Tag Archives: Zimbabwe elections

Zimbabwe – Mugabe reportedly reaches deal with war veterans over 2018 elections

Zimbabwe Independent

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has struck a 2018 election deal with war veterans amid reports the Joint Operations Command (Joc) brought pressure to bear on the Zanu PF leader to meet their demands. This is despite the fact that the freedom fighters are still backing Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential bid in the post-Mugabe era, the Zimbabwe Independent has established.

By Elias Mambo

War veterans, including chairman Chris Mutsvangwa (left), at a meeting in Harare with President Robert Mugabe in April last year.

Joc, which brings together the army, police and intelligence chiefs, has been key to Mugabe and Zanu PF’s survival by working behind the scenes to prop up the party, while blocking a democratic political transition. Senior Joc members have also perennially campaigned for Mugabe and Zanu PF.

The deal comes on the backdrop of a massive fallout between Mugabe and the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWA), which had withdrawn its support of the nonagenarian ahead of the crucial 2018 elections.

In a hard-hitting communique released in July last year, the war veterans announced they would not campaign for Mugabe after accusing him of neglecting the masses and betraying the values of the liberation war.

The war veterans also said Mugabe had failed to “use the resounding mandate given to him in the 2013 general elections”. They said Mugabe had failed to address the economic problems affecting Zimbabwe and to deal with corruption among other issues.

Although Mutsvangwa would neither confirm nor deny that war veterans had struck a deal with Mugabe after behind-the-scenes negotiations, he confirmed that former liberation fighters would now back the ageing leader.

Mutsvangwa, however, said the war veterans would continue fighting the G40 faction, which has coalesced around First Lady Grace Mugabe, a confirmation that the association was solidly behind Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.

He said the war veterans had excellent relations with the army, which Zanu PF insiders say was supporting the former liberation fighters at a time they were publicly opposing Mugabe and his wife.

The army is loyal to Mugabe, but is also supporting Mnangagwa’s presidential bid.

“As chairman, I want to assure the public and the national body politic that there are no contentious issues between ZNLWA and the patron President Robert Mugabe,” said Mutsvangwa.

“By the same token, war veterans are delighted with the ever-warming relations with the First Family as a whole. We also take this opportunity to reassure all and sundry that we have excellent relations with the entire defence and security establishment. General (Constantino) Chiwenga enjoys our utmost trust and confidence.

“We are of shared military progeny as young men sacrificing only life for freedom and independence in the 1970s. The bonds of blood are too strong to be torn asunder by mahumbwe (child’s play) type trickery of G40.”

Zanu PF insiders say following behind-the-scenes talks, Mugabe would meet war veterans later this month where he is likely to commit to address issues pertaining to their welfare.

War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube has confirmed the meeting.

Insiders say the ex-combatants’ leadership met in December last year after which they wrote to Mugabe demanding, among many other issues, the removal of Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere from the commissariat department. Kasukuwere is a key member of the G40 faction.

“Following the demands, some senior Joc members held meetings with Mugabe over the war veterans’ demands concerning the need to revamp the commissariat,” said an official, adding: “The countrywide demonstrations and vote of no confidence passed by nine provinces against Kasukuwere have worked in the war veterans’ favour.”

Joc officials reportedly told Mugabe he would need the war veterans to campaign for him in next year’s elections as they live among the electorate.

The officials say Kasukuwere may be moved from the commissariat department as a way to appease the war veterans.

Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa told the Independent that the G40 faction would soon lose relevance.

“The inescapable reality is that the G40 is facing its waterloo. It has already been a torrid season with the (Jacob) Mudenda inquiry, the vote of no confidence by 10 party provinces and the thorough drubbing of the G40 pretender (Mutero Masanganise) by chairman (Ezra) Chadzamira in Masvingo party provincial elections. The end is nigh for the G40 cabal and its diabolic power grab pretences,” he said.

Zimbabwe – Mujuru and Tsvangirai form alliance to fight Mugabe


Tsvangirai, Mujuru finally seal poll pact

By Fungi Kwaramba

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru yesterday fired warning shots at President Robert Mugabe and his warring ruling Zanu PF — signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Harare ahead of the finalisation of the planned grand coalition as the make-or-break 2018 elections approach.

Tsvangirai and Mujuru form alliance to challenge Mugabe
Tsvangirai and Mujuru form alliance to challenge Mugabe

This comes as the mindless bloodletting that is devouring Zanu PF has escalated in the past few weeks, resulting even in the party’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, coming under serious pressure to resign from his post over a slew of charges — including bizarre claims of plotting to oust Mugabe from power.

Describing yesterday’s developments as historic, a buoyant Tsvangirai said the two opposition leading lights had decided to join hands after realising that Mugabe and Zanu PF had “no clue” about how to end the myriad challenges afflicting Zimbabwe.

“We have chosen to give hope to the people of Zimbabwe … that indeed there is a bright light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

“We have taken the first step to bring all Zimbabweans under one roof so that we can work together to remove the unmitigated repression and misgovernance that pervades our lives.

“I am pleased to inform the nation that today we have signed a memorandum with Mai Mujuru of the National People’s Party (NPP) … to establish a pre-election alliance en route to the establishment of a coalition government which shall drive a comprehensive democratisation and transformation agenda.

“This is just the beginning of the building blocks towards establishing a broad alliance to confront Zanu PF between now and 2018,” Tsvangirai said.

The indefatigable former labour union leader emphasised that the door had not been slammed on other smaller parties being part of the pact, with “similar arrangements” to be decided with them soon.

“While political parties have their role in nation-building, it must be understood that they are not the only key stakeholders.

“We are in this together with other key stakeholders such as traditional leaders, the Church, labour, vendors, war veterans, civic society, business and the generality of Zimbabweans.

“This is our collective struggle and I call upon the people of Zimbabwe to join hands with us and play their part as well so that we can reclaim our country, our freedom and our dignity,” Tsvangirai added.

“Even at the ripe old age of 93, president Mugabe knows that the country’s crisis is unsustainable. Every Zimbabwean from every station of life knows it too.

“So, we should all stand together in unison and say enough is enough. As president Mugabe enters the sunset of his life, it is incumbent upon all of us to pick the pieces and rebuild our country together.

“I hope the understanding we reached today, and which we will reach with many others, will culminate in a solid political co-operation agreement that should usher in a new governance culture in our country,” he said further.

On her part, Mujuru promised “greater things” for long-suffering Zimbabweans.

“We were being asked by people wherever we would go about when we would form the coalition. It took about six months to discuss the coalition.

“We know your expectations are very high … what we want to see is a greater Zimbabwe again … We are going to deliver a new Zimbabwe,” she said.

According to the two opposition leaders, the MoU would act as a roadmap towards forming the planned grand coalition which is expected to be in place before next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

Optimism has been high ever since Tsvangirai and Mujuru publicly flaunted their readiness to join forces against the ruling party, when they appeared together in Gweru last August.

In a move that political analysts described as “very significant”, Mujuru held hands and also joined Tsvangirai then during a massive demonstration in Gweru that was organised by the former prime minister in the government of national unity’s MDC.

Analysts have also repeatedly said Mujuru, whose liberation struggle nom de guerre was Teurai Ropa (Spill Blood), and whose husband Solomon was the first black post-independence army commander, could provide the much-needed bridge that opposition parties have been missing to ensure the smooth transfer of power if they win elections again.

However, they have also warned that without a broad coalition involving all the major opposition players, Zanu PF would use “its usual thuggish and foul methods” to retain power in 2018.

In 2008, her late husband Rex was accused by Mugabe and other Zanu PF bigwigs of having engineered the 93-year-old’s stunning electoral defeat to Tsvangirai in that year’s hotly disputed polls.

Last week, a bullish Tsvangirai vowed to finish off Mugabe and his deeply-divided Zanu PF — adding that he stood ready to lead the planned grand coalition.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News then, Tsvangirai said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that the MDC — working together with other opposition parties — would, like it did in 2008, once again defeat Zanu PF in 2018 and bring to an end Mugabe’s long but tumultuous rule.

“I stand ready to heed the calls by Zimbabweans that I lead … Indeed, when I moved across the country, the people said I should lead.

“So, if that is what people want, then I am ready to lead the coalition. But this should not be about individuals but about Zimbabwe.

“Indeed, the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe is not between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, but between long-suffering Zimbabweans and a heartless, looting Zanu PF,” Tsvangirai said.

“The commitment towards forming a grand coalition is there … But we must exercise due diligence in regard to our partners.

“Imagine at the end, just before elections you have people who will say ‘I was not part of the talks’ … so due diligence is very important,” added the dogged former labour union leader, as he explained why it was taking long to conclude the mooted coalition talks.

Soon after, Mujuru signalled her readiness to join Tsvangirai in the planned electoral pact when she said the mooted grand opposition coalition was the only way of extricating the country from its economic problems.

“As NPP, we believe that what ought to be 37 years of independence has been turned into 37 years of slavery and misery to Zimbabweans.

“We believe we have capacity as Zimbabweans to extricate ourselves out of the social, economic and political mess we find ourselves in as a result of Zanu PF’s failed government.

“It is time that all progressive forces within the rank and file of opposition parties put their differences aside and face the failed Zanu PF government as a united front by every constitutional means necessary come 2018.

“Our people never went to war so that the destiny of our country can be turned into political dynasties.

“Zimbabweans deserve to be free and that freedom has to be exercised now. To that end, as NPP we urge all the progressive forces within the rank and file of the opposition parties of this country to go back to the basics of the revolutionary ideals of oneness.

“It is our belief as NPP that what divides us as opposition political parties is smaller than what binds us as a country. Our motto should therefore be united we stand, divided we fall,” she said.


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses a rally to mark the country"s 37th independence anniversary in Harare, Zimbabwe, April 18, 2017.Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Robert Mugabe has said he is not losing sleep over the coalition

Two of Zimbabwe’s best known opposition figures have agreed to form an alliance against President Robert Mugabe.

Long-time Mugabe critic Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru say they will work together in next year’s election.

However, it is not yet clear which of them will be the presidential candidate.

Mr Mugabe, 93, has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980 and has said he will seek re-election.

“This is just the beginning of the building blocks towards establishing a broad alliance to confront Zanu-PF between now and the next election,” Mr Tsvangirai told journalists.

Real test lies ahead: Shingai Nyoka, BBC News, Harare

Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai (L) and fomer Vice President Joice Mujuru(R) sign a Memorandum of Understanding to negotiate coalition ahead of 2018 general election in Harare April 19th 2017Image copyright AFP

The alliance is an important first step towards uniting a deeply divided opposition.

And if this alliance succeeds it will be the first time President Mugabe has faced a united opposition on this scale since coming into power in 1980.

At least a dozen parties are expected to be part of the coalition.

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru who was fired from the ruling Zanu-PF party in 2014 was the first to sign a pact with Morgan Tsvangirai. She says it follows six months of consultations.

A Movement for Democratic Change splinter group has now also come on board.

Divisions among the opposition have been blamed for previous electoral losses.

For the first time, Mr Tsvangirai apologised for this and accepted responsibility for the mistakes made in the past. His party has split four ways since it was formed in 1999.

Ms Mujuru’s National People’s Party recently splintered after less than a year.

But the real test for the opposition lies ahead. The parties still need to hammer out the terms of this alliance. In particular who will lead the coalition.

President Mugabe is a formidable opponent. He has been accused of stealing elections and using violence to stay in power.

Mr Mugabe has previously said he would not be losing any sleep over the proposed coalition.

Mr Tsvangirai has run against Mr Mugabe several times since he helped found the Movement for Democratic Change.

Each time he has said he was denied victory because of violence and rigging – charges denied by Mr Mugabe and his allies.

He became prime minister in a tension-filled coalition government with Mr Mugabe from 2009 until 2013.

Ms Mujuru was vice-president to Mr Mugabe for 10 years until she was fired in 2014.

Zimbabwe opposition demands UN and AU role in conducting 2018 elections


A fruit vendor pushes a cart past sitting police ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare

A fruit vendor pushes a cart past sitting police ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare, Zimbabwe March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
Riot police members are deployed on the streets ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare
Riot police members are deployed on the streets ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process in Harare, Zimbabwe March 22, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE Zimbabwean opposition parties demanded on Wednesday that presidential elections next year be conducted by a committee set up by the United Nations and African Union because they had lost confidence in the neutrality of the local election agency.

President Robert Mugabe, 94 and in power for 30 years, is due to run again.

Leaders from several political parties, including Movement for Democratic Change’s Morgan Tsvangirai, told a few hundred supporters during a protest rally in the capital that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had failed to be partial and should be disbanded.

Police deployed water cannon and anti-riot officers on the streets of the capital throughout the day after confining the protesters to an open space on the edge of the city centre.

The opposition parties, who were united under a National Election Reform Agenda (NERA), were protesting against changes to the voter registration process and said they would rally behind Tsvangirai to face Mugabe in the presidential vote.

Anti-government protests in August descended into some of the worst violence seen in the southern African nation for two decades as anger over economic hardship boiled over.

NERA chairman Farai Mbire said the United Nations, African Union and the Southern African Development Community “must immediately establish an independent, tripartite election management body to take over the full functions of ZEC.”

The opposition parties also said Mugabe’s government should back off from its decision to take over the purchase of biometric voter registration kits from the United Nations.

They fear this will make it easier for Mugabe’s ZANU-PF to skew the list of eligible voters in its favour.

Mbire did not say what would happen if Mugabe’s government rejected their demands. ZANU-PF legal secretary and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the state-run Herald newspaper that it was ZEC’s constitutional right to run elections.

Anti-riot police allowed a handful of NERA officials to present a petition to the offices of ZEC.

Zimbabwe is due to hold its next presidential and parliamentary election by July 2018. Mugabe has been endorsed as the ruling party’s presidential candidate.

(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Ed Cropley/Jeremy Gaunt)

Zimbabwe – Mugabe sworn in but Zuma fails to attend

New Zimbabwe

VETERAN leader Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president for another  five-year  term on Thursday before a stadium packed with tens of  thousands of jubilant  supporters.

Mugabe, 89, pledged “to observe, uphold and defend the constitution  of  Zimbabwe” in an oath administered by Chief Justice Godfrey  Chidyausiku, extending  his 33-year rule.

Supporters clad in clothes emblazoned with the image of the man who  has lead  their nation since independence in 1980 filled the 60  000-seater venue, a show  of force after elections many say were rigged.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai insists the 31 July vote was stolen and  his party boycotted the inauguration.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson said the opposition leader “can’t attend a  robber’s party”.

Former colonial power Britain has called for an “independent   investigation” into the conduct of the election, which Mugabe officially   won by a landslide.

Unlike previous low-key investitures, Thursday’s event – replete with banners, flags and chants – carried strong echoes of Mugabe’s inauguration as prime minister of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980.

A no-show by many neighbouring leaders – including President Jacob  Zuma of  regional power-broker South Africa – did little to dampen  enthusiasm.

Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba and the  Democratic Republic  of Congo’s Joseph Kabila were among those leaders  who did attend.

Mugabe was greeted in the stadium by thunderous cheers and whistling when he  arrived with his wife on board a military truck.

Gates to the Chinese-built stadium, the venue of Mugabe’s inauguration as  president in 1987, opened shortly after dawn.

The day was declared a public holiday, helping boost attendance.

“Mr Mugabe, you are one of a kind,” sang a group of supporters   slamming the sides of the minibus taking them to the stadium, while  others  waved fists as drivers honked their horns.

“It is a great day for Zimbabwe and the world will come to a  standstill  today,” said Alfred Tome, the Harare provincial  administrator and  spokesperson for the organisers.

A concert will include artists from South Africa, Zambia and Jamaica –  whose  iconic Bob Marley played at Zimbabwe’s independence event.

Banners around the oval stadium carried messages praising African  leaders  and denouncing western governments accused of meddling in  Zimbabwe’s political  affairs.

“Which African ever observed elections in Europe, America?” read  one  banner. “Africa has spoken, respect its voice,” said another.

The inauguration had been delayed after Tsvangirai challenged the  poll  results in a petition to the Constitutional Court that was later  dropped.

The Constitutional Court confirmed Mugabe as president and declared  the  elections “free, fair and credible”, saying the results  “reflected  the free will of the people of Zimbabwe.”

Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist from the University of  Zimbabwe,  said the event was at once Mugabe’s victory lap and his “last  supper”.

“This inauguration is being projected as the crowning of a victory of  a  struggle for the past 13 years against big Western powers,” he said.

There is however also an “unintended meaning”, he said. “It  can be  read as a farewell event for Mugabe. It reminds one of Jesus’s Last   Supper.”

The electoral commission declared Mugabe winner with 61% of the vote,  against Tsvangirai’s 34.

The vote ended a shaky power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and   Tsvangirai four years ago to avoid a tip into all-out conflict  following a  bloody presidential run-off election.

Local observers have judged the elections flawed and Western powers have  raised serious doubts over the vote.

But regional and continental groupings the Southern African Development  Community and the African Union were less critical.

Tsvangirai condemned the election as “a farce” and “a massive  fraud” and petitioned the court to overturn the result.

Among a series of complaints, he queried the suspiciously high number  of  voters who were turned away from polling stations in urban areas  which are  considered opposition strongholds.

He also charged that his party’s supporters in rural areas were  intimidated  by Mugabe party backers into feigning illiteracy and voting  in the presence of  police and election officers.

But in a surprise U-turn on Friday, Tsvangirai withdrew his petition, saying  he would not get a fair hearing.

However, the Constitutional Court went ahead and handed down a ruling on the case  anyway.  new zimbabwe

Zimbabwe – Tsvangirai may be charged for insulting judiciary


Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) President Morgan Tsvangirai, at his house in Harare, Saturday 17 August 2013
Mr Tsvangirai says as PM he should have been consulted about judicial appointments


Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai may face contempt of court charges for “disparaging remarks” he made about the judiciary.

High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu said prosecutors would be informed.

His comments came as Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party lost two court cases relating to the disputed 31 July election.

The Constitutional Court said President Robert Mugabe’s re-election was “free, fair and credible”.

Mr Mugabe won with 61% of the presidential vote against 34% for Mr Tsvangirai.

The two had been part of power-sharing government formed in 2009 under pressure from regional leaders following elections the year before marred by violence and allegations of rigging.

The Constitutional Court made its ruling on Tuesday despite the MDC withdrawing its case last Friday, alleging it would not get a fair hearing.

‘Soiled dignity’

Continue reading the main story

Opposition’s main complaints

  • Bribery – Village leaders were reportedly given food and kitchenware to persuade people to vote for Zanu-PF
  • Manipulation of voter roll – Voters said to have had most trouble registering in urban areas, where the MDC is strongest. More than a million names allegedly duplicates or dead people
  • Voters turned away – The MDC says 900,000 people were turned away from polling stations, mainly in the capital
  • Intimidation – There were reports of traditional leaders threatening villagers if they voted for MDC
  • Abuse of assisted voting – The MDC claims literate people were told to say they were illiterate so that they could be “assisted by Zanu-PF people”

The MDC’s separate case before the High Court seeking full details of the results from the electoral commission was also dismissed on Tuesday.

Justice Bhunu said the High Court did not have the jurisdiction to rule on the matter, adding the case had no merit because of the applicant’s “gross conduct in soiling the dignity and integrity of this court”.

Mr Tsvangirai, who served as prime minister in the power-sharing government, had said there was little difference between the judiciary and Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party as judges had been appointed while he was in office without him being consulted, as required by law.

Such “scathing and disparaging remarks concerning the entire judiciary of this country” would be referred to either the attorney general’s office or the National Prosecuting Authority for them to consider pressing contempt of court charges, Justice Bhunu said.

Mr Mugabe’s defence lawyer, Terrence Hussein, told the BBC: “This is serious, the expectation is that the relevant authorities will look into the case.”

Mr Mugabe, 89, is due to be inaugurated for another five-year term on Thursday.

The MDC said that more than a million voters were prevented from casting their ballots – mainly in urban areas considered to be its strongholds, allegations backed up by a 7,000-strong group of local observers, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

But the African Union has said that any irregularities were not enough to overturn the margin of victory.

Meanwhile, the United States has refused to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe despite a call by regional leaders for the West to do so.

At a meeting of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) over the weekend, Malawi’s President Joyce Banda said “Zimbabweans have suffered enough”.

But Ms Psaki said the US stood by its assessment that while the elections were relatively peaceful, they were not a credible expression of voters’ opinions “due to serious flaws throughout the electoral process, as highlighted by the regional and domestic monitors”.  bbc

Zimbabwe – Mugabe to make first post-election speech


Robert Mugabe (7 August 2013)

Robert Mugabe maintains that he and Zanu-PF won free and fair elections


Robert Mugabe is to deliver his first public speech since he won Zimbabwe’s disputed presidential election.

Mr Mugabe will address a Heroes’ Day celebration in the capital, Harare, to commemorate those who died during the country’s war of independence.

The Movement for Democratic Change of his main rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is boycotting the event.

The party has lodged a legal challenge against the result of the “stolen election”, demanding it be rerun.

Mr Mugabe won 61% of the vote in the election on 31 July, while Mr Tsvangirai came second with 35% and Welshman Ncube third with 3%, according to official results.

The president’s Zanu-PF party also gained a parliamentary majority of more than two-thirds on the same day, winning 160 of the 210 seats.

Deep rifts

Heroes’ Day is Zimbabwe’s proud annual celebration, when the country remembers those who died fighting for independence in 1980, reports the BBC’s Mark Lowen in Johannesburg.

On Monday, Mr Mugabe will make a speech at National Heroes’ Acre, the monument in the capital where some of those killed are buried.

Opposition’s main complaints

  • Bribery – Village leaders were reportedly given food and kitchenware to persuade people to vote for Zanu-PF
  • Manipulation of voter roll – Voters said to have had most trouble registering in urban areas, where the MDC is strongest. More than a million names allegedly duplicates or dead people
  • Voters turned away – The MDC says 900,000 people were turned away from polling stations, mainly in the capital
  • Intimidation – There were reports of traditional leaders threatening villagers if they voted for MDC
  • Abuse of assisted voting – The MDC claims literate people were told to say they were illiterate so that they could be “assisted by Zanu-PF people”

Our correspondent says the 89-year-old president’s addresses are traditionally full of his firebrand nationalist rhetoric targeting the former colonial power, the UK, but he is also likely to laud his landslide victory in the last month’s election.

The MDC is boycotting the event in protest at what it says was massive vote rigging by Zanu-PF, so this Heroes’ Day will have political overtones too, exposing the deep rifts at the heart of this troubled country, our correspondent adds.

Mr Mugabe has not yet been sworn in for a seventh consecutive term, since the appeal is ongoing. He maintains that he and Zanu-PF won free and fair elections.

The MDC has said it has “strong evidence of electoral irregularities”, including bribery, abuse of “assisted voting”, and manipulation of the electoral roll.

African and regional monitors praised the poll for being peaceful but noted some irregularities.

But a local observer group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) and its network of 7,000 observers, said that about 1 million voters – mainly in urban areas – were “systematically disenfranchised” by being omitted from the voters’ roll or turned away.

The nine-member Constitutional Court is expected to discuss the complaint this week. It has up to two weeks to deliver its verdict.

But, with many judges being supporters of Mr Mugabe, our correspondent says few expect the MDC challenge to bear fruit.

In a separate development on Sunday, state radio reported that the ministry of mines had denied a report in the Times newspaper that it had agreed to sell Iran uranium for its nuclear programme.

A ministry statement was quoted as stressing that the report was “a malicious and blatant lie”, and that no export licences had been issued.

Iran’s foreign minister has also denied the report.  bbc

What now for Zimbabwe

Think Africa Press
Experts Weekly: What Now for Zimbabwe?

Mugabe and ZANU-PF are here to stay. We asked a panel of experts what this means for the next five years in Zimbabwe.
9 AUGUST 2013 – 5:21PM | BY JAMES WAN

With the dust settling in Zimbabwe following the heavily disputed elections, Zimbabweans are getting used to the idea – whether in hope or despair – that President Robert Mugabe will be in power for some time yet and that there is now a rejuvenated ZANU-PF with a super-majority in parliament.

This much is clear. But much remains unclear. What will become of defeated opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC? What will ZANU-PF seek to do with its super-majority? Where does this leave Zimbabwe’s relations with the rest of the world?

In order to shed light these on these questions, Think Africa Press asked a range of experts: “What will five more years of Mugabe and a super majority for ZANU-PF mean for Zimbabwe going forwards?”

Stephen Chan, Professor of International Relations, School of Oriental and African Studies
There are two curious things that will emerge from this stolen election. The first is that a majoritarian government no longer needs to be an authoritarian one. There may be some lightening up of the ZANU-PF heavy-handedness – especially as corrupt people begin to launder and sanitise their profiles to become the Zimbabwean Rockefellers of the future.

The second is that this is an historic election in that it will be both Mugabe’s and Tsvangirai’s last – Mugabe because of age and illness and the battle lines already well drawn regarding succession; and Tsvangirai because no-one can lead a party into three election defeats, no matter how those defeats occurred, and survive. The MDC actually fought a very tepid campaign that was unimaginative and almost seemed to be conceding defeat at the outset. The party needs new leadership and new inspiration.

For the time being, opposition becomes what ZANU-PF wants it to be – a showpiece and exhibition that Zimbabwe is ‘democratic’, but not one that can do anything serious. A lot of foreign money will also now seep out of the Zimbabwean democracy effort. This will render the MDC even less effective at first, and will be disastrous for many civic action groups.

In this context, ZANU-PF can posture as the reasonable government that the West must deal with, because there is no-one else and because the West has no choice in the matter. SADC and the AU have already decided it has to take Zimbabwe into the future with the rest of Africa. Meanwhile the West – with Egypt and Syria on its plate, unreconciled fears over Iran, real concerns over North Korea, and fractiousness in its relations with Russia – will be working out ways to re-engage with Zimbabwe by Christmas.

Munyaradzi Gwisai, general coordinator of International Socialist Organization (Zimbabwe) and former MDC MP
The message from the elections is clear. For working people there is no future with the MDC and Tsvangirai. Lacking a pro-poor ideology and strategy, the MDC will not rise from this disaster. The workers’ leaders of yesterday have become the poodles of the capitalists today. Against all of Africa, the MDC sings from the same hymn book as its masters in Washington and London, sucking their poisonous neoliberal juice, and hoping to precipitate economic crisis. However, unless there is global recession, economic meltdown is unlikely.

Whilst probably expecting a Mugabe victory, the West are stunned by the overwhelming landslide, and for now withhold recognition to send a message to Mugabe not to dare pursue the aggressive nationalist agenda he promised in the elections. The West is particularly worried about Mugabe’s resounding victory having a contagion effect across the Limpopo, massively boosting Mugabe copycat Julius Malema and his Economic Freedom Fighters. This could mortally threaten not only the ANC’s hitherto unchallenged hegemony but also the continuing apartheid economic structure on which Africa’s largest economy remains based.

With his survival guaranteed, Mugabe, whilst pursuing with his vote-catching nationalist agenda, will likely moderate and strike some compromise with banks, big business and the West to avoid an open strike by the capitalists and West that may bring down the economy. He is likely to pursue an agriculture and mining-anchored economic growth agenda geared towards China, India, Russia and Brazil.

With an eye to 2018, ZANU-PF will continue with its empowerment agenda to eat away at MDC’s urban strongholds. Without a massive ideological and strategic overhaul, MDC cannot counter this. Also without an alternative from the radical left emerging, the danger deepens that the working classes will continue to fall into the hands of a repressive bourgeois nationalist dictatorship that only opportunistically sings their song, and which will sooner or later attack the poor in the service of the system that it ultimately serves – namely capitalism.

The way forward for working people is to break from MDC and lay now the foundations for a new working people’s movement to continue the struggle against the regime. A movement that does not replicate MDC’s right-wing ideological bankruptcy but positions itself left of ZANU-PF on an anti-capitalist, democratic and internationalist basis.

Dewa Mavhinga, Senior Researcher on Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch
The elections, marred by reports of gross electoral irregularities and fraud, further polarised relations between the UK, US, Australia and the EU on the one hand and the AU and SADC (with the exception of Botswana) on the other hand. Looking ahead, there is unlikely to be a change to this status quo as Western governments are likely to retain sanctions against Mugabe and his party in condemnation of the irregularities, while SADC and the AU seek to legitimise Mugabe’s presidency by continuing to call for the lifting of the sanctions.

A major concern, based on their past patterns of repression, is that Mugabe and ZANU-PF will use their parliamentary super-majority to amend the new constitution to shut down democratic space and make it difficult if not impossible for local human rights and good governance groups to function. At its December 2012 annual conference, ZANU-PF resolved to “instruct the party to ensure that government enforces the de-registration of errant civil society organizations deviating from their mandate.” Various human rights and democratic reforms undertaken over the last five years may be reversed with no expectation that outstanding reforms, including legislative reforms to repeal repressive laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Criminal Law (Reform and Codification) Act will take place in the foreseeable future.

There now will be even less likelihood of domestic justice and accountability for those responsible for widespread human rights abuses, particularly election-related abuses, as many of the perpetrators are aligned to ZANU-PF. The greatest fear is that the ZANU-PF victory will return Zimbabwe to a de facto one-party-state under which key state institutions, including the army, the police, and sections of the judiciary, continue to be openly partisan and aligned to ZANU-PF. The security forces have a long history of partisanship on behalf of Mugabe and ZANU-PF. Since independence in 1980, the army, police and Central Intelligence Organization have operated within a system that has allowed elements within their ranks to arrest, torture and kill perceived opponents with impunity.

Peter Hain, British MP, former UK Africa minister and anti-apartheid activist
Until Robert Mugabe almost single-handedly transformed Zimbabwe into a basket case, it had been Africa’s jewel in the crown. And, as neighbours such as Mozambique and Zambia forge ahead in what could be Africa’s century, I see no happy future for the country under the continuing despotic, destructive rule of his ruling elite.

Mugabe and, above all, the political-military governing cabal around him will continue to loot the country. Hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from Marange’s blood diamonds will line their pockets as has been happening these past few years. Instead of going to the Zimbabwe Treasury, the enormous resources of Marange were ruthlessly deployed to steal and rig the recent election in direct breach of the Kimberley Process designed under an international treaty to ensure a legal and transparent diamond trade.

Sadly, the opposition MDC allowed itself to be naively manipulated into imagining that election could be free and fair. And, having first been sucked into coalition to save the economy from meltdown after the previous stolen election, and then been suckered again by Mugabe as he had done to Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU before, it is not clear what role the MDC now has.

Nor, with SADC neighbours like South Africa complicit in the whole travesty – which has witnessed the prostitution of the original Zimbawean freedom struggle – does the MDC or indeed the Zimbabwean people have the allies they need.

The African countries like Ghana that are succeeding today have good or improving governance and skills. Revenues from their resources are invested in infrastructure, jobs, growth and public services.
Does anybody seriously think this will happen now, under still more of the same failed policies, corruption and despotism in Zimbabwe?

Roy Agyemang, director of Mugabe: Villain or Hero?
British and American influence in Zimbabwe has been dealt a major blow in this election. ZANU-PF’s racially polarising policies are something the Western world cannot comprehend. The party has reversed the injustices inflicted upon the Zimbabwean people through redressing the land issue, and will now attempt to correct the historical economic imbalances prevalent in Zimbabwe.

With a two-thirds majority in parliament, the Zimbabwean people have given ZANU-PF a clear mandate to indigenise the economy and take a controlling stake in their natural resources. If ZANU-PF succeeds, it could form a blueprint for economic emancipation of the black people in Africa more broadly, something the West in not ready for given their stronghold on African assets.

This potential to reverse what has been the status quo for generations will mean that the UK and US will not make it easy for Mugabe and ZANU-PF, neither will they let them operate freely in the international market place.

If a ZANU-PF government can make the next five years a transparent and inclusive process, and stabilise the economy through their empowerment programmes, they will have proven yet again that the Zimbabwean people are able to fight against the tide and chart their own destiny, as they have shown with the growing success of the land reform programme.

Simukai Tinhu, political and economic analyst
Mugabe’s win in this election has cast a shadow on seemingly cordial relations that the previous coalition government had built with the West. However, though this might appear like the case, this upward trend in the relationship is unlikely to change for a number of reasons.

Firstly, President Mugabe is likely to resign (or could pass away) before the end of the first term, leaving the leadership to either Deputy President Joice Mujuru or Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. And because Zimbabwe’s economic and political troubles have so heavily been blamed on his rule in international media and rhetoric, maintaining Zimbabwe’s isolation when Mugabe is no longer at the helm might prove hard for the West to defend.

Already the international community has shown that it might struggle to maintain a united front against Zimbabwe. Indeed, in contrast to a decade ago, major Western nations have responded differently to Mugabe’s win. Australia has taken a hard-line stance and called for a rerun; the UK, US, Canada and Germany have expressed grave concerns; while Belgium and New Zealand have been largely silent. These varied responses, something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago, is the most clear sign yet that the old consensus in the West on Zimbabwe might be fraying.

In addition, the EU and US would also not want to be seen to be undermining the AU and SADC who had observer missions in Zimbabwe. The two regional bodies have provisionally given the election a clean bill of health.

There is no doubt that ZANU-PF is taking this election as a victory against the West, but at the same time they will try to reach out to the UK; continue with a strident defence of its land and indigenisation programmes; and intensify the ‘Look East’ policy, consolidating its relationship with China, Russia, Africa, Latin America and the Nonaligned Movement to balance the interests of the US and EU.

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