March 29, 2005


Dead and buried but backing Mugabe (The Australian, March 30, 2005)

SEVENTY-eight per cent of people who have died in Zimbabwe since 1980 are registered to vote and are expected to give phantom votes to Robert Mugabe in tomorrow's national poll.

Supporters of Zimbabwe's Opposition Movement for Democratic Change say up to a million phantom voters may appear on the register and that "ghost voters" will be used by the ruling Zanu PF party to inflate the votes that it receives in this week's parliamentary elections.

For instance, Tichaona Chiminya, a driver for the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, was burnt alive in a truck. David Stevens, a white farmer, was shot in the back of the head.

They were among the first to die as President Mugabe's reign of terror unrolled five years ago but their names are still on the voters' roll.

Added to a campaign to deny food to opponents of President Mugabe and door-to-door intimidation of rural voters, the opposition fears that it may lose the election, even if it has the support of the majority of voters.

Sorry, the resurrection's been postponed: Tomorrow’s election in Zimbabwe will expose Mugabe’s thuggery and South Africa’s misguided approach (Magnus Linklater, 3/30/05, Times of London)

THERE ARE two kinds of courage. One is blind and instinctive — Napoleon called it “two in the morning courage” — when adrenalin takes over and you tackle the burglar in the front hall, or confront a gang of youths breaking into your car. It is admirable but unpredictable, and it can all too easily fail you. Instead of playing the hero, you cower in bed or carry on walking.

The other kind is sustained courage in the face of overwhelming odds. It is deliberate and determined. It wins few friends and makes many enemies. It can end with an assassin’s bullet, or in the dark corner of a torture cell. For most of us, it is beyond the reaches of our imagination.

Archbishop Pius Ncube carries this brand of courage unassumingly, but with burning conviction. His outrage at what has happened to his nation, Zimbabwe, has never abated; indeed it grows. It takes the form of open defiance of the most sinister regime in Africa, and it is embraced in full knowledge of the risks involved. On the wall of his office, next to St Mary’s Cathedral in Bulawayo, hangs a picture of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, who was murdered by death squads as he said Mass in his chapel. Archbishop Ncube knows, therefore, what may lie in store for him if he continues to challenge the excesses of Robert Mugabe’s State, and to expose the fraudulence of his elections. But he does not give up.

When, tomorrow, the voters of Zimbabwe go to the polls, they will do so with the words of Archbishop Ncube ringing in their ears: “Somewhere there shall come a resurrection for Zimbabwe,” he told his congregation on Easter Day. He called for a “popular mass uprising” to remove Mr Mugabe from power. “The people have been too soft with this Government,” he said. “They should pluck up a bit of courage and stand up against him and chase him away.”

Words like these are an open invitation to the thugs of Zanu PF, the ruling party, to apply their tactics of violence and intimidation. Archbishop Ncube is fully aware of the risks. His sermons are monitored, his telephone bugged, he has been told he is on a death list, he has been subjected to a series of ugly slanders by pro-government propagandists. Yet he is relentless in exposing the corruption and violence that has brought the country to its knees. And he has been consistent.

Mbeki, Mandela & Tutu must have 3am wake-up calls.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 29, 2005 8:08 PM

The Death Lobby extends it's grip...

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 29, 2005 8:10 PM