in December 2007, indicating a decline from
142,4% recorded in November.

Money supply is the total supply of money in circulation in a given
country’s economy at a given time.

It is considered an important instrument for controlling inflation.

The continuous rise in money supply would further trigger inflation,
which is currently at 165 000%.

Analysts said the figure would be over 100 000% by January due to
expansionary fiscal and monetary policies being implemented by the
government and the central bank.

Last month the central bank introduced higher bearer cheque
denominations of $25 million and $50 million.

This followed the $1 million, $5 million and $10 million that were
introduced two months ago.

By Paul Nyakazeya

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Govt Bungles On Tax

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 20:27
THE latest decision to review tax thresholds twice in just over a week
shows government’s inconsistency and denial over the real state of the
economy, analysts said this week.

Statutory instrument 63/2008 was gazetted last Thursday against public
disapproval of its short-lived predecessor, which was gazetted at the
beginning of this month.

Legal experts last week said the initial move to review the tax-free
threshold from $30 million to $300 million was illegal.

The new statutory instrument reviewed tax-free threshold from $300
million to $1 billion.

It also slashed tax bands to seven from eleven.

However, the new tax-free threshold is still below 75% of the
projected poverty datum line (PDL), which according to analysts ranges from
$3,5 to $4 billion for a monthly family basket.

Tax consultant Tendai Mavhima said while the decision was a “welcome”
development because government had responded to a public outcry, the
tax-free bracket was still insignificant.

“Based on the repealed statutory instrument, the decision is a welcome
development but looking closely at the $1 billion tax-free threshold, the
figure is still not substantial,” said Mavhima.

Mavhima said at the current inflation rate workers will continue to
push for salary adjustments that will eventually push their incomes into the
highest tax bracket of 47,5%.

Workers earning $6 billion and above per month are taxed at 47,5%.
Those earning $20 billion will be taxed at 60%.

Independent economic analyst John Robertson said despite government
repealing the previous statutory instrument, the new tax-free threshold was
still unattractive.

“It’s still not attractive,” Robertson said.

“The figure is enough to buy five bottles of instant coffee. They
(government) keep getting surprised by inflation — this demonstrates that
government has lost in fighting inflation,” he said.

Robertson suggested that it was ideal for government to regularly
review the thresholds.

“An ideal tax-free threshold would $10 billion this month, then $20
billion the next month,” Robertson said.

“This would be in line with monthly salaries that are increasing by an
average of one and a half times monthly.”

However, Obert Gutu, a Harare lawyer and MDC legislator, described the
new development as “administrative bungling” adding that the government was
still ignorant of the economic environment.

“Since there is no lawful cabinet presently in existence, it follows
that all those men and women who are masquerading as cabinet ministers are
simply acting outside the provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said

“Any statutory instrument purportedly promulgated by a person who has
lawfully ceased to be a cabinet minister is null and void as long as such
statutory instrument was promulgated after the date of the dissolution of
the cabinet on March 28,” he said.

The government has insisted that the cabinet is still lawfully

By Bernard Mpofu

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Mugabe Rebels Against The Sovereign Masses

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:07
ZIMBABWEANS are sovereign citizens because of the status that this
country got from its forefathers like Joshua Nkomo, Jason Ziyapapa Moyo,
Leopold Takawira, Nikita Mangena, Josaya Magama Tongogara and Herbert
Hamandishe Pfumaindini Wilshire Chitepo among others after decades of
colonial and imperial rule that started with the occupation of Zimbabwe in

In this regard, no person no matter how powerful or cruel should
assume the role of the sovereign in their individual capacity and for
selfish political reasons as is currently happening in Zimbabwe.

During the Matabeleland and Midlands disturbances, the 1990 elections,
the constitutional referendum, the violent farm invasions, the 2000, 2002,
2005 and the 29 March 2008 elections, several ways have been discovered by
the leading politicians in Zanu PF to deprive Zimbabweans of their sovereign
and legitimate right to choose their leaders without coercion and violence.

In the long run, Mugabe and Zanu PF are depriving Zimbabweans of their
sovereign status.

With the deprivation of this status, Zimbabweans’ unalienable rights
of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are being infringed upon by
one person who has assumed the role of sovereign on his own and is supported
by a heartless and cruel lot.

The current electoral impasse created by the desire of President
Mugabe to be the sovereign without due regard to the democratic outcome of
the elections held on 29 March in which he lost to the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) brings me to the point where I question
the meaning of sovereign and its origins.

According to the 6th edition of Black’s Law Dictionary,  a sovereign
is defined as, “A person, body, or state in which independent authority is
vested; a chief ruler with supreme power; a king or other ruler in a

In the Zimbabwean context, before the Second Chimurenga that brought
Independence in 1980, the British Queen was sovereign and the Zimbabwean
people were her subjects.

The war of liberation was supposed to have changed this but Mugabe due
to his unquenchable thirst for power did not.

If Zanu PF and its leader Mugabe were democratic, sovereignty was
supposed to be transferred from one man to the collective body of the people
and he who before was a subject of the Queen is now a citizen of the State.
However, there has been no paradigm shift because Mugabe and his ruling
party have refused to transfer sovereignty to the people of Zimbabwe.

In fact Mugabe has extended imperial rule by assuming imperial powers
under a regime of laws that bestows upon him powers similar to those of
monarchs in Europe before the emergence of democracy.

Mugabe has become a native imperialist who treats his subjects with
scorn and contempt worse than they were treated under the late Ian Smith and
his predecessors.

I contend that Mugabe has become worse than the colonial rulers
because during the colonial period, the colonialists were able to change
power among themselves.

Most critically, the colonialists following their defeat by the
liberation forces, agreed to give power to Zanu PF without further
bloodshed. But today, as I write, there is mayhem in the country because
Mugabe does not want to accept the sovereign will of Zimbabweans as
expressed during the elections on March 29.

He treats Zimbabweans as his subjects just like they were treated
during the colonial period.

The electoral crisis in Zimbabwe could be best explained by the
failure of Zanu PF and Mugabe to transfer the power that was gained after
Independence to the generality of Zimbabweans. Instead, Mugabe largely has
become a sole share holder in a company.

He has dissolved the body of directors, and fired and arrested the

Until Mugabe realised that he cannot run a corporate organisation like
that, he will never accept the electoral outcome because he argues that no
one can elect him in his own company.

This scenario requires that the body of directors meet with the
shareholders and come up with a decisive action plan to recapture their
company from Mugabe.

President Mugabe should realise that corporate governance ethics
demands that if a chief executive officer of a company fails to safeguard
the interests of the shareholders by promoting the company and their
investments, the shareholders through the board of directors can convene a
meeting and decide to fire or ask the chief executive to resign.

This is common practice in corporate governance that Mugabe should

In the Zimbabwean case, the people of Zimbabwe who are the
shareholders of the Republic went to vote on March 29 to elect a new chief
executive officer of the country.

 Other office bearers were elected in parliament, senate and council
but the results of the chief executive are yet to be announced because the
incumbent feels that the shareholders did not renew his term of office
sufficiently enthusiastically.

President Mugabe should realise and accept that in the history of
corporate governance there are very few cases if any where a chief executive
officer refuses to be fired but instead fires the board of directors and the
shareholders or even goes further to beat them up.

However, what the board of directors and the shareholders should do
when faced with such a situation is to convene an emergency general meeting
where all interested parties in the company, the major and minority
shareholders put their heads together to deal with the defiant chief
executive officer and safeguard their investments.

This in view is what the political parties, big and small, civil
society organisations and those interested in rescuing this country from
Mugabe’s uncontrolled insatiable appetite for power should do as a matter of
urgency in order save this country from sliding into anarchy.

The two formations of the MDC and those in the pro-democracy movement
should stop involving themselves in parochial and self-serving interests and
convene an emergency meeting where strategies to deal with the Zimbabwean
problem are put on the table and democratically executed.

The time for scoring points under the current situation while one
person with a group of unschooled securocrats are holding the whole country
hostage should be resisted and put to an end.

In this regard, there is no person who is small or big but all
Zimbabweans in their collective strength and wisdom in purpose can overcome
this sad chapter in the history of our country.

Mugabe should realise that his time is up and his continued abuse of
human rights will only strengthen the position of those who want him to be a
candidate of the International Criminal Court in The Hague on charges of
crimes against humanity. He should as a matter of urgency order the soldiers
and other paramilitary groups to stop committing crimes against people who
did not vote for him because it is their democratic right to choose leaders
of their choice.

While I appreciate that time has run out for Mugabe to repent, it is
worthwhile for him to read Nicole Machiavelli’s The Discourses in which he
says that a leader must leave a legacy to be remembered.

By Pedzisayi Ruhanya

Pedzisai Ruhanya is a human rights researcher based in Harare.

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Sadc Lacks Strategy To Tackle Mugabe

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:03
SADC leaders met in Lusaka at the weekend to deliberate on the
political situation in Zimbabwe, but still failed to reach convergence on
how to deal with the crisis heightened by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC)’s failure to release results of the March 29 presidential election.

The summit, hurriedly convened by the bloc’s chairperson and Zambia
president, Levy Mwanawasa, also failed to come up with a strategy on how to
resolve the crisis.

More interestingly, political analysts noted, the regional bloc denied
that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe despite that Sadc last year appointed
South African President Thabo Mbeki to facilitate talks between the
protagonists, Zanu PF and the opposition MDC, precisely in order to avert a

The failure by the ZEC to announce the outcome of the poll has
compounded the political crisis that has been haunting the country since the
disputed 2000 and 2002 general and presidential elections.

The MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai has since claimed victory in the poll
against President Robert Mugabe, whose party last week said there was need
for a run-off between the two after neither candidate managed to secure the
mandatory 50% plus votes to assume office.

Last week the ZEC claimed that it was meticulously verifying the
results of the elections before making them public. It appealed to
Zimbabweans to remain calm.

Eldred Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe political science
professor, said the Sadc meeting should have spoken strongly against the
withholding of the results and also come up with a workable strategy to end
the political impasse in the country.

“It is unbelievable that Sadc came to the conclusion that there is no
crisis in this country,” Masunungure said.

“The crisis is everywhere. Why was Mbeki appointed a facilitator when
there is no crisis?”

The professor said it was clear that there was no convergence among
Sadc leaders on how to deal with Zimbabwe.

“The summit should have come up with a solution to end the crisis. One
of the options the Sadc should have considered is the formation of a
government of national unity that excludes Mugabe,” Masunungure suggested.

“This entails having a transitional government that would give birth
to free and fair elections after a specified period.”

Unconfirmed reports from Zambia were that the Sadc leaders in their
13-hour meeting deliberated on the proposal of a government of national
unity, but failed to arrive at a concrete solution on the matter.

The reports said some Sadc leaders were for a coalition set up that
would see another presidential aspirant, Simba Makoni, joining the
government as prime minister. Makoni reportedly enjoys the support of Sadc
leaders who view Tsvangirai suspiciously.

But Tsvangirai’s spokesperson George Sibotshiwe at the weekend said a
government of national unity was not an option.

He was quoted by the international media saying the MDC’s preferred
course of action was to “consider an inclusive” government.

Sibotshiwe said a unity government suggested that there was no clear
winner and the rival candidates must join forces, while in an inclusive
government, “we are the winners, but we decide to invite various political

The inclusive government would comprise the MDC, its breakaway faction
and Zanu PF, but would exclude Mugabe.

Brian Ngwenya, another UZ political scientist, said it was expecting
too much for anyone to think that Sadc would be able to deal with Mugabe and
his government.

“It was rather naïve for anyone to think and assume that Sadc will
rein in the Zimbabwe government,” Ngwenya said. “Sadc is club of like-minded
people and at the moment I don’t see it transforming into an organisation
that will take stiff stances and interventions when member countries deviate
from its goals and objectives.”

Ngwenya said the failure by the regional bloc to recognise that there
was a crisis in Zimbabwe reveals the ineffectiveness of the body. “Their
definition of a crisis is mind boggling,” he said. “They want blood to spill
in the country for them to recognise that there is a real a crisis.”

Ngwenya said Zimbabweans should engage in civil disobedience to force
the ZEC to announce the polls.
“There is no hope that Sadc will come up with any solution.

There is need for civil disobedience, not necessarily violence. I
suggest that the people should boycott national events like Independence
Day,” he said. “We need to de-legitimise Mugabe’s government. We must tell
it that it has no will of the people to continue in power.”

Speaking at the post-summit press conference, Zambia Foreign minister
Kabinga Bande said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe despite the absence of
results for close to three weeks after the presidential election.

“We listened to the two parties (Zanu PF and MDC). Both said there is
no crisis in Zimbabwe,” said Bande.
Bande’s words echoed those of Mbeki who had stopped in Harare on his
way to Lusaka, telling journalists after meeting Mugabe there was “no

“The body authorised to release the results is the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission, let’s wait for them to announce the results,” said Mbeki.

But the MDC secretary for international affairs Eliphas Mukonoweshuro
described as unfortunate and an affront to Zimbabweans Mbeki’s statement
that there was no crisis in the country.

“We are amazed and flabbergasted by that statement from Mbeki. Mbeki
was once mediator chosen by Sadc to broker dialogue between the MDC and Zanu
PF, which means clearly that he had been sent by Sadc to try and see if he
can put the political parties at the negotiating table to dilute the
 crisis,” he said.

“Now, for him to turn around and say that he was not brokering talks
on a crisis is absolute nonsense. And I hope that Mbeki, with the greatest
respect, made that statement when he was sober…”

In a communiqué after its summit, Sadc urged ZEC to “expeditiously”
verify and release the results of the presidential election in accordance
with the due process of law.

“Summit also urged all the parties in the electoral process in
Zimbabwe to accept the results when they are announced,” the communiqué

In a joint statement released after the Sadc meeting, 41 civil
societies in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe said they had expected Sadc to
compel the ZEC to immediately announce the presidential results and prevent
Mugabe and his security personnel from tampering with the ballots.

The civil societies said the regional bloc must have told Mugabe’s
regime to dismantle the de facto coup in the country and apply pressure on
the military to hand over power to a civilian government.

“And in the event that the results show no winner of 50% plus one
vote, (Sadc should) set up a heads of state team that will mediate between
Zanu PF and MDC in order to set an election run-off time line,” read the

By Constantine Chimakure

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Comment: Crisis? What Crisis?

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:31
IT was inevitable that the South African press would have a field day
with President Thabo Mbeki’s remarks in Harare last weekend: “Crisis? What
crisis?” he was reported as saying in the abridged version.

Once again he looked delusional. And, as when he denied the extent of
crime in South Africa or the role of HIV in the spread of Aids, he deserved
the excoriating editorials that followed.

Zimbabwe’s multi-faceted crisis is invisible only to the politically
blind. And it is escalating with every passing week.

Mbeki advised Zimbabweans to wait for the ZEC’s announcement of
results. But South Africans would never put up with a delay of over two

The same weekend that Mbeki and several of his Sadc colleagues were in
denial, reports from Mudzi, Mutoko and Hurungwe, Zanu PF strongholds where
significant numbers of people changed allegiance to vote for the MDC,
revealed a pattern of retaliation and violence by ruling-party supporters.

This is clearly an orchestrated campaign to reverse the electoral

 It is perhaps the most serious example of misrule in the country.
People are being denied their right to elect a government of their choice.
Instead a wayward ruler is hanging on to power, not because he has answers
to the country’s myriad problems but simply to exercise power for its own

Yet Sadc leaders are looking the other way. Mbeki ignored the violence
and coercion reported now from Zimbabwe on a daily basis but repeated his
mantras about the rule of law.

 He even chuckled at Mugabe’s asinine remarks about Gordon Brown.

Thankfully, his party no longer thinks the same way. The ANC’s
national working committee on Monday urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
to immediately announce the results of the country’s presidential election.
The committee said a run-off without the results of the March 29 poll would
be “undemocratic”.

Even Sydney Mufamadi, one of the negotiators in the inter-party talks
and an Mbeki acolyte, thinks the results should be released.

“There are parts of the elections whose results are outstanding, and
Sadc, as you know, met on Saturday and Sunday,” he told SABC. “At the end of
that meeting Sadc asked the electoral authorities to release the outstanding

 That’s all Sadc can do.”

Not entirely. It can condemn political violence. It can condemn
electoral chicanery. It can stop being supine when one of its members
unashamedly violates Sadc’s Mauritius guidelines on electoral conduct.

That protocol requires member states to establish independent
electoral supervisory agencies, not outfits suborned by the executive.

The withholding of presidential election results so Zanu PF can
manipulate the outcome is an egregious breach of both the regional
guidelines and Zimbabwean law. We are currently all prisoners of the losing

Then there is that dossier. The ruling party appears to have
manufactured a dossier said to have been authored by the secretary-general
of the MDC and used the transparently false claims in this document to
justify holding on to power.

Totalitarian states have down the ages used similar techniques to
warrant their grip on power. But rarely have they been so clumsy or so
obvious. And the government media, knowing the document was false, dutifully
carried it.

Zimbabwe is a state in which democracy has been suffocated. On March
29 voters tried to make a difference. But given the resources of the state
and the determination of a ruthless dictator to remain in office despite his
record of failure, the odds were against them.

But the difference between this year and 2005 is that the people of
Zimbabwe know there has been a concerted attempt to steal the election.
Previously that was only an assumption. And we have the performance of the
ZEC to thank for this clarity. Nobody doubts it now. Just ask around.

But whatever the outcome, we can be proud that the people of this
country, in a democratic contest, defeated an indelibly evil regime and its
dishonest claims.

Its friends in Sadc may wish it weren’t so. But judging by their
13-hour conclave last Saturday night, even they are beginning to have their

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Candid Comment: Pragmatic Leadership Needed To Save Zim

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 19:25
THE expression is often used glibly that freedom is never given freely
to the oppressed but must be wrested from the oppressor.

Zimbabweans have often appealed to the outside world to help us win
back our human rights, our economic rights and our dignity. These appeals
have not worked because we have as good as lost our political rights too.

In deciding to vote for change, no matter how defective, on March 29,
Zimbabweans were trying to win back their political rights in the hope that
all the others would follow, as Ghana’s Nkwame Nkrumah once said.

The result was inconclusive, part of it is still outstanding, but a
statement was made loud and clear that town and country are united on the
need for change, even if that means “leadership renewal” given that there
were constituencies in which MPs won more votes than the sitting president.

The hoped-for “change” is elusive, the powers in control of the
transition having chosen to undermine and subvert the will of the people by
refusing full disclosure on the results. It is a travesty of justice and an
insult on the people of Zimbabwe that Zanu PF is busy trying to persuade us
to start thinking about a re-run or a run-off without the courtesy of the
presidential result.

It is a diversionary tactic which shows in blatant form the deep
contempt in which the party holds Zimbabweans.

That is before we can talk about the emotional, physical and economic
costs of an election re-run so soon when the nation is still trying to catch
its breath.

After what President Mugabe has done for this country, one would have
expected him to want to pass on the baton to others, even if not necessarily
a younger generation. There are many who were with him in the bush who must
be getting impatient waiting for the “transition”. Time is not waiting and I
believe even a founding president must at some point yield to nature.

All this is closely related to the question I have often asked about
the kind of legacy Mugabe wants to leave this country. Is it one of peace or
one of war? Is he saying to those who want to succeed him “once you get into
power you should never let go?” Is he saying only death in office can ensure
his personal security?

These are legitimate questions because Mugabe has a lot of reasons to
be afraid. His post-Independence record has been bloody. We all can attest
to his “degree in violence”.

What this teaches us is that a leader should never overstay in power.
The more he stays the more errors and criminal acts he is prone to commit
and the more he would want to stay on for his own personal security.

Putting aside the other forces at play in the security establishment,
the fact that Mugabe has such grave anxieties about his personal safety to
subvert the people’s will as expressed in a popular election must show us
the level of political intolerance which years of Zanu PF tyranny have bred.

Leaders are afraid that they will not be forgiven their crimes despite
all the good they have done for their nation.

But Mugabe’s behaviour has the potential of a tragedy. In defying the
people’s will, Mugabe is stoking more anger against not only himself but
other less culpable members of his party and government.

His behaviour is likely to precipitate violence which could lead to
acts of vengeance and retribution against those seen to be standing by him
as he thumps his nose at the electorate.

It is an act which is bound to infuriate even those who were prepared
to forget and forgive, those who believe in letting old wounds dry, those
who wanted to ignore his ugly past in the interest of national healing and

It is my conviction that even at this very late hour in our decent
into hell, our situation is still far less volatile than what South Africa
was at the time of its first all-race elections in 1994.

It took a mature, “national” leadership to retrieve South Africa from
the brink. The leadership vacuum in Zimbabwe has pushed an otherwise
peaceful people on the brink, with no one able to see what is in the best
interest of the country.

That is why I always have reservations about external interventions. I
don’t believe that is how strong nations or families are built. That should
be a function of the political leaders themselves, whether they really
deserve that mantle or we are deceived by caricatures and charlatans.

Foreigners can only help where a commitment already exists towards the
wellbeing of the nation over personal rivalry. Zimbabwe is overwhelmed by
the latter spirit.

The national discourse is redolent with a sense of grievance, revenge,
retribution, conquest and ultimately, humiliation of rivals. It is about
triumph on both sides.

In fact it reminds of how Mugabe was so bitter about being dragged to
the Lancaster House conference, which he said deprived the Patriotic Front
of military victory over the Rhodesian forces.

He said he would have loved to match triumphantly into Salibury
without negotiation. It didn’t matter to him how many more precious young
lives were wasted to indulge this triumphalist exhibitionism. It doesn’t
matter to him today how much blood must be shed in resisting the will of the
people. It makes a charade of any election.

The call to duty at this critical hour is for pragmatic leadership
from both Zanu PF and the MDC to make a vital decision on the way forward:
will it be peace or peril?

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Erich Bloch: If This Is Not A Crisis,What Is?

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:55
PRESIDENT Mugabe last week declined to attend the hastily convened
Sadc summit on Zimbabwe, held in Lusaka, which was attended by most of the
region’s heads of state.

He stated that he saw no purpose in attending the summit, on the
grounds that the agenda was to address the Zimbabwean crisis, saying there
was no crisis in Zimbabwe, and hence no need for the summit to take place,
let alone for him to attend it.

If the president genuinely believes that there is no crisis in
Zimbabwe, then he is either grossly mis-informed, or is astoundingly
oblivious to the realities, or both.

In contradistinction to his contentions that Zimbabwe has no crisis,
the actuality of the distressed country’s circumstances is that it has a
vast plethora of crises, both political and economic.

In fact, whilst Zimbabwe is inordinately lacking in most things,
including having immense scarcities of food, electricity, health care
requisites, foreign exchange, and much, much else, one of the very few
things that it has a grossly excessive surplus of is crises.

Should the presidential statement that Zimbabwe is not in crisis not
have been mere politicking, but that which he believes to be so, then it is
disturbing in the extreme that he should be so distanced and detached from
the situation actually prevailing.

On the political environment, all stated intents that the elections be
incontrovertibly demonstrated to be wholly democratic, and totally free and
fair, have been completely negated by their actual conduct.

As if it did not suffice that millions had been disenfranchised,
robbed of their previous rights to vote, the voters’ roll was in such
disarray that that state was even acknowledged by some of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC).

This abysmal state of affairs was compounded by government’s careful
selection of international observers to comprise only those whose bias was
such that any electoral conduct would be deemed, and declared, to be “free
and fair”. Like selectivity applied to the registration of international

Reinforcing the electoral distortions, the state media, which was
bound to accord equal space and time to the contesting parties’ did so, but
all coverage of President Mugabe and of Zanu PF was naught but eulogising
praise, whilst all that devoted to the others was exclusively denigratory
and misrepresentative.

But that was not sufficient destruction of any image that the
elections were genuinely free and fair. Election results had been promised
to be released within three days of closure of the polls but, more than a
fortnight later, presidential election results had still not been released
and, instead, Zanu PF demanded a recount.

This was simultaneous with calls for numerous recounts of votes for
parliamentarians, notwithstanding that any such calls should have been made
within forty-eight hours of completion of the counts, but were actually made
more than a fortnight later.

The inevitable conclusion of the populace was that the prescribed
forty-eight hours were insufficient time to assure a rigged recount! Also
destroying any image of credibility was that the supposedly independent
observers, including South Africa, ACP and AU saw fit to declare the
elections to have been free and fair, and to depart Zimbabwe, before the
vote counts were completed, and ahead of announcement of results!

Thus, Zimbabwe indisputably has a political crisis, with all
concomitant negative consequences, notwithstanding categoric denials thereof
by President Mugabe, and by President Mbeki, who is allowing his “quiet
diplomacy” to fail horrendously, and in the process is regrettably
destroying his own credibility.

However, as appalling as the political crisis is, it is far from the
only crisis confronting the embattled Zimbabwe. The other crises are many,
even if the President contends otherwise. They include:
lPronounced poverty, impacting upon an overwhelming majority of the

More than two-thirds of the Zimbabwean populace is struggling to
survive on incomes very markedly below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL).

Most Zimbabweans are confronted with lives of severe malnutrition and
under-nourishment, perpetual hunger, intense ill-health, inability to fund
education, and are faced by numerous other inadequacies including, for many,
a lack or insufficiency of housing. Surely this is an economic crisis!  But
the president says Zimbabwe is not in a crisis.

The world’s highest inflation, exacerbating the immense poverty which
afflicts most Zimbabweans.

Even citing belatedly released, official inflation data, which
evidences inflation of over 168 000% to February 2008, the inflation levels
are horrendous, and are comparable to the oft-quoted, cataclysmic inflation
sustained by Germany from 1922 to 1924, which progressively soared to levels
in the billions of per cent range.

Bearing in mind that the official inflation date is based upon a
Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is founded upon allegedly controlled
prices, and not upon actually prevailing prices, and upon an out-dated, no
longer currently relevant consumer spending basket, actual inflation In
Zimbabwe now undoubtedly is considerably in excess of 300 000%, and steadily
is rising upwards. Surely this is an economic and humanitarian crisis!

But the President says Zimbabwe is not in a crisis.

lMore than four-fifths of Zimbabwe’s employable population is without
formal sector employment. Businesses are struggling to survive, in an
economic environment of ever-decreasing consumer purchasing power, and lack
of export market competitiveness.

As a result, most are continuously reducing the numbers employed, and
many are forced into cessation of operations and total closure. New
investment is minimal, primarily as a result of the horrendous economic
circumstances, but also because government’s endless disregard for
democracy, law and order, human rights, property rights, and economic
fundamentals, is an immense deterrent to both foreign direct, and to
domestic, investment.

The economy has contracted consistently since the turn of the century,
and evidences no sign of an upturn. Zimbabwe’s economy in 2008 is less than
half of that of a decade ago. Surely this is an economic crisis!  But the
president says Zimbabwe is not in a crisis.

lScarcities are gargantuan, be they of electricity, water,
agricultural and industrial inputs, essential basic commodities. Far from
there being any sign of imminent increased availability, all indications are
that the scarcities, and the consequential discomforts for the populace, and
further economic collapse, are intensifying continuously.

Surely this is an economic and humanitarian crisis! But the president
says Zimbabwe is not in a crisis.

More than a quarter of Zimbabwe’s population has fled to other
countries, in a desperate endeavour to generate a livelihood for themselves
and for their dependants. As a result, Zimbabwe now suffers a paucity of
essential skills, including doctors, nurses and other skilled health care
providers, engineers, teachers, accountants, and all other skilled
disciplines necessary to service the country’s socio-economic needs. Surely
this is an economic and sociological crisis! But the president says Zimbabwe
is not in a crisis.

These are but a few of the many, many grievous ills that presently
afflict Zimbabwe, over and above the fact that Zimbabwe is increasingly an
international pariah, primarily only befriended by other dictatorships and
non-democratic states, and by those others as have also alienated the
majority of the world’s developed countries.

Those ills are of such magnitude that they are gaining ever-greater
proportions of inevitably national demise. Surely those ills are all of
crisis proportions! But the president says Zimbabwe is not in a crisis.
Really, Mr President!  Are you living in a different Zimbabwe from
that which is home to all Zimbabwean who have become the victims of
overwhelming, and ever-increasing, crises?  The hard fact, albeit an
unpalatable one, is that Zimbabwe is in crisis — pronounced crisis.

That must be recognised, and acknowledged, if Zimbabweans are to have
any future, other than of never-ending misery and distress and, for very
many, death.

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Muckraker: Politics Of Pique

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:49
SO what were the “circumstances beyond his control” that President
Levy Mwanawasa cited as keeping President Mugabe from attending the Lusaka

“We are very good friends and very good brothers,” Mugabe told the
press following his meeting with Thabo Mbeki in Harare. “Sometimes you
attend, sometimes you have other things holding you back.”
Like what? We don’t recall seeing him performing any official duties
on Saturday.

And since when has he ever turned down an invitation to strut upon the
world stage?

This was the politics of pique. Mugabe wasn’t going because he wasn’t
willing to have his peers sit in judgement on him. His pride proved more
important than finding a solution to Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis.

Mugabe feared most what we can call a Camp David moment: that
Mwanawasa would force him and Morgan Tsvangirai to shake hands before the
world’s television cameras.

Mugabe wasn’t going to let that happen. According to reports Mugabe
had flown into a rage during the meeting with Mbeki calling the summit “a
show staged by Britain”.

The heads of state spent 13 hours debating whether the Zimbabwe crisis
was a crisis or not. Sadc couldn’t ignore what was happening, Mwanawasa was
reported as telling the meeting. But Angola and Mozambique worked hard to
let Mugabe off the hook.

However, this wasn’t the solidarity show we have become accustomed to.

Why for instance would the summit “appeal to ZEC to ensure strict
compliance with the rule of law and Sadc principles and guidelines governing
democratic elections” if they were satisfied Zimbabwe was already complying
with those guidelines? Only last week the ZEC’s lawyer was claiming that it
may be “dangerous” for the court to compel the ZEC to release the results
because it may not be able to uphold such an order. So much for the rule of

Despite protestations to the contrary, what happened in Lusaka last
weekend is what Mugabe had dreaded: Zimbabwe was in the dock. And its silly
dossiers no longer find purchase on regional leaders.

Anybody reading Tendai Biti’s supposed internal memorandum on how to
deal with the transition would immediately recognise a forgery. Biti speaks
in legalistic terms when he makes a statement.

He doesn’t speak in the language of Zanu PF apparatchiks pretending to
be Biti. And would he, in all seriousness, want to incriminate himself by
committing to paper the preposterous suggestions contained in this document.

How about this for a give-away clue as to where this memorandum really
originated: “In order to send the correct political signals to both the
illegally resettled new farmers and our international partners, all our
white farmers who are still in the country have been instructed to visit
their former farms during the week leading to the election and soon
thereafter to assess the level of vandalism and disuse they have been
subjected to and therefore to give us some idea of the amounts of money
required for their resettlement.”

It then proposes that the white farmers phone the resettled farmers
“at odd hours” to tell them they are coming back to their farms.

This of course became the basis for the fiction Zanu PF began to
disseminate about white farmers taking back their farms.

 “The beneficiaries of Mugabe’s land grab should quickly be made to
understand that their number is up,” Biti is alleged to have written. “We
have also directed some of the remaining white farmers in the country to
mobilise their workers to poison cattle, slash or burn crops in the fields
and carry out many other acts of sabotage on the resettled farms.”

Now who does that sound like? Certainly not Biti. It sounds more like
those who actually do those things.

Has anyone ever heard of a commercial farmer poisoning his cattle?

Just last week there were reports of people claiming to be war
veterans ordering dairy farmers to stop milking their cows.

But we liked the bit about ‘President Tsvangirai’ ordering the
disbandment of “undesirable forces”.
“Any current members of the security forces who wish to join the new
dispensation will have to reapply and must first pass a rigorous vetting
exercise to establish if they have any lingering loyalties to Zanu PF.”

This suggestion is designed to cause anxiety in the ranks, no doubt,
but news that Zimbabwe will be getting “new commanders for the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces, Zimbabwe National Army and Airforce of Zimbabwe as well as a
new Commissioner General of Police, Director General of the Central
Intelligence Organisation and Commissioner of Prisons” is more likely to
inspire confidence than panic.

But once again the credibility of the document is seriously undermined
when we read that: “As an interim measure we have secured the agreement of
some selected reputable generals and senior officers of the former Rhodesian
security forces who are presently in Australia, Britain and South Africa to
take charge of our security forces.”

We had a good laugh over that one. And the bit about repossessing the

Those responsible for this childish and frankly farcical document
should stop insulting the intelligence of the Zimbabwean public.

The “Biti Memorandum” is the biggest forgery since the Protocols of
the Elders of Zion. At least we can be sure the original Biti would know how
to spell Raftopoulos!

In addition to contriving stunts of this sort, Zanu PF’s subterranean
moles have been busy writing letters to the Editor of the Herald. We had one
last Friday signed by a “Prince Kahari”.

He affected to be furious that radio stations such as SW Radio Africa
were “making a mockery” of Zimbabwe and President Mugabe. Its staff should
be stripped of their citizenship, “Prince Kahari” declared.

And where was this super-patriot writing from? London of course!

The subject of the recount is generating much emotion — understandably
given that the ZEC appears to be making claims that it is unwilling to

The ZEC claims Zanu PF’s demand for 23 recounts were considered by the
commission within the 48-hour window provided by the law. But nobody
believes them.

No statement was issued by the electoral commission about the
complaints nor were competing candidates informed, Prof Welshman Ncube says.
But ZEC chair Justice George Chiweshe says the commission met to consider
the complaints from mostly Zanu PF losing candidates.

According to Chiweshe, “we sat as a commission and considered them
(the applications)”. I can’t tell you when we did this at this moment … we
received them, that is why we ordered recounts … we didn’t have to tell the
world. Why should we? We are not obliged by law to do that. Are you calling
me a liar?”

Ncube did not mince his words. “The ZEC is acting in collusion with
Zanu PF and if they think any of us will believe them when they are a gang
of fraudsters, then they can go to hell,” he said. “They are such brazen
liars and they have had custody of the ballot boxes for more than two weeks.

There is no guarantee that they didn’t go back and tamper with the
ballot boxes, so the outcome of the recount is a foregone conclusion.”

Ncube said Tsvangirai won a clear majority, which was why the results
were not released.

MDC (Mutambara)  secretary for legal affairs David Coltart agreed: “We
have asked for proof the complaints were submitted within the 48-hour
period. The delay between the expiry of the 48-hour period and the writing
of the letters of complaint by ZEC is inexplicable, unreasonable. The only
inference one can draw from the delay is that the commission has connived
with Zanu PF and therefore acted illegally. One would have expected the ZEC
would immediately have notified all interested parties, but they took nine
days to do so.

This is a brazen subversion of the Electoral Act.”

As Jacob Zuma said: “We have  never heard of elections being conducted
and counted and the commission not allowing the result. It is

Our question is, were heads of state in Lusaka made aware of this

Zanu PF must be asked: When you have finished your rigging and
fiddling, what exactly are you going to offer this country? More of the
same: more inflation, unemployment, and empty shelves? The people spoke in
the election of March 29. You want to reverse that verdict and might well do
so with the help of the ZEC.

 But everybody knows that the country rejected you. You will have to
live with that knowledge but you won’t be able to turn the economy around.
It will just go on getting worse and nobody will give a damn about your
conspiracy theories.

You know things are getting bad when the public prosecutor’s office
writes to you asking for stationery. Here is a letter from the public
prosecutor at Mbare magistrate’s court.

“The industrial action that had hampered our operations has since been
solved, therefore we have started working tirelessly to ease the backlog
that was created by such action. However, our office is facing serious
difficulties in meeting our targets because of shortage of material
resources and as such we are inviting donations of stationery from

Anybody prepared to help?

Then we had sight of another letter that would have been better off
without a supply of stationery. It was from one Kenyan lawyer to another:
“Your smart-mouth letter of 27 June refers.

We find the contents thereof to be callous, in bad taste and
calculated at imputing bad motives against our client and ourselves.
Needless to say that in view of the contents of your letter your client is
in the cave of Trophonius.

Her defence of privilege is hoist with its own petard and cuts the
baby figure of the giant mass of things to come. We have firm instructions
to file suit…

“About your hoity-toity penultimate paragraph. This hard-heartedness
that borders on inebriation and befuddled ardour that tickles the tongue of
vanity is regrettable in the least. Remember that no one is insulated from
the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to and all the ills that men
endure in the sea of troubles.

The mind’s immodesty breeds the desire of the moth for the star. Your
remarks are disrespectful and rekindle thoughts of jaundice of the sole. The
least we can expect from this sudden and quick quarrel is an apology.”

We don’t know whether he got one. But it all goes to show that a
little learning is a dangerous thing.

Finally we had the Venezuelans pitching in with their piece of
literary extravagance on the occasion of their national day.

“For the Venezuealan historiography the celebration of the anniversary
of this day has not been converted in an annual routine, neither in a civic
obligation, but in a feeling of a new native country, a small native
country, and great Hispanic-American native country.

“A new start because on that day the people and armed forces rescued
the president, democratically elected Hugo Chavez Frias, of a nasty coup d’etat,
forged internally by those who with an ancestral way had enjoyed the
privileges of the social exclusion…Of great Hispano-American native country
because this gesture carried out by the binomial armed people’s forces which
was engraved in an indelible way in consciousness of Venezuelan women and
men, was inspired by the doctrine (in) international politics of

The Liberator Simon Bolivar who thought for the South American mixed
race in a great native country of republics without atomisation and big, not
by his wealth and extension but by its justice and freedom.”

The author of this turgid text looks like a candidate for
speech-writer in the Office of the President where he can wax lyrical about
big Bolivarian extensions. What we don’t understand is why, when they both
have so much in common in terms of populist demagoguery, Chavez eschews a
visit to the Mugabean Republic of Zimbabwe.

In last week’s edition we said Bona Mugabe voted in Highfield. In
fact she voted at Hellenic Primary School in Harare. Her Dad voted in

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Editor's Memo: Sadc Waiting For A Bloody Crisis

Zim Independent

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:41
SADC chair Levy Mwanawasa at the Sadc Summit in Lusaka at the weekend
said the regional bloc could not put President Mugabe “in the dock” because
it was unAfrican to do so.

“Sadc cannot stand by and do nothing when one of its members is
experiencing political and economic pain,” said Mwanawasa. “It would be
wrong to turn a blind eye,” he said, but added that the Lusaka summit was
“not intended to put President Mugabe in the dock”.

As expected the regional leaders tried to stand by one of their own.
We did not expect them to put Mugabe on trial because they are not a court.

Also we did not expect the regional heads to spend half the  night in
Lusaka arguing whether there is a crisis in Zimbabwe or not because there is
all the evidence of strife in this country. In the end, what was apparently
being tested was the Southern African leaders’ ability to solve problems and
their respect for the dignity of the people they lead in the region.

The problem with African leaders is only believing that there is a
crisis in a country when they see the evidence in the form of blood flowing
into the gutter and corpses on the sidewalk.

During the systemic torture and murder of opposition supporters and
farmers by  Zanu PF supporters and state-sponsored hoodlums during the land
redistribution fiasco between 2000 and 2002, African heads failed to call
the situation then a crisis.

Mugabe brazenly tried but failed to export this chaotic brand of land
reform because he believed he was a trail blazer.

African leaders have a duty to protect the citizenry from famine,
hunger, unemployment, privation, torture, and abuse, and from a deliberate
attempt by the governing aristocracy to subvert the will of the people.

More often than not, African leaders’ decisions, especially on
Zimbabwe have been instructed by the fraternal bonds with the dictatorial
Mugabe and not the people of Zimbabwe.

Mugabe was not put on trial in Lusaka and with it the real story of
Zimbabwe escaped discussion at the summit. The legitimacy of our ruling
elite is one of the major reasons why the country is where it is today.
The process of establishing a legitimate government that represents
the will of the people has always escaped scrutiny as regional leaders
pretentiously opined that the situation in Zimbabwe is normal and is being
blown out of proportion by the international press. But all leaders in the
region have a Zimbabwean problem to contend with at their door steps.

They know about the stratospheric inflation, the collapsed industry,
low economic indicators, economic refugees within their borders. They are
aware that Zimbabwe is a cancerous growth festering in the heart of the
region. They are aware of the real cause of this state of affairs in the
region. It is the misrule of the Zanu PF government.

President Mugabe does not believe there is a problem in Zimbabwe. His
comrades have publicly endorsed the misrule and joined our octogenarian
leader  in celebrating this as a stand against imperialism. This has helped
Mugabe to stay in power but has not in any way benefited millions of
Zimbabweans the majority of whom now earn less than US$15 a month.

Sadc’s commitment should be to the people of Zimbabwe so that they
regain their dignity in the region. During the visit to Zambia last week it
was embarrassing to see elderly Zimbabwean women selling sweets and trinkets
on the streets to raise resources to support families back home. There are
many like these on the streets of Gaborone, Maputo, Blantyre   and

Sadc leaders have a role to play here in helping to right this
situation. We do not expect them to tell Mugabe to leave office but they
must speak openly about the nature of the crisis in Zimbabwe and be seen to
be actively making sure that their colleague Mugabe is made aware of this
because sometimes he appears oblivious of the fact that hyperinflation is
not a virtue.

We have always said that this country requires a mediated internal
settlement, notwithstanding results of any electoral process.

This is only possible if Sadc leaders acknowledge that there is a
crisis here. In South Africa this week the ruling African National Congress
broke ranks with President Thabo Mbeki who at the weekend said there was no
crisis in Zimbabwe. The ANC said the situation in Zimbabwe was “dire, with
negative consequences for the Sadc region”. It said Mbeki must remain
neutral as a Sadc mediator.

This level of discourse must resonate throughout the region but Sadc
heads have to break the mould to actively show leadership which translates
to positive change in Zimbabwe. That includes showing Mugabe
that he is no longer the revered leader he used to be by telling him
the truth about the failure of his governance.

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Zim Independent Letters

Judgement On MDC Petition Shameful

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:46
PEHARPS I may be regarded partial at this stage of my life but this is
one matter a judge does not need to think about and moreso to take so much
time to dismiss.

The normal course of an election is that it progresses from casting
votes, counting the votes and finally declarations as to who has won or

Who can ever doubt that in fact that was the clear intention of the
legislature in enacting the Electoral Act? No one has the prerogative over
the results of an election except the people who voted.

If there were any anomalies at all, of such a nature as would affect
the pronouncement of the results; those should have been raised during the
counting stage of the votes, with some officials belonging to the aggrieved
political party refusing to endorse them by not signing.

Once signed and forwarded to those with the responsibility to announce
the results, the natural expectation of the due process of the law is to
announce those results.

The fact that the results were not published when they should is an
indication beyond reasonable doubt that someone who was a party to the
electoral process had sight of those results and proceeded to investigate
anomalies, alone, to the exclusion of all others and thereafter told the
rest of the nation and participants that there is need to do a recount and
all the rest.

I am shocked that a court of law can make a finding on the basis that
the result cannot be published before all anomalies are investigated.

And for the High Court to buy that sort of argument without taking the
ZEC to task smells of shameful interference and complicity between the ZEC
and Zanu PF.

Benjamin Paradza,
New Zealand.

Gono Not Convincing

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:37
ALLOW me space in your widely read newspaper, even though I am
responding to a story that appeared in a different newspaper which is the
Herald of April 11.

The story covered an interview that took place between Dr Gideon Gono
and a Herald reporter.

Even though the governor attempted to justify his policy decisions in
the interview, I was not convinced of his sincerity about tackling the
causes of the sinking Zimbabwean economy.

It is evident that the main cause of the economic, political and
social crises is lying squarely at the door of President Mugabe and Zanu PF.
However Gono shamelessly states otherwise.

He however came close to revealing this fact by mentioning the fact
that the unrealistic exchange rate of one US dollar to 30 000 Zimbabwe
dollars was the fault of the Ministry of  Finance.

He also came close to outrightly condemning the latest spate of  farm
invasions without pointing out that they,  as in 2000 are stage-managed to
divert the people’s attention from other pertinent issues to Zimbabweans.

Gono should learn to tell the truth and call a spade a spade.
Zimbabweans are anxious to work in a climate of  honesty and transparency
which is exhibited in neither Robert Mugabe nor Zanu PF.

The so called ‘Social Contract” is just but an example of Zanu PF’s
inability to compromise and work together with others.

If Gono is serious about service to this nation, then he should advise
his employer President Mugabe to change his ways in governance issues such
as the reluctance of ZEC, a body he appointed to release election results.

This is symptomatic of all the bodies and institutions appointed by
Mugabe and the root cause of the country’s economic, political and social

It would be very inaccurate in my view to say that Gono does not
comprehend the results of such policies to the fortunes of this country.

They result in economic collapse and isolation of unprecedented

Stanely Tapfumaneyi

Cry My Beloved Country

Wednesday, 16 April 2008 18:33
ELECTIONS in most countries including a growing number of African
countries give an opportunity to ordinary citizens in general to have a
chance to express their collective views through the ballot, a chance that
is not available on a day to day basis.

Everyone has an opportunity to offer themselves to the electorate and
the losers live to fight another day.

But the recent elections in our beloved country seem to have widened
the polarisation of sons and daughters of this beautiful country and I am
calling for all to humble themselves for the sake of Zimbabwe.

The political and economic situation we face today has laid eggs which
have hatched into very dangerous intolerance and disillusionment threatening
to tear the country into another Somalia and cannot be allowed to go on.

One the one hand we have Zanu PF, a party made up of the old Zanu PF
and the former PF Zapu. These are parties which fought not only for
political independence but also for fairness in the distribution of wealth
between blacks and whites and economic emancipation of the “majority”.

On the other hand we have the MDC in my own opinion capitalised on the
failure of Zanu PF to protect the aspirations of the urban working class and
the restive young generation who wanted change.

However, an opportunity arose for healthy and friendly competition
which was supposed to take into consideration the aspirations of the masses,
the founding fathers, the young and the future generations of this country.

The masses expected that these parties ensured that the future of this
country is guaranteed by a unity in the vision of a better life for all
citizens bearing in mind that political parties come and go as leaders also
come and go.

Now our country is at a crossroads. People swear against one another,
husbands and wives beat one another to pulp for holding opposing political
views. Those who had an opportunity to go to political rallies during the
run up to March 29 will bear testimony to the level of hatred expressed at
some of these gatherings leaving us yearning to hear what parties stood for
and what they promised to do for us after the elections.

God knows if there is any future for this divided nation.

People are suffering in towns, in the countryside, and in foreign
lands with no glimpse of a better tomorrow in sight. Careers are at a big
halt, teachers and professors are competing with crocodiles to find space in
the Limpopo River while we all watch as if things are normal.

It is not uncommon for a medical doctor to sleep on the floor
regretting the day they decided against becoming kombi drivers yet
politicians are growing fatter and richer such that they can never imagine
of a better tomorrow.

As if that’s not enough our church leaders have taken sides to remain
relevant financially (of course many now worship a god called mari),
whichever way the political tide goes to thereby absconding their duty of
uniting the body called Zimbabwe. I wonder if these fellows have ever gone
on empty stomachs for days or even failed to pay fees if at all they have

The time has come for all to swallow our pride and come to a round
table for the sake of that pove that used to slaughter their fattened cows
for the freedom fighters during the liberation war, and those students and
workers who jeopardised their education and careers for the Zimbabwe of 1980
to the present day Zimbabwe.

Zanu PF and the MDC could never have lasted this long if they had no
support from the suffering masses who they now chastise.

The same sacrifice I am calling for was made by the then Prime
Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe in 1980 when he called on former foes to
unite under a one Zimbabwe through the policy of reconciliation even though
he had a majority in parliament.

Tendai Madhanzi

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