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Home | ZimCrisis -- Zimbabwe Election Plans in Shambles

Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 18:14:43 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis -- Zimbabwe Election Plans in Shambles
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"Canadian government":
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Tension surrounding Zimbabwe's June 24-25 parliamentary elections intensified at the weekend as 17 opposition organisers were jailed, white farmers were forced to attend a ruling-party rally, and President Robert Mugabe's sister Sabina Mugabe said war veterans would return to bush war if Zanu-PF lost the election. As a result of a surge in violence by Zanu-PF, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, urged about 4 000 supporters gathered in the Harare township of Glen View not to run from intimidation. "People should not allow themselves to be chased away. We all are faced with this fear thing. No one is safe and we should act in self-defence," Tsvangirai said. He criticised Commonwealth head Don McKinnon for declaring, without having travelled outside of Harare, that Zimbabwe's poll could still be free and fair. "He is taking Mugabe at face value when he doesn't know what is happening on the ground," Tsvangirai said.

About 15 white farmers were obliged to ferry their workers to a Zanu-PF rally at Hilbre Farm, about 30km west of Harare, and told to chant party slogans in front of about 5 000 people, according to rally participants. According to a spokesperson for the Commercial Farmers' Union, owners of occupied farms are increasingly being coerced into making campaign donations, participating in election rallies and forcing their workers to attend Zanu-PF rallies. Sabina Mugabe, a member of parliament from Mashonaland West province, told the crowd at Hilbre that invaders of farms would be given land. One person attending the rally said: "The general message was that if you don't vote for Zanu-PF, the war vets will go back to the bush and start the war again."

Topper Whitehead, a spokesperson for the MDC, said 17 supporters were arrested on Saturday for encouraging people to go to the rally at which Tsvangirai spoke. They were released on Sunday after paying a fine. "This shows the election cannot be free and fair. It doesn't take an Einstein to figure that out. It is pure harassment. It is part of the continued intimidation," Whitehead said. "We've been denied radio, we've been denied television, we've even been denied a loud hailer."

The MDC, Zanu-PF, the registrar-general and the head of the commission responsible for drawing up parliamentary district boundaries were scheduled to meet in chambers before a Harare judge on Monday regarding an MDC lawsuit challenging the government's handling of the elections. MDC legal adviser David Coltart said parties must name their candidates and produce nominating signatures from registered voters on May 29, but no voters' roll had been published and no district boundaries set. This made it impossible for opposition parties to nominate candidates or mount a challenge if voters or candidates were not included on the voters' roll. The Zimbabwe National Students' Union announced that it would boycott classes in protest against death threats. -Independent Online

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk