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Old 02-20-2008   #21
Tom Odom
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Quote:
Dying Silently In Zimbabwe By Michael Gerson


...This kind of hyperinflation is rare in history, but we are seeing it once again, in Zimbabwe. Government officials claim an inflation rate of 66,212 percent (most months they refuse to release inflation figures at all). The International Monetary Fund believes the rate is closer to 150,000 percent -- about the level reached by Weimar Germany. By some estimates, about 50 percent of Zimbabwe's government revenue comes from the printing of money. At independence in 1980, the Zimbabwean dollar was worth more than one U.S. dollar. Recently, the state-controlled newspaper raised its cover price to 3 million Zimbabwean dollars. Two pounds of chicken were recently reported to cost about 15 million Zimbabwean dollars.

A Zimbabwean friend who runs a business recently told me, "If you don't get a bill collected in 48 hours, it isn't worth collecting, because it is worthless. Whenever we get money, we must immediately spend it, just go and buy what we can. Our pension was destroyed ages ago. None of us have any savings left." Zimbabwean nationals who work on the U.S. Embassy staff in Harare have seen all their retirement funds wiped out. American government officials in the country carry boxes of money to pay at restaurants and must begin counting out currency at the beginning of the meal to finish by its end.
short but interesting piece; the real currency of power comes from gold and platimum and land sales to the Chinese and Libyans.

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Old 02-25-2008   #22
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Default 1 in 5 HIV Rate

And stretching for good news:

Quote:
Zimbabwe is rare bright spot for AIDS in southern Africa

HARARE, Zimbabwe — In southern Africa for the past two decades, casual sex helped to fuel the worst epidemics of HIV and AIDS in the world. In Zimbabwe, however, fewer people are taking chances anymore, making this otherwise beleaguered nation an unlikely bright spot in Africa's battle against AIDS...

...Experts suggest that sex has become another casualty of the country's eight-year economic depression, which has shrunk the economy by nearly half. Few men have the money to support extramarital affairs or, for bachelors, the late nights on the town often required to woo a woman.

"You have to spend to get sex," said Richard Chimbiri, who writes a column on HIV for the Financial Gazette, an independent newsweekly. "Some guys would have four or five girlfriends if they could. But the economic situation and the risk of HIV — it's all conspiring to make people change their attitudes."
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Old 03-06-2008   #23
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Default 100 US Dollars Buys 40 Pounds of Zim Notes

This is no longer "runaway" inflation--it is Zimbabwe's economy in return to earth orbit without heat shields.

Quote:
$1 now equals 25,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- It's easy being a multmillionaire in Zimbabwe these days, at least if you're counting in local dollars.

Money traders in the economically depressed African country say the Zimbabwe currency has tumbled to a record low of 25 million for a single U.S. dollar.

With Zimbabwe dollars mostly available in bundles of 100,000 and 200,000 notes, one $100 note bought nearly 20 kilograms (40 pounds) of local notes at the new market rate Wednesday.

Currency dealers said uncertainties ahead of elections scheduled March 29 and the world's highest inflation of 100,500 percent led holders of hard currency to hang on to their money at the same time as the state central bank pumped more local cash into the market for election costs.

The price of the U.S. currency was also pushed up by central bank buying on the unofficial market to pay for power, gasoline and vehicle imports ahead of the polling, said one black market dealer who could not be identified out of fear of reprisals.

Last week saw Mugabe's 84th Birthday so he threw a party:

Quote:
Mugabe ready to party in impoverished Zimbabwe


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- As many as 10,000 people were converging on a town in southern Zimbabwe for President Robert Mugabe's 84th birthday celebrations, state radio reported Friday.

Many were traveling free on commandeered buses and trains, it said.

Organizers of Saturday's ceremonies said they raised about 3 trillion Zimbabwe dollars (or the equivalent of about $250,000 at the dominant black market exchange rate) for the bash amid chronic shortages of hard currency, gasoline, food and most basic goods.
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Old 03-10-2008   #24
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Default This WIll Fix Things For Sure

Another great idea....


Quote:
Zimbabwe: Blacks to control firms
(CNN) -- Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has signed a new law that hands over majority ownership of all businesses to "indigenous" Zimbabweans.


The new law means that foreign- and white-owned companies operating in the country will have to surrender at least 51 percent control of their operations to blacks.

Lawmakers passed the legislation last September. But the presidential "assent" was announced Sunday in the government-controlled newspaper, The Sunday Mail.

It comes just days before Mugabe could face the most serious challenges to his decades-long rule in the March 29 presidential and parliamentary elections.

Under his rule, once-prosperous Zimbabwe has suffered an economic crisis with routine shortages of food, electricity and foreign currency.

Unless the Minister of State for Indigenisation and Empowerment alters the share allotment, the law would mean that several banks, mining companies and phone companies -- among other foreign businesses -- will have to relinquish control.
The bill, when it was put forward last year, described "indigenous Zimbabwean" as "any person who, before the 18th April, 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person."
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Old 03-12-2008   #25
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Default Big Salary Increases Means No Shortage of Toilet Paper

Once again economic comedian President Robert Mugabe does his imitation of Eddy Murphy but no one laughs....

Quote:
Embattled Mugabe boosts workers' pay


(CNN) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, battling skyrocketing inflation and a serious challenge to his decades-long rule, has announced "a huge salary increase" for his nation's government workers.


President Robert Mugabe attends a rally earlier this month ahead of elections set for March 29.

Mugabe made the announcement while stumping for votes for the March 29 general elections, state media reported.

Under his rule, once-prosperous Zimbabwe has suffered an economic crisis with routine shortages of food, electricity and foreign currency. Unemployment is estimated at about 80 percent; the inflation in the nation of 12.5 million people is in excess of 24,000 percent.

Last month, Mugabe offered a massive salary increase to soldiers. And this week, he signed a law that hands over majority control of white and foreign-owned business to blacks.

The opposition has called the latter move a cheap political gimmick.

"Just yesterday (Monday), I was signing a new salary schedule of big salaries for teachers and civil servants," the Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as telling a campaign rally in southern Zimbabwe. "I hope they will be happy, because we have worked out very good salaries."
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Old 03-13-2008   #26
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Default A bit of history

The following uses language that one J Edgar Hoover might have approved of, however apart from the excessive use of the word "Communist" ("Marxist" is much more accurate), and one comment (highlighted) which isn`t accurate, many of my tribe will remember the incidents and recognise the sentiment. I.R.

Quote:
Winds of Change, March 12, 2008 | From theTrumpet.com

As Zimbabwe takes another step toward oblivion, here's a look at how a once-proud nation fell so far. By Richard Palmer

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed a new law that gives "indigenous" Zimbabweans majority ownership of all businesses. This new law will make matters even worse for an already impoverished country.

It is hard to see how conditions could get worse for this once prosperous nation. While few official figures are available, estimates put unemployment at 80 percent. Official figures also put the inflation rate at 24,000 percent, though in reality inflation in Zimbabwe is very hard to measure. When there is no food on the shelves, it is hard to tell how much the price has risen.

This new law is not going to fix that. It states that "indigenous Zimbabweans shall own at least 51 percent of the shares of every public company and other businesses." The term "indigenous" refers to "any person who, before the 18th April, 1980, was disadvantaged by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any descendant of such person."

This new legislation brings back memories of the tragic land reforms that took place several years ago. According to Harare-based economist Godfrey Kanyenze, "It will entail the destruction of the economy. We should have learned from the blunders of the land reforms where people who were not properly equipped rushed to grab farms. The result was a disaster in the agricultural sector and we are now importing maize from the countries where the former farmers have migrated to."

The land now known as Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa. Today it is a den of tyranny, starvation and squalor. In 1960, British Prime Minister Howard Macmillan forecast that "the wind of change" would soon blow over the continent. This is where those winds of change brought Zimbabwe......
Quote:
....In 1979, majority elections were held. Mugabe did not win. Bishop Abel Muzorewa became president, despite threats and intimidation from Mugabe and Nkomo.
.....
(Edit - Mugabe and Nkomo`s factions were not allowed to participate in this election for numerous reasons, including the refusal to lay down their weapons etc etc. In the next round they did participate, stating plainly that if they did not win, the war continues. A Brit Policeman, a member of the Monitoring Force sent in to keep an eye on us, was quite disgusted, but told me, "the Powers don`t care, they want the Rhodesia problem to go away.")

Last edited by Jedburgh; 03-21-2008 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Added link, edited content.
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Old 03-14-2008   #27
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Default Approaching Elections

Just a brief primer on Zimbabwe politics:

ZANU or (ZANU-PF as it is now labeled) is Mugabe's bunch. They were Shoma-based as a resistance group. ZANU with ZANLA as its armed wing was supported by the PRC and based from Mozambique.

ZANU-PF resulted from the merger with ZAPU after Nkomo was ousted and a civila war between the groups developed. this was ongoing when I went through Zimbabwe in 1984, centered in Matableland.

ZAPU was/is Nkomo's group centered on the Ndebele (who are Zulu in origin having fled from Shaka and sheltered under Brit protection); ZAPU with its armed wing ZIPRA was Soviet supported and based from Zambia.

This should help put this article in context:

Quote:
Peace Won't Come to Zimbabwe
By MARIAN L. TUPY and DAVID COLTART
March 14, 2008

Zimbabwe's presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29 are rigged in favor of the incumbent leader Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. Much ink has been spilled on the electoral prospects of his two opponents -- Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, and former Finance Minister Simba Makoni. But neither have a realistic chance of winning, for Mr. Mugabe knows that the most likely alternative to the State House in Harare is a prison cell at The Hague.


The case against Mr. Mugabe and the ZANU-PF for crimes against humanity would be compelling. They have turned one of Africa's most prosperous and relatively free nations into an Orwellian nightmare. Since 1994, the average life expectancy in Zimbabwe has fallen to 34 from 57 for women and to 37 from 54 for men. Some 3,500 Zimbabweans die every week from the combined effects of HIV/AIDS, poverty and malnutrition. Inflation and unemployment are at 150,000% (no misprint here) and 80%, respectively. The country has no freedom of speech or assembly, and the government has used violence to intimidate and murder its opponents. In the meantime, Zimbabwe's delusional leader rails against non-existent Western plots supposedly concocted by George W. Bush and Tony Blair.
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Old 03-15-2008   #28
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Default Police veto elections?

The BBC have an item on the reaction of Zimbabwe's Police chief to the prospect of Mugabe not winning an election: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7295962.stm

For those who watch Zimbabwe's fall, this will not be a surprise and the police chief has nothing to lose - will except the farms he has managed to acquire.

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Old 03-19-2008   #29
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Default

Quote:

World Could longtime Zimbabwean leader Mugabe be defeated?


MASVINGO, Zimbabwe — Few people in this long-suffering nation can recall political life before Robert Mugabe, the liberation hero who moved into the presidential mansion 28 years ago and has never left.

Despite presiding over one of the most stunning economic collapses in modern African history, Mugabe has held on to power through fear, bullying and a series of less-than-fair elections. But with the next vote just days away, many weary Zimbabweans are asking: Could Mugabe finally be defeated?

The 84-year-old president faces his toughest election challenge ever March 29, including, for the first time, a contender from within his all-powerful ruling party. The entry of Simba Makoni, a polished former finance minister, into the race last month prompted a flood of people to register to vote. Many Zimbabweans think that the end is nigh for one of Africa's longest-running dictatorships.
Cynic that I am, I don't think Mugabe will leave so quietly...

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Old 03-21-2008   #30
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Default Today, Zimbabwe ranks last out of the 141 countries surveyed by the Fraser Institute'

From an opposition candidate. It is never good when the opposition opens with the admission that the incumbent will probably win.

Quote:

Freedom for Zimbabwe

By MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
March 21, 2008; Page A13

As the March 29 election in Zimbabwe approaches, the cards are clearly stacked in favor of President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. Draconian legislation has curtailed freedom of expression and association. Daily, the representatives of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the political party that I lead, are harassed, tortured, imprisoned without trial and even killed.

Economic mismanagement by Mr. Mugabe's government is an even more serious problem. Zimbabwe's inflation and unemployment rates are 150,000% and 80% respectively. Infrastructure is crumbling, and education and health-care systems have collapsed. Life expectancy is now among the lowest in the world, having declined, since 1994, to 34 years from 57 years for women, and to 37 years from 54 for men. Some four million of my fellow citizens have fled the country, taking with them both human and financial capital.

Out of the many reasons for Zimbabwe's decline, three stand out. First is the ruling regime's contempt for the rule of law. The government has repeatedly stole elections, and intimidated, beaten and murdered its opponents. It has confiscated private property without compensation and ignored court rulings declaring such takings illegal. Such behavior only scares away investors, domestic and international. Current circumstances make it impossible to have a growing economy that will create jobs for millions of unemployed Zimbabweans.
[/QUOTE]
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Old 03-23-2008   #31
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Default One nation, one man and his vote wins

Taken from a Zimbabwean newsletter:

MUGABE CHANGES LAW TO ALLOW POLICEMEN INTO POLLING BOOTHS http://www.swradioafrica.com/news190...lice190308.htm

An electoral amendment, passed by Robert Mugabe on Monday, sparked renewed fears that Zanu PF is determined to rig the March 29 election. State radio announced Tuesday that Mugabe amended electoral laws to allow policemen into polling stations to ‘assist’ illiterate people to vote. The opposition immediately slammed the amendment saying it violated agreements reached at the SADC brokered talks. Policemen were barred from being within 100 metres of a polling station because it was felt they would intimidate voters.

SA SILENCES MPS ON SADC OBSERVER MISSION TO ZIMBABWE http://www.swradioafrica.com/news200...ence200308.htm

It appears that the policy of “quiet diplomacy” practiced by South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki is about to be applied to the regional observer mission deployed to Zimbabwe. South African parliamentarians assigned to the SADC team that will be monitoring Zimbabwe’s elections have been ordered not to issue independent statements.

SOLDIERS AND POLICE OFFICERS FORCED TO VOTE UNDER SUPERVISION http://www.swradioafrica.com/news200...iers200308.htm

Over 75 000 members of the country’s security forces have already cast their votes, in an exercise that has been a closely guarded secret, according to information received by the MDC. In Bulawayo most police officers were allegedly forced to vote several times, while in Mutare soldiers were ordered to write their force numbers on the back of their ballot papers.

From this faraway armchair Mugabe once again finds new voting methods to retain power.

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Old 03-25-2008   #32
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Default Big Salary Increases Means No Shortage of Toilet Paper, part II

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
Once again economic comedian President Robert Mugabe does his imitation of Eddy Murphy but no one laughs....
And just in case this hike in salaries won't get folks to the market, we'll threaten the store owners to reduce prices....all things being equal, even Mobutu didn't conjure up this one

Zimbabwe: Govt to Meet Business Over Prices

Quote:
GOVERNMENT will meet business today to discuss the reduction of prices of goods and services to February 12 levels when teachers and other civil servants were awarded a salary increment, President Mugabe has said.

Cde Mugabe said he would read the riot act if they ignore the order.

He said officials from the Ministry of Industry and International Trade and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe would meet captains of industry in Harare today to slash prices which he said was a deliberate attempt to frustrate Government efforts by those pushing for regime change.

Addressing a star rally at Hwange Colliery Stadium, Cde Mugabe said companies that resisted the order to reduce prices risked being taken over by the Government because they were serving the interests of people who were keen to effect regime change in the country.
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Old 03-26-2008   #33
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Default Good Columns on Mugabe

The first is from a former countryman :

Quote:
Zimbabwe's Ahab
Robert Mugabe, poised to steal another election, has led his nation to ruin.
By Peter Godwin
March 25, 2008

Once it was Africa's shining city on a hill, a beacon of prosperity and economic growth in the gloom of a continent shrouded by poverty. Emerging in 1980 from a seven-year civil war against white settler rule, the newly independent nation of Zimbabwe embraced racial reconciliation and invited the country's whites (one in 20 of the population) to remain and contribute to the new nation.

I was one of those who gladly dismissed Rhodesia and became Zimbabwean. Upon the firm economic infrastructure he had inherited, Robert Mugabe, our first black leader, built a health and educational system that was the envy of Africa. Zimbabwe became the continent's most literate country, with its highest per capita income. Zimbabwe easily fed itself and had plenty left over to export to its famine-prone neighbors.

I remember crisscrossing the continent then as Africa correspondent for a British newspaper, and each time I returned to the newly renamed capital of Harare (previously it had been Salisbury), I was reminded that in comparison to what surrounded it, Zimbabwe was like Switzerland. The roads were well maintained, the elevators worked, electricity was constant, you could drink the water, the steaks were world-renowned. The Zimbabwe dollar was at near parity with its American namesake.
I can certainly echo that description in 1984--with the caveat that by then the civil war between the Shona and N'Debele was already in play in Bulawayo. Harare was to me after a year in Khartoum and trips to Zaire, Somalia, and Chad among other places remarkable. It even outshown Nairobi--which had not yet become Nairobbery as we called it by the mid-90s.

Next:

Quote:
Robert Mugabe: a bad man in Africa
New strategies must be found urgently to end the tyranny of Zimbabwe's leader

For a man so deluded about his past achievements, Robert Mugabe has a painfully clear understanding of his prospects at the polls. His rivals for the Zimbabwean presidency “may win some seats”, he said recently, “but they cannot win the majority. Impossible.”

Few would gainsay him. Zimbabwe's opposition movement is more vocal than in past years, but more divided. Its voters can expect systematic intimidation this Saturday from police at polling stations. Constituencies have been redrawn in favour of the ruling Zanu (PF) party. The count has been centralised and will be supervised behind closed doors by presidential appointees. There is not even a pretence of fair election coverage in the state media, and in any case voting, for millions, will take second place to the more urgent business of survival. This is why Mr Mugabe's election forecast is likely to be accurate. It is a tragedy for Zimbabweans; it is also proof of a colossal failure of international diplomacy.
And this one is on the mark as well. The African community of states has often pointed to colonialism as the root of all evil on the continent, an understandable but nonetheless mythological claim often echoed by Western scholarship. Colonialism did affect the continent; in may ways it was devastating. In others, it was progressive in that it pulled the continent into the 20th century. But it was not as it is often claimed "the original sin" from which all African woes grow. The African community has not done itself proud in sillently watching the travesty in Zimbabwe.

Next:

Quote:
Politics and power in Zimbabwe
By Robert I. Rotberg
March 26, 2008

THIS WEEKEND President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is expected once again to rig elections in order to hold onto power while neighboring Botswana, Africa's oasis of peace and good governance, will celebrate the retirement of President Festus Mogae after two productive terms. The contrast between Botswana and Zimbabwe could not be more stark, or more illustrative of good and evil in Africa.

Botswana, one of Africa's wealthiest countries per capita thanks to diamonds, tourism, and sensible management, has enjoyed more than four decades of honest, practical government under three popular presidents. On Monday, Mogae will give way to Vice President Ian Khama.

Guided by Mogae and two other democratic presidents, the small country has flourished and become the envy of all of Africa. Despite high HIV/AIDS numbers, its hospitals and clinics provide retroviral drugs to all sufferers. Its schools and universities provide increasing numbers of local and neighboring peoples with instruction.
As for Botswana, its success story lies in its continued accptance of whites in government and the economy. No doubt that continued happy relationship has survived because the country did not go through a civil war to achieve independence. Rather it was a gradual and guided process to independence unmatched on the continent.

best

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Old 03-26-2008   #34
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Default

I think the end of colonialism happened at the wrong time and to fast. For congo there was a plan for 30 years to independense. It did not turn out that way.......

A good reed on ending colonialism starting from the end '40s.
LINK
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Old 03-26-2008   #35
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Default Mugabe’s Weakening Grip

Council on Foreign Relations - March 25, 2008
Author: Stephanie Hanson

Quote:
Perhaps the only thing more unbelievable than the astronomical inflation rate in Zimbabwe—officially over 100,000 percent—is that President Robert Mugabe is still in power. As Zimbabwe’s economy has spiraled ever deeper, the president has curried the loyalty of supporters by handing out prominent political positions and printing money. Yet ahead of elections on March 29 (ElectionGuide.org), that support no longer looks guaranteed. Excitement surrounds the candidacy of Simba Makoni, a former finance minister (Newsweek Int’l) who was expelled from the ruling party, ZANU-PF, when he declared his candidacy in February. It’s highly unlikely Makoni will win the election—which, in any case, virtually no one expects to be free and fair—but his defection signals a divide in ZANU-PF that Zimbabwe experts believe could extend to other groups thought to be loyal to Mugabe.
Much more history at the links...
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Old 03-26-2008   #36
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Default London chimes in

The RUSI (London) had a conference on Zimbabwe recently; an interesting sign in the Westminster-Whitehall community and there is a summary on:
http://www.rusi.org/research/studies...47DFFD4E90EF3/

Plus an eighteen page report.

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Old 03-30-2008   #37
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Default Snippet on polling

From The Zimbabwean newspaper (not printed In Zimbabwe) on the scene at a polling station in Makonde:

A rowdy gang of Zanu (PF) green bombers showed up at the polling station with orders to scare away the hundreds of voters waiting patiently at the school gates. The youth militia noisily and provocatively jumped the queue then peeled off their jackets to reveal identical T-shirts emblazoned with Mugabe's face. Punching the air, they chanted Zanu (PF) slogans and jabbed their boots at young women crouched on a grass verge accusing them of being opposition supporters. For a few moments the hum of conversation was stilled. Then an elderly man who had been sitting on a brick wall stood up and shouted at the green bombers: "Your time is up, you are finished. It's the end of the road for your regime." The militia scanned the faces of the crowd staring back at them. Only days ago these people would have run. Not any more. They stood their ground and the green bombers walked away. The elderly Moses Chigwango, the man who had confronted the Zanu (PF) youths, told how 30 years ago he and President Mugabe were guerrillas in exile in Mozambique, fighting the chimurenga, or war of independence.

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Old 03-30-2008   #38
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Default BBC reports on Zimbabwe

Two BBC News items:

Monitors warn on Zimbabwe 'delay'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7321751.stm

Delay adds to Zimbabwe fraud fears
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7321756.stm

MDC, main opposition, report they may have won!

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Old 03-31-2008   #39
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Default Zimbabwe announces first results

Interesting this latest report from the BBC regarding the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Poll Monitors

Quote:
Western observers were banned from the election.

...Poll monitors from the SADC said the elections had been "peaceful and credible".

But two SADC members from South Africa refused to sign a generally positive preliminary report of the mission, with one of them calling the polls "deeply flawed".

"It is called a coup d'etat and we all know how coups are handled."

A British Foreign Office minister, Mark Malloch-Brown, said it was "quite likely" that President Mugabe had lost the election in Zimbabwe, despite "massive pre-election day cheating".
VOA News - Zimbabwe Election Support Network
Few Turn Up at Many Rural Polling Stations in Zimbabwean Vote

Quote:
The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network says that voter turnout has been good so far.

However, some commentators said they were surprised to see that so few voters lined up in rural areas where 60 percent of the population lives.

Substantial numbers of voters were turned away, perhaps as much as 15 percent, said one independent election observer Saturday.

The opposition to Mr. Mugabe has said it expects widespread rigging. But Mr. Mugabe has said his conscience does not allow him to cheat.
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Last edited by Stan; 03-31-2008 at 09:03 AM. Reason: added second link/article
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Old 03-31-2008   #40
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Default

Zimbabwe stands 'on a precipice'

"Leading Movement for Democratic Change official Tendai Biti says party leader Morgan Tsvangirai has won 60% of the vote, against 30% for Robert Mugabe."

Quote:
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has lost his seat, east of Harare.

Public Affairs Minister Chen Chimutengwende has also lost his seat.

A senior Zanu-PF source has told a BBC contributor that security officials met on Sunday to decide who should tell Mr Mugabe he had lost, with some refusing to take the job.
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