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From African statesman, Mugabe seen as desperate to cling to power


HARARE, Zimbabwe, March 6 — Robert Mugabe rose from poverty to become a
schoolteacher, a Marxist leader in Zimbabwe's struggle against white
minority government, and eventually his country's ruler.

       More than two decades after he took over an independent Zimbabwe,
many of those who once praised Mugabe's statesmanship say he is destroying
his country in a desperate bid to remain president.
       ''He's shown himself for what he is. He's a violent man determined to
hang onto power at whatever cost,'' said Diana Mitchell, a Zimbabwean
historian and supporter of the black liberation struggle.
       For the past two years, Mugabe has encouraged militias of the ruling
party in a campaign of violence against supporters of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, the strongest threat to his rule since
independence in 1980.
       He has described Morgan Tsvangirai, his challenger in this weekend's
presidential election, as a servant of European governments and local
whites. And he has painted the elections as another liberation struggle.
       ''This is total war,'' he has told supporters.
       Mugabe, now 78, did not always speak this way.
       When the whites finally yielded power in the former British colony
then called Rhodesia, Mugabe was elected as the first black prime minister.
Many then feared he would exacerbate racial divisions and move the
capitalist economy onto Marxist lines.
       Instead, he spoke of democracy, and invited the white minority to
join him in building a stronger Zimbabwe.
       Under his stewardship, the economy grew stronger and Zimbabwe's
health and education systems were envied by many African countries.
       Mugabe was hailed abroad as a statesman. But at home, critics charge,
corruption was growing and Mugabe was working to muzzle all dissent.
       In 1982, troops from Mugabe's majority Shona tribe began a lengthy
campaign of terror against the minority Ndebeles. Mugabe claimed his main
political rival, Joshua Nkomo, was leading the Ndebeles in an armed
       At least 20,000 people, most civilians, were killed, according to
human rights groups.
       When Mugabe's former ally in the liberation war, Edgar Tekere, formed
an opposition party in the 1980s to protest corruption and misrule, the
government reacted violently.
       An opposition parliamentary candidate was shot and crippled by
       Mugabe ''is very afraid of competition. That is why he will do
anything,'' Tekere said.
       In 1987, Mugabe effectively turned Zimbabwe into a one-party state,
with himself as president.
       Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born into a poor family at Kutama mission,
west of Harare. His father abandoned the family when Mugabe was a child, but
a priest took him under his wing and encouraged him to become a teacher.
       Shy and bookish, Mugabe grew up to earn a string of degrees, many of
them by correspondence while imprisoned by the country's white rulers.
       ''He was a very brilliant scholar,'' said James Chikerema, 76, a
cousin who grew up with Mugabe.
       Mugabe helped found the Zimbabwe African National Union to fight the
white regime and eventually was jailed for a decade.
       Those close to Mugabe say he was crushed when his young son died in
Ghana and the government refused to free him to attend the funeral.
       And he never forgave the country's whites, even as he spoke of
reconciliation, said Chikerema.
       ''Underneath, I believe, the sores of imprisonment were still
there,'' he said.
       Today Zimbabwe's once-robust economy, already weakened by its
expensive involvement in the Congo war and a large pension payout to war
veterans, has nearly collapsed in the chaos caused by political violence.
       Unemployment is at 60 percent, inflation 112 percent and the
''breadbasket of southern Africa'' has to import food.
       Mugabe blames Europe and Zimbabwe's whites. He has told those whites
that he is withdrawing the offer of reconciliation he made 22 years ago.
       ''Zimbabwe is for black people, not white people,'' Mugabe said.
       He has reintroduced socialist-style price controls for staple foods
and promised to nationalize many businesses.
       Chikerema says his cousin is destroying the country.
       ''There is nothing left to nationalize,'' he said. ''He is
nationalizing poverty.''

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Independent (UK)

Propaganda in Zimbabwe media hits fever pitch
By Karen MacGregor in Harare
07 March 2002
There is only one candidate in this weekend's presidential poll in Zimbabwe,
Comrade Robert Mugabe, according to yesterday's one o'clock news on
state-controlled television.

At his "biggest rallies" so far, he told the masses,who were, curiously, not
shown on screen, that land reform must be taken to its conclusion for the
sake of the thousands who sacrificed their lives to shed "the shackles of

Next up was good news for seven families near Masvingo in the south, to whom
the Zanu-PF government has "given" a commercial farm. The headman was
profusely thankful.

There was also a report of accelerated state maize delivery to starving
Manicaland peasants, and one on generous government donations to the
disabled and disadvantaged women traders.

In television advertisements dubbed "Reflections", Zanu-PF airs old speeches
by war heroes about colonialism, white racism, Zimbabwean nationalism and
the land. Between programmes, happy people dance amid fields of lush maize –
but they look nothing like those next to the roads of a country suffering
drought, the destruction of farming and a growing food crisis.

Propaganda has reached fever pitch on the state- controlled Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation – called "Zanu-PF Broadcasting Corporation" by
opposition supporters – as the government mobilises every tool at its
disposal to clinch victory for Mr Mugabe in the face of plummeting support.

Among those tools are stones. The wounded crowd into the offices of the
Amani Trust, a human rights organisation, in Harare, waiting to tell their
stories. A young man with gaping injuries beneath dreadlocks lifts his
trouser legs to reveal yet more gashes. "Youths attacked me with stones," he
said. "They accused me of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change."
The MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is challenging Mr Mugabe for the

There are no stories about Zanu-PF violence on the airwaves, although in
Bulawayo last week the state-owned Chronicle screamed "MDC terror" above a
story about an opposition supporter driving his car into Zanu-PF supporters,
injuring 16.

The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, a media watchdog, confirmed yesterday
there had been no reports of political violence on radio or TV – the medium
that the uneducated and poor, who are traditionally Zanu-PF supporters, rely
on for news. Instead, ZBC played down private media reports of violence,
airing the comments of observers who called them "exaggerated".

The media watchdog accused ZBC of misleading the public with a report about
MDC legislators asking an air marshal for support if the party
"assassinates" Mr Mugabe. Nowhere in the documentary, it says, was this
suggested: rather, he was asked for help with pacifying the army if the MDC
wins the election.

ZBC, it adds, "continued to denigrate the MDC while according Zanu-PF
positive coverage and more airtime". Among other examples, it cites 13
campaign reports by Radio Zimbabwe on one day this week. Ten were "campaign
pieces for Zanu-PF", one favoured a minority party, and, "as has become the
norm on ZBC, two denigrated the MDC".

But just as the state- controlled media gives favourable coverage to the
ruling party, the watchdog reports, private newspapers and Shortwave Radio
Africa support the MDC. Such is the polarisation of the media in Zimbabwe
that it is hard to believe that they are covering the same country.

In terms of pitching messages, though, the MDC seems rather more in touch
with ordinary people. It talks about good governance and economic recovery,
while Zanu-PF harps on and on about imperialism, the liberation war and the
evils of whites.

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Powell calls Zimbabwe's Mugabe an 'anachronism'

WASHINGTON, March 6 — U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe an ''anachronism'' on Wednesday as the international
community braced for weekend elections in the Southern African country
tainted by Mugabe's repression of rivals and the media.

        Mugabe faces Morgan Tsvangirai in the closest and most bitter
election since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980. Foreign
critics, led by Britain and the United States, accuse Mugabe of trying to
rig the vote on Saturday and Sunday to beat the biggest challenge to his
22-year rule.
       ''We have taken the lead in speaking out sharply against people like
Mr. Mugabe,'' Powell told a congressional hearing when asked about the Bush
administration's activities on the African continent.
       ''It was my speech in South Africa last year that made it clear that
this kind of behavior ... was no longer acceptable if countries wanted to
progress into the 21st century,'' he added, referring to his criticism of
Mugabe last May.
       Powell said in the Johannesburg speech Mugabe was trying to cling to
power and accused him of using ''totalitarian methods'' and failing to stop
war veterans from ''terrorizing'' the country.
       He drew a harsh contrast between Mugabe and other African leaders who
have left office voluntarily when their terms expired or they lost
       ''Mr. Mugabe is an anachronism in the way he's going about the
running of his country,'' he told members of Congress on Wednesday.
       Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner
made clear at another congressional hearing on Zimbabwe last month the
United States would likely expand its travel ban on Mugabe and senior
members of his government and their families if he stole the election.
       He said mechanisms were being explored to impose targeted financial
sanctions against individuals, and possibly, against corporate entities, if
Mugabe lost the poll but failed to hand over power peacefully.
       A key thrust of U.S. policy on Zimbabwe has been to encourage local
leaders to put pressure on Mugabe, a strategy that so far has appeared to
fail, given what Kansteiner called a ''campaign of repression orchestrated
by the government of Zimbabwe'' in the run-up to presidential polls.
       Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has accused Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF party of waging a crackdown on the media and a campaign of
terror in which 107 opposition supporters have died since 2000.
       The MDC, which is hoping to turn public anger over a crumbling
economy and severe food shortages into victory at the polls, accuses ZANU-PF
of using a militia disguised as a youth training service to terrorize the
       Mugabe and his party have denied orchestrating a campaign of
intimidation and rejected allegations that it is trying to fix the polls,
blaming pre-election violence on the MDC
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Christian Science Monitor

Zimbabwe battens down for uneasy election

Predictions of unrest and doubts about a widely acceptable result precede
weekend poll.

By Danna Harman | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - The Fabulous Beauty Salon on the corner of Mugabe street
in downtown Harare is cram-packed. Patricia is getting her nails done. Nancy
is fiddling with her hair extensions. On Monday this shop will be closed. No
one seems to be sure about Tuesday. Or Wednesday.
The manager fits a new metal gate to his storefront window and closes his
account books. "I don't know, I don't know," he responds to a future
appointment inquiry.
As Zimbabweans go to the polls this weekend - amid fears that the violence
which has marked the election campaign will reach even greater levels - the
country is grinding to a standstill.

No matter who wins - whether Zanu-PF incumbent President Robert Mugabe, or
his challenger, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate Morgan
Tsvangirai - most predict there will be unrest.

Foreigners are evacuating. Locals who can afford it are either locking up
and flying out, or stocking up on food. And the majority of the popu-
lation - dirt poor, hungry, increasingly frustrated, and without options -
is just waiting.

"It is not a question of whether or not there will be violence," one senior
Western diplomat wrote in a cable to his capital last week. "It's a question
of how much and for how long ... and how Zimbabwe is going to come out of

Due to the political climate, people are afraid to say whom they will be
voting for. Nonetheless, several independent polls clearly indicate that Mr.
Tsvangirai has more popular support than Mr. Mugabe, possibly much more.

The country is experiencing an economic free fall. Unemployment is estimated
at 60 percent, inflation is more than 100 percent. Half a million people are
faced with starvation because of drought and the forced occupation of white
commercial farms by squatters.

Foreign investment has all but dried up, and tourists are staying away.
Zimbabwe has become a pariah state internationally. It is likely that if
Mugabe continues as president, the European Union (EU) will impose full
sanctions here, and relations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
the World Bank, and other donors will collapse. The opposition party slogan
is as simple as it is appealing. "Change! Change! Change!"

Some envision a scenario whereby Mugabe - an aging soldier who has run
Zimbabwe since white rule ended in 1980 and who blames the current economic
mess on former colonial power Britain - takes note of his loss and steps

"Mugabe might say he does not intend to step down," says Masiphula Sithole,
a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe. "But when
faced with the facts - especially if he loses by such a large margin that it
is impossible to tamper with it - he will leave."

Most pundits however, scoff at this idea and say that Mugabe - power hungry
and fearful of possible retribution for his bloody crackdown in Matabeland
in the 1980s - will refuse to release the reins of power.

"There is no option of Mugabe winning fairly. And no option of his accepting
a loss. It's all about stealing the elections," says Wilfred Mhanda, a war
veteran who heads the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform, an alternative
association of former fighters who oppose Mugabe. "And this has already been
done - such theft does not just happen on election day."

Mugabe's detractors point at a very long list of irregularities - from mere
voter confusion tactics to outright brutal intimidation - as evidence that
the election heist began long ago.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair claims that a free and fair election is
now virtually impossible. Sixty-nine of Tsvangirai's rallies have been
banned or disrupted by thugs. More than 400,000 serious human-rights abuses
have been reported, and 107 MDC supporters and activists have been reported
to have died in political violence over the past two years.

While some, such Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, claim Mugabe has more
support than most realize and can win legitimately, by and large neither the
outside world nor ordinary Zimbabweans will trust any Mugabe victory.

If Mugabe does declare victory, it is generally expected that a good number
of those who stayed in the country with a wait-and-see attitude will leave -
joining the 25 percent of productive labor force that has already fled in
the past four years. And that many others, especially in the urban areas,
will take to the streets in protest.

"People have pegged their hopes for change on this election, and frustration
will be tremendous. Explosions come when there is no recourse," says Brian
Kogoro, director of Crisis in Zimbabwe, a civic-society umbrella
organization. "Mugabe can claim victory but not legitimacy, and with no
food, no work, and no recourse, people will certainly revolt. They have
nothing to lose."

"The people have been wanting to rise up against the government for a long
time, but the opposition held them down - saying they were going to win,"
adds Mhanda. He explains that the revolt will be organized, and he admits
that preparations are already under way. "Aims are being debated.
Discussions are focused on whether there should be call for a recount of
votes or simply a power takeover," he says. "In any case, reaction will be
immediate. We can't wait. We are chomping at the bit."

What results such a revolt will bring, however, depends on how the military
responds. Those Army generals who have risen within Mugabe's system of
patronage, and who have become rich off looting diamond mines in Congo, are
none too keen to see the president lose power. In fact, the top brass have
made it clear that they will respect only one outcome. The Defense force
commander, Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe, has said that he will not serve a
president who does not have a liberation war background. Tsvangirai, a
former miner and union boss, has no such background.

The real question seems to be what the lower-ranking military men will do if
forced to choose between turning their guns on civilians or on their
superiors. "These young military men are the key," says Sithole. "The Army
is more than a handful of generals, and the rank and file don't ride in
Mercedes or have exorbitant salaries."

Sithole believes these men, who live meagre lives, would be unlikely to
support Mugabe in such a scenario. "They will come together and tell Mugabe:
'Listen, you don't have a chance of resisting the will of the people. Call
Morgan and concede the elections. They will dial the numbers.' "

Mhanda is not so sure. "This is an academic debate. We will have to wait and
see," he says.

"On Saturday and Sunday, I predict quiet," says one Western diplomat. "It's
in Mugabe's interest to make elections look as free and fair as possible,
and Tsvangirai wants to maintain quiet so that as many people as possible
come out to vote."

On Monday and Tuesday, there will also be quiet, continues the diplomat -
who had just finished sending off to South Africa all the dependents in his
embassy - because everyone will be waiting to hear the results, and there is
no point in making noise before that. "The announcement will come on
Wednesday or Thursday," he concludes. "And then hell will break loose."
Perhaps not coincidentally, Thursday is also the day on which every
accredited foreign journalist's visa to Zimbabwe runs out.

Back at the Fabulous Beauty Salon, Nancy is still leafing through women's
magazines, waiting for all her hair extensions to be braided. Her hairdo
should stay in shape for at least a month. "I hope by then we will be over
the worst, and this country will calm down so I can come get it reset and
rebraided," she says. "But who knows?"

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Rival set to control assembly if he beats Mugabe

HARARE, March 6 — If Morgan Tsvangirai succeeds in beating Robert Mugabe to
become Zimbabwe's second president this weekend, control of the separately
elected parliament looks set to follow swiftly, albeit by a narrow margin.

       Political analysts and legal experts told Reuters a victorious
Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, should be able to overturn the tenuous
parliamentary majority of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
       ''We are watching both a presidential election and a battle for
control of parliament,'' Harare-based constitutional expert Masipula Sithole
told Reuters.
       Though Mugabe's party holds a narrow majority of the elected seats in
the Zimbabwe parliament, 30 of the 150 members are appointed directly or
indirectly by the president.
       Analysts said that if Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), were to win, he would be able to force or pressure
enough of the appointed members to quit or switch allegiance to ensure
control of the house, just.
       ''We're looking at a de facto parliamentary by-election which could
swing the parliamentary majority in the MDC's favour,'' analyst Richard
Cornwell at the Pretoria-based South African Institute for Security Studies
told Reuters.
       In its narrowest victory since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980,
ZANU-PF won 62 of the 120 elected seats available in parliamentary elections
in June 2000.
       The MDC took an unprecedented 57 seats -- just five fewer than
Mugabe -- with one more going to a pro-MDC independent.
       But Mugabe's tenuous control of the house was bolstered by 30
pro-government delegates appointed by him or obliged to support the
president, pushing his hold to 92.
       Ten seats go to tribal chiefs appointed by a tribal council, eight go
to provincial governors appointed by the president and 12 are appointed by
him for the assembly's five-year life.
       The appointees include Minister of Home Affairs and ZANU-PF chairman
John Nkomo, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Finance Minister Simba
       ''Constitutionally the chiefs are supposed to vote with the ruling
party,'' Friedrich Neumann Foundation analyst Enoch Moyo told Reuters.
       Harare constitutional lawyer Adrian de Bourbon said the chiefs almost
certainly would support whoever is president.
       He said a new president would be able to replace provincial governors
immediately, giving him a further eight loyal members.
       ''The 12 non-constituency members are appointed for the life of the
parliament. A new president could try to persuade them to resign, but he
can't force them to,'' he said.
       Even if all 12 non-constituency members remained loyal to Mugabe, the
votes of the chiefs, the provincial governors and the pro-MDC independent
would give Tsvangirai a 76-74 majority, the analysts calculated.

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Japan Times

Zimbabwe: 11th hour questions


LONDON -- The situation in Zimbabwe goes from bad to worse. Sunday's
presidential election approaches amid a crescendo of violence and
intimidation, with the army, the state police and the thugs of the ruling
Zanu-PF political party rampaging through every region of this enormous and
once-rich Central African country.
It seems that the incumbent ruler, President Robert Mugabe, will stop at
nothing in his determination to cling on to power and plunder, to protect
his cronies and their wealth and to destroy all political opposition.

Yet even at this 11th hour there are some questions worth asking. First,
will he succeed? Incredibly, it is just possible that the opposition -- the
Movement for Democratic Change under the outstanding political leadership of
Morgan Tsvangirai -- may yet be able to garner enough votes to defeat
Mugabe, despite seeing its political rallies broken up, its associates
murdered and its supporters endlessly harassed.

Most outside observers and monitors have been barred -- with the European
Union team in particular sent packing after a humiliating period of
dithering and indecision. But a few observers from neighboring states and
Commonwealth countries have been admitted and have already pronounced that,
whoever wins, the elections will certainly not be free and fair. It is even
possible that Mugabe will simply ignore an unfavorable result and pronounce
himself the winner regardless -- in which case the spiral of violence will
continue downward into a virtual civil war.

Second, what can the international community do about Zimbabwe?

It has been obvious for the past two years that the country was in the grip
of a ruler who had gone paranoid and whose hatreds were directed not just
against white farmers but against half his own people as well. So-called
targeted sanctions by the EU are now supposed to be in place against Mugabe
and his followers, but they are much too late and seem to make little
difference to the regime. And the Commonwealth has shamefully ducked away
from any serious action.

Years ago, responsible governments in Western countries ought to have
insisted that the grossly unequal sharing of the best farm land in Zimbabwe
between a few hundred thousand whites and millions of black people was bound
to lead to tensions, and that an unbalanced and vicious leader would exploit
this situation to the full.

Britain, as the former colonial power, bears a special responsibility here,
but none of the donor countries who have tried to "help" African development
in recent years -- Japan and the U.S. included -- emerge with much credit .

In Zimbabwe, as elsewhere, it has been the old story of salving consciences
by writing checks. In defiance of the most visible experience the richer
countries have clung to the belief that aid equals development and that if
enough cash is handed over to developing country governments somehow social
and economic conditions will improve. Even now, the parrot cry for "more
aid" echoes around international gatherings as the "answer" to African
misery and misrule.

Yet Africa is poorer today than when aid programs began during the decades
of the Cold War. Countries like Zimbabwe and Kenya have gone steadily
backward since the British left them in tip-top condition at the time of
independence. Emergency humanitarian and technical assistance may have
stemmed some suffering in the very short term. But cash injections have
merely strengthened political elites, as in the case of Zimbabwe, and
encouraged more corruption and repression.

Development begins not with external aid but with the rule of law, with
secure property titles and with the basic conditions in which people can
turn their skills and assets into capital and growth without fear of
confiscation, state bullying and intimidation. This is where outside efforts
should have been focused over past decades.

There is one more question, and it may seem a shocking one: Does it really
matter, in terms of global peace and stability, what happens in Zimbabwe?

In moral terms there can be no doubt. By today's standards of humanitarian
concern, the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are clear and appalling -- not
yet on the scale of slaughter and horror of Bosnia and Kosovo, East Timor,
or Rwanda, but rapidly moving that way.

But when it comes to realpolitik and global power relationships, are Central
and Southern Africa really in the mainstream, or can the world pass by on
the other side of the road?

Although it is never expressed in these terms, the feeling hangs in the air
that African economic progress is a hopeless cause and that policymakers in
the capitals of the developed world should more usefully concentrate on
other issues of global security and economic stability.

But that is the worst kind of shortsighted policymaking. The chaos of
Zimbabwe is an infectious disease. In tomorrow's world, it will spread not
only to South Africa but to the whole African continent and then to the rest
of the developing world. It will vastly reinforce the lethal brew of
drug-trading, ethnic violence, uncontrolled migration, crime and terrorism
that is already threatening the heartlands of advanced societies.

This tragedy is not just one more African "basket case" and not just a
matter for the British, as the former colonial power, or the surrounding
African neighbors, to sort out.

Zimbabwe is everybody's business and part of everybody's networks and
interests. It demands the attention of the whole international community.
If, by some good fortune, democracy prevails in the end and Mugabe is
finally forced out, it will be a victory not for tardy and hesitant
governments round the world but for human courage and for grassroots
democracy inside Zimbabwe. Help to the brave opposition from the official
outside world will have been minimal.

David Howell is a former Cabinet minister and former chairman of the Commons
Foreign Affairs Committee. He is now a member of the House of Lords.

The Japan Times: March 7, 2002

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To Britons Zimbabwe seems lost paradise

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON: The crisis in Zimbabwe as President Robert Mugabe bids to extend his
22 years of rule has enraged former colonial master Britain where people are
overcome by a mix of nostalgia and frustration.

British newspaper reports decry the violence and chaos in the run-up to
presidential elections next weekend with a regularity and prominence
unmatched by stories from strife-torn countries elsewhere in Africa.

"It is the historical and personal connection," Jesmond Blumenfeld,
associate fellow of the Royal Institute for International Affairs
think-tank, said. "Many people in the UK have friends or family in Zimbabwe.

"The accusations from the Zimbabwean government that Britain is to blame for
the situation may be somewhat far-fetched, but they are repeated often
enough and are possibly believed by enough people elsewhere in Africa for it
to rankle," he added.

Thousands of people - black and white - have fled and more than 100
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have been
killed in two years of violence.

On Mugabe's orders, self-styled veterans of the former Rhodesia's liberation
war have invaded hundreds of white-owned commercial farms aiming to right
what they perceive as a century of colonial misrule.

Despite good race relations and the fact that many white farmers who stayed
after Mugabe came to power did plough money back into their farms, their
lifestyle remained highly privileged and a constant reminder of the past.

SEE YOU IN HELL: Many whites admit they were not blameless in the failure of
early attempts to redistribute land to poor blacks as Mugabe's henchmen
simply took the best farms for themselves.

Mugabe has accused Britain and the whites of backing the MDC headed by
former union leader Morgan Tsvangirai - his main challenger in the closely
fought presidential election - in a bid to bring back the colonial era.

Britain rejects the accusation, but the government feels it is being
stonewalled by Mugabe at every turn. "British policy is strongly orientated
to promoting trade and investment with Africa, recognising that it isn't
going to help very much if African governance doesn't improve," Blumenfeld

Relations between the 78-year-old Mugabe and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair have sunk well below the normal diplomatic threshold with Mugabe
telling Blair to "go to hell".

Britain's Sun newspaper - whose readership is not known for its colonial
links - responded: "Fair enough. We know we'd be meeting you there, big

Mugabe himself described the land-locked country of 11 million people - of
whom less than one in 100 are white - as the jewel of Africa when he came to
power in 1980.

"Of all places Zimbabwe is undermining everything. You might have expected
that of Congo or Nigeria or Sierra Leone but we didn't expect it of
Zimbabwe," Blumenfeld said.

PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER: Unemployment is running at over 60 per cent,
inflation has hit 117 per cent and shows no sign of stopping, and with the
backbone of the agrarian economy broken famine is looming.

"Mugabe has turned families against one another, encouraged friends to
betray friends, and excluded the bulk of the populace from the dignity and
prosperity that was supposed to have come with liberation," Graham Boynton
wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.-Reuters
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Citizenship Lobbying Group
Update #17 - thorough update from ZLHR

March 03, 2002


Dear All


Please note that pressure of work makes it very difficult to respond to enquiries timeously and individually for now. It would help greatly if you circulate these updates far and wide and encourage others to join this mailing list sooner rather than later.


Given the recent judgement handed down in the High Court by Judge Adams, do I still have to go to court?

Judge Adams recently handed down a judgement in the Tsvangirai v Registrar-General case, which extends the deadline for dual nationals to complete renunciation of foreign citizenship from Jan 06 to Aug 06, 2002. People who had not successfully completed this procedure by Jan 06 are subsequently eligible to vote in the forthcoming elections. The govt is highly likely to challenge this verdict before the election so take nothing for granted.


Despite the above you are still required to turn up for your court hearing and follow this process through.


Remember that as long as your appeal against the R-G's notice of objection is unresolved, your name must remain on the voters' roll.


Alteration required on ZLHR forms as a result of Judge President Chidyausiku's ruling

Judge President Chidyausiku this last week ruled in the Supreme Court that a common roll will not be used in the forthcoming election. All voters will have to vote from within the constituencies in which they are registered. His reasons for this judgement have not yet been made available. Consequently it would seem relevant to remove point 1. under "Questions for Determination" of the Appeal Forms supplied by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).


Feedback for ZLHR
ZLHR need your feedback. Please advise them of the results of your court hearing timeously so that they can keep abreast of how things are progressing. Information from those of you who have had objections "withdrawn" by the state are especially asked to get in touch.

Email: giving name, case number, public prosecutor, magistrate and other relevant info.



Please contact Graeme Nish at Winterton, Holmes and Hill for assistance with magistrate's court hearings. His email is


Public Prosecutors and Magistrates
Please consider how inapproriate it is to vent your anger on these government employees. They are not responsible for the Registrar-General's current exercise in disenfranchisement. In many cases they have worked hard to guide appellants through the court process with courtesy and consideration.



Latest advice from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

Information on citizenship and voting queries

In response to the many enquiries we have received about citizenship and voting issues, and having observed the confusion which has arisen at the magistrates courts around the country as a result of the short notice of hearings, etc., we offer the following opinions. Please note, however, that as the law is changing daily – with case decisions, appeals and new regulations coming out – this is the best information we can give you at this time.

This is general information and is not intended to be regarded as "legal advice". It is important that you consult a lawyer, as each individual’s circumstances are different.

If you have not been resident in Zimbabwe since 31 December 1985 and you renounced your Zimbabwe citizenship
>>> you have no right to vote in the presidential election.

If you were a permanent resident before 31 December 1985, and did not take out Zimbabwe citizenship
>>> you are entitled to vote and your name should be on the voters’ roll. If you are called to court, you should provide evidence to the magistrate so that your case can be withdrawn. If your name has been removed from the voters roll, you can make an urgent application to the High Court to ensure that you are put back onto the roll. You will need a lawyer.

If you properly renounced your foreign citizenship and have subsequently been issued with a Zimbabwe passport before the recent Citizenship Amendment Act 2001, and have been called to court
>>> you should explain this to the prosecutor, and provided you produce adequate evidence, they may withdraw your case. If the prosecutor does not withdraw the case or the magistrate requests further evidence, we suggest that you advise the magistrate that since the Constituency Registrar has produced no evidence in your case, you wish to call the Registrar General to give evidence on your status as a properly confirmed Zimbabwe citizen who has legally renounced any foreign citizenship.

If you had Zimbabwe citizenship and did not renounce this or give up your foreign citizenship during the last few months (ie ‘did nothing’)
>>> you risk becoming stateless. One recent High Court judgement in the case of Tsvangirai v Registrar-General decided that the period for renunciation should be extended by a further 6 months. However, the state has appealed against this decision and it is possible that the Supreme Court may overturn this judgement. Therefore, if you do not have rights to a foreign passport, you are likely to have your Zimbabwe passport confiscated/cancelled and you will be stateless. You will need to consult a lawyer. If you illegally maintained dual citizenship, you will lose your Zimbabwe citizenship and may be prosecuted.

If you received a "notice of objection" from your Constituency Registrar:-

·       and you did not successfully note your appeal in the stipulated time, and you have a valid reason for not doing so (eg you were out of the country, you were in hospital, the registered slip was sent to the wrong address, or the Constituency Registar’s office refused to accept your notice even if you were in time)
>>> you can make an urgent application to the High Court for a review. You will need a lawyer.

·       and you were successful in noting your appeal within the stipulated time (eg in person, or by way of registered mail and you have the post office slip to prove this) you should have been notified of your court hearing by personal delivery. If you have not received a "notice of hearing" you can go to your Constituency Registrar to enquire when your matter is to be heard. If you are not given a satisfactory response, you can make an urgent application to the High Court. You will need a lawyer.

If you were successful in noting your appeal and receive a "notice of hearing" please prepare yourself by accessing the information which we have already circulated on the email and internet. Subscribe to the Citizenship Lobby Group updates by emailing or downloading the information from the website If you do not have email or internet, you need to find a friend who will do this for you.

ZLHR has prepared draft statements for you to use in court. Read all the information carefully. You will need to change the wording to suit your personal circumstances, remember to sign the statement and submit it to the court. If you are asking for a referral to the High Court, you must inform the magistrate of this immediately your case is called and offer your written statement to the court. (If you are called to the Harare magistrates court, there are volunteers available who can give you the forms.) We stress that these forms have been prepared for persons who have been resident since 31 December 1985 and who renounced their Zimbabwe citizenship. If you did not do this, eg never took out citizenship, you should take your permanent residence certificate to the court and advise the prosecutor/magistrate of your status as a permanent resident before 31 December 1985.

We stress that you need to read the information and draft statements carefully and change any ‘facts’ so that they apply to you. If in doubt, consult a lawyer.

If you receive a notice of hearing and cannot appear in person, you can appoint someone else to attend for you. You will need to complete a written statement of your facts (see above) and sign a formal letter of appointment for your agent. You can use the following wording:

I hereby appoint ………. to act on my behalf in the matter between …(your name) .. vs the Constituency Registrar for … Constituency. Case No …..(from your notice of hearing)….at the …………..magistates court.
Signed: Dated:

If you were called to court and missed your hearing, you can check with the prosecutor of the court to which you were called to find out what has happened to your case. If your case was dismissed, you will be struck off the voters roll. You can make an urgent application to the High Court to set aside the magistrates decision. You will need a lawyer.

If you were called to court and could not be present for your hearing and you advised the court in advance, you can consult a lawyer to have your case heard.

If you have already appeared in court and you lost your case, you can appeal against the magistrate’s decision. Get the information on appeal procedure from the email/internet. You have 7 days in which to note your appeal.

If you have already appeared in court and had your case referred to the High Court, you should contact ZLHR for additional ‘heads of argument’ to be filed in your case. Please urgently send a report to the fax or email address below, giving your case number, name, contact details etc, if you have not already provided us with all this information.

Please assist us to track all these legal issues concerning citizenship and voting by submitting to us the details of your case. If you send us this written information, we can track the decisions being made at these hearings and try to provide further information and possibly assistance by way of class actions.

Please send us a written report stating briefly the relevant information (eg name, case number, contact phone and date of hearing and outcome or other details) and send this to us by fax on Harare 251468, or by mail to P O Box CY 1393 Causeway. If you have email, please submit this information to

We cannot take down this information over the phone, and also cannot provide you with any information if you do not give us details of the nature of your enquiry, since we are prioritising our very limited manpower to assist persons who have been called to court at short notice.


This info is available on the internet at:

Best wishes

Brenda Burrell

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