Monday, June 30, 2008

Rolling Stones - She's a rainbow

Tuesday’s toot features the greatest band ever.

Moeletsi Mbeki Says Mugabe Should Go

Why couldn’t we have got this guy as president instead of his halfwit idiot brother Thabo?

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Moeletsi Mbeki, brother of South Africa's President believes there is now a potential for sanctions to be imposed against the Mugabe regime by the United Nations Security Council saying it was now clearly an illegitimate regime.

The deputy chairman of the South African Institute for International Affairs said the rules of democracy have to be enforced if Africa is to get stability.

Mr. Mbeki said Robert Mugabe has to vacate office and the duly elected party, which won in the first round of elections, should take over.

There have been calls for negotiations between the two political parties in Zimbabwe to form a government of national unity.

But the South African disagrees saying there is no need for it.

Moeletsi Mbeki was speaking to SW Radio Africa on the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe. He said he doesn't expect anything coming out of SADC, but if the African Union and/or the United Nations Security Council passed a sanctions regulation, such as oil sanctions, then all the SADC countries would be obliged to comply whether they liked it or not.

Legal opinion in South Africa says by not holding the run-off election 21 days after the first round of elections, Mugabe is no longer the legal President of Zimbabwe and Morgan Tsvangirai should be sworn in as head of state, as he had the most vote in the March 29th poll.

Moeletsi said: "This puts a new factor in front of the African Union which is that we now have an illegally constituted government in Zimbabwe."

Is Britain planning military action in Zim?

Britain has drawn up two contingency plans for military action in Zimbabwe, a newspaper reported on Tuesday. But the government insisted military intervention is not being considered.

The Times reported that two plans have been drafted by Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) following a request from the department's crisis management team.

According to the British newspaper, Britain has a plan to deploy troops in Zimbabwe to resolve a humanitarian crisis and a separate plan to evacuate British nationals and their dependents.

The ministry said on Tuesday it had no current plans for military action in Zimbabwe but declined to discuss whether contingency plans had been drawn up.

Michael Ellam, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's spokesperson, insisted that the UK was not preparing a military response. "I don't think we should get too far ahead of ourselves," Ellam said. "This is not a plausible course and not one that would enjoy international support."

Paddy Ashdown, a former UN High Representative to Bosnia and a British peer, said military action could be needed to avoid an humanitarian crisis but suggested that Britain should not be involved because of its history as Zimbabwe's colonial ruler.

However, Ashdown said a diplomatic solution was still possible, particularly if South African President Thabo Mbeki - the chief negotiator - was prepared to take a harder line with Mugabe.

"The key person in this is Thabo Mbeki and so far his silence has been thunderous," Ashdown told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) radio.

Britain's Africa minister Mark Malloch-Brown said on Monday that military action would be implausible, ineffective and unlikely to win international support.

The Times quoted a former British Royal Marine commander as saying military action could be justified but would likely be complicated by the need to secure flying rights over neighbour countries.

It is not clear how many people Britain would need to evacuate under any intervention plan. Britain's Foreign Office said there were about 2 000 registered British nationals in Zimbabwe but that it has pledged support to a total of 14 000 UK passport holders and others eligible to apply for British citizenship. Around 5 000 of those were people over 60, the department said.

Police block Selebi investigation

Here’s why the ANC want the Scorpions disbanded asap. The only thing standing between them and unbridled sleaze is the Scorpions.

The police, as demonstrated by their conduct here with Selebi, are already "in the bag" so-to-speak and will protect the elite and the influential.

Sometimes you need to make deals with the small fish to land the big cahuna and the NPA has done that.

Agliotti and a couple of mugs are small fry compared to nailing the police commissioner of a country whose influence covers a much wider area.

I predict this case will go the same way as Zuma’s – once the NPA comes under the Justice Ministry’s wing and the Scorpions are no more, the charges and the evidence will disappear and/or wither to nothing, much like the Arms Deal scandal, Oilgate and so on.

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Documents handed in at the second court appearance of Jackie Selebi, the national police commissioner charged with corruption and defeating the ends of justice, go to the heart of the low-intensity war between the police and the Scorpions.

The police say that national security has been compromised by the plea bargains struck by the Scorpions with suspected criminals, ostensibly in return for Selebi's head.

The focus has been on the plea bargains concluded with drug dealers and those suspected of involvement in the murder of Brett Kebble, the mining magnate.

But there were new developments in the Randburg magistrate's court this week. Glenn Agliotti, a friend of Selebi, and Clint Nassif, have received cushy plea-bargain deals in cases involving drugs as well as the Kebble murder.

Documents handed to the court contained an angry letter from Tim Williams, the acting police commissioner, to Mokotedi Mpshe, the acting head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The letter reveals that the police investigated a suspected crime syndicate, Palto, headed by Paul Stemmet, a former police informer, who is expected to be among the key witnesses against Selebi.

Once the investigation - which covered murders, fraud and a bomb blast - was concluded, the dockets were, as required by law, handed to the NPA for a decision on whether to prosecute.

But, despite the dockets being in the NPA's possession, Mpshe wrote to Williams on May 27 and asked for "any documents, case dockets or information files relating to police investigations into" Palto.

Mpshe said: "We acknowledge that the DSO [Scorpions] may be in possession of documents and dockets relating to these investigations but need to know if SAPS have documentation relating to these cases. We have evidence that the accused [Selebi] involved himself in these investigations".

In reply, Williams said: "All the dockets were investigated and handed to Advocate Roberts during 2006 already. He has as yet not decided to institute the prosecution but the DSO had rather elected to enter into section 204 [plea bargaining] arrangements with the Palto members."

The Sunday Independent has established that the dockets sent by the police to the NPA implicate Stemmet and Palto in:

# a bomb explosion at a software company in Sandton in 2000, case 110/6/2000);
# possession of hand grenades, case 630/3/2001;
# fraud, case 45/10/1997; # murder, case 463/11/2002;
# housebreaking, case 64/02/200; # murder, case 666/04/2002;
# assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, case 56/9/1999; and
# defeating the ends of justice, case 482/9/2000.

Williams's letter to Mpshe reveals that the Scorpions have asked for the diaries of Selebi and other top policemen.

The diaries would show the dates, times and details of their interactions with Agliotti and Stemmet. Williams turned down the request: "I'm not at liberty to make information available to you that would … make known the secret services of the SAPS."

Crime violence blinding South Africans

Talk about misleading lazy-arsed budget journalism.

Most drunks I’ve ever come across are irrational and violent and it is not a South African phenomenon.

In other countries, it is called ‘glassing’ someone and very common. Even women are involved.

It may be true that the incidence of this crime is more prevalent in SA due to the high number of poor and uneducated but not worthy of making it sound like a special issue - as if South African drunks are somehow more violent than drunks from other countries.

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High levels of violence are literally making South Africans blind, with a significant number losing the use of one or both eyes due to being shot or stabbed with knives, screwdrivers and smashed bottles.

Organisations working with the blind say violence is the leading cause of eye injuries. One hospital in Cape Town has reported that in cases referred to them alone, 100 eyes are lost annually due to violent activity.

The League of Friends of the Blind executive director Philip Bam said that an average of 30 people were referred to his organisation every month for eye injuries caused by violence. Bam said most injuries were caused while people were under the influence of alcohol and became involved in petty fights. He said besides medical causes, people were blinded by stabbings or when dangerous substances were thrown in their eyes. Gunshot injuries had also become more prevalent over the past few years.

Bam said the social implications of having too much easy access to alcohol in poor communities had created problems.

"The impacts of being blind are devastating as people lose their jobs and have to be retrained over a long period of time before their lives can be restored to normal," he said.

Cape Town Society for the Blind placement officer Virgenia Davidson said she estimated that over the past year there had been an increase in people blinded in general violence and criminal activity.

Davidson, who finds work for people who become blind, said it was mostly younger people from disadvantaged communities and between the ages of 19 and 25 who were blinded in violent incidents.

Professor David Meyer, the head of Stellenbosch University's ophthalmology department at Tygerberg academic hospital, said Monday mornings saw the "harvest of excessive drinking over the weekend".

Often it was the left eyes that were lost because people usually used their right hand to attack someone. Meyer said often the top of a smashed glass bottle was used to hit someone in the face, which usually led to glass in the eye

Retirement of Concourt judges 'concerning'

Of the institutions of South Africa that function on a semi-coherent and independent basis, the Constitutional Court is one of them. It has made decisions in the past that go against the wishes of the ANC and the government which reinforced its independent status despite intimidation and bullying tactics from the black elite in the ANC.

It is the Constitutional Court that will decide on the fate of the Scorpions whose evidence will be needed to prosecute Zuma.

It is the Constitutional Court that will probably be approached by Zuma should he ever appeal a guilty conviction.

By that time, Zuma may be president and it is Zuma that will appoint the judges to the Constitutional Court. Somebody see a problem here?

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Almost half of the country's Constitutional Court justices, including the country's top judge, are set to retire within the next 15 months, sparking concerns that executive-minded and not independent justices could be appointed to succeed them.

Five constitutional court justices are due to retire from the 11-member court, with Justice Tholakele Madlala stepping down later this year, and Chief Justice Pius Langa as well as Justices Kate O'Regan, Albie Sachs and Yvonne Mokgoro set to retire in October 2009.

Key to the process is whether President Thabo Mbeki will be able to appoint the new justices before he steps down as the country's head of state, or whether his successor - widely believed to be Jacob Zuma - will be responsible for the appointments.

The assumption is that because of Zuma's legal woes, he is more likely to want to make political appointments to the highest court in the land.

The issue is complicated by Cape Judge President John Hlophe's alleged attempts to influence two of the court's justices to make pro-Zuma rulings, as well as a clear signal by the ANC's new guard at the party's national conference in Polokwane, that transformation of the judiciary should be speeded up.

Mbeki ensured that several controversial bills that were widely regarded as a threat to judicial independence, were withdrawn from Parliament for more consultation, after he was petitioned by among others, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

One of the bills, the Superior Courts bill, would have given a future chief justice enormous power, leading to concerns from opposition parties that a future government might want to appoint a lapdog chief justice to do its bidding.

Among those who have expressed public concern about a potential Zuma-appointed Bench, is UWC Professor Pierre de Vos. In a recent Constitutionally Speaking Blog, De Vos expressed concern that Zuma, the man most likely to succeed Mbeki, will have the constitutional power to make important judicial appointments, including the chief justice and his or her deputy.

De Vos has suggested that the justices step down early, so that Mbeki can still appoint their successors while in office. He also notes that the president has "some considerable say in the appointment of several members of the JSC (Judicial Service Commission)".

The JSC is the constitutional body tasked with interviewing potential candidates for appointment to the Bench. "Zuma could try to appoint 'sound' people to the JSC, who would try to ensure that only pliant... lawyers are nominated for positions on the Constitutional Court," De Vos said.

However, Marumo Moerane said he did not believe that the appointment of new Constitutional Court judges could be politically manipulated.

"In 15 years of the existence of the JSC, there has been no suggestion that the process was manipulated politically."

However, he agreed that some appointments to the JSC, would by their nature be political, as it consisted of among others six members of the National Assembly and four from the National Council of Provinces.

However, the process of shortlisting potential candidates for the Bench, was done by an ad hoc committee of eight JSC members - none of them politicians.

Poll: Is Mbeki to blame for Zim?

95% of you agree that the tosspot that thinks of himself as an ‘intellectual’ is as culpable for the mess in Zimbabwe as Mad Bob.

You are 100% correct.

Mad Bob would not be in power without Mbeki’s backing and it is this involvement by Mbeki that should result in both of them being hauled before the International Court for crimes against humanity.

Anybody notice the deafening silence from the liberals in Hollywood once so prominent in arguing for 'majority rule' in Rhodesia and old South Africa?

Where are the celebs now with their incisive political knowledge (*sarc*)?

Where is Bono? Where is that useless Boomtown Rat Geldof?

Where are the Hollywood BLACK actors for that matter? Whoopi? Belafonte? Denzel? Wazzup my bruddas?! Cat got your tongue?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mbeki Gives Mad Bob the Thumbs Up — Again

You have got to be shitting me!!

Mbeki gives mad Bob the ok – again??!!

If this turns out to be true, we need to chuck the halfwit neanderthal Mbeki out of office.

This is unforgivable and unconscionable!

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President Thabo Mbeki is lobbying African leaders to recognise Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s head of state — despite worldwide condemnation of Friday’s “sham” presidential election.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai made the startling claim during an interview with the Sunday Times on Friday. He said Mbeki wanted Mugabe — who was the sole candidate after Tsvangirai pulled out last week — acknowledged as president so that his controversial mediation could move forward.

Tsvangirai’s name was still on the ballot despite his withdrawal. While some people expect Mugabe to be sworn in immediately upon the release of the results today, others have indicated that an inauguration is expected this week upon Mugabe’s return from the African Union summit in Egypt.

Said Tsvangirai: “I have received information that President Mbeki is busy lobbying at the African Union to have that position taken, and for President Mbeki to promote Mugabe in these circumstances flies against the grain of international opinion, disregards the feelings of Zimbabweans, and undermines, again, his credibility in the mediation effort.”

MDC vice-president, Thokhozani Khupe, who attended a pre summit conference in Egypt this weekend, confirmed South Africa’s delegation had lobbied AU colleagues to maintain the status quo after a caucus meeting on Friday — which would include recognition of Mugabe as president.

“(Minister of foreign affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) said the SADC (Southern African Development Community) was about to strike a deal on the transition, but we as the MDC are unaware of any deal,” said Khupe.

“Ministers here are being told by South Africa not to meddle and to leave things as they are.”

MDC spokesman George Charamba said at the summit: “The South African foreign minister yesterday — in a meeting with other foreign ministers — placed it in on record that she, on behalf of the SADC, can confirm that they are nearing a deal where we will have a power-sharing arrangement because the results of the March 29 election did not yield a clear winner.

“Based on that, the AU is supposed to trust the SADC to deliver a solution to Zimbabwe — that automatically closes the platform for other Africa leaders to express their positions on Zimbabwe, because if a solution is imminent, who would want to disrupt that solution?”

Dlamini-Zuma’s spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa, could not be reached for comment.

Mbeki is at the AU summit where the Zimbabwean crisis is expected to feature prominently.

The MDC has sent a delegation without Tsvangirai as the state will not grant him a new passport.

African leaders are under intense pressure to take action against Mugabe at the summit. But while African leaders slammed Mugabe for his reign of terror in the run-up to Friday’s runoff election, they have been reticent on what action they intend to take against him John Musukuma, spokesman for Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who has been highly critical of Mugabe, said Mwanawasa had on Thursday officially called for the runoff to be suspended.

He added: “Well, that’s water under the bridge now. We will simply have to move forward with negotiations.”

Musukuma declined to respond when asked whether the SADC — which is chaired by Mwanawasa — would accept Mugabe as a legitimate presidential winner.

A Pan-African Parliament observer member indicated that the AU was divided on acknowledging Mugabe as president.

Meanwhile, a UN Security Council statement had to be watered down after South African objections.

The UN said it deeply regretted Zimbabwe’s decision to go ahead with the poll because it was not free and fair. But it stopped short of calling the elections illegitimate after Pretoria’s objections.

A member of the AU observer mission also indicated that Mbeki was likely to take a “legalistic” approach to the poll. “He will play with time until he takes over the chairmanship of SADC (in August). He will be in a more powerful position to influence the process.”

The observer said that Mugabe was likely to feature large in Zimbabwe’s political future. “The elections have given Mugabe a bargaining chip. He is going to be in a stronger position to bargain.

The problem is that Zanu-PF does not want a settlement without Mugabe. That’s what makes it difficult for Mbeki,” the observer added.

“Tsvangirai also does not recognise that a win-win outcome for the MDC is not possible because of the fear within the Zimbabwean security establishment that they would lose their positions.

“I see a battle between the SADC, AU leaders and the West. For me, I think it’s a stalemate.”

He added that the AU election report would acknowledge that the poll had taken place, even though it was unlikely it would be declared free and fair.

Mugabe, too, was confident ahead of the AU summit, telling supporters at a rally this week: “I am going to go to that AU summit ... I want to see whose finger there is clean.”

Mbeki’s legal adviser Mojanku Gumbi would not comment because she is a member of his mediation team. Tsvangirai, meanwhile, is awaiting the AU’s response. “The problem is they might recognise Mugabe without appreciating that what is needed is transition, and then they would have missed an opportunity of influence, because we will not be a part of that,” he said.

However, Tsvangirai said Mugabe would be forced out by the chaos he had created. “We are now nearer to finding a solution than ever, because what does Mugabe now do?

If he gives himself this sham victory, how is he going to solve inflation of 2000000%; how is he going to solve the massive unemployment; how is he going solve the massive humanitarian crisis; the problem of food and services in the country?”

Tsvangirai said Mugabe would not survive beyond the next South African presidency, and rejected claims that he would go into exile.

Meanwhile, contrary to state-run newspaper reports of a “massive turnout” for the runoff, Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliament observer mission, said it was “very, very low.

Mad Bastard claims 'sweeping victory'

In a race of one horse, he "claims" he is heading for a “sweeping victory”. The man is demented along with his bum chum Mbeki.

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Robert Mugabe has said he is heading for a "sweeping victory" in Zimbabwe's unopposed run-off presidential poll.

Officials have scheduled his inauguration for 1300 GMT on Sunday, even though official results are yet to be published.

He was the only candidate after the opposition boycotted the vote amid reports of violence and intimidation.

African observers of the poll have called for fresh elections to be held, saying the vote was not free or fair.

"The returns show that we are winning convincingly, that we have won in all the 26 constituencies in Harare, an MDC stronghold where we won in only one constituency in March.

That is the trend," Mr Mugabe said in footage broadcast on state television. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), announced he was pulling out of the election last Sunday.

But his name remained on ballot papers after Zimbabwe's electoral authorities refused to accept his decision. Mr Mugabe had invited Mr Tsvangirai to witness his inauguration in a gesture of "engagement", Mr Mugabe's spokesman was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The BBC's Peter Biles, in Johannesburg, says the expectation is that Mr Mugabe will want to declare victory before leaving for a summit of African Union leaders that opens in Egypt on Monday.

The reaction of Zimbabwe's neighbours in southern Africa will be crucial, our correspondent says. An observer team from the Pan-African Parliament on Sunday called on regional grouping Sadc and the African Union to facilitate talks between the government and opposition.

Earlier, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, urged the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe - by force if necessary. He said he would support the deployment of a UN force to restore peace in the country.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Archbishop Tutu also said that African Union leaders should refuse to recognise Robert Mugabe as legitimate president of Zimbabwe. "If you were to have a unanimous voice, saying quite clearly to Mr Mugabe... you are illegitimate and we will not recognise your administration in any shape or form - I think that would be a very, very powerful signal and would really strengthen the hand of the international community."

There has also been international outrage at events in Zimbabwe. US President George Bush on Saturday instructed US officials to come up with new sanctions against Zimbabwe, and said the US would press for strong action by the UN.

Mr Mugabe was said to have won by a wide margin, but international observers have reported many spoilt ballots, which in some areas could outnumber votes cast.

Earlier, officials said the count was complete, but later reports said results from rural areas were still trickling in.

The state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper in Harare said President Mugabe was "a man on an assignment" and that "assignment is yet to be completed; hence his continued stay in office".

Reports said tents had already been erected in his State House residence for the ceremony to confirm his sixth term of office.

In interviews published in British newspapers on Sunday, Mr Tsvangirai said he would push for negotiations with Mr Mugabe on a new constitution and fresh elections. "We have the power to control parliament, and that is recognised even by Mugabe's Zanu-PF...

We must force a transitional agreement for a set time-frame and work towards a new constitution for Zimbabwe," he told the Mail on Sunday. "I am confident we can achieve that if international pressure keeps up," he added.

In a separate interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Mr Tsvangirai said it was possible that Mr Mugabe could remain as a ceremonial head of state. "I don't think it's inconceivable for such an arrangement to include him, depending, of course, on the details of what is being proposed and what are the arrangements," he said.

DA sees red

The Democratic Alliance believes the economy will undergo major changes if Jacob Zuma becomes the president of the country, in spite of assurances to the contrary by the ANC president.

DA spokesperson Ian Davidson told a media briefing in parliament on Thursday that early indications showed that the economy under a Zuma government would feature an end to privatisation and increased intervention.

He said such policies had no place in a modern enterprise-driven economy.

"While Zuma has gone to great lengths to assure business and potential investors that there will be no significant shift in economic policy under the new ANC leadership, it is becoming clear that economic policy continuity is not a foregone conclusion should he become South Africa's next president," he said.

Davidson said Zuma's policies would most likely hurt the very constituency that Zuma purported to represent.

He said since Zuma had ousted Thabo Mbeki from the presidency of the ANC, global investors had become sceptical about the country's future.

Davidson also expressed concern about the role Cosatu and the SA Communist Party played in securing Zuma's accession to the presidency of the ANC.

He said it was possible that the two organisations could demand a bigger say in policy formulation as a payment for its political support for him.

ANC hypocrisy

The ANC has a go at Britain - and finds its moral voice regarding Zim. Gee, I wonder what made them suddenly see the light?

This is the same ‘democratic’ ANC that stood by and supported Mad Bob as he rigged election after election (remember their bogus observer roles?).

This is the same ‘democratic’ ANC that stood by while Mad Bob ruined his country by stealing productive farms that turned Zimbabwe from Africa’s breadbasket to a basket case.

This is the same ‘democratic’ ANC that stood by while Mad Bob killed and terrorised his people all the while supplying Mad Bob with weapons and free electricity.

This is the same ‘democratic’ ANC that thwarted any attempts to stop Mad Bob.

Having done all this, the ‘democratic’ ANC has turned coat on Mad Bob and has the gall to blame Britain for the shit in Zimbabwe?!! The ANC is without shame.

Read their statement below and try not to throw up.

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As Robert Mugabe forged ahead with a solo presidential election on Friday, the ANC laid part of the blame for the current crisis in Zimbabwe on Britain's handling of the land question during the Lancaster House talks.

But then, taking a serious swipe at the Zimbabwean government, the ANC said evidence of violence and intimidation, harassment of the MDC leadership and the banning of MDC rallies "have convinced us that free and fair elections are not possible in the political environment prevalent in Zimbabwe today".

The comments appeared in the ANC's weekly newsletter, published on the ANC Today website on Friday, as polling stations opened across Zimbabwe for the presidential election from which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew earlier this week.

Voters in urban areas largely stayed away or spoiled their ballots but in the rural areas they turned out in larger numbers, partly in response to intimidation and violence.

On Friday Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu told British television that the Zimbabwean government's failure to protect its citizens meant the world had the right to override the country's sovereignty and to intervene. In an interview he said the international community should consider banning flights as a step to bring pressure on the Zimbabwean government.

"A government has the obligation to protect its citizens. If it will not protect them or it is unable to do so then the international community knows now that it has an instrument to intervene to ensure that a situation does not deteriorate further."

In the article on ANC Today, the ANC said it was "very mindful of the obligations Britain assumed in relation to Zimbabwe at the Lancaster House talks".

Chief among these was resolution of the land question. "

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

But then the article changed tack. Noting that the people of Zimbabwe had waged a liberation struggle for "national self-determination, to be attained through democratic elections" the ANC said it was now "deeply dismayed" by the actions of the ruling Zanu-PF government, which was "riding roughshod" over hard-won democratic rights.

"As democrats, the ANC cannot be indifferent to the flagrant violation of every principle of democratic governance." There could be no solution except through a "dialogue in earnest" among all the political players in that country.

UN 'regrets' Zimbabwe election

Step aside, here comes the UN to the rescue.

Ha! Gotcha, only kidding...

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The UN Security Council has said it deeply regrets Zimbabwe's decision to go ahead with the presidential poll.

It said conditions for a free and fair election did not exist, but stopped short of saying it was illegitimate.

President Robert Mugabe is assured of victory after opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai boycotted the poll. Vote counting has started.

A top African Union diplomat said African leaders could find a credible solution to Zimbabwe's problems. AU commission chairman Jean Ping emphasized that democracy and human rights were shared values of all the AU countries.

"We are here playing the role of guardian of these values, so when we see there has been violations of some of these shared values, it is our duty to react and call some of our members to order," he said. Mr Ping was speaking in Egypt ahead of next week's AU summit.

Mr Mugabe is expected to attend the summit and the BBC's Peter Biles in Johannesburg says he will want to declare victory before leaving.

The European Union and the US earlier dismissed the vote as meaningless. Foreign ministers for the Group of Eight nations (G8) meeting in Japan said they could not accept the legitimacy of a government "that does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people".

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said they would consult other members of the UN Security Council to see what "next steps" might need to be taken.

"There was a strong sentiment... that what is going on in Zimbabwe is simply unacceptable in the 21st century and it can't be ignored by the international community," she said.

The US ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, read out a statement by the Security Council which said members "agreed that conditions for free and fair elections did not exist and it was a matter of deep regret that the election went ahead in these circumstances."

The statement, backed by all 15 council members including South Africa, China and Russia, stopped short of declaring the election illegitimate because of South African opposition.

Mr Khalilzad added that the council would return to the issue in the coming days: "We have already started discussions with some colleagues on a resolution that would impose appropriately focused sanctions on the regime, assuming conditions continue as they have during the last period," he said.

However, diplomats said that because of resistance from South Africa, China and Russia, any sanctions were unlikely to be imposed by the council.

At a news conference held in Harare before polls closed, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai described the election as "an exercise in mass intimidation".

Mr Tsvangirai, who boycotted the poll because of violence, said people across Zimbabwe had been forced to take part and urged the international community to reject the vote. "

Anyone who recognises the result of this election is denying the will of the Zimbabwean people," he said. The MDC leader has been taking refuge at the Dutch embassy for most of the past six days.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a monitoring group, reported that people had been forced to vote in most rural areas. A Zimbabwean journalist said militias loyal to Mr Mugabe had gone door-to-door in townships outside the capital, Harare, to coerce people.

Despite the pressure, Marwick Khumalo, who heads of the Pan-African parliamentary observer mission, told the BBC that overall turnout had been low and the mood sombre. But the state-owned Herald newspaper said there had been a huge voter turn-out in the election. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that people were aiming to preserve Zimbabwe's independence.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mad Bob to be sworn in on Sunday

If the ANC recognises the results of this sham 'election' then we can pretty much guess the future chaos awaiting our country when it comes time for the ANC to be booted out.

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Mad Bob is heading for a landslide victory in a one-candidate election boycotted by the opposition and is expected to be sworn in on Sunday, official sources said.
The sources told official tallies from two thirds of polling stations showed Mugabe, 84, defeating opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai by a huge margin in a poll his critics have condemned as a sham.

Tsvangirai was left on ballot papers after electoral authorities refused to accept his withdrawal a week ago because of violence against his supporters.

"The tallies are indicating that despite the wishes of our detractors and the propaganda of our enemies, the voter turnout was very big and that we are going to see a landslide victory," said one official, who declined to be named.

Mbeki sends Mugabe arms

The conspiracy between Mbeki and Mugabe is becoming clearer.

While Mbeki feigns objectivity in the dispute in Zimbabwe, his envoy in the negotiations Sydney Mufamadi chairs the committee that approves shipments of arms to Zimbabwe.

The recent Chinese arms delivery was also approved by Mbeki for offloading but the media attention caused it to be turned away.

All of this happening behind the scenes while Zimbabwe descends into civil war - with Mbeki masquerading as an impartial mediator arming (donating!) one side handsomely with weaponry that includes bombs, grenades, torpedoes, missiles and helicopters!

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South Africa has been supplying Zimbabwe with weapons of war, including helicopters, revolvers and cartridges -- despite the mounting human rights atrocities in that country.

The sales, some involving state arms company Armscor, have been quietly taking place for some years.

When a Chinese freighter recently carried weapons destined for the Zimbabwean military and tried to dock in Durban, there was an international outcry.

Information at the Mail & Guardian’s disposal points to a cosy relationship between the defence forces of both countries, as well as government-to-government arms transfers.

This appears to conflict with President Thabo Mbeki’s mediation role between the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC, which demands neutrality.

The M&G can also reveal that private South African companies have sold arms to Zimbabwe and that these transfers must have been approved by government’s National Conventional Arms Control committee (NCACC). The committee is chaired by Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi ­-- who also happens to be Mbeki’s envoy in the Zimbabwean negotiations.

Mbeki has been mediating between the Zimbabwean parties since 2001 in an attempt to break the cycle of stolen elections and mounting violence.

Repression by the Zimbabwean state and its agents has seen tens of thousands ofZimbabweans harassed and displaced and scores killed.

The M&G can reveal that in recent years:
* Armaments to the value of $237 401 (R3,3-million) were privately transferred from South Africa to Zimbabwe, according to 2004 and 2005 figures.
* The South African defence department donated Dakota aircraft engines worth millions to Zimbabwe, while Armscor transferred spares to get Zimbabwean military choppers flying again. * Zimbabwean soldiers and flying instructors have been trained by the South African Defence Force and the South African Air Force.
* Armscor was contracted to transport the weaponry destined for Zimbabwe and carried by the An Yue Jiang from the Durban port to Harare. The deal fell through when a court order stopped the ship from offloading and it sailed away.

The arms transfers to Zimbabwe are reflected in official trade records between 2004 and 2005.

Although these statistics concern sales by private companies in South Africa, they would still have had to be approved by Mufamadi’s NCACC.

The trade records show that in 2004 South Africa exported about 2,6 tonnes of revolvers and/or pistols, another 2,5 tonnes of other firearms, between four and 7,5 tonnes of cartridges and what appear to be parts for military vehicles.

These armaments were transferred in the run-up to and aftermath of Zimbabwe’s 2005 parliamentary polls, which were marked by violence.

Altogether 18 entries in the trade records were specified from 2004 to 2005, most of them under the general category, “Arms, Ammunition, Parts and Accessories”. But some were specified under the category that includes bombs, grenades, torpedoes and missiles, while some transfers fell into the category of “revolvers and pistols”.

In the NCACC’s annual reports from 2003 to 2006, which are not publicly released but of which the M&G has been given a detailed description, no mention is made of any of these transfers.

The only mention of arms transfers to Zimbabwe between 2003 and 2006 is a “temporary export” called “Type A” -- a classification used for spares or repairs -- in 2005.

The data also show the sale of arms to Zimbabwe by China, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates -- but South Africa is by far the most frequent and largest supplier.

In 2005 Armscor delivered spare parts for Alouette military helicopters to Zimbabwe to a value of $150 000 (about R1-million), an Armscor spokesperson confirmed. The Alouettes, previously grounded, were made airworthy.

According to the annual report of the South African defence department, South Africa donated eight Dakota aircraft engines worth R9,5-million to the Zimbabwean Air Force in September 2005. (DONATED!!)

The disclosure of the extent of South African arms transfers to Zimbabwe comes after the Chinese arms ship saga, when civil society stepped in to prevent the An Yue Jiang from offloading at Durban harbour.

The issue is known to have caused conflict in the Cabinet, where President Mbeki and Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota insisted that the ship should be allowed to offload.

As previously reported in the M&G, Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and Transport Minister Jeff Radebe disagreed and tried to halt the delivery.

Trucks from an Armscor affiliate were ready to take the weapons from Durban to Harare by road.

But when the ship sailed away in contravention of the court order, the transaction was cancelled, said the Armscor spokesperson.

Mufamadi later told Parliament that the permit for the transportation of the arms had been approved and that the South African government saw nothing wrong with facilitating delivery.

This suggests a political conflict of interest for Mufamadi, who is also a key player in the Mbeki faciliation team brokering a deal between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

SANDF annual reports make it clear the South African government has become closer to the Zimbabwean military in recent years. Several Zimbabwean soldiers and flying instructors have been trained by the SANDF since 2002.

In 2006 a joint permanent commission of defence and security was formed to ensure close cooperation on defence issues between the two countries. In May 2006 the SANDF presented a course to, among others, Zimbabwean chaplains in the combating of HIV.

In the 2006 annual report the deputy minister of defence, Mluleki George, said the South African Air Force was considering using Zimbabwean flying instructors to supplement its own trainers, who were in short supply. The South African Air Force participated in the “silver celebrations” of the Zimbabwean Air force in 2005.

Cooperation between South Africa and Zimbabwe on the issue of border protection is also ongoing.

South Africa recently voted in the United Nations General Assembly for a process to set up a global Arms Trade Treaty to prevent the irresponsible transfer of arms, an idea launched in a campaign by Amnesty International and 800 other NGOs in 2003.

South Africa was recently allowed into the multilateral Wassenaar Arrangement, subscribed to by a number of countries, to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.

The text of the arrangement reads: “Participating states seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities which undermine these goals.”

According to Nicole Fritz, director of the Southern African Litigation Centre, states which render assistance to states that use state machinery against some sections of their society are held responsible under international law. “Knowing what the situation is like in Zimbabwe means a government that gives them assistance becomes complicit.”

Hold South Africa Responsible for Zim Mess

Zimbabwe's chaos has brought about unprecedented cooperation in the UN, with even China and Russia switching sides to condemn Mugabe's government. So -- what should this united UN DO to force change?

After refereeing a month-long, bloody campaign -- mainly targeting supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), of Morgan Tsvangirai -- the Zimbabwean government holds a sham election whose sole objective is to extend the inept and despotic leadership of President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe and his bloodthirsty thugs have already elbowed out Mr. Tsvangirai from the contest through violence and police intimidation. They’ve murdered about 90 opposition supporters, according to media accounts. Thousands of others are nursing injuries in hospitals across Zimbabwe, while millions others are languishing in poverty in neighboring South Africa.

So the election is a cakewalk for despot Mugabe. Countries around the world, Africa included, have pledged not to confer legitimacy to this one-man (s)election.

Mugabe has derisively and arrogantly dismissed an appeal by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to postpone the election until peace and tranquility returns. In his characteristic bravado, he’s rebuffed the UN Security Council, which early this week condemned acts of violence being meted on innocent opposition supporters, whose only offense has been to exercise their democratic rights. The South African Development Community’s (SDC) call, also, has fallen on Mugabe’s deaf ears.

Yesterday he bellowed that he won’t allow the African Union (AU) to poke its nose into Zimbabwe’s affairs.

With all this arrogant defiance, Zimbabwe is in a deep political hole. The future of democracy in this once-prosperous country is bleak. The million-dollar question is whether the world should wring its hands in silence and allow Mugabe to continue treating Zimbabweans like slaves who know not their rights. How long will this despot continue to ride roughshod over Zimbabweans?

Indifference and alacrity to Zimbabwe’s deteriorating political situation are what the world can’t afford at this moment. Enough is enough!

Considering the manner in which Mugabe is thumbing his nose at the international community, including the UN, it’s unlikely that Zimbabweans, who are already terrified of challenging this dictator, can sort out the mess in their country on their own.

International intervention is necessary, from anyone who purports to care about democracy and human rights.

This possibility, unfortunately, is being fervently opposed by none other than Zimbabwe’s powerful neighbour - South Africa.

South Africa stands accused of deliberate dereliction of its duty to solve the Zimbabwe crisis. South Africa has betrayed Zimbabweans by handling Mugabe with children’s gloves. Its president, Thabo Mbeki, has refused to speak forcefully and firmly against Mugabe even while he encourages his supporters to kill and main innocent Zimbabweans.

South Africa’s soft handling of the Zimbabwean situation is perplexing. South Africa has time and again demonstrated its readiness to pick fights with countries willing to speak for millions of Zimbabweans, whom Mugabe and his thugs continue to terrorize.

Mbeki has been massaging Mugabe to talk peace instead of demanding that he stop making a mockery of democracy. He has adopted a wink-wink strategy in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis. At one time, he discounts the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe. At another time, he lies to the world that he’s doing everything he can to bring peace to Zimbabwe.

When countries such as the U.S., Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia demand Mugabe respect the Zimbabwean people’s right to choose a president, Mbeki declares they’re ill-suited for the job because they’re outsiders. When outrage towards Mugabe reaches a crescendo, South Africa -- through the African National Congress (ANC) -- warns against international intervention. It goes further to tie such calls to the dark era of colonisation. This is how the ANC puts it: “No colonial power in Africa, least of all Britain in its colony of ‘Rhodesia’, ever demonstrated any respect for these (democratic and human rights) principles.”

What a flawed argument. What do relics of colonialism have to do with Mugabe’s refusal to accede to an electoral defeat? Invoking “colonialism” is a diversionary ploy. South Africa and Mugabe hope this colonial legacy will force other African countries to temper their criticism of Zimbabwe. But the world isn’t full of nincompoops.

Had the world listened to Mbeki and Mugabe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Liberia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, and Haiti -- all of which owe their political stability to outside intervention -- would still be burning today.

Perhaps the world is mistaken to think that South Africa is a model of democracy in Africa. Fourteen years is too short a time to make such a conclusion.

South Africa, through its discredited and ineffective quiet democracy, has failed to persuade Mugabe to postpone elections. Now that Mugabe has defied Mbeki, what next?

Grass will certainly grow beneath our feet if we wait for Mbeki to produce a resolution to the Zimbabwean crisis. It’s time the world looked elsewhere.

Already, many African countries have condemned Zimbabwe. The African Union (AU), still, can move mountains without South Africa. It can, for instance, refuse to recognise Mugabe. Countries disenchanted with Mugabe can even severe diplomatic ties with Zimbabwe until a free and fair election is held.

Now is the time to remind Mugabe that he’s a dark horse.

Man jailed for 15 years for stealing takkies

More good news. This is how you deal with scum.

Whether the man stole a pair of takkies (runners) or a car, he took something that did not belong to him, aggravated by the fact that a gun (a toy but the victim did not know that) was also used.

Brilliant! Start sentences for any crime at 10 years minimum, build another 100 prisons if you must and I guarantee the whole population will GLADLY pay higher taxes to keep all the bastards in prison.

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A Tembisa magistrate has jailed a man for 15 years for robbing a passerby of a pair of takkies.

Kaizer Raboleke Tiro, 30, of Moriting Section, was stunned when magistrate Gideon van Wyk imposed the sentence on him in Tembisa magistrate’s court on Monday.

Tiro, a first offender, robbed a 32-year-old man off his belongings in November last year.

The man was on his way to work in Olifantsfontein on November 18 at about 4am when he was approached by Tiro and three other men at Phumasilwe informal settlement. Tiro pointed a firearm at him and demanded money and a cellphone.

Tiro then searched his victim and took his Nokia 1100 cellphone and a R100 note before ordering him to take off his Adidas sneakers worth R800.

Tiro and his group then disappeared into one of the nearby shacks.

The man walked barefoot to Tembisa police station, which is about a kilometre from the scene, where a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstance was opened.

The victim went to the shack with police and Tiro was arrested.

He was charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances and possession of a firearm.

He pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Tiro was found guilty of robbery and not guilty on the count of possession of a firearm, which turned out to be a toy.

Police spokesman Constable Tebogo Sesing said: “We are very happy with the sentence as it will serve as a deterrent to others.

“We would like to encourage residents to report any form of criminal activities in their areas and the perpetrators will be punished.”

Good news: Eskom - Bye Bye Bonuses

Eskom's top management will forgo much of their annual bonuses this year, after a troubled few months for the state-owned power utility. Eskom Chairperson Valli Moosa says CEO Jacob Maroga has decided not to take any bonus this year, because of the tough year Eskom's had.

Moosa says the utility had planned to pay Maroga a good bonus, without giving any details. The bonuses of another five senior executives, including Finance Director Bongani Nqwababa and Chief Officer of Systems Erica Johnson will be halved.

Moosa says Eskom is reviewing the criteria it uses to determine bonuses as it is currently based on the utility having excess power capacity. Eskom's load-shedding programme, cutting power to South Africa's cities, mines and industries, has caused immense frustration to most of the country this year.

Fuel hikes fuel crime

In most European (and Australian) cities, petrol attendants don’t exist. The public will fill up their own car and then pay an employee of the station the required amount in a booth nearby.

When I first saw this, I sat in the car and wondered how station owners could trust the public. Surely anyone could full up their tank and then speed off? Who would stop them?

But then I realised that there were about four cameras watching me that very second. Anyone who failed to pay their petrol bill would be reported to the police and hauled in. So why would someone take the chance?

But then I guess SA petrol stations are no different, apart from the fact we have petrol attendants, we also have CCTV.

So, does CCTV stop SA motorists from driving off without paying?

According to IOL, it doesn't, and it is on the increase.

But SA fuel theives have another trick up their sleeves....

Peter Noke, director of the SA Petroleum Industry Association, says that many motorists that commit petrol theft are either using stolen or undocumented licence plates, or are completely unlicensed.

This, of course, is making it more difficult for authorities to take criminal action.

Not only are these criminals asking to full their own tanks, but are also asking attendants to full additional drums at the back of their car! They then ask the attendant for oil, and once he has gone, the car speeds off.

The reason for the recent increase in fuel theft is because of skyrocketing fuel prices.

"Fuel prices are at an all-time high. People are doing everything they can to survive. Tricking petrol stations is just another way to combat the high prices. It's something that petrol stations and the police need to work on together," said Noke.

Authorities have now advised petrol stations to be wary of cars without licence plates.

They also caution drivers to keep a keen eye on their own plates, as licence theft is on the increase.

So regularly check your plates!

Zimbabwe: More Killings Reported

The MDC says there is a low voter turnout in parts of Manicaland province, but last night violence broke out in Headlands, Buhera North/Central and Chipinge constituencies, resulting in the deaths of several people.

MDC spokesperson for Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya said it is the police themselves who have been transporting the bodies of the deceased to mortuaries.

Muchauraya said Samson Magumura, the MDC provincial youth organising secretary, was killed in Headlands constituency by ZANU PF thugs. He said Magumura’s body was taken to Rusape mortuary, while two couples were abducted and murdered also in Headlands constituency.

Muchauraya said another MDC couple in ward 7 Makoni North was killed Thursday night. But said he could not mention the names of the other deceased until he received permission from the families, because of the ongoing victimisation.

Meanwhile the MDC said there was a real sign of defiance in Mutare on voting day. Muchauraya said he could only see polling agents and police officers when he went to polling stations like Baring and Chancellor primary schools – no voters.

There was a low voter turnout outside Mutare in places like Makoni, Musikavanhu and Nyanga. It’s reported that some people were being “helped” to vote by ZANU PF agents. In other cases people were spoiling the votes by putting their “X” next to the names of both Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, and then writing “Mugabe must go” on the top.

Friday, June 27, 2008

South African crime and the ANC

Submitted by Loggi

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South Africa now has the proud distinction of being on top of the crime statics lists. They have edged passed Colombia to claim this top spot.

To fully understand this proud distinction, one must realize that Colombia is in an armed struggle with Marxist rebels and Paramilitaries. There are up to 10,000 members on various sides caught up in this war and yet South Africa has managed to surpass them with murders per capita.

Colombia`s senator Uribe won the presidential election on a anti crime ticket, were he wowed to wipe out the Marxist rebels. He has delivered on this promise and now in his second term in office he has popularity is at an unprecedented 84%.

The ANC government in contrast has taken a different approach to crime. To protect their thieving band of comrades they have disbanded the only effective policing force, before it may expose any further comrades, leaving the law abiding citizens out in the cold

Now we have to bear in mind that in the case of Colombia, these are jungle wars being fought by rebels in the far flung jungles of this vast country, with no impact on the daily lives of the ordinary citizens.

In South Africa however, this war is fought with unarmed civilians in their cities, suburbs, farms and homes without the support of the government and its institutions.

The Marxist ANC comrades who proclaimed equality for all have decided that they are indeed more equal than others and embarked on a quest to enrich themselves at any or all costs. Under the wonderful police leadership of terrorist criminals like Jackie Selebi and Robert McBride, this total disregard for law and order has seeped into every fibre of our police forces, to the point that we have cops blockading roads and holding Johannesburg, the economic powerhouse of South Africa to ransom.

It is these very same cops that are supposedly to be our thin blue line. How much respect can we have for these thugs in uniform or even the institution they represent after their very public display of criminality?

One can understand the fear and reluctance of ordinary citizens to stop when approached by one of these individuals.

We have all heard enough stories and seen enough evidence to know that there is almost no difference between the criminals on government payroll and those that are not fortunate enough to be issued with the tools to rob and murder you.

The ANC is rotten to the core, and no amount of fanfare in London can change the fact that each and every one of these comrades have so many skeletons in the closet that it is in their own interest to have a non functioning criminal justice system in South Africa.

And to further illustrate their commitment to change they have elected an even worse criminal to lead this once proud nation down the path of total failure.

Mad Bob runs unopposed

I wish he'd keep on running - right into the sea.

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Robert Mugabe vowed to go ahead with the presidential run-off today in the face of accusations that the vote would bestow upon him a 90 per cent mandate as meaningless as that which Saddam Hussein once enjoyed.

Addressing his last rally before polls open for the surreal one-horse race, Mr Mugabe told supporters that he would be magnanimous in victory and willing to talk with the opposition.

“Should we emerge victorious, which I believe we will, sure we won’t be arrogant, we will . . . say ‘Let’s sit down and talk’, and talk we shall,” he told the crowd on the outskirts of Harare. “So there it is, let the MDC reject it or accept it. We will continue to rule this country in the way we believe it should be ruled. This is an African country with responsible leaders.”

The renewed offer from Mr Mugabe came in spite of the insistence of Morgan Tsvangirai that the time for talking would be over if the election went ahead. In an interview from his hiding place at the Dutch Embassy in Harare, the opposition leader told The Times that as soon as Mr Mugabe declared victory he would become the illegitimate leader of Zimbabwe. “And I will not negotiate with an illegitimate leader,” he said.

Last night Zimbabweans, many of whom work far from home, were returning to their villages and townships after receiving threatening summonses from the ruling Zanu (PF) to report before the vote. Farm workers in Chegutu, southwestern Zimbabwe, said that they had been told to arrive at polling stations at 6am, an hour before voting begins, and stay there until after the results were posted.

“If there is one MDC vote they will find that person and cut off his or her head,” Ben Freeth, a white farmer quoted his workers as telling him. “ ‘It is a serious threat’ were the words that they used to tell me.”

The same message was delivered to voters in Chiredzi, in the southeast of the country, who were handed serial numbers of their ballot papers and told that their votes would be traced and punishment meted out if they were found to have voted the “wrong way”.

Mr Tsvangirai urged his supporters not to risk further harm and obey the instructions, with reassurances that the international community would never accept Mr Mugabe’s victory. Nigeria last night joined the chorus of African nations calling for a postponement of today’s vote. “They should go,” Mr Tsvangirai said. “If they even vote for Zanu (PF), if they even vote for Mugabe, what does that change? Even if he gets 90 per cent it’s not different from Saddam Hussein, 99.9 per cent of forced voting. What difference will that make?” he told the BBC World Service.

On Wednesday night more than 300 opposition supporters had taken refuge at the South African embassy in Harare, where officials were struggling to cope. “We don’t have any facilities to take care of these people, so we are doing our best,” Willem Geerlings, an embassy spokesman, said.

In past weeks victims of the political violence, which has claimed at least 90 lives, have taken refuge at the office for the Movement for Democratic Change in Harare. Police raids have left the opposition unable to guarantee them sanctuary. Mr Tsvangirai was forced to flee to the Dutch Embassy on Sunday night when armed soldiers arrived at his house.

His deputy, Tendai Biti, the MDC general secretary, has been charged with treason. Mr Biti was released on bail last night from prison, but had to surrender his passport. George Sibotshiwe, Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman, fled to Angola this week after he spotted armed men approaching the safe house where he was staying. Other top opposition officials are also in hiding, including Mr Tsvangirai’s campaign manager. The party headquarters in central Harare was abandoned after a police raid this week.

The vote has been condemned as a farce after Mr Tsvangirai’s withdrawal because of the extreme campaign of violence and intimidation waged on his supporters. Mr Tsvangirai predicted that the vote would go ahead with maximum turnout. “There will be massive frogmarching of the people to the polling stations by force,” he said. “There could be a massive turnout, not because of the will of the people but because of the role of the military and the traditional leaders to force people to these polls.”

The chance that any monitors would be able to observe such abuses seemed distant last night. The independent election observer body of Zimbabwe, which fielded 50,000 observers in March, announced that it would be unable to monitor the poll because of the threat to its staff. A statement by the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said that it was “gravely concerned about the safety of its observers given the deliberate targeting”.

Mr Tsvangirai said that he would not leave Zimbabwe after the election — as he had threatened. “I will be here, I will be here and I’ll be watching Mugabe destroy himself. It’s now very clear that this man is self-destructing,” he said.