Mr Robert Gabriel Mugabe is alleged to have committed henious crimes against his own people! What can you add to the lists...lets compile his Charge Sheet!




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The Adverts the Mugabe regime did not want the people of Zimbabwe to see.
Since the regime has denied the MDC access to state media, please send the adverts to as many people as you can, the people of Zimbabwe would greatly appreciate.
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This is the hand of a 22- year old man from Musaruro Village in Mudzi.
He says: “The Zanu-PF youths came to my shop at 9 pm on Friday, April 11. They broke the door down and dragged me out of the building.
They said, ‘You are an MDC member.’ They took all the groceries from the shop then burned grass on both my hands. After that they beat my hands and back with wooden poles. I went to Kotwa Rural District Hospital and they gave me two Paracetamols.
They had nothing else. I sustained several injuries, including burns and fractures in both hands and the left arm.”

ZIMBABWE: Finding a workable solution to the Crisis!


The withdrawal this week of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) of Zimbabwe, from the run-off Presidential Elections, that is due to take place today, Friday 27 June, is an indication of the depth of the political crisis in that country.


Yet it provides an opportunity for ZANU (PF) the MDC and other parties, to commence a dialogue to arrive at a workable political solution for the common good of all Zimbabweans.


Since 2001 the ANC and other political parties in this region have witnessed the tragic socio economic decline of Zimbabwe. The political impasse in that country today compounds the negative consequences of an economy that appears to have gone into terminal decline and that has already resulted in massive migration to neighbouring states. The SADC region, made up of developing countries all of whom are struggling for the economic upliftment of their peoples after centuries of colonial domination, can ill afford the instability occasioned by this turn of events.


It has always been and continues to be the view of our movement that the challenges facing Zimbabwe can only be solved by the Zimbabweans themselves. Nothing that has happened in the recent months has persuaded us to revise that view. A lasting solution has to be led by the Zimbabweans and any attempts by outside players to impose regime change will merely deepen the crisis.


Zimbabwe, like many other African countries, was reduced to the status of a colony during the latter part of the 19th century. A column of imperialist adventurers, led by the notorious Cecil John Rhodes, invaded the territory, seized the land from its people and annexed it to the British Empire. To add insult to this injury the British colonial authorities even had the temerity to re-name the country "Rhodesia". Land dispossession accelerated to the extent that when Zimbabwe attained independence the White minority, who never exceeded 2% of the population, owned and controlled 70% of the best agricultural land.


Colonialism in Zimbabwe, as in the rest of Africa, was a system of arbitrary, capricious power exercised by a distant colonial office and delegated to local White settlers who wielded it as agents of the imperial power.


As in all other colonies, the African people in Zimbabwe had no rights. They had no voice in how they were governed. Africans were subjected to a host of controls - that determined where they could live, where they could work, when they could work, even for whom they could work.


All social goods and services in the country were racially apportioned to the advantage of the White minority who were incrementally granted powers to govern the colony. By the 1960s the White minority exercised sufficient political power in the colony to declare independence from Britain unilaterally in 1965.


The political programme of the national liberation movement in Zimbabwe consequently centred on the right of national self-determination to be attained through democratic elections in which all adult citizens of the country would have the untrammelled right to elect the government of their choice. Restoration of the land seized during colonialism to the indigenous people was a central plank of that programme as well.

It was a shared objective of all the liberation movements in this region of Africa to give birth to democratic governments that institutionalised the civil liberties that underpin the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in their respective countries. In addition to the principle of government based on the will of the governed, these include freedom of opinion; freedom of speech; freedom of movement; freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of assembly and freedom of association. The end of colonialism envisaged the abolition of all privileges and disabilities based on race, religious affiliation or gender.


To give substance to these freedoms, the national liberation movements of this region also strove for a universal system of education; a universal health care system; full rights for all workers on the land or in the cities; as well as equality before the law.


No colonial power in Africa, least of all Britain in its colony of "Rhodesia", ever demonstrated any respect for these principles.


It was the people of Zimbabwe, under the leadership of the Patriotic Front , who waged a struggle to win these rights and freedoms.The right to govern themselves and regularly to choose their own government was earned through sacrifices and struggles often eliciting the loss of life. No one, no government , no political party no political leader has the right to abridge or subvert these rights. We are, consequently, deeply dismayed by the actions of the government of Zimbabwe which is riding roughshod over the hardwon democratic rights of the people of that country.


As democrats , the ANC cannot be indifferent to the flagrant violation of every principle of democratic governance.


The ANC is very mindful of the obligations Britain assumed in relation to Zimbabwe at the Lancaster House Talks. Chief amongst these was resolution of the Land Question, i.e. undoing the consequences of well nigh 100 years of British colonial domination.

A large measure of responsibility for the current crisis is attributable to the ex-colonial power because it has reneged on that undertaking.


In our efforts to assist Zimbabweans resolve their problems the ANC has consistently supported the efforts of the South African government and the SADC region. After the SADC Summit appointed President Mbeki to act as mediator amongst the parties in Zimbabwe, he has enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, the ANC's unstinting support. We were consequently very pleased when, owing to his mediation, a relatively peaceful and free election was held on 29 March 2008. We were greatly distressed by the incidents of violence during both the run-up and on the election day itself. The unseemly delay in announcing the outcome of the Presidential elections of April caused great anxiety in Zimbabwe and in the region. It was for that reason that the ANC called for their immediate release on 15th April. The Extra-Ordinary SADC Summit, held on 13th April 2008, in Lusaka, Zambia had held the same view.


In its Communiqué the SADC Summit of Heads of Sate and Government noted that since there had been no outright winner of the Presidential poll, a run-off was expected to determine the winner.


While the ANC was sceptical of the feasibility of a run-off, we deferred to the judgement of the SADC leadership and that of the political parties in Zimbabwe and lent our support to the process. However, compelling evidence of violence, intimidation and outright terror; the studied harassment of the leadership of the MDC, including its Presidential candidate, by the security organs of the Zimbabwean government; the arrest and detention of the Secretary-General of the MDC; the banning of MDC public meetings; and denial of access to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, all have convinced us that free and fair elections are not possible in the political environment prevalent in Zimbabwe today.


The ANC believes that we have an obligation to contribute towards the search for a solution in Zimbabwe. This is a view informed by long-standing fraternal relations amongst the liberation movements of our region of Africa. We are confident that a solution consistent with our shared commitment to human dignity, human rights, the rule of law and the freedoms we all fought for, is attainable.




The ugly incidents and scenes that have been visited on the people of Zimbabwe persuade us that a run-off Presidential election offers no solution to Zimbabwe's crisis. In a society that is already highly polarised, a run-off election will only serve to widen the divisions. The very legitimacy of the run-off has already been severely compromised by the actions of both ZANU (PF) militants and those of state officials who do not even conceal their partiality in favour of the governing party.


There can be no solution except through a dialogue in earnest amongst all the political players in Zimbabwe, involving the people of that country. The ANC will play its role, within the framework of the SADC mandate, in searching for a solution that will bring an end to the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.


We have noted, with grave concern, the statements of the Zimbabwean government to the effect that the run-off elections will proceed as planned. We urge the government of Zimbabwe to apply its mind, dispassionately, to the situation at hand in its country and our region. We appeal to the government to take up the challenge of finding a negotiated settlement to the current impasse.


We wish the MDC, ZANU (PF) and all the other parties in Zimbabwe the moral courage, strength and determination to urgently seek a viable solution to the profound problems facing their country.






An embodiment of non-racialism


ANC and SACP stalwart Brian Bunting, who passed away at his home in Rondebosch, Cape Town on 18 June 2008, will be laid to rest in Cape Town tomorrow, 28 June 2008. Born in Johannesburg in 1920, Brian was the son of Sidney Percival Bunting, a founder and key architect of the Communist Party in South Africa.


Brian Bunting graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1939. He worked as a journalist on the Rand Daily Mail and the Sunday Times. He served in North Africa during World War II and then became assistant editor and later chief editor of The Guardian, and, after it was banned, its successor publications, Advance, Clarion, Peoples' World and New Age. As one publication was banned by the apartheid regime, so a new one was launched. Bunting was also assistant national secretary of the Springbok Legion and editor of its journal, Fighting Talk.


Bunting was a life-long communist party member. As a newly elected member of the party's Johannesburg district committee he was arrested in 1946 following the African mine workers strike, but charges were later dropped.


From November 1952 to October 1953 he was elected as a Natives' representative in the House of Assembly from the Cape Western district. But he was expelled from Parliament because of his Communist Party affiliations. He was banned in 1952, detained in 1960, and placed under house arrest in 1963. Shortly afterwards he went into exile.


Based in London together with his late wife Sonia, Brian played a leading role in the regrouping of the exiled movement and in building anti-apartheid international solidarity. For many years he edited the SACP's official organ, The African Communist. The Buntings returned to South Africa in the early 1990s and Brian had the pleasure of being elected as an ANC MP in 1994, returning to the very corridors from which he had been unceremoniously expelled by the apartheid regime some forty years earlier.


Brian remained active in his local SACP branch throughout the 1990s and into the last years and he also served on the SACP's central committee until mid-2007 when travelling became increasingly difficult. Bunting's publications include The Rise of the South African Reich, and Moses Kotane, South African Revolutionary.


Along with other outstanding freedom figures like Govan Mbeki and Ruth First, Brian Bunting belonged to a generation that bequeathed to our country a major tradition of investigative and radical journalism. A gentle personality, a lucid thinker, deeply loyal to his fellow comrades and organisations, Brian Bunting embodied the best non-racial traditions of our struggle.




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Australians in Zimbabwe have been urged to leave under an upgraded travel advice by the Government which warns the political crisis may escalate in the coming weeks.

The advice, issued today by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, also says Australians should not enter the country because the volatile security situation could quickly worsen.

A department spokeswoman said there are 841 registered Australians in Zimbabwe, including 602 in Harare and 77 in Bulawayo. The Australian High Commission is maintaining regular contact with them.

"We strongly advise you not to travel to Zimbabwe at this time due to the high level of election-related violence in many areas, the high level of criminal activity, the absence of the rule of law, and deteriorating economic conditions which could lead to civil unrest at any time," the advice says.

"This includes visits to national parks and Victoria Falls.

"If you are in Zimbabwe and concerned for your safety, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so."

The advice, which lifts Zimbabwe into the most dangerous category of country alongside eight other states such as Iraq and Afghanistan, says any Australians who do go to Zimbabwe should register their travel.

"The security situation could deteriorate quickly and without warning, and Australians could be caught up in violence directed at others," the advice says.

"In these circumstances, departure options may be severely limited... The ongoing political and economic crisis has made the situation very volatile, in both rural and urban areas."

For further information:






Attention: Honourable Justice Chiweshe


The Chairman

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

7th Floor, Century House



Dear Sir,




          JUNE 2008


I write this letter to advise you that for reasons set out in this letter, it is no longer possible for the holding of the Presidential run-off election set for the 27th June 2008.


In my considered view, the conditions presently obtaining thoughout the country make it virtually impossible for a proper election envisaged in both the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the Electoral Act [Chapter 2.13] to take place.  This being the case, the election scheduled for Friday 27th June 2008 cannot be an election as provided for by our law and accordingly, it will be a nullity if it were to be proceeded with.


Section 107 of the Electoral Act deals with the withdrawal of candidature from a Presidential election.  Subsection 1 thereof provides that a nominated candidate for election as President may, by notice in writing addressed to the Chief Election Officer withdraw his or her candidature before 21 days from the day or first day as the case may be on which the poll in an election to the office of President is to be taken. This section in my respectful view does not apply to a Presidential run off election.   Section 110 (3) provides that where two or more candidates for President are nominated, and after a poll taken in terms of subsection (2) no candidate receives a majority of the total number of valid votes cast, a second election shall be held within 21 days after the previous election. It is quite clear therefore that Section 107 (1) was clearly not designed for a presidential run-off election as it would not make sense to expect a candidate from a presidential run-off election to give 21 days notice of his/her withdrawal where such election has to be held within 21 days anyway.


Section 107(3) makes it much more clearer that Section 107 does not apply to a presidential run-off election.  It provides that:-

"where a candidate for election as President has withdrawn his/her candidature in terms of this section, the sum deposited by or on his behalf in terms of subsection (1) of Section 105 shall be forfeited and form part of the funds of the commission".

No money was ever deposited for the Presidential run-off election in terms of Section 105 by any candidate. 


Furthermore, there has been no rules prescribed for the conduct of a presidential run-off election and in particular the notice period set for the withdrawal of candidature by a participant.  Accordingly, any candidate wishing to withdraw his candidature is free to do so at any  time before such an election. 


In any event, as I have already pointed out, the election set for the 27th June 2008 is not a proper election but a nullity.  In the circumstances, the question of the withdrawal from such an election and the notice thereof cannot be an issue.




In terms of Section 61(4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is obliged by law to ensure that elections are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law.


Section 3 of the Electoral Act sets out in detail the principles which must govern democratic elections.  This Section provides as follows:-


"Subject to the Constitution and this Act, every election shall be conducted in a way that is consistent with the following principles-

(a)            the authority to govern derives from the will of the people demonstrated through elections that are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and properly on the basis of universal and equal suffrage exercised through a secret ballot; and

(b)            every citizen has the right-

(i)                           to participate in government directly or through freely chosen representatives, and is entitled, without distinction on the ground of race, ethnicity, gender, language, political or religious belief, education, physical appearance or disability or economic or social condition, to stand for office and cast a vote freely;

(ii)                        to join or participate in the activities or and to recruit members of a political party of his or her choice;

(iii)                      to participate in peaceful political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of Government;

(iv)                      to participate, through civic organisations, in peaceful activities to influence and challenge the policies of Government;


(c)             every political party has the right-

(i)                           to operate freely within the law;

(ii)                        to put up or sponsor one or more candidates in every election;

(iii)                      to campaign freely within the law;

(iv)                      to have reasonable access to the media".

What has been going on in this country immediately after the elections held on the 29th March 2008 is a clear testimony that the elections scheduled for the 27th June 2008 cannot be held efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently and in accordance with the law.


On the 21st May 2008, after having noted the sad events that were happening, I instructed my Legal Practitioners Dube Manikai & Hwacha to write a letter to you setting out in detail various concerns which were an impediment to the holding of a free and fair election.  For ease of reference, I attach a copy of the said letter.  Sadly, that letter was neither acknowledged nor responded to.  In my view, if your commission had taken steps to abide by its constitutional mandate, the situation would have probably not worsened.  Regrettably, the situation since the letter from my lawyers has worsened to such an extent that no proper election can be carried out.  I set out below few examples of the adverse conditions that vitiate the  holding of a free and fair election as envisaged in our law:-





Your Commission has failed to discharge its mandate in the following respects;

1.1             Your Commission failed to declare a winner of the Presidential elections as provided for in the Third Schedule of the Electoral Act.  This point was well articulated by my lawyers in their letter of the 21st May 2008 and I associate myself with the submissions made in that letter in regards to this issue.  In my view, a Presidential run-off election should have been conducted after due compliance by your Commission and in particular the Chief Election officer with this Section.

1.2             Your Commission has failed to stop and/or condemn continued utterances by senior Zanu PF officials including Mr Robert Mugabe to the effect that irrespective of the election result, Mr Robert Mugabe was not going to move out of his office.  The failure by your Commission to condemn such utterances right from the beginning clearly encouraged Zanu PF, war veterans aligned to Zanu PF, senior Zanu PF officials and Mr Robert Mugabe to make it their theme during their campaigns that a President does not come to power through the electoral process but rather through the barrel of the gun.  This theme which has become pervasive thoughout the Zanu PF campaigns makes people wonder whether we are in an election or in a war.

1.3              Your commission failed to abide by the provision of the Electoral Act when it failed to conduct the presidential run-off election within 21 days from the date of announcement of the presidential elections results conducted on the 29th March 2008. 


2.       VIOLENCE  


The violence currently obtaining in this country which has resulted in numerous deaths, destruction of homes, displacement of various people and injuries to people is something that is clearly in the public domain.  As of today, the country has recorded at least 86 deaths, 10 000 homes destroyed , 200 000 people displaced and 10 000 people injured.


The victims have been MDC supporters.  The violence has been clearly state sponsored and carried out in most cases by members of the Zimbabwe National Army and ZANU PF militia. It is true that in some instances our supporters have fought back, inmost cases in self defence. Because of our inability to access the rural areas, the above statistics may be understated.


If this present scenario is compared to the period towards the 29 March harmonised election, it is evident that the conditions on the ground have fundamentally changed for the worse.  The above statistics clearly show that the electoral environment is not conducive to the holding of a free and fair election.



Throughout its campaigns, Zanu PF has threatened that there will be war if an MDC win in the presidential run-off is pronounced.  Mr Mugabe made it quite clear recently that power cannot be taken by a pen but by a gun.  War veterans aligned to him have articulated this position throughout the country. These sentiments were echoed by senior Zanu PF officials including the President's wife when she clearly made the point that even if I was to win, I was never to set my foot at the State house.  Mr Mugabe also came out on National television encouraging his party members to conduct a war-like campaign. These kind of threats coming as they did from Senior Zanu PF officials including the President of Zanu PF should certainly be taken seriously.  Indeed, these threats were taken seriously by our population with the result that a free and fair election is something that cannot be dreamt of under these conditions.



It is common cause that the Zimbabwe National Army through its senior officers has actively campaigned for Zanu PF and continues to do so. This has been the position with the Zimbabwe Republic Police where senior officials have publicly campaigned for Zanu PF.  As if this was not enough, the senior officers of the uniformed forces have forced junior officers to vote for President Mugabe.  On the 18th June 2008, my lawyers wrote to you advising you of these developments and the fact that officers from the police, prisons and the army were forced to apply for postal ballots.  These officers from the reports we have received have already voted in the presence of a senior officer and were forced to vote for Mr Robert Mugabe.  I attach herewith a copy of my lawyers letter dated 18th June 2008 which letter as usual was neither acknowledged nor responded to.  In the circumstances, one cannot talk of a free and fair election which can be conducted on the 27th June 2008.



The level of intimidation which is currently being subjected to our population particularly in the rural areas is alarming. People are being forced to attend Zanu PF meetings during the night. People are being told to record serial numbers on the ballot papers and disclose them to Zanu PF official who are responsible for carrying out the intimidation.  These incidents have been brought to your attention but unfortunately nothing has been done by your Commission by way of assuring the voters that their votes are secret as was the case during the run up to the March harmonised elections.  Infact, the voter education campaign which was reasonably conducted during the run up to the March 2008 harmonised election has not been repeated. You have simply allowed Zanu PF, war veterans aligned to Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe to scare the people by suggesting quite clearly that presidential run-off vote is between a choice of war and Robert Mugabe.


In my view, there can never be a free and fair election under these circumstances.



The law clearly provides that a political party is entitled to enjoy  reasonable access to the media.  My party booked space for its advertisements with Zimpapers newspapers namely Herald, Sunday Mail, Chronicle, Sunday News and the Manica Post which adverts were to commence on the 13th June 2008.  We were advised that our publications could not be published because of the shortage of newsprint.  What surprised us was that Zanu PF's campaign advertisements are being carried in these newspapers on a daily basis.  We also encountered problems with our electronic advertisements with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings which effectively resulted in our failure to have access to media. This is in sharp contrast with what occurred during the run up to the March 2008 harmonised elections where we were given reasonable access to the media.  The importance of media advertisement in any election is quite critical and it is for this reason that media access was specifically provided for in our law.  Without this right, there can be no free and fair elections.



          Since I launched my campaign for the presidential run-off elections, I have encountered numerous difficulties occasioned by agents of the State. I have been detained at police stations on numerous occasions and thereby denied time to campaign. Our meeting and rallies have been banned by the police.  We have had to approach the High Court on no less than 3 occasions for the court to intervene to enable us to go ahead with our rallies.  On the contrary, Zanu PF is being allowed to conduct its campaign rallies even during the night.  In the few cases that our rallies have been allowed to go ahead pursuant to these Court Orders, Zanu PF supporters have disrupted such rallies. On Sunday the 22nd June 2008, our star rally in Harare, in respect of which a High Court  Order had to be applied for to proceed with such rally was disrupted by Zanu PF supporters.  Clearly it is impossible for any political party to campaign let alone to exist without being allowed to have access to the voting population.  In these circumstances, it cannot therefore be said that the environment presently obtaining is conducive for the holding of a free and fair election.



As you are aware voting in the Presidential election is constituency and ward based. In other words no person can vote outside his or her constituency and ward.  The massive displacement of people already referred to herein (mainly from rural to urban areas) will result in the disenfranchisement of these people. The confirmed reports we have received confirm that there has been massive and systematic confiscation of national identity documents of our supporters by ZANU PF militia and people claiming to be war veterans.  Until our supporters are able to replace these identity documents (which cannot be done by Friday 27 June 2008) they are obviously not going to be able to vote.


Furthermore, more than two thousand of our polling agents throughout the country have been arrested and kept in custody on flimsy allegations. They will certainly be unable to vote.  We have trained replacement polling agents, but unfortunately we cannot possibly make arrangement for their deployment in rural areas as it is common cause that the rural areas have virtually been sealed off by ZANU PF militia, some members of the Zimbabwe National Army and people claiming to be war veterans. We will therefore be unable to deploy polling agents at more than 50% of the polling stations in rural areas. Certainly there can be no pretence of holding a free and fair election under these conditions.


From the foregoing and indeed due to several other reasons not necessarily covered in this letter, it is quite clear that no proper election can be held under the present conditions.  The present conditions constitute a good example of conditions that vitiate the holding a free and fair election.  My party and I have been giving serious consideration to this whole issue for some time, during which time it was hoped that a semblance of a conducive environment may be created as has been the case with other elections where we have participated under protest.  The situation obtaining now is very different from what has been experienced in this country since independence.  The violence, intimidation, death, destruction of property is just too much for anyone to dream of a free and fair election let alone expect our people to be able to freely and independently express to free themselves.  For this reason, my party and I have resolved that we cannot be part to this flawed process. For the avoidance of any doubt the presidential election question remains unresolved until such time a free and fair election is held.


We accordingly urge you to abide by your mandate clearly spelt out in our constitution and in particular ensure that a proper environment conducive for the holding of an efficient, free, fair, and transparent election is held in the shortest period of time possible. It is only in that kind of an election that my party and I will participate in.


By copy of this letter ZANU PF's candidate Mr. Robert Mugabe, the Chief Election Officer and your Commissioners are advised accordingly.


Yours sincerely



Morgan Tsvangirai




Cc: Mr. R. G Mugabe (ZANU PF Headquarters)

Cc: ZEC Commissioners



Movement for Democratic Change Head Office
Harvest House
4 Nelson Mandela Avenue | Harare, Zimbabwe



Sokwanele - Enough is Enough - Zimbabwe

Boycotting the June 27 election is essential
Sokwanele : 24 June 2008

"The June 27 Presidential election is not an election, but a declaration of war against the people of Zimbabwe by the ruling party." (SA Congress of Trade Unions statement 24/6/2008)

This is an important call to all Zimbabweans from civil society - you must boycott the forthcoming election.

Do Not Vote in the June 27 Presidential run-off election

Robert Mugabe wants as many votes as he can get so that he can claim he is the "people's president". While it is clear that he will receive some votes and he has already secured the postal votes of the armed forces who were forced to vote for him, Mugabe will want to get substantially more votes than those cast for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29.

We must not let this happen. The best action that we can all take to demonstrate that we refuse to accept Mugabe as our president for yet another five terrible years is to refuse to vote on Friday.

If you are forced by government agents to vote, then make sure you spoil your paper. Do not vote the dictator back into power.

However, please understand that we are not asking you to do anything that you think might endanger your safety or your life. In dangerous circumstances you must do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe.

The only people who should vote on Friday are those who have by-elections in their wards and will therefore be asked to vote twice. They should vote for the candidate of their choice for the House of Assembly seat but should hand in a spoilt ballot for the Presidential poll.

The three wards where by-elections are being held are:

1. Bulawayo: Pelendaba/Mpopoma

2. Matabeleland South: Gwanda South

3. Midlands: Redcliff

The claim that the election cannot be cancelled

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) states that the Presidential run-off election on June 27 cannot be called off despite the withdrawal of Morgan Tsvangirai in the face of escalating violence, intimidation and the disruption of his campaign .

The ZEC cites Section 107 of Zimbabwe's Electoral Act which states that a nominated candidate may withdraw his candidature any time "before twenty-one days from the day …. on which the poll in an election to the office of President is to be taken".

In other words, according to this interpretation of the electoral law, if Morgan Tsvangirai withdraws his name less than three weeks before the run-off - even if the conditions have made it impossible to continue with his campaign - the election still has to go ahead.

This claim is countered by Tsvangirai and his legal team.

In a letter sent to the chairman of the ZEC, Justice Chiweshe, on June 23, Tsvangirai notes that Section 107 of the Electoral Act deals with the withdrawal of candidature from a Presidential election. He points out that the 21-day requirement refers to a Presidential election and not to a run-off. He says it would not make sense to expect a candidate from a presidential run-off election to give 21 days notice of his/her withdrawal where such election has to be held within 21 days.

He continues: "Section 107(3) makes it much clearer that Section 107 does not apply to a presidential run-off election. It provides that:-

'where a candidate for election as President has withdrawn his/her candidature in terms of this section, the sum deposited by or on his behalf in terms of subsection (1) of Section 105 shall be forfeited and form part of the funds of the commission'.

Tsvangirai notes that no money was ever deposited for the Presidential run-off election in terms of Section 105 by any candidate. "Furthermore, there have been no rules prescribed for the conduct of a presidential run-off election and in particular the notice period set for the withdrawal of candidature by a participant. Accordingly, any candidate wishing to withdraw his candidature is free to do so at any time before such an election."

A low poll for Mugabe will undermine his claims of legitimacy

Should the ZEC insist on disputing the interpretation of Tsvangirai's legal team, there is a further issue that needs to be addressed. A Zimbabwean legal expert notes that the provision contained in Section 107 must be read together with the requirement that a Presidential candidate needs to obtain at least 50 percent of the vote. The intention behind the provision, he writes, is that it is necessary for a President to have substantial support from the people of Zimbabwe. The legislation therefore discourages Presidential candidates being elected by default or with only minority support from the electorate.

He notes that, if Mugabe gets fewer votes on June 27 than Tsvangirai received on March 29, then Mugabe will still in theory be elected President, but his claims to legitimacy will be greatly undermined.

And if very few people turn out to vote and Mugabe gets elected by a tiny minority, it will demonstrate that he has no legitimacy as the country's President.

This is good news for all of the displaced people in Zimbabwe who have been concerned that they are not able to vote. And it is good news for the millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora who wanted to come home to support their families and communities by voting for change.

Boycott by urban voters crucial

One of the biggest challenges we face is that Zanu PF will no doubt try to exaggerate the numbers of people who have turned out to vote in remote rural polling stations where there are no election observers.

To counter this problem, people in the urban areas must do all within their power to make sure that the polling stations are absolutely deserted. They must turn Friday's election into a referendum against Mugabe's misrule. If anyone is forced to go and vote, please make sure you spoil your ballot paper.

Why Tsvangirai withdrew from the run-off

The MDC won the March 29 elections, in spite of all the challenges they faced: the March 11 beatings, the continuous attacks on organisations like the National Constitutional Assembly, election rigging, the banning of rallies early on, vote buying, the withholding of food aid and all of the other Zanu PF strategies. It was a victory for peace, democratic change and the rebuilding of our country. The Mugabe regime was furious and since then has declared war on the people of Zimbabwe.

A free and fair election was not possible then and is totally impossible now. There are numerous reasons, but these are the main ones:

1. State-sponsored violence: The police are intimidated and have failed to protect the people of Zimbabwe. Under the direction of the Joint Operations Command, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Zanu PF youths and the youth militia are waging a terror campaign.

2. MDC Presidential candidate's campaign: Rallies have been banned and the MDC President has been arrested on an ongoing basis.

3. Decimation of MDC Structures: There has been a deliberate campaign to destroy the leadership and structures of the MDC. Secretary General Tendai Biti and MP Advocate Matinenga are illegally detained and over 2 000 MDC supporters, including polling agents, are in illegal detention.

4. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is partisan: The ZEC is now staffed by "war veterans" and Zanu PF militia. It is not in charge of the management of this election.

5. The media: The media is under attack and there has been a total blackout of the MDC's campaign. Journalists are being harassed and foreign journalists have been banned from entering the country.

6. The Zanu PF Presidential candidate: Robert Mugabe has no respect for the MDC, for election observers or for the regional and international community. He has declared war by saying that the bullet has replaced the ballot. Chiwenga and Zimondi have stated they will not respect an MDC victory.

7. Planned election rigging by Zanu PF: An elaborate and decisive plan by Zanu PF to rig the election has been exposed.

Why Mugabe and Zanu PF want to continue with the election and retain power

First of all, the Mugabe regime wants the world to believe that everything in Zimbabwe is normal and that the elections are legitimate. Secondly, if they lose power, they will lose the vast sums of money that they have stolen from the country over the years - money that has made them immensely rich and the citizens of Zimbabwe desperately poor. Their greed has wrecked the entire economy of our once stable and prosperous country. Thirdly, when the change comes, they are afraid they will be tried for their crimes, notably for crimes against humanity.

Why we can now count on the support of the world

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have all supported Tsvangirai's call to withdraw from the election.

  • Zambian President Dr Levy Mwanawasa, who is also SADC chairman, said: "The current political situation in Zimbabwe falls far short of the SADC principles." He said that the June 27 presidential run-off election should be postponed to avert a catastrophe in southern Africa.
  • Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos urged Mugabe to "embrace a spirit of tolerance and respect for democratic norms", while at the same time appealing for an end to all acts of intimidation and violence.
  • Graca Machel, Joaquim Chissano, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu are among forty former African presidents, prime ministers, civil society heads and other high profile leaders who have called for an end to political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe.
  • Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said: "I think this is an embarrassment to Africa because it makes a sham of presidential elections… the time has come for the international community to act on Zimbabwe."
  • The United Nations Security Council: On 24 June, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning the campaign of violence against the political opposition which had resulted in the killing of scores of opposition activists and other Zimbabweans, and the beating and displacement of thousands of people, including many women and children. Their statement gave legitimacy to the March 29 poll and noted that the results must be respected. It also condemned the government's suspension of the operations of humanitarian organisations, noting this had directly affected one and a half million people, including half a million children. Not only was the statement adopted unanimously, but the Zimbabwean crisis will remain on the Security Council agenda.
  • United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters after a meeting with the 15-nation Security Council on Monday that he "strongly discouraged" the Zimbabwean government from pressing ahead with a run-off election this week.
  • I would like to take this moment to say how distressed I am by the events leading up to the understandable decision of …. Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the run-off scheduled for this Friday," he said. "There has been too much violence and too much intimidation, a vote held under these conditions would lack all legitimacy."
  • The powerful South African Congress of Trade Unions (COSATU) has called on "the South African government, SADC governments, African governments and the world not to recognise Mugabe's illegal government all over the world and to refuse to have any dealings with Mugabe other than ensuring that he work towards new elections strictly under the conditions of total observance of the SADC protocols. Furthermore, planned actions by COSATU include mobilising for a blockade - a powerful reminder that Zimbabwe needs the co-operation of neighbours like South Africa to survive.

It is clear that the world has the deepest respect for the courage of Zimbabweans in the face of disgraceful violence and repression. Pressure is mounting from the African continent and from the international community. The United Nations Security Council is fully briefed on the crisis and is in possession of documents that are damning to the Mugabe regime. There is now no place for them to hide.

We call upon the people of Zimbabwe to make yet another brave stand and to ensure that the world hears their silent but powerful protest:


[for full text on Morgan Tsavangirai's letter, The UN Security Council statement, and the ANC statement on Zimbabwe, please email where you will receive an automated email with these texts.]

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