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Friday, 15 March, 2002, 18:40 GMT
African media split on Zimbabwe poll
African newspapers both inside and outside Zimbabwe are deeply divided on the conduct of the country's presidential election and what should happen now.
Zimbabwe's pro-government Herald's headline is "People have triumphed over imperialism".
"The people of Zimbabwe have triumphed over imperialist forces led by Britain," the paper quotes ZANU-PF official Dr Nathan Shamuyarira as saying.
"The forces of imperialism that converged behind the puppet MDC leaders in Zimbabwe wanted to roll back the map of the liberation struggles that have been fought and won by the indigenous peoples of Southern Africa in the last two decades," Dr Shamuyarira said.
"Now that the people have spoken, the voices of MDC quislings and opportunists should be ignored completely,'' he concluded.
An editorial entitled "Nation building is the work of all" in the same paper urges all parts of society to pull together to restore the economy.
While accusing whites of closing down businesses to put pressure on the government, the paper urges the business community to "take its concerns to the government, instead of teaming up with disgruntled people in further destroying the economy".
"We all agree that the situation is bad but the problems are not insurmountable. If the private sector and the government work together in mapping out survival strategies, we will not go wrong," it adds.
Zimbabwe's state-owned The Chronicle newspaper criticises South African press coverage of the election.
"We have for a long time endured denigration at the hands of the white-owned and controlled South African media," the paper says.
"Statements in the South African media that the presidential elections were not free and fair sound more like parrots singing what the EU has already said in Brussels," it adds.
"When we need the help of the British and South African media, we will say so. But for now, they should shut their mouths and concentrate on flushing terrorists out of London", the paper concludes.
Harare's Financial Gazette simply states that the election was not free and fair, but now was a time to look to the future.
"Zimbabweans who voted in their millions to try to make a difference to their harrowing lives and to rescue their country from its rapid descent into the abyss were bound to be disappointed and angered, but that is now water under the bridge," the paper says.
"Unfortunately for Zimbabweans, the poll result spells much more pain and suffering because, from now on, the entire international community will treat this country as a pariah, which it is."
"Mugabe must now begin to chart a new and different vision for Zimbabwe... He must work assiduously to heal a nation deeply fractured by bloody conflict, unprecedented economic ruin and mass hunger in one of Africa's richest countries."
"One only hopes that Mugabe will read the explosive mood within and outside Zimbabwe correctly and act wisely not just for his sake but for Zimbabwe," the paper concludes.
The South African view
The view from South Africa is as divided as the opinions of the country's election observers.
"We'll never know whether Robert Mugabe could have won the 2002 presidential elections legitimately," an editorial in Johannesburg's The Citizen says. "He made sure of that with a two-year campaign of intimidation and skulduggery."
"Although Mugabe usually turns off the violence while people are voting, this time his supporters, especially in the army and police, couldn't restrain themselves," the paper adds.
"Mugabe's credibility was already in tatters. He doesn't give a damn, but we do," the editorial says.
The Sowetan's editorial accepts the result, but warns that Mr Mugabe now faces some very difficult problems.
"The industrialised world appears unconvinced that Mugabe won a free and fair election. Unless that belief changes, the necessary aid for growth will not flow," the paper notes.
The editorial in South Africa's The Independent is unequivocal: "Peoples' will undermined".
"History will judge the third day of voting in Zimbabwe's crucial presidential election as the defining moment. It will also harshly judge Robert Mugabe as having botched it," the paper says.
"He has played into the hands of his critics who had long annointed his arch-opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, as the champion of democracy, while reducing the Zanu-PF leader to an autocratic despot."
The editorial in the Pretoria News warns "Zimbabweans and the region are going to pay dearly for Mugabe's pyrrhic victory. His disastrous policies have crippled one of the continent's most prosperous nations. Zimbabweans should brace themselves for more hardship," the paper warns.
Kenya's Daily Nation is firm in its condemnation of the result.
"Politicians like Dr Robert Mugabe thrive on public gullibility. For 22 years he has oppressed his people, strangled the economy and settled rich friends and relatives on public land. Yet a sizeable proportion of the poorest Zimbabweans, especially in the rural areas, still fanatically do his bidding, including killing and maiming opposition supporters," the paper says.
Another Kenyan paper, the East African Standard, carries a report at odds with the warm congratulations offered by the country's president.
The paper recalls Archbishop Desmond Tutu saying in January "Mugabe seems to have gone bonkers in a big way".
Tanzania's The Guardian quotes extensively from a supportive message sent by President Benjamin Mkapa to Mr Mugabe.
President Mkapa commended President Mugabe for having been "firm in defending the inalienable right of the people of Zimbabwe to free, democratic and sovereign governance, a right they had to fight, and some of their comrades had to die for".
BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.
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