Yesterday I received news that Mrs Sekai
Holland (MDC Secretary for International Affairs) is likely to be arrested and
her passport seized, and her husband, Jim Holland, an Australian citizen, is
likely to be deported.
Three reliable sources contacted Mrs
Holland on Tuesday evening to warn her that the Cabinet had made this decision
earlier in the day.
While preparing for the worst, Mrs
Holland has informed the Australian and other High Commissions and Embassies of
the threat, and asked them to urge the Mugabe government not to implement this
Mrs Holland wrote: "No one is really
surprised. We have heard for a long time that the MDC party department that
most worries Mugabe's boys is the small MDC International Affairs one. I think
it is a tribute to you all in Australia in the Zimbabwe Information Centre. It
is all of the handful of supporters everywhere outside Zim who have loyally,
tirelessly assisted MDC to build itself up. I want to congratulate everyone of
you because the attack on Jim and I is really an admission of your
effectiveness, all of you in your work".
Mrs Holland believes that the
immediate trigger for the impending move against her and her husband was Jim's
impact as a witness in the outrageous case against Guardian journalist Andrew
Meldrum. Jim's evidence was crucial in the surprise decision to throw out the
charge, based on the new laws to curb journalists. On his acquittal, Meldrum was
threatened with immediate deportation, but the government has so far failed to
demonstrate to the High Court any ground for his deportation. This legal problem
may also assist Jim Holland.
Mrs Holland's own role in speaking to
African leaders in Durban, at the recent launching of the African Union, is
Mrs Holland believes that the decision
to move against her and Jim reveals the desperation of the Mugabe government,
and is an indicator that change will come soon. She reports that very poor
people everywhere are now openly saying how fed up they are with what Mugabe has
done to their lives, and that it must end.
She warns the international community
about making any deal with Mugabe behind the backs of MDC. She fears that Mugabe
will lash out at MDC with extreme violence as his regime continues to crumble,
but that the people will remove him at this point, and change will come.
I propose that ZIC launches a media
release, and calls for a protest blitz to the Zimbabwe High Commission in the
short time now available to us, and at the same time, call on all our
institutional and political supporters to press the Australian government and
the Commonwealth to protest in the strongest terms at the threat.
* * *
Choose your own words, but the message
could be like this:
Ms Florence Chitauro
High Commissioner for
11 Culgoa Circuit
O'MALLEY ACT 2606
Fax: 02 6290 1680
Protest at threat to Mrs Sekai Holland
and Mr Jim Holland
Dear High Commissioner,
I protest in the strongest terms at
reliable reports that the Zimbabwe government decided at its meeting on July 16
to have Mrs Sekai Holland, MDC Secretary for International Affairs, arrested and
her passport seized, and to have Mr Jim Holland's permanent residency revoked
and to deport him.
This repression of political opponents
can only further damage and isolate the government of Zimbabwe, and make worse
the terrible economic, health, social and political catastrophe now overwhelming
I urge your government to cancel this
decision to repress the Hollands, and instead to respond genuinely and urgently
to the call of your people for democracy, peace and recovery, and the similar
persistent calls of the international community, including your African neighbours.