A South African spy captured by Zimbabwean counter
intelligence is alleged to have been severely tortured before agreeing to
co-operate with local officials, the Institute for Security Studies said in
Pretoria today. The spy recently was nabbed by Zimbabwean Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives at Victoria Falls and under
questioning, revealed the names of his collaborators within the governing
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu(PF)).
Maroleng, an analyst, said the spy would not have naturally agreed to work
with the Zimbabweans as they had alleged and therefore must have reached his
"pain threshold". "The Zimbabwean CIO are renowned worldwide for their
torture techniques and for their ability to extract information," he said
Maroleng said the spy, who had not been named, was involved in a
high-risk operation to try and win over the head of the Zimbabwean Counter
Intelligence. "It obviously failed," Maroleng said. This development would
be a major blow for South Africa's foreign policy on Zimbabwe, which in the
past could be described as "quiet diplomacy".
relations Maroleng said it would also severely dent personal relations
between Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, and Thabo Mbeki, the South
African president, which at best could be described as cordial. He said
South Africa had adopted its foreign policy position following Zimbabwe's
2002 general election, after which the country's armed forces refused to
support any non Zanu(PF) government.
"South Africa realised it needed
to create change from within the Zanu(PF) government as a government led by
the opposition - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - would not be backed
by the military," said Maroleng.
He said South African intelligence
started creating support within the Emmerson Mnangagwa camp, who was widely
seen as Mugabe's successor until he was effectively sidelined in the
Zanu(PF)'s December 2004 party conference. "Mugabe created a power axis
during the conference that cut out all young progressive members. He then
drew support from all those with proven liberation credentials," he
Spy ring Six senior Zanu(PF) members including a Member of
Parliament have been accused of taking part in the spy ring that was
allegedly providing the South African government with information on the
party's affairs. According to AFP, Phillip Chiyangwa, a provincial Zanu(PF)
chairperson and former Zimbabwe consul-general in South Africa, was arrested
in December on charges of selling state secrets.
The state-run Herald
in Zimbabwe reported Chiyangwa received US10 000 a month to pass on
information to South Africa. Four other party officials are being held in
Zimbabwe for violating the Official Secrets Act -- Godfrey Dzvairo, newly
appointed Zimbabwe's ambassador to Mozambique, Zanu(PF)'s director for
external affairs Itai Marchi, top security officer Kenny Karidza, and banker
The sixth person allegedly connected to the affair,
Zimbabwean diplomat Erasmus Moyo, reportedly escaped while being moved from
Geneva to Harare. Maroleng said South Africa would undoubtedly try and
retrieve their spy but under current conditions it would prove very
difficult. "The South African position is severely undermined by this
development," said Maroleng adding it would mean that the hard core led by
Mugabe would now view South Africa with increasing suspicion. The South
African Department of Intelligence declined to comment today. - Sapa
The former Zimbabwean consul-general to
South Africa, Godfrey Dzvairo, was the ringleader of a network of Zimbabwean
spies that has been selling confidential Zanu-PF documents, including
minutes of the party's supreme organ -- the Politburo -- to the South
The intelligence, gathered by a senior South
African Secret Service operative, was used to inform President Thabo Mbeki's
policy and tactic in Zimbabwe.
Constitutional law lecturer Dr
Lovemore Madhuku said he wasn't shocked Mbeki was spying on Mugabe. "He was
quietly studying the inner workings of Zanu-PF, its policies and politics.
It has always been Mbeki's intention to replace Mugabe without replacing
Zanu-PF. That explains why his intelligence was rooted in Zanu-PF not
Alois Masepe, a political analyst based at the
University of Zimbabwe, said espionage is widely accepted as part of
diplomatic business and only becomes a problem if you are caught. "South
Africa would want to know the political and economic intentions and
activities of its neighbour. Whatever Zimbabwe does has an immediate impact
on South Africans. When your neighbour's house is on fire your property is
Zimbabwean intelligence sources said Dzvairo, who was
based in South Africa since 1994, had been under surveillance for more than
a decade. "We had no tangible evidence to prove that he was involved in any
dirty work, hence his appointment in November last year as ambassador to
But they had nonetheless bugged Dzvairo's telephone
and took interest in his conversations with former Metropolitan Bank of
Zimbabwe company secretary Tendayi Matambanadzo, with whom he had studied
law at the University of Zimbabwe in the 1980s.
phone was also tapped. He is a relative of the wife of Zanu-PF Mashonaland
West provincial chairperson and central committee member Philip Chiyangwa,
whom he brought on board the spy ring. Chiyangwa in turn recruited Zanu-PF
director of external affairs Itayi Marchi -- often tasked with taking
minutes at Politburo meetings -- and party security officer Kenneth
Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
monitored the activities of the men who had frequent meetings at a four-star
hotel in Victoria Falls during November and December last year. On one
occasion, sources said, "They booked a room that they did not use
for three days. On the fourth day they regrouped and all their conversations
The name of the South African operative featured
prominently. He was arrested in a sting operation when the CIO head of
counter intelligence lured him into Zimbabwe. "He cracked under pressure and
started singing, releasing five names," sources said.
implicated in the spy wrangle is Erasmus Moyo, the Zimbabwean diplomat in
Geneva, Switzerland, who evaded arrest after allegedly boarding a flight to
The five Zimbabweans -- Marchi, Karidza, Chiyangwa, Dzvairo
and Matambanadzo -- were subsequently arrested and, according to their
lawyers, subjected to torture.
Marchi was arrested at Harare
International airport and taken to the infamous Goromonzi CIO torture
chambers, about 34km east of the capital, where he allegedly "spilled the
Sources said Karidza is in a critical condition, unable to
walk or eat as a result of the interrogation. "Karidza is a war veteran who
is difficult to break down, he is very tough."
and Matambanadzo's application to have their initial guilty pleas altered
was thrown out by the magistrate's court last week. Their lawyer Selby
Hwacha has since appealed the ruling. If convicted, they face jail terms of
up to 20 years or a fine or both.
During his first appearance at
the magistrate's court, Chiyangwa told the court through his lawyer Canaan
Dube that he was blindfolded and taken to an unknown destination and
tortured for seven days until he had a "mild stroke". Harare had been abuzz
with rumour that Chiyangwa had died.
Chiyangwa and the four others
only passed on "party secrets not state secrets, that's the sticking point",
a source said. "Party minutes contained deliberations between the president
and his Cabinet at party level. Such information would then be tabled at
In his submission to the high court last week,
Chiyangwa's advocate, Chris Anderson, said: "It was impossible to infer
South Africa as an enemy of Zimbabwe considering the relationship between
the two countries."
Chiyangwa, who backed Speaker Emmerson
Mnangagwa's failed bid for the Zanu-PF vice-presidency, is reported to have
received a $10 000 monthly retainer from his South African
The spy saga could be hugely embarrassing to the South
African government. Madhuku said "Mbeki's preoccupation was 'Will Mugabe
step down?' He has been dealing with young Turks in Zanu-PF, not anybody
senior because he knew the future belonged to them.
He spoke to
[Justice Minister] Patrick Chinamasa, who was spearheading the inter-party
dialogue [with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change] and Mnangagwa,
who was their preferred choice in the succession race.
Africa wanted to surprise the world with a deal that would see Mugabe's
Controversial Judge Heads Up New Zimbabwe Electoral Authority By
Peta Thornycrfoft Harare
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe named an
electoral commission to run parliamentary elections expected in March. The
main opposition, Movement for Democratic Change said it had no confidence in
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa announced that Mr.
Mugabe appointed a 5-member body under the chairmanship of High Court Judge,
George Chiweshe, who was appointed by President Robert Mugabe, leader of
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party.
Judge Chiweshe made legal history in
2002 when he told the High Court that the state did not have to provide any
evidence to continue to detain a critically ill opposition member of
parliament who was trying to get out of prison on bail.
He was also
appointed by Mr. Mugabe to draw up a new map of voting districts released
before Christmas. The MDC expressed concerns over Mr. Chiweshe's appointment
because of the voter redistricting which removed three of the MDC's
Mr. Chinamasa insisted that the commission
reflects an all-inclusive consultation process, incorporating all three
parties represented in Zimbabwe's parliament, including the MDC.
new electoral laws signed into law by Mr. Mugabe last week, for the first
time give the military, police and prison officials a substantial role in
the next poll, and they can, if recruited to serve, control voting and
There was a frenzy of lawmaking late last year to establish
new legislation and electoral authorities ahead of the poll which Mr. Mugabe
says will be held in March ahead of his 25th anniversary of coming to power
The MDC suspended participation in all elections five months ago
because it said the electoral playing field was uneven. It said it would
only take part when Zimbabwe's laws and practice complied with regional
electoral principles agreed to by Mr. Mugabe and other southern African
countries last August.
However most political analysts believe the
MDC will take part in the general election, despite Zimbabwe's lack of
compliance with regional electoral practices and laws.
observers are not expected to be invited to cover Zimbabwe's poll as they
said the last two national elections were neither free nor fair.
AN exiled Zimbabwean journalist claims he will be
killed if he is deported from the UK.
Slough resident Adolf
Mukandi, 36, a former bulletin editor with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation has had his application for asylum refused by the UK, and must
report to the immigration department at the end of January.
said: "The government's hatred of journalists is well documented, and it
will be worse for me because, as a former government journalist, I was privy
to most of the regime's secrets."
Adolf said he was forced to leave
Zimbabwe after giving airtime to opposition party the Movement for
Adolf has contemplated suicide rather than be
sent home to Zimbabwe.
The journalist, who fled Robert Mugabe's
regime in 2002, is currently living with friends in Stoke
He left behind his wife, Virginia, and children,
ten-year-old Takudza and seven-year-old Tsitzashe. "I am in contact with
them as regularly as I can be," he said, "but sometimes I can go a month
without speaking to them and that is very difficult because they forget they
have a father.
"I am very frightened to go back home and sometimes
think it would be better to kill myself than to face reality."
Adolf, worked for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation as a reporter,
sub-editor and eventually bulletin editor.
His troubles began
when he ignored orders by his bosses to suppress news that favoured the
Movement for Democratic Change. "When I was a young man I was indoctrined by
my bosses to say what they wanted me to say, rather than what was really
going on," he said. "My bosses were in league with higher authorities who
tell them what to say. The news was nothing but propaganda.
I became more experienced, I refused to do this because I was concerned
about protecting the ethics of journalism."
Vice-President of the National Union of Journalists, said: "Adolf is a
journalist who has been forced to leave his home, his family, his job and
his country because he dared to tell the truth. There is no free speech in
Zimbabwe, with journalists being tortured for writing unfavourable stories
about Robert Mugabe's brutal regime.
"Across the world in 2004,
more journalists than ever before - 120 - were killed for doing their job.
We don't want Adolf to become one of the first victims of
Adolf is due at the Home Office on January 27, he is
currently pursuing asylum through a human rights application, with the full
backing of Labour MP for Slough, Fiona Mactaggart.
FOREX AUCTION SYSTEM HAS FAILED, SAYS BUSINESS SECTOR Sat
22 January 2005 HARARE - The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has
told the government that a new foreign currency auction system introduced
last year to raise scarce hard cash has failed.
regarded as the voice of the country's business community, had until now
remained mum on the effectiveness of the auction system.
business grouping had instead encouraged companies to support the system
introduced by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono in a bid
to end an illegal but thriving forex black market in the country.
In submissions to the RBZ ahead of next week's announcement of monetary
policy for the first quarter of 2005, the CZI said the auction floor rate of
exchange had become irrelevant with ever diminishing chances of getting
forex from the auction floors.
"The auction rate is losing its
relevance as a pricing mechanism. It is being increasingly ignored by
economic agents as the probability of getting foreign exchange on the
auction has become too low," the CZI said.
The exchange rate at the
auction floors generally fluctuates between Z$5 600 to $5 800 per one United
States dollar. The exchange rate for Zimbabweans living abroad sending money
home through the RBZ's Homelink special facility is one greenback to Z$6
But the American unit fetches above $8 300 on the
black-market. The business community said hard cash was finding its way to
the black market because of a higher rate there.
Zimbabwe is in
the crunch of an acute foreign currency crisis that has manifested itself in
shortages of essential medical drugs, fuel and electricity because there is
no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe, SA labour leaders plot way forward Sat 22 January
2005 HARARE - Top Zimbabwean and South African labour officials meet in
Cape Town today to plot ways of protesting should Harare bar a planned
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) mission to
COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven told ZimOnline that the
union's secretary general, Zwelinzima Vavi, will meet his Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) counterpart, Wellington Chibhebhe, to plan "forms of
protest" in the event COSATU was denied entry into Zimbabwe.
Craven said: "COSATU secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi and ZCTU secretary
general Wellington Chibhebhe will meet tomorrow (today) on the way forward
and the forms of protest to be engaged."
He would not disclose
further details on the methods of protest the two union leaders will examine
during today's meeting.
Zimbabwe Labour Minister Paul Mangwana has
indicated he will not allow COSATU into the country, telling the Press this
week that the union should confine itself to South Africa because Zimbabwe
was not a province of its southern neighbour.
must approve COSATU'S visit to Zimbabwe, also this week maintained he had
not seen a letter sent to him by the union seeking permission to enter the
A COSATU delegation to Zimbabwe on a similar mission to
assess the country's deepening political and economic crisis was harassed
and booted out of the country by the Harare authorities.
threatened to blockade Zimbabwe's lifeline Beitbridge border post with South
Africa in retaliation. It has not withdrawn the threat.
African Communist Party, which together with COSATU form South Africa's
ruling alliance headed by the African National Congress party, has backed
the labour union's proposed visit to Zimbabwe.
But the ANC is
opposed to the visit with some senior leaders of the party calling it an
attention-seeking gimmick. - ZimOnline
FEATURE: Disgruntlement over ZANU PF internal election may
swing vote in opposition's favour Sat 22 January 2005 CHIKOMBA -
Joseph Muriva describes himself as a "career supporter' of Zimbabwe's ruling
ZANU PF party.
But he will not be bothering checking whether his
name appears on the voters' roll for March's election, out for inspection
since Monday this week.
Muriva will also not be going on the
usual rounds that have become a routine each election time to canvass
support for ZANU PF among voters here in Chikomba constituency, about 170
kilometres south-east of Harare.
Instead Muriva - who fought under
President Robert Mugabe's ZANLA guerillas during Zimbabwe's 1970s
independence war - says he will this time round be spending his time downing
his favourite Chibuku beer, an opaque traditional brew.
should I bother?" retorted Muriva when asked why he had not gone to inspect
the voters' roll. He added: "There is no need to trouble myself because I am
not going to participate in the election because I cannot vote for a
stranger even if he is a member of my party."
Undoubtedly one of
the most committed supporters of Mugabe and ZANU PF here, Muriva says he has
campaigned for the party since 1980 (Zimbabwe's year of independence) and
voted for the party at every election before.
But he says he gave
up two weeks ago, frustrated and disappointed that sitting ZANU PF Member of
Parliament for Chikomba, Bernard Makokova, will no longer be standing in the
Makokova forfeited his chance to contest the election
when he withdrew at the eleventh hour from an internal ZANU PF election to
choose candidates to represent the party in the March ballot.
Official word from ZANU PF's Harare headquarters was that Makokova, a local
businessman, had voluntarily withdrawn from the race. But many of the
party's supporters here believe he was elbowed out of the internal election
by party bosses to pave way for Zimbabwe's former ambassador to the United
Nations Tichaona Jokonya.
Jokonya, known to be a favourite of
both Mugabe and his wife Grace, won the ZANU PF ticket for Chikomba
"I am not the only one who is bitter about this
imposition of candidates. A lot of people here are not going to vote because
of that," fumed Muriva, echoing the bitter sentiments of many ordinary ZANU
PF supporters across the country as the party rounded up its internal
election this week.
Welcomed as an attempt to engender
grassroots democracy in ZANU PF by allowing ordinary members to choose whom
they wanted to represent them in the March election, the party election now
appears to have only helped alienate party leaders from
For example, in Tsholotsho constituency in Matabeleland
North province, ZANU PF's most popular candidate there who stood a greater
chance of reclaiming the seat from the opposition, Jonathan Moyo, was barred
from the internal election after clashing with party bosses.
Moyo, who is the government information minister and propaganda chief, had
spent four years building his support base in the constituency and now
appears set to stand as an independent, a development that could swing ZANU
PF's vote to the advantage of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
A former chairman of ZANU PF in Manicaland province,
Shadreck Beta, who was disqualified from the party election on allegations
he had used unfair means to win, said: "These primary elections have been a
recipe for future disaster.
"The way they were handled will
cost us a lot of seats in March. The chefs (senior party leaders) have been
disqualifying popular candidates and imposing their own blue-eyed boys. But
the truth is that it is not the chefs who will win elections for ZANU PF, it
is the people and the people are bitter."
Harare lawyer and
political commentator Archibald Gijima said ZANU PF could pay heavily in
March if some of its supporters aggrieved over the selection of candidates
stayed away from the poll.
He said: "(This could) cost the party in
March if many of its supporters are going to stay away from the
Out of 120 constituencies to be contested in March, ZANU
PF only held primaries in 51 constituencies after candidates in the other
constituencies withdrew from the race to pave way for senior party leaders
or their favourites.
ZANU PF political commissar Elliot
Manyika, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, has however
insisted that the party poll was free and fair with no candidates forced to
withdraw. - ZimOnline
ANC gets tough with Mugabe Jan Raath, Harare January
22, 2005 AFTER five years of violent repression and vote rigging in Zimbabwe,
South Africa's ruling African National Congress has uttered its first public
criticism of President Robert Mugabe's regime.
Kgalema Motlanthe has told Mr Mugabe's Government that "the playing field
should be levelled and the police should act in an impartial manner in
enforcing the laws of the country".
Zimbabwe is due to hold parliamentary
elections in March. "All of us are committed to ensure that the election
goes without any violence, any intimidation," Mr Motlanthe said.
ANC was "nudging (Mr Mugabe's ruling party) Zanu to ensure that the outcome
of the election should be without the possibility of being questioned by
anybody", he said.
South African President Thabo Mbeki has maintained a
policy of quiet diplomacy with Mr Mugabe, arguing that private encouragement
is more effective than the angry rhetoric and sanctions favoured by the
Mr Mbeki has publicly assured British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
other European leaders that Mr Mugabe has heeded demands to restore
democracy and the rule of law.
But observers say there is no sign Mr
Mbeki has secured any reduction in the 80-year-old leader's ruthless
campaign against opponents. Mr Mbeki has been repeatedly embarrassed by a
string of broken promises by Mr Mugabe.
The Congress of South African
Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party, both key allies of the
ANC, have openly demanded -- also for the first time -- that Mr Mbeki take a
robust approach to Mr Mugabe.
January 21, 2005 Posted to the web January 21,
YOUTH, Gender and Employment Creation
minister Ambrose Mutinhiri has allegedly taken over the country's largest
wine-producing farm, Newton Estate, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this
Newton Estate produces one third of Zimbabwe's wine marketed
through Afdis and Cairns Food & Wineries.
Farm owner, Harris
Raynor, declined to give details on the matter saying "the press will spoil
it" for him.
"I am involved in very sensitive negotiations," Raynor said.
"If they fail, I will give you all the details."
Documents in the
hands of the Independent show that Mutinhiri started occupying the estate in
June last year, temporarily evicting the owner. The farmer was only
reinstated by the land task force on the instructions of the governor three
By that time the farm had not been listed for acquisition
but was later served with Section 5 and 8 notices in September and November
respectively. The Section 8 is due to expire in February.
documents further show that Mutinhiri returned to Newton Estate in December,
this time equipped with an offer letter and demanding an immediate takeover
of the farm.
"On December 6, Raynor was visited at the farm by the (land)
taskforce together with Mutinhiri and told that government had given the
farm to the minister and he must hand over the keys," the documents
"Police escorted the farm owner on January 5 to collect personal
property from the farm-houses," the documents say.
According to the
documents, after being served with two acquisition notices, the now evicted
farmer sought a meeting with Lands minister John Nkomo and Vice-President
Joseph Msika and the Mashonaland East provincial leadership to no
As of January 10, 800 tonnes of grapes were ready for harvesting
and the manufacture of wine.
Efforts to get comment from Mutinhiri or
Nkomo were unsuccessful yesterday.
Zimbabwe: training security
forces in international humanitarian law The ICRC has conducted a one-week
course on international humanitarian law for officers in the security forces
of several southern African nations.
The following was issued
as a press release by the ICRC delegation in Harare on 21 January
The ICRC has conducted a one-week course on international
humanitarian law for officers in the security forces of several southern
The sixty participants were drawn form the Zimbabwe
National Army, the Air Force of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the
Zimbabwe Prison Services and guest students from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi,
Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia.
The event also provided the ICRC with
an opportunity to present its work to protect and assist people affected by
armed conflicts or other situations of violence.
The ICRC has a
regional delegation in Harare that covers Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique,
Namibia and Zambia as well as Zimbabwe itself. Part of its mission is the
promotion of IHL in civil society, the military and the security
For further information, please contact: Dana Lissy, ICRC
Harare, tel. +263 4 731 760 or visit the ICRC website: www.icrc.org
2005 Posted to the web January 21, 2005
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) - in close
co-operation with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) - has intensified
its tracking system to ensure that no exports cross borders in the absence
of the proper declaration procedures.
In a statement this week, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said anyone found guilty of violating declaration
procedures risked a heavy fine as the two organisations intensify their
crackdown to promote regulatory controls with integrity, transparency and
fairness in all transactions made.
"In line with the redoubled thrust,
heavy penalties will be imposed on those exporters who refuse to take heed
"The Reserve Bank also wish to strongly urge authorised
dealers to educate their clients on proper procedures, for when in default,
equal responsibility will be placed on the financial institutions in
question as well as their errant clients," RBZ said.
discharge of CD1, TRI and CD3 forms, RBZ said in giving these dispensations
to exporters, the bank expect reciprocity through compliance with standing
Exchange Control Regulations, as well as commitments to enhance foreign
In November last year Zimra hinted that it would
tighten its screws in all its revenue-collection structures this year. The
move is expected to strengthen Zimra's co-operation with the central
Under the tracking framework suppliers of goods and services to
quasi-Government institutions and taxpayers registered with the revenue
collection authority are required to submit evidence that they have
submitted returns under Section 37 of the Income Tax Act.
Commissioner-General Mr Gershem Pasi has vowed that Zimra will surpass the
$23 trillion revenue collection target set by the Acting Minister of Finance
and Economic Development, Dr Herbert Murerwa, during the 2005 National
Zimra's mission is to facilitate economic development, trade and
travel; revenue generation and collection; to enforce compliance with
revenue laws and to enforce regulatory controls with integrity, transparency
Last year some exporters flouted standing procedures
for the discharge of forms CD1, TR1 and CD3.
In some cases, after
shipment of goods, some exporters have been caught attempting to cheat the
system through false cancellation of their CD1s under the pretext that the
export orders had fallen through.
Unbeknown to them, the new electronic
system, the CEPECS module, clearly indicates to the Reserve Bank which
exports are outstanding for remittance as well as due dates for Foreign
Currency Accounts (FCA) liquidation.
Absence of signs that there will be a free and fair election
in Zimbabwe piles pressure on SA and neighbours
Growing signs that Zimbabwe's elections in March will
not be free or fair and that there is little chance in the short term of a
Zanu PF reform candidate emerging as a successor to President Robert Mugabe
are being seen as a setback to SA's policy of quiet diplomacy. The African
National Congress's (ANC's) criticism of Mugabe earlier this week, and the
arrest of a South African agent, show a deep deterioration in relations
between Pretoria and Harare. For SA and the region the question is what
their next move will be now that the underpinning of their diplomacy reform
within Zanu PF has been swept away. That could partially be answered in the
next few weeks after the delegation from the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) visits Zimbabwe to find out whether the country's laws
conform with the regional body's principles and guidelines on elections.
Options are fast narrowing for the SADC, which ideally would like to see
Zimbabwe brought back into the international fold. Laws restricting
campaigning by the opposition, difficultly for suspected opposition members
in registering to vote, and intimidation by the Zanu PF youth militia, make
it impossible for the country to conduct a free and fair
There is little SA can do to try to ensure a free and fair
poll, other than insist on a delay in the election by a number of months. If
Mugabe were then to refuse to delay the poll in the face of SADC calls and a
likely boycott by the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change, the region would have to think seriously about what pressure to
apply. And even if the poll is delayed, the SADC may, if it does not bring
greater pressure to bear, be buying time rather than pushing for reform.
Buying time for Mugabe to pass from the scene is an open-ended strategy
which is becoming increasingly costly in diplomatic and economic terms. The
recent sharp criticism by the ANC, which is its most shrill so far, shows a
deep frustration at the course of events in the country and a popular
discontent with Mugabe's policies within the ranks of the party. But at this
stage the statement comes across as nothing more than a marker rather than a
way of opening the debate within the party about what sort of pressures
might be applied. According to Chris Maroleng, a researcher at the Institute
for Security Studies, the arrest of a South African agent and a circle close
to one of the top contenders to succeed Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is
evidence that it will be difficult for a strong candidate to emerge within
the party soon. The protests at the selection of Zanu PF candidates for the
March elections are evidence of Mugabe undermining possible
SA's policy of quiet diplomacy has been based on the
theory that reform could best come within the ruling party, as the armed
forces have positioned themselves on its side. But the blocking of possible
reform elements and the arrest of a South African spy has undermined the
basic precept behind quiet diplomacy, says Maroleng. The SADC is paying an
increasingly high international price in its diplomatic standing in the US
and Europe in having achieved nothing so far in bringing about reform in
Zimbabwe. In a sign that the second Bush administration may pay growing
attention to bringing about change in Zimbabwe, Condoleezza Rice, the US
secretary of state-designate, said this week that Zimbabwe was one of six
"outposts of tyranny". This is the first time the US has placed Zimbabwe
into such a demonic category. The country was not placed in the original
"axis of evil". And with signs of a new Group of Eight commitment to Africa
on a significant scale when their summit reviews UK Prime Minister Tony
Blair's Commission for Africa report, the upside of standing up for Zimbabwe
in international forums are fast eroding.