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Mugabe's police raid opposition and election observers, arresting hundreds

April 25, 2008

Heavily armed police raided the offices of the opposition MDC and the main independent election monitor

President Robert Mugabe stepped up his violent crackdown on political opponents today as heavily armed police stormed opposition headquarters and the offices of independent election observers on suspicion of plotting to overthrow the government.

Officials from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said police beat dozens of members and arrested some 300 during the raid on its Harare headquarters. Material on vote-counting was seized from both offices.

The raids came amid a poll recount which observers fear is part of an attempt by the ruling Zanu-PF to cling on to power following March 29 elections. Mr Mugabe has so far refused to release the presidential results, and is contesting the parliamentary poll which saw Zanu-PF lose its majority for the first time since independence in 1980.

The MDC and the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network, the country’s main independent election observation group, both claim that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the presidential vote, based on their own surveys of results posted at ballot stations.

In a statement, the MDC said 250 heavily armed officers had raided the building, taking away some 300 people including pregnant women and mothers with small children.

While some were staff members, most were supporters who had sought refuge in the opposition headquarters after being attacked by Mugabe loyalists, it said.

“Their homes were burned,” said Thokozani Khupe, an MDC vice president. “Some have been brutally assaulted.”

Officers also seized computers and equipment, and searched for key election-related documents, officials said.

Police said that the officers had raided the MDC’s offices seeking suspects responsible for post-election violence.

Assistant Police Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said he could not say how many people were arrested, but claimed they were responsible for “crimes that were committed in the countryside”.

No one was arrested at the observers’ office but police took files and computer equipment, Noel Kututwa, the group’s chairman, said.

Mr Kututwa said that police had wanted to arrest him and his deputy, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, but both were away from the office. He said they were in hiding and claimed police were trying to intimidate the organisation ahead of a possible presidential run-off vote.

“They had a search warrant which stated that they were looking for subversive material which is likely to be used to overthrow a constitutionally-elected government,” Mr Kututwa reported.

Mr Mugabe has already accused the MDC of plotting a coup against him with the help of the British government.

The human rights group Amnesty International condemned the raids as “unacceptable” and called on the authorities to cease all harassment of political and human rights activists.

The raids came the day after the top US envoy for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, declared Mr Tsvangirai the clear winner of the presidential vote, basing her conclusions on results compiled by the ZESN.

Earlier this week, a group of Zimbabwean church leaders warned of full-scale genocide unless the international community intervened. The opposition claims that Mr Mugabe is waging a campaign of brutal suppression which has killed at least 10 of its supporters. Government officials have in turn accused the opposition of perpetrating violence.


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Police swoop on injured MDC supporters


Photo: IRIN
ZANU-PF clampdown
HARARE , 25 April 2008 (IRIN) - About 400 people seeking refuge from alleged state-sponsored violence at the opposition party offices of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the capital, Harare, have been arrested by riot police, according to an IRIN correspondent.

Hundreds of people, including children, have fled to Harare from rural areas, seeking medical attention after the ZANU-PF government launched "Operation Mavhoterapapi" (Who did you vote for?) in the wake of their parliamentary election defeat and an anticipated second round of voting in the presidential ballot.

President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF lost control of parliament after the 29 March poll for the first time since independence from Britain in 1980, while the MDC have claimed that their leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the presidential vote by the required 50 percent plus one vote, ruling out the need for a run-off ballot. ZANU-PF have said there was no clear winner in the presidential race, although the results have yet to be announced.

A political analyst who declined to be identified, told IRIN the victims of Operation Mavhoterapapi, including those who sought refuge at the MDC offices, were being portrayed by the state media as the perpetrators of post-election violence and were likely to be charged with public violence.

Hundreds of people were bundled into waiting buses outside of the MDC offices, many of them still bandaged as a result of injuries sustained during alleged assaults by soldiers and police in the rural areas, and taken to Harare's Central Police station. The political analyst said it was likely that ZANU-PF would claim the injuries of those arrested were sustained during attacks perpetrated against ZANU-PF supporters.

The state-controlled daily newspaper, The Herald, reported on 24 April that eight homesteads belonging to ZANU PF-supporters, who were beneficiaries of the government's fast-track land reform programme in 2000, which saw white commercial farms redistributed to landless blacks, were torched by suspected MDC supporters.

MDC supporters contemplate retaliation

Taziva Maponga, 38, of Mudzi in Mashonaland East province, told IRIN: "Most of these perpetrators of violence are people who belong to our communities and are well-known. There is a growing feeling among us as supporters of the MDC that we can't let small groups of people do whatever they want with us. If they continue burning our houses and granaries, we might also have to roast them alive."

''There is a growing feeling among us as supporters of the MDC that we can't let small groups of people do whatever they want with us. If they continue burning our houses and granaries, we might also have to roast them alive''
The MDC has urged restraint among its supporters, and has said that responding to violent attacks in kind would allow the government to impose a state of emergency.

Churches and civil society fear state-sponsored violence against opposition supporters in the aftermath of the elections will intensify. The MDC claim that at least 10 of their supporters have been killed since the voting and hundreds have been beaten, their houses razed, livestock slaughtered and food reserves plundered.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ), the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference (ZCBC) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) said in a statement: "Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and communities, who are accused of campaigning or voting for the 'wrong' political party, has been unleashed throughout the country."

The churches said people were being "abducted, tortured and humiliated", and forced to "attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the 'wrong' candidate" and in some cases murdered.

The church organisations called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to intervene, and warned that "if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide".

South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed in 2007 by SADC to mediate between Mugabe's government and the opposition, was condemned by the international community and civil society for failing to acknowledge the country's crisis, although his own party, the ANC, and its trade union allies, have taken a different stance.

ANC president Jacob Zuma, who deposed Mbeki from the party presidency in a bitter power struggle in December 2007, has called on African leaders to "move in to unlock this logjam", while the country's largest union federation, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), is organising mass demonstrations on 10 May against the "dictatorial Mugabe".

Violence worsens humanitarian situation

The clerics said the post-election violence was exacerbating the "widespread famine" in Zimbabwe, and compounding the severe shortage of basic commodities and medical supplies brought about by an eight-year recession that has seen inflation rise to more 165,000 percent annually.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told IRIN it was "easy for the humanitarian situation in the country to be worse than during Operation Murambatsvina", a reference to a 2005 blitz that displaced about 700,000 people, according to the UN.

"The carnage could even reach the proportions of Darfur, Kenya and Rwanda, because we are talking of systematic violence being unleashed on defenceless civilians by a government determined to stay in power at all costs, and without any regard to international law and advice. They clearly want to eliminate dissenting voices and, if you go back in history, they tried to do that to people in Matabeleland in the [nineteen] eighties."

In the early 1980s, Operation Gukurahundi (a Shona expression for 'the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains') was launched against alleged supporters of ZAPU, a rival liberation movement with widespread support amongst the Ndebele people in southern Zimbabwe.

The North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, the Zimbabwean army's vanguard unit, killed about 20,000 people during the campaign, according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

Appeal for international assistance

Chamisa said the MDC was appealing to humanitarian organisations to assist victims of political violence. "The situation is overwhelming us. There is no way in which we can, on our own, provide shelter for [the people from] over a hundred homes that have been destroyed; drugs and hospital bills for the maimed, or displaced families, some of whose members are mere toddlers, and food for the hungry. Casualties are increasing by the day."


Photo: IRIN
MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
After an international tour to Europe and African countries, Tsvangirai is currently staying in neighbouring Botswana, a critic of Mugabe's presidency. Although party officials are reticent to describe it as exile, they concede that it does guarantee his safety and enables him to engage unhindered with international leaders, although his absence could render the party rudderless in Zimbabwe.

"State agents might want to harm our president, but there is nothing that will stop the winds of change in this country. He will return when the time comes, but in the meantime he is making inroads in conscientising the world to the excesses of Mugabe," Chamisa said.

A Chinese ship carrying weapons to Zimbabwe, which included millions of rounds of ammunition and mortar bombs, has reportedly begun its voyage home after being at first thwarted by civil society intervention from delivering its cargo to the South African port of Durban, and then cold-shouldered by other SADC states after the regional body's chairman and Zambian president, Levy Mwanawasa, urged member states not to provide the ship with docking facilities.

Pedzisayi Ruhanya, spokesperson for the Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe, an umbrella NGO organisation, told IRIN: "What they [ZANU-PF] are doing right now is setting the stage for a bloodbath. They want to flush out opponents so that, come time for the run-off, there will be no opposition to talk about."†



[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


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Amnesty International - Election observers in hiding after police raid office


Posted: 25 April 2008

Amnesty International has just received information that at about 10
am (local time) today, five police officers from the Zimbabwe Republic
Police's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) raided the offices of the
Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) in Harare.

A spokesperson for Amnesty International said:
'The actions taken by the police today are unacceptable. The
Zimbabwean police must stop harassing political and human rights activists
immediately and act to protect victims of post-election violence.'

The police had a search warrant signed by the officer in charge of CID
Homicide authorising them to search for 'subversive material likely to cause
the overthrow of a constitutionally-elected government'.

They are in the process of searching ZESN offices.† The police are now
looking for Ms Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, National Director of the ZESN, and Mr
Noel Kututwa, the organisation's chairperson.

Police are believed to have taken Tsungai Kokerai, the ZESN's
Programme Manager 'to assist with investigations'.† They have also removed
some files.

This morning police also raided the offices of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's main opposition party. An estimated 375
people were reportedly arrested. Among them are people who had taken refugee
at the MDC's offices after having fled the on-going violence being
perpetrated by ZANU-PF supporters and soldiers.

ZESN is a coalition of 38 organisations that was involved in observing
the 29 March elections.† ZESN deployed local observers during the elections


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South African ruling party leader, in Paris, condemns Zimbabwe raid, warns of police state

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 25, 2008

PARIS: The head of South Africa's ruling African National Congress condemned
Friday a police raid on opposition party headquarters in Zimbabwe, adding
that it appeared "somebody is sabotaging the elections" there.

Jacob Zuma told The Associated Press in an interview that incidents like
Friday's raid on opposition headquarters in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare,
make the country resemble a police state.

"Why should the police come in, why should they do this?" he asked after
reading a news report about Friday's raid, in which heavily armed police
shoved or beat scores of people, arrested hundreds and seized materials on
vote counting. The offices of an independent election observers were also
targeted in the raid.

Both groups have claimed the opposition, lead by Morgan Tsvangirai, won the
March 29 presidential elections. Zimbabweans are still awaiting official
results, amid charges that President Robert Mugabe is using violence and
stealth to hold on to power.

Zuma called the delay in announcing the results "unexplainable," and said
"it cannot be supported."

Asked whether the delayed announcement suggested Mugabe did not win the
elections, Zuma said "it is difficult to speculate, except that somebody is
sabotaging the elections."
Incidents like Friday's raids are "creating a situation where people could
say this is now a police state," said Zuma, who is likely to succeed South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki next year.

Zuma said the situation in Zimbabwe "is going beyond the point where people
should just look at it," adding that action is needed "as urgently as
possible."

He said that in order to resolve the "impasse" in Zimbabwe, Mugabe and
Tsvangirai will have to sit down for talks.

Asked about a South African court's decision earlier this month to prevent a
shipment of arms from China from transiting to Zimbabwe, Zuma said it
highlighted the region's determination to prevent an escalation of violence
in Zimbabwe.

Authorities in Mozambique, which also borders on Zimbabwe, which is
landlocked, refused the Chinese freighter carrying the arms permission to
dock.

Zuma was speaking on a visit to Paris, the last leg of an ANC delegation
tour that has also taken him to Germany and Britain, where he held talks
Thursday with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


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Zimbabwe Election Panel Refuses To Release Recounted Results

nasdaq

HARARE (AFP)--Zimbabwe's electoral commission said Friday it had finished
tallying the votes in 11 more of the 23 constituencies where a recount was
ordered after last month's polls but refused to reveal the results.

While results from three of the recount constituencies have already been
announced, the commission refused to declare who had come out in top in the
11 other constituencies where the recount has now been finished.

"We have completed 14 constituencies, but I am not in a position to tell you
who won or who lost" in the latest 11 areas, Utloile Silaigwana, spokesman
for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission told AFP.

Silaigwana expressed doubt that the recount which had been expected to be
completed over this weekend could be wrapped up on time.

"I hope we will be through over the weekend, but it's difficult to be very
definite because these politicians may raise something at the very last
minute."

The commission ordered a recount in 23 of the 210 constituencies after
President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
( ZANU-PF) alleged some election officials had counted extra votes in favor
of the opposition.

Initial results from the March 29 elections showed ZANU-PF lost its
customary parliamentary majority to the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) but Mugabe's party could regain its majority if the outcome is
reversed in seven of the constituencies under the microscope.

In the three constituencies to have announced the results following the
recount, ZANU-PF retained two of its seats and the MDC was confirmed as the
winner in the third.

Nearly a month after the joint polls, ZEC is yet to announce the
presidential results.

The MDC claims its leader Morgan Tsvangirai passed the 50% threshold needed
to avoid a run-off although ZANU-PF says there was no outright winner and
the party is gearing up for a second round.

U.N. Secretary General Ban ki-Moon has already described the delay in
releasing a final election result as "unacceptable," while the U.K. has said
that the recount has no credibility.

† (END) Dow Jones Newswires
† 04-25-081434ET


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UN Security Council to take up Zimbabwe vote

Reuters

Fri 25 Apr 2008, 16:48 GMT

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, April 25 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council will hold its
first session on the post-electoral crisis in Zimbabwe next week and South
Africa will not oppose it, South Africa's U.N. envoy said on Friday.

Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa said someone from the U.N.
secretariat would brief the 15-nation council, probably on Tuesday, on
developments in Zimbabwe.

"We in South Africa, speaking in my national capacity, are not opposed to
the briefing," said Kumalo, who is currently president of the council.

Diplomats have said that South Africa was reluctant to have the Security
Council take up the issue of Zimbabwe, since President Thabo Mbeki has been
trying to avoid putting too much pressure on Zimbabwe's government.

A Western diplomat on the council said Britain had requested the meeting and
that the council was unlikely to take any action in the form of a statement
or resolution.

But the diplomat said the meeting would be useful in ratcheting up pressure
on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to release the results of the March 29
vote.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of trying
to steal a presidential election Tsvangirai says he won. He has also called
for Mbeki to be replaced as the chief mediator with Harare.

South Africa has argued that the problems in Zimbabwe do not represent a
threat to international peace and security and therefore are not an
appropriate matter for the council.

Kumalo made clear he still had reservations about involving the Security
Council.

"We wonder what value it could add," he said. "We are all frustrated by the
fact that the (election) results are not coming out of Zimbabwe.

"We're all frustrated that the situation is in a deadlock and we think the
way to resolve it is precisely what is happening now -- where the countries
of southern Africa are assisting the electoral commission in Zimbabwe to
count these votes and make a decision once and for all." (Editing by Doina
Chiacu)


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Excuses ring hollow as the world idly waits for Mugabe's disaster

Sydney Morning Herald

† Cynthia Banham
April 26, 2008

A decade ago I travelled through Zimbabwe, where I befriended a
family with whom I have stayed in contact until this day. Zimbabwe was a
very different place then to the country that now stands on the precipice of
a major humanitarian disaster. As I trucked through game parks and
white-water rafted down the mighty Zambezi River - just a couple of years
before the President, Robert Mugabe, made his great grab for white-owned
farms - it seemed to be one of the most stable countries in Africa. Tourism,
of course, no longer exists in the Zimbabwe of today. The place is in
economic ruins, with agricultural production having almost completely
halted, inflation running at more than 165,000 per cent, and widespread food
shortages. My friends no longer live in Zimbabwe. They fled the country,
like a third of the population have, a few years ago. But they remain close
to people who are still there, and they have insights into what daily life
is like in their former home, insights they have shared with me.

What they show is how ominous things have begun to feel inside Zimbabwe.
Nearly a month has passed since Mugabe lost the March 29 presidential
election, yet his electoral commission refuses to release any official
results, while it conducts a recount, which is widely believed will be
rigged (results of the recount will supposedly be announced this weekend).
Stories have emerged of violence and killings of political opponents, and a
few days ago the churches warned of possible genocide similar to what has
occurred in Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi. This week dock workers in South
Africa (thankfully) refused to unload a ship of arms from China which -
chillingly - were en route to Mugabe's regime.

A few days after the election, my friends told me there was nervousness
about the possibility of violence breaking out, and a belief that the delay
in publicising election results was deliberate, meant to "stir the people up
and cause bloodshed". People "want change now, and to wait the extra time
will be pure agony" they told me. If there was no change, locals predicted
industries would grind to a halt by August. Inflation was already
ridiculous, with shops having to knock off three zeros on their checkout
tills because the machines could not cope. Zimbabwe's inflation levels were
underscored by the banks releasing two new notes, a $25,000,000 and a
$50,000,000.

A week later, the mood in Zimbabwe had dropped. Mugabe was clearly hanging
on, and the frustration was growing at not knowing what would happen next.
Their few friends left in Zimbabwe, though they did not want to leave, were
beginning to contemplate how they might do it. Inflation soared again. "One
good thing is at least the rest of the world can see just how desperate this
man is, and how little regard he has for the law." Then came this insight,
from just a couple of days ago: "I have no words to describe the level of
frustration felt by everyone and of course the underlying fear of violence
erupting." Those friends left in Zimbabwe were now fretting about getting
out of the country safely should things explode - what would they do with
their pets? What about those who did not have passports? The Government in
Zimbabwe has stopped issuing new ones. Would they be able to make it across
the border? There were widespread reports of post-election intimidation and
beatings. An extraordinary number of police patrolled the streets, they had
set up multiple road blocks and were pulling cars over at random. The
shelves in the shops were getting emptier than ever. International
intervention, these friends believe, is the "only answer to our problem".

Which brings us to the question: what exactly is the international community
doing about Zimbabwe? Diplomats say the situation is tricky, that so dire is
Zimbabwe's economy, suspending it from global financial bodies such as the
World Bank or imposing further sanctions (Australia has had "smart
sanctions" targeting the regime since 2002) will have little effect.
Zimbabwe has already been expelled from the Commonwealth, so that card has
been played, and any moves by the United Nations Security Council will never
get up because of expected opposition from China and Russia. Diplomats argue
tough action by Western nations will only isolate Mugabe further, allowing
him to portray their moves as a colonial plot. They argue countries such as
Australia have done all they can. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen
Smith, like the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the United States
Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, have all spoken out in strong terms
against Mugabe's regime. The best thing now, diplomats say, is to work with
Zimbabwe's African neighbours and regional bodies such as the African Union
and the Southern African Development Community who have the moral force and
the ability through direct action (South Africa for example could cut off
electrical power to Zimbabwe) to force out Mugabe.

Unfortunately many African nations have been reluctant to do this, and South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki's insistence on "quiet diplomacy" - publicly
denying there is any crisis in Zimbabwe - has met with disappointment and
outrage. This might yet change.

Is there really no more the international community can do in a situation
such as Zimbabwe's, without waiting for some genocidal catastrophe to occur
first, at which point it will have no choice but to send in troops as has
happened elsewhere in Africa in the past? Certainly there are those within
the Rudd Government who say there is more that could be done, even if it is
through the UN's various human rights bodies. A friend from South Africa
likened the situation in Zimbabwe to a family in crisis, where nobody wants
to call DOCS until it is too late and the children have been abused.

Cynthia Banham is the Herald's Diplomatic Editor


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War Veterans Shoot Dead Another MDC Activist in Rusape



SW Radio Africa (London)

25 April 2008
Posted to the web 25 April 2008

Lance Guma

War vets wearing army uniforms shot live bullets at 5 MDC activists in
Rusape on Friday, resulting in the death of one of them, a woman.

She died on her way to hospital. Newly elected MP for Makoni South, Pishai
Muchauraya, confirmed to Newsreel that the woman's body has since been taken
to the MDC Provincial office in Mutare. The party said they could not
disclose her name until her relatives have been informed.

Muchauraya said the war vetss were armed with AK-47's and they accused the
group of voting for the MDC in the just ended elections.

Muchauraya also lamented the unprecedented levels of violence in all 5
Makoni constituencies. On Thursday a teacher and an agricultural extension
worker were beaten up and left for dead by the same group of militants, who
accused them of supporting the opposition.

Muchauraya told Newsreel; 'Its no longer the politics we used to know, its
now about punishment with death.' He said the perpetrators of the violence
'are not many' and are a small group of Zanu PF militants who are being
issued with assault rifles.


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MDC Retains Buhera South Parliamentary Seat



SW Radio Africa (London)

25 April 2008
Posted to the web 25 April 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

The MDC has retained its parliamentary seat in Buhera South, Manicaland
province in a recount exercise that has taken five days.

MDC MP for Makoni South, Pishai Muchauraya, said they retained the seat with
an additional 137 votes. When the original results were announced the MDC's
candidate for the constituency, Naison Nemadziwa, beat Zanu-PF's Joseph
Chinotimba by a margin of 1220 votes. Nemadziwa got 8833 votes and
Chinotimba 7613.

After the recount, the MDC candidate ended up with 8970 votes. The Buhera
south constituency is one of the three seats in Manicaland where Zanu-PF had
requested a recount. The other two are Chimanimani West and Mutare West. As
the recount of a total of 23 constituencies continues, the MDC has so far
retained its seats in Gutu North, Gutu South, Gutu Central and Zaka West.
Zanu-PF have retained the Goromonzi West seat.

'We've beaten Zanu-PF in the second round. Counting in the other two seats
is continuing but they should be through either today (Friday) or tomorrow.
We expect things not to change either from the two seats,' Muchauraya said.

Asked to comment on the usefulness of the recounts when they are coming out
with almost the same results, the MDC MP said he believed the exercise was a
delaying tactic to give Zanu PF time to stuff the ballot boxes for the
presidential poll.

'They are recounting the presidential votes as well though all of us know
that the results have not been announced yet. We won't let them steal this
election. We have all the figures of the presidential vote from the first
count so they shouldn't fool themselves by trying to fix the results,'
Muchauraya said.


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The charge is high treason!

Zimbabwe Today

The machiavellian plan that lies behind today's raids

Harare, Zimbabwe, April 25, 16.30

Sources high in the Zanu-PF police and security forces confirmed for me
today that behind today's widely-reported raids on the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and other offices lies a plot to arraign leading
opposition figures on trumped-up charges of high treason.

Targeted for arrest and subsequent accusation are the MDC secretary-general
Tendai Biti, the party spokesman Nelson Chamisa, and the executive director
of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) Rindai
Chipfunde-Vava.

My sources tell me that the effect will be to ensure that, even if the
courts eventually throw out the charges, the MDC and the ZESN will be
effectively paralysed. And with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in Botswana and
fearing for his life, Zanu-PF will be free to continue their campaign of
intimidation and terror.

Fortunately all three of the targeted indivuduals - Chamisa, Biti and
Chipfunde-Vava - were tipped off about the raids and have gone into hiding.
The arrests that were made mainly involved victims of militia violence, who
were at the MDC offices to seek sanctuary.

The charge against Biti and Chamisa will be that they committed treason by
"falsely informing the nation, with intent to cause distress and promote
public uprising and violence, by declaring the MDC presidential candidate
winner of the election."

The charge against Chipfunde-Vava will be that she committed treason by
"publishing corroborating evidence to MDC claims that their candidate had
emerged as clear winner."

The hunt for the three is on-going. Arrests of other party activists can be
expected, on similar charges. And, I'm told, huge arms dumps will shortly be
"discovered", and their existence blamed on the MDC.

This last plot will send a shiver down some backs. It was the same technique
used by Mugabe against his rival Joshua Nkomo in the early 1980s. It led to
a state of emergency being declared, and subsequently the slaying of tens of
thousands of innocent Ndebeles.

Posted on Friday, 25 April 2008 at 17:26 |


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Recount “Elaborate Plan” to Steal Election

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

Official sources say it will ensure ZANU-PF regains parliamentary majority
and leave Mugabe leading the presidential contest.

By Hativagone Mushonga in Harare (ZCR No. 143, 25-Apr-08)

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party has embarked on an elaborate plan to try to
regain its parliamentary majority and ensure that President Robert Mugabe
comes out as winner in the presidential poll held on March 29.

Enquiries by IWPR have revealed that the recount of ballots in 23
constituencies is supposed to ensure that ZANU-PF regains its majority in
parliament, while closing the gap between Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, in
such a way that at the end, the president will be leading.

However, it is not yet clear whether the victory will be by a declaration
that Mugabe has achieved the constitutionally required 50 per cent plus, or
the outcome will be a run-off, with Mugabe leading with around 48 per cent
and Tsvangirai trailing with 45 per cent or less.

The constitution states that if a winner fails to garner over 50 per cent of
the total vote, a second round will be called within 21 days between the
winner and candidate with the second highest figure.

A recount has been ordered by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, ZEC, of
ballots in 23 disputed constituencies in last month's vote. After some
delay, this is expected to start on Saturday, April 26.

ZEC chairman George Chiweshe said results in 22 districts had been disputed
by ZANU-PF, while the MDC contested the count in one constituency. The
recount will be of all presidential, parliamentary, senate and local council
votes cast in those constituencies

Results from the March 29 presidential poll have not been released, but the
opposition has claimed victory. Currently, figures with ZEC indicate that
Tsvangirai is leading by at least seven percentage points, but missing
outright victory by just a few votes. However, the MDC has claimed victory,
saying it won with 50.3 per cent and that Mugabe trailed with 43.8 per cent.

ZANU-PF is already preparing for a run-off and has reportedly deployed
former freedom fighters and its militia to the countryside to unleash
violence and intimidate people believed to have voted against ZANU-PF and
Mugabe in the elections.

Commentators say ZANU-PF militants and veterans of the independence war are
supposed to ensure victory for Mugabe through violence in the three-week
hiatus between March 29 and a possible run-off. Political violence and
intimidation of the electorate have always been thought to be ZANU-PF's
winning card.

ZEC is going ahead with the recount, even though sources in ZANU-PF believe
any outcome favouring the president will lack credibility.

Sources in ZANU-PF told IWPR that it would be easier to justify a Mugabe
victory in a run-off if the president had been leading in the March 29
elections.

And a politburo member said declaring Mugabe the outright winner after the
recount might be difficult to sell to Zimbabweans and even to friends in the
region.

However, one way or another, he said, "we are trying to ensure that the
president wins the election, and we believe that we can cover that gap in
the 23 constituencies and thereby reduce Tsvangirai’s figures.

“We also believe that we can gain quite a number of seats from the 23
constituencies that will be recounted and retain our majority in parliament.

"An MDC majority in parliament will be history after the recounts on
Saturday”.

ZANU-PF did well in the popular vote in both the parliamentary and
senatorial elections, although the party lost its parliamentary majority.

The Tsvangirai faction of the MDC won with 99 seats and the MDC faction led
by Arthur Mutambara acquired 10 seats, with one seat going to independent
candidate Jonathan Moyo, a former minister of information in Mugabe's
government. ZANU-PF’s haul was 97.

In the senatorial election, ZANU-PF won with 30 seats, MDC-Tsvangirai got 24
seats and MDC-Mutambara six.

The Zimbabwean authorities have been dragging their feet in announcing the
presidential results, despite local, regional and international pressure.

Initially, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, who chairs the ZANU-PF sub-committee on information and
publicity, had said there would be recounts in only five constituencies
which had requested them within the 48 hours of the election, as set out by
electoral law.

But to the amazement of Zimbabweans, ZEC suddenly announced last weekend
that it was carrying out recounts in 23 constituencies.

The MDC desperately wants to avoid a recount, fearing such a move would wipe
out its newly won parliamentary majority and deprive its presidential
candidate of what Tsvangirai said is a clear victory over Mugabe.

The MDC has made it clear that it will not accept results based on
recounts. Spokesman Nelson Chamisa said, "For us, that is accepting rigged
results. They had custody of the ballot boxes for two weeks and they must
have stuffed them with their votes."

The national executive council of the MDC has rejected the recount, holding
that ZEC would be invalidating the will of the people. The council pointed
out that a recount in any case would be meaningless, given that the election
results had already been declared. Results were posted outside polling
stations when counting was completed.

MDC vice-president Thokozani Khupe said, "We have been receiving information
that the ballot boxes are being kept by ZANU-PF and that they have been
stuffing more ballot papers. The initial custody of these ballot boxes
cannot be traced."

United States State Department spokesman Sean McCormack has criticised the
recount, saying, "There has not been a good chain-of-custody regime in
place", for the ballots and ballot boxes since the March 29 vote.

"Anything could have happened between election day and when a recount takes
place, and that's a cause of deep concern not only for the United States but
other countries around the globe," he said.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, ZLHR, said it was "concerned that the
inordinate delay in releasing the results of the presidential election,
coupled with the lack of information as to the whereabouts and security of
the ballot boxes during this time, has created a perception in the minds of
the ordinary interested voter and members of the public that tampering may
have occurred, which would compromise the integrity of the election material
in any recount".

The ZLHR has written urgently to the ZEC chairperson, asking him to provide
information on the whereabouts of ballot boxes –
but ZEC has not yet responded.

For a recount to take place, the party requesting it must set out the number
of votes believed to have been miscounted, how the miscount occurred, if
known, and how the results have been affected by the alleged miscount.

The recount will be allowed where ZEC considers that there are reasonable
grounds for believing that the alleged miscount occurred and that, if it did
occur, it would have affected the result of the election. Representatives of
the contesting political parties and accredited observers are entitled to be
advised of the date, place and time of the recount and to observe the
process.

Hativagone Mushonga is the pseudonym of an IWPR-trained journalist in
Zimbabwe.


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Mbeki changes his words over Zim

Africa News, Netherlands

† 1.. Posted on Friday 25 April 2008 - 14:32

† President Thabo Mbeki of South on Thursday clarified his position on
Zimbabwe saying he never said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

† The South Africa made the denial during a press briefing after a two day
working visit to Swaziland on Thursday this week.

† “ I was not asked on the socio-economic issue when a visited Zimbabwe on
the eve of Lusaka SADC summit, but someone deliberately came out with a
different story” he said when a reporter asked him whether indeed he felt
there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

† The South Africa president who was chosen as mediator on Zimbabwe’s
political crisis recently got wide condemnation on a statement attributed to
him saying there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.

† President Mbeki who is also quoted to have referred to the situation in
Zimbabwe as “manageable” said the issue he was asked about was on conduct of
elections and that by the time of interview it was felt that the electoral
process had gone well without any crisis.

† “The issue was about the electoral process and by then the local
government, senatorial, legislative and presidential elections had been
concluded and that was the context in which I was asked but the one who
asked changed the subject” he said.

† Zimbabwe once regional breadbasket is undergoing serious economic and
political turmoil leading the flight of 3 million of its citizens into
neighbouring states most of them to South Africa

† Speaking at the same press briefing the King Swati 111 said his country
will hold free and fair elections. He said the political system under new
constitution allows people to choose leaders they want freely.

† However some activists have reservations on the new constitution in the
kingdom which they feel is not explicit on political parties which claim to
fce restricitions on canvassing for parliamentary and local polls.

† The results of presidential poll is yet to be released but the opposition
defeated the ruling party under 84 year old Robert Mugabe who has ruled the
country with an iron-fist since independence from Britain in 1980.

† South Africa, the regional powerhouse has been criticised for what is
known ‘quiet diplomacy’ which is widely seen as given the strongman Mugabe a
life-line.

† The delay in the release of presidential results is widely seen as an
attempt by Mugabe to steal the votes in his favour.


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Senior Police And Army Officers Directing Violence



SW Radio Africa (London)

ANALYSIS
25 April 2008
Posted to the web 25 April 2008

Lance Guma

Eric Pfumvuti is a war veteran who terrorized MDC supporters as far back as
2000 and is said to be leading the current Zanu PF post election terror
campaign in Mutoko.

Pfumvuti has now been promoted to a police senior assistant commissioner
based in Mutoko and is heading the campaigns that have seen the burning down
of homes and the murder of 4 MDC activists. This week he instructed junior
officers in Mutoko to burn all the dockets relating to political violence in
the area. MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa confirmed to Newsreel that Pfumvuti
is a law unto himself and has masterminded the reign of terror in Mutoko.

In Harare another senior police officer nicknamed 'Silver' is allegedly at
the centre of a terror campaign against opposition activists. The officer
who is based at Harare Central is in the habit of moving around brandishing
a gun and threatening opposition activists in different locations. A few
weeks back 'Silver' is said to have shot dead an opposition activist near
the Telecel Mobile phone company headquarters in Sunningdale. 'He is a
Chenjerai Hunzvi type of character who has been given a licence to kill,'
Newsreel was told. In the last few weeks his notorious reputation has grown
in leaps and bounds. Not much is know about 'Silver' except that his rural
home is in the midlands.

Under a terror campaign code-named 'Operation Mavhoterapapi' (Who did you
vote for) army, police and Zanu PF militia are on a rampage beating and
torturing innocent civilians suspected of voting for the MDC. Several of the
testimonies are heartbreaking. Norton Makoni, an MDC activist from Harare
suburb Mufakose, described to journalists how he was woken up at 3am by the
sound of a person crying in anguish. He said he peeped through the window
and saw 20-armed soldiers in his yard beating up the security guard on duty
using their rifle butts. Makoni said, 'the guard was screaming agonisingly
and begging for mercy telling them they had broken his arm. One of the
soldiers kicked him in the head several times with his booted feet until he
lay still.'

The soldiers then ransacked Makoni's house, pouncing on a cousin who had
paid him a visit and assaulting both of them. He said they threw him into
the back of a truck where the assaults continued. To justify the assaults
the soldiers kept asking him where he had stored the weapons he wanted to
use to fight the government. Later on they dumped him on the roadside: 'With
blood oozing from my body and my head swollen, I sat by the roadside until
well-wishers offered to drive me home. My wife was safe but the guard had
sustained a broken arm, while my cousin sustained body injuries. They are
both in hospital,' Makoni said. Countrywide the stories are the same. In
Chiweshe villagers were forced to plunge their voting hands into boiling
water while being told 'this is the hand that betrayed the nation'.

Chirumhanzu in the Midlands Province witnessed the closure of Driefontein
Hospital by a group of 300 Zanu PF youth militia. The thugs besieged the
hospital, accusing authorities of treating MDC members. They assaulted the
medical staff and patients. Pressure group Human Rights Watch has also
accused Zanu PF of using a network of informal detention centres that are
used to beat, torture and intimidate MDC activists. Some of the bases have
been set up in Mutoko North, Mutoko South, Mudzi and Bikita West. During the
day the militants gather at the camps and decide on their targets. The
targets are then rounded up and frog-marched to the camps for torture. Human
Rights Watch has interviewed over 30 victims from the camps.

The torture camps have been christened with weird sounding names.
Eyewitnesses say Mutoko South has the 'Lucky Dip', 'Rukada', 'Jani' and
'Chitugazuwa' torture camps. Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human
Rights Watch, said the camps could not be operating without sanction from
the top and she criticised SADC and South African President Thabo Mbeki for
failing Zimbabweans and allowing ZANU-PF to commit horrific abuses. 'The
African Union should assume responsibility for protecting civilians from
rising violence, and ending the political impasse, before Zimbabwe sinks
deeper into disaster,' Gagnon said.

Meanwhile the UK based Zimbabwean newspaper reports that army barracks
across the country are issuing war veterans and former military and police
officers with AK-47 assault rifles. The paper reports that the official line
being given is that 'they need to protect themselves against anticipated
attacks by the MDC and its foreign supporters, particularly on former
white-owned farms.' Editor Wilf Mbanga said that the real intention is to
use the weapons against opposition supporters in the rural areas. The
issuing of weapons began 24 April. The paper has also identified Zimbabwe
National Army Private Madamombe and one Jawet Kazangarare, a Zanu (PF)
militant, as the killers of MDC activist Tapiwa Mubwanda in Hurungwe East.

Meanwhile MDC supporters in Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces are said
to have organised themselves into local defence units to fight back violence
and intimidation by the militants. On Thursday there were fierce battles in
the village of Makaha in Mutoko/Mudzi, Mashonaland East, as MDC supporters
repelled an attack by Zanu PF militants. The paper said the Zanu PF
militiamen were 'badly mauled.'


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Opposition Lays Out Series of Proposals to End Zim Crisis



SW Radio Africa (London)

25 April 2008
Posted to the web 25 April 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, on Friday
laid out a series of steps for the South African government to take in order
to resolve the current impasse in Zimbabwe.

In a letter presented to South Africa's Foreign Affairs Ministry in
Pretoria, the DA said the resolutions will not only ensure that the
electoral mandate of the people of Zimbabwe is rightfully acknowledged, but
will also help to restore the country's battered reputation.

The parliamentary leader of the DA, Sandra Botha, told Newsreel it was her
party's conviction that unless firm and decisive action is taken to resolve
the Zimbabwe crisis, the situation will spiral out of control.

'If it is allowed to deteriorate further, it would have devastating
consequences for the people of Zimbabwe and the Southern African region as a
whole,' she said.

She added that if properly and resolutely applied, their proposals would
bring about an almost immediate end to the current impasse. The DA propose
that the regime be given no more than 5 days to release the presidential
election results.

It wants the state-sponsored violence to come to an immediate end and for
the government to accept the deployment of a joint AU-UN mission to monitor
the situation in the country and prevent the recurrence of violence.

If all parties accept the released results, and the opposition MDC candidate
is declared the victor in the presidential election, the DA urges that the
result be fully accepted and complied with.

'If it becomes necessary to contest a run-off election, and this is accepted
by all parties, the run-off should proceed without further unnecessary
delay. The run-off election must be monitored by officials and observers
from SADC, the African Union, and the United Nations,' Botha said.

In a press statement the DA said should the regime fail to accept the
proposals, the South African government should publicly condemn both Mugabe
and his ZANU-PF government, for their refusal to adhere to the mandate of
the Zimbabwean people. They should also refer the matter to the United
Nations Security Council for consideration, impose an arms embargo on
Zimbabwe and impose targeted travel and financial sanctions on members of
the ruling ZANU-PF elite, barring them from entering South Africa. Their
South African assets should also be frozen

Botha added that if the measures fail to bring about the release of the
election results, or the acknowledgement of an opposition victory, the South
African government must refuse to recognize Mugabe as the legitimate leader
of Zimbabwe.


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Threats, intimidation and Zimbabwe’s defiance of SADC rulings

Sokwanele

In open defiance of the ruling of a tribunal of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), the government of Zimbabwe has tacitly given
the green light to a new wave of terrorism against the opposition forces and
have included the few remaining white farmers in the country. All part of a
campaign of violence and intimidation launched when the government of Robert
Mugabe realized that it had lost the March 29 parliamentary and presidential
elections.

In late March, the five-person SADC tribunal, sitting in Windhoek, Namibia,
ordered the government to halt the eviction of 74 farmers and take no steps
to interfere with peaceful residence and beneficial use of the farms pending
the outcome of a mass hearing set for May 28.

But as the Mugabe regime cracks down on Zimbabweans in the run-up to what
most believe will be a run-off election, dozens of white-owned farms have
been invaded and harassed, including four specifically protected by the SADC
ruling.

Last Saturday, Gary Godfrey, the son-in-law of the owner of Highfield Farms
in Nyamandlovou, 80km from Bulawayo, was called to a meeting with the new
farmers who had been resettled on what had been his family’s land until
2000. Until that year, Highfield property included 42,000 acres. Now,
Godfrey farms fewer than 500 acres.

For the past eight years, relationships with the “new farmers” have been
extremely cordial. But since the election, the new farmers have been warned
by government-supported thugs that Godfrey is involved in an opposition-led
plot to poison their livestock in order to push them off their
newly-acquired land, so that Godfrey can re-acquire it. Coincidentally, or
not, Highfield is located in the parliamentary constituency recently won by
ZANU-PF MP Obert Mpofu, Minister of Industry and International Trade.

“Move into town and return only after the results of the presidential
results are issued”, Godfrey was warned over the weekend. But the local
police advised him not to give in to the threats by quitting the premises.

After two days, during which Godfrey’s workers were not permitted to go to
work and the family was subjected to constant harassment, Godfrey and his
wife Debbie sent their three children, including one infant, into town as
they attempted to care for their 7,000 chickens, 200 sheep, and 100 beef
cattle on their own.

In a country staggering under the weight of growing hunger, Highfield
produces 12 acres of tomatoes, 45 acres of onions, and 90 acres of maize
used for mealie meal, the staple food, as well as supplying eggs and beef to
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, and tourist establishments at
Victoria Falls.

A group of agressive youths are camping at the gate to Highfield and Godfrey
has been told directly by the farm’s head war vet, Moses Moyo that if
Godfrey remained on the farm: “You are on your own lookout.” On Sunday
evening he was also warned by one of the district’s chief war vets Khamezwe
that if he remained, the compound for his workers would be burnt down.

On Wednesday the farm workers, settlers, headmen and local villagers were
called to a meeting where they were told by militia who had come in from
Harare that they had in their possession a document from the MDC that
outlined the opposition’s plans to rig elections, buy out election agents
and most sinister of all, that the party was supplying poison to white
farmers to enable them to poison water points and so kill the settlers’
cattle in order to easily remove them from the land.

The alleged war vets have also begun to issue direct threats against the
livelihoods of Godfrey’s 90 workers and their families. First Godfrey was
told to produce a list of his workers and their job descriptions and to
select which ones he would fire. When he refused, the war vets vowed to
create their own list, allegedly to limit the number of workers available to
poison the water points used by neighboring resettled farmers.

The local and provincial police were handed a letter on Monday outlining the
SADC legislation that protects Godfrey and they were informed that the
current situation directly violates the Tribunal ruling. Inspector Chibangu
from the local police station has been called repeatedly to assist with the
removal of the threat to Godfrey and his workers but has been told that the
police cannot act unless property is damaged or people are hurt. Godfrey and
his family are determined they should remain on the property because they
know that others in similar predicament have left and returned to farms
sacked and looted.

Godfrey and the other farmers facing similar psychological torture are
issuing affidavits to the SADC tribunal in an attempt to find urgent relief.

This entry was written by Sokwanele on Friday, April 25th, 2008


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UN rules out sending peace troops to Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Apr 25, 2008, 14:26 GMT

Vienna - United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon on Friday ruled out sending UN
troops to Zimbabwe for the time being.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a visit to the UN compound in
Vienna, Ban said the issue had not been considered yet, and called for
continuing talks.

'That issue has not been considered. ... I am in the process of talking to
leaders,' he said.

'I have been in regular contact with the leaders in the region. I sincerely
hope the leaders, ... in particular the African Union, will take this up,'
he added.

'I am deeply concerned ... this increasing violence in Zimbabwe as well as
the decreasing humanitarian situation causes a great concern to the
international community.'

Ban also urged Zimbabwe's leaders to release the results of the presidential
elections. 'It is just unacceptable that they are still holding back the
results and not release them. ... Therefore they should base all good
governance on democratic principles.'


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Mugabe snubs foreign pressure on Zim

Mail and Guardian

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

25 April 2008 04:10

†††††† Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday rejected foreign
criticism of his country as international pressure mounted for him to stand
down.

††††††"Zimbabwe has a history and heritage and it will never be
afraid. Zimbabwe is not for sale and Zimbabwe will never be a colony again,"
Mugabe said at the opening of an international trade fair in the southern
city of Bulawayo.

††††††Mugabe also defended his government's controversial farm
seizures, a policy that began in 2000 and seen as marking the beginning of a
decline in his 28-year rule over this fertile Southern African nation.

††††††"Our country tried the willing-buyer, willing-seller method of
land resettlement and it failed," Mugabe said.

††††††"It is our land, our treasure, our birthright," he continued.

††††††Britain, Zimbabwe's former colonial master, and the United
States have pressured Mugabe to stand down after a presidential vote on
March 29, which independent observers say was won by his opposition rival,
Morgan Tsvangirai.

††††††In his speech, Mugabe thanked several regional organisations,
including the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African
Union, for their "continued support and solidarity".

††††††Also on Friday, African National Congress president Jacob Zuma
called for talks between the government and the opposition to resolve the
crisis over last month's elections.

††††††In Paris for meetings with business leaders, Zuma strongly
criticised Zimbabwe election authorities for failing to release the results
of the vote that could decide the fate of Mugabe.

†††††† "We need to know who won the elections, that is the bottom line,
we need to know," Zuma said.

††††††"But at the same time, I think given the fact that we are almost
going for a month now, we need those two parties to talk and find a solution
so that the Zimbabwean people don't suffer."

††††††Raids
††††††Meanwhile, Zimbabwean police raided the headquarters of the
opposition and independent election observers on Friday.

††††††Dozens of supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
were held in the raid on its offices in downtown Harare in an operation that
police said was designed to find the perpetrators of recent arson attacks.

††††††Sources at the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said
police had confiscated a series of documents after rifling through their
offices. There were no arrests.

††††††The raids added to mounting tensions in the troubled nation
where the final outcome of joint presidential and parliamentary elections is
still unknown.

††††††"This is systematic harassment," said chief opposition
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa after the riot squad rounded up a busload of MDC
supporters and drove them away for questioning at central police
headquarters.

††††††"What is clear is that these people are desperate and they can
do anything."

††††††National police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said officers had
been searching for the perpetrators of a number of recent violent incidents.

††††††"We do know that too many people have taken shelter at the MDC
offices and we suspect some of them have committed arson attacks in rural
areas and have come to hide in some safe houses," he said.

††††††There was no immediate word from the police about the raid on
the ZESN, but a source in the organisation said that various documents,
including old presentations and speeches, had been seized during a four-hour
search of their premises.

††††††Figures from the ZESN were cited by the main US envoy for
Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, when she declared on a
visit to South Africa on Thursday that MDC leader Tsvangirai had clearly
beaten Mugabe.

††††††After meeting with South African government officials, Frazer
then met with Tsvangirai to discuss his recent talks with regional leaders
and growing reports of violence on the ground.

††††††"We assured the MDC that we would look at additional
international action to address, and bring attention to, the evolving human
rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe," Frazer said, according to a
statement from the US embassy.

††††††Frazer was also due to meet in Luanda on Friday with Angolan
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, a long-time ally of Mugabe.

††††††The authorities in Zimbabwe have consistently maintained that
the delay in announcing the presidential election result is down to a
meticulous process of collating and verifying ballot papers and have hit out
at outside interference. -- AFP


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Zimbabwean Demonstrators Arrested Outside Chinese Embassy in Pretoria

MEDIA ALERT

25 April 2008

A group of up to 200 Zimbabweans exiles involved in a peaceful demonstration
outside the gates of the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria has been arrested by
the South African Police and taken to the Sunnyside Police Station.

††††††Simon Mudekwa, the president of the Revolutionary Youth Movement
of Zimbabwe (RYMZ), is among the estimated 200 people who have been detained
by the police.

†††††† Mudekwa organised the demonstration to protest against China’s
continued support of the Mugabe regime which has launched a nation-wide
post-election campaign of mass-scale violence and retribution against
opposition supporters.

††††††The Chinese embassy refused to accept the petition and the
police arrested the protesters as they had not been granted permission to
stage the demonstration.

At present four leaders of the Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe are
being held for questioning.

In addition to Mudekwa, they are John Chikwari, general secretary, Max
Gatakaca, organising secretary and Farai Chimanikire, chairman of the
Pretoria branch.

At issue is the seven-day notice period required by the police for granting
permission to hold a march or demonstration.

However, the situation is so volatile in Zimbabwe – literally changing by
the hour – that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora say they have to respond
immediately to crises as they have become the voice of their oppressed
families back home.

††††††Since 29 March, the day of the elections, ten people have been
brutally murdered by the regime, more than 500 have been beaten or
tortured – some so seriously that they will recover - and hundreds of homes
have been burnt down.

††††††In addition, at least 3 000 families have been displaced and
more than 400 Movement for Democratic Change activists have been detained.
Fear is sweeping the rural areas as people flee the savagery.

Even children have not been spared the beatings and a five-year boy was
burnt to death when his home was razed to the ground.† His parents were then
forced by the perpetrators to bury the body.

††††††Last week a Chinese ship arrived at Durban harbour carrying 77
tons of† weapons and ammunition packed in six containers for onward
transportation to the Zimbabwean regime.

Demonstrations took place around the world and the ship left the harbour on
Friday night to escape a High Court order blocking its contents from being
offloaded and sent to Zimbabwe overland.

††††††This not the first time that China has sent weapons to Zimbabwe.

In June 2004, China supplied the Zimbabwean regime with 12 FC-1 jet fighters
and 100 military vehicles worth US$ 240 million, an investment the country
could not afford.

In February 2005, China supplied the Zimbabwean regime with assault rifles,
military vehicles and other support material, including more than 100
Dongfeng vehicles, via the port of Beira.† This was just a month ahead of
the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Mudekwa said that, in both instances, the money should have been spent where
it was most needed, notably food for the poor, healthcare, education and
Zimbabwe’s disintegrating infrastructure.

Gabriel Shumba, executive director of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, said it was
not necessary for the police to arrest people since it was a peaceful
demonstration and they could merely have been asked to disperse.

Shumba said he was concerned that some of the demonstrators might be sent
back to Zimbabwe.† In view of the government crackdown, he said their lives
would be in grave danger if they returned.

††††††Meanwhile, the Movement for Democratic Change in Johannesburg
reports that about 200 to 250 heavily armed police are currently raiding the
MDC’s Harvest House Headquarters in Harare.

The armed policemen have taken as many as three hundred mainly rural people
who had sought sanctuary at the party headquarters to escape the brutal
violence unleashed by the regime on opposition members and supporters.

According to the MDC, the police claim they are searching for various
undisclosed documents.

Specifically, they say they require the documents that formed the basis of
the MDC’s claim that they won the election in general and the Presidential
ballot in particular.

They have also taken all computers and equipment used by the MDC at their
election command centre.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the offices of the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network in Harare have also been raided.† The ZESN is an NGO
coalition formed to promote democratic processes.

ENDS

For further information:

Simon Mudekwa, President, The Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe

Cell:† 079 619 2955† Email:† rymzim@yahoo.com.au

MDC Johannesburg:

Mr Nqobizitha Mlilo MDC Regional Office Spokesperson:083 527 4650

Mr George Sibotshiwe, President Tsvangirai spokesperson:† 076 6330 314

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum:

Gabriel Shumba Executive Director / Human Rights Lawyer

Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum†† Cell:† 072 639 3795


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Petition to Chinese Embassy - which the embassy refused to accept


Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe

Tel:† +27 11 339 3629

Cell:† 078 730 3844

E-mail:† rymzim@yahoo.com.au

To bring back the democratic dispensation, peace and tranquillity and health
to Zimbabwe

________________________________________________________________

25 April 2008

PETITION

To:††††††††††††His Excellency Zhong Jianhua, the Ambassador of the
People’s Republic of China to South Africa

The Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe, in association with the
Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum, the Zimbabwe Diaspora Forum and the Global Diaspora
Forum, calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately stop
supporting the Mugabe regime in its war of aggression against the people of
Zimbabwe.

We draw your attention to the fact that, since the March 29 presidential and
parliamentary elections:

q†Ten people have been brutally killed by the Mugabe regime

q†500 people have been injured, some so seriously that they will never
recover

q†Hundreds of homes have been burnt

q†At least 3 000 families have been displaced

q† More than 400 Movement for Democratic Change activists have been
detained

Furthermore, we draw your attention to the terrible suffering of those
people who have died at the hands of Mugabe’s militia, and the pain and
devastation caused to their families, some of whom were forced to witness
the horrors.

q†Tapiwa Mubwanda, a 55-year-old election agent and organiser for
Zimbabwe's Movement of Democratic Change was brutally murdered by Zanu PF
members.† Photographs of his gruesome wounds have shocked the world.

q†Brighton Mbwera (junior), a 5-year-old child from Manyika village in
Uzumba, died after the house he was sleeping in was set on fire by Zanu PF
on 18 April.† The parents were forced to bury their child without a
post-mortem.

q†A man who had burning plastic put on his back and arms is seriously
injured. His home was burnt down and his animals were doused in diesel and
burnt alive.

q†Another man was tied to his hut door by militia and then set alight.
His injuries are horrific and it was days before he could be admitted to
hospital.† Ambulances attempting to go into his area are either turned back
by police or threatened by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

We draw your attention to a speech made on 16 October 2006 by Ambassador Liu
Guijin, at that time China’s Ambassador to South Africa.† He said:

“Today, China is working hard to build a harmonious society domestically and
is in favor of building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common
prosperity.”

This is indeed a noble objective.

However, China’s role in Zimbabwe is in direct conflict with Ambassador
Guijin’s pronouncement.† China is supporting a corrupt, evil and despotic
regime which has totally wrecked the country’s once thriving economy and
destroyed its status as a regional breadbasket and highly prized tourist
destination.

As a direct result of the Mugabe regime’s policies, people’s lives have been
reduced to abject poverty, with more than 4.1 million people requiring food
aid.† Unemployment is over 80 percent and as many as 3 500 people a week are
dying of hunger and disease.† Thousands of people whose homes were destroyed
during Operation Murambatsvina remain destitute.

On behalf of the people of Zimbabwe we demand:

† a.. That China recalls the cargo of arms aboard the vessel “An Yue Jiang”
† b.. That this shipment of arms is not sent to Zimbabwe on another vessel
or by air
† c.. That China stops all supplies of arms to the Zimbabwean regime
† d.. That China recalls all soldiers stationed in Zimbabwe for the purpose
of suppressing the will of the people and ensuring the regime retains power
† e.. That China stops the supply of surveillance equipment to Zimbabwe for
illegal internet censorship and surveillance
† f.. That China stops providing huge loans to prop up the bankrupt Mugabe
regime
† g.. That China respects the human rights of all Zimbabweans

We wish to draw your attention to the fact that China has previously
supplied arms to the Mugabe regime, notably:

June 2004:† China supplied the Zimbabwean regime with 12 FC-1 jet fighters
and 100 military vehicles worth US$ 240 million, an investment the country
could not afford.

February 2005:† China supplied the Zimbabwean regime with assault rifles,
military vehicles and other support material, including more than 100
Dongfeng vehicles, via the port of Beira.† This was just a month ahead of
the 2005 parliamentary elections.

In both instances, the money should have been spent where it was most
needed, notably food for the poor, healthcare, education and the
disintegrating infrastructure.

We draw your attention to the issue of human rights:

q†We note that, in the wake of widespread criticism ahead of the
Olympic Games in Beijing, the Chinese government has promised to improve
human rights within China.

q†We reiterate that gross human rights abuses are being committed by
the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe and that, in supporting the regime, China is
severely tainting its reputation.

Signed this day in Pretoria, South Africa:

………………………………..††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ………………………………

Simon Dreadman Mudekwa
Gabriel Shumba

President:
Executive Director

Revolutionary Youth Movement of Zimbabwe†††††††††††††Zimbabwe Exiles’
Forum

…………………………………

His Excellency Zhong Jianhua
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China


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Chinese arms ship allowed to dock in Angola: report

africasia

LUANDA, April 25 (AFP)

Angola has given authorisation for a Chinese ship loaded with arms destined
for Zimbabwe to dock but it will not be allowed to unload the weapons, the
state news agency Angop reported on Friday.

The ship, the An Yue Jiang, has been authorised to dock in the capital
Luanda but can only unload "merchandise destined for Angola," Angop said,
citing a government statement.

"The weaponry that the ship brings destined for Zimbabwe is not authorised
to be unloaded on national territory," the statement was quoted as saying.

It was not immediately clear if the ship had already docked in Luanda.

The ship, which is owned by Chinese state shipping company Cosco, is loaded
with several containers of assault rifle ammunition, rocket-propelled
grenades and mortar rounds ordered by Zimbabwe.

Following a protest by dock workers, a South African court last week banned
the arms from being transported through South African territory and there
has been an international outcry over the shipment.

Human rights groups fear the arms could be used as part of a government
crackdown on opposition supporters in Zimbabwe following disputed
parliamentary and presidential elections on March 29.

China appeared to heed international pressure this week, saying the ship was
being turned back, even though it has defended its right to sell arms to
Zimbabwe as part of its international trade.

"To my knowledge, the Chinese company has decided to bring back the boat,"
Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, told reporters in Beijing on
Thursday after a call from the United States for the arms to be turned back.

In an interview with state television aired on Friday, Zimbabwean Defence
Minister Sydney Sekeremayi, defended the shipment saying it was part of
regular arms purchases from China.

"We received a lot of arms and equipment from China during the time of the
liberation struggle. The cooperation has continued and we continue to buy
and receive arms from China," Sekeremayi said.

The European Union and the United States have banned arms sales to Zimbabwe
as part of a package of sanctions that includes a travel ban and asset
freeze on top officials including President Robert Mugabe.


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US envoy meets Angolan leader for Zimbabwe talks

Yahoo News

Fri Apr 25, 11:12 AM ET

LUANDA (AFP) - The main US envoy for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, met Angolan
President Eduardo dos Santos on Friday as part of a regional tour aimed at
putting pressure on embattled Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe.

Assistant Secretary of State Frazer met Dos Santos at the presidential
palace for closed-door talks expected to focus on the deepening political
crisis in Zimbabwe, an AFP correspondent at the venue said.

Dos Santos, a close ally of Mugabe, is chairman of a political and security
cooperation group within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), a
key regional organisation.

SADC has come under growing international pressure to intervene in the
Zimbabwe crisis, following disputed presidential and parliamentary elections
held on March 29.

The presidential election results have not been officially released but
Frazer on Thursday said the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, was the clear victor.

Frazer was expected to hold talks in Zambia with SADC chairman Levy
Mwanawasa, a vocal critic of Mugabe.


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A letter from the diaspora

www.cathybuckle.com

†25th April 2008

Dear Friends.
One image more than any other from Zimbabwe, reduced me to tears this week.
It was a picture of a little old lady, probably Mugabe's own age, with a
bloody dressing on her head. Her hair had been cut away to allow the medics
to dress the head wound and her face stared out at the camera beneath the
tufts of grey. Apart from the dressing on her head there was no other
evidence of the attack. Other victims are covered in blood or burn marks
with broken and bandaged limbs but this woman had only the head wound to
show what had happened to her. I do not know her name or what 'crime' she
was supposed to have committed that earned her such punishment; perhaps a
son or grandson had been an MDC supporter and she was punished for nothing
more than being the mother or grandmother of a 'traitor' considered by the
mindless thugs who are inflicting the violence to be selling out the
country's independence. That was, after all, what their president had told
them on Independence Day, that the opposition were traitors, selling the
country back to the British. Youngsters not even born during the Liberation
struggle 'bash' the opposition, beating women and children, fathers and
grandfathers for 'voting the wrong way'. They are all victims of this
mindless brutality and like the old lady in the photograph their faces
reveal the utter confusion and bewilderment that life should be reduced to
this cruel parody of independence in the sovereign state of Zimbabwe.
The British did not bring us democracy, Mugabe thundered in his address at
Gwanzura stadium on Independence Day, we the liberation forces, brought
democracy to Zimbabawe. That is what we fought for, One Man One Vote. For
exercising that democratic right the Zimbabwean people are now being
'bashed,' (Mugabe's own word) and beaten to a pulp. Zimbabwe Doctors for
Human Rights report this week that they have treated 323 victims of violence
since April 1st. That is Robert Mugabe's response to the democratic voice of
the people. One month after the election Zimbabweans still do not know the
precise results and the farce of a recount goes on with the docile Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission releasing the results drip-by-drip, so typical of the
Zanu PF tactics in the past when they have rigged the figures in their own
favour. It doesn't seem to be working this time but maybe by the weekend
they will have somehow managed it.
As for the Presidential vote, I don't believe we will ever hear that figure;
instead we have the idea floated in the government mouthpiece that a fresh
election would be pointless in the present climate. A government of national
unity is the solution, suggests an unknown 'academic' at the UZ. So that's
how Our Dear Old Man is proposing to stay in power? By simply ignoring the
will of the people as expressed on March 29th and magnanimously proposing a
government of national unity which he will head - of course.
But there's a problem! No one in their right mind believes that Robert
Mugabe could work with the MDC or that he could sit down with Morgan
Tsvangirai to solve the country's almost insurmountable problems. This week
the price of one loaf of bread – if you could find one – rose to one million
Zim dollars and one egg, just one, was twenty million. And what does
Mugabe's rogue regime do in the face of a desperate and near starving
population, they order arms from China to use against an enemy that exists
only in Mugabe's paranoid imagination. To him and the parasites who surround
him, the enemy is anyone who opposes the ruling party.
Robert Mugabe has never hesitated to show his absolute contempt for Morgan
Tsvangirai, He has abused and insulted the MDC leader, verbally and
physically, dismissing him as a puppet and stooge of the British, 'They got
what they deserved' commented Mugabe when MDC leaders were beaten to within
an inch of their lives by his hated state security agents.
We hear that Mugabe was almost prepared to concede defeat when he saw the
election results, that was until the hawks in the army and police persuaded
him otherwise, fearful that they would lose all their ill-gotten gains and
even more fearful that they would face prosecution for their crimes against
humanity. I suspect it is the thought of sitting down with Morgan Tsvangirai
and acknowledging him as an equal that really sticks in Mugabe's throat. His
arrogance and self-belief are so great that he can never acknowledge that he
was beaten fair and square by the 'teaboy' of the white man as he calls
Morgan Tsvangirai.
The game is lost but Mugabe cannot accept defeat; even one of his own former
army generals is now saying, 'We must accept the reality that we have lost
these elections to the MDC' and even more tellingly he adds, 'We lost these
harmonised elections because of one man. People rejected us because we were
campaigning for Mugabe.' Incidentally the general was himself conceding
defeat to the MDC candidate in Gutu when he said these words after a
recount!
The end is near, I believe. Time to go home Morgan Tsvangirai; you have done
a great job informing Africa and the international community but now it is
time to be there with your people. They need you, not least that old lady,
beaten, frightened and confused; she and thousands like her, they need their
true leader.
As I complete this letter reports are coming in of a police attack on MDC
headquarters and of hundreds of people being taken away, including the
victims of violence who had sought sanctuary at Harvest House. When will
Africa and the world respond to the cries of the people of Zimbabwe? They
need help now.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle.PH


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UK Suspends Aid Package



Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

24 April 2008
Posted to the web 25 April 2008

Kuda Chikwanda

THE United Kingdom has suspended the £1 billion (US$2 billion) a year
international emergency aid and development package it had set aside for
Zimbabwe until the outcome of the presidential results is announced.

Businessdigest understands that discussions around the rescue package which
had been supposed to take place at the spring meetings at the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) last week did not take place as originally scheduled.

Sources said the discussions were slated pending the outcome of the
presidential elections and were removed from the agenda of the IMF meetings
held on April 12 and 13.

"There was some last minute manouvring but eventually the issue was removed
from the agenda," said one source.

"However, the UK has always been clear as to where it stands on the issue of
the current government, particularly on issues to do with corruption and
abuse of state funds, so there will be no funding as long as they remain in
office."

The British embassy in Zimbabwe could not confirm the developments.

However, First Secretary for Political, Press and Public Affairs, Keith
Scott said the UK was still prepared to respond to the dynamics in Zimbabwe
but refused to go into detail.

"We stand ready to respond to the changing circumstances facing Zimbabwe,
but this is not the time to go into detail of recovery packages," Scott
said.

Scott said the UK was still holding consultations with the World Bank on
economic support for Zimbabwe's recovery.

"The United Kingdom is ready for both positive change in Zimbabwe and
continued decline.

We are working with the World Bank and other donors in preparing to support
recovery as soon as positive political change comes," he said.

Under the initial arrangement, the rescue package would have been
coordinated by the IMF, World Bank, the European Union and the United
Nations.

The issue would have been discussed this week at the EU general affairs
council.

The UK was also pushing for the package to be discussed on the sidelines of
the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Bucharest.

It had been drafted along the lines of rescue packages prepared by the IMF
and Sadc in 1999 and last year respectively.

The packages were rejected by President Robert Mugabe who claimed that the
conditions attached to the packages would result in the "re-colonisation" of
Zimbabwe.

Acting director of the IMF African department, Benedicte Christensen
revealed after the spring meetings that the IMF's major concern was finding
immediate solutions to halting the country's hyperinflation.

Christensen alluded to the harmful effects of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's
quasi-fiscal activities sustained through the printing of money and
unsustainable increases in money supply.

"As we have said earlier in our reports on Zimbabwe, we need to immediately
stop hyper-inflation...We do not have any one way of dealing with Zimbabwe.
I think the core issue is to stop the money press, in part by getting the
fiscal situation under control," she said.


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USA / ZIMBABWE / Statement on Assistant Secretary Frazer's Meeting With MDC Leader Morgan†Tsvangirai

http://appablog.wordpress.com


Press Statement
Office of the Press Secretary
Pretoria, South Africa
April 25, 2008

Statement on Assistant Secretary Frazer?s Meeting With MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai

Pretoria ? U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Dr. Jendayi Frazer, met with the leader of Zimbabwe?s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai on April 24, 2008 in Pretoria, South Africa.

They discussed how the situation has moved from an electoral crisis to a human rights and humanitarian crisis. Assistant Secretary Frazer expressed the United States? concern about the violence and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe after the election, including the documented reports of granaries being burned down and civilians being assaulted by Zimbabwe security forces, so-called war veterans, and youth militia.

Also discussed was their joint perception that ?political space? in Zimbabwe has closed, making it almost impossible for any reasonable notion of a run-off election. They agreed that, given the long delay, any results will have limited credibility at this point.

After the meeting, Assistant Secretary Frazer stated, ?It was a good meeting and a good opportunity to consult with the MDC leadership on their recent consultations across Africa, the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe, and their views on the way forward to achieve a resolution of the post-election and humanitarian crises in Zimbabwe. We assured the MDC that we would look at additional international action to address, and bring attention to, the evolving human rights and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.?

Released on April 25, 2008


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Beleaguered Mugabe ventures into opposition heartland

africasia

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, April 25 (AFP)

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe made a rare foray into the opposition's
heartland on Friday as the US piled further pressure on him to stand down
after last month's election.

Mugabe was due to launch an international trade fair in the southern city of
Bulawayo, which has long been the bastion of opposition to his 28-year rule
and failed to elect a single lawmaker from the ruling party in the March 29
vote.

While there were no advance details of his speech, it will be only the
second address that Mugabe has delivered since election day when he sought
to gain a sixth term in office.

The Zimbabwean government has so far given no response to a blunt
declaration by the top US envoy for Africa that he had been clearly beaten
by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the people had voted for change.

With the electoral commission having failed to give any word on the outcome
of a simultaneous presidential election, Assistant Secretary of State
Jendayi Frazer said any results that were to be announced would lack
credibility.

"It is hard for us to accept that any result at this point would have any
credibility," Frazer told reporters on Thursday after talks with officials
in Zimbabwe's giant neighbour South Africa.

"The Zimbabwean people voted for change and we feel the will of the people
must be respected."

Frazer was due to travel to the Angolan capital Luanda on Friday where she
was expected to hold talks with veteran President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The Angolan leader is a long-time ally of Mugabe but has so far made made no
public pledge of support for his Zimbabwean counterpart.

Frazer wants to ensure that none of the countries in the region come to the
aid of Mugabe and hammer home the message that any such support would damage
their relations with Washington.

The Bush administration has nailed its colours firmly to the mast of
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who met with Frazer at an
undisclosed venue in South Africa on Thursday night.

The US government has made clear that it will lift all sanctions against
Zimbabwe if Tsvangirai -- who has already declared himself the victor of the
March 29 polls -- takes up the reins of office.

Mugabe has blamed the sanctions imposed by the US and European Union, which
are largely limited to a ban on arms sales and a travel ban on top
Zimbabwean officials, for the country's economic decline in recent years.

Once the bread basket of the region, Zimbabwe is now groaning under the
impact of an annual inflation rate officially put at 165,000 percent, the
highest in the world.

No sector of the economy has escaped the impact of the economic malaise and
foreign investors have largely turned their back on the country.

The once-bustling trade fair in Bulawayo is now a shadow of its former self
and the number of exhibitors on Friday was well down on previous years.

However the government was trying to put a brave face on proceedings, with
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu describing Zimbabwe as "an economic
powerhouse."

"There are some foreign exhibitors although there are fewer than last year,"
Ndlovu said on the sidelines of the fair.

"The ones who have come are the ones who believe in the Zimbabwe story --†
that Zimbabwe is an economic destination, an economic powerhouse.

"They have defied all odds and the demonisation of the president and the
government and the wrong predictions that the Zimbabwe economy is falling
down and they have confidence in our economy and are prepared to invest in
this country."


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Mugabe and the Devil

http://journals.aol.co.uk/pharmolo/NorthernTrip/entries/2008/04/21/mugabe-and-the-devil/6254

And Mugabe awoke with a hoof on his throat and he struggled and howled to be
free, And tripped on the racks of his English shoes and clawed at his
English suits,
And crashed down the unlit corridors where his wife has collected her loot,
Screaming "You may not condemn me - there are by-laws and statutes and
†fines"
But the Devil replied "God's law trumps that, and by his law you're mine."
Come, see what you've done to your people, see what you've done to your
land,
And then I'll haul you back into the light, and see if you understand;
Then the Devil seized him by his neck and dragged him up into the night
And Bob hung limp, for one against one was not his idea of a fight
They spiralled down to a wasteland, and Mugabe sprawled on his face,
"Spare me, spare me" he whimpered, "spare me this terrible place",
For he saw charred beams and scattered bricks, filth and ruin and weeds,
And through the dawn came children, sifting the dust for seeds.
"Eight years ago" said the Devil, "this place was heavy with maize,
There was fruit on the trees and crops in the earth and grass for the cows
to graze,
†It was farmed by those who loved the soil, who knew it and tended it well,
And now it's farmed by cellphone, from the Monomotapa hotel."
"Racist" screamed Mugabe, "Imperialist, Colonist, Queer!
These people are free, that's down to me and that's why I rule here!"
"Free to do what?" asked the Devil, "to cower and cringe to survive?
The farms are going, the work is gone, now only your thugs can thrive,
Preying on women and children, feeding on horror and fear,
Flying flags of hate and despair that had no business here;
Look at your mindless militias, look in each alien face,
Condemned by their own insanity, exiled for life from the race,
Watch them go into action, cheer as they take up the fight,
Beating up Zimbabweans for the crime of being white,
Red-eyed from drink, thick-tongued from drugs, watch them go off on a spree
Burning the homes of Africans who dared to be honestly free."
Mugabe licked his lips and whispered, "All freedom comes at a price,"
"Indeed?" said the Devil "And for the record - what was your sacrifice?
Did you give blood to the struggle? How manytimes were you mortared?
Or did you play politics in a hotel, and wait till your rivals were
slaughtered?
If ever you tasted honour or pain those tastes were long since forgotten,
Eclipsed by the flavours of power and greed, the aromas of all that is
rotten.
Come, Mugabe" and up they flew and soared over country and town
And each time they swooped, hunger and horror reached up to pull them down,
And the souls of children streamed past them, and on and up into the light
And Mugabe whimpered and twisted, to shield his eyes from the sight
"Sons of despair," said the Devil "and daughters of desolate selves,
It's the West that gives food to your people, while your cronies are
stuffing themselves, The West you despise and prosecute is the innocent's
sponsor and friend,
But when your young 'veterans' seize the supplies, these fragile lives have
to end;"
"I did not know," croaked Mugabe and the Devil applauded with glee:
"Save your lies for Mbeki, they make no impression on me.
Now, look at the shuttered factories, look at the overnight queues."
†"Blame the British," Bob stammered, "the whites, the Norwegians, the Jews."
But the streets sent up a whisper, a whisper as loud as a roar:
"The old man who stole three elections - it's time that we showed him the
door!"
A scream rose up from the city, a scream rose up from a cell,
And the Devil plunged them into the earth and a cameo from hell
Of shadowed figures with smiling lips that shone with delight and disdain,
Of a body convulsing and wrenching, shaking apart from the pain;
"Applaud your police," said the Devil, "corrupted beyond repair,
And caress the electrodes, the batons and guns, and the innocent tied to the
chair."
But as Mugabe stretched out his hand the scene was gone in a flash,
And he stared instead at a drive full of Mercs and a house full of money and
trash,
And then at the gloom of an upstairs room, heavy with malice and lies,
Where fat men sat and talked poison, avoiding each others' eyes:
"Here are your generals," the Devil hissed, "your ministers, judges and
hacks,
They have fortunes and forex and farms they can't farm, it's only a future
they lack,
Do they flee for Malaysia , Libya , France with their women and all they can
pack?
Or do they just turn and remove you, and claim dispensation for that?
Look at the wealth that seeps from them, and then hold your nose at the
stench
Of the paltry crew that cleave to you, the cowards, the fools and the
French;
See them plotting and scheming; hear your folly despised,
Even your reptiles want you gone - you made them, are you surprised?
Now do you know what you are Mugabe, now do you understand?
You're the Lord of the bloated thousand, and King of an empty land.
What gave you most pleasure Mugabe? Which wickedness tasted most sweet? The
mass murder of† Ndebele? The children with nothing to eat?
The whites you had casually butchered? The election results that you
changed?
Or the war that you fought in the Congo , for diamond commissions arranged?
The perversion of half of the system? The enrichment of those you despise?
The limos and money and power? The lies and the lies and the lies?
I ought to admire you Mugabe; you've certainly earned your hellfire,
And all for small motives, self interest and fear, that aspect I have to
admire;
Better by far that you never had lived, Robert Gabriel,
The world will heal the wounds you've left, but I cannot heal you in hell!"
Then the Devil's right hand grabbed Mugabe, and Mugabe he screamed in his
fright,
And scrabbled and pleaded and whimpered and begged.
And awoke to an African night,
And sweated and panted and shuddered, calling his aides to his side,
Reconstituting his ego, his vanity, evil and pride,
But then screamed again, recoiling, from that he could not bear to see:
The slogans burning his eyes from the walls and the words. we want to be
free!
Enough is enough! Zvakwana!! Sokwanele!!
The Devil meandered down Second, and strolled up Samora Machel,
"The brave will inherit," he murmured, "when I have Mugabe in hell:
And the dawn will return to Zimbabwe , and children will learn how to smile,
Zimbabwe is one of God's countries. but at least it was mine for a while

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