March 26th 2007
Unknown attackers hurled two petrol bombs at a supermarket in a suburb of
the Zimbabwe capital Harare, causing structural damage but no injuries, the
official Herald newspaper reported Monday.
The attack on Muchada Supermarket in Harare's low-income Warren Park suburb
occurred late Saturday, the Herald said.
Windows were smashed, wooden shelves burnt and the floor of the supermarket
damaged, the paper said. The windows of a nearby nightclub were also
shattered, it added.
"We confirm that unknown assailants threw explosives at the shop and we have
recovered some unused bottles of petrol at the supermarket this [Sunday}
morning," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the paper.
The Herald, which closely toes the government line, blamed the attack on the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The incident comes amid heightened political tensions in the country
following the arrest and brutal beating of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and many other opposition and civic rights activists on March 11
as they tried to hold a prayer rally.
Three police stations have been attacked with petrol bombs since then, all
blamed on suspected MDC activists. But unconfirmed reports have suggested
that one of the incidents - which left two policewomen badly burned - may in
fact have been caused by the explosion of a paraffin stove which the women
were using to prepare a meal.
In another attack, five people were injured when a passenger train was
petrol bombed in Harare on Friday night.
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches has warned that if political tensions are
not resolved through dialogue the situation could degenerate into civil
Criminals could also manipulate the situation to carry out criminal
activities under the guise of political activity, the prominent church
grouping has warned.
Police spokesman Bvudzijena said police have increased patrols in Harare's
sprawling low-income suburbs and warned police would use firearms to deal
with violent attacks.
"Police have increased patrols in most areas and we are now allowed to use
firearms in cases of this nature," Bvudzijena was quoted as saying.
© 2007 DPA
Monsters and Critics
Mar 26, 2007, 6:35 GMT
Harare - Two British tourists were killed and another seriously injured by a
rampaging elephant in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park, reports said Monday.
The attack by the elephant on the group of tourists happened Saturday while
they were on safari in the park with a tour guide, the state-controlled
Herald newspaper reported.
'I can confirm that two people were killed and one was injured. We are
investigating to see if there was an act of negligence on the part of the
tour guides,' police spokesman Edmore Veterai was quoted as saying.
The names of the dead tourists have not been released. The injured person
was taken to hospital in Zimbabwe's southern city of Bulawayo, the paper
Tour guides usually carry rifles to protect their clients in the event of
attack from rogue buffaloes, lions or elephants.
An official in the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority told the paper
the attack by the elephant might have taken place too quickly for the guide
'I am not sure what action was taken by the guide, but it is possible that
the elephant could have charged so fast and suddenly that there was no
chance for the guide to react,' said Tawanda Gotosa, the provincial game
warden for the area.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Whitehall and Washington talk to rebel faction chief
Crunch meeting this week could weaken president
Chris McGreal in Harare
Monday March 26, 2007
Western governments are working to split Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF from
President Robert Mugabe ahead of a potentially decisive meeting this week.
Diplomatic sources say Britain and the US believe that the strongest
challenge to Mr Mugabe comes not from the opposition but from within the
ruling Zanu-PF and they are encouraging dissent by reassuring rebellious
factions that their problem is with Zimbabwe's president not the ruling
Western officials are looking in particular to the former army chief,
Solomon Mujuru, who is seeking to curtail Mr Mugabe's rule at a Zanu-PF
central committee meeting on Thursday.
Mr Mugabe has already conceded defeat in his attempt to delay the next
election until 2010 and now faces a fight to get Zanu-PF, which increasingly
fears heavy defeat in a free election, to adopt him as its candidate in next
year's presidential election.
Mr Mujuru's emissaries have been in talks with the main faction of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, who is
strongly backed by the UK, over the creation of an interim power-sharing
government that would sideline Mr Mugabe.
Under such an agreement, Zanu-PF leaders, including Mr Mugabe, would be
granted amnesty from prosecution for past crimes such as the Matabeleland
massacres in the 1980s and more recent violence. Mr Tsvangirai would call
for an immediate resumption of aid to revive Zimbabwe's crumbling economy.
Mr Mujuru has met European and US officials who have said such an agreement
would end targeted sanctions against Zanu-PF officials, including travel
restrictions, and lead to a resumption of aid.
South Africa is also being brought on board as a potential broker. Mr
Mujuru's wife, Joice, who is Zimbabwe's vice-president and now hostile to Mr
Mugabe, met South Africa's deputy president, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, in
Johannesburg on Friday. Although billed as a private discussion, that it
took place at all reflects a shift away from Pretoria's previous
determination not to upset Mr Mugabe.
Mr Mujuru is likely to win support for blocking another presidential term
for Mr Mugabe from a rival Zanu-PF faction led by a former state security
chief and cabinet minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa. However, there is apparently
no agreement between the two groups on who should replace Mr Mugabe as
president, which could make it difficult to press the plan forward.
The diplomatic moves are a reflection of the frustration in Whitehall and
Washington at the vacuum left by a weak and divided political opposition.
"There is not much confidence in the opposition. It has let the people down
at every turn. There's not much prospect of them winning an election while
Mugabe's in power and fixing it," said a western diplomat.
"The feeling is that the way forward is a deal between those in Zanu-PF that
want rid of Mugabe to try and save their party and those in the opposition
prepared to work with them. It's the best way of bringing about swift change
and if they can come to a deal, that changes everything. That is what we are
But some of Mr Mugabe's other political opponents remain suspicious of Mr
Mujuru. They believe that as one of Zimbabwe's richest people he is
primarily interested in protecting his assets by ensuring that Zanu-PF does
not fall with Mr Mugabe.
Arthur Mutambara, leader of the MDC faction that broke away from Mr
Tsvangirai and has the support of about half the party's MPs, said that
while he favoured a power-sharing transitional government he would not
accept one based solely on an agreement between Zanu-PF and Mr Tsvangirai.
"We don't want that kind of nonsense. We want constitutional reform before
free and fair elections. We don't want opportunistic alliances that don't
provide a long term solution," Mr Mutambara said.
Foreign involvement has infuriated Mr Mugabe who reportedly views Mr Mujuru
as a British stooge because he has a financial interest in a UK firm which
lost diamond mining concessions in Zimbabwe.
Mr Mugabe has also accused Mr Tsvangirai of being an agent of the British.
"Tsvangirai, you want to rule this country on behalf of Blair," he told
supporters. "As long as I am alive that will never happen."
But western governments are in the mood for confrontation. After Zimbabwe
threatened to expel diplomats that involve themselves in local politics, the
US ambassador in Harare, Christopher Dell, gave a press interview in which
he said Zanu-PF members increasingly want Mr Mugabe to go and that there is
growing dissent within the army and police. He said the country had reached
a "tipping point" because of a "new spirit of resistance, some would say
defiance, on the part of the people".
The First Post
March 26, 2007
Fanuel Mubaiwa will marry his sweetheart Caroline Shoko in
Harare next Saturday, but it won't be the perfect church wedding Fanuel had
planned. For the reason, look no further than Zimbabwe's rocket-fuelled
Caroline has borrowed her wedding dress from a friend,
which is the done thing here. They found a ring at a roadside knick-knack
stall. They know it will tarnish, but that won't matter. However, it is
traditional that the bridegroom wears a new suit for his wedding.
Fanuel, a stores controller in a bottling plant, scoured
the clothes shops. He found his suit at Sir Canvas, the cheapest outfitters
in Harare, on Wednesday, March 14. It was priced at 255,000 Zimbabwean
dollars. Fanuel only had Z$200,000 in his pocket. He spent a couple of days
raising the rest, then went back to the shop on Friday.
The price of the suit had risen to Z$394,000. A weekend
spent scraping the barrel, and Fanuel had enough again. But by Monday the
price had risen to Z$486,000. Fanuel gave up the struggle.
Then the wedding caterer called him. He was unable to
obtain everything he needed for the reception. Someone would have to go
shopping in South Africa. Did Fanuel have any rands? Fanuel didn't. No one
has any hard currency in Zimbabwe any more, not even the banks.
Fanuel currently earns Z$180,000 a month. His salary is
due for review in April, but any rise will fall far short of the rate of
inflation, currently 1,723 per cent.
The good news is that supermarkets are now employing extra
staff. The bad news? Their full-time job is to constantly adjust the price
tags on what remains on the shelves.
FIRST POSTED MARCH 26, 2007
26 March 2007
By Our Special Correspondent in Harare
Published: 26 March 2007
A violent backlash against the government of Robert Mugabe may have begun
over the weekend after reports that a passenger train leaving Zimbabwe's
capital, Harare, was petrol-bombed.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has denied any
involvement in the attack late on Friday night, which police claim left five
people injured in a stampede as passengers fled the blast.
The incident was the third alleged petrol bombing in the fortnight since
police killed two MDC activists and seriously injured scores more at a
peaceful prayer meeting in the capital.
Leaders of both factions of the divided MDC have called for a non-violent
campaign of civil disobedience in response to the state-sponsored crackdown.
A coalition of opposition groups has announced a campaign of defiance
including the boycotting of taxes and a general strike. So far there have
been no mass protests against the recent killings and beatings. But
hyperinflation, near-total unemployment, and police violence have exhausted
patience in some of the townships outside the big cities, where youths have
been lighting bonfires and blocking roads.
Arthur Mutambara, leader of one of the MDC factions, said it was possible
that state-sponsored agent provocateurs were behind the petrol bombings.
"Robert Mugabe would want to portray us as violent. To justify the way they
have brutalised and arrested our members, they want to say that we
petrol-bombed this police station or that train."
Mr Mutambara, however, put the blame for the upsurge in violence firmly at
the door of the Mugabe regime. "We are living in a state of lawlessness and
chaos sponsored by the state, how can we be expected to control the way that
people respond? People are sick and tired of being sick and tired."
President Mugabe, now in his 27th year in office, has responded angrily to
international criticism of police violence. "Police have the right to bash
them," Mr Mugabe told state television, before telling Western leaders to
"go hang". He said protests by opponents and civic and church groups would
be met "very vigorously" by security forces.
"We hope they have learnt a lesson. If they have not, then they will get
similar treatment," he said.
Police have banned all political meetings for three months, imposed ad hoc
curfews and launched "hit squads" into the townships targeting activists.
Human rights groups have documented the arrest and beating of at least 110
opposition activists in the past 10 days, including one woman who suffered a
miscarriage after being beaten on the back with truncheons.
The Solidarity Peace Trust, a Zimbabwean civil rights monitor, said the
state's culture of impunity was generating a culture of violence: "When
police officers who torture and murder are not brought to justice, and are
told they have a right to do this, it is tragically predictable that
people's patience will run out and as anger and desperation rise,
vigilante-style violence will rise."
Riots broke out on the night of 11 March in Highfields, one of Harare's
poorer townships, where youths vandalised a bus, beat up passengers and
firebombed a nearby police station, injuring three policewomen as they
slept. In Bulawayo there was an alleged unsuccessful attempt to derail a
train. And police claim officers were injured in an attack on a station in
With the memorial service due tomorrow for Gift Tandare, one of the
activists killed by police, the stage is set for further clashes.
Published: March 26 2007 03:00 | Last updated: March 26 2007 03:00
Southern Africa has a fresh opportunity in coming days and weeks to take the
lead in saving Zimbabwe from its slide into a failed state. There is no
consensus yet on how to achieve this. But as regional leaders stake out
their positions, there are clear signs that President Robert Mugabe's
influence among his peers has slipped amid economic meltdown in Zimbabwe and
international pressure to broaden sanctions on his regime.
Angola's position appears to go against the trend. It has vowed to stand
beside Mr Mugabe in resisting western interference. Some reports suggest
that Luanda is even ready to deploy paramilitaries to help prolong Mr
Mugabe's rule. It is hard to see what it would gain from the confrontation
with South Africa this might entail. More likely Angola - flush with
petrodollars - is flexing its muscles. It is positioning itself as Mr
Mugabe's political heir, the anti-western champion of resource nationalism,
playing Venezuela to South Africa's Brazil.
At the other end of the spectrum stands Zambia. President Levy Mwanawasa is
almost alone in public but he finds himself among a growing number of
regional leaders privately considering more decisive action to bring Mr
Mugabe's disastrous reign to an end. South Africa's quiet diplomacy in
Zimbabwe has failed, he said last week. His country's southern neighbour is
now a "sinking Titanic" threatening stability in the region.
Neither Zambia's nor Angola's position should mask South Africa's greater
potential influence over Zimbabwe's future. Rivals to succeed Mr Mugabe are
heading to Pretoria for consultations. It is there that an exit strategy for
Mr Mugabe is most likely to take shape.
More criticism in the west of President Thabo Mbeki's discreet approach is
not helpful. Pretoria's position towards Mr Mugabe is gradually hardening of
its own accord. In the past, polemics from western leaders have allowed Mr
Mugabe to play the race card. Today, they risk strengthening Angola's
anti-western tilt, as it seeks to broaden its own influence in the region on
the back of Zimbabwe's plight.
The west should now be focusing on financing a post-Mugabe rescue package,
which Zimbabwe will desperately need and which could help quicken the pace
of regional diplomacy by providing hope to a suffering populace.
The opportunity to save Zimbabwe from chaos is fast evaporating. But the
makings of a power-sharing transition leading to fair elections are on the
table as regional leaders and regime insiders grapple with the more
difficult question of persuading Mr Mugabe to abandon power. At this late
stage African leaders scarcely need reminding that their own reputation and
not just Zimbabwe's future is at stake. For too long, they have been
collectively tarnished by their failure to rein in the despots in their
African leaders say nothing on Zimbabwe - and speak volumes about what they
are prepared to put up with
March 26, 2007 Edition 1
As South Africans celebrated Human Rights Day last week, it is hard not to
look to our neighbour to the north. To call what has happened in Zimbabwe in
recent days a "crisis" is to suggest that what prevailed before wasn't
Of course it was. Still, the escalation in violence, the blatant violation
of court orders and the arrogant statements from the leadership demonstrate
that a threshold has been crossed.
To sum up: in the past two weeks the regime in Zimbabwe has carried out a
broad sweep of arrests and detentions. It began on March 11, when Gift
Tandare, a young civic leader who was participating in a prayer meeting
organised to protest against the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe
was shot and killed by police.
This was followed by the detention of many of the most critical figures in
the political opposition movement and in civil society.
The beatings in police custody have been well documented.
After a week of shocking images of battered opposition leaders, the more
recent vicious attack on Nelson Chamisa, an MP and leading spokesperson for
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, further
rocked the international community.
Chamisa was assaulted at Harare International Airport by four men believed
to be police officers as he prepared to board a flight to Brussels, where he
was due to address a meeting of European and Asian parliamentarians about
the crisis in Zimbabwe.
Although the media spotlight has been on the high-profile names such as
Chamisa and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, many of those detained are
ordinary people who have little public profile.
The 50 individuals who were arrested two weeks ago are being defended by a
tiny group of lawyers (10 or so). Although Zimbabwe has plenty of lawyers,
many are justifiably worried for their lives. A number of those representing
opposition and civic leaders have been threatened and a hit list - complied
by the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) - naming a number
of prominent human rights lawyers is said to be circulating among security
It would be naive to suppose that in this environment there isn't some
unlawful action being taken by elements who oppose the Zimbabwean state. But
it is nonsense to maintain, as the Zimbabwean regime does, that the victims
of state violence have brought this on themselves or to suggest that there
is an equivalence between the actions of the state, with its army and
police, and the actions of the opposition.
Unfortunately, the defensive positions put out by the Mugabe regime find
resonance among a number of commentators, who suggest that the messy state
of opposition politics in Zimbabwe is to blame for the long-standing crisis.
Yet the truth of it is simple: decrying the state of the opposition detracts
attention from what is really at stake, the violation of the most
fundamental of human rights.
Time and again, Zimbabweans are exhorted to "sort out their own house before
seeking regional and international support".
Yet, as many South Africans will recall, in the days of apartheid,
suggestions that the fight for racial equality might lack legitimacy because
there existed a variety of organisations representing the political
aspirations of black South Africans - including the ANC, Azapo, the IFP and
the PAC - would have been rejected outright.
The paltry diplomatic measures taken thus far by the African Union have done
nothing to neutralise the force of the regime's violence.
Indeed, Chamisa's assault took place less than 48 hours after President
Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania flew to Zimbabwe to hold talks with Mugabe. What
better way for the old man to thumb his nose at his peers?
The difference in political shrewdness between Mugabe and his peers within
the African Union has never been more stark. If the regional silence that
African leaders continue to maintain in the face of Zimbabwe's increasing
impunity stems from a desire to demonstrate solidarity with an ancient icon,
Mugabe shows them, in his contemptuous disregard for their statements of
concern, no similar regard.
It is now common cause that Zanu-PF and Mugabe stole the 2000 and 2002
But surely, even a legitimately elected leader who killed, maimed and
tortured his own people, should no longer deserve to be treated as a full
member of the old boy's club that is the African Union.
The simple fact that he once deserved our respect does not seem grounds
enough to continue to provide him with that respect.
The sad reality is that there he sits, alongside others of whom we are
rightly proud: Kikwete himself, who was voted into power in 2006; Namibia's
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who was elected in 2005 and brought in
sweeping anti-corruption measures; Mozambique's Prime Minister Armando
Guebuza, who has not interfered with judicial processes that could implicate
senior members of his party; and South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, who has
presided over a government that is finally rolling out the largest and most
comprehensive Aids programme in the world.
Each of these men is a legitimate leader who behaves in a democratic fashion
in his own backyard. Yet each continues to maintain a stolid brotherly
silence as Mugabe crushes his opponents.
A few have begun to mutter that his behaviour is, what Ghana's President
John Kufuor last week called, "embarrassing". But these muted worries do not
begin to approximate the level of response required.
If they are unmoved by the beatings and violations of the rights of civic
and political leaders, then surely they should not be so prepared to
tolerate the damage inflicted by Mugabe on the image of Africa.
With their continued silence, they send a chilling message to the rest of
the world about the behaviour that Africans are prepared to countenance for
Yet if any one of them was willing to break the silence and to condemn in
the strongest of terms the actions of the Mugabe regime, surely others would
Most importantly, Africa could then begin to help Zimbabweans to craft
inclusive national talks that could pave the way for a democratic
dispensation that would belong to all Zimbabweans.
The question is, who among them will have the courage?
.. Sisonke Msimang is an advocate on right to health issues in Africa and
works as a programme manager for the Open Society Initiative for Southern
26th Mar 2007 00:49 GMT
By Charles Rukuni
ZIMBABWE has been making headlines worldwide for nearly two weeks. President
Robert Mugabe who has been at the helm for 27 years, is at the centre stage,
after his government bashed opposition leaders and killed at least one
Some people are now talking about the "end-game" predicting that Mugabe will
not last until the end of this year. But Mugabe is a "scheming survivor".
Zimbabwe's crisis, has been on for nearly a decade, starting in 1997 when
Mugabe took a shot at incoming British Prime Minister Tony Blair for going
back on the land issue.
If he goes, this will not be because of the opposition or his so-called
powerful lieutenants who have vowed they will not sink with him. It will
probably be the person-on-the-street, who cannot make ends meet.
Zimbabweans, who have suffered in silence for nearly a decade after being
beaten into compliance following the 1997-98 stay-aways organised by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) just before the formation of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999, are now prepared to rise again
as politics of the stomach takes over.
Their daily challenge is how to put food on one's table, even if this means
one decent meal a day. Any slight provocation could spark violence as
witnessed in Harare over the past week. Workers have resorted to strikes to
force employers, including the cash-strapped government, to pay them more to
make ends meet.
The growing restlessness saw doctors downing tools for an unprecedented
eight weeks. Strikes by nurses, teachers and now university lecturers
followed. Soldiers and police are grumbling. The ZCTU has given the
government until April 4 to resolve the country's economic problems or face
Though the government awarded striking workers salary and wage increases and
they returned to work, the increases have already been eroded by inflation
which soared to 1730 percent in February.
The Central Statistics Office, a government agency that compiles inflation
figures, said the poverty datum line was now pegged at Z$937 838, up from
Z$566 401 in January. The March figure could exceed Z$1.5 million. Prices
rocketed at the end of February as suppliers tried to hedge themselves
against the proposed wage and price freeze that was supposed to come into
effect on March 1.
It did not. But they did not revise their prices which keep going up.
Negotiations between the key partners, employers and labour, have hit a
stalemate. Employers are refusing to link wages to the poverty datum line.
Workers will not budge.
The average wage is still below Z$100 000 a month, barely enough to meet one's
transport costs to and from work alone. Everyone knows the cause of the
problem. It is not sanctions by the West as Mugabe claims. Indeed, the
average Zimbabwean is suffering because of sanctions but the real problem is
The economy will not turn around while he is still in power, or at least
whilst he is still executive president. He knows that too now. But there are
no signs that he is preparing to leave. He is now suggesting that he will
stand again if the people nominate him though he previously stated this will
be his last term in office.
Now even his own lieutenants, who have propped him up for the past 27 years,
say he must go. They won't go down with him. And they are bigger threat to
Mugabe's reign than the fragile opposition which remains deeply divided.
Former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) strongman,
Edgar "2-boy" Zivanai Tekere, who was Mugabe's number two at independence,
has piled up the pressure on Mugabe to go by releasing a damning
autobiography which portrays Mugabe as a rigid man and a loner who resists
any kind of change and rarely forgives those who cross his path.
Tekere says people should not blame one man for all that has gone wrong in
the country, but in the case of Zimbabwe Mugabe is at the centre of the
country's problems. "In my view, 90 percent of the blame should go to him,
and ten percent to those who have uncritically huddled around him over the
He says he is partly to blame because in extolling Mugabe as he and his
colleagues did at independence, they forgot to put in place institutional
arrangements that the party was sustained by collective leadership,
democratic discourse and accountability.
"In retrospect," Tekere says, "we have to acknowledge that, in the absence
of such institutional arrangements, any one of us, and not just Mugabe,
could have lost course and degenerated into a virtual dictatorship.
Tekere drew the wrath of Mugabe when he said that he favoured Joice Mujuru
for the post of vice-president and to eventually take over from him and had
actively campaigned for her even before he was readmitted to the party.
His dressing down of Mugabe as a man who resists any kind of change
including the sacking of Joshua Nkomo as party leader in the 1960s, that of
Ndabaningi Sithole as leader of ZANU in the 1970s, and even going to
Mozambique to join the liberation struggle, attracted the wrath of Mugabe
loyalists who expelled Tekere from the party hardly a year after he had been
Tekere was readmitted to ZANU-PF on 6 April 2006. The expulsion shows the
lack of tolerance that everyone is complaining about. Mugabe dragged Nkomo
into unity because he did not want any opposition. He refuses to talk to the
Movement for Democratic Change for the same reason.
But his former lieutenants now feel enough is enough. Solomon Mujuru wants
Mugabe to go. This has been a terrible blow to Mugabe. He is bitter that the
people he trusted most, Joyce Mujuru and her husband Solomon have abandoned
Solomon reportedly chaired Mugabe's inner cabinet, the so-called Committee
of 26, that ZANU-PF insiders like Enos Nkala say effectively ran the state.
Emmerson Mnangagwa betrayed him in 2004 when he tried to upstage Joice
But it appears Mugabe has forgiven him. Reports say Mugabe mentioned him as
his favoured successor in his birthday interview last month but this was
reportedly edited out before the interview was aired.
Close confidants of the late Simon Muzenda say the late vice-president and
Mugabe had reached a pact that Mnangagwa should succeed Mugabe, shutting out
Eddison Zvobgo who had never hidden his presidential ambitions.
But Mnangagwa probably jumped the gun and Mugabe, who does not want to be
second guessed, ditched him and brought in Mujuru instead. Mnangagwa has
continued to hang on despite the humiliation.
He is playing his cards to his chest, something that continues to haunt his
opponents. But Mnangagwa's betrayal was nothing compared to that of Solomon
Mujuru and Ray Kaukonde provincial governor of Mashonaland East.
Their province hosted the crucial December annual conference where the
motion to endorse the harmonisation of the elections, which most people read
to mean an extension of Mugabe's term of office, was tabled but it voted
against the resolution.
To make matters worse, Mugabe thinks the Mujurus have joined forces with his
bitterest foes, the British. Mujuru is said to be a stakeholder in a British
company Africa Consolidated Resources which had been given diamond mining
concessions in Marange.
The licence has since been withdrawn. Mujuru is now one of the richest
people in the country. He has more to lose if Mugabe is kicked out
unceremoniously. He therefore does not want give in. Reports say Mujuru has
been telling Mugabe that it is payback time because he protected him in
Mozambique when exiled leaders did not trust Mugabe and built him up in
Zimbabwe after independence.
Mujuru does not want to take over himself but wants to put someone who will
protect his business interests. Some reports say he does not even trust his
wife and is courting Simba Makoni. But observers say replacing Mugabe with
another ZANU-PF candidate without fundamental constitutional changes would
perpetuate the current situation.
Tekere aptly puts it in his book: "The current situation could be reproduced
and sustained under a new leader in 2008 unless we put in place the
constitutional and institutional mechanisms that will make it impossible for
one person to run away with the entire State and make it imperative for
collective leadership, democratic discourse and accountability."
That is where the fragile opposition comes in. The MDC and its two factions
may be weak but they command a sizeable and very influential constituency,
the workers and the urban people. Mugabe cannot afford to continue to ignore
such a powerful constituency especially with unemployment at over 80
Though the rural vote gave Mugabe a two-thirds majority in Parliament in
2005, it is the urban people that have the potential to paralyse the country
if they go on a rampage as they did during the stay-aways of the 1990s.
The only problem is which faction to talk with. Most observers say both.
Others say what is needed is national dialogue between all stakeholders
including civic organisations that have now grouped under the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign. Mugabe knows his days are numbered. He has few friends left.
His African tour which took him to Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and
Angola this month, to seek for help, was clear testimony that he was now
desperate. But Mugabe has his ego to protect. He is therefore not going to
capitulate. He wants an honourable exit where he will appear to be calling
Any solution to the country's problems must therefore be seen to have come
from him. Political commentator John Makumbe says it is therefore up to
the opposition and civic groups to take the initiative to engage Mugabe in a
They have to acknowledge that he is still Head of State and an elder,
something Mugabe himself has hinted at in the past. Britain and the United
States too should seek dialogue with Mugabe because sanctions on their own
are only hurting the poor.
But they must insist that though they are willing to talk to him, something
Mugabe has demanded, they can only do so if he agrees to talk to the people
in Zimbabwe first. But the solution to Zimbabwe's problems is not as simple
or clear cut as the think-tank, the International Crisis Group, seems to
imply in its latest report. The ICG has made too many assumptions which it
cannot back by fact.
Mugabe may be under a lot of pressure but he is not an idiot. He has up to
now read the political situation in the country right and has survived
crisis after crisis. In fact, he is better organised that his counterparts
because right now, they don't have a single candidate who can stand against
Mugabe. It is wishful thinking to suggest that Mnangagwa can agree to be
Joice Mujuru's deputy.
The same applies to Morgan Tsvangirai. It is wishful thinking to talk about
any merger of the MDC factions without Tsvangirai because there can be no
MDC without him.
The ICG also grossly underplays one important factor that has kept Mugabe in
power and Mugabe is quite aware of it. Too many people, including those in
the opposition but especially those in civic organisations, deep down, do
not want Mugabe to go because they are making a fortune through his
continued stay in office and they will become irrelevant once he leaves the
What will happen to the National Constitutional Assembly, for example, once
Mugabe is gone and the country has a new constitution? What will happen to
the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition and its 350 affiliates once the crisis is
Mugabe's departure will be like the end of Ian Smith's rule in 1980 or the
end of apartheid in 1994. Too many organisations will become irrelevant and
their leaders know this. In short, the average Zimbabwean has to liberate
him or herself.
The average Zimbabwean does not really care about the mathematical juggling
proposed by think-tanks to bring about peace. What matters most is bread on
the table. It does not really matter who brings it.
Rukuni is currently the Bulawayo Bureau chief of the Financial Gazette , a
weekly paper. He has freelanced extensively for The Voice (South Africa),
Gemini News Service (London) , Africa Magazine (London), The Daily Nation
(Kenya), Radio Netherlands, Radio Deutsche Welle, South-North News Service
(Hanover, NH), Africa Analysis and Africa Confidential (London). He was a
fellow of the World Press Institute (St Paul MN) in 1983 and Poynter
Institute ( Fl) in 2000
The Herald, SA
PORT ELIZABETH Monday March 26, 2007
By Mike Loewe Grahamstown Correspondent
SUPPORTERS of President Robert Mugabe reportedly tried to intimidate Rhodes
University students and staff from expressing their anger at human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe but failed, hundreds of cheering demonstrators were told
at the weekend.
About 300 fired-up demonstrators, waving hand-made placards and posters,
marched from the student union to the university's administration block and
clock tower on Friday. They sang, drummed, waved Zimbabwe banners and blew
Placards read: "Bob can't build it", "Nobody can hear quiet diplomacy",
"Human rights for Zimbabwe", "Stop the violence - break the silence", "We
were once your (Mugabe's) people" and simply "Peace".
An academic in gown and cap was seen in the middle of the crowd, which
included some students in sporty wear and others in hippy jeans and
Students said most of the demonstrators were South Africans and that the
large contingent of Zimbabwean students at Rhodes were too afraid to march.
Zimbabwean students on the Rhodes campus had been told that their parents
back in Zimbabwe would be attacked if they took part in the march.
Larissa Klazinga, assistant to the dean of students, told the crowd: "Our
students have been intimidated. It happened in the past, but it won't happen
here. Not on our campus."
Student activists called on Grahamstown to join the "mounting international
condemnation of tyranny and injustice" in Zimbabwe.
23 March 2007
By BARNEY MTHOMBOTHI
Zimbabwe has become a real pain. I'm sick of it. There's hardly
anything one can say that has not been said many times before, and in much
more elegant and forthright language. But we can't help it. SA is joined at
the hip to Zimbabwe.
The country is close to home in more ways than one. What's happening
there offends against everything we purport to stand for; it reminds us of
our awful past, and it defies logic how some of our compatriots can be
laissez faire about it.
But it's a pain or an albatross that just won't go away. Those who
think that Zimbabwe, if appropriately ignored - like crime, corruption or
Aids - will simply evaporate are living in cloud-cuckoo-land.
There's hope, though. A silver lining of sorts. Despite all the blood
and guts of the past few weeks, there's no doubt that a Rubicon has finally
been crossed in Zimbabwe. The country has reached a point of no return which
can only lead to the final liquidation of Robert Mugabe's regime.
But it won't be without a lot of suffering, even death. Mugabe has
demonstrated in the past that he won't go without a fight. Thousands of
graves of innocent civilians in Matabeleland - victims of the notorious
Fifth Brigade - bear testimony to Mugabe's brutality. We looked the other
way at the time. So did the rest of Africa. We could not bring ourselves to
believe that this icon of the struggle could unleash a killing machine
against the very people he had given so much to liberate. It was untrue, we
told ourselves. It was part of the colonial conspiracy to demonise our
In order to stay in power, Mugabe has embarked on a scorched earth
policy that has all but ruined his country. We dare not even whisper any
condemnation, however guarded, lest we be accused of siding with imperial
masters such as Tony Blair and their running dogs. And so we remain
steadfast in our support of Comrade Mugabe and his heroic Zanu- PF forces.
Perhaps those who were not inside SA for the better part of the 1970s
and 1980s ( at the height of internal insurrection) cannot understand what
the people of Zimbabwe are going through. They cannot empathise or fathom
what it feels like to be at the mercy of a brutal and oppressive dictator;
to be hunted like an animal in your own country. Suffering is what they read
about in books.
The sight of a dazed, bruised and battered Morgan Tsvangirai does not
evoke any feeling of shame, of guilt, or sympathy. He's a running dog. He
deserves everything he gets. Our allegiance is to the heroic forces of the
But the attack on the leadership of the opposition is not only a sign
of Mugabe's desperation, it also sends a powerful signal that the opposition
is at last standing up to his regime. For too long the opposition has been
unwilling or scared to confront Mugabe. There's no way of dealing with
conflict other than to confront it. Take him on. That's the only language
tyrants understand. Fear is the most effective weapon in Mugabe's armoury.
Get over it, and the battle is half won.
The opposition leaders cannot expect supporters to demonstrate and
expose themselves to state thuggery if they themselves are not prepared to
take the pain. For too long, opposition to Mugabe has amounted to nothing
more than pleas to the international community to come to the rescue.
International pressure is a function or a consequence of internal agitation.
It is only when Zimbabweans themselves take the fight to the enemy that the
world will lend a hand. Recent events seem to suggest that the opposition
may at last be prepared to create and lead that internal crucible for
The message for Zimbabweans is, and has always been: you're on your
The Evansville Courier & Press
The Issue: Zimbabwe may be worst-run country on the planet. Our View:
African leaders must not remain silent.
Zimbabwe may be far and away the worst-run country on the planet.
The economic statistics alone would be a joke if they were not so grim for
its impoverished people: 80 percent unemployment; an inflation rate of over
1,700 percent (if you were so foolish as to make the exchange, you could get
17,500 Zimbabwe dollars for one U.S.) and projected to reach 4,000 percent;
over one-fifth of the population's economic refugees in neighboring
And this was once one of the wealthiest nations in Africa, mineral-rich and
the continent's breadbasket. Its people survive today on international food
This disaster is the handiwork of Zimbabwe's president of 27 years, Robert
Mugabe, and these past weeks he's demonstrated how he's managed to stay in
power so long.
After Mugabe banned political rallies, the opposition held a public prayer
meeting that was savagely broken up by the police and regime thugs.
Opposition leaders were jailed and beaten, and those who tried to leave the
country were intercepted at the airport and beaten there. The chief
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is said to have a fractured skull and
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry summoned Western diplomats and threatened
them with expulsion if they tried to help the opposition, even by such
charitable gestures as providing food, water and medicine.
While Mugabe likes to blame his troubles on various nefarious imperialist
schemes by Britain and the United States, the West has little influence in
Zimbabwe. It is already the subject of extensive sanctions, and Mugabe's
tolerance for the suffering of his people is apparently limitless.
To their shame, other African leaders - especially those in South Africa and
the African Union - have been silent to the point of indulgence about
Mugabe's depredations. Their censure and disapproval would hearten the
opposition and perhaps even check Mugabe. If he runs again, as he is
threatening to do, in another rigged election, they should refuse to
recognize the results.
African leaders have been prone to excuse the present by dwelling on the
colonial past, but what is taking place in Zimbabwe is inexcusable in any
26th Mar 2007 01:08 GMT
By a Correspondent
BRADFORD - Zimbabweans living in the UK took to the streets yesterday to
protest against continued human rights abuses in their country and the March
11 arrests and assault of opposition leaders, including MDC founding
president, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Organiser Wonder Zulu said the protest was part of a bigger and broader
campaign which started towards end of last year to bring together exiled
Zimbabweans in the UK and had been galvanised by the continued assaults on
pro-democracy groups back home.
"The demonstration today at the Bradford Centenary Square was part of our
reaction to the brutality that is being perpetrated to our people in
Zimbabwe with impunity by the rogue dictator Robert Mugabe," he said.
"Our leaders are currently nursing broken limbs for trying to hold a prayer
meeting and to travel. Gift Tandare even lost his life in the process so
this is the least we can do as Zimbabweans living here - continue to
campaign and show the world the bad things happening in our country."
Those involved in the protest included the Zimbabwe Community in the West
Yorkshire, Leeds, Huddersfield, Middlesborough, Newcastle, Sunderland, South
Yorkshire, Sheffield, Leicester, Loughborough, West Midlands, Birmingham,
Coventry, Manchester, Liverpool, Bedfordshire and London.
Noble Sibanda said the protesting Zimbabweans were part of a bigger group
looking at issues affecting them here in the UK. He said the Zimbabwean
community here will continue to protest against the Zanu PF government and
push for more pressure from the international community to help end the
suffering he says many have endured for many years now.
"As we see the events this week in Zimbabwe are moving fast towards the most
awaited New Zimbabwe with disgruntling Zanu PF mandarins negotiating with
the Zimbabwean opposition movement as we speak and we are close to a post
Mugabe era, these open forums are becoming more worthwhile in terms of
preparing ourselves and moving along with the events," he said.
More protests are being organised in different parts of the UK by
Zimbabweans seeking to air their views on the situation obtaining in the
country at the moment.
By Our Foreign Staff
Last Updated: 12:53am BST 26/03/2007
South Africa has again been forced to defend its policy of quiet
diplomacy towards President Robert Mugabe, who yesterday appeared isolated
even from his own party.
Pretoria's softly, softly approach to Zimbabwe's dictator would not be
knocked off course by western critics, said Aziz Pahad, South Africa's
deputy foreign minister.
He instead accused the West of refusing earlier attempts at
constructive dialogue with Mr Mugabe's regime, which had "closed the doors
between the EU, the US and Zimbabwe".
"It is not our intention to make militant statements to make us feel
good, or to satisfy governments outside Africa," Mr Pahad said in Pretoria.
As the crisis grows in Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe was forced into an
embarrassing climb-down from a boast that he would scrap 2008 elections and
rule until 2010 at least.
His Zanu-PF party refused to endorse his plans and he told a
conference in Harare that "the view I am getting is that 2008 is
Mon Mar 26, 2007 8:18 AM IST
By Richard Sydenham
KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - Zimbabwe are back in Harare reflecting on a
fruitless World Cup but many observers feel little more could be expected
from a team that has lost all its senior players.
Apart from the benefit of their experience here, Zimbabwe will take away
from the World Cup their $7 million participation fee.
That money, many are urging, should be used to invest in infrastructure and
attract their key men back into the national team.
Aside from Bob Woolmer's murder, one of the greatest sadnesses of this World
Cup for many fans was the non-appearance of so many of Zimbabwe's most
Top performers of the ilk of Andy Flower, Heath Streak, Tatenda Taibu, Andy
Blignaut and Ray Price were watching from afar on television.
A Zimbabwe with these players, not to mention many more like Murray Goodwin,
Grant Flower and Sean Ervine, could even have won Group D ahead of West
Indies, Pakistan and Ireland.
Given the International Cricket Council's aim to globalise the sport, it was
disappointing to many that one of their 10 test nations -- the game's crown
jewels -- had apparently been allowed to disintegrate.
Zimbabwe were becoming competitive before internal cricket board politics
crippled them, yet here they were at the World Cup sharing a tie with
tournament debutants Ireland.
The main reason, apart from Zimbabwean internal politics, that has forced
players away from representing their beloved country has been non-payment.
Their former captain, the articulate and promising wicketkeeper-batsman
Tatenda Taibu, retired at 21 because of the lack of money he received for
The International Cricket Council has taken no action against Zimbabwe over
The country have a passionate coach in Zimbabwean Kevin Curran but it is
doubted how long he will stay with such a background.
Zimbabwe Cricket must use their World Cup purse to lure all their best
players back, its critics say.
Whether this means they have to buy out their lucrative county deals and
sign them on long-term contracts that cannot be broken, many passionately
feel it needs to be done.
Their schools system continues to produce talent but thereafter they become
lost, critics argue, in an underdeveloped professional infrastructure.
Return the lost experience and quality to the current crop of youth and
Zimbabwe can be strong again.
Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:51 AM IST
By Rob Taylor
CANBERRA (Reuters) - The Australian government will hold talks with cricket
authorities to cancel a Zimbabwe tour that could be seen as giving a
"blessing" to President Robert Mugabe, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer
said on Monday.
"I don't want them to tour Zimbabwe. I think that is the wrong look," Downer
Australia, which is currently defending its World Cup title in the
Caribbean, is due to tour violence-racked Zimbabwe later in the year.
But Downer said mounting political violence in the African nation and a
crackdown on Mugabe's opponents meant the tour should be abandoned to help
put pressure on the 83-year-old strongman to step aside.
"Of course it won't hurt the regime if the tour is called off in the sense
that a lot of them are not interested in, or enthusiastic about, cricket,"
"But the whole concept of the world's greatest cricket team and the biggest
names in world cricket visiting Zimbabwe and giving the blessing to that
country is one that I feel uncomfortable with."
Downer said he would sit down with governing body Cricket Australia to talk
through possible contractual issues, including possible fines of up to $2
million for calling the tour off.
"It might be that they are able to get out of the tour on the back of the
rising violence in Zimbabwe. We have to look at the contract in detail,"
Downer said, declining to say whether his government would consider covering
any cancellation costs.
International criticism of Mugabe has sharpened this month after police
cracked down on opposition supporters attempting to attend a banned prayer
rally, arresting several activists, including opposition party leader Morgan
Western critics, including Britain and the United States, have threatened
more economic sanctions on Mugabe and his government, which is already
battling Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis in decades, with inflation now
topping 1,700 percent.
Downer, who has criticised South Africa for not taking a tougher stance
against Mugabe as the region's main economic and military power, said South
Africa now acknowledged the need for change in Zimbabwe.
"We've been communicating a lot with the South Africans a lot in the last
couple of weeks and I think that, frankly, they are very aware that more
needs to be done," he said.
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, has
traded on his legacy as a leading light in Africa's anti-colonial struggle,
blaming Zimbabwe's problems on Western sabotage after his seizure of white