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Zimbabwe sanctions depend on election - Canada 
OTTAWA, Feb. 25 — Canada edged away on Monday from the idea of applying Commonwealth sanctions against Zimbabwe in the near future, saying it wanted to see to what extent President Robert Mugabe interfered with an election set for next month.  
        Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham told reporters he was concerned by the decision of Zimbabwean authorities to charge opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with treason.
       But he said the Commonwealth grouping of 54 mainly British former colonies was primarily interested in ensuring the March 9-10 poll went fairly -- something many observers say is almost impossible given Mugabe's control over the levers of power.
       ''That's what we have to focus on at the moment. And after, if something goes wrong, will be the time to focus on where Zimbabwe should be and Mugabe should be in terms of the Commonwealth, sanctions and everything else,'' Graham said.
       Commonwealth leaders will hold a March 2-5 summit in Australia, which until recently had looked set to suspend Zimbabwe for breaking the grouping's democratic principles.
       But deep divisions are emerging inside the Commonwealth over how to deal with Zimbabwe and a meeting of the grouping's democratic watchdog body in London last month failed to agree on recommending suspension.
       The United States last week imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his inner circle to protest against an election campaign it called ''marred by political violence and intimidation.''
       Witnesses said Mugabe's followers stoned cars carrying observers from South Africa and the Commonwealth on Sunday.
       ''What we want is the observers there to do what they can for the people of Zimbabwe. If we pull them out now and apply sanctions now we lose that leverage. You might say 'This is not a lot' but it's better than nothing,'' said Graham, noting that Mugabe had not actually detained Tsvangirai.
       ''If he'd arrested him and actually physically interfered with his ability to conduct his campaign I agree it would be much more serious.
       ''But the important thing I want to keep an eye on at the moment is having our Commonwealth observers there, keeping an eye on how the elections are being conducted, controlling his ability to interfere with those elections.''
       Tsvangirai denied the treason charge and said it was part of the government's moves to wreck his campaign to oust Mugabe, who has held power since independence from Britain in 1980.
       The Movement for Democratic Change leader was summoned to police headquarters in Harare on Monday to answer questions over an alleged plot, based on a mysterious videotape, to assassinate the 78-year-old Mugabe.
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Treason video fails to win over Zimbabwe
The strange tale of a Canadian lobbying firm, a poorly doctored tape and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Chris McGreal, and Patrick Barkham in Sydney
Tuesday February 26, 2002
The Guardian
The treason charges filed yesterday against Morgan Tsvangirai boil down to this unusual scenario: the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition decided to assassinate President Robert Mugabe and launch a military coup - and hired a Canadian lobbying firm to organise it.
Sceptical Zimbabweans quipped that there was no shortage of people at home willing to bump off the president, and that the opposition hardly needed a foreign company to arrange talks with disgruntled army officers.
The scenario, set out in a doctored videotaped recording of Mr Tsvangirai, looked even more strange when it was revealed that the key player in the alleged plot was a former Israeli intelligence officer whose wife said she did not believe a word he said.
But that has not stopped Mr Mugabe's government from constructing an international conspiracy on which to string up Mr Tsvangirai ahead of Zimbabwe's presidential election, which takes place at the end of next week .
The "conspiracy" was revealed a fortnight ago in an Australian television documentary made by a journalist honoured for his work in East Timor and other difficult spots, Mark Davis.
The core of the Dateline programme was grainy video footage that Davis claimed had been given to him by a secret source. The transcript said that the video showed Mr Tsvangirai attempting to recruit a Canadian political consultancy, Dickens and Madson, to murder Mr Mugabe.
Mr Davis also said that he had audio evidence of two meetings at the RAC club in London with Mr Tsvangirai and Dickens and Madson.
According to the Dateline documentary, the firm was promised lucrative government contracts if Mr Tsvangirai took power.
The MDC leader did not deny meeting the firm but says that it was at the consultants' invitation because they had offered advice on how to deal with the press and political issues in north America. In other words, he had been set up.
The highly propagandist state-owned press in Harare went wild. The day after the Australian documentary, the ever more fantastic Herald newspaper proclaimed that there was a "Plot to Kill President - Covert Plot Hatched in UK and Canada".
Night after night for a fortnight, state television news reshowed the same six minutes of video that it claimed proved Mr Tsvangirai was asking the Canadians to help kill Mr Mugabe. But then came the questions.
It was quickly spotted that the timing on the video record ing was jumping all over the place, and it was readily evident that it had been doctored. What Mr Tsvangirai said at one point was immediately followed by a sentence he said 20 minutes earlier to make it sound as if it were all one statement.
Then there were the subtitles added by Zimbabwe television, supposedly showing what Mr Tsvangirai said, which bore no relation to the words coming out of his mouth. Crucially, the subtitles had Mr Tsvangirai saying the word "eliminate" in reference to Mr Mugabe. In fact he never uttered the word, but the sound was so poor hardly anyone could tell.
State television cut out sections of the video where Mr Tsvangirai made it clear that he did not want army intervention and that in the event of President Mugabe's death his vice-president should take power.
The Media Monitoring Project, an influential independent watchdog in Zimbabwe, poured scorn on the use of the video.
"Careful scrutiny of the contents of the clips shown on ZTV, however, raise doubts about the integrity of the Dickens and Madson officials and anybody who wanted to use them to incriminate the MDC leader," it said.
In the acres of space it has given to the issue, the Herald more than once claimed that Mr Tsvangirai "repeated his demands for the elimination of President Mugabe".
But the only person who uses the word eliminate at the meeting is Ari Ben-Menashe, the head of Dickens and Madson, who gave the tape to Mr Mugabe's government.
He has since admitted that he has been a "friend" of Mr Mugabe for 15 years, and has done a lot of business with him.
Iraqi-born Mr Ben-Menashe worked for Israel's military intelligence and was once a deputy chief of Mossad. He was accused of lying under oath to the US Congress about the Iran-contra affair during Ronald Reagan's presidency.
He also sold false stories to gullible reporters about Israel's atomic bomb. Ten years ago, the Jerusalem Post called him a "notorious and chronic liar".
Dickens and Madson has been heavily involved in Africa's bloody diamond trade, an enterprise from which Zimbabwe's military has made vast profits since its military intervention in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Other questions have also arisen - and have gone unanswered. Mr Ben-Menashe admitted he handed the tape to Zimbabwean officials six months ago, but it was only made public weeks before the presidential election.
And how was it that Davis was allowed into Zimbabwe when other foreign journalists were banned, let alone given an interview with a president who goes to great lengths to avoid the press? Davis has not been making himself available for interviews.
Above all, why should the opposition leader turn to a foreign consultancy firm to murder the president? Mr Ben-Menashe has an answer to that one.
"That's a question you have to put to him. Maybe because he heard I worked for Israeli intelligence in the past or he read my book," he said. "He [Tsvangirai] wanted a company to assassinate the president and to arrange a coup in Zimbabwe. We do consultancy work, we do political advice, we do lobbying. We don't do military stuff."
The charge of treason against Mr Tsvangirai came as no great surprise. But his immediate release was unusual given the gravity of the charge.
The MDC leader can be re-arrested and held at any point, but perhaps at this stage the government considers it enough to leave the impression that Mr Tsvangirai is no longer a credible candidate, even though he cannot be forced out of the race.
Much of the barrage of propaganda to which Zimbabweans are subjected daily is aimed at sowing doubt, and at creating confusion as much as terror.
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ABC News
Britain, U.S. Blast Mugabe After Rival Charged
Feb. 25
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - The United States and Britain accused President Robert Mugabe of trying to fix presidential elections after police charged his main rival with treason on Monday, just two weeks before Zimbabweans go to the polls.
Tsvangirai, who presents the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's 22-year rule, was charged after being summoned to police headquarters to answer questions over an alleged plot to assassinate the 78-year-old president.
But police did not try to detain him and Tsvangirai said he did not think the government would try to stop him from contesting the March 9-10 elections.
Former colonial ruler Britain said the treason charge was a further sign Mugabe was trying to fix the election.
"Coming just days before the presidential elections it looks like yet another attempt by the Mugabe regime to obstruct the conduct of the election and the ability of the people of Zimbabwe to choose freely and fairly who should lead them," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the charge fell "against a backdrop of a well-documented campaign of violence and intimidation against the opposition."
"It appears to be another tragic example of President Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule, his government's apparent determination to intimidate and repress the opposition as we approach the...presidential election," he said.
"We are aware of no convincing evidence that there is any basis for these allegations," he said.
An Australian television channel broadcast video footage on February 13 which purported to show Tsvangirai discussing the possibility of "eliminating" Mugabe at a meeting in Montreal, Canada, last December.
Tsvangirai, who denies the charges, said his campaign would not be affected.
"I am going to continue with the campaign as usual. This will not affect our political determination," he said.
Solomon Nkiwane, a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe, said the treason charge appeared to be part of a broader strategy.
"I think what Mugabe is trying to do here is to dramatize the charges against Tsvangirai, to torture him psychologically with this charge while it hangs around him," he said.
But analysts said the treason charges could equally up the pressure on Mugabe by exposing him to even greater international scrutiny. The United States and European Union have already clamped sanctions on Mugabe his inner circle.
"It's doubled-edged because the international community will see this as political persecution and the international community will be forced to increase pressure that it has been putting on the Zimbabwe government," said one Harare-based international diplomat.
Canada edged away from the idea of immediate Commonwealth sanctions against Zimbabwe on Monday, but warned that it could envisage Zimbabwe's eventual suspension from the group of 54 mainly British former colonies if the elections were not fair.
Tension in the southern Africa country is rising rapidly ahead of the elections.
Last week, independent elections observers were caught up in an attack on an MDC office, police shot at Tsvangirai's campaign convoy, and self-styled liberation war veterans forced a white farmer and his family to flee their property.
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ITV News
Serious turn of events
16.34PM GMT, 25 Feb 2002
Tim Ewart, ITV News Africa Correspondent, reports from Zimbabwe.
This is beginning to look rather serious for Morgan Tsvangirai now.
The position is that he was summoned to see the police in Harare. This has happened on a number of previous occasions and he is well-used to being called-in in this way.
But this time he has been told that he is going to be charged with high treason, which is punishable by death in Zimbabwe.
He is being questioned by police over allegations he plotted to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.
It is not clear how this will affect the election. Voters in Zimbabwe are due to vote on March 9 and 10.
President Mugabe has said in the past that, even if Mr Tsvangirai faced criminal charges, he would still be able to stand in the election.
Events in Zimbabwe are now unfolding very rapidly and dramatically and this is potentially a very significant turn of events.
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Smart Sanctions: Who is in And Who is Out

The Insider (Harare)
February 25, 2002
Posted to the web February 25, 2002
Charles Rukuni
The much-heralded smart sanctions, which were imposed by the European Union on President Mugabe and his "inner circle" on February 18, do not even cover half his cabinet. Instead they seem to be targeted as his close advisers, and defence and security chiefs who have publicly stated that they will not salute to any leader who does not have credentials in the liberation struggle.
The sanctions include a ban on travel to the European Union countries and a freeze on assets that the 20 named individuals hold in financial institutions in the European Union. The measures apply to their families as well.
Top of the list is President Robert Mugabe and, therefore, his wife Grace. President Mugabe has been in power since 1980. Though once regarded a staunch socialist, who even wanted to impose a leadership code on his lieutenants, President Mugabe is said to have changed his lifestyle after the death of his first wife Sally. He married his former secretary Grace, who reports say has an appetite for high living and wants to shop at the top shops of Europe including Harrods in London. There have also been reports that he has stashed away millions and has bought properties in Scotland and Ireland, but Mugabe has persistently denied these rumours saying whoever is spreading these rumours should confiscate those properties and assets.
Second on the list is Mugabe's de facto number two, cabinet secretary Charles Utete. Utete has been one of Mugabe's closest advisers from the time he was Prime Minister. When the post of prime minister was abolished, Utete was considered the de facto Prime Minister as he is said to have a lot of say on who is appointed to what, including the country's diplomats and top civil servants.
Third is Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa is regarded as Mugabe's logical successor should he win the elections and step down. He has been Mugabe's closest adviser from the days of the liberation struggle when he was Mugabe's personal assistant. At independence he was appointed Security Minister and was largely responsible for the purge in Matebeleland when the government deployed members of Five Brigade to quash an uprising there. Mnangagwa is reported to be masterminding the party and government's investments, particularly in the Congo, where the United Nations has accused several governments, including Zimbabwe, of siphoning that country's resources.
Home Affairs Minister, John Nkomo, is the top former ZAPU official listed. Though playing a passive role both as a minister and chairman of the party, Nkomo was probably listed because of his role as minister in charge of the police. Police are largely being blamed for the breakdown of law. They are reported to have turned a blind eye on farm invasions by war veterans as well as violence against members of the opposition ostensibly carried out by ZANU-PF supporters and militias.
Nkomo is joined by defence and security chiefs: commander of the defence forces Vitalis Zvinavashe, head of the Central Intelligence Organisation Elisha Muzonzini, police commissioner Augustine Chihuri, prison chief Paradzai Zimondi, air force chief Perence Shiri, and army commander Constantine Chiwenga. All are former ZANLA, Mugabe's ZANU-PF liberation wing. Apart from backing Zvinavashe in stating that they would not bow to anyone without a liberation history, each has played a major role in propping Mugabe in one way or the other.
Another security chief on the list is Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi. Until his appointment last year, Sekeramayi was Minister of Security and was responsible for cleaning up the image of the Central Intelligence Organisation and professionalising it. He was also tipped one of the main contenders for the presidential post when it was believed that Mugabe would retire at the 1999 party congress. Generally quiet, Sekeramayi is regarded as a "smooth operator".
Nicholas Goche, the man who took over from Sekeremayi as Security minister was also listed. A former diplomat, Goche has been relatively quiet, mostly working behind the scenes. He is reported, however, to have been the front man in the "sting" operation which saw Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan Tsvangirai being exposed in an alleged plot to eliminate President Mugabe. One political observer argues, however, that though indeed, it might have been a "sting" operation, the MDC with its own intelligence, and information available on the internet, must have known what they were getting into.
"For the MDC, the possibility of gaining a favourable hearing in US ruling circles encouraged them to throw caution to the wind. It is entirely possible, moreover, that the company's past connections with ZANU-PF-PF were known to the MDC and that they regarded the approach as a sign that key supporters and members of Mugabe's coterie may be considering switching sides. Tsvangirai is a former general secretary of the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions. But rather than defending the interests of the millions of Zimbabwean workers or landless poor in the countryside, his main concern is to impress western investors and governments impatient to get their hands on the resources of the whole of southern Africa, including Zimbabwe," the observer said.
Another new comer to join the list is Elliot Manyika, Minister of Youth. Relatively unknown until the death of his predecessor Border Gezi last year, Manyika has catapulted to become one of the most powerful men in ZANU-PF. He is now the party's political commissar responsible for indoctrinating the youth. He has been dishing out millions of dollars to youths to invest in projects, perhaps in return for loyalty. He has also been responsible for training the young militias who are reportedly harassing people mostly in the rural areas.
Also on the list are Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, Secretary for Information George Charamba, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made, Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge and his secretary Willard Chiwewe.
Jonathan Moyo has been responsible for Mugabe's propaganda campaign and amending regulations governing the media. Moyo was one of Mugabe's strongest critics until he abandoned his research post at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa to become Mugabe's chief spin-doctor in the Constitutional Commission. Though defeated he has never looked back, earning himself a cabinet post after the 2000 elections. He has been responsible for amending broadcasting regulations to ensure that it bars non-indigenous operators. He has also amended the media laws to have greater control on journalists coming into the country as well as the operations of local journalists. Though regarded as one of Mugabe's closest advisers, whispers still abound that Moyo sneaked in to finish rather than build Mugabe.
Together with Moyo is his secretary George Charamba. Charamba has been a presidential spokesman from the days of Canaan Banana. At the time, however, he was overshadowed by the Director of Information, but he has since outmaneuvred everyone including Mugabe's spokespeople when he was Prime Minister such as Andrew Mutandwa and Lindiwe Sadza. Though softly spoken Charamba is now regarded as the kingmaker on who becomes who in the state-controlled media.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made was probably included because of his unshakable stance on the land issue. He has argued that the fast track programme, that western government are strongly opposed to, will work. He has shot down all arguments about the collapse of agriculture if white commercial farmers are kicked out. He may not get a chance to prove his point this season because of the drought. This is probably the same reason that Chombo was dragged in. As local government minister he is responsible for chiefs and infrastructure. There have, however, been whispers that Chombo is related to Mugabe and could therefore be a close adviser.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has been responsible for pushing through controversial legislation such as the Access to Information Bill, the Public Order and Security Act, and amendments to the electoral laws. But most importantly, Chinamasa has been responsible for the purge on judges that were considered to be anti-Mugabe, mostly white judges, replacing them with those considered to be loyal to Mugabe and his cause.
Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge as the country's chief diplomat has been responsible for defending Mugabe, and in some cases successfully lobbying organisations such as the Commonwealth, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community. Willard Chiwewe probably joins his minister in the same role. But until two years ago, he was considered a spent force when he was assigned to the department of information before it was revamped under Jonathan Moyo.
What is surprising about the list is the people omitted. Conspicuous by their absence are the country's two vice-presidents, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika. Muzenda has been Mugabe's "footsoldier" for years and has largely been responsible for keeping Mugabe in power as he is considered to represent the powerful, majority Karanga, because he is not seen personally as a threat to Mugabe who wants to avoid powerful Karangas like Eddison Zvobgo. A man down to earth, Muzenda easily appeals to traditional leaders ensuring strong support for Mugabe from the rural areas. When the Karanga started grumbling towards the end of the 1980s that power should now be passed from the Zezururs to them as they were demographically the majority, Muzenda was moved from Gweru to Gutu, thereby effectively becoming the most senior official in Masvingo, cutting down Zvobgo who had been the leader, reducing him to the level of Josiah Hungwe, hitherto an unknown.
Joseph Msika is the number three man in ZANU-PF and was chairman of the land committee. He continues to play a key role in the land issue, a role he took over from his predecessor Joshua Nkomo. Muzenda and Msika, like Nkomo before him, have been used by Mugabe as scapegoats to remain in power. He uses them to argue that he is not too old to retire, as his deputies are older than he is.
Also not on the list is Finance Minister Simba Makoni. Makoni was considered one of the professionals and technocrats who would persuade Mugabe to step down, but he has stuck on with him. Observers say if he had stepped down immediately after Industry and International Trade Minister Nkosana Moyo, this would have left a big dent in Mugabe's government.
Environment and Tourism Minister Francis Nhema is also out. But he is now regarded more of a failed businessman, just accommodated by Mugabe because he is Joshua Nkomo's son-in-law. Health Minister Timothy Stamps, Industry and International Trade Minister Herbert Murerwa, Education Ministers Samuel Mumbengegwi and Aeneas Chigwedere, attorney-general Andrew Chigovera, Rural Resources Minister Joyce Mujuru and vocal Ministers of State such as Olivia Muchena are all out and so are all the deputy ministers, provincial governors and diplomats.
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Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On Harare's Political Crisis

U.S. Senate (Washington, DC)
February 22, 2002
Posted to the web February 25, 2002
Johannesburg, South Africa - I had intended to travel to Zimbabwe this week and had applied for and was granted a visa for an official visit there. But my visa was revoked on February 6, and I was therefore unable to visit. I am extremely concerned about Zimbabwe's political crisis. Reports indicate that some 25 people have been killed in politically-motivated attacks since the start of the year. New laws have been announced that are clearly aimed at restricting the access of Zimbabweans to information and at manipulating the electoral system.
Reports suggest an upsurge in militia activity associated with the ruling party.

Many credible reports indicate that large numbers of citizens are being disenfranchised in ways such as having their ID cards confiscated, which renders them unable to vote, or having their names stricken from voter roles. I was not able to assess these reports with my own eyes because I was not permitted into the country. Apparently the government of Zimbabwe has something to hide.
When I was a student, I saw Mr. Mugabe as symbolizing a heroic struggle. But today, I am horrified, having read the reports and met with Zimbabweans who have been harassed, intimidated, and even tortured by a regime so desperate to hang on to power that it has turned on its own people. After many of my discussions this week in Africa, I am quite sure that many Africans are even more dismayed.
The leaders who espouse the values of the New Partnership for Africa's Development*, those who argue that there should be no double standards in Africa, must be horrified as well.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development is an initiative of African leaders and members of the G8 to promote development on the African continent.
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The Age, Melbourne

Aust threatens targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe
NUSA DUA, Bali, Indonesia, Feb 26 AAP|Published: Tuesday February 26, 5:04 PM
Australia today threatened targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe if opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was prevented from contesting next month's election.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australia would regard as "unacceptable" any move to stop Mr Tsvangirai from running in the poll.
Mr Tsvangirai has been charged with treason but said he would still challenge President Robert Mugabe in an election less than two weeks away.
The opposition leader denied the charge and claimed it was part of government attempts to upset his campaign to oust Mugabe, who has held power since independence from Britain in 1980.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader was summoned to police headquarters in Harare yesterday to answer questions over an alleged plot, based on a mysterious videotape, to assassinate the 78-year-old Mugabe, Reuters reported.
Mr Downer said Australia dismissed the conspiracy allegations.
"We regard this as without credibility," he told reporters after meeting with East Timor and Indonesia for trilateral talks in Bali.
"The Australian government believes there should be a free and fair election.
"If Mr Tsvangirai is taken out of the elections process altogether then that will obviously generate very strong international reaction.
"We would regard it as unacceptable to take him out of the election process.
"If the leader of the opposition isn't able to participate in the election, it's hardly going to be a free and fair election."
Mr Downer said the Commonwealth Monitoring Team, of which Australia forms part, would have to be withdrawn if they were unable to do their job and "if the election isn't able to proceed in a way that allows candidates to contest the election in a credible way".
He said that point had not been reached.
"If we reach a point where the Commonwealth was unable to do its job we will withdraw our monitors, we will recommend to the Commonwealth it withdraws its monitors and Australia will impose a series of targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe.
"This is very much in the balance now."
By Catharine Munro, South-East Asia Correspondent
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The Farmer
Don't be fooled

THERE is just a hint that the tactics used by Zimbabwe's ruling party against commercial farmers might be changing. Police, in some areas at least, have been reacting to cases of looting and trashing. Surprisingly, some people have even been arrested. Still, it would be a huge and very costly mistake to assume that there has been a change of thinking within ZANU-PF. There hasn't, at least not in that faction loyal to Mr Robert Mugabe.
The calls for a non-violent campaign have come far too late to be taken seriously. More to the point, they are the result of external pressure, principally from the worthy Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian head of state who met with Mr Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai when he was in Harare recently. There is every reason to believe that the government is decidedly miffed, not just over pressure from Nigeria, but also with pressure from the European Union.
Only the Commonwealth is behaving with its traditional whimpering cowardice and playing directly into Mr Mugabe's hands - oh, and a strangely uninformed and unconcerned Mr Thabo Mbeki. Mr Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth secretary general may well have made himself the laughing stock of the world when he announced that the Abuja Agreement was being adhered to by Mr Mugabe, but then Mr McKinnon has gained international repute for being consistently, spectacularly wrong every time he opens his mouth to discuss Zimbabwe.
Anyway… for some farmers last week provided welcome respite as violence was stepped down a notch. It was not universal, nor was it turned down in Zimbabwe's troubled townships and communal lands. Justice continued to be selectively applied, while Mr Mugabe's regime set in motion subtler, but just as dangerous, plans to ensure his victory next month. Notably the Electoral Supervisory Commission has been loaded with military personnel and war veterans who are obvious friends of the ruling party. It is also interesting that, despite an agreement to allow foreign journalists into Zimbabwe, two French journalists were denied entry last week.
In fact, it would be very silly to believe that the ruling party will end or even slow down its brutal campaign of violence. There will be show case examples for the benefit of the EU, South Africa and the risible Mr McKinnon, but far from the prying eyes of what remains of the press, people will continue to be bludgeoned, raped and murdered in the name of ZANU-PF dominion.
For organised agriculture, Mr Mugabe's ploy remains the same: he would like every farmer off the land and as many farm workers as possible dislodged from their homes before the nation goes to the polls on March 9 and 10. He wants this because he believes that farmers and their workers are natural allies of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The irony is that, when Mr Mugabe plunged the country into chaos 24 months ago, that was highly unlikely. Now it is true. Last weekend on a long-troubled Mashonaland East farm, workers asked specifically to speak with the independent press after they had endured yet another pungwe and several beatings. They said it would be better to go to war than endure another bout of loutish government under the current ruling party. They also said the only thing that stopped them beating their tormentors to a pulp were the farmers making repeated calls for calm.
Now would be as good a time as any to think about the future of Zimbabwe. Merchants of doom promise that the country will go to war if Mr Tsvangirai becomes Zimbabwe's next president. They shake their heads and promise that they have it on excellent authority that the army will back Mr Mugabe to the hilt. It must be true because someone told them so. Actually it's complete nonsense. The real threat to long term civil unrest in Zimbabwe comes from a win for Mr Mugabe - because the MDC leader will have great difficulty controlling the millions of young Zimbabweans who will, with every justification, cry foul.
Of course, there are respected (if not respectable) men out there, some of them farmers, who advocate material and financial assistance for ZANU-PF. They use the same excuse, claiming that an MDC victory will bring mayhem and bloodshed down on Zimbabweans. They say that despite the last two years of terror, Mr Mugabe will, as soon as he has won the election, restore the rule of law, get farmers back onto the land and bring normality back to the country. The people preaching this rubbish have nothing to base their assumptions on and they would be best ignored. Right now there is already mayhem and bloodshed and every single Zimbabwean knows exactly who is responsible for it. That is the reality, and doubters should not for a minute think that Professor Jonathan Moyo's absurd and foolish propaganda is having any effect at all, other than to make people laugh at him.
So… rather than be hopeful about an end to violence, which is just a ruse to confuse the outside world, Zimbabweans should take hope in other, far more real developments. Take Dr Eddison Zvobgo's wonderful humiliation of Professor Moyo in parliament, not to mention his refusal to campaign for Mr Mugabe in Masvingo Province. That is real cause for celebration. Calling Mr Mugabe's fast-track resettlement programme a "racist agrarian" enterprise was also nicely put - and so very true. Dr Zvobgo is in very real danger of becoming Zimbabwe's hero of the month - and if he carries on with his exquisite torture of the president's acolytes for much longer, he may end up being far more than that.
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The Farmer
Brace yourselves, but not for sanctions
FOUR critical events of the last few weeks will have considerable impact on the lives of all Zimbabweans - and farmers will certainly feel the impact. All four of these events were related, and all happened in rapid succession.
The first was the government's churlish decision not to grant Mr Pierre Schori, the head of the European Union's observer mission to Zimbabwe, the necessary accreditation. The second was the truculent, ham-fisted manner in which immigration officials, apparently at the behest of home affairs minister Mr John Nkomo, deported Mr Schori. The third and entirely expected occurrence was the EU's very proper decision to remove all of its observers - and the fourth was the inevitable decision to impose "smart sanctions" on Mr Mugabe and certain members of his elite inner circle.
The sanctions issue needs to be understood by every Zimbabwean of voting age because there is every danger that Mr Mugabe's treacherous propaganda machine will gain political mileage from it. He will tell the electorate that the Europeans have applied sanctions on Zimbabwe and that all Zimbabweans are to be punished.
That will be a blatant lie. The EU has not applied sanctions on Zimbabwe, and nor has the United States of America. Sanctions have been placed on Mr Mugabe and, by the Europeans, what looks like a sadly incomplete list of his closest colleagues. The restrictions placed on these senior ZANU-PF members will not in anyway affect the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans - and that needs to be explained to everyone. Even as the sanctions were being discussed, the ruling party's mischievous spin-doctors were implying that the entire country was affected, that all Zimbabweans would suffer.
The lie needs to be countered as a matter of urgency because there are hundreds of thousands of voters who will believe it. The less educated, among whom fall many farm workers and their families, need to be told that smart sanctions will not change their lives in any way. They need to be told that the sanctions affect only Mr Mugabe and some, though sadly not all, of his close aides and allies. On the contrary, both the EU and the US have pledged to continue helping with the process of recovery, while other countries displeased with the Zimbabwean regime have pledged to help with food aid.
There are just days now before Zimbabweans go to the polls and the better the electorate's understanding, the better the chance for a favourable outcome. Last minute voter education will make a difference - as will last minute countering of Professor Jonathan Moyo's dangerous, untruthful propaganda. Voters need to be told that their vote is secret, that no one, not the Central Intelligence Organisation, not the police, not ZANU-PF, not the Youth Brigades nor the war veterans have any means of ascertaining who voted for whom. Right now these people are out there, telling sadly gullible voters that there are satellites that can read ballot papers, that specially equipped cell phones monitor how people vote. This must, at all costs, be trashed for the rubbish it is. The message is clear: "Your vote is your secret."
An additional burden falls on farmers, one that will present opportunity as well as risk. They are the only people in the commercial farming districts of Zimbabwe with the ability to effectively observe whether fair play takes place. With all the brouhaha over observers and their accreditation, the fact that every Zimbabwean has a right to observe his own election has been overlooked. It's an opportunity not to be missed - especially as the Commercial Farmers' Union has been granted official status, though that particular issue should be treated with healthy caution.
There is an inescapable truth that should not be shied away from. Zimbabwe's presidential poll cannot, ever, under any circumstances, be described as free and fair. Far too much has happened for any sane person to come to that conclusion. If the June 2000 parliamentary elections were neither free nor fair - and they weren't - then the escalation of violence, intimidation, murder and lawlessness makes the presidential poll even less so.
Still, that is no excuse for complacency because in many very important ways, this is a battle for the country's survival - and the survival of organised agriculture in Zimbabwe. A last minute effort to get out there and provide as much assistance as humanly possible will help immeasurable. Many people, and perhaps farmers especially, will feel disheartened. They will say that it is beyond hope, that the population is too cowed to bring about any change to Zimbabwe. That is not true. Throughout Zimbabwe there are people who are bravely fighting back by standing up to tyranny and terror, but they need every little bit of help and encouragement they can get. Providing that assistance is a role farmers could assume without too much difficulty, albeit it with some risk.
It is also a good time to ignore, and even shun, the deluded few that advocate working for the continuation of this awful government's grip on Zimbabwe. That some of these men are powerful and even influential makes countering their heinous utterances even more important. None of them have achieved anything that can be described as beneficial to farmers. On the contrary, whether deliberately or short-sightedly, all they have done is increase the present ruling party's grip on power - and make no mistake, in some cases their work has been knowingly and deliberately on Mr Mugabe's behalf. They, too, stand in danger of ending up on those other, far more significant lists; the ones being fine-tuned in Brussels and Washington - and won't that be a fine day. ????????
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The Farmer
Here and there
THE ruling party cranked up its increasingly implausible propaganda machine, putting the opposition leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, in the spotlight. Stepping up the heat, the government flew the internationally slated Mr Ari Ben-Menashe into Harare, hoping he would add credibility to the claim that Mr Tsvangirai sought to have Mr Robert Mugabe assassinated.
Mr Mugabe turned 78, but the traditional celebrations were toned down. Still, chairman of the multi-national company, Lever Brothers, Mr Malcolm Hughes gave the president a cake. Mr Mugabe said he attributed his longevity to not smoking, not drinking and taking regular exercise.
The European Union pulled its 30-strong observer mission from Zimbabwe and imposed "smart sanctions" on Mr Mugabe and key members of his ruling elite. Many Zimbabweans were surprised that the vice presidents were not on the EU's list of people whose assets will be frozen - if they're ever discovered.
The president addressed poorly attended rallies in Matabeleland where he said that popular Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube should resign. The archbishop is a strong critic of Mr Mugabe's brutality.
Four people in Bikita died of cholera, while over a hundred others were said to be suffering from the illness.
It was reported that 26 people have died as a result of political violence so far this year. Between 70 000 and 125 000 have also been displaced as they fled ZANU-PF inspired terror tactics. Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum said that 159 people had reported torture, 62 had been kidnapped, four had been "disappeared" and three women had been raped.
Dr Sam Motsuenyane, the head of the South African Observer mission to Zimbabwe, said it was regrettable that ruling party supporters had attacked the Movement for Democratic Change's headquarters in Harare while the police allegedly looked on. "We will look into the matter with the relevant authorities," the South African said.
Two surveys conducted last week showed that Mr Robert Mugabe is unlikely to win the presidential election. One said that were it free and fair, he would receive as little as 25% of the vote.
Leader of the notorious Youth Brigades, the so-called "green bombers", Mr Elliot Manyika, recorded the ruling party's second musical album. Mr Manyika is also the country's youth minister. He won the Bindura constituency after a violent campaign following the death of former henchman, Mr Border Gezi who died in a strange motor accident.
The maize meal shortage worsened throughout the country with small riots breaking out at supermarkets that received deliveries. Meanwhile it was reported that the police used extra-judicial powers, forcing supermarkets to sell the precious food to cops before allowing the starving public access to the scarce commodity.
The Zimbabwe Independent weekly newspaper said that there was a link between controversial Israeli "political consultant" Mr Ari Ben-Menashe and shady diamond deals with ZANU-PF leaders. Mr Ben-Menashe's company, Dickens and Madson, produced what looks like a bogus video tape of MDC leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai discussing the assassination of Mr Robert Mugabe.
THE Swiss government said it was also considering imposing smart sanctions against Zimbabwe's ruling elite.
The Ethiopian prime minister Mr Meles Zenawi said he would like a new administration in Zimbabwe to send former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam back to Ethiopia. "That would give us cause for celebration," he said. Mengistu, who has been provided safe exile in Zimbabwe since he was deposed in 1991, committed some of the worst crimes against humanity Africa has seen.
Gay activist Peter Tatchell again called for Mr Robert Mugabe's arrest if the Zimbabwean leader attends a Commonwealth summit scheduled for Brisbane next month. Mr Tatchell has twice tried to perform citizen's arrests on the Zimbabwean strongman.
The United States of America last week urged African nations to take a stronger line with Zimbabwe. "There's no doubt about it, what Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe is bad for Zimbabwe, it's bad for its people and it's bad for the people of Africa," said US trade ambassador Mr Robert Zoellick.
South African journalists, alongside others from Europe, were refused accreditation to cover Zimbabwe's presidential election.
A personal assistant to Namibian president, Mr Sam Nujoma, was arrested for murder last week. Ephraim Dozze Ileka is alleged to have shot and killed a police sergeant Michael Sililo.
US President Mr George Bush travelled to communist China. He said the two countries were brought together by "a recognition of a new situation in the world and a recognition on our party that what is important is not a nation's internal political philosophy."
A German apparently went mad, setting off grenades in a school and opening fire with a high calibre rifle in a decorations supply company. He killed three people before taking his own life.
An Israeli helicopter fired a missile at the Palestinian Hamas movement's offices in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp last week. Two Palestinians were killed while eight others, some of them children, were injured in the attack.
Talks to solve the problem of who won the Madagascan presidential election bogged down and were declared a stalemate last week. It was said a second round of presidential elections would have to be held.
Former Yugoslav tyrant, Mr Slobodan Milosovik questioned witnesses in his trial for human rights abuses and ethnic cleansing. He is being tried at the Hague tribunal where he stands accused of genocide during the 1992 - 1995 war in Bosnia, as well as for crimes against humanity in Croatia in 1991 and in Kosovo in 1999.
Spanish prostitutes marched through Madrid's red light district with banners demanding more respect from the police. They were joined by colleagues from eastern Europe and Latin America. "We want the police to stop harassing us and for local businesses to understand that we also have rights," said a spokeswoman known only as Carmen from Ecuador. ????????
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Zim weighs heavily on rand
Johannesburg - The rand opened weaker on Tuesday, unsettled by news late on Monday that police had charged President Robert Mugabe's main rival with high treason, even though he was not detained.
At 08:40 the rand was trading 5c weaker at 11.45 against the US dollar, after initially moving to 11.49.
Traders said the currency would remain under pressure as the March 9-10 date for presidential elections approached, even though an official inquiry into the rand's steep slide late last year was keeping speculators at bay.
"I think the situation in Zimbabwe will get far worse than we've seen, which will negatively impact on the rand," a Johannesburg-based trader said.
"We'll battle to make headway from here."
He said the rand - which has recovered by about 18%from a record low of 13.85/$ on December 20 - was likely to remain within its recent range of 11.30 and 11.60 to the dollar.
But the longer it remained there, the longer it would develop a bias to moving weaker, above 11.50/$, he warned.
Worsening political violence in Zimbabwe and Mugabe's backing for illegal grabs of mainly white-owned commercial farmland was cited as a key reason for the rand's slide of 37% against the dollar last year.
Traders said that the market was unsettled by news that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had been charged with high treason over an alleged plot to assassinate the 78-year-old president - a charge that could carry the death penalty.
But police did not try to detain him and Tsvangirai said he did not think the government would try to stop him from contesting the elections.
Bonds also remained within their recent ranges, after weakening at the start of the week on jitters ahead of producer price data for January on Wednesday and consumer price figures for the same month, on Thursday.
Yields on the key R150 bond and the longer-dated R153 were little changed at 11.37% and 11.88% respectively.
In his Budget last week, finance minister Trevor Manuel provided the first official confirmation that the targeted CPIX inflation rate would exceed its 3% to 6% range in 2002, reaching an average of 6.9% over the year.
But markets are still wary of the outcome, especially with revisions to the basket of consumer goods surveyed due to take effect in the January data.
A Reuters survey of 13 economists predicted that CPIX inflation would rise by 6.9% in the year to January from 6.5% in December, after increases in prices for telecommunications, food, medical aid and fuel.
Statistics South Africa will also release gross domestic product figures for the final quarter of 2002 at 11:30 on Tuesday. But few surprises are expected from those numbers, after Manuel predicted a 2.2% increase for the year overall - down from 3.4% in 2000.
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Business Report
Zimbabwe's tobacco industry pivots on ballot box
From Bloomberg
February 26 2002 at 09:35AM

Harare - Last year, Zimbabwe was the second-largest exporter of tobacco, producing leaf for cigarettes such as Camel, Marlboro and Winston. Next year, it may rank nowhere.

Zimbabwe grows 20 percent of the tobacco that enhances the taste of cigarettes made by companies including Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds Tobacco Holdings. Export income has been as much as $600 million a year.

Now, Zimbabwe's land redistribution programme is choking the industry. Since the start of President Robert Mugabe's farm resettlement campaign two years ago, tobacco production has dropped by one-third.

If Mugabe wins the presidential election on March 9 and 10, half the 1 400 growers will have their acreage seized, shrinking crops to a level where tobacco buyers such as Standard Commercial say they will turn to rival Brazil.
"We don't like what we see," says Keith Merrick, the treasurer of North Carolina's Standard Commercial, one of three wholesalers buying most of Zimbabwe's crop. "Our customers like that tobacco, but our opinion is that there are substitutes."

Standard Commercial and rivals Dimon, Universal and British American Tobacco may scrap their investments in the country if production falls by half to 85 million kilograms next year, says Denise Watt, an official of Harare's Tobacco Sales Floors, the biggest tobacco market.

"Anything less than 150 million kilograms and the interest in our crop will fall dramatically," says Watt. "All the hard work we've put into maintaining our position in the world market will be for nothing."

A smaller crop would cut the profits that the largest tobacco leaf merchants make from running their warehouses and sending buyers to Zimbabwe, making it cheaper for them to focus on Brazil's expanding industry. The departure of these buyers would bankrupt Zimbabwe farmers.

At the same time, it may help competing countries as more buyers would go after their crops, boosting prices.

Zimbabwe tobacco last year sold for an average of $1.75 a kilogram, less than the $4.01 fetched by similar leaf grown in the US and more than Brazil's average of $1.17, according to Rodney Ambrose, the marketing director of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, which represents growers.

"International buyers are losing their patience," he says.

Zimbabwe's tobacco industry began in 1894 and now dominates the trade of top-quality tobacco, known as flue-cured tobacco, together with Brazil and the US. This type of leaf makes up more than 90 percent of each country's tobacco exports.

Brazil exported some 260 million kilograms of flue-cured tobacco last year, or about one-third of the highest-quality leaf, according to Ambrose. Zimbabwe was in second place, with 198 million kilograms, and the US third, with 120 million kilograms.

One kilogram of tobacco makes 1 000 cigarettes.

Tobacco provides one-third of Zimbabwe's export income and 150 000 jobs in the nation of 12 million people.

"Assuming the government continues with its land programme, the future looks bleak," says Pat Ashton. He grew tobacco about 110km northeast of Harare until last month, when he was beaten and forced off his property.

Tobacco sales are scheduled to start in early May, just two months after the elections. The army has threatened a coup if Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, wins. Violence may be another deterrent to buyers.
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From News24 (SA), 25 February

Zuma cancels Harare trip

Harare - Deputy President Jacob Zuma on Monday cancelled his trip to Zimbabwe where he was to meet his Zimbabwean counterpart, Simon Muzenda. Zuma's spokesperson, Lakela Kaunda, said the planned trip was called off after Muzenda took ill, causing an indefinite postponement. Earlier reports indicated that Zuma would have held talks with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe. Officials at the South African embassy in Harare confirmed the trip, but would not provide details on his visit. The trip would have come less than two weeks ahead of hotly contested presidential elections, in which Mugabe is trying to extend his 22-year rule against a tough challenge from former labour leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Violence has marred the run-up to the election, and two South African observers were attacked on Friday while they were visiting the offices of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the central town of Kwekwe. After another attack on Sunday, apparently by pro-Mugabe militants, the leader of the South African mission said on Monday she had asked for police protection for her team.

"Of course I'm very anxious. It is my responsibility to ensure all the time the safety of the delegation. I've been liaising with police in Harare and Chinhoyi to ensure that the lives of the observers are safe," Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, head of the South African team, told reporters in Harare. But Mapisa-Nqakula declined to blame Mugabe's supporters for Sunday's incident, saying it was too soon for her 20-member parliamentary mission to make any judgement about the campaign for the March 9-10 presidential election. "It is very early for the delegation to make a judgement as to the fairness and freeness of the poll," she said. "This one incident has not led us to a conclusion as to whether the election will be free and fair." European Union observers pulled out last week after the government refused to accredit their Swedish leader, leaving mainly African and Commonwealth observers to determine whether increasing violence will prevent a free and fair election.
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From ZWNews, 25 February

Marondera businessman detained and assaulted

On Saturday afternoon, a Marondera businessman and MDC supporter Han Christen was accosted at his home by a large group of unidentified men. He was removed from the premises under protest and it took more than five hours before the local police confirmed that he was being detained at their jail. On Sunday morning it was ascertained that he had been physically assaulted during almost twelve hours of questioning. Despite the courts being available to hear his case on Monday. he was removed from the Marondera police station late on Sunday and placed in custody at the small rural police station at Macheke. On Monday evening, the Officer-in-Charge of Macheke police station admitted that he was unsure why the prisoner had been placed in his custody, but refused to accept medication for him -referring all enquires back to Marondera police station. Since Christen’s arrest, it has come to light that there are at least fourteen other people in Marondera and Macheke police stations who have received worse treatment and are yet to be charged.
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Mugabe rival vows to fight on

February 26, 2002 Posted: 3:08 AM EST (0808 GMT)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition candidate in the forthcoming presidential election, is vowing to fight on despite a high treason charge against him.
CNN's Jeff Koinange said Tsvangirai had insisted to him he would win the poll "hands down, even if in jail or in the grave."
"These are contrived charges," Tsvangirai said about his arrest concerning an alleged attempt to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.
He called it a "conspiracy to undermine my political image in the country" ahead of the election on March 9-10.
The U.S. and Britain both had sharp words for Mugabe over the affair, both accusing him of attempting to rig the presidential poll.
Tsvangirai was questioned at a police station in Harare on Monday before being told the charges would be pressed. He was then released and told he would be summoned later.
"I am concerned this is part of orchestrated campaign which the government would like to whip up emotions among their supporters and find me guilty before I even appeared before the court of law, and cause a lot of commotion in country."
 Violence is expected to rise in Zimbabwe with just two weeks left in a bitter presidential campaign. CNN's Lisa Mirando reports 

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In Zimbabwe, high treason is punishable by death.
"This will not have any affect on my campaign," Tsvangirai said. "The intention is to damage my reputation in the country, but people don't consider this as important. What is important is the salvation of people, lack of jobs and the economy. Those are the most preoccupying issues for Zimbabweans."
The allegations stem from a videotape of a meeting in Montreal, Canada, in which Tsvangirai is said to be seen talking with others about "eliminating" Mugabe.
Tsvangirai, who heads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, contends he was pushed in the meeting to discuss certain subjects and use certain words so the tape could then be altered by his political foes.
Tsvangirai said he would not be "disqualified" because of this. He said it is "improbable" for the government to bring him before the court.
"Even if they try me in the court system and find me guilty, there is no way in the constitution which disqualifies you," he said.
Tsvangirai talked to CNN's Koinange about the videotape. He said that the meeting was with a lobbying group, Dickens and Madison, which had been working for the Movement for Democratic Change.
He said was being asked "in the event the president does die" what would happen.
Tsvangirai answered there was a system of rules for presidential succession and explained them. He said he did not realise that the lobbyists also worked for Mugabe's party. He said he and his party will take legal action against the firm.

Tsvangirai leaves his home for questioning at police HQ in Harare   
Tsvangirai said he was being pushed by someone from the lobby group to say the word "eliminate," but he did not admit to using the word.
Former colonial ruler Britain said the treason charge was a further sign Mugabe was trying to fix the election.
"Coming just days before the presidential elections it looks like yet another attempt by the Mugabe regime to obstruct the conduct of the election and the ability of the people of Zimbabwe to choose freely and fairly who should lead them," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said.
U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the charge fell "against a backdrop of a well-documented campaign of violence and intimidation against the opposition."
"It appears to be another tragic example of President Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule, his government's apparent determination to intimidate and repress the opposition as we approach the... presidential election," he said.
"We are aware of no convincing evidence that there is any basis for these allegations," he said.
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