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  • Christine Chumbler
    Reports deepen doubt over Zim election Harare, Zimbabwe 07 April 2005 08:10 Two reports issued on Wednesday reinforced concern that Zimbabwe President Robert
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 7 5:59 AM
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      Reports deepen doubt over Zim election

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      07 April 2005 08:10

      Two reports issued on Wednesday reinforced concern that Zimbabwe
      President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party won last week's
      parliamentary election through fraud.

      Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
      gave evidence of what it said was "serious and unaccountable gaps" with
      more than 200 000 votes unaccounted for in the announcement of official
      results before and after counting ballots last week.

      Another report by 35 teams of observers from the United States embassy
      said there were "several patterns of irregularities" that raised concern
      about the freeness and fairness of the process.

      It spoke of the "improper role" of uniformed police and ruling-party
      polling agents in the supervision and conduct of polling stations,
      taking control from officials of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
      (ZEC), which was supposed to run the elections.

      Police and Zanu-PF polling agents were counting votes in polling
      stations and communicating results to regional centres, and presiding
      officers confiscated notes from MDC polling agents and independent
      observers, it said.

      Some polling stations were "associated with the distribution of food",
      it said.

      Zanu-PF was given 78 seats in Parliament, while 41 went to the MDC. An
      independent, former information minister Jonathan Moyo, got one seat.
      With another unelected 30 seats appointed by Mugabe through a
      constitutional provision, the ruling party received a landslide of more
      than two-thirds of the 150-seat Parliament.

      The poll has been condemned by United Nations Secretary General Kofi
      Annan as well as the United States, British and Australian governments,
      but it was pronounced "the legitimate expression of the will of the
      people of Zimbabwe" by observer delegations from South Africa and the
      14-nation Southern African Development Community.

      Also on Wednesday, the MDC said "scores of party supporters had been
      injured, some of whom were in hospital, after winning Zanu-PF led their
      supporters in attacks of retribution around the country".

      Nyathi said in a statement that MDC supporters had been attacked in at
      least five constituencies, in one of which a Zanu-PF MP opened fire with
      a pistol on a group, several people had their property destroyed by mobs
      and at least one had his home burnt down.

      MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said copies of the MDC's
      preliminary report on the discrepancies in voting numbers, as well of
      videotapes of official election announcements on state television and in
      copies of a local newspaper, were given on Wednesday morning to the ZEC,
      which is appointed by Mugabe.

      Late on Thursday night while votes were still being counted, a senior
      ZEC official broadcast the total number of ballots cast in 72
      constituencies. The announcements stopped at about midnight without
      explanation.

      The next morning, however, the ZEC began broadcasting the results of
      the count. Immediately, discrepancies emerged when the number of votes
      for each candidate were added together and compared with the figures of
      a few hours earlier.

      "The MDC and the people know full well who the real winners are," said
      MDC spokesperson Paul Nyathi. "This election was stolen." -- Sapa-DPA

      *****

      Illegal Gun Manufacture Flourishing in Tanzania

      The East African (Nairobi)

      April 4, 2005
      Posted to the web April 6, 2005

      Wairagala Wakabi
      Nairobi

      In spite of the restriction put on the manufacture of firearms in
      Tanzania, authorities said last week that they have established that
      illegal manufacturing, especially of handmade "Gobore guns" has been
      going on.

      The EastAfrican learnt that, up to 1967, muzzle-loading guns commonly
      known as Gobore were being legally manufactured. Currently, Tanzania
      does not manufacture firearms and does not provide firearms
      manufacturing licenses, but it produces ammunition at Mzinga, in
      Morogoro.

      "But the situation has changed in that, illicit manufacturing has been
      going on and the quality of the Gobore gun has improved to a standard
      that it can now use modern types of ammunition, said Dominic Hayuma,
      senior assistant commissioner of police and also the co-ordinator of
      Tanzania's national focal point on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).
      He however did not say in which parts of the country these guns were
      being manufactured or how many were in the country.

      Authorities have, however, recovered some Gobores.

      Experts say Tanzania needs to change legislation relating to Gobores to
      conform to international conventions, and to transfer administrative
      procedures of handling and controlling muzzle-loading guns from local
      governments, which have failed to keep records and control the illicit
      circulation of the guns to the police.

      Tanzania has since 2001 destroyed 5,773 firearms recovered in five
      locations across the country. The destruction includes burning the
      firearms and cutting the metal part into pieces using a gun cruncher.

      "In future, we intend to destroy the firearms in the region where we
      find them," said Mr Hayuma, adding, "We will be visiting all regions and
      destroying all confiscated guns there, because we are now equipped with
      the necessary facilities."

      Between 1995 and 2000, the Tanzania police was recovering an average of
      400 firearms annually. But after the establishment of a national action
      plan in 2001 to fight illicit arms - a plan that involved security
      agencies, civil society and the public - recoveries have risen to as
      high as 1,743 arms. Mbeya, Rukwa, Kagera and Kigoma are among the most
      affected areas.

      "Most of the illicit firearms that have been recovered are suspected to
      have been brought into the country by refugees from Congo, Burundi and
      Rwanda but some guns were brought in during the war with Idi Amin and
      during the Mozambique liberation war," said Mr Hayuma.

      Some firearms have been reportedly recovered from Somali poachers in
      national parks in the north of the country.

      In 2003, a non-governmental organisation Foundation Help issued a
      report saying there was noticeable growth in the number of small arms
      around Lake Victoria, especially on the Tanzanian side, "but these are
      frequently in the wrong hands".

      The report says that,in the Lake Victoria region of Tanzania, 75 per
      cent of the illegal firearms come from the Democratic Republic of the
      Congo, Burundi and Rwanda. "Most of the weapons come through Mwanza
      airport, which acts as a conduit of arms. The planes that collect fish
      for export in places like Russia, Ukraine and South Africa also bring in
      small firearms on board," said the report, quoting an International
      Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) participants' survey in the
      region.

      Mwanza acting Police Commander Goodluck Mongi was not available for
      comment. However, a senior police officer in Mwanza disputed the claims.
      He said the main source of firearms in Tanzania were the war-torn
      countries of DRC and Burundi.

      Mwanza airport manager Deogratius Malongo disputed the allegations.
      "They need to substantiate their claims, because we have never come
      across any plane from Russia, Ukraine or South Africa with arms on
      board," he said.

      IANSA is a UK-based NGO that is addressing small arms trafficking and
      related problems around the world.
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