The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
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Melbourne Age
Three Kiwis to be sent to Zimbabwe as election observers
Three New Zealanders will be among the 35-strong Commonwealth group sent to Zimbabwe to observe that country's elections, Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said today.
He told NZPA he had spoken to Commonwealth secretary-general Don McKinnon in the past 24 hours and had agreed to send three New Zealanders as election monitors.
"I'm in the process of selecting those people at the moment," he said. "I'm looking at people who know Zimbabwe well."
He would discuss who would go with Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Three New Zealanders, including former Zimbabwe high commissioner Chris Laidlaw, observed Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in June 2000.
Goff said the New Zealanders would go to Zimbabwe before February 23 and stay there in the days after the election on March 9-10.
Goff is in Durban part-way through a trip to Mozambique, South Africa and Botswana - three of Zimbabwe's closest neighbours.
Last week, the eight-member Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), the organisation's democracy watchdog, rejected British-led calls for Zimbabwe's suspension to punish President Robert Mugabe for a pre-election clampdown on political opponents.
It called instead for the immediate deployment of election observers to Zimbabwe.
The move disappointed Goff who wanted the European Union, the Commonwealth and other countries to expel the country and impose targeted sanctions.
Goff said today he was explaining New Zealand's position in discussions with ministers from the three countries he was visiting.
He was also trying to understand why those countries had taken a "cautious" approach in their public comments on Zimbabwe.
What was happening in Zimbabwe was reflecting on the region, yet Mugabe was dismissing criticism as coming only from white Commonwealth countries.
He wanted to "encourage" Zimbabwe's neighbours "in a variety of different ways to put pressure on".
Goff said decisions over Zimbabwe - its suspension from the Commonwealth and the imposition of "smart sanctions" - had to be made before the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Australia next month.
Action had to follow the words of condemnation, he said.
Goff goes to Botswana tomorrow and will meet with his Botswanan counterpart, who chairs CMAG.
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Zimbabwe opposition leader stands up to coup threats from military

Andrew Meldrum in Mutare, eastern Zimbabwe
Monday February 4, 2002
The Guardian

The Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has faced down senior military officers who have threatened a coup if he wins next month's presidential election, by saying that he will sack them.
Last month, the army high command said it would not recognise any government that did not adhere to the aims of the "revolution", and that any president was confined to a "straitjacket", taken to mean that he could not pursue policies the military does not like.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has until now avoided direct confrontation with the military, but at the launch yesterday of his campaign for the March 9 and 10 election, Mr Tsvangirai told supporters that he would sack army officers who did not have "the professional integrity to respect your vote".
The MDC candidate has further angered the military leadership by pledging to pull 10,000 Zimbabwean troops out of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It would be a popular move with the rank and file who do the fighting, but senior officers and ruling party officials have grown rich from mining and other contracts since the military intervention in Congo.
"When we come to power, we will plan an orderly withdrawal from the Congo war where our men are dying and our dollars are being wasted," Mr Tsvangirai said.
At an election rally at the weekend, President Robert Mugabe focused on two favoured targets: Britain and gays. He accused Tony Blair of trying to overthrow him because of the president's opposition to homosexuality, and said that the British cabinet was "full of gays".
"I have people who are married in my cabinet. He has homosexuals and they make John marry Joseph and let Mary get married to Rosemary," Mr Mugabe said on Saturday. "We are saying they do not know biology because even dogs and pigs know biology. We can form clubs, but we will never have homosexual clubs. We will punish them."
Mr Mugabe has repeatedly attempted to portray the MDC as a British-funded front for white interests. Mr Tsvangirai responded by accusing the president of reducing the country to anarchy in a desperate bid to hang on to power.
"There is anarchy in our country. Is there a person here who has not been affected by violence and beatings? I promise there will be law and order," he said.
Mr Tsvangirai urged his supporters not to seek revenge for the widespread political violence by the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Residents in Mutare had reported that they were threatened with beatings and even death if they attended the opposition rally. The threats reportedly came from Zanu-PF officials, who went from door to door, escorted by police officers.
Mr Mugabe is due to sign into law a repressive press bill which was finally passed by parliament last Thursday and which critics say will stifle criticism of the regime during the election campaign. The bill provoked a public split in Zanu-PF.
The European Union is due to announce today what measures it will take to encourage free and fair elections.
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The Telegraph
Standing up to Mugabe
(Filed: 04/02/2002)

EUROPEAN Union censure of Robert Mugabe amounts to beating him with a feather duster. Less than five weeks before Zimbabwe's presidential election, the 15 have decided that obstruction of their monitors, who have yet to arrive in Harare, will lead them to consider imposing sanctions targeted at the president and his henchmen.
Yet such a yardstick allows ample scope for fudge to EU ministers reluctant for a showdown with Mr Mugabe. The president could persuade the EU that certain of its members be excluded or that the monitors be part of a wider African, Caribbean and Pacific delegation. And, once they had arrived in Zimbabwe, he could severely restrict their movements.
A sounder trigger for imposing sanctions would have been the passage, completed last week, of the draconian public order and media bills. The president is conducting a reign of terror through the army, police, "war veterans", Zanu-PF youth brigade and, the latest manifestation of thuggery, the green-uniformed "terror teens". He has wrecked the economy to such an extent that Zimbabwe is running out of its main staple, maize. The charge sheet is already quite long enough to merit punishment from Western countries that have repeatedly called for good governance in Africa. If the EU were to take the lead, the United States, which has signed an enabling bill into law, could follow suit.
In the Commonwealth, the other forum where Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, has belatedly made a pretence of standing up to Mr Mugabe, the feeling of solidarity between one black African leader and another has doomed effective action from the start. The policy of engagement, being promoted by Don McKinnon, the secretary-general, as late as last week, has long proved a farce; Mr Mugabe deserves to be treated as a pariah. The main finger of blame, however, points at Thabo Mbeki. The South African president speaks frequently of an African renaissance, yet allows a bankrupt tyranny on his doorstep to make a mockery of that claim. Over Zimbabwe, despite the threat its implosion poses to his own economy, he is incurably complacent.
The indifference of the outside world to Mr Mugabe's increasingly Maoist regime bodes ill for his domestic opponents, led by Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change. If the president cannot win the election fairly, he will rig it. If that provokes unrest, he will suppress it brutally, as he did during food riots in 1998 and 2000. The prospect is for indefinite rule by a man whose willingness to ruin the country for the sake of political survival is insane. Such an opponent is undoubtedly difficult to dislodge. But, to date, the outside world has not really tried.
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Gulf Daily News
Zimbabwe police block opposition rally 
Zimbabwe police mounted roadblocks yesterday as opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai prepared to launch his presidential election campaign, seen as the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's 22-year rule.
Armed police blocked the road to a stadium in Mutare, 300km east of Harare, where Tsvangirai was due to address his first Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) election rally five weeks before the March 9 and 10 vote.
Cars and buses snaked more than 2km to the stadium as armed policemen searched vehicles, insisting that MDC supporters produce identity documents before allowing them into the stadium. Those without were turned away.
Tsvangirai is seen as the biggest threat to Mugabe's re-election as president as Zimbabwe sinks into a crisis blamed largely on economic mismanagement and a controversial policy of seizing white-owned farms that has stunted the crucial agricultural sector.
Britain, the US and the European Union have threatened sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle if he fails to ensure the election is fair.
Zimbabwe has recently pushed through parliament a raft of legislation that opponents say sets the stage for a dictatorship. The latest, last Thursday, was a tough media bill that critics say will stifle debate in the run-up to the poll.
There was no confirmation in Harare of a report in the Johannesburg-based Independent on Sunday newspaper that Mugabe had bowed to international pressure and had decided not to sign the bill into law.
Instead, Mugabe once again took up his attack on Britain, saying he'd choose war rather than allow the former colonial ruler to dictate to Zimbabwe.
Mugabe threatened to punish gay groups at a campaign rally, saying Britain was angry at him for his stance against homosexuality.
Mugabe said British Prime Minister Tony Blair should "expose" his cabinet as full of gays before criticising Zimbabwe, according to the official Ziana news agency.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean Information Minister Jonathan Moyo faces legal action in South Africa and Kenya for allegedly embezzling millions of rand from the University of the Witwatersrand and the Ford Foundation, The Sunday Times reported.
Moyo is facing legal action by the University of the Witwatersrand for absconding with part of a 100 million rand research grant and is being sued by the Ford Foundation, a US aid agency, over an illegal transfer of more than one million rand (BD33,264) to a trust in South Africa, the report said.
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Arms to Africa scar Britain's conscience
As Tony Blair goes to Africa to pledge a new era of partnership, Britain's role as a leading supplier of arms to Africa continues to drain resources needed for development
Observer Worldview
Richard Bingley
Sunday February 3, 2002
The Observer
Tony Blair's messianic whistle-stop world tours - last month India and next week Africa - offer plenty of opportunity for Labour's spin doctors to drum up favourable publicity. Yet the reality that Britain's central role in the global arms trade fatally undermines the government's professed agenda of global development. British arms fuel conflict and divert extremely-scarce resources from development: they are a scar on the conscience of an internationalist Prime Minister.
Tony Blair and his international development secretary, Clare Short will talk about how they can play a role in shedding Africa of its violent and colonial past. Blair wants to set out a new vision of British interests, no longer shaped by neo-colonial turf wars or self-serving capitalists. Blair and Short say, too, that they want to work in partnership with those African governments committed to health, education and human development. One very obvious way to reduce tension and pressure states into spending more on domestic development is to reduce arms sales. Britain is the world's second largest arms vendor and has some clout here both as a supplier and by setting an example of restraint.
Blair's peace-building trip to an Indian sub-continent perilously close to war between two nuclear states ended in a publicity sting - as The Guardian revealed that British companies were being sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry to attend an arms exhibition in Delhi at the end of this month. In Africa too, Blair's government will be sponsoring companies to attend an arms exhibition - Africa Aerospace and Defence 2002. The taxpayer, as we did two years ago, will also foot the bill for Defence Export Services Organisations (DESO), a dedicated department within the Ministry of Defence charged with assisting military exports, to make the trip to Africa. A South African general Julius Kriel, describes these exhibitions as "very much a show for Africa". Over 20 African countries including Algeria, Nigeria and Burundi attended the last. With government support, British companies are effectively enticing African governments to buy technology that many could either misuse or ill afford.
South Africa itself is still a country cruelly challenged by ubiquitous crime, HIV/Aids and homelessness. Nevertheless, Mr Blair personally visited the country in 1999 to lobby for a British chunk of a £4bn arms deal that South African defence officials eventually signed. In the same year, Clare Short's department for international development (DFID) granted a miserly £47.8m aid package to Pretoria.
Britain's commitment to "sustainable development" has also been called into question recently, by Britain granting an export licence for a £28m air traffic control system to Tanzania. Even the IMF, which is usually reticent about criticising specific acquisitions, announced loudly that Tanzania's local security concerns - which are mainly poachers - meant that it could have spent a quarter on an adequate system.
Of course, some will argue that it is "neo-colonial" of us in Britain to deliver homilies to our poorer brethren in Africa about what, or what they shouldn't, spend their money on. Perhaps this is a fair philosophical point. But it is less compelling than economic reasons to speak out against these increasing arms sales to Africa, many of which would not take place if they were not effectively subsidised by Britain.
The DTI has underwritten South Africa's purchase of BAE Hawk jets by £1.7bn. This means if the extremely fragile economy of South Africa defaults in payments to the UK, the taxpayer picks up the bill.
Tanzania is one of the poorest nations on earth. Its population is over half of Britain's, but its GDP is on the same keel as three of our major city councils. Part of the £750m of aid Tanzania received from the international community last year was £64m from London. Almost half of this went straight back into the hands of BAE engineers on the Isle of Wight.
Even more serious costs to Africa than the drain of economic resources are the continued exports that could be used dangerously to deny human rights or arbitrarily settle disputes. The problem of small arms is pandemic on that continent. Labour pushed for a non-legally binding EU Code of Conduct, which was accepted in 1998. Among other commitments, were "the respect of human rights" and the "preservation of regional peace, security and stability". Since Labour came to government, small arms (typically pistols, assault rifles and machine-guns) have been sanctioned for sale to Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Zambia. Amnesty International's latest report says that in Kenya "torturing by security officials is widespread". Moreover, Morocco and Western Sahara have been involved in a bitter border dispute, supervised by the United Nations. Labour decided to supply Hawk spare parts to Mugabe's air force right up to the beginning of 2000, despite Zimbabwe's involvement in the Congo war and internal political repression.
When Labour came to power it inherited export control laws from before the Second World War. This threw up (along with Tory government complicity) the "arms to Iraq affair' and weapons sales to states such as Indonesia which were guilty of immense breaches of international law. To counter the problems of this outdated and inadequate legislation, Labour recently introduced an export bill into parliament. Yet, to cross-party dismay, the government dropped a clause calling for arms exports to be stopped if they threatened "sustainable development". The bill will return to Parliament next week while Blair is in Africa - yet the government in opposing cross-party attempts to restore the clause.
British arms sales to Africa leaped from £52m (in 1999) to £125m a year later. When the applications for South African export licences tumble through the doors of the DTI, while cheques leave for Africa from DFID, we will in all likelihood be facing a situation where arms sales to the continent outnumber the aid Britain sends there. For many of us, watching Mr Blair strut through an anonymous street somewhere south of the Sahara next week, this sad equation provides yet another disappointing epitaph to a government that promised so much.
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Critics Warn of Catastrophe if Mugabe 'Steals' Election
February 3, 2002
Posted to the web February 3, 2002
Washington, DC
Zimbabwe's election campaign is finally underway. President Robert Mugabe and his ruling party, Zanu-PF, face a challenge on March 9-10 from Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change.
The past two years have seen a bitter political battle involving a rising tide of violence and a disastrous economic collapse. While Zanu-PF presents the battle in terms of an argument over whether agricultural land should be taken from white farmers and given to black Zimbabweans, the MDC and other critics say the land issue is being used by President Mugabe to whip up support for his re-election and justify dubbing his opponents a mouthpiece for the former colonial power, Britain.
Attempts by the international community, particularly South Africa, Nigeria, the United States, the EU and the Commonwealth, to persuade Harare to reduce the tension and play by fair rules, have met with little success. Violent intimidation has continued and, most recently, a number of new laws have been passed, apparently designed to give Mr Mugabe's party the advantage.
Mark Chavanduka, editor of one of Harare's independent newspapers, the Zimbabwe Standard and Eliphas Mukonoweshuro Professor of Politicial Science at the University of Zimbabwe, both strong critics of President Mugabe, are in the United States to press for increased international pressure on the government. Chavanduka was tortured in 1999, with his reporter, Ray Choto, and charged with treason for reporting a coup plot in the army.
The two men visited on February 1 and, in a wide-ranging interview, talked about what they believe are President Mugabe's strategies for winning the forthcoming election - in particular, a 'militarisation' of the election campaign machine, the reluctance of the international community to act against him and their fears for the future. Excerpts:
Would you say that, despite the passage of the latest laws, there is still a chance for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe?
Mark Chavanduka: There can't be. Because if you look at the new legislation, one of its more laughable provisions is that it makes it a crime to speak against President Mugabe, to criticize him or members of his senior cabinet. What I'm doing right now, by criticising him, I'm committing a crime. There can't be a fair election where one of the candidates is immune from criticism - how else can any other candidate present his credentials without attacking what he perceives to be the shortcomings of the incumbent?
You have to remember that all the previous legislation has not been removed from the statute books, so they're actually adding to all the legislation inherited from the colonial era. So we are now operating under a more repressive situation than under the colonial regime.
President Mugabe's apparent attitude is often seen by foreign press coverage as astonishing, and it sometimes seems as though he almost wants to be provocative. How does one explain that?
Mark Chavanduka:Well I don't think there's any other way of explaining it. Firstly, he's become totally impervious to any form of criticism or advice. And secondly his only preoccupation at the moment is how to stay in power; he's not too fussy about whether he uses legal or extra-legal means of doing it. So that is his mind set and he's not going to be worried too much by how the international community perceives his actions.
How do you deal with the accusation that the MDC has played into the hands of the former colonial masters and is a neo-colonial mouthpiece?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: It is cheap. We know Zanu-PF propaganda, I grew up in Zanu-PF and abandoned it at the first indications of dictatorship, so I know their strategies. Some of the things they are doing, what has that got to do with neo-colonialism? You arrive in a village you rape every child there, every woman there - what has that got to do with British neo-colonialism? We are dealing with a gang of rogues, thugs and criminals who will use any strategy to cast aspersions on a loyal, democratic and opposition party.
Why have the southern African nations in SADC been so ineffective in this crisis?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: The whole approach of the African Union and of the SADC and indeed, of the black diaspora, with very few exceptions, has been one of mind-boggling solidarity, regardless of the particular credentials of the regime that they seek fellowship with. But also you must understand that dictators are very much frightened of precedents. If you support the removal of a dictator in one country you are setting a precedent and giving an example to democratic forces in your own country to mobilize and gain more space for democratic freedoms.
Why, given the damage that the Zimbabwe situation has done to the South African economy and to the hopes that the region might become an economic powerhouse led by South Africa, has Mr Mbeki failed to get a grip on this situation?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: South Africa has been a major disappointment. There is a fear of a 'demonstration effect'. If you look at the constituents of the ANC, there is Cosatu [Confederation of South African Trade Unions], the SACP [South African Communist Party], and the main ANC. For Cosatu, read ZCTU [the Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions]: there is a real possibility of a parting of ways between the ANC and Cosatu and the Communist Party. Mbeki is afraid of the demonstration effect.
If a labour-based political party could mobilize opposition forces in Zimbabwe, what would stop the same thing happening in South Africa? And in South Africa it would be more effective because you have credible politicians who are lurking in the wings - Winnie Mandela who has been alienated from the main ANC politics, and the dark horse, Cyril Ramaphosa, with his very solid labour credentials: so I think it is in Mbeki's interest that the alternative in the offing in Zimbabwe is not viable - [the message being] "therefore, Cyril Ramaphosa, Cosatu, Winnie Mandela - think again."
Can we go back to Mugabe's motives? There is a view that he wants to stay in power and therefore this entire problem has been generated by his own personal ambition. But is there more to it than that? Are there other stake-holders in the army and elsewhere who stand to benefit from his victory and are determined to keep him in power?
Mark Chavanduka: There's no doubt that the top ranks in the army have benefited immensely from Mugabe's patronage, not least because of their operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). You have a situation where, as soon as they get into the DRC on military operations, the top brass of the army make a beeline to go and concentrate on their private business interests, so they are the people who are really benefiting from Mugabe's patronage system. But having said that, we understand that the army has been involved in political manoeuvres to seek assurances from the opposition that if Mugabe leaves, his safety is guaranteed and there are no retributions against him, so the army could continue to benefit, even under any other government. But to say that they are forcing Mugabe to stay in power, I don't think so; they are trying to secure sanctuary for him and having done that they are quite happy to see him go because they too realize that he's become a liability not only to the party, Zanu-PF, but to Zimbabwe as a whole.
So how can we explain his being so strong, if powerful blocs in the society don't want to see him continue in office?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: Well one thing we have to realize in the Mugabe power scenario is that, for a long time now, the difference between ordinary activities and crime has been very blurred and here we are not talking only about economic crime, but ordinary crimes like murder, torture and other things. So there are ministers in government who are really frightened about their fortunes in a new political dispensation. A new government coming to power in Zimbabwe might not necessarily pursue these people but that doesn't stop civilians from seeking justice in the courts.
There are also issues of economic plunder and pillage. Some of the ministers are extremely rich and it cannot be explained in terms of legitimate means. They have so much money overseas that it doesn't tally with their business activities at home and with their salary. So these are the fears that they have. Mark has mentioned one minister who is afraid of tomorrow because he has nowhere to run to; he cannot run in the region because they are waiting for him; he cannot run here to the US because of what is being put in place in terms of smart sanctions.
What we are beginning to see is that the elected lieutenants of Mugabe are not now playing a leading role in putting strategies for his survival; it is the non-elected [directly appointed] MPs who have been made ministers [without] any democratic credentials; we are talking of the minister of information, of agriculture, of justice; those are the people now with Mugabe's ear. They do not have any other constituency except Mugabe himself and they remain in power at Mugabe's pleasure.
There was an interesting article in the Financial Gazette saying Nigeria's President Obasanjo was recently trying to arrange behind the scenes for a guaranteed safe exit for Mugabe so that he could leave the country if he lost the election. Is that plausible?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: I think that the opposition has always had that position, that they do not believe it will be in the interest of the country to embark on politics of retribution and I think the leader of the opposition has on several occasions been on record as saying that. The only difference is that now he has approached the regional leaders and I know for certain he has written to President Obasanjo undertaking that there will be no retribution, that despite his soiled legacy, Mugabe still deserves some respect as the founding prime minister and the founding president of Zimbabwe.
Assuming free and fair elections, most press reports say the outcome would be very close. From that we have to assume that there is still a constituency very supportive of Zanu-PF. What is the basis for that support?
Mark Chavanduka: I'm not so sure that I agree that Zanu-PF still have that formidable level of support. Firstly there's going to be no free and fair election; but if that were going to be possible, it would not be a tight race at all. The vote would be overwhelmingly in favour of the opposition.
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: I think what you should also remember is that we have had a dry run of the presidential election in which Mugabe lost - the constitutional referendum. That's why Mugabe is now insisting that voting should not be on the basis of a national constituency. He wants it to be on the basis of parliamentary constituencies because he's realised that the strategy of intimidation works if people are restricted to a particular parliamentary constituency.
That is the reason why the MDC is going to court challenging that; they have won in the court of law, the High Court, but I think Zanu-PF is appealing now to the Supreme Court because they do not want to abandon the constituency approach to voting, even though in the past two presidential elections the whole country was turned into one national constituency. If that [referendum] had been a presidential election then Mugabe would have been out of power; they don't want a repetition of that in this election.
I think there is a marked denudation of Mugabe's support in his traditional stronghold, the rural areas. A piece of land does not mean anything to anybody if there are no support services, if there is no health, no education. The cost of living now in the rural areas is higher than in the urban areas! So you can see, on the basis of that, there has been a spectacular erosion of the support that Mugabe used to enjoy in the rural areas.
So it could be a close-shave election. If it is a close shave, the only reason will be that Zanu-PF has opened all the floodgates to rig the election. Of course this is what is happening; we're no longer talking about whether the election will be free and fair but of the magnitude of rigging. It is a foregone conclusion that the election is rigged; it stands rigged even before the first ballot is cast.
What's happening in Matabeleland?
Mark Chavanduka:I think Matabeleland is suffering in the same way that other provinces are. The Professor has [described elsewhere] the system of command centers which have been set up at national level and then replicated in all the provinces of the country. Basically these are structures which comprise the army, the police, the Central Intelligence Organisation, Zanu-PF youths and the militia. What they do is mobilize, through violence, support for Zanu-PF in the forthcoming elections and they have been brutalizing people in all the areas where the command structures are in place.
Matabeleland has not escaped that, so they are facing the same problem that others are. I think Zanu-PF to a certain extent has lost hope [there] because the people of Matabeleland were beaten up badly and killed during the time of the Gukurahunde [the war of repression waged by the Zimbabwe army in Matabeleland during the early '80s in which tens of thousands may have been killed] and in the last parliamentary elections, those provinces emerged as the strongest support bases for the MDC. So one would have thought that the government would have given up on those areas as lost provinces - but no, they have also been targeted for assault and intimidation.
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: What is happening on the ground in Zimbabwe now is that, for the first time since independence, there is a recognized official infrastructure of violence that permeates all the corners of the country - the command centre system that he referred to. Orders are rapidly transmitted from the command centre in Harare, in the shortest possible time. Why do we say that? Because we have seen the simultaneous occurrence of similar events throughout the country, like the closure of schools, for instance. One could only conclude that these orders must have been transmitted from the same source.
In the past they used to use underground party structures to perpetrate violence so that they could then afford plausible denial. That is gone. This structure we are talking about is above board; it operates and is perceived to be operating with chilling efficiency by everyone who cares to investigate its permeation in society.
Apart from the command centre system, we are also talking of the deployment of 18,000 soldiers in civilian clothes who are campaigning on behalf of the ruling party. So we are seeing a militarisation of the campaign structure; what is, in actual fact, in place are not civilian campaign structures but military command structures. For the opposition to penetrate the rural areas it would have to meet those structures with similarly militarized structures. And of course you are describing a civil war if that happens.
So is the MDC preparing to respond in kind?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: No, the MDC is not preparing for anything. Certainly they don't have the resources and they don't believe in violent confrontation of that nature. But of course, the patience of the ordinary civilians on the ground is wearing thin. You know, they are beginning to organize now to resist so that their neighbourhoods are not terrorized by these state-sponsored thugs. What I am only saying is that if you want a free and fair campaign the military structures have to be abandoned by the ruling party, otherwise the only way that the MDC can penetrate is if it has military structures of the same nature, which it does not have.
And presumably, you don't expect Zanu-PF to abandon those structures?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: Oh no, the government is not going to abandon those structures. They are going to ensure that they remain in place. The strategy is: "Let's go ahead and win the election by whatever methods and then after that, present the international community with a fait accompli: [they will] have to deal with the government that is in place." I think that is their strategy.
Do you think smart sanctions will have any effect? And where are the assets being held that will have to be frozen?
Mark Chavanduka: Definitely they will work. We have said that we prefer a system with staggered implementation of sanctions, it is much better than imposing blanket sanctions on Zimbabwe because, that way, you only serve to make the circumstance of the ordinary Zimbabwean more difficult. But if they are targeted at particular individuals...
Where the money is, is difficult to say - I wish I knew! - but a substantial part of it must be in Europe and the US. But it's going to be a very difficult task [to track it down] because a lot of it is hidden through various shell companies and syndicates which could be very difficult to trace.
The Commonwealth's failure to suspend Zimbabwe at the foreign ministers meeting in London: was it a surprise? A disappointment?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: Well I think we're starting to realize that the Commonwealth is a club that relies only on moral pressure, and they are very quick to give exceptions and excuses to any country that seriously erodes and abandons the values which they claim to be the basis of cooperation within the Commonwealth. I think the Commonwealth is a toothless bulldog.
What do you want the US to do?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: We have been trying to talk to anybody who would listen. That does not mean standing on street corners and giving out pamphlets. We were trying to look at opinion-makers within the establishment, the American government and try, in the first place, to discover the extent to which our perception of the problem is shared. From there we are trying to suggest ways in which the US, together with the rest of the international community, could find appropriate methods of engaging the Zimbabwean government to stop a catastrophe that is likely to happen in the event of a contested election; that has been our message. It is better, and less costly in terms of resources and human lives, that the government be engaged this side of the presidential poll.
Will the media survive the onslaught of the new legislation?
Mark Chavanduka: It depends on how far they are willing to go. We have already resolved to fight these laws where we can.
The latest example of one of their strategies is from yesterday [Jan 31, 2002]. We had three reporters arrested, one from The Standard and two from the Daily News; what they do is arrest reporters on spurious allegations and then they set long remand dates, so that papers and journalists might suffer financially under the weight of the legal bills. Those are quite heavy for us; for example after Ray [Choto] and I were arrested in 1999, our bill - which is not yet completely paid off - is over two million Zimbabwe dollars [currently US$36,000 although the Zimbabwe dollar has suffered a steep decline during the past two years]. There is no way that we could pay that bill on our own, the paper would have collapsed, so we got assistance from outside and we were able to continue fighting the case.
The government, even when it brings a case against us and loses, pays for it with taxpayers' money. We need funds to defend ourselves. But what they have done is to make it a crime for papers to receive material or financial support from outside to suffocate us financially.
We've decided on two things. One is to ignore the laws and continue fighting as we've been doing; and two, we've decided to put in place mechanisms to ensure that we can continue to receive external support. The government has been totally dishonest on the question of foreign funding because they made amendments to the Political Parties Finance Act to stop the opposition from receiving funds from abroad, yet we know they are receiving millions of dollars from Libya. So call it illegal or whatever, we are also putting in place our own mechanisms to enable us to survive.
This is a very bleak vision. What do you see in the future for Zimbabwe?
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro: Well it is frightening... one can only see a deluge. I don't think we're likely to experience any semblance of political normalcy. As long as Mugabe will have stolen the election and declares himself the president of Zimbabwe it will be a contested legitimacy. We are likely to see chronic instability, untold suffering, substantial departure of skilled manpower; we are likely to see the country being reduced to the level of peasant subsistence.
You mentioned that by talking to us in this way, you may be committing a crime in terms of the recent legislation. What do you think will happen when you return to Zimbabwe? You've already had a confrontation of a very serious nature with the security forces in the past.
Mark Chavanduka: Quite frankly, I'm not even thinking about what will happen. If they are going to arrest us when we go back then so be it. But the position that we have taken as independent editors is that we consider these pieces of legislation as being illegal and therefore, to our thinking, they are null and void.
We are going to continue doing our work as we have been doing, making sure that we have done as many background checks [on our stories] as we can, as we have always done, and basically that is the position we are going to take. I'm not even going to waste time worrying myself about whether I'm going to be arrested in Harare airport or not. We're dealing with a rogue regime and anything could happen.
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Letter to The Times
Pressure on Zimbabwe
Sir, The Foreign Secretary is unhappy that African and Asian nations have rejected Britain’s campaign to have Zimbabwe suspended from the Commonwealth (report, January 31; see also letter, same day).
Parallels can be drawn between the political relevance of the Commonwealth today and the League of Nations in the 1930s. Failure to impose stringent economic sanctions on Italy after her invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935 played a major part in undermining the League.
Like many others in Greater Manchester, I eagerly await the arrival of the Commonwealth’s finest athletes in July. However, it seems as if the self-interest of individual member states has always undermined the honourable aims of such organisations.
Yours faithfully,
51 Townfield Gardens,
Altrincham, Cheshire WA14 4DT.
February 1.
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The Independent (UK)
Today, police will arrest me for a crime I didn't commit
Basildon Peta in Harare
04 February 2002
Internal links
'Independent' journalist is harassed by Mugabe
Today, under threat of arrest for having taken part in a peaceful protest, and against the advice of my family and friends who want me to stay away from the madness in Zimbabwe, I am going to confront the police with a clear conscience.
I am aware that the situation has changed since I was last arrested and hurled into the dimly-lit police rooms of Harare central police station three months ago.
Violence has increased, more government opponents have been killed or injured, more draconian laws have been passed. But I go back knowing I have committed no crime and do not deserve to spend a minute in police custody. If anything happens to me while in custody, at least my family and sympathisers will know who to hold responsible – President Robert Mugabe, his Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, and their security agents.
I was among the journalists in the press gallery of Zimbabwe's Parliament on Thursday night witnessing Zimbabwe's democracy being undermined by passage of one of the most draconian media laws seen anywhere.
As MPs voted to pass the bill, my sister-in-law called me to say four policemen had called at my home. The police refused to say why they were looking for me at such a late hour so I stayed away from home that night.
On Friday, the police pursued me at my office while I was out of Harare on family business. I was not running away from them. There was no basis for me to do so because I have never committed a crime. Later, one of the detectives, who identified himself as Detective Sergeant Majange, found my number and ordered me to report to the police station that night. He refused to say why.
On Saturday morning I sent my lawyer, Tawanda Hondora of Kantor and Immerman Law Firm, to the police station on my behalf.
Mr Majange said he wanted to charge me with "illegally convening a demonstration by journalists against the media bill on Wednesday afternoon without police permission" in my capacity as secretary general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
The detectives said the Public Order and Security Act, which was signed into law by Mr Mugabe more than a week ago, banned demonstrations without police permission.
Two opposition officials have already been charged under the Act. The penalty is a two year jail term.
My lawyer told the officers that any such charge against me was illegal and violated the constitutional right to freedom of assembly and expression.
But no sooner had my lawyer left the police station than detectives stormed my home and confronted my sister-in-law. They ransacked the house searching the wardrobes, the cupboards, the bathroom and underneath the bed. Officers even questioned my frightened five-year-old nephew.
That day, I had began to celebrate, because, although Parliament had passed the media law, Mr Mugabe, under pressure from the international community, had signalled he did intended to bring it into force immediately.
But the clampdown on the media which had been anticipated was already happening to myself and others without a legal basis.
Yesterday morning, my lawyer called at the police station again. The police told him they would resume their hunt for me and they were scheduled to visit my home late yesterday.
Mr Hondora later advised me that he saw no alternative for me but to surrender to the police. He will accompany me to the police station today, but says he cannot anticipate what will happen. My safety is no longer guaranteed and I no longer feel secure.
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This was emailed to me..... it does not all seem to ring true so I did a bit of research and found the list on - and elsewhere I found that some of these "facts" were urban legends.  But even if they are not all true they are food for thought! 
One Vote - Please read and pass on
The document below is for all those who may think that they -
a) Do not need to vote; or b) Don't think their vote matters; or c)
Plan to be away and out of the country for the elections Your vote is
important and we need your vote - read on to see why.
Remember an 80% poll is better than a 20% poll because it is more
difficult to rig a higher turn out at the polls.
Don't think that your vote does not count.
By only one vote
1645 Oliver Cromwell gained control of England.
By only one vote
1649 Charles 1 of England was executed.
By only one vote
1776 America was given the English Language instead of German.
By only one vote
1845 Texas was brought into the union By only one vote
1868 President Andrew Johnson was saved from Impeachment By only one
1875 France was changed into a republic from a monarchy.
By only one vote
1876 Rutherford Hayes given U.S. presidency.
By only one vote
1933 Adolf Hitler given was control of Nazi party.
If you are eligible to vote but choose not to exercise this democratic
right, and your favourite candidate loses by one vote, would you be able
to live with yourself?
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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 4 February

Tsvangirai pledges no witch hunt after poll

London/Mutare - Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader, tried to reassure the army and police yesterday that there would be no "witch hunt" against them if he wins the presidency. Facing the possibility of a coup launched by a cabal of generals, who have already publicly declared that they will never accept him as president, Mr Tsvangirai made a determined effort to head off this threat. At a rally launching his election campaign to unseat President Robert Mugabe, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change went out of his way to reassure the security forces that their jobs would be safe if he takes power. "There will be no more violence . . . There will be no revenge, no one will indulge in a witch hunt," said Mr Tsvangirai. "After we've won the elections and the results have been announced and I am inaugurated, violence and anarchy will be a thing of the past . . . the MDC won't create another police force, we will inherit this one." Mr Tsvangirai ruled out a purge of senior army officers. "We will not create a new army. It is a national institution. Those not prepared to serve could resign," he said.

Gen Vitalis Zvinavashe, the armed forces commander, declared last month that the military would defend Mr Mugabe's hold on power, saying the "highest office in the land is a straitjacket whose occupant must observe the objectives of the liberation struggle". The general added: "We will therefore not accept, let alone support or salute, anyone with a different agenda that threatens the very existence of our sovereignty." In contrast with Mr Mugabe, who led the largest guerrilla army fighting against white rule, Mr Tsvangirai did not fight in the war of the 1970s. In an election campaign thick with anti-colonial rhetoric, Mr Mugabe has repeatedly accused Mr Tsvangirai of being a traitor. Gen Zvinavashe's words amounted to a thinly veiled threat of a military coup if Mr Tsvangirai were to win the election.

In stark contrast to Mr Mugabe's carefully regimented and joyless rally on Friday, an exuberant crowd of about 12,000 people turned out to cheer Mr Tsvangirai in the border city of Mutare. Police made no effort to prevent Mr Tsvangirai's gathering from taking place, although a road block caused long delays. The crowds came of their own free will, singing spontaneously and laughing loudly. There were no youths clad in paramilitary uniform – a regular feature of Mr Mugabe's rallies - nor cries of "down with the whites". Two weeks ago, a similar pre-election gathering in Bulawayo was broken up by police who forced Mr Tsvangirai and his supporters to abandon the event. But Mr Mugabe is coming under growing pressure from the European Union and America, which have threatened to impose targeted sanctions against Mr Mugabe and his cronies, including freezing their assets abroad and imposing a travel ban on them.

Mr Mugabe's regime sent some conciliatory signals at the weekend. Prof Jonathan Moyo, the information minister, said his draconian media law, which enshrines some of the world's strictest curbs on the press and would make it impossible for journalists to work without state approval, may not come into effect before the election on March 9 and 10. He told the Sunday Mail, an official newspaper, that the law would be implemented "if and when the president signs it". He added: "Practically speaking . . . preparing it for presentation to the president might take a long time, even beyond the election." Observers believe that he is using practical difficulties as a face-saving smokescreen for delaying the adoption of his law, which has drawn a storm of international protest.

The EU appears to be in no rush to force a confrontation with Mr Mugabe. European foreign ministers said Zimbabwe must admit its election observers by yesterday or face sanctions. But the European Commission admitted yesterday that no EU observers were ready to travel. The advance team of six officials would arrive only "in the coming week" and the full team will not be active for some time. Yet the prospect of the EU imposing the threatened sanctions on Mr Mugabe and his followers has receded. After their meeting last Monday, EU foreign ministers announced yesterday as a deadline for the arrival of the first election observers and threatened punitive measures if Mr Mugabe obstructed them. One commission official said: "We are taking the Zimbabweans at their word that they are prepared to admit international observers, including those from the Union."
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From The Times (UK), 4 February

Thousands rally to support Tsvangirai

Mutare - As soon as she was in the stadium Angeline Magamba reached into her bag and pulled out a T-shirt with the big, open-hand symbol of the Movement for Democratic Change and slipped it over her head. "I am afraid. If the Zanu PF people catch me wearing this, I am for trouble," she said. "We are not free." On Saturday night gangs of ruling party youths had been covering the townships, telling people that if they went to the stadium in Sakubva township in the morning there would be war. Yesterday saw Morgan Tsvangirai’s first big rally of his campaign for the presidential elections on March 9-10 and, outside this eastern city, vehicles queued for half a mile at a roadblock, where police searched them painstakingly and demanded identity cards from every traveller.

For all those in the crowd of at least 12,000 people in the stadium, reaching it had been an act of bravery. When Mr Tsvangirai, the MDC president, appeared, the exultant roar of "chinja!" that greeted him was an outpouring of desire for an end to the dread, hunger and poverty brought by President Mugabe. Almost all had walked from the surrounding townships. On Friday last week, dozens of government trucks managed to dragoon perhaps 8,000 people from the Zanu PF heartland to Mr Mugabe’s first rally of the campaign. It was a quasi-military operation in which every slogan and song was coerced and in which the party and security force personnel controlling it exuded menace. "In the last two years, Zanu PF has died," a veteran Zimbabwean journalist who had been present said. "They have nothing but force left."

The contrast with Sakubva was absolute. The atmosphere at the opposition’s rally was happy and relaxed, the crowd’s responses spontaneous. Lydia Matibenga, the head of the MDC women’s league, introduced herself as "the national chairperson of Mummy, Daddy and the children". "Hullo, Mutare," Mr Tsvangirai, standing on the weed-strewn pitch, said through a battered, bronchial public address system. Mr Mugabe speaks only from behind an enormous lectern, part of a lorry-load of furniture that precedes him on the campaign trail. When Mr Mugabe speaks, it is to promise free seed and fertiliser, as much seized white-owned land as anyone wants and higher wages. He delivers bizarre denunciations of British plots to overthrow him and hurls clumsy racist abuse against Mr Tsvangirai, whom he refers to as "Tsvangison", the "black man who masquerades as a white".

Mr Tsvangirai spoke of the restoration of the rule of law, followed by "a new constitution to re-establish the dignity of parliament, the judiciary and clearly respect the separation of powers". There were no lavish promises, but warnings against violence, especially against Mr Mugabe’s militias after the election. The threat by the country’s security chiefs three weeks ago that they would not obey, let alone salute a leader who had not been part of the war against white minority rule was calculated to inspire dread of a military coup against victory by Mr Tsvangirai. His reply was blunt: "If an officer refuses to salute the Commander-in-Chief (of the Armed Forces, a position assumed by Zimbabwe’s President), then he has dismissed himself." He acknowledged the likelihood that Zanu PF would attempt to rig the poll in 33 days’ time, but argued that a large majority for him would secure victory. "The election is going to be won or lost on the basis of turnout," he said. "We must all go and vote, because at the end of the day, let not the future generations accuse us of being negligent and allowing a dictator to destroy the country in our faces."
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From The Globe and Mail (Canada), 2 February

Zimbabwe’s music sings the message of dissidents

Harare - It is 8 p.m. and the trendy Book Cafe, haunt of Harare's creative set, is buzzing. The beer is flowing, and the talk around rickety tables is ever more animated as people try to shrug off the cares of a country in crisis. "Don't worry; it's safe here," said one human-rights activist who is on the run from the police. His eyes searched the dim room for signs of trouble. Others in the crowd are dragged back to reality when the singer's words turn from the tribulations of love to those of a country speeding ever further along the road to repression. This protest music has been banned from the airwaves of state-owned media, which dominates what most Zimbabweans hear on radio and see on television.

Zimbabwean artists are as skittish as opposition activists and journalists, who are being harassed and arrested under new laws designed to quell discontent before next month's presidential election. Thomas Mapfumo's new album, Chimurenga Rebel, which he describes as "a true reflection of what is happening," has been banned from the airwaves of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. Though he is one of the country's most popular musicians, he now lives in North America. Broadcasters are shunning other works of music and drama. Maxwell Sibanda, entertainment editor of the independent Daily News, says they seem to have "shut out protest music and drama altogether." Despite the lack of media exposure, protest plays are still being staged and protest music is still being heard. Mr. Sibanda said that being banned, in fact, can make artists more popular. "People actively seek them out, and their music is played live and in bars and beer halls."

At a roadside bar north of Harare, people sing along to the songs of Oliver Mtukudzi, a hugely popular musician with 41 albums to his credit. Though he takes care to distance himself from politics, his work is increasingly political. His most recent album was called Bvuma (Tolerance), and one being released this month is titled Uhunze Moto (Burning Ember); its cover art shows his face against a map of a country engulfed in flames. "What will be the end of all this?" he asks in one song about people who abuse power and riches at the expense of the weak and poor. In another, he warns people never to turn their backs on flames; even embers that warm can turn into "fire that consumes us."

The Zimbabwean government has long been intolerant of criticism, but since winning just a narrow victory in the general election in 2000, President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party have clamped down harder and harder on free expression. Many Zimbabweans want their musicians to take a stronger political stand against the growing repression. People like Mr. Sibanda believe other artists should speak out more strongly. "There is an element of fear in people's reluctance to do so, although musicians here are used to speaking in riddles, their words carrying hidden meanings that people understand but which aren't explicitly critical," he told The Independent newspaper. "Many of us believe musicians should be more direct in telling it like it is. . . . If our musicians sing about society, then surely there is no way they can avoid political matters. They should be social and political commentators too." Others see the musician's role as one of uniting people and pointing them subtly toward a better society. "It is not good for artists to sing songs that divide people," said one music-industry insider, who asked not to be named. "And what is the benefit in being banned?"
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