It’s now over two weeks since Zimbabweans went to the polls and still no official results of the Presidential vote have been released. It’s now obvious that Mugabe is using his trademark techniques for hanging onto power: rig the vote counting and rely on an increasingly violent campaign to crush the hopes any opposition politicians and their supporters.

While there’s nothing new in that, sadly, there is also nothing new in the response of the Zimbabwe’s neighbours: an emergency meeting over the weekend of the 14 nation South African Development Committee failed to find the resolve needed to rescue Zimbabwe.  

Violence and intimidation occurring in rural areas. The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, who look after torture victims at the main Harare private hospital are seeing many patients. Some have wounds, already infected, as clinic nurses in some areas refuse to see them, no doubt because they are scared. At least one badly burnt patient has been admitted. Mbecki (President of South Africa) says there is no crisis. What makes a crisis? The remaining white farmers are being attacked and told to leave their farms. It is said that villagers are being made to attack them. If they refuse their houses are being torched. — Independent Catholic News

Reports of violence on the rise. Tapiwa Mbwada, MDC Organising secretary for Hurungwe East (Karoi area) was beaten to death on Saturday night. His wife and brother were badly beaten and are in a serious condition. According to the information we have received, this was organised by ZPF councilor from Kazangarare called Jawet and an ex-soldier named Madamombe. It has been reported that a teacher in Mudzi has also been murdered and 8 women have been abducted. We are awaiting verification of this report … The MDC Secretary for Ward 1 Zimuto Masvinga, who is 36 years old, was attacked on Tuesday in Baradzi Village, Masvingo. ZPF youth broke his door down and dragged him outside insisting that he take them to all the other MDC members houses. He refused so was beaten with iron bars and logs of wood. He slept the night in the bush and then found his way to medical facility. The thugs referred to their actions as Operation Mavhoterapapi – “where you put your X”. Sokwanele

Images and text courtesy of Sokwanele: This gentleman [first image] is a kraal head from Zimuto, Masvingo. He was accused of getting people to vote for MDC, he was stoned and beaten with logs. His lip was split and he lost two teeth, and he has also sustained fractured ribs. The picture below is of his wife. She is 50 years and was beaten viciously on her right leg. 

 

 No crisis? Really? These homes have been destroyed in reprisal attacks against Zimbabwean citizens in the Mashonaland East province. More attacks here. The pattern that is emerging is that of retribution being carried out against the District level of the MDC Tsvangirai leadership.These houses (destroyed on Wednesday evening) belong to MDC district office bearers in the Macheke area of Mashonaland East. — Sokwanele  

  

 South Africa fails to act, again. The surprise arrival in Harare of [South African] President Mbeki only hours before the (emergency sitting of 14 nation South African Development Committee) meant that Mr Mugabe’s case was well heard. Western diplomats, who were instrumental in setting up the summit, were appalled to hear Mr Mbeki announce that there was “no crisis in Zimbabwe” after his meeting with Mr Mugabe — a sentiment later echoed by Zambia, previously the strongest critic of Mr Mugabe in the region. There were signs that the official South African policy of “quiet diplomacy” with Zimbabwe was also beginning to cause disquiet at home. – Times Online  Master of denial’s latest gaffe. I have to confess that I am plunged into a deep, dark well of despair every time President Thabo Mbeki opens his mouth on Zimbabwe … According to the Sunday Times , when Mbeki was asked about the invasion of white- owned farms and the beating-up of farm workers, he said: “I wouldn’t describe that as a crisis. It’s a normal electoral process in Zimbabwe. We have to wait for the Zimbabwe electoral commission to release the results.” Mbeki says there is no crisis but, more than two weeks after they voted, the Zimbabwean people are being denied the right to an election result. He says there is no crisis, but the people are living under martial law. Opposition MDC lawyers have been harassed, South African equipment seized, and thousands of soldiers, police and members of youth militias are roaming the streets. — Justice Malala, The Times (South Africa) Undeserved Kudos? Zimbabweans have received praise galore for their patience as they wait interminably for the results of the presidential election held on March 29, 2008. Pity there is no prospect of bestowing kudos on SADC leaders as they met in Lusaka to consider the ‘crisis’ in Zimbabwe. They couldn’t even agree to use a word as strong as ‘crisis’ to describe this debacle. Luckily, the light is dawning for many of us that our patience could be our downfall. Consider this ridiculous scenario. Mugabe’s government gets to:

  • Set the election date
  • Handpick the head of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (an old friend)
  • Set the constituency boundaries
  • Monopolise government-run radio and television
  • Accredit press and election observers
  • Undermine uniformed forces’ right to a secret ballot
  • Raid foreign currency accounts to finance their well-timed pre-election giveaway of tractors, scotch carts and fuel etc
  • Use a politicized and discredited police force to ‘guard’ the ballot boxes – they’ve had at least 12 days free and clear to tamper with the contents of the ballot boxes
  • Print money to pay all and sundry – Since the announcement on Jan 25, 2008 of the date for the 2008 ‘Harmonised’ elections the parallel rate for the Zimbabwe dollar to the USD has gone from 17,000,000 to 237,000,000.

And then they have the cheek to claim they’ve been disadvantaged by a system of their own design! — Kubatana Blogs

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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