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  Issue No 61 Official Organ of LaborNet 07 July 2000  




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Room for Optimism from African Poll

By Peter Murphy - Zimbabwe Information Centre Inc, Sydney

The performance of pro-Deomcracy groups in the Zimbabwean elections has given supporters hope for better days.

In the elections on June 24-25, 2000, the Movement for Democratic Change won 57 seats, while ZANU-PF won 62 seats, and a minor party won one seat, making a total of 120 in all.

The President, Robert Mugabe, has the power to appoint a further 30 MPs, giving ZANU-PF a total of 92 seats out of 150.

However, MDC - only launched last September by a coalition of trade union, women, student and professional organisations - now has over one-third of the parliament. Under the Constitution, this means that President Mugabe can no longer unilaterally amend the Constitution.

MDC is also challenging the result in 27 seats, based on fraud or gross intimidation. MDC is likely to overturn most of these results in the courts and there will be a series of by-elections where the vote will take place under the scrutiny of the entire country - conditions under which MDC is likely to win.

Local Government elections take place in August, and on the recent vote, MDC will win control of all cities and towns.

Mrs Sekai Holland lost the election for Mberengwa East by a massive 21,000 to 3,000. However, the irregularities of the count, and the gross violence and intimidation in the months leading up to the vote, make her legal challenge to the result very strong.

On June 29, the police in Mataga arrested Big Chitoro and his gang of thugs who have terrorised MDC in Mberengwa East, and invited Mrs Holland and her supporters to lay charges. She is there now to assist wounded and homeless supporters and to pursue legal action. This police initiative is an indicator of the new mood in Zimbabwe as the people realise how weakened President Mugabe and ZANU-PF are. The days of his regime are numbered.

MDC has named a 15-member shadow cabinet, led by Gibson Sibanda, a train driver from Bulawayo who is the President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and President of the Commonwealth Trade Union Secretariat.

At an MDC Executive meeting in Harare on June 28, MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai said: "We want to thank a number of people, first and foremost the people of Zimbabwe for showing incredible determination to cast their vote. We bow our heads in sadness at the loss of 31 brave people who stood their ground for democratic ideals. Our hearts are filled with sadness at the tremendous loss their families have experienced, and the incredible trauma to wives and children. We have been moved by the commitment of those families to continue to support the Movement for Democratic Change and the quest for peace and freedom in this land.

"We thank those who have died, been beaten, or raped, their properties destroyed or they themselves, and their families displaced for continuing in their commitment. Their sacrifices have been considerable and we are in awe of their courage.

"We thank election observers for their presence in this country and for the sincerity and openness with which they approached their task. And then of course we need to thank the media for working very hard, and sometimes at personal risk, to try and present a true reflection to the world of what has been occurring in Zimbabwe."

"The staff at the Support Centres have worked for months, mostly with no pay and under a situation of very scarce resources to build the MDC and further its aims. Their sense of teamwork has inspired us all. Despite rumours to the contrary the MDC has relied on the kindness of all for cash, donations and voluntary services. The premises the campaign operated from was loaned, so were our computers, printers, the paper we used, the vehicles, the ink, the staples. We regularly sent out appeals asking for donations of such minor items as paper clips, staplers, toner and glue.

We were never disappointed.

"Indeed, civil society which had become moribund for 20 years in Zimbabwe has reawoken, there is a new energy and a new purpose. Zimbabweans will never again submit. We ask those who have helped thus far not to reduce their efforts, our real work begins now."

"The homes of hundreds of our supporters have been burnt to the ground, the vehicles of many destroyed, their crops and small farming projects razed. We need assistance to help those people recover and move forward.


*    Zimbabwe Information Centre Inc website

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 61 contents

In this issue
*  Technology: Union Rep for Global Net Body
The godfather of unions and the Internet, Eric Lee, is seeking your support to give labour a voice on the net's governing body, ICANN.
*  Interview: Downloaded and Done Over
In the wake of the TV Networks' digital TV victory, Internet industry chief Peter Coroneus rues a missed opportunity for Australia.
*  Legal: The Global Millennium Project
The International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) has developed a draft proposal for a comprehensive revision and modernisation of international labour standards for the new millenium.
*  Unions: Sandgropers Get Serious on Stress
The Australian Services Union in Western Australia in conjunction with the University of Western Australia, is surveying workers across the state's call centre industry.
*  Politics: New Work for a New Millennium
View in full the ALP's Draft Industrial Relations Policy to be taken to the National Conference at the end of the month.
*  Solidarity: Korean Hotel Workers Seek Global Help
Striking Korean hotel workers at the Swiss Grand Hotel and the Seoul Hilton are worried they could be the next targets of escalating riot police violence.
*  History: Vince's Parable of the Sundial
How a working man survived WWII and ASIO blacklists to save a sundial.
*  International: Room for Optimism from African Poll
The performance of pro-Deomcracy groups in the Zimbabwean elections has given supporters hope for better days.
*  Environment: Mexican Wave Goes Green
American politics has taken on a Green hue with the left leaning National Action Party and the Greens in Mexico picking up nearly 40% of the vote in the recent elections.
*  Satire: Aussies Celebrate Centenary by Leaving Country
Prime Minister John Howard has defended his government's decision not to involve Australia in the centenary federation celebrations.
*  Review: A Building Sings of Lives Lived in Music
Mysterious shadows flicker in the windows of the Parramatta Town Hall. Strains of trumpet and sarod float outside. It's all part of the urban Theatre Project's latest work, 'The Palais'.

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