Introduction: The Zimbabwe Crisis

By | June 2008

This special issue on the 2008 Zimbabwe elections introduces the issues surrounding the elections and the current political violence leading up to the June 27th Presidential run-off.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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Jubilee Act Passes US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

By | June 2008

WASHINGTON – Jubilee USA Network, an alliance of 80 religious denominations and faith-based networks, development agencies, and human rights groups today applauded passage of the Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation (S. 2166) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and passage of legislation to authorize funding for the World Bank (International Development Association), including strong calls for reform at the World Bank.

Filed under: Announcements



Washington Post: How to Handle Dictators

By | June 2008

In a June 22 Outlook commentary, “The Only Answer to the Mugabes of the World May Be a Coup,” Paul Collier advocated encouraging coups to topple dictators and achieve “improved governance” in “such sad little states as Zimbabwe and Burma.”

Filed under: ACAS in the Press
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Editorial: In Zimbabwe Today, Politics is Violence

By | June 2008

In previous elections paramilitary violence came before the actual polling, usually slowing down in the week or so before polling when international election observers and the world press arrived. This has not been the case in the present elections, as violence since the beginning of May has been reported by numerous and diverse sources to be perpetrated by the police, military, and the militias under ZANU-PF control. The intention of this political violence is to terrorize, destroy, and break the will of the MDC and their supporters leading up to the June 27th run-off for the presidential election. What makes the political violence feel like such an excessively brutal betrayal this time around is that it had appeared, for a brief period in April, as if the impressive showing of the MDC in the election and the wide support it had gained would have insulated it from further reprisals from the ZANU-PF before the run-off. After all, wasn’t the world watching this time? This hope for a peaceful campaign was not to happen. As a number of the contributions to this special issue have suggested, violence is the only language ZANU-PF knows, and it has once again unleashed its complete arsenal, resulting in the killing of 50 MDC members as of May 25th, 2008, and the displacement of hundreds of people, including rural villagers, teachers, and activists.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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An Open Letter to South African President Thabo Mbeki

By | June 2008

The motivation behind this issue originates in our dismay at the growing urgency of the situation in Zimbabwe. Human rights are being violated with increasing frequency. See, for one example, a report recently published by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR). Please read it; a link to the report appears at the end of this issue. We also have personal friends in Zimbabwe who have confirmed that such violations are indeed taking place, and at the hands of people acting in the name of the state. Such a development is in direct violation of all that the liberation struggles against colonialism in southern Africa stood for. We call for all speed and urgency from every agency acting to influence the government of Zimbabwe to allow for the run-off election to be free and fair. Additionally, we insist upon a halt to the intimidation, murder, and beating of persons deemed opposition supporters.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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“Letter from Harare – May 8, 2008”

By | June 2008

The following letter was sent out May 8, 2008 from an NGO worker living in Zimbabwe, who offers an eyewitness account from the capital city of Harare as news of political violence began to be heard from individuals, news sources, and rumor. The letter captures well the anger ex-patriates often feel as they hear from their Zimbabwean colleagues of political killings and torture and realize how implicated so many of the “big chefs” are in this violence, how the police and military along with their paramilitary “green bombers” and “war veterans” operate with impunity. Such a realization is jarring and disturbing, scary and depressing. Zimbabweans have no need to be told of this, but those of us outside the country may want to consider the costs such a state and society exact from its people. Zimbabweans have learned to cope with a now-familiar cycle of periods of calm followed by a brutal reaction from a state controlled by forces who know they have everything to lose should they be forced to concede power.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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Zimbabwe: Ndira Body Found

By | June 2008

Tonderai Ndira’s body was identified in the mortuary at Harare’s Parirenyatwa Hospital by a bangle around what had been his wrist. He had been dead a long time, or at least a week as it was on May 14, in the early hours of the morning that this extraordinary activist, probably the most persecuted political personality in Zimbabwe, was snatched from his working class home in Mabvuku township, eastern Harare.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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Operation ‘Final Solution’ in Post-Election Zimbabwe

By | June 2008

Two months after the March 29, 2008 election in Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe’s defiant fistful image still leers from election posters hanging along the roadsides, boldly displaying the campaign slogan “Defending Our Land and Sovereignty”. State-run media reinforces these twin themes daily as Mr. Mugabe prepares for the June 27 presidential run-off with the tested tactics of stoking racial hostilities and intimidating his foes. International concern mounts over documented evidence of an on-going campaign of violent retribution by the Mugabe regime for its election setback, a campaign that has included renewed farm invasions targeting the few remaining white commercial farmers. Whilst international attention has rightly focused on ZANU-PF’s brutal post-election assault against Zimbabwe’s rural black population, this essay highlights the fate of white commercial farmers as one aspect of the larger state-sponsored campaign of violence and terror in the country that has a particular symbolic resonance.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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An Academic’s Journalism in the Zimbabwean Interregnum

By | June 2008

The following journalistic efforts are those of a political scientist-political economist who has been following Zimbabwean politics and its history since emerging into political puberty in 1971.1 Mixing scholarship and journalism is not always successful: journalistic deadlines are often missed, our articles get cut with no mercy, teaching and administrative wars at the university intervene, and power and phones are off and on in Zimbabwe so contacts are difficult to reach. Articles are sent out hit and miss to editors unknown (not that careful efforts to cultivate allies always work: if a deadline is missed by even an hour, it’s too late; if a word-count is exceeded the editors would rather spike it than cut it down to size, meaning a look at my correspondence with the Mail and Guardian is a woeful experience!) colleagues across the region help and hinder – and one wonders what political toes are being stepped on too hard. Perhaps worse, the titles are never our own.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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Reaping the Bitter Fruits of Stalinist Tendencies in Zimbabwe

By | June 2008

This epigraph captures the level of intolerance and indicates the degeneration of President Robert Mugabe from a respected liberator to a damned dictator. It is one of the most telling signs of the highest ebb of executive lawlessness. The emotional charged and violent slogans of punching the air and crying for the blood of political opponents do not belong to this century. It only indicates that Zimbabwe is under the rule of man and party of yesterday. That is the bane of politics in Zimbabwe and the source of the current crisis.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 79
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