Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Sebastien Berger
Last Updated: 8:33PM BST 09/06/2008
Robert Mugabe's regime has revealed plans that would allow it to retake
parliament from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Robert Mugabe's regime yesterday revealed plans that would allow it to
retake parliament from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Under new rules, anyone arrested for committing or inciting political
violence will be denied bail, a move that could be used to detain MPs from
the MDC for extended periods.
Deputy attorney-general Johannes Tomana told the state Herald newspaper: "We
have made it a point that those arrested are locked up right up to trial. It
does not matter who commits the offence. We are doing this without fear or
favour. We will be tough with them now."
In March, The MDC overturned the ruling Zanu-PF party's stranglehold on
parliament, which it had held for 28 years.
However, the regime's plan would ensure that the Mugabe regime could "roll
back" the MDC's small majority.
Sydney Masamvu, a Pretoria-based analyst for the International Crisis Group,
predicted that opposition politicians would be "arrested on spurious grounds
of inciting violence" to shorten the odds.
"They will pick up a number of MPs, lock them up and forget about them," he
said. "It's a multi-pronged approach Zanu-PF is employing to rob the MDC of
its parliamentary majority."
Meanwhile, Mr Mugabe's militia has terrorised a pensioner's club in Harare,
claiming it to be a "secret group of Rhodesian army officers" threatening
the overthrow the regime.
The Men of Tin Hats club for veterans of world wars - many in their 80s -
was raided by police and Mugabe regime thugs, who claim to be "war veterans"
The Herald newspaper quoted Inspector James Sabau as saying that they were
investigating "secret meetings" linked to alleged political violence by the
"The meetings, held under the cover of darkness and secrecy, come in the
wake of several unsolved violence cases that have bewildered security agents
in the country," the Herald report said.
Members of the Moths club said the raiders stole the club's food and
confiscated guns and other war memorabilia.
"Are we such a dangerous lot?" said Lloyd Fulton, 83, who last saw action in
1945 with the South African Sixth Division in Italy.
Alan Armour, 80, another member, said: "I read the Herald and smiled. This
is because of the election at the end of the month."
More than 60 opposition members and supporters have been killed in a
campaign of violence launched by Zanu-PF since the poll, but the authorities
have repeatedly blamed the MDC for the turmoil.
By Jan Raath | Times Staff | Monday, June 9, 2008 15:55
Zimbabwe, Harare - For a wad of worthless Zimbabwean banknotes
President Mugabe's militias burnt six-year-old Nyasha Mashoko to death.
The target of the Zanu (PF) thugs had been the boy's father, Brian
Mamhova. They came for him on Friday night - three truckloads of them, plus
a Mercedes Benz from which alighted three armed men in suits, Mr Mamhova
The militiamen had been promised Z$25 trillion (£12,500) to kill him,
which seems a high price on the head of a district councillor but which is
no problem for a Government that sees printing money as the best way out of
Mr Mamhova was elected a councillor for the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in elections on March 29 for the Harare South district council,
an area of farms and rundown houses on the outskirts of the capital, close
to Harare airport.
At 8pm on Friday Mr Mamhova was asleep. His wife, Pamela Pasvani, 21,
his son, Nyasha, his younger brother and a nephew were in an adjoining room.
"They [the militiamen] got in the room where I was and they were
searching me against the wall," he said. He managed to break free from the
men holding them and slipped past the others in the darkness. He stopped
running when he was 100 metres away, and hid behind a bush. "They were
running past me," he said, and he heard them muttering that they were about
to lose their bounty.
"They locked the door where my wife was. They smashed the windows and
threw petrol inside. Then they lit it," he said. "Inside the house, my young
brother broke the door. I thank God, otherwise they would be burnt, all of
them. He took my nephew out of the room. Then he went back into the room and
he took my wife, but it was late. She got 80 per cent burnt. My son was
burnt to pieces."
"Then they beat everybody there, my neighbours, everyone. Many of them
are in Chitungwiza hospital [the nearest state hospital] now." His brother
and his nephew escaped with minor burns. "I am in a hidden place now. They
are hunting me. They are saying they want to kill me. It is terrible." The
perpetrators of such crimes act with impunity, he said.
"When they did this, they were led by their local Zanu (PF) chairman.
He lives close to our place. All of them are still there, now." Mr Mamhova
was left with only the shorts he was wearing. "Everything was burnt. There
is nothing left. The clothes, the blankets, the food, all burnt. Somebody
gave me some clothes."
His wife died on Saturday in ward C6 of the burns unit of Harare
hospital. "No one survives more than 50 per cent burns," a doctor there
said. She was 18 weeks pregnant.
The terror tactic of burning people alive has been little used by Zanu
(PF) in recent years but seems to be being revived. Last Wednesday, in the
village of Jerera in Zaka district in the southeast of the country, a group
of gunmen described as being in riot police uniform broke into an MDC office
and fired on six people. Then they poured petrol over them and set them
ablaze. Two died in the fire.
A photograph of one of them, published in a local independent
newspaper, was remarkably like the picture of one of the charred victims of
the xenophobic violence in Johannesburg two weeks ago. Two others are in
Harare hospital with 30 and 40 per cent burns respectively. The remaining
two have disappeared.
In 1963, when the black nationalist movement fighting against the
white minority Rhodesian Government split, youths on either side of the
divide locked people in their houses in urban townships and threw petrol
The leader of the youth wing of one faction - the newly formed
Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), forerunner to Zanu (PF) - was a
young school teacher named Robert Mugabe.
"If you look back at the methods of Zanu (PF) since it was formed, the
only one who was there from that time is the President," Willas Madzimure, a
Harare MP, said. "Which means he knows exactly how to do it." --Times/Harare
10 June 2008
By Fanuel Jongwe
ZIMBABWE's opposition feared a new crackdown yesterday as authorities vowed
to get tough on perpetrators of political violence in the approach to this
month's run-off election.
As a leading rights group warned mounting violence had extinguished chances
of a free and fair ballot, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
said a vow by authorities to deny bail to anyone suspected of committing or
inciting unrest would be used to further hamper their election campaign.
Announcing the plan to systematically refuse bail to anyone suspected of
political violence, deputy attorney general Johannes Tomana told the
state-run Herald newspaper: "Zimbabweans are entitled to security of their
lives and property.
"It does not matter who commits the offence. We are doing this without fear
or favour. We will be tough with them now."
However the MDC chief spokesman ridiculed the idea that the new directive
would be applied even-handedly.
"The law is not applied evenly and not even one ZANU-PF will be locked up,"
Nelson Chamisa told AFP in reference to Mugabe's ruling party.
"It's clear that this measure is meant to target key MDC members and
activists and keep them behind bars as a way of hampering the MDC campaign."
Meanwhile an association of Zimbabwean doctors said they had treated nearly
3,000 victims of political violence since the first round of voting on March
Many MDC supporters who have been injured in the violence have taken shelter
at the party's headquarters in Harare.
Speaking after meeting some of the victims, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said he was deeply shocked by their plight.
"I can assure you that the people we have met across the country in the past
few days are determined to end this suffering on the 27th of June. Let us be
strong and finish it," he said Tsvangirai has himself been beaten in the
past by members of the security services while trying to protest against the
By Jonga Kandemiiri
09 June 2008
More than 400 members of the youth militia closely linked to Zimbabwe's
ruling ZANU-PF party on Monday invaded the village of Kodzwa in Mazowe
Central constituency in Mashonaland Central and beat suspected opposition
supporters, sources said.
The sources charged that Deputy Youth Minister Savior Kasukuwere was behind
the attacks, as he had promised on the weekend to crush the opposition in
the province. Kasukuwere could not be reached on his mobile phone to respond
to the charge.
In Guruve, Mashonaland Central, a source said seven opposition activists
from the constituencies of Guruve North, Guruve South and Mbire arrested
over the weekend on charges of assaulting ZANU-PF supporters.
In Manicaland province, opposition provincial spokesman Pishai Muchauraya
said the head of the Makoni Central party branch was arrested Monday morning
after visiting the Nyazura police station to ask about members arrested on
Muchauraya said soldiers and police arrested 41 Movement for Democratic
Change activists on the weekend, going door-to-door beating and arresting
Newly-elected Mazowe Central parliamentarian Shepherd Mushonga told reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that MDC officials now fear
a repeat of an April attack on Chiweshe, Mazowe North, that left 13
FROM THE ZIMBABWE VIGIL
The former Archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu has asked
for forgiveness on behalf of South Africa for the recent xenophobic violence
against foreigners. He was speaking on Monday, 9th June, at St Martin in
the Fields, the famous London church on Trafalgar Square, where he blessed
three Zimbabwean sculptures which have been positioned near a room named in
his honour. Archbishop Tutu recalled that South Africans had taken refuge
in other African countries during the apartheid years and said the attacks
on foreigners were unacceptable. But on the positive side, South Africans
had been horrified and many had been wonderful in offering help to the
victims. Turning to Zimbabwe, Archbishop Tutu said it used to be a
showpiece in Africa: "It has now turned into the most horrendous nightmare".
He called for a peacekeeping force to be sent to Zimbabawe and advised
Mugabe: "How about stepping down? Oppression will not have the last word.
Freedom will come to Zimbabwe." Archbishop Tutu accepted a copy of a
petition from the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been protesting outside the
Zimbabwe Embassy every Saturday for the past 6 years. The petition calls on
President Mbeki of South Africa to stop supporting Mugabe and allow a change
of government in Zimbabwe so Zimbabwean exiles can return home. The petition
was presented by Chipo Chaya and Arnold Kuwewa of the Vigil management team.
The pettion proper is to be presented to the South African High Commission
at a demonstration by the Zimbabwe Vigil on Thursday 12th June from 12 noon
to 2 pm. The Archbishop was introduced to the crowded assembly by the
Reverend Nicholas Holtam who recalled the days when there was a vigil
outside South Africa House against the apartheid regime. Now, he said, it
had been replaced by the Vigil outside Zimbabwe House.
For photos of the event check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Published Date: 10 June 2008
By Fred Bridgland
THE executive director-elect of Zimbabwe's Human Rights Forum, which records
violations and gives free legal assistance to victims of government torture
and violence, has been arrested after a police raid on the body's
Abel Chikomo, 32, was arrested on Saturday, according to a civil society
group of organisations based at Johannesburg's University of the
Witwatersrand who are collecting and disseminating intelligence on the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.
Mr Chikomo and 13 other human rights activists attending a workshop were
picked up by police at Binga, 250 miles west of Harare, the capital, and
little news has been received of him since. The Johannesburg monitoring
group said it knew only that Mr Chikomo and the others were being denied
access to lawyers in a case the police have dubbed "political".
Mr Chikomo's arrest followed an earlier raid by police on the organisation's
HQ in Harare. According to a spokesman for the monitoring group, a police
officer warned Forum staff: "I am just the messenger, but we're warning
you - you are sailing too close to the wind."
The staff are understood to be terrified following the dressing-down. More
than 65 opposition members have been killed by soldiers, policemen and
militias loyal to the Zanu-PF government since the first round of voting in
a presidential poll on 29 March.
A run-off election between incumbent president, Robert Mugabe, and Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is
scheduled for 27 June. In the March election, marked by fraud and widespread
ballot rigging, Mr Tsvangirai won by 47.9 per cent of the total vote to
Mugabe's 43.2 per cent, falling short of the 50 per cent required for
Mr Chikomo has been an outspoken critic of Mugabe.
SW Radio Africa (London)
9 June 2008
Posted to the web 9 June 2008
A United Methodist Church Reverend lost an eye when soldiers and militias
near Nyazura in Manicaland province attacked him on Saturday.
The 42 year-old Reverand, Takura Bango, is in an intensive care unit at a
hospital in Mutare. He is due to go for an operation in the next 48 hours on
his right eye. The Reverend is from Chitenderano in Makoni South
constituency. MDC MP elect for the area Pishai Muchauraya said soldiers, led
by a Major Dangirwa, and militias were responsible for the attack on
'The attack was brutal. They used logs and sticks to beat him up saying he
supported the MDC. He lost his right eye in the attack and the beating only
stopped after they realised what they had done to him,' Muchauraya said.
The MDC MP added that dozens more were left injured on Saturday as soldiers
and militias went on a rampage. The beatings were punishment for attending
an MDC meeting on Friday. Muchauraya said Major Dangirwa made it clear the
MDC was banned from holding any rallies in the province.
In another attack, last week Monday, an outspoken and well known Mt Selinda
mission chaplain was abducted, following his powerful sermon on the
injustice, corruption, misgovernance and the illegitimacy of the Mugabe
regime from 1980 to date.
War veterans later invaded the mission and abducted the Reverand, who was
later released after intense interrogation.
'Soldiers have taken over the role of police officers. Zanu-PF is fighting
an undeclared war against innocent and unarmed victims. We need peacekeepers
to bring this madness to an end,' Muchauraya said.
The MDC secretary for International Affairs, Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro,
said election monitors and observers were expected to jet into the country
'They are supposed to arrive today (Monday) so we are checking with our
officials to find out who has arrived,' Mukonoweshuro said.
The issue of observers has now become a major concern for the MDC after the
Southern African Development Community promised to send an enlarged
contingent by early June to monitor the elections. Anglican Archbishop Thabo
Makgoba of South Africa said on Sunday the levels of intimidation showed the
importance of deploying large numbers of election monitors.
Speaking in Johannesburg after a trip to Zimbabwe the Archbishop said the
country was now a police state.
'The levels of intimidation I witnessed on a visit to Zimbabwe last week
underline the crucial importance of deploying large numbers of both
international and local election monitors for the June 27 presidential
run-off,' he said.
SW Radio Africa (London)
9 June 2008
Posted to the web 9 June 2008
With the presidential election run-off just 3 weeks away, political violence
is reaching new levels of brutality.
On Saturday morning the wife of Patson Chipiro, an MDC district chairman for
Mhondoro Ngezi, was brutally murdered by a marauding gang of Zanu PF
militants who attacked their village. Chipiro was not at home when the gang
arrived and his children fled the scene on seeing the mob. This left Mrs
Chipiro on her own and the thugs set about beating her. They then cut off
her hands and legs and dragged her body into a kitchen hut, which they set
on fire. The MDC said a sack containing her hands and legs was later
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa laid the blame for the attack squarely on
Mhondoro Ngezi MP Bright Matonga, who is also the Deputy Minister of
Information. He said the thugs are doing Matonga's bidding in the area. Mrs
Chipiro is due to be buried on Tuesday. Meanwhile Zanu PF thugs in Harare
South set on fire a house belonging to the councillor for ward 1. The
councillor, his pregnant wife and their 6-year-old son were all at home at
the time of the attack. The 6-year old died in the blaze, the pregnant wife
died on her way to hospital, the councillor survived. Over the weekend
police in Hatfield were said to be refusing to assist the family in
compiling a report, which was also needed to secure a burial order. Harare
South Zanu PF MP Hubert Nyanhongo was blamed for the attack.
The past few days have seen a serious escalation of violence, targeting the
families of MDC officials. The 78-year-old grandmother of Chamisa, along
with his mother and young brother, were severely assaulted when armed
soldiers raided their rural homestead in Gutu. The family of MDC MP elect
for Mbare in Harare Piniel Denga, was attacked by a group of Zanu-PF
supporters at Daybroke resettlement scheme in Chivhu. Several nephews and
nieces were force-marched from the family homestead to a torture camp at a
place called Chipisa.
Asked whether he thought the violence was meant to bully them into a
government of national unity Chamisa said the MDC would not speak to Zanu PF
about anything, as long as the violence persisted.
The Kuwadzana East legislator also said the June 27 run off would decide the
next government in power and it was up to whoever won the election to form a
broad inclusive government. He remained upbeat that despite the violence
their supporters would turn out in large numbers to 'finish off' what they
started during the March 29 election.
By Lee Shungu, on June 09 2008 18:19
A newly-born Zimbabwean group of war veterans is demanding for
twenty percent of the seats in Parliament, because they fought for the
country's independence, The Zimbabwe Gazette can reveal.
The ex-combatants group named Mwana Wevhu- The Revolutionary
Council body is currently making noise in the state media, vowing to stand
by its words as it is also strongly supporting president Robert Mugabe
whilst it also endorsed Mugabe's spouse- Grace as its patron.
Speaking in Harare on Thursday, the group chairman, Chris
Pasipamire said as war veterans, they should be respected and given a
'formal' platform to air their views, plights and comments.
"Therefore, we urgently demand for 20 percent of the seats in
Parliament. They should be given to us without hesitation."
"We fought for this country's independence. Zimbabwe's freedom
did not come on a silver platter. Neither did it come by pencil. Blood was
shed. We sacrificed our lives for the happiness now being enjoyed by many,"
The launch of this ex-combatants body comes ahead of the dubbed
'historic' presidential election run-off between veteran leader- Mugabe and
the country's main opposition president, Morgan Tsvangirai to take place on
June 27 2008.
In the first round of the election, Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai in
a disputed election, as the MDC claimed their president won by more than 50
percent of the vote thereby evading a run-off.
The Revolutionary Council- which constantly appears on the
country's sole broadcaster- ZBC TV is also reported to be calling for the
cancellation of the election run-off saying Mugabe must remain in office
until a new constitution is crafted and 'sanctions by the West' lifted.
"We certainly need our members to be MPs and Senators. I
certainly see no reason why we cannot do that," said Pasipamire.
On Thursday, there were also reports of US and UK diplomats who
were briefly detained in Bindura.
Armed war veterans are reported to have attempted to beat-up the
diplomats who locked themselves up in their vehicles as the crowd charged.
The war veterans managed to assault a Zimbabwean driver, with one of the
embassies. The diplomats fled in vehicles and were chased by the police who
caught up with them.
Pasipamire said his body also demands for a percentage stake in
"We are currently looking forward to working with the Land
Committee to see this happening."
"We fought for this country," he emphasised.
The group of war veterans also joins other ex-combatant
associations in promising to take up arms and defend "the revolution, land,
and its resources" if Mugabe loses the run-off to MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
It says Tsvangirai and his western friends have caused a lot of
suffering in the country, especially through sanctions in which t is against
this background that Mugabe lost in the March 29 presidential election.
According to SW Radio, the attempted beating of diplomats is to
be raised at the United Nations Council. US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James
McGee said Zimbabwe has become lawlessness whereby its own people take the
law into their own hands.
Recently, Mugabe threatened to kick McGee out of the country for
defying police orders not to enter into rural areas including a hospital
where victims of ZANU PF violence where admitted.
The Revolutionary Council concluded by clearing Mugabe's name
indicating it is some government officials who are corrupt, in which the
body is going to fight corruption in the country, especially in the ruling
ZANU PF government.
SW Radio Africa (London)
9 June 2008
Posted to the web 9 June 2008
The 14 members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were arrested 2 weeks
ago, appeared in court again on Friday and were further remanded until
Tuesday. All the main WOZA officials are part of the arrested group,
including coordinators Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu.
They are being charged with conducting activities that are likely to cause
public disorder and with distributing false information through their
fliers. The WOZA representative in the UK, Lois Davis, said if they are
brought to trial they would challenge the legislation under which they are
being charged, because it breaches sections of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The WOZA members first appeared in court on May 30 and were granted bail,
but the state appealed the decision. Now it is feared that they will be held
much longer after government this weekend announced that they were getting
tougher on activists. Deputy Attorney General Johannes Tomana told the
state-run Herald newspaper that bail would be denied to 'anyone suspected of
committing or inciting unrest' and it does not matter who commits the
offence. "We are doing this without fear or favour. We will be tough with
them now." he is quoted as saying.
Davis said 13 of the WOZA activists are being held at Chikurubi Prison for
women and 1 male is at Harare Remand Prison. Their spirits are high and they
have been receiving visitors and food. The human rights group Amnesty
International had expressed concern that the government had been planning to
torture the WOZA leaders because they had never before in the history of
their street activism been denied bail, but fortunately this did not happen.
The case is now to be heard Tuesday, which falls into the government's usual
pattern of delaying and then dropping charges. The time already served
becomes the sentence by default.
The charges relate to a demonstration that WOZA held in Bulawayo on April
9th, the first protest on the streets after the delay in announcing the
results of the March 29th elections. On that occasion a police vehicle drove
into the crowd of protestors, causing some serious injuries. A total of 59
members received medical treatment for injuries caused by the vehicle and
from police assaults.
Davis appealed to Zimbabweans to continue to help their cause by sending
short text messages to the Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, saying WOZA
members are peaceful human rights defenders who should be released
immediately from custody. Chinamasa's mobile number in Zimbabwe is
Another action that people can take is to phone the office of the acting
Attorney General Bharat Patel, also urging him to release the WOZA members
immediately as they have committed no crime. The number at the Attorney
General's office is Harare 774587. Faxes can be sent to the Ministry Of Home
Affairs at Harare 707231.
by Cuthbert Nzou Tuesday 10 June 2008
HARARE - United Nations (UN) agencies in Zimbabwe on Monday said a
government ban on humanitarian aid violated fundamental human rights
principles and had "created life threatening conditions" for more than two
million vulnerable people who survived on donor support.
The UN Country Team (UNCT) said worsening political violence that has
destroyed homes, property and livelihoods of victims made the move to stop
relief agencies from working in Zimbabwe all the more devastating for the
thousands of children and women affected by hunger and displaced by
"The decision by government to suspend all private voluntary organisations
(PVO/NGO) field operations further exacerbates this vulnerability, thus
creating avoidable life threatening conditions for many," the UNCT said in a
scathing attack on President Robert Mugabe's government.
The government on Thursday suspended all work by aid agencies in the
country, accusing them of using aid distribution to campaign for the
opposition ahead of a second round run-off election later this month between
Mugabe and opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader
Relief agencies deny interfering in Zimbabwe's political affairs while the
European Union, the United States, local church and human rights groups have
critcised the ban and called for it to be lifted.
The UN team said the aid ban had in one swoop cut off support to "tens of
thousands of orphans and vulnerable children" who received life sustaining
support from aid agencies on daily basis.
The ban also disrupted donor-backed community programmes to combat the
spread of HIV/AIDS, while thousands of people who received basic support
such as clean water, sanitation and education support services were left
The country team urged the government to rescind the ban in order to enable
NGOs to expand access of basic humanitarian assistance to vulnerable
populations throughout the country.
The UN team also called on Mugabe's government, all political parties and
other stakeholders to act to end political violence that the team said had
exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
The MDC accuses Mugabe of unleashing state security forces and ZANU PF
militias to wage violence against its supporters in an attempt to regain the
upper hand in the second ballot after the veteran leader lost the first
round poll in March to Tsvangirai.
The opposition party claims that at least 63 of its members have been killed
while more than 25 000 others have been displaced by political violence and
were in need of urgent humanitarian support.
The government however denies committing violence and instead blames the MDC
of carrying out violence in a bid to tarnish Mugabe's name.
Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, has grappled with severe food
shortages since 2000 when Mugabe launched his haphazard fast-track land
reform exercise that displaced established white commercial farmers and
replaced them with either incompetent or inadequately funded black farmers.
An economic recession marked by the world's highest inflation rate of more
than 165 000 percent has exacerbated the food crisis, with the government
out of cash to import food, while many families that would normally be able
to buy their own food supplies are unable to do so because of an
increasingly worthless currency.
Most households - especially the poor in rural areas - now depend on
handouts from foreign governments and relief agencies to survive. -
by Wayne Mafaro Tuesday 10 June 2008
HARARE - Lawyers for jailed opposition politician Eric Matinenga said
on Monday that they would file contempt of court charges against the police
for failing to release the politician despite an order to do so.
The High Court on Sunday ordered the police to release Matinenga, who
is a prominent human rights lawyer as well as the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party Member of Parliament-elect for Buhera West
But the police had by end of day on Monday not released Matinenga and
had instead appealed to the Supreme Court for a review of the High Court
Matinenga's lawyer, Lewis Uriri, said: "The police are in contempt of
court because an application for review of a judgment does not stay a
judgment and therefore they should have released him on the basis of the
earlier High Court order."
Uriri said in addition to filing contempt of court charges against the
police at the High Court, the defence team was also going to file a counter
application to the Supreme Court against the police.
The police accuse Matinenga of inciting public violence in Buhera West
although a magistrate's court cleared him of the charge last week and
ordered his release from jail.
The police initially complied with the order to release Matinenga but
only to re-arrest him on last Saturday exactly the same charges. - ZimOnline
UNITED NATIONS, June 9 (AFP)
The UN Security Council is to meet Thursday to weigh the humanitarian
situation in volatile Zimbabwe, where a presidential run-off is scheduled
late this month, diplomats said Monday.
The decision followed closed-door consultations on Zimbabwe earlier Monday
at which the United States and its European allies pushed for a wider
briefing by the UN secretariat, including on the political situation.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe lost the first round presidential vote on
March 29 to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The pair are to contest a
run-off on June 27.
But at the insistence of Russia and South Africa, the council decided that
Thursday's briefing would focus exclusively on Zimbabwe's dire humanitarian
situation, according to diplomats.
One Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia and
South Africa expressed concern that a wider briefing might undermine a
planned visit to Zimbabwe by UN Assistant Secretary General for Political
Affairs Haile Menkerios.
UN deputy spokeswoman Marie Okabe told AFP that Zimbabwean authorities have
welcomed Menkerios' upcoming visit and said the dates of the visit were
She said the purpose of the trip would be for Menkerios to have "discussions
with the government and all concerned parties about the upcoming elections
and see what can be done to help."
Meanwhile the European Union and the United States are to call on UN chief
Ban Ki-moon to send a team to Zimbabwe to monitor human rights as
presidential elections approach.
"We urge the UN Secretary General to send a team immediately to monitor
human rights and to deter further abuses," said a draft statement prepared
for an EU-US summit in Slovenia between US President George W. Bush and EU
The statement, obtained by AFP, also called for a "free and fair
presidential run-off" in Zimbabwe on June 27.
Tsvangirai was twice detained by police last week.
Authorities have also banned a series of rallies by his opposition Movement
for Democratic Change.
Mail and Guardian
09 June 2008 11:59
As Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe rolls out his strategy to
hang on to power, attacks on his opponents are getting bloodier by the day.
Restrictions on his political opponents' activities are also
getting tighter and now even humanitarian interventions by key aid groups
are being curtailed.
On Wednesday activists said three opposition supporters were
burned alive at the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) offices in Bikita,
As their bodies were carried to Harare, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was detained at a police station in Lupane. He was released eight
In the past two weeks Mugabe's regime has arrested four
opposition MPs and a leading opposition politician and banned the MDC from
On Sunday police surrounded the home of Arthur Mutambara, leader
of a faction of the MDC, and arrested him for writing a newspaper article
critical of Mugabe.
Mutambara was released on Tuesday, saying the arrest was part of
a deliberate campaign by Zanu-PF to intimidate opposition leaders into
suspending their campaigns.
On Wednesday police accused Tsvangirai of violating a ban on
rallies, but MDC officials denied that their leader held rallies in the
rural areas he visited, saying he was on a "meet-the-people campaign" in the
Officials travelling with Tsvangirai said he was separated from
his group and taken to an isolated detention facility at a police station in
"We are still with the police. They accuse him of addressing a
rally at St Paul's in Lupane without authorisation," Job Sibanda, a lawyer
for Tsvangirai, told the Mail & Guardian from Lupane late on Wednesday.
Sibanda said Tsvangirai was not harmed.
Lawyers such as Sibanda are also at increased risk. This week
Andrew Makoni, one of a team of lawyers that represented hundreds of
tortured opposition campaigners in the past few weeks, said that at least 10
Zimbabwean human rights lawyers from Zimbabwe plan to flee the country
because ruling party supporters are targeting them.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said: "Of concern is the
apparent abuse of the law against these groups of people, especially when
one looks at the noticeable trends of wanton arrest, prolonged detentions
and the lodging of unnecessary appeals to frustrate orders of court.
"Groups and individuals continue to face legislative and
administrative impediments as they seek to exercise their human, fundamental
and constitutional rights, and this must be brought to an end."
The detention of the opposition leaders has added a new front to
a violent campaign already being waged by militants loyal to Mugabe. Rights
groups report that at least 50 activists have been killed since March, while
25 000 people have fled political violence.
International aid groups have not been spared either. CARE
International, one of the most active groups distributing food aid in
Zimbabwe, was forced to stop operations, while the work of Save the Children
UK, which says it has been feeding 60 000 children in northern Zimbabwe, was
The government wants to have sole control of all food aid
distribution, to gain an advantage in the run-off election.
Aid workers warned that the interruption of food aid will
aggravate already harsh living conditions and could have devastating
consequences on the population.
"If this continues, we face a serious humanitarian disaster,"
Cephas Zinhumwe, head of a coalition of NGOs, told the M&G on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the media also continue to take a beating. This week
a magistrate said that to prove that Zimbabwe was "not a banana republic",
he would jail three South African journalists for six months for working
without official government accreditation.
The journalists had been found in possession of equipment
belonging to Sky TV, one of several foreign media organisations that were
banned from reporting from Zimbabwe.
The Times, SA
Werner Swart Published:Jun 10, 2008
Human rights watchdog tears into President Mbeki for failing to take action
when Zim mediation failed
Gruesome accounts of the violence inflicted on those who voted against
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe are contained in a new report by Human
Entitled "Bullets for Each of You: State sponsored violence since Zimbabwe's
March 29 elections", the report takes its name from an incident in which
soldiers told villagers in Mashonaland West: "If you vote for MDC in the
presidential runoff election . you have seen the bullets; we have enough for
each one of you, so beware."
a.. Speaking to The Times from London, Tiseke Kasambala, the author of the
report, said: "I returned from Zimbabwe three weeks ago. People don't know
how bad it is. It's an experience that will haunt me for the rest of my
The report claims Zimbabwe is being run by a military junta that came into
being shortly after Mugabe realised he had suffered defeat at the hands of
According to the rights watchdog, the violence is being orchestrated by a
joint operations command headed by senior Zanu-PF officials.
It includes the heads of the Zimbabwean Defence Force, the police and the
"The army is playing a major role in supporting the violence. It has
provided known 'war veterans' and Zanu-PF supporters with guns, transport
and bases from which serious human rights violations are carried out," the
It warns the African Union and the Southern African Development Community
that it has only days in which to reduce the violence and ensure a free and
"This is an opportunity for clear political leadership in support of human
rights and the stability of Zimbabwe, which, as recent xenophobic violence
in South Africa has demonstrated, is increasingly impacting the domestic
situation of its neighbours."
The report concludes: "Now is the time for failed mediation strategies to be
abandoned, and for a clear message to be given to the authorities that they
face becoming regional pariahs should no action be taken."
Kasambala said: "It is a sad indictment of South African President Thabo
Mbeki's policy on Zimbabwe over the past eight years. He is aware of what is
happening bu t has failed to take action."
Mbeki's office and the department of foreign affairs said they had not seen
the report and could therefore not comment on it.
By Eddie Cross | Opinion | Harare Tribune | Monday, June 9, 2008 15:57
Zimbabwe, Harare - While we often discuss the human costs of the
Mugabe regime, we neglect the costs in material terms. For this country the
price of his tyranny has been huge. Our GDP is now hovering about US4
billion, exports around US$1,5 billion and our national debt has soared to
over US$8 billion. Despite our pariah state the international community
still pours in over US$600 million a year in aid - all of it in grant form.
If we add up the total losses to Zimbabwe over the past 10 years they
would exceed US$100 billion - a big price to pay for the ego of one man and
his gang of thieves. On the issue of the corrupt diversion of state
resources, the magnitude of the costs we have borne are equally enormous.
People in the west have little idea of the sums that are stolen from
countries like Zimbabwe and the extent of the wealth being accumulated by
the privileged few in power. In many countries control of the Reserve Bank
and the State simply signals an opportunity to plunder both for the benefit
of a tiny minority. So Mabuto accumulated wealth equal at one time to the
total debt of the Congo. The corrupt Marxist regime in Angola is known to be
taking a cut on virtually all business transactions and a large slice of all
oil revenues - now running at several billion dollars a month.
The various military and civilian leaders of Nigeria in the past have
stolen up to a billion US dollars a month from their countries. You cannot
spend such sums and stories of Nigerians arriving in foreign cities with
suitcases of money abound. When these crime magnates die, the secrets of
their wealth dies with them and much of the illicit gains go into the hidden
balance sheets of global business. A Swedish businessman told me once that
he loved doing business with the 'socialists' of Africa - nowhere else could
you make the margins that were available in those countries. He was
complaining at the time about the private sector driven economy here in the
Just to drive this point home in recent weeks and months, this regime
has been plundering the resources that are left here - especially those that
can be moved abroad. When we finally get into the vaults at the Reserve Bank
we will find them empty.
As far as the region is concerned the cost of tyranny in Zimbabwe is
more difficult to estimate. Some time ago Tony Blair visited South Africa
and at UNISA he made a speech in which he estimated that the contagion
effects of the Zimbabwe crisis was costing South Africa 2 per cent of its
GDP per annum. It may in fact be more.
If we just take tourism - we are turning away about 2 million visitors
each year from regional tourism centers. That is worth several billion
dollars a year in foreign earnings to the region and at least 250 000 jobs.
The total cost of the crisis at, say. 2 per cent of regional GDP is now at
least US$8 billion a year - twice the actual GDP of Zimbabwe.
But there is another cost - shown vividly on television in the past
few days, as South Africa has seen xenophobic violence break out in the
townships of Gauteng. Mobs of axe and panga wielding people are attacking
foreigners whom they perceive (probably correctly) as robbing them of jobs
and other opportunities in South Africa. This was a further crisis that was
just waiting to happen.
With over 3 million Zimbabweans in South Africa already, the flood
tide of refugees from Zimbabwe in the past year has been a step too far. The
South African government is worried and astonished at the extent and degree
of violence. Dire threats and allegations that someone sinister must be
behind the outbreaks are being made.
But in fact the truth is that their social systems can only take so
much pressure before they break down and we may well be seeing such an event
right now. Not good news for Mbeki who was meeting with the international
business council in Durban yesterday. He faced the key investors in South
Africa with images of the violence and mayhem on the Rand fresh in everyone'
s minds, with his own problems at home and abroad and the threat of a messy
transition in 2009 to a new leadership, it was not an easy gathering.
I have argued for years that the greatest threat of the crisis in
Zimbabwe was not here, but in South Africa where despite the disparity in
size, we are capable of destabilizing that country very effectively. Both
for Africa and the world community, that is a much bigger problem and one
that merits close attention and speedy action. Mbeki is responsible for the
failure in both respects and now reaps the whirlwind.
We launched our run off campaign yesterday in Bulawayo with 20 000
people in the White City Stadium. Although it was cold and windy and we had
only got one day to organise, the turnout was massive and very pleasing. We
eventually got a High Court Judge to rule on Friday at 15.30 hrs, that we
could go ahead and in fact it turned out to be the right decision. The
police had cited three reasons for not granting us permission - personnel,
the sensitive situation and the threat of violence. In all three respects
the police were wrong - we had 5 policemen outside the stadium at a
roadblock, there was no violence and the mood was festive.
Chamisa mocked the threat that Zanu would 'go back to war' if they
lost - he asked just whom would they fight? Who was the enemy? He drew lots
of laughs from the crowd and explained that Morgan could not be present for
of a number of reasons. The acting President, Ms. Khupe spoke at length
about the run off and said that this was the burial service for Zanu PF. She
said Zanu had died on the 29th March and all that was left was to bury them
in a deep hole with a concrete slab over the top to ensure they did not
The MDC then fed all 20 000 people with lunch and afterwards they
departed for their homes. Quite an achievement in a country that is starving
and a testimony to the organisations capacity. The next six weeks are going
to be busy as we campaign and then vote yet again. But this is our kind of
fight and on this territory we have the advantage and the right weapons.
A group from the intelligence and police raided my sons Church
yesterday. They searched for 'weapons of war'. He gave them each a Bible and
said - 'this is our only weapon and it brings life, not death'. On the 27th
June we in southern Africa are going to discover the same truth about our
votes - used wisely and protected, they will bring new life to Zimbabwe and
the entire region.
The Herald, Scotland
June 10 2008
I agree completely with Ian Bell's lament (Saturday Essay, June 7) about the
shocking state of affairs in Zimbabwe and the culpability of Robert Mugabe.
However, having identified the problem, he fails to suggest any way of
The British Government, the EU and the US have done what they can to
persuade Mr Mugabe to relax his vicious rule and allow humanitarian aid to
reach the Zimbabwean people. Mr Bell is right: the South African president
Thabo Mbeki has done little more than make "glib, positive noises for more
than a decade". And the Chinese government has happily done deals with Mr
Mugabe; last time I was in Harare, all the other occupants of the hotel were
The only organisation with the power to actually change things in Zimbabwe
is the United Nations. Time and again, when faced with crises affecting
millions, the UN has shown itself to be an ineffective, grandiose talking
shop. It's time it changed. The UN could have called an emergency session
while Mr Mugabe was in Rome; it could have ordered his arrest for crimes
against humanity, because that is what he's guilty of. Instead, it allowed
him to grandstand at its conference, even allowing him to speak for twice
his allotted time.
When you look at the humanitarian disasters in Zimbabwe, Burma and Darfur,
you realise that the UN has to find a better way of working. Time isn't on
There are powerful figures in John McCain's camp who are arguing for a
league of democracies, an alternative to the UN that would grant membership
only to those the US deems to be "good guys".
Barack Obama is a great candidate and I fervently hope he will be the next
American president; but if I was a betting man my money would be on John
McCain, and I fear his foreign policy will be worse than the current
Under pressure from, among others, the UK and Europe, the UN is slowly
changing, recognising the new realities of world power and limiting
opportunities for vetoes to sterilise action. The UN has to find a way to
cut through its bureaucracy and internal politics so it can act quickly,
vigorously and, where necessary, with force.
Fourteen years ago in Rwanda, the weapon of mass destruction was the
machete. As yet, no mechanism exists for ensuring the same doesn't happen
again, just as there's apparently nothing the world can do to stop millions
of people from being slowly starved to death in Zimbabwe. That is an
Doug Maughan, 52 Menteith View, Dunblane.
By Lisa B. Hamilton, June 09, 2008
[Episcopal News Service] The Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, bishop of the
Diocese of Massachusetts says it was "a privilege" to spend a week with
Anglican Zimbabweans in the Diocese of Harare, which encompasses the
nation's capital and outlying areas. "Zimbabweans are a gentle people of
tremendous resilience," Shaw reports, and he contends that those who are
being oppressed for being Anglicans have much to teach us.
Shaw returned to the United States June 4, after a week-long visit during
which he met with 49 priests, 40-50 laypersons, human rights attorneys and
U.S. Embassy staff. He describes a grim situation: "One million percent
inflation, 80-90% unemployment, empty shelves at the grocery stores, long
lines for fuel, short lifespan, high HIV-AIDS rates, and oppression of those
who are not aligned with President Mugabe, including Anglicans."
Shaw noted that "amidst all this suffering, it was when their lives were
upended that they [Zimbabwe Anglicans] stood up and said, 'Nobody's going to
touch my relationship with God or my community of faith."
Shaw visited Zimbabwe on behalf of Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts
Schori and at the invitation of Bishop Sebastian Bakare of Harare to witness
the ongoing religious and political violence among the people of Zimbabwe.
"It's not just food people don't have access to, it's not just political
brutality they face, it's an assault on their faith -- and that can be very
lonely," says Shaw. "The short answer to why I made the trip is that the
presiding bishop asked me; the longer answer is that since a program between
our dioceses years ago, I've been friends with Bishop Bakare and his wife
for a long time and I wanted to offer solidarity and return to tell the
story of Anglicans in Zimbabwe."
Shaw -- who first visited Zimbabwe in 1995, when "it was considered the
bread basket of Africa and a relatively free and open society" -- explains
that Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's land confiscation benefited
political cronies and not indigenous Zimbabweans as promised, which led to
food shortages, unemployment and political corruption.
As previously reported by Episcopal News Service, Mugabe has been censured
by the international community for Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis, failing
economy, and for manipulating the country's recent electoral process.
The former bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, an ardent supporter of Mugabe
and his ZANU-PF party, was excommunicated on May 12. According to Shaw,
Kunonga "was closely aligned with Mugabe, even saying he was ordained by God
to be president. He also wanted to take the diocese out of the Province of
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams terms Bakare, who was appointed to
replace Kunonga last November, "a deeply respected and courageous elder
statesman of the Zimbabwean Church." Bakare, who recently issued a statement
condemning the continued persecution of Anglicans, hosted Shaw.
Shaw says believes that the effects of the June 27 run-off presidential
election on life for Anglicans as well as for Zimbabweans as a whole are
"unpredictable, because it's such a volatile situation." Thus far, Anglicans
are singled out for religious persecution in this vastly Christian, fiercely
church-going nation, where the major denominations are Roman Catholic,
Anglican and Methodist.
Shaw tells many stories of government persecution of Anglicans. During one
incident, which occurred about four weeks ago, "Riot police -- 80 or 90 of
them -- told Anglicans they couldn't hold services in a church," he said.
"They started by beating on the pews with their batons and ended up beating
people, including a nine-year-old boy and a widow with five children. Yet
the worshippers sang hymns and prayed throughout the ordeal."
Elsewhere, says Shaw, "A priest was jailed along with 20 or so of his
Furthermore, he reports that "recently, there's been a rash of clergy
vehicles being stolen or confiscated by the police. Without their cars,
which are owned by the churches, the clergy have no access to their
far-flung parishes. The Diocese of Harare stretches several hundred
kilometers outside the city, so no car can mean the end of ministry. Of the
49 priests I interviewed, 11 or 12 had had vehicles stolen or confiscated,
and another 10 or 11 had vehicles in hiding."
"They asked only for prayer, and they expressed only gratitude," Shaw says,
his voice softening. "At one meeting to discuss the diocese's future, they
took up a collection for a parish in our diocese. Here they are, with
inflation one million percent, mostly unemployed, but they took up a
collection and had it translated into American dollars so I could bring it
back to a parish in our diocese. They have the generosity of God."
Shaw says the biggest lesson he learned came from the diocese's clergy, "who
said that it is laypeople who are leading the resistance. So they teach
those of us who are clergy to let laypeople lead the way. All we have to do
is nurture them."
This insight is one of the gifts Shaw believes he'll take from Zimbabwe to
the Lambeth Conference of bishops, scheduled for July 16-August 3 in
Canterbury, England. "So much deeper than our differences are our
connections that span continents and oceans and theological differences.
That's what I can now bring to Lambeth: an openness to relationship and a
better ability to listen to what life is like as a bishop elsewhere and to
tell my story of being a bishop in the northeastern United States."
Asked what he thinks he'll remember longest about his trip to Zimbabwe, Shaw
doesn't hesitate. "The first image that comes to mind is a worship service
for 400 people the Sunday I was there. They were risking their lives just by
gathering, and yet there were women between the ages of 20 and 75 dancing,
the drums were in full swing, and there was incredible joy. I felt like was
in back in the early church because there was all this, this life despite
-- The Rev. Lisa B. Hamilton is correspondent for Provinces I and IV. She
is based in Sandisfield, Massachusetts and Venice, Florida.
Christian Science Monitor
from the June 10, 2008 edition
Staff writer Scott Baldauf says that when he first got to
South Africa, people used to illustrate how bad Zimbabwe's inflation rate
had become by stating this remarkable fact: "a brick today costs what you
would have spent to buy an entire house, just 10 years ago."
But Scott says that comparison is "so 2006." At the time, inflation was
"only" about 1,500 percent.
Today, Zimbabwe's annual rate of inflation runs about 600,000 percent. And
bread, not bricks, is the barometer .
"On my first trip to Zimbabwe, this past March, a loaf cost an unbelievable
10 million Zimbabwean dollars - if you could find one in the stores," he
"On my second trip, in April, the price had gone up to Z$50 million. Today,
I called a reporter friend in Harare. The price of a loaf had gone up to 1
billion Zimbabwean dollars, which is roughly US$5 on the black market. I
asked my friend if he was sure. "I just bought bread today," he laughed.
"And it took me a long time to find it."