Arrest Mugabe "Pinochet style", human rights lawyers demand in
Canada Fri 20 August 2004
JOHANNESBURG - A group of Zimbabweans
claiming to be victims of torture have asked the government of Canada to
indict President Robert Mugabe for crimes against humanity.
Canada's Attorney General, Irwin Cotler, approves the indictment, Mugabe and
officials of his government named in the order would be liable for arrest and
extradition to Canada in any country that has an extradition agreement with
Canadian human rights lawyer Amir Attaran, who is
representing the 98 Zimbabweans, told ZimOnline he filed papers earlier this
year with Cotler's office, charging Mugabe with 20 counts of crimes against
Some of Mugabe's ministers, police, military and
intelligence officers are also named as perpetrators of various crimes
including persecution, enforced disappearance of persons, torture and
extermination by denying people food. The charges carry life imprisonment
under Ottawa¹s Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act
Attaran, who is working on the case with fellow human
rights lawyer Craig Jones, said: "We have filed a draft indictment so that
Mugabe can be charged under the CHWCA. There are no immunity laws in Canada
so he is fair game. We need the attorney-general's approval though for the
indictment to go ahead. If the indictment is successful, then Mugabe can be
arrested Pinochet style."
Augusto Pinochet, the former
Chilean dictator, was arrested in 1998 while on a visit to London, after a
Spanish judge had issued a warrant of arrest against him for crimes against
Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and his
counterpart at Foreign Affairs could not be reached for comment
The draft indictment against Mugabe reads in part:
"Robert Gabriel Mugabe stands charged that he did, between 1987 and 2004
while serving as President of Zimbabwe, commit crimes against humanity within
the territory of Zimbabwe S as part of a widespread and systematic attack
directed against the civilian population of Zimbabwe."
said he had collected evidence from Zimbabweans who he said were tortured by
Mugabe's government or its agents. He said the victims included people who
claim they had been physically tortured by state security agents or by
militants of Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party or had been denied food on
political grounds, as well as some who had been forced to flee the country
for fear of victimisation by agents of the government.
Extradition Bid Committee comprising victims of torture, human rights
activists and lawyers has also been formed to collect more evidence to be
used against Mugabe.
The committee is headed by human rights lawyer
Gabriel Shumba, who himself had to flee Zimbabwe after being tortured by
Shumba said yesterday, "we have realised that Mugabe
and his acolytes will not relent in their bloodletting unless an example is
made that they are not above the law, at least in jurisdictions outside their
influence. The Canadian statute was framed in line with the Rome Statute of
the International Criminal Court and does not recognise absolute immunity
for sitting presidents."
An attempt to indict Mugabe in the
United Kingdom last year by some Zimbabweans also claiming to have been
tortured failed after the courts ruled that he enjoyed absolute immunity as a
head of state.
But another group of Zimbabweans, which included
opposition Movement for Democratic Change party legislator Evelyn Masaiti,
successfully sued Mugabe for damages in the United States of America in
Shumba said the latest effort to indict Mugabe was different
in that the victims were not seeking civil remedies but wanted to obtain a
warrant of arrest against Mugabe.
Cotler, who must approve or
turn down the proposed indictment, himself once called for the indictment of
the Zimbabwean leader before his appointme nt as attorney general.
Zimbabwe to introduce new banknotes? Fri 20 August
BULAWAYO - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is understood to
be considering introducing new Z $5 000, Z$10 000 and Z$20 000 notes
to replace its "bearer's cheques" because of widespread abuse of the
cheques, ZimOnline has learnt.
Bearer's cheques are a type of
paper money introduced by the RBZ when Zimbabwe ran out of banknotes last
year. The cheques are printed on paper and lack quality security features.
They expire after a given period.
Fraudsters and counterfeiters
have printed millions of the cheap quality cheques and offloaded them on to
the banking system. Banks, including the RBZ itself, have been left holding
several millions worth of the fake cheques.
RBZ governor Gideon
Gono confirmed the bearer's cheques were being abused but would not deny or
confirm that the central bank was now printing new and higher value bank
notes to curb the problem.
Gono said, "We are currently doing our
internal investigations. The public will be told in due course when we come
up with something."
In the latest incident involving fake bearer's
cheques, a Bulawayo branch of the partly state-owned Zimbank last week
intercepted more than Z$2 million worth of fake cheques from a client who
wanted to deposit them at the bank.
The bank's chief teller
said, "We come across such incidents very often these days from our clients.
It is very difficult to say who is behind all this because even from the RBZ
itself we get the money at times."
Another Bulawayo bank, Time
Bank, last month reportedly discovered Z$1.9 billion worth of fake cheques
among a batch of $10 billion worth of cheques supplied by the central bank.
Hungry youth programme trainees steal cattle and fish,
villagers claim Fri 20 August 2004
BULAWAYO - Hungry trainees
at a government National Youth Service Training Centre in Matabeleland North
province have allegedly resorted to cattle rustling and stealing food from
surrounding villages to survive, ZimOnline has learnt.
case the youths at the Kamativi Centre, which is understood to have run out
of food, are said to have stolen 15 head of cattle from a nearby
The youths are said to have slaughtered one of the beasts
and roasted some of the meat, before ferrying the rest to their
A villager, whose cattle were among those stolen and who
identified himself only as Moyo, said "Like most of the villagers I reported
the theft at Kamativi police station but up to now nothing has been done.
They (youths) are just doing as they wish because the police are not
responding to our pleas. We do not know what to do anymore."
Some fishermen, who earn a living by selling fish from a dam nearby, said
they had also fallen victim to the youths who they said regularly robbed them
of their catch. The fishermen also said police have not acted on reports
against the youths.
Provincial police spokesman Casper Nhepera
denied claims by villagers that police were ignoring such reports: "It is
true that we received such reports and as police we have done our part and
taken the docket to court. It is now the court's duty to bring them to book
and I understand they would be appearing in court soon."
Minister Ambrose Mutinhiri could not be reached for comment. Mutinhiri has in
the past rejected claims that the national youth service trainees commit
crimes including political violence. He said the youth programme trains
youths to be patriotic, well behaved and law-abiding citizens.
Human rights groups and churches accuse the youths of political violence and
human rights abuses against the government¹s political opponents.
'Mercenary' trial moves towards closure August 19 2004
Harare - The trial of 70 men held in Zimbabwe on charges
of plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea moved towards closure Thursday, with
both defence and state lawyers wrapping up their cases.
Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe ordered the men to be brought back to court on
Friday to hear the final arguments from the two sides.
coming here for (closing) addresses only," Guvamombe told the court, before
adjourning the case to Friday.
The 70 men were arrested in March,
most of them aboard a Boeing 727 that stopped off at Harare International
Airport to collect a consignment of weapons.
Three other men,
including the alleged ringleader, Briton Simon Mann and two weapons
inspectors, were arrested at Harare International Airport where they were
allegedly due to inspect a consignment of arms to be picked up by the
Zimbabwean authorities said the men were on their way to
overthrow the government of longtime leader of President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema, but they deny the charges, saying they were on their way to guard
diamond mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Zimbabweans have seen their living conditions rapidly
JOHANNESBURG, 19 Aug 2004 (IRIN) - Four in five Zimbabweans
went without food at least once last year, according to a new
The results of the Afrobarometer survey, released on Wednesday,
said more than half of all adult Zimbabweans (54 percent) thought current
living conditions were "bad", and the present generation thought they were
worse off than their parents (52 percent).
The Afrobarometer is an
independent survey conducted by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa,
the Centre for Democratic Development of Ghana and US-based Michigan State
University. An estimated 1,200 Zimbabweans across the country were polled in
May 2004 on how they felt about prevailing economic conditions and the
performance of political leaders.
About 82 percent of respondents said
they had been short of food at least once in the past year, a figure much
higher than in any of the 15 other African countries covered by the
The report also confirmed a recent finding by the International
Monetary Fund: Zimbabwe had the fastest shrinking economy in the world,
causing citizens to become "one-third poorer in the last five
Once the breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe has now become the
worst food-deficit country in Southern Africa.
In 2003 food aid was
distributed to over 5.2 million people - more than half the population - and
in April this year the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation forecast that
the country would produce only half its food needs for 2004/5.
decade ago, Zimbabwe's healthcare system was among the best in Africa. Today,
severe shortages of drugs and medical equipment are pushing hospitals and
clinics close to ruin. Between 1999 and 2002, while infant mortality rates
held steady in South Africa and declined in Malawi, they jumped by 15 percent
in Zimbabwe," the survey said.
The "very rapid deterioration" in food
security and medical care had "coincided with the period of land seizures,
drought, and the manipulation of food relief supplies as an instrument of
Inflation climbed to 620 percent in November 2003.
Unemployment currently stood at just over 60 percent and 91 percent of
respondents in 2004 said their families had been short of cash at some point
during the previous year.
After four years of political upheaval
Zimbabweans were losing faith in democracy, the survey found.
in 1999, many Zimbabweans firmly opposed the idea of one party rule (74
percent), by 2004 they were much less certain (58 percent).
also growing wariness of multiparty competiton as respondents said it "often
or always ... leads to conflict".
According to Afrobarometer, two-thirds
of adult Zimbabweans thought "problems in this country can only be solved if
[opposition] Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF sit down and talk
with one another". They preferred reconciliation to either continued ZANU-PF
resistance to talks (19 percent) or MDC's call for new elections (8
Just four percent of ordinary Zimbabweans mentioned land reform
as a priority national problem, while 76 percent said land acquisitions
should be done by legal means, with compensation for owners.
HARARE (Reuters) - A police investigator has told
Zimbabwe's trial of 70 suspected mercenaries, including several Britons, that
much of the group's equipment could be used by security guards, but arms such
as artillery were only used by the military.
Most of the 70 suspects
on trial in Harare pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of conspiring
to possess dangerous weapons in connection with an alleged plot to topple the
government of Equatorial Guinea.
Zimbabwe has held the men since March 7
when their plane landed in Harare en route for what Zimbabwe officials said
was a coup against the oil-rich West African state's leader, President
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
The group are all South African passports
holders but include men from Angola, Namibia and Britain. They say they were
headed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to guard mining
Defence lawyer Jonathan Samkange on Thursday cross-examined
police investigator Clemence Madzingo on equipment seized with the men, said
to include maps, uniforms and other items.
"Can you tell this court
which items could not be used by a security company especially in the DRC,
where you are expected to fight all sorts of people," Samkange
Madzingo conceded much of the equipment could be used by security
guards. But he added that other items the men are said to have sought to
purchase, including artillery, hand grenades, anti-tank missile launchers and
mortar bombs, were only used by military forces.
cannot use artillery, even in the DRC," he told a special court convened in
the Harare maximum-security prison where the men are being held.
month, 67 of the 70 suspects detained in Harare pleaded guilty on lesser
charges of contravening Zimbabwe's immigration and aviation laws.
Mann, a former member of Britain's special forces regarded as the group's
leader, pleaded guilty to attempting to possess dangerous weapons, but
rejected a charge of purchasing weapons in Zimbabwe, saying the deal never
A further 15 men are being held by Equatorial Guinea,
awaiting trial on charges of involvement in the coup plot.
Harare - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said on
Wednesday new "political systems" adopted at a regional summit in Mauritius
will prevent Western nations like Britain "interfering in the affairs" of
Southern African countries.
The long-time leader accused Zimbabwe's
former master Britain of harbouring colonial and neo-colonial tendencies, as
well as a desire to change regimes.
"I'm glad that we now have come up
with our own... guidelines," Mugabe told state television shortly after his
return from a two-day summit of the 13-nation Southern African Development
Community (SADC), held on the Indian Ocean island state.
"How can we
ever expect them (former colonisers) to have rules for us governing our
systems, which are equitable, which are in our favour?" he asked.
It's not enough
"That's not going to happen, especially when you have
characters like (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair who are very arrogant...
and pronounce themselves as ordained ones in charge of African systems and
ordained ones who have a divine role to change regimes."
At the summit
13 Southern African leaders approved a new regional charter on free and fair
elections that specifies how they should be conducted to guarantee
Incoming SADC chairman and Mauritian Prime Minister Paul
Berenger said the adoption of the charter would help the SADC to normalise
relations with the United States and European Union, which have imposed
targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his close associates for alleged
electoral and human rights abuses.
The main opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change has however said that electoral reforms
announced by Mugabe's government recently do not enough to provide a level
playing field ahead of next year's polls.
We have just
received an extremely disturbing report from someone who has just returned
from the Matetsi area. The details are a bit sketchy at this stage but we are
waiting for updates and photos.
Our informant has been working up in
the Matetsi for the past few weeks and he met up with some South African
hunters while he was there. He started speaking to them and was told that
they were engaged in a massive hunting expedition on a game ranch or
conservancy which he thinks previously belonged to Bill Cummings and has now
been taken over by settlers. He was invited to go and see their "kills" which
he did. When he arrived on the property, he saw a large number of Landcruiser
type vehicles with South African number plates and several tents pitched up.
He says these people are literally on a killing spree. Amongst the carcasses
he saw were lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant, kudu, sable, impala and even
baboon. He says there are dead impala hanging from the trees to attract
the leopard. He was invited to the abattoirs which was full of game
Our informant was told that one of the A2 settlers, a PTC worker
was paid USD 50 000 by the hunters.
We are extremely concerned about
this story because it could very well be happening in other places as well.
Due to the absence of Law and Order in Zimbabwe, hunting quotas are not being
adhered to and in any case, the quotas are based on fictitious numbers
because it is not known how many animals are left here.
We intend to
report this matter to the "authorities" for what it is worth and to propose
banning South African hunters from coming into Zimbabwe altogether because
they seem to be making money out of our desperate situation.
normal circumstances, we would immediately go up to Matetsi, accompanied by
National Parks officials to ensure that something is done but our funds are
completely exhausted after our last game relocation and we are now
ELEPHANT POPULATION DISPUTE
There has been a lot of
controversy recently since National Parks announced that Zimbabwe has 100 000
elephants, a number which the country can't sustain and hence the need to
Allegedly, 50 000 of these elephants are in the Hwange National
Park but we have been receiving reports for the past 9 months that it is
quite rare to see an elephant in Hwange. The tourists have been complaining
about the lack of elephants, so where are the 50 000 elephants? The
authorities have now explained that they are hiding in the "thick bush". One
of the reasons they give for want to cull is that the elephants have
destroyed the vegetation in Hwange so where then is the bush thick enough to
hide 50 000 elephants?
NEW HUNTING LODGE IN HWANGE
Lodge in Hwange, previously owned by Touch the Wild and which operated for
decades as a photographic safari camp only, will now operate as a hunting
lodge under the new ownership of Governor Orbert Mpofu.
SABLE EXPORTED TO
It has recently been reported that an extremely wealthy white
tycoon in Zimbabwe intends to export sable to Dubai next month. It is alleged
that the sable are to be used to persuade the Dubai government to allow
Zimbabwe to open a diplomatic mission there.
UPDATE ON RELOCATED
Finally, we do have some good news. We regularly check on the zebra
which we relocated to a safe area earlier on this year and the last time we
went there, we were delighted to discover that they are all very happy
and healthy and the zebra that had a snare wrapped around her leg has
given birth to a beautiful baby.
The ZCTF is no longer able to
continue with relocation of animals under threat due to lack of funds and the
slaughter of wildlife here continues unabated. Please take the time to read
the horrifying article attached and if anyone can assist us with funds so we
can continue our work, we will be extremely grateful.
Rodrigues Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force Phone 263 4
336710 Fax 263 4 339065 Mobile 263 11 603 213 www.zctf.mweb.co.zw
THE Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development Minister said on Tuesday it has dispatched a team of geologists,
metallurgists and mining engineers to the Forestry Commission-owned Tarka
Farm in Chimanimani to establish the extent of the gold deposits in the
"I expect the team of experts to present me with a preli-minary
report in the next two weeks," Mines and Mining Development Minister, Amos
Midzi, told New Ziana.
Hundreds of illegal gold panners have descended
on the farm in the past few months following news of the discovery of the
precious stone late last year.
The small town of Chi-manimani has
suddenly been transformed into a hive of activity as business people also
descended on it to sell their wares to the high spending gold panners.
Chi-manimani Rural District Council issued licences to at least 500 locals
who in turn invited their more expe-rienced colleagues from other centres to
extract the precious metal. It later emerged that there were irregularities
in issuing of the licences and that the gold deposits could be the richest in
Most of the gold that was being extracted was also not
finding its way to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, whose purchasing arm,
Fidelity Printers had set up shop at the farm. The presence of foreign
registered vehicles at the farm suggested that some of the gold was being
smuggled out of the country.
The government had to intervene to bring
sanity to the situation as it threatened to get out of control with some of
the panners engaging in criminal activities such as robbery and
Minister Midzi and his Environment and Tourism counterpart Francis
Nhema visited the farm towards the end of last month to assess the
The two ministers recom-mended that the extent of the gold
belt be verified and that mining activities be con-ducted in a systematic
Midzi returned to the farm on August 4, in the company of
Manicaland Governor retired Major General Mike Nyambuya and held meetings
with the local community and its leadership as well as representatives of the
illegal gold panners.
It was at that meeting that he ordered
operations to cease and all illegal gold panners to vacate the
The police immediately launched an operation code named 'Operation
Flush Out Gold Panners' as some of the panners went into hiding in the
mountains while local villagers harboured some.
At least 41 illegal
gold panners were arrested during the second week of the operation and 2,3 kg
of gold worth Z$16,4 million re-covered.
Police spokesperson for
Manicaland province, In-spector Edmund Maingire, confirmed to New Ziana that
the operation to flush out gold panners from the farm had been successful and
had seen all gold panning activities stop and all panners
Maingire said police were still present at the farm to ensure
that the panners did not return.
"All operations of panning within
Tarka Estate in Chima-nimani have stopped," he said.
He said all the
panners left the area when they realised that the police were serious in
their task to stop illegal gold panning at the farm.
The police were
aware that some of the illegal gold panners would make attempts to return to
the farm and carry on with their activities, he said.
The police are
providing protection to members of the team of experts while they perform
their duties, he said.
Agencies Last updated: 08/20/2004 01:24:06 ZIMBABWE will introduce some
electoral reforms in a by-election this year to fill a parliamentary seat
left vacant by the death of an opposition legislator, Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa said on Thursday.
President Robert Mugabe, under
pressure from the opposition and his southern African neighbours, last month
pledged wide-ranging electoral reforms before next March's parliamentary
The reforms, backed at a regional level by this week's summit
of Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Mauritius, follow
widespread criticism of Mugabe's re-election in 2002, which both the
opposition and some Western powers claim was rigged.
the new reforms to be introduced on a trial basis in the Seke constituency
just outside Harare did not require ratification by parliament. The seat fell
vacant with the death of MP Tumbare Mutasa.
He said in the poll, expected
before the end of the year, voting would be conducted in one day instead of
the traditional two days and ballot papers would be counted at separate
voting centres rather than one centralised location.
"There are other
electoral reforms which we cannot introduce but there are those we can
introduce without any legislative intervention," Chinamasa was quoted by
state television as saying.
"I have communicated this to electoral
officials and I have indicated that we will have as a trial run some of the
election reforms we have proposed during the by-election in Seke," Chinamasa
Other proposed reforms including the establishment of an
independent election body need parliamentary approval.
have been largely welcomed by the opposition Movment for Democratic Change
(MDC) as a step toward free and fair elections, although Mugabe's critics say
the long-time ruler has often resorted to other means, including intimidating
voters, to secure victory at the polls.
Zimbabwe delegation seeks Israeli business cooperation
Zimbabwean delegation includes representative of the country's agricultural,
vehicle, clothing and plastics sectors.
Hadas Manor 19 Aug 04
The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute is
hosting a delegation of Zimbabwean businesspeople seeking cooperative
ventures with Israeli companies. Zimbabwe Ministry of Lands,
Agriculture and Water principal director of agricultural services Dr.
Ntombana Regina Gata is heading the 36-member delegation, which landed
The Zimbabwean delegation includes representative of the
country's agricultural, vehicle, clothing and plastics sectors. They will be
briefed on possible cooperative ventures and meet representatives of
"PROPAGANDA WORKS" RESULTS OF AN OPINION SURVEY IN
ZIMBABWE Fri 20 August 2004
CAPE TOWN Zimbabweans are deeply
concerned about eroding standards of living but, paradoxically, increasingly
resigned to the dominance of the incumbent government. Political fear is
"rampant". These are some of the results of an independent opinion survey
released this week.
The survey was conducted by the Cape Town-based
Institute for Democracy in South Africa and two US- and Ghana-based research
centres and published under the title "The Power of Propaganda".
The conclusion of the study is: "Public opinion in Zimbabwe in 2004 is a
Zimbabweans "regard economic conditions in a generally
negative light and worry in the face of hunger, joblessness, and inflation
that their families are slipping into poverty. And they hold the
government¹s economic mismanagement responsible for perceived declines in
public welfare. On the political front, however, Zimbabweans are acquiescing
to ZANU-PF's dominance. Even as they continue to reject one-man
dictatorship, they are losing faith in multiparty democracy as a solution to
the country's woes and are increasingly tempted, perhaps out of weariness, to
try a single-party alternative. While ZANU-PF has not established itself as
a widely trusted institution, Robert Mugabe's popularity as president
has gradually increased, especially when compared to low overt support for
the opposition MDC and its leader."
The researchers ascribe the
"paradox" mainly to "the government's squeeze on the media, which in recent
years has denied citizens access to most sources of information except
Zimbabweans, the study says, "seem inclined
to trust the incumbent national president". 46 percent of respondents, when
asked whether they trusted the president, answered "a very great deal/ a
lot". 41 percent trust Mugabe "a little bit" or "not at all", and 13 percent
"don't know". Five years ago, when a similar survey was conducted, only 20
percent expressed their trust in Mugabe.
The leader of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) manages a trust rate of
18 percent, 70 percent trust him "a little bit" or "not at all", and 12
percent "don't know".
"While the electorate is far from fully
trustful of the political status quo under ZANU-PF, they are apparently
resigned to accept it when compared with an unknown and untested opposition
Support for the concept of democracy is decreasing,
according to the survey.. While in 1999, 71 percent of Zimbabweans "preferred
democracy to any other form of government", this percentage has "plummeted"
to 48 percent in 2004, the lowest figure in all 16 African countries surveyed
by the institutes.
"But democracy's loss does not automatically
mean autocracy's gain. As popular support for democracy has fallen,
acceptance of non-democratic government has not risen. Instead, Zimbabweans
are now more inclined to say that the form of government "doesn't matter"'
(18 percent), or that they "don't know" or "don't understand" the difference
between democracy and other forms of government (24 percent)."
The high number of people who "don't understand", say the researchers, "does
not signal an under-educated populace unversed in the meaning of democracy.
Instead, we see other possibilities. Some citizens may be genuinely confused
when trying to reconcile an observed gap between Zimbabwe's formal multiparty
constitution and ZANU-PF practices of suppressing all viable opposition.
Other people may be concerned that multiparty competition in Zimbabwe is
leading in a violent direction, which they do not welcome. Finally, in a
heated political atmosphere, many people may seek safe positions on
controversial questions by opting for noncommittal responses."
"Zimbabweans apparently do not confuse a tightly controlled dominant-party
system with a fully functioning liberal democracy. They are able to
recognize that all is not well with the operation of their political system..
For example, respondents express very low levels of satisfaction with "the
way democracy actually works in this country' (37 percent)".
short, people seem to recognize that the regime that is consolidating in
Zimbabwe is either a sham democracy or something other than a
60 percent of respondents declare themselves
"independent, undecided, or apolitical. In an election, their allegiance
would be up for grabs by either of the main political parties."
"Among the minority who declare a partisan identity in Zimbabwe,
which parties do they follow? In April 2004, more survey respondents were
willing to say that they identify with ZANU-PF (30 percent) than with MDC
(10 percent). (Thus) overt support for the ruling party has not increased
since 1999 (when 29 percent felt close), whereas MDC support has doubled
(from a barely perceptible 5 percent)."
Sympathy for political
parties varies according to population group: "First is age: while ZANU-PF
tends to draw older voters, MDC is more attractive to the young. Second is
residential location: while ZANU-PF has established its base in the
countryside, the urban areas are more likely to lean to opposition parties.
Third is region SWhereas ZANU-PF has a firm grip on the three Mashonaland
provinces, MDC controls Bulawayo and has made significant inroads into
Midlands, Manicaland and Matabeleland South."
caution: "It is essential to bear in mind, however, that the majority of
interviewees preferred to keep secret their partisan attachments. This was
especially true in Harare, Bulawayo, and the Matabeleland provinces, where
recent election results suggest that many MDC supporters concealed their true
preferences in the survey."
The study says the "paradox" between
the widespread perception of an eroding economy and standards of living and
the approval rate for the president is due to a mix of fear and
"There is no doubt that political fear is rampant in
Zimbabwe. More than four out of five of the country's citizens (83 percent)
say that, often or always, "people have to be careful what they say about
politics". This is a shameful record on a continent that has undergone a
flowering of political openness since 1990. S To put the same point another
way, only one out of twenty Zimbabweans (5 percent) feels free enough to say
that he or she "never" has to be careful about open political
The researchers concede that this fear of speaking
openly on political matters may also have influenced the results of their
"The younger people are, and the longer they have stayed in
school, the more likely they feel that 'you have to be very careful what you
say about politics.' In other words, the brightest young minds in Zimbabwe
feel the tightest pinch of speech restrictions. If these individuals
have marketable skills, they tend to leave the country, which only
contributes to national mediocrity and stagnation."
study shows that "those who trust government media are almost four times as
likely to rate the president positively as those who are distrustful (65
percent versus 17 percent). This huge difference strongly suggests that an
individual citizen's uncritical consumption of ZBC news bulletins will induce
him or her to support Mr. Mugabe. The government media outlets in Zimbabwe
concentrate heavily on news about the president, contain editorials that
trumpet the ZANU-PF line, run regular features celebrating Zimbabwe's
nationalist history, and display commercials promoting land invasion and
other revolutionary policies. To the extent that people trust the quality of
this information, they are apparently induced to become disciples of
the ZANU-PF leader. In short, for the segment of the population that
is willing to suspend disbelief and trust the government media,
propaganda apparently works."
"Daily consumption of radio news
has dropped (since 1999) by a third (from 60 to 41 percent) and, stunningly,
daily newspaper readership is down by half (from 24 percent to 12 percent).
These trends can be explained both by a deepening economic crisis (newspapers
and radio batteries are now too expensive for many people to afford) and by
the government's forced closure of important independent print outlets like
the Daily News. Yet access to the single official channel of television
news, the content of which is closely controlled by government, has remained
steady. As a result, urban dwellers are now more than twice as likely to get
their news from television rather than from newspapers and, as such, to face
a restricted diet of information."
On the economic front,
"in the opinion of ordinary Zimbabweans, daily life is a hard economic
grind. More than half of all adults (54 percent) consider that their own
living conditions in 2004 are 'bad.' Only 27 percent consider them 'good'.
Indeed, only three out of every one hundred Zimbabweans can find it within
themselves to pronounce their everyday standards of living as 'very
"As food production has slumped, so hunger has grown. Only
one out of four adult Zimbabweans (18 percent) report that they and their
families "never" went hungry during the previous year. Instead, some 41
percent experienced a shortage of food at least 'once or twice' or 'several
times', with a further 41 percent going without food 'many times' or
The survey was conducted in April 2004 and is based on
1200 interviews in all provinces of Zimbabwe. ZimOnline