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Zimbabwe elections a 'huge farce': Morgan Tsvangirai

"In our view, that election is null and void," opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said, calling on regional authorities to investigate.

GlobalPost Chatter: Zimbabwe's 'farce,' Egypt tenses, and up in smoke in Montevideo?

All that, plus declassified documents reveal the scariest speech the Queen never gave.
Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
What we're hearing, right now.

Zimbabwe votes: Tsvangirai challenges Mugabe in critical election (VIDEO)

"Finally Zimbabwe will be able to move on again," presidential challenger Morgan Tsvangirai says.

Chatter: Zimbabwe votes

Zimbabweans go to the polls amid early accusations of fraud, newly convicted Bradley Manning waits to be sentenced, China swelters, and Kenya's endangered rhinos get some back-up — from drones.
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What we're hearing, right now.

Zimbabwe PM Morgan Tsvangirai says he's sorry for breaking hearts

Tsvangira spurned two women in favor of Elizabeth Macheka, the daughter of a high-ranking official from rival President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
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Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (R) kisses his wife Elizabeth Macheka (L) after exchanging vows at a customary law ceremony during their wedding held in Harare on September 15, 2012. (JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/Associated Press)
Morgan Tsvangirai is sorry. He didn't mean to hurt you, baby.

Zimbabwe courts rule both ways

1 judge grants bail to those charged with treason but another refuses.

Zimbabwe's courts go both ways.

In Harare, a judge released on bail six people charged with treason for watching videos of events in Tunisia and Egypt and allegedly plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe's government.

Munyaradzi Gwisai, a former member of parliament from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party, and his five co-accused were arrested in February with 40 other people who were later released for lack of evidence.

The state asked the court to refuse bail to the six remaining in jail, but high court judge Samuel Kudya said the case against Gwisai and his colleagues was weak.

"I see no iota of evidence that any Zimbabwean ever contemplated a Tunisian and Egyptian revolution," Kudya said in his ruling.

"Treason is difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt, as determined by the Tsvangirai case," the judge said, referring to the now-prime minister's treason trial after he was accused in 2002 of seeking to topple President Robert Mugabe.

Gwisai and the others were freed on bail but they must stand trial later. Treason carries the death penalty in Zimbabwe.

But in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, a judge refused bail to Vikas Mavhudzi, who has been accused with subversion for making a favorable comment about the Egyptian revolt on Facebook.

Mavhudzi, 39, wrote on Tsvangirai's Facebook page, which has 60,000 fans: "I am overwhelmed ... What happened in Egypt is sending shockwaves to dictators around the world. No weapon but unity of purpose worth emulating, hey."

Zimbabwean security agents saw the post on Facebook and tracked Mavhudzi down and arrested him. Mavhudzi is charged with suggesting to Tsvangirai a takeover of Mugabe's government by unconstitutional means. Bail was refused on the grounds that "what happened in Egypt is a reality."

Mavhudzi's lawyer will appeal the refusal of bail.


Is Robert Mugabe crazy? No, he's just campaigning.

Has Mugabe lost it? In power for 31 years, is he pushing his country toward revolt? Not at all. This is how Robert Mugabe campaigns for elections.

Mugabe arrests cabinet minister

Tsvangirai charges Zimbabwe is in crisis by Mugabe's actions.
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Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai speaks during a press conference in Harare on March 2, 2011. (Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images)

As expected, Zimbabwe's unwieldy coalition government is falling apart.

The government which forces political foes Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai to work together has never functioned properly. As president, Mugabe held all the power.

And let's face it, Mugabe, 87 and in power for 31 years, is a master manipulator and he outfoxed Tsvangirai and his party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at every turn.

Now, as he prepares to take Zimbabwe into new elections, it looks like Mugabe is throwing out any sign of working with the MDC. For weeks Mugabe's militias and security forces have terrorized Tsvangirai's followers in Harare and in the rural areas. That is how Mugabe campaigns — through violence and threats.

On Thursday police arrested one of Tsvangirai's cabinet ministers and the Supreme Court removed his party's speaker of parliament from office.

Tsvangirai told a press conference that Energy Minister Elton Mangoma had been picked up at his office in central Harare at 8.45 am by three plainclothes policemen. He said he did not know what Mangoma was being accused of, but denounced the action as an attack on the two-year-old coalition.

Tsvangirai said that Mangoma and over 100 other supporters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) who had been arrested so far this year are all innocent victims of Mugabe's dictatorship.


Mugabe shakes his fist at sanctions

Zimbabwean leader angry at US renewal of travel and financial ban against him.
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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe gives his trademark clenched fist salute. Mugabe said if America, Britain and the European Union maintain personal sanctions against him and his supporters, his regime will seize Western-owned firms operating in Zimbabwe. (Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images)

Robert Mugabe is at it again. The 87-year-old dictator is shaking his fist and threatening that his regime will seize all foreign owned companies.

In response to U.S. President Barack Obama's renewal of travel and financial sanctions against him and 200 of his closest associates, Mugabe held a rally in Harare to denounce the measures, according to GlobalPost's correspondent in Harare. Before a crowd of about 30,000 supporters, bussed in to the rally, Mugabe threatened to seize foreign firms and boycott their products in retaliation for Western sanctions against him and senior members of his ruling Zanu-PF party.

Although the sanctions are against Mugabe personally and his family and closest cronies, the Zimbabwean president blames them for Zimbabwe's economic decline. At the rally Mugabe gave a lengthy speech in which he said the sanctions are hurting all Zimbabweans.

Mugabe specifically threatened British banks and businesses, saying they controlled 400 businesses in the former British colony in southern Africa.

"It is now time to take action," Mugabe told thousands of supporters at the outdoor rally, reported Al Jazeera. "Indigenization and empowerment should start with those companies. We must take them over. We are not ashamed of that."

Mugabe launched a campaign to gather 2 million signatures — from a population of about 13 million — to protest the sanctions. Among those signing at the rally were cabinet ministers, judges and army generals.

The European Union and the U.S. imposed a travel ban and financial sanctions on Mugabe and his Zanu-PF cronies over documented human rights abuses dating back beyond 2000 as well as election fraud. Mugabe however insists the sanctions were imposed because he seized land belonging to white Zimbabwean farmers.

Mugabe charged that British firms and other European and American interests earned unfair profits on mining and other ventures.

"We say no to that. If we know that some of them have products which we are buying, including foodstuffs, before we seize those companies, we can boycott their products," he said.

Mugabe has said previously Zanu-PF will nationalize firms from countries that have imposed sanctions, arguing they should not operate freely while Western powers punish his party.

The threats heightened worries of foreign investors in the resource-rich country, which introduced a law specifying 51 percent of firms worth over $500,000 should be owned by black Zimbabweans. The law was passed in March 2010 but has not yet been implemented by the Mugabe regime.

The threat of nationalization has choked fresh foreign investment in Zimbabwe's struggling economy. For instance, Zimbabwe has the world's second largest deposits of platinum, yet most mining firms are holding back on investing because of Mugabe's threats of nationalization, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Between 2000 and 2008 Zimbabwe's economy shrank by more than 50 percent, a contraction that the World Bank said was unprecedented for a country not at war. Zimbabwe's once busy factories are now operating at 30% capacity as a result of the economic downturn and because of lack of lending and the reluctance of foreign firms to invest in their Zimbabwe subsidiaries.

In the past two years Zimbabwe's economy has posted positive economic growth, with 8.1 percent in 2010 compared with 5.1 percent in 2009, thanks to a confidence-building political settlement and the introduction of the U.S. dollar as an official currency. Officials and economists say the growth would have been far higher without the controversy around the indigenization law.

"Industry is suffocating," said Joseph Kanyekanye, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

Mugabe's rally was boycotted by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. The MDC, currently in a shaky coalition with Mugabe, said the international sanctions against Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party are a result of its record of violence, intimidation and vote-rigging. Tsvangirai criticized Mugabe's party as "unpopular and bloodthirsty."

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