Zimbabwe Sails Close to Economic Rocks
(IPS) – For President Robert Mugabe to defeat the opposition in the Jul. 31 election by hook or by crook may have been a walk in the park, but beating the economic crisis will be another matter. The stock market fell 11 percent the day he was sworn in, the biggest fall in a day since 2009.
Fears are rising that the policies of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) will further scare away foreign investors.
“Zanu-PF’s current policy mix is in conflict with the needs of investors, and at present Zimbabwe is the least attractive investment destination worldwide,” John Robertson, director of the Robertson Economic Information Services told IPS. (28 August)
In Zimbabwe, A Luta Continua
(OpenCanada.org) The ZANU-PF applied, Machiavelli-style, a classic Gramscian combination of forceful power and sly persuasion – the dialectic of coercion and consent – to confound the fourteen-year-old MDC challenge, along with most members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union, and the western world (including the Andrew Youngs and Jesse Jacksons who filed into Harare’s State House hoping the United States could take a clean and sanctionless ZANU-PF beyond pariah status). The scale of ZANU-PF’s claims of a “credible” electoral win are tarnished by reports of chicanery and what the MDC likes to call “shenanigans”, as it declares the results null and void, but it is doubtful that records of all the “revolutionary party’s” electoral misdemeanours will change the harsh world of realpolik that will allow ZANU-PF’s careful plan to proceed. (8 August)
Mugabe mulls blacks-only stock exchange
(Al Jazeera) Zimbabwe president plans to set up second stock exchange only to be used by black-owned businesses.
Zimbabwe’s ruling party, Zanu PF says its landslide election victory is an endorsement of the policy and that it plans to target foreign owned businesses. (8 August)
Mugabe Tightens Grip on Power After Disputed Zimbabwe Vote
(WSJ) Longtime President’s Large Win Likely to Exacerbate Political Instability, International Isolation
Zimbabwe Election: Robert Mugabe ‘Wins’ Vote, Electoral Committee Announces – of course!
Zimbabwe protests weighed after Mugabe landslide
African observers signal approval of Zimbabwe vote
(CBC) Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change said on Friday it could take to the streets to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s victory in elections it rejects as a farce and which face skepticism from the West.
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF has already claimed a resounding win and interim tallies of the parliamentary count suggest a massive victory.
While the African Union’s monitoring mission chief called Wednesday’s peaceful polls generally “free and fair,” domestic monitors have described them as “seriously compromised” by registration flaws that may have disenfranchised up to a million people. [An historical note: Africa’s Mess, Mugabe’s Mayhem
Robert I. RotbergVenal leaders are the curse of Africa, and Robert Mugabe is a walking reminder of how much damage they can do. No mere thug like Idi Amin, the gifted Mugabe created modern Zimbabwe and then robbed it of its enormous potential. (September|October 2000) – nothing has changed.]
Zimbabwe’s Underhanded Autocrat — How Mugabe Manipulated the Vote
(Foreign Affairs) If Robert Mugabe has his way, the results of Zimbabwe’s July 31, 2013, presidential, parliamentary, and local government elections will have been determined before a single ballot is cast. The wily 89-year-old autocratic president, in power for 33 years, has put in place a system of security, legal, fiscal, and administrative measures aimed at again returning his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) to national office. The credibility of any election that yields such an outcome, however, will be suspect.
Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections explained
As Zimbabweans prepare to vote in presidential, senate, national and local government elections, what is at stake for the country?
(The Guardian) After the violent elections in 2008, Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and Tsvangirai’s MDC-T (so named to distinguish it from the MDC-N, a breakaway faction of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, the industry and commerce minister), were forced to form a coalition, which has, against the odds, overseen solid economic growth since 2010, due to the resurgence of agriculture and revenue from diamonds.
The re-emergence of the agricultural industry is of particular significance, as it formed the backbone of the economy until the policy of land reform was implemented.
Now, resettled farmers grow 40% of the country’s tobacco and 49% of its maize. However, the economy is slowing, and unemployment is understood to be running at 85%, with youth unemployment a particular concern.
Education – formerly an area in which Zimbabwe excelled, with the highest literacy rate in Africa – has been especially slow to recover, owing to a lack of funding and a “brain drain”. Although the economy is the most pressing issue for many Zimbabweans, youth unemployment and education will be two of the country’s long-term challenges.
What if Mugabe loses?
Both parties have agreed to accept the result irrespective of the winner. Yet the language from the campaign suggests the opposite. After military intervention in Egypt, many commentators worry that if Mugabe loses at the polls, the same will happen in Zimbabwe. Some senior military officers loyal to Mugabe have strongly indicated that they would not accept Tsvangirai as president. The generals are loyal to Mugabe, as he appointed them and they have profited immensely under him, but the allegiance of the rank and file is unknown. So while the threat from the military is real, it should not be overstated.
Mugabe makes final pre-election push
Thousands gather in capital Harare as Zimabwean president reaffirms policy of indigenisation.
Zimbabwe arrests Tsvangirai’s poll organiser
Party official of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC detained after reporting dumping of marked ballots.
Mugabe calls elections – and Tsvangirai rejects them as illegal
(The Guardian) Zimbabwe set for fresh political chaos as Mugabe decrees date for elections and quashes constitution
Zimbabwe seems poised for a fresh political crisis following Robert Mugabe‘s declaration of an election for next month which has now been rejected as “unlawful” by his chief rival.
Seeking to extend his 33-year rule Mugabe on Thursday used a presidential decree to bypass parliament and set the long-awaited poll for 31 July.
23 December 2010
Leaked cable paints portrait of eccentric Mugabe
Desperate for foreign friends, Robert Mugabe sits in splendid isolation in his presidential office, obsessed with the past, as a white-gloved butler serves him tea and parmesan breadsticks.
This is the odd portrait that emerges from a “surreal” meeting between the Zimbabwean autocrat and U.S. officials last year, as documented in a secret diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks and published in South Africa.
Nicholas Kristof: Postcard From Zimbabwe
In a week of surreptitious reporting here (committing journalism can be a criminal offense in Zimbabwe), ordinary people said time and again that life had been better under the old, racist, white regime of what was then called Rhodesia.
Zimbabwe’s first human rights and election commissions sworn in by President Robert Mugabe
(BBC) The creation of the two commissions is seen as crucial in moving the country towards free and fair elections.
The Human Rights Commission will be headed by a law professor and the Electoral Commission by a former judge.
This is a step towards implementing the power-sharing agreement between Mr Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but others issues remain.
21 December 2009
Zimbabwe politicians reach breakthrough
Zimbabwe’s rival leaders Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai reached an agreement on forming committees to oversee human rights, the media and elections.
Mugabe Orchestrated Rape – AIDS-Free World report
The AIDS-Free World report titled “Electing to Rape: Sexual terror in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe” was launched on International Human Rights Day as an appeal to leaders around the world to stop ignoring the violence being carried out against the people of Zimbabwe and to declare the systematic rape of women pre-, post- and during the 2008 elections, a crime against humanity. “The report unequivocally establishes that Robert Mugabe and his henchmen were guilty of crimes against humanity,” said AIDS-Free World co-director Stephen Lewis.
Trial for top Zimbabwean PM’s aide gets under way
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for the “the malicious prosecution” of aide Roy Bennett to stop and temporarily withdrew from the unity government last month, citing Bennett’s case as well as accusations of human rights abuses by militants and security forces loyal to longtime President Robert Mugabe.
O. Carl Unegbu: Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamond: The New Unfinished Business of Kimberley
(World Policy Blog) Once more, Africans are dying as a result of what should have been a blessing to their lives. This time the victims are not from the same old notorious places like Angola, Sierra Leone, or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but from a new and badly troubled location where diamond-related deaths were hitherto not an issue. Enter Zimbabwe. Late last month, the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch released a report in which it accused the Zimbabwean government of complicity in the killing of more than 200 people during a raid and takeover by the Zimbabwe military of the Marange diamond fields in the eastern part of the country. The government explains the operation as a move designed to flush out illegal diamond miners from the area.
Kimberly group might suspend Zimbabwe
Members of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme meeting in Namibia face the prospect of being blasted as failures over inaction on concerns surrounding Zimbabwe’s diamond production. Rights groups say the KPCS, set up to keep conflict diamond off the international market, should suspend Zimbabwe until the government does more to end human-rights abuses in its diamond-mining regions. AllAfrica Global Media (11/2)
Zimbabwe deports UN rights expert
Zimbabwean authorities refused to allow United Nations human rights expert Manfred Nowak to enter the country even though he was invited to visit by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Nowak was detained at the airport and later deported in what he called “a serious diplomatic incident.” Reuters (10/28) , BBC (10/29)
“The Rule of Law Just Isn’t There”
HARARE, Oct 16 (IPS) – Agriculture used to be Zimbabwe’s economic mainstay but it has been on the decline since 2000 when the ZANU-PF government embarked on a so-called land reform programme that resulted in about 4,000 productive white farmers losing their farms, many to members of the politically connected elite.
Mukoko Gets Passport Back
(VOP) Harare – Crusading human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko has finally regained her passport back following her acquittal on charges of plotting to unseat President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Background (The Independent, January 2009) Jestina Mukoko: ‘Mugabe’s henchmen came for me before dawn’
Nestlé to stop buying Grace Mugabe dairy’s milk
The Swiss food giant Nestlé on Thursday announced it would stop buying milk from a Zimbabwean dairy controlled by Robert Mugabe’s wife. [That didn’t take long! The Swiss rarely ignore threats to profits.]
Campaign Begins to Stop Nestlé Buying ‘Blood’ Milk
(AllAfrica) AfriForum, a South African civil rights initiative, on Wednesday launched an international campaign calling on people to boycott all Nestlé products, until the company stops buying ‘blood milk’ from Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace.
An outcry erupted early this week when it was revealed that the Mugabes own 12 farms between them and that the Swiss national food giant has been buying milk from Mrs Mugabe, who controversially ‘acquired’ Gushongo Dairy Estate. This was after the previous owner was forced to sell his farm at just a fraction of its value, after a prolonged campaign of violence in 2003.
Will visit change Zuma’s relations with Zimbabwe?
South African President Jacob Zuma’s first trip to Zimbabwe since taking office has spurred speculation Zuma will alter significantly the special relationship between South Africa and Zimbabwe — one that has been characterized by critics as too accommodating. A spokesman for the African National Congress says a new tough direction for relations will not go as far as the economic sanctions the U.S. and U.K. have placed on Zimbabwe but will be marked by new diplomatic initiatives such as meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The Christian Science Monitor (8/27)
Mugabe Aides Said to Use Violence to Get Amnesty
HARARE, Zimbabwe — President Robert Mugabe’s top lieutenants are trying to force the political opposition into granting them amnesty for their past crimes by abducting, detaining and torturing opposition officials and activists, according to senior members of Mr. Mugabe’s party.
Zimbabwe sees some economic stabilization, much more needed
The decision by Zimbabwe’s new coalition government to abandon the Zimbabwean dollar in favor of foreign currencies has stabilized prices and curbed runaway inflation. Zimbabwe still faces severe economic challenges and international donors have indicated more reform will be necessary if Zimbabwean leaders hope to gain more aid. TIME (3/26)
Tsvangirai injured, wife killed in car crash
The wife of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was killed and Tsvangirai was injured in a head-on collision with a truck as the couple was being driven home to Buhera, south of Harare. An aide to Tsvangirai and his driver also were injured. A spokesman for Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party described the prime minister as being in “relatively stable” condition. CNN (3/6) , The New York Times/Reuters (3/6) BBC (3/6)
(FP Morning Brief) While his country asks neighbors for aid, Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for his own birthday party.
Zimbabwe recovery costs ‘massive’
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the cost of rebuilding his country’s economy could run as high as $5bn (£3.5bn). Zimbabwe’s political deadlock recently ended with a power-sharing deal, but the economy is in a state of collapse. Also on Friday, the UN said more than 80,000 people had now been infected by Zimbabwe’s cholera outbreak.
Will Morgan Tsvangirai wield real power? Not yet, it seems
(The Economist) THE new unity government of Zimbabwe, launched with fanfare on February 13th, has got off to an inauspicious start. It appears that orders issued by the new prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, are already being countermanded by ZANU-PF, formerly the sole ruling party, still bent on keeping the upper hand. Rumours of a coup, planned by a cabal of disgruntled senior security men and ZANU-PF bigwigs opposed to any real power-sharing, are rife. No one knows quite who is in charge.
(FP Morning Brief) Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has bought a $6 million home in Hong Kong. Exit strategy?
It didn’t take long – did it? How much longer is the world going to endure this?
On the very day Zimbabwe’s new unity government was sworn in, agents of President Robert Mugabe’s security forces on Friday arrested Roy Bennett, the third-highest ranking member of the opposition party that is supposed to share power with Mr. Mugabe. More
Morgan Tsvangirai has become prime minister of Zimbabwe. He may be in office, but not in power Full article
West will wait for progress before aiding Zimbabwe
Provision of new development assistance to Zimbabwe and any easing of sanctions will hinge upon “inclusive and effective governance” as part of a power sharing deal, U.S. officials said Wednesday, a day after a British leader expressed similar sentiment. While Zimbabwe is in desperate need of financial and development aid, Western governments are loath to reward President Robert Mugabe without tangible evidence of political progress. BBC (2/4)
(Times Online) Barack Obama may be planning a diplomatic push to oust Robert Mugabe. A key figure in any new approach will be Susan Rice, Mr Obama’s UN ambassador, who is a Zimbabwe expert.
Zimbabwe rolls out Z$100tr note
Other notes in trillion-dollar denominations of 10, 20 and 50 are also being released to help Zimbabweans cope with hyperinflation. The latest annual figure for inflation, estimated in July last year, was 231m% – the world’s highest.
Health crisis worsens as doctors, nurses flee Zimbabwe
Doctors and nurses in Zimbabwe have either fled or gone on strike as a situation that the Physicians for Human Rights describes as forcible neglect by President Robert Mugabe only worsens. Desperate to keep the few remaining doctors, Zimbabwean officials have been distributing free cars as incentives or bribes. AIDS has become Zimbabwe’s greatest killer in the humanitarian crisis, far outpacing the death toll of cholera, according to Doctors Without Borders. BBC (1/15)
31 December 2008
Harare diary: Ups and downs of 2008
(BBC) … a professional living and working in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, has been writing a diary throughout the year, describing her struggle to survive in a country with an economy in freefall. Here, we look back at the frustrating lows and the one euphoric high of an eventful year, marked by controversial elections.
White Farmers Confront Mugabe in a Legal Battle
… the tribunal’s recent ruling, in favor of the white farmers, is also a milestone of particular relevance to Zimbabwe. It suggests that a growing number of influential Africans — among them religious leaders and now jurists — are confronting Robert Mugabe … for his government’s violations of human rights and the rule of law, even as most regional heads of state continue to resist taking harsher steps to isolate his government.
Mugabe insists ‘Zimbabwe is mine’
(BBC) Zimbabwe is currently gripped by economic collapse and a cholera epidemic. The UN on Thursday reported that the death toll from the disease had risen to 1,123 and that 20,896 people had been infected.
Africans, Europeans and Americans must together rescue a dying country
(The Economist) In July a UN Security Council resolution to impose targeted sanctions (travel bans and asset freezes) against Mr Mugabe and his acolytes was blocked by China and Russia, with South Africa also dissenting, on the ground that Zimbabwe posed no threat to international stability. The blocking duo can hardly still argue that case with a straight face. Moreover, Zimbabwe is close to meeting the criteria for invoking the declaration endorsed at the UN in 2005 that there is an international “responsibility to protect” people facing, among other things, crimes against humanity. A group of peacemakers known as “the Elders”, including Jimmy Carter, a former American president, and Kofi Annan, the UN’s former head, having been refused entry into Zimbabwe, may help to push the issue up the UN’s agenda. Though Mr Mugabe would try to resist such a move, Mr Annan is quietly standing by to assume the mediator’s job in place of Mr Mbeki, an appointment devoutly to be wished.
Cholera Is Raging, Despite Denial by Mugabe
The outbreak is yet more evidence that Zimbabwe’s most fundamental public services — including water and sanitation, public schools and hospitals — are shutting down, much like the organs of a severely dehydrated cholera victim. [Mr Mugabe] even declared Thursday that the nation’s cholera epidemic had ended, just a day after the World Health Organization warned that the outbreak was grave enough to carry “serious regional implications.”
UN forced to cut food aid to Zimbabwe’s starving people
Half a million will go without emergency handouts this month, and more will be hungry in January. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown says it’s time to tell Mugabe ‘enough is enough’
When it looks as if things cannot possibly get worse, they do
Zimbabwe’s two main rival parties agreed to a constitutional amendment that would provide for the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to become prime minister, with Robert Mugabe remaining president. But other unresolved issues still prevent a unity government from emerging. Meanwhile cholera swept the country. The government declared a national emergency and appealed for international help. See article
Mugabe rejects recommendation for unity government
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe announced his intention to form a cabinet “as soon as possible” in defiance of a recommendation by southern African leaders that he form a unity government by sharing control of the Home Affairs Ministry with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. The MDC, which also rejected the proposal as contrary to an earlier agreement to allocate 16 of 31 cabinet seats to the opposition, responded with calls for a boycott. Analysts suggest intervention by the UN or African Union may be necessary to break the impasse. The Washington Post (11/11)
Talks in Zimbabwe fail as Tsvangirai refuses compromise on police
Power-sharing talks in Zimbabwe failed after Prime Minister-elect Morgan Tsvangirai refused to submit to pressure from regional leaders to agree to share authority with President Robert Mugabe over the nation’s security and police forces. Los Angeles Times (free registration) (11/10) , The Guardian (London)
Mbeki to arbitrate in Zimbabwe as Mugabe threatens unilateral cabinet
The power-sharing arrangement that brought tentative political stability to Zimbabwe was threatened as President Robert Mugabe declared that his political party would appoint the heads of all the cabinet ministries, including military and police. Financial Times (10/12) , The Guardian (London) (10/13) , BBC
Zimbabwe inflation up to 231 million percent
Despite the announcement of a power-sharing agreement between opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe, ostensibly ending the political stalemate driving inflation and economic insecurity in Zimbabwe, inflation rose from 11.2 million percent to 231 million percent in July. The World Bank has categorized Zimbabwe’s as the fastest shrinking economy of any country not at war. Mail & Guardian (South Africa)/Reuters (10/9)
Dare we hope? We have seen too many similar stories.
Peace Deal Reached in Zimbabwe
The power-sharing talks have aimed to resolve the political crisis, but Mr. Tsvangirai offered no immediate details about how they settled the issue that has bedeviled them: Mr. Mugabe’s refusal to share the supreme authority he has wielded over the southern African nation for the past 28 years. More from Reuters
Resourceful Zimbabweans fighting hunger
Hunger in Zimbabwe — the result of economic collapse in the face of political stalemate — is driving citizens to forage for food. Some are living off of tree roots and porridges, while others have contracted exotic diseases from eating fruits indiscriminately. TIME
“Mugabe is drawing lines in the sand, challenging the MDC. If the MDC remain united in the face of the new threats, they will still have a chance to stop Mugabe playing with the nation’s life.” University of Zimbabwe professor John Makumbe. Full story
Mugabe takes generals’ advice and abandons deal
Robert Mugabe has abandoned a negotiated solution to the Zimbabwean crisis at the behest of the generals who prop him up, sources have told The Independent.
Day of the Crocodile
By Peter Godwin
(Vanity Fair September 2008) Zimbabwe’s longtime ruler, Robert Mugabe, made a brutal sham of recent elections, after banning Western journalists. The author, a native, reports from the inside on Mugabe’s campaign of terror—and the extraordinary courage of those who’ve confronted “The Fear”.
(The Economist) Talks on power-sharing in Zimbabwe between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, mediated by South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki, appeared to stall. One of the sticking points (Surprise!) was how much power a new prime minister, most likely to be Mr Tsvangirai, would have in a new administration if Mr Mugabe stayed on as president. See article
HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe agreed a power-sharing deal with a breakaway opposition faction on Tuesday, but has yet to agree with main rival Morgan Tsvangirai, South African President Thabo Mbeki said. BBC reports ‘no deal’
Mbeki to meet Zimbabwe political leaders
HARARE (Reuters) – South African President Thabo Mbeki, mediating in Zimbabwe’s post-election crisis, will go to Harare on Saturday amid growing optimism a power-sharing deal can be reached between the ruling party and the opposition.
Harare diary: No more trillionaires
“At midnight, my bank stripped me of my trillionaire status – the Z$5 trillion sitting in my account became Z$500.”
Zimbabwe to lop zeroes off currency
By Tom Burgis in Johannesburg and Tony Hawkins in Harare
(FT) Zimbabwe’s economy is unravelling at such a pace that the central bank is set to slash yet more zeroes from the country’s increasingly worthless currency. State media on Sunday quoted Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor and one of the members of the ruling elite targeted by fresh western sanctions last week, as saying he would extend a currency policy that has so far failed to stem hyperinflation.
Zimbabwe: Government Panics Over Failure to Pay Military And Police
(allAfrica.com) The government is reported to have run out of paper to print money and is believed to be panicking over how to pay salaries for civil servants, especially soldiers and police who are the backbone of the Mugabe dictatorship.
Giesecke & Devrient, the European company that was providing the paper, was last month pressured to cut supplies by the German government. In addition, a company that provides the software licences for the design and printing of the banknotes, is reported to be considering withdrawing their contract.
How seriously, or not, to take talks between Zimbabwe’s rival claimants to the presidency
(The Economist) … Nor will talks be easy given the ongoing repression in Zimbabwe. In the past few months alone over 120 opposition activists have been killed and thousands arrested. The opposition says that 200,000 people have fled the violence.
2 Vetoes Quash U.N. Sanctions on Zimbabwe
UNITED NATIONS — An American-led effort to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe failed in the Security Council on Friday, with Russia and China exercising a rare double veto to quash a resolution that they said represented excessive interference in the country’s domestic matters.
Global net closes on Mugabe’s gang
By Daniel Howden
The net was tightening last night around the leading figures in the Mugabe regime as the United Nations identified the key individuals it blames for the current crisis in Zimbabwe.
UN Security Council nations move toward sanctions against Zimbabwe
Though a veto by China or Russia has not been ruled out, an effort to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe’s regime has found the support of the majority of nations on the UN Security Council. Financial Times (7/9) , The Guardian (London) (7/9)
Bush Pushes Hard Line on Zimbabwe at G-8
The leaders of seven African countries and eight industrialized nations emerged divided after three hours of closed-door meetings dominated by the crisis in Zimbabwe. President Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, suggested that a power-sharing agreement was the answer.
Zimbabwe sanctions could lead to civil war, Mbeki warns [G8] leaders
· Bush losing patience with South African diplomacy
· Opposition activist’s body found tortured and burnt
South African peace plan for Zimbabwe welcomed by MDC
The proposals suggest Thabo Mbeki has recognised Morgan Tsvangirai’s claim to government
South Africa’s president, Thabo Mbeki, has presented a plan to Zimbabwe’s political leaders that would allow Robert Mugabe to remain as a titular head of state but surrender real power to the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who would serve as prime minister until a new constitution was negotiated and fresh elections held.
UK is sending 11,000 Mugabe refugees back
Zimbabweans who fled regime are being sent Home Office letters telling them to return
(RCI) A British film crew has evidence of voter intimidation during the presidential runoff election last month in Zimbabwe. Guardian Films shows footage taken secretly by a Zimbabwe prison officer.
Zimbabwe ‘vote fraud proof’ emerges
(Al Jazeera) The footage had reportedly been smuggled out of the country by Shepherd Yuda, an officer at a prison in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital.
The video shot inside the jail shows Yuda and his colleagues being forced to vote for Robert Mugabe.
Mbeki holds Harare crisis talks
South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki has held talks in Harare with Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and members of a breakaway opposition faction.
Despite disagreements, AU endorses negotiations for Zimbabwe
Though African leaders failed to disguise their differences of opinion about the failed election that retained President Robert Mugabe in office in Zimbabwe, African Union leaders did endorse the creation of a unity government — or at least negotiations — between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Botswana called on the AU and Southern African Development Community to ostracize Mugabe, whereas others were sympathetic to Mugabe’s claim that Western forces interfered. Financial Times (7/2)
Robert Mugabe was hailed a “hero” by Africa’s longest-serving head of state as he joined his fellow leaders at an African Union summit.
“He was elected, he took an oath, and he is here with us, so he is President and we cannot ask him more,” said Omar Bongo, President of Gabon since 1967.
Africans must deny Mugabe his moment of glory in Egypt
This is indeed Africa’s moment, for good or ill. If the summit allows the bloodstained charade of Mugabe’s election to pass unnoticed, hopes for the continent’s democratic development will have been radically set back. Similarly, if the summit denies Mugabe the fig leaf of legitimacy that he craves, his regime will be embarrassed and forced on the defensive.
The world voices its revulsion as Mugabe is sworn in as president
Robert Mugabe was sworn in for a sixth term as President of Zimbabwe yesterday ahead of his departure to an African Union summit.
Mugabe’s thugs attack white farmers
White farmers protesting over their land being seized were attacked by Robert Mugabe’s supporters the same day he was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s president.
Mugabe’s nemesis threatens chaos
Opposition leader drafting plans to make Zimbabwe ‘ungovernable’ after discredited one-man election
Inside Mugabe’s world
(BBC) South African writer Heidi Holland is one of the last non-Zimbabwean journalists to have interviewed Robert Mugabe. She spent two hours with him last December after pursuing the Zimbabwean president for months. See also Comment #1 below.
Mugabe sworn in amidst world criticism
Zimbabwe election results delay
President Robert Mugabe was said to have won by a wide margin, after the opposition boycotted the vote amid claims of violence and intimidation. But international observers have reported many spoilt ballots, which in some areas could outnumber votes cast.
Mugabe plays the God card
The strongman has conscripted an old ally, his country’s spiritualism, in the battle for the presidency
‘Sham’ election proceeds in Zimbabwe
An election monitor with the South African Development Community, one of the few organizations allowed to observe the presidential runoff in Zimbabwe that features only Robert Mugabe, says the election is worse than that of war-torn Angola in 1992. Mugabe has ignored all calls to postpone the election, despite threats of censure and sanction from the EU, U.S., UN and G8. In absentia, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai asked his followers not to vote unless their lives were in peril. Membership cards in Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party commanded high prices on the black market, as buyers believe that registration will serve as protection against police violence. BBC (6/27)
What international bodies can, and cannot, do about Zimbabwe
Mugabe rejects poll delay calls
Mr Mugabe said his party Zanu-PF would continue to rule the country as they believed it should be ruled.
Mandela has harsh words for Mugabe
Though he has rarely spoken publicly about politics in recent times, former South African President Nelson Mandela criticized Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in strong terms, blaming him for the outbreak of government-supported violence in Zimbabwe. Another South African leader, Desmond Tutu, had even sterner words for Mugabe, calling him a monster. Los Angeles Times (free registration)
Zimbabweans Make Plea for Help as Runoff Nears
Queen Strips Mugabe of Knighthood
Queen Elizabeth II has stripped Robert Mugabe of his honorary knighthood as a “mark of revulsion” at the human rights abuses and “abject disregard” for democracy over which he has presided.
Tsvangirai calls for ‘peacekeepers’ to end Zimabwe crisis
HARARE (AFP) — Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called Wednesday for “armed peacekeepers” to be sent to his country amid mounting international condemnation of President Robert Mugabe over the crisis.
He called on the African Union and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) “to lead… to start what I would call a transitional setup” that “would allow the country to heal.”
Has Tsvangirai made a fatal mistake? Reuters Africa Blog – many of the comments are thoughtful and well worth reading
Tsvangirai praises UN statement
A statement issued last night by the 15-nation UN Security Council and read by U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad declared that Robert Mugabe’s regime had delegitimized the election through violence, suppression, and campaign restrictions. Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai praised the UN position from the Dutch Embassy, where Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade said that Tsvangirai fled, apparently with the understanding that soldiers were coming for him. The candidate, who said that his withdrawal from the election angered the ruling party, has also said that his asylum at the Dutch Embassy is temporary. The Times (London) (6/24) , Los Angeles Times (free registration) (6/24)
Security Council Urges Zimbabwe to Halt Violence
UK names clique of six men behind ‘campaign of terror’
(The Guardian) Zanu-PF rose to the top after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 by being more centralised, conspiratorial and ruthless than all its rivals. After the shock of defeat in March, the party simply went back to doing what it knows best.
Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai takes refuge in embassy
(Reuters) Concern mounted both within and outside Africa over Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis, which has flooded neighboring states with millions of refugees. Both the African Union and Southern African Development Community (SADC) were discussing the situation following Tsvangirai’s pullout.
… Renaissance Capital investment bank said Zimbabwe risked total economic collapse with the real inflation rate now running at around 5 million percent. More from The Economist
Maisonneuve Media Scout’s take
Robert Mugabe’s tyrannical rule over Zimbabwe is nearly secured after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dropped his bid for the presidency yesterday. Calling the elections a “sham,” Tsvangirai claimed Mugabe’s campaign of violence precludes the possibility of a fair vote. Thus, Mugabe’s stranglehold on a country that he’s driven right into the ground will continue into the foreseeable future. The outlook for a Zimbabwean political and economic recovery seemed bright after Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change won more votes than Mugabe in a March election. However, since then, Mugabe has unleashed a whirlwind of terror against all corners of opposition support. Eighty-six people have been killed, and roughly 200,000 are displaced as Mugabe’s “thugs,” supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party, have run roughshod over the country. Tsvangirai has said he cannot ask his supporters to risk their lives on election day, June 27, but has called on the international community to “stop the genocide.” Hopes to recuperate the country from Mugabe’s disastrous economic reforms have vanished now that his rule is projected to continue.
The Big Seven report on the event with a tragic sigh, but it is the Post’s analyses that shine. The paper runs David Blair’s critique of Tsvangirai’s decision from the Daily Telegraph. Blair laments Tsvangirai’s vacillating leadership and “disastrous judgment,” as it was only last week that the opposition leader announced that a boycott of the election would be a “betrayal of the victims.” For Blair, election time would have been inevitably tumultuous, but, given the size of his estimated lead, Tsvangirai’s victory was nearly certain. (Whether or not Mugabe would have honoured that victory is another matter.) Tsvangirai’s decision to drop out, Blair contends, has secured the continuation of a despotic regime. The Post also publishes the Daily Telegraph’s Louis Weston, who bemoans that the torch has been voluntarily surrendered to a dictator whose government has committed genocide, condoned the stealing of land, approved assassinations, and incited economic inflation of some two million percent. However, according to the Globe’s anonymous Harare reporter, Mugabe’s imminent ill-gotten victory will only further sully his reputation among the African Union and evoke further sanctions. For now, the world looks at Zimbabwe with a disapproving eye: The European Union calls the situation a “travesty” and the White House urged Zimbabwe’s “thugs to stop the violence.” However, it’s the African Union that will be tested when it meets to discuss the situation. “Only God who appointed me will remove me,” Mugabe said last week, betraying a gross misunderstanding of the whole notion of democracy; and if what Mugabe says is the case, Zimbabweans wait in trepidation on God’s will.
Contrary to other opinions, we believe that Morgan Tsvangirai has done the honorable thing in pulling out in the face of the outrageous thuggery of the Mugabe forces and, one hopes, avoiding the inevitable bloodbath that would have resulted from his victory in the run-off. That he has changed his mind may be attributed to a realistic appraisal of Mugabe’s determination to cling to power at whatever cost to the country. Meantime, we continue to deplore the sickly international efforts to ‘maintain peace, order and democracy’.
Zimbabwe opposition pulls out of election
(CBC) Zimbabwe’s opposition leader has pulled out of Friday’s runoff election against President Robert Mugabe because of mounting violence and intimidation against opposition candidates.
He also asked the United Nations “to intervene to restore the rule of law, peace, and the conditions of a free and fair election.”
NYT ; The Guardian ;
(Reuters) FACTBOX – What next in Zimbabwe’s political crisis?
Amidst the predictable self-justifying quotes from various Zimbabwean officials comes this pusillanimous comment from Thabo Mbeki, who has failed so miserably in any effort to resolve the crisis “Of course we would like to encourage the MDC to continue to play a role in the normalisation of the political process in Zimbabwe. We are very encouraged that Mr Tsvangirai, himself, says he is not closing the door completely on negotiations.” BBC
(Al Jazeera) Dethroning Mugabe no easy task