Zim news (no Malawi today)
- Zimbabwe observers
By Lewis Machipisa
BBC Harare correspondent
A day after European Union observers pulled
out of Zimbabwe, the South African election
observer mission has expressed concern over
violence in the capital, Harare.
The mission is also alarmed by a recent
decision to prevent some South African media
organisations from covering the upcoming
The head of the South African election
observer delegation, Sam Motsuenyane, says
he plans to raise the press ban with the
''Our experience in South
Africa tells us that it is
vital for the success of
building democracy, to
inform the public and
the world at large
without hindrance,'' Mr
Government has refused accreditation to
several foreign news organizations whose
coverage has been unfavourable, including
many from South Africa.
The government accuses the banned
journalists of fabrication, exaggeration and
"We will be taking up matters with the
authorities on an on-going basis," Mr
Motsuenyane said. "Critical at this stage is the
accreditation of South Africa media in
particular. We believe that the media should be
given access to the electoral process in a free
''We are optimistic that the problem of
accreditation will be resolved amicably and
speedily with the Zimbabwean authorities."
Mr Motsuenyane described as "a matter of
great concern" allegations that police stood
idly by while opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) offices came under
"We also received reports about the existence
of 'No-Go Areas' for some parties and we are
also taking up the matter," he said. "We have
already deployed our observers to some of
He said the proposed 50-strong team would
increase its presence to ensure that the
election took place in an environment free of
intimidation and violence.
described the mission
in Zimbabwe as a
daunting task that
requires as many
monitors as possible.
The withdrawal of EU
regrettable, he said
but added that his
group would not be
deterred by the
''Zimbabwe will need a stable political and
economic environment after the elections
irrespective of who wins,'' Mr Motsuenyane
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said
he believes it will be almost impossible to hold
credible elections, in light of recent violence.
The MDC's Harare offices were attacked by a
group of ruling party supporters who had been
demonstrating against the British Government.
The protesters had accused Britain of meddling
in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe and warned
British Prime Minister Tony Blair to ''stay off''.
(According to the Jo'burg Mail & Guardian, the Zimbabwean government today allowed South African reporters in to cover the elections.)
Mugabe: 'Do not dictate
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says he
can resist the EU sanctions imposed on him
and his close associates.
Mr Mugabe told a rally in
the remote district of
Nkayi, 600 kilometres
west of the capital
Harare, that he does not
"What will I be wanting
in Europe? We can visit
other countries in Asia and Africa," the
He enjoys the backing of many African leaders
who regard EU sanctions as an attempt by
Europe to undermine Africa's democracy.
Early this week, President Olusegun Obasanjo
of Nigeria, who has mediated between
Zimbabwe and Britain, wanted to know which
democratic principles Mr Mugabe was accused
He praised Mr Mugabe for allowing parties
other than his own to go into the elections.
In Tanzania, President Benjamin Mkapa told a
public meeting in the northern town of Moshi
on Wednesday, that Africa was not going to
allow Europe to repeat the 19th century
history of partitioning Africa in 2002.
He said it was high time Africans started
resisting European pressure over how they
should govern themselves.
Mr Mkapa said Europe had to allow
Zimbabweans to make their own decisions in
choosing their leaders and that Tanzanians
would continue to support that process.
The EU sanctions
include an arms
Zimbabwe, a freeze on
the overseas assets of
the president and 19
top officials, as well as
a ban preventing them
from travelling to the
President Mugabe has
recently been seeking
closer ties with Asian
nations such as
Malaysia and Thailand, while in Africa his
closest ally is Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
"We must be prepared to withstand these
actions by Britain and its allies," he said.
Mr Mugabe said sanctions would not deter him
from his controversial scheme to take land
from whites and give it to landless blacks.
The government has allowed observers from
the Southern African Development Community
and the Commonwealth to monitor next
month's presidential election.
However, the 100-strong South African team
has already expressed concern over the
increasing violence and intimidation in
Zimbabwe, just a week before the election.
The head of South Africa's election observer
mission, Sam Motsuenyane, criticised the
stoning this week of the Harare headquarters
of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) by ruling ZANU-PF party