Written by  //  June 18, 2008  //  Africa, China, Economy, Geopolitics, Rights & Social justice, United Nations  //  Comments Off on Zimbabwe

June 18
South Africa’s Mbeki meets with Mugabe, Tsvangirai
: South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been designated to mediate Zimbabwe’s political crisis, on Wednesday met separately with President Robert Mugabe and his political opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai. USA TODAY/Associated Press
More political opponents killed in Zimbabwe
Four political opponents of Robert Mugabe’s government and the wife of the mayor of Harare were brutally killed, the opposition party said Thursday.
June 13

UNICEF warns of dangers facing Zimbabwe’s children
US ambassador warns of ‘massive starvation’
(The Independent) The ambassador, James McGee, made his remarks after the 20-tonne consignment of wheat, beans and vegetable oil was impounded and redistributed last week.
June 12
Robert Mugabe’s militia burn opponent’s wife alive
June 6
Just when one wonders if things can get worse — they do. The picture below is certainly worth a thousand words. We wonder in which dollar store “General” Constantine Chiwenga purchased his medals.
New face of power in Zimbabwe

Aid suspended as Western diplomat says Mugabe has ceded control to head of army
Zimbabwe’s crisis deepened significantly last night as the country’s leaders ordered the indefinite suspension of aid distribution, while a group of US and British diplomats were detained at gunpoint by thugs of the Mugabe regime.
A senior Western diplomat told journalists in London that Zimbabwe was now being run by a military junta, locked in an embrace with President Robert Mugabe. Asked if we have already seen a coup in Zimbabwe ahead of the run-off presidential election in three weeks’ time, the diplomat said: “Yes we have. This is a junta,” referring to the shadowy Joint Operations Command. “These are the people who have actually kept Mugabe in power.”
June 3
Zimbabwe blocks ‘political’ aid
[Meanwhile] Addressing the UN food summit in Rome, Mr Mugabe said the West, led by the former colonial power in Zimbabwe, Britain, was plotting to effect “illegal regime change” against him. (If only it were true!) “Funds are being channelled through non-governmental organisations to opposition political parties, which are a creation of the West,” he said.
He defended Zimbabwe’s land reforms, saying he had “democratised” land ownership in the country, turning 300,000 previously landless families into land-owners.
The land was seized from some 4,000 white farmers, which critics say has destroyed Zimbabwe’s once thriving economy. Some four million Zimbabweans – a third of the population – are believed to need food aid.
Mutambara Released On Z$20 Billion Bail
(All Africa) Mutambara was arrested Sunday morning from his Harare home in Marlborough and detained at the infamous Matapi Police Station in Mbare.
June 2
When and how will this appalling story end? When will the world’s nations finally intervene? Surely, it is time to abandon the diplomatic niceties [read pretense] of yielding to African leadership to unseat Robert Mugabe’s thuggish regime. Where is the Responsibility to Protect, whose adoption was so strenuously advocated by Canada? Mugabe is in Rome to attend the World Food Summit, (Mugabe And Ahmadinejad Left Out Of UN Summit Dinner) and we find ourselves wishing that he might be “disappeared” like so many of his victims and brought to justice (primitive or otherwise).
Murdered by Mugabe’s mob
Tonderai Ndira will not be campaigning when Zimbabwe votes again. He will not rally his neighbourhood, as he did two months ago, for one last push against an unwanted regime. Instead, he is buried in an unmarked grave in the Warren Hills cemetery in Harare.
May 29
Church turns to UN over Zimbabwe
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has issued a powerful challenge to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intervene in Zimbabwe.

May 24
Mugabe says China, Malaysia funded £5m palace

By Mduduzi Mathuthu
Tsvangirai returns to Zimbabwe

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s opposition leader, has returned to the country after a six-week absence to prepare to face Robert Mugabe in a presidential run-off.

(Al Jazeera) Tsvangirai arrived at Harare airport on Saturday at 1030 GMT saying the current president wanted to “decimate opposition structures” before the elections on June 27.

Mugabe says China, Malaysia funded £5m palace

By Mduduzi Mathuthu

May 16
Zimbabwe issues a Z$500m banknote, as inflation rockets to unbelievable highs
(The Economist) A BOTTLE of beer may cost half a billion dollars; by next week it could be a billion. Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe reached a terrifying 355,000% in March, with prices doubling roughly once a week. It is probably much higher now. In a vain attempt to keep up, the country has just issued a Z$500m banknote, which is worth some $2 (or less by the time you reach the end of this sentence).
May 14
Zimbabwe violence could reach crisis levels: UN
HARARE (AFP) — The UN warned on Tuesday that post-election violence in Zimbabwe was rising to near crisis levels ahead of a planned presidential run-off, with opposition supporters bearing the brunt of attacks.
May 10
Zimbabwe Rival Agrees to Runoff
PRETORIA (Reuters) – But chances of a speedy end to the political stalemate that has gripped the country since a disputed March 29 election appeared remote after Zimbabwe’s justice minister rejected Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s pre-conditions for taking part in the run-off.
Tsvangirai said he would only participate if international observers and media get full access to ensure the run-off is fair. He said the country’s electoral commission was discredited and should be revamped, and called on the regional SADC grouping to send peacekeepers to instill public confidence in the vote.
May 7
Making big money in Zimbabwe
In the last three weeks, the Zimbabwe dollar has gone from 45m or so to the US$, to around 120m. Those who invested in buying the greenback three weeks ago have nearly tripled their investment. Of course, it goes without saying that this activity is illegal, but the US dollar economy is amongst us to stay.
Everybody knows that the Fourth Street Bus Terminal, with long-haul journeys to Johannesburg, Lusaka and Gaborone starting from there, is the hub of foreign currency deals.
The Reserve Bank is reputed to buy from the streets too, so we can pay South Africa and Mozambique for our electricity, so travellers can afford the restrictive visa fees to South Africa and beyond.
May 1
There is no sign of an early end to the crisis, but the beleaguered president is looking a bit more isolated
(The Economist) Government sources in Zimbabwe said that the result of the presidential poll on March 29th would at last be released, but that all sides would have to “verify” it before it was deemed official. Morgan Tsvangirai may be declared the winner of the first round over the incumbent Robert Mugabe but with less than 50% of the vote, thus necessitating a run-off. More
April 30

Zimbabwe’s Tsvangirai wins vote: sources
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe’s presidential election, winning 47 percent of the vote against the president’s 43 percent, senior government sources said on Wednesday.
One source, declining to be named like the others, told Reuters a run-off would be needed because Tsvangirai did not win enough votes for an outright victory.
April 29
Zimbabwe opposition makes UN plea
Opposition supporters being arrested
Those arrested had fled violence in rural areas, the MDC said

Zimbabwe’s opposition has called for help from the UN as the Security Council meets for its first discussion of the country’s post-election crisis.
April 27
Zimbabwe election tensions mount
HARARE (AFP) — Suspense mounted in Zimbabwe on Sunday over the outcome of a presidential election more than a month after voting day, as lawyers applied for the release of some 200 jailed opposition activists.
April 25
Zimbabwe opposition hangs on to parliament in recount
Electoral commission still unsure when presidential results would be available

MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters
HARARE — President Robert Mugabe’s party has failed to secure control of Zimbabwe’s parliament in a partial recount of the March 29 election, results showed on Saturday, handing the ruling party its first defeat in 28 years.
Results of a parallel presidential poll have not been released and Mr. Mugabe has been preparing for a run-off against Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said on Saturday it was not sure when the results of a disputed March 29 presidential election would be available.
April 22
Chinese Weapons Headed Home After Zimbabwe’s Neighbors Protest Shipment

(China Digital Times) After South African dock workers refused to unload a Chinese weapons shipment bound for Zimbabwe, the ship may be headed back to China, according to AP:
China mulls halt to Zimbabwe arms shipment
Chinese authorities said Tuesday they may recall a ship carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe. The ship left South Africa after dock workers there refused to unload the vessel. Southern African countries have expressed concerns the arms might be used against opposition politicians or civilians by Robert Mugabe’s government as Zimbabwe continues to grapple with post-election instability. The Times (London) (4/22)
April 21
Zimbabwe opposition turns to UN
(BBC) Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has urged the United Nations and African Union to intervene in the crisis over his country’s elections.
US seeks to stop Zimbabwe arms ship
(Al Jazeera) The US is seeking to block a Chinese vessel loaded with weapons from reaching Zimbabwe.
Reports say Washington has instructed its diplomats in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola to pressure authorities not to allow the An Yue Jiang to dock.
Several African states have turned the arms shipment away from their waters, saying it could deepen the country’s post-election crisis.
Human Wave Flees Violence in Zimbabwe
When a shallow, glassy river and a few coils of razor wire are the only things separating one of Africa’s most developed countries from one of its most miserable, the inevitable result is millions of illegal border jumpers. But South African and Zimbabwean human rights groups say that the flow of people into South Africa has been surging in the three weeks since Zimbabwe’s disputed election and during the violent crackdown that followed.
April 19
Zimbabwe Arms Shipped by China Spark an Uproar
(NYT) Dock workers at the port, backed by South Africa’s powerful unions, refused to unload the ammunition and weapons on Friday, vowing protests and threatening violence if the government tried to do it without them.
Zimbabwe arms ship quits S Africa
A Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe has been forced to leave the South African port of Durban four days after failing to unload.
Earlier, a South African judge ruled that the cargo of rocket-propelled grenades, mortar rounds and ammunition could not be transported overland.
April 18
Tsvangirai accused of treason as China arms Zimbabwe
April 17
Chinese soldiers seen in Mutare
(This is Zimbabwe) “One of our activists yesterday evening received an email from a contact in Mutare, who saw and reported this:
‘There are some Chinese army personnel staying at the Holiday Inn here in Mutare and they are moving between their hotel and the local army/police HQ.'” Mbeki isolated at UN as leaders demand action on Zimbabwe
(The Independent) World leaders, gathered at the United Nations in New York yesterday, served notice to President Mbeki that they have lost patience with his repeated assertions that there remains “no crisis” in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
Britain and other Western countries used a special session of the Security Council, called by the South African leader who holds the chairmanship of the council, to call for the release of results that could spell an end to the 28-year rule of Mr Mugabe. They stopped just short of berating Mr Mbeki personally for his refusal to intervene directly.
South Africa Joins Call for Release of Zimbabwe Vote
(NYT) In a change of tone, South Africa urged Zimbabwe’s government on Thursday to release results from the disputed March 29 presidential election. … on Thursday, a government spokesman described the situation in Zimbabwe as dire… it was not immediately clear whether Mr. Maseko’s statement on Thursday reflected a change of position by Mr. Mbeki himself.
April 15
JOHANNESBURG, April 15 — Zimbabwe’s military has taken day-to-day control of key elements of the national government, limiting the authority of President Robert Mugabe as he struggles to maintain power after 28 years, according to senior government sources, Western diplomats and analysts. More
April 13
Zimbabwe orders recounts as regional leaders urge swift action on votes
As Zimbabwe’s election crisis headed into a third week – with the results of the presidential vote still not released – southern African leaders held an emergency summit and called for the swift verification of the results in the presence of all parties.
The summit declaration, following an all-night, marathon meeting in neighbouring Zambia that ended Sunday morning, fell far short of opposition calls for regional leaders to pressure President Robert Mugabe to step down after 28 years in power.
It also did not fulfil the hopes of western powers, the United Nations and regional rights groups for the summit – which Mugabe skipped – to at least demand an immediate announcement of results from the March 29 vote.
April 10
Regional Leaders to Meet on Zimbabwe
With the threat of political violence looming in Zimbabwe, southern Africa’s heads of state were summoned to an “extraordinary” meeting to address the crisis that has gripped the country since a disputed presidential vote last month.
The Southern African Development Community, a regional bloc of 14 nations, acted after Zimbabwe’s political opposition complained about “the deafening silence” from its African neighbors and warned that the electoral standoff could turn increasingly violent without international intervention. Already, the opposition has said, about 200 of its polling agents, campaign workers and supporters have been arrested, beaten or kidnapped since the March 29 election.
April 8
Zimbabwe poll battle goes to court
(Al Jazeera) Zimbabwe’s High Court has begun hearing an opposition request calling for the immediate release of the results of the country’s presidential elections.
Zimbabwe election officials held
(Al Jazeera) Zimbabwean police say they have arrested at least five election officials for undercounting votes cast for Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, in the recent election. The alleged tampering may have given Mugabe almost 5,000 votes less than were cast for him, according to Zimbabwe’s Herald newspaper on Tuesday
April 6
Zimbabwe police threaten to shoot lawyers
(Daily Telegraph) The political turmoil in Zimbabwe worsened as armed police blocked attempts by opposition parties to force the publication of delayed election results.
In a showdown on the steps of the colonial-style High Court building in the capital, Harare, plain-clothes officers brandished guns and threatened to open fire on lawyers who were trying to get inside to put their case to a judge.
With President Robert Mugabe refusing to relinquish his grip on power and no sign of an end to the deadlock, the likelihood increased that only a second round of voting would determine the outcome of the disputed presidential election. There were widespread fears that the country would now erupt into violence.
Imagining a Future for Zimbabwe
(NYT) LONDON — Whatever convulsions are yet to come in Zimbabwe, and however short or long the remaining tenure of Robert Mugabe may be, the tortured electoral crisis that unfolded last week raised a question: In a post-Mugabe era, what will Zimbabwe need?
No doubt, the dictator’s exit, whenever it happens, will unleash a torrent of joy among his adversaries. But then will come the hard part — redeeming the promise that Zimbabwe had at its birth.
In fact, Zimbabwe now confronts a longer road to prosperity and stability than it did at its moment of independence; anyone who was there at the time can testify that this was then a land of prosperity and hope after years of warfare.
Mugabe party questions vote count
(BBC) President Robert Mugabe’s party has asked Zimbabwe’s electoral officials to delay presidential poll results to check “errors and miscalculations”.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the move was illegal – a recount is possible only after the result has been published.
April 4
Evidence of crackdown as Zimbabwe runoff vote looms
Zimbabwean authorities launched raids on opposition party offices and also rounded up foreign journalists Thursday, raising fears of a broader crackdown as tensions keep growing over the delayed release of results from last weekend’s presidential election. While Zimbabwe awaits the results, officials appeared to be preparing for a runoff vote between incumbent Robert Mugabe and opposition challenger Morgan Tsvangirai. The New York Times (4/4) , AlertNet.org/Reuters (4/4)
April 2
(The Independent) Peter Godwin: The desperate throes of a master election-rigger
As Zimbabwe’s elections hang in the balance, it’s instructive to look at Robert Mugabe’s master map of electoral manipulation. There are three distinct stages to how he rigs the poll.
Zimbabwe blogs: ‘Mugabe must go. He must go now’
Forget the official media in Zimbabwe: the blogs are the place to find the mood of the nation
President Robert Mugabe’s party has lost its majority in parliament, official results show.
The official presidential election results have not yet been declared.
No deal’ for Mugabe to step down
(BBC) Zimbabwe’s opposition leader and a government minister have denied reports that a deal has been reached for President Robert Mugabe to step down.
Morgan Tsvangirai said his party would reveal their tally of results on Wednesday.
In his first public appearance since the election, Mr Tsvangirai told a news conference on Tuesday evening: “There is no way the MDC will enter in any deal before ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] has actually announced the result. That’s the legal position. So any speculation about deals, about negotiations, about reaching out is not there,” he added.
Negotiations May Lead to Mugabe’s Exit in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Zimbabwe — The opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is in talks with advisers to President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe, amid signs that some of those close to Mr. Mugabe may encourage him to resign, a Western diplomatic source and a prominent Zimbabwe political analyst said Tuesday.
April 1
Secret Mugabe meeting ponders military move or fixed result – but not an admission of defeat
· Zimbabwe president persuaded not to declare victory
· Trickle of results raises fears of rigged election
(The Guardian) A crisis meeting of Robert Mugabe’s security cabinet decided to block the opposition from taking power after what appears to have been a comprehensive victory in Zimbabwe’s elections but was divided between using a military takeover to annul the vote and falsifying the results.
March 31
(BBC) Expectation grows within Zimbabwe
The BBC is banned from operating in Zimbabwe, but our correspondent Ian Pannell has entered the country. We cannot disclose his location for security reasons.
Zimbabwe and its people are in a state of suspense, waiting for election results that will decide the fate of this blighted country.
The air is thick with expectation and with rumour. The parts of the country we have seen are very calm and, in some cases, unusually quiet … the people we have come across have been friendly and ready to speak out. They do not seem tense, that surprised me. When you talk to them, they are overwhelmingly confident, it is a triumph of optimism over circumstance that people feel that really that this time will be the time for change.
See also From the Frontline: Anita Coulson blogs from Zimbabwe
Mugabe: the writing’s on the wall
First to go were his chief lieutenants as, one by one, they lost their parliamentary seats. The list read like a Who’s Who of corruption, fraud, intimidation and robbery: Joyce Mujuru, the vice-president and mistress of a vast confiscated estate outside the capital; Patrick Chinamasa the man who perverted the justice system to serve the regime; and Didymus Mutasa the man who amassed millions of pounds worth of stolen farms.
At least nine of Mr Mugabe’s politburo, his inner circle, were out of a job according to official results posted at polling stations in their own constituencies.
As evidence emerged of what appeared to be a landslide for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s electoral commission – Mugabe placemen all – were hiding out in the capital, refusing to release results of the presidential poll.
What nobody could stop were independently verified, lawfully reported parliamentary and senate results as the count finished at each of the 9,000 polling stations nationwide. And the early results were stunning.
Heroic return for Zimbabwe’s opposition leader
Mr Tsvangirai, 55, has been the only man who has so far been capable of reminding Mr Mugabe of his political mortality. The first reminder was issued in 2000 when the Zimbabwean President held a hasty referendum to allow himself to run for two further terms in office.
It fell to a charismatic figure who had risen from the mineworkers’ union to head Zimbabwe’s equivalent of the TUC, to stop him. Along with lawyers, church leaders and human rights’ groups, Mr Tsvangirai launched the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
March 30
Zimbabwe’s opposition warned against claiming early election win
(CBC News) Zimbabwe’s main opposition party is claiming an early lead in elections amid a warning from a government spokesman that declaring victory prematurely would amount to an attempted coup.

“It’s a coup d’état, and we all know how coups are handled,” government press secretary George Charamba told the state-owned Sunday Mail after the main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told observers that early results showed it was headed for victory.
March 29, 2008 – Polling Day
Problems with voters lists nothing new in Zimbabwe
A reporter for CBC, one of the few Western news organizations allowed into the country, finds similarities between this vote and 2005 elections
(CBC News) BY LAURA LYNCH — It’s a new twist on an old tale I’ve seen before.
I came to Zimbabwe for the first time in 2005 to cover elections. Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party won that contest easily amid claims from the opposition that victory was stolen from them.
I saw some of the problems up close in a rural riding east of Harare. The opposition candidate claimed the voters list was filled with the names of people who couldn’t possibly be registered to vote.
Zimbabwe votes: At a glance
BBC offers mixed reports from voters on the process – “peaceful” but many voters turned away, reports of egregious errors in voters lists.
(Bloomberg) Zimbabwe Votes as Mugabe Seeks to Extend 28-Year Rule
Mugabe, 84, who led the fight for independence from the U.K. in a civil war against the white-minority Rhodesian government, is battling former labor leader Morgan Tsvangirai, 56, and Simba Makoni, 58, an ex-finance minister.
Human rights groups including Amnesty International accused Mugabe’s government of harassing the opposition and vowing to cut off food supplies to voters who don’t back the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Voting started at 7:00 a.m. local time and is scheduled to end at 7:00 p.m.

(Reuters) FACTBOX-Zimbabwe – its people, land and economy
ECONOMY: Food shortages have helped drive prices higher and inflation topped 100,000 percent year on year in January.
— Critics blame shortages and a collapse in foreign currency earnings partly on President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned farms to give to landless
— Once the regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe now has to import food, further straining foreign exchange reserves.
— The U.N. agricultural production index for Zimbabwe fell from nearly 107 in 2000 to just over 74 in 2005.

March 28, 2008
(IPS) “The Election Will Not Be Free and Fair
Ephraim Nsingo and Tonderai Kwidini
HARARE – Where to begin with listing the concerns that surround Saturday’s general elections in Zimbabwe?
The widely-documented harassment and physical abuse of opposition supporters and rights activists by government supporters and state forces — and the lingering fear cast by even greater levels of intimidation during parliamentary elections in 2005 and 2000, and the presidential poll of 2002?
(RCI) Soldiers patrolled the streets of Harare with armoured cars and water cannons, as the country’s security chiefs warned that no violence would be tolerated during Saturday’s presidential election. President Robert Mugabe told a final campaign rally near the capital that his supporters would show their disdain for “meddling Britain” by giving him another victory. Mr. Tsvangirai urged supporters to stay at polling stations until they close and the counting starts because the president wouldn’t dare to steal the votes in front of so many witnesses.
A tense Zimbabwe readies for crucial election
Security forces are at the ready in Zimbabwe amid concerns that Saturday’s election could spark violence similar to the bloodshed that followed Kenya’s disputed vote in December. The main rival to President Robert Mugabe is former Finance Minister Simba Makoni. He’s seen by many as the best choice to address Zimbabwe’s runaway hyperinflation and widespread health problems. Newsweek (3/31) , BBC (3/28)
Zimbabwe on tenterhooks
(The Economist) OPINION polls and anecdotal evidence suggest that Robert Mugabe would be heavily defeated if the elections on Saturday March 29th were fair, but few Zimbabweans expect the incumbent to allow himself to be beaten and stand down. In any case, an array of imponderables make it hard to predict the outcome, however fairly the poll and, more important, the count are conducted. But for the first time since Mr Mugabe won power in 1980, there is at least a chance that he will have to go.
Zimbabwe children face ‘unbearable’ suffering: charity
Children in Zimbabwe face “unbearable” suffering, ranging from malnutrition and lack of health care to the threat of rape and violence, the British-based charity Save the Children said Saturday.As the African country goes to the polls this weekend, the charity said Zimbabwe’s six million children are among the most vulnerable in the world, with HIV/AIDS a constant threat which has made a record number orphans.
March 3, 2008
(The Independent) Presidential race hots up in Zimbabwe with more defections from ruling party
Buoyed by key defections from the ruling party and support from the opposition movement, former finance minister Simba Makoni held a presidential election rally in the capital yesterday with promises to repair the economy and heal divisions in the nation.
At an upbeat rally attended by about 3,000 people in the township of Highfield, the symbolic birthplace of black resistance to colonial-era white rule, Makoni launched his Harare campaign with vows to “get Zimbabwe working again.”
Makoni shared the stage with Edgar Tekere, a founder of the ruling party alongside President Robert Mugabe, as well as a former deputy education minister and several former ruling party lawmakers and veterans of the bush war that swept Mugabe to power in 1980. A dozen influential business and community leaders wore Makoni campaign T-shirts.
The March 29 elections represent the biggest challenge to Mugabe since independence from Britain in 1980.
Mugabe, 84, is favorite to win the elections, despite being blamed for the world’s highest inflation rate of more than 100,000 percent. The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change is divided and Mugabe enjoys total control of all state organs and election machinery, including the media. But the country’s veteran ruler could face a run-off poll if he fails to win 51 percent of the vote against Makoni and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. In the last presidential election, Tsvangirai won 41 percent and officials in Makoni’s campaign say defections from the ruling party are closing the gap.

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