20:55 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 21:55 UK
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been released by
police after being detained for about eight hours, his spokesman has said.
He was released without charge. George Sibotshiwe said police had
taken an armoured car from the Movement for Democratic Change leader.
Mr Tsvangirai was detained as his convoy was going through a
The MDC leader will face President Robert Mugabe in a presidential
run-off vote on 27 June.
Police accused Mr Tvsangirai of violating public security.
The BBC's Caroline Hawley in Johannesburg says his detention is part
of an increasing campaign of political intimidation ahead of the vote.
Article By: Fanuel Jongwe
Wed, 04 Jun 2008 17:45
Zimbabwe opposition chief Morgan Tsvangirai and several top aides were
detained by police on Wednesday while charities were told to stop work as
authorities intensified a crackdown ahead of a run-off poll.
Tsvangirai, who faces President Robert Mugabe in the 27 June vote, was
stopped by police while driving in the Lupane area of southwest Zimbabwe and
held for some two hours before being taken to a police station, his party
The reason for his detention, along with the party's deputy leader Thokozani
Khupe and chairman Lovemore Moyo, was not immediately clear, with no comment
from the police themselves.
"He has been taken into a charge office in Lupane," chief spokesperson for
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Nelson Chamisa told AFP by
phone from the police station.
"The police just said our bosses want to see you," he added.
Tsvangirai has been arrested on a number of occasions and twice been charged
with treason. He suffered head injuries in March last year after being
assaulted by security forces as he tried to stage an anti-government rally
in the capital Harare.
The former union leader is only participating in the run-off election under
protest, insisting he won an outright majority in the first round in March.
Official results from the electoral commission gave Tsvangirai 47.9 percent
of the vote against Mugabe's 43.2 percent.
The MDC has faced severe restrictions in its campaigning efforts and
Tsvangirai has been largely prevented from addressing party rallies.
Four MDC lawmakers have been arrested in the lead-up to the vote later this
month, when Mugabe will be seeking to extend his 28 years at the helm of the
southern African nation.
A leader of a breakaway MDC faction, Arthur Mutambara, was arrested on
Sunday over an opinion piece which was heavily critical of 84-year-old
Mugabe's rule of the former British colony. He has since been bailed.
Violence has also mounted ahead of the run-off, and the MDC says 58 of its
supporters have been killed by pro-Mugabe militias in recent weeks.
Mugabe has fingered the opposition for the violence, but the United Nations'
chief representative in the country has said Mugabe's supporters are to
blame for the bulk of it.
Mugabe has been in Rome attending a UN food agency summit. He used his
speech at a Food and Agriculture Organisation summit on Tuesday to accuse
the West of trying to bring about "illegal regime change" in Zimbabwe.
He has previously accused non-government organisations of interfering in
politics, and aid groups received further bad news Wednesday.
Zimbabwe's government has sent a letter to CARE International and ADRA
ordering them to stop work immediately, said the director of the National
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO).
A third group, Save the Children UK, said it had been asked to suspend work
in Binga district, where it had been providing support for 60 000 children.
NANGO had earlier said several organisations were ordered to cease
operations over accusations they campaigned for the opposition ahead of the
"If we continue like this, we are going to have a crisis," the director,
Cephas Zinhumwehe, told AFP. "The situation is ugly."
Many Zimbabweans, particularly in rural areas, rely on food aid due to
shortages of basic commodities such as cooking oil and cornmeal in the
one-time breadbasket of southern Africa.
Critics fault Mugabe's chaotic land reform programme in 2000, while Mugabe
says a combination of drought, Western sanctions and unscrupulous businesses
are to blame.
The reported restrictions on the aid groups were met with international
condemnation Wednesday, with UN human rights commissioner Louise Arbour
saying they would be "an unconscionable act."
The United States said the move smacked of "callous indifference".
June 4, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE -Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai was still detained in police custody Wednesday night after he was
arrested at Lupane in Matabeleland North.
Tsvangirai and his entourage were detained at Lupane Police Station after
their convoy was intercepted by the police while on a campaign tour of
Matabeleland North ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off against
President Robert Mugabe.
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesman, said indications were that Tsvangirai,
who was detained together with his deputy, Thoko Khupe, party national
chairman Lovemore Moyo, among other provincial leaders would most likely be
held over night as the police were now accusing them of holding an illegal
"I spoke to the President about an hour ago, they are still in the charge
office," said Chamisa at about 7.45 pm local time.
He said others also detained included Tsvangirai's spokesman George
Sibotshiwe. Ironically, Sibotshiwe's name means, "We have been arrested," in
the Ndebele language spoken in the western regions of Zimbabwe.
Khupe told The Zimbabwe Times by telephone from Lupane last night that they
were all interrogated in separate rooms. "They have separated us. The
President is being interrogated in another room, so is Lovemore Moyo. They
have just finished interrogating me. They are saying we addressed an illegal
meeting at St Luke's Hospital."
She said it was not clear if they would be released by last night. Police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was not available to comment on the matter last
Fifteen MDC supporters who were in Tsvangirai's entourage were also detained
while others who had been arrested at Lupane Business Centre early in the
morning while waiting for Tsvangirai, according to Chamisa.
Chamisa added: "It is clear the regime wants to frustrate our campaign for
the presidential run-off."
On Tuesday police in Matabeleland South denied Tsvangirai permission to hold
a rally at Manama on the grounds that his security could not be guaranteed
allegedly due to the presence of Zanu-PF militia and soldiers who had been
spotted in the vicinity of the venue to the proposed rally.
Political violence and alleged refusal by the police to allow the opposition
to hold rallies and meetings has mired the campaigning for the run-off in
which Tsvangirai appears the favourite after outpolling President Robert
Mugabe in the first round on March 29.
The MDC, now the majority party in Parliament, says at least 50 of its
members have been killed in political violence over the past two months
while several thousands more had been displaced from their homes.
And in a statement earlier yesterday Chamisa said that suspected ruling
Zanu-PF party militia petrol-bombed MDC offices at a rural business centre
in the southern Masvingo province, killing three of the opposition party's
Chamisa said four more members were missing after the bombing on Tuesday
night at Jerera Business Centre, while two others were critically injured
and were receiving treatment at the church-run St Anthony's Mission
The MDC spokesman said that the party members whose names were not yet
available died from gunshot wounds and it was suspected that they were first
shot before the offices were bombed.
"We have information right now that police from Law and Order have arrived
and we hope they will investigate. Three bodies are still in the offices. We
are still trying to locate four other bodies. All these people have gunshot
wounds," said Chamisa.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 7:18PM BST 04/06/2008
President Robert Mugabe's regime was accused of disrupting Morgan
Tsvangirai's election campaign when the opposition leader was detained by
Mr Tsvangirai defeated Mr Mugabe in the presidential election's first round
in March and is now contesting a run-off due on June 27. But police stopped
his convoy as he travelled to a campaign rally in Matabeleland North
province at about 10am.
Mr Tsvangirai was taken to a police station in the nearby town of Lupane.
Opposition officials are unaware of any charges and suspect this is another
official attempt to harass their leader.
"It appears they want to disrupt our campaign programme," said Nelson
Chamisa, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change [MDC].
Last weekend, police refused Mr Tsvangirai permission to hold campaign
rallies. Since the election's first round, Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has
unleashed a wave of violence designed to destroy the MDC's support base.
Scores of people have been murdered and thousands more beaten, tortured or
By actively harassing Mr Tsvangirai's efforts to campaign, the regime may be
taking another step to guarantee victory for Mr Mugabe.
Zimbabwe's powerful security chiefs have rallied behind Mr Mugabe. Augustine
Chihuri, the police commissioner, has publicly ordered all his officers to
vote for Zanu-PF.
Last weekend, Major-General Martin Chedondo, the army chief of staff, told a
military audience: "Soldiers are not apolitical, only mercenaries are
apolitical. We should therefore stand behind our commander-in-chief."
Zimbabwe's security chiefs have been handsomely rewarded for backing Mr
Mugabe, receiving white-owned farms and numerous business opportunities.
Speaking in Bulawayo on Tuesday, Mr Tsvangirai said: "Mugabe is determined
to turn the whole country into a war-zone in order to subvert the will of
the people and steal the June 27 election by any means possible.
"But we will not stop campaigning, the people will not stop supporting the
MDC and together we will defeat this illegitimate and desperate regime."
June 04, 2008, 20:15
The US today urged Zimbabwe to immediately release opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai unharmed and said South Africa must use its leverage to pressure
President Robert Mugabe.
State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack said the detention of
Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe, was
deeply disturbing. "He should be released immediately, unharmed, untouched,"
McCormack told reporters.
Tsvangirai, who was beaten in March last year when he was held in police
custody, was picked up at a police roadblock today in an apparent attempt to
derail his presidential campaign ahead of a run-off vote on June 27.
"There was an incident where he was badly beaten and we would hope and call
upon the Zimbabwean government to create an atmosphere in Zimbabwe where
those who have political views different than the government can speak out
free from fear of intimidation," McCormack said.
Tsvangirai, who has been arrested several times in the past, outpolled
Mugabe in a March 29 presidential election but failed to win the absolute
majority needed to avoid a second ballot. Mugabe has been in power since
independence from Britain in 1980.
The opposition says 50 people have been killed by Mugabe's supporters since
the election. Today it said soldiers and ruling Zanu-PF party activists had
beaten and threatened to shoot Zimbabweans who wanted to meet and support
McCormack said he did not believe Tsvangirai had been charged with any crime
and there was no information about what the government planned to do with
him. He was being held at a rural police station southwest of Harare.
He said South Africa's government, which has close historical ties to
Harare's ruling Zanu-PF party and has been criticized for being soft on
Mugabe, should use its leverage to influence events in Zimbabwe. "Everybody
knows the reality that this government and the leadership of the South
African government is uniquely positioned to go to President Mugabe and the
leadership there and to encourage them to change their behavior," said
"States like South Africa need to use the leverage that they have. It is a
tragic situation," said McCormack. About 4 million Zimbabweans rely on food
aid in a country which was once the region's breadbasket but where annual
inflation is now a staggering 165 000% and unemployment 80%. - Reuters
Wednesday, 4 June 2008 20:10
The EU presidency has called on Zimbabwean authorities to immediately
release opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
He was detained by police in the southwestern city of Lupane.
Amid preparations for the run-off presidential election on 27 June, a
Movement for Democratic Change spokesperson confirmed that he had been
detained at a roadblock while campaigning.
The MDC has faced severe restrictions in its campaigning efforts and Morgan
Tsvangirai has been largely prevented from addressing party rallies.
'We are currently held up. They are not saying why they are holding us up.
It's not an arrest but illegal detention' said MDC spokesman George
Others arrested included the party's deputy leader Thokozani Khupe and MDC
chairman Lovemore Moyo.
The MDC said in a statement that Mr Tsvangirai had initially been stopped by
police on a slip road while driving in the Lupane area and held for some two
hours before being transferred to a police station.
Mr Tsvangirai has been arrested on a number of occasions and twice been
charged with treason.
The former union leader suffered head injuries in March last year after
being assaulted by the security forces as he tried to stage an
anti-government rally in the capital Harare.
04/06/2008 21:25 - (SA)
London - Rights watchdog Amnesty International on Wednesday called for the
immediate release of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was
detained along with his entourage ahead of a key presidential run-off poll.
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was held
with key figures including the party's deputy leader and chair after
allegedly addressing an election rally without authorisation, the MDC said.
"Morgan Tsvangirai should be released immediately - or charged with a
recognisable criminal offence," said London-based Amnesty in a statement.
It added that his detention was part of a "sudden, sharp and dangerous
crackdown on political opposition" ahead of run-off presidential elections
against President Robert Mugabe at the end of this month.
The group also condemned the government's reported order to three aid
agencies to stop operations in Zimbabwe over claims they had campaigned for
"By introducing restrictions against aid workers in Zimbabwe... the
Zimbabwean government is attempting to hide the worst of the state-sponsored
violence from the eyes of the world," it said.
04/06/2008 20:21 - (SA)
Johannesburg - President Thabo Mbeki must demand the immediate release of
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said Democratic
Alliance leader Helen Zille on Wednesday.
"If the arrest of Morgan Tsvangirai does not spur President Mbeki to take
decisive action in Zimbabwe, then nothing will," said Zille.
She called on Mbeki, as the mediator in Zimbabwe, to release the MDC leader.
"Tsvangirai's arrest proves beyond all doubt that President Robert Mugabe
will seek to retain power at all costs.
"There is no way that a presidential run-off will be free and fair under
these circumstances. Surely, even Mbeki must see that now."
If Mbeki did not demand Tsvangirai's release he must step aside for another
mediator who would ensure that the will of the Zimbabwean people was
realised in a free and fair presidential run-off election, said Zille.
in: Legalbrief Africa
Date: Tue 03 June 2008
Andrew Makoni, one of Zimbabwe's most prominent human rights lawyers, has
fled to South Africa after receiving several credible threats that
Zimbabwean security officials have been instructed to kill him, according to
the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC). Several other high-profile
human rights lawyers also said to be targeted.
Makoni's sources indicate that the strategy is to eliminate at least one
prominent human rights lawyer to deter others from publicising and providing
defence to the victims of the escalating political violence. Information he
received was that the plan to kill him had been put into action and that a
special team of security agents had been assigned to the police station
nearest his home in order to execute the assassination.
This is not the first time that Zimbabwean human rights lawyers are the
target of these types of threats. In March 2007, Mr Makoni and his law
partner, Alec Muchadehama, acting for political activists tortured in
detention, were themselves unlawfully detained. Several of the lawyers,
including Beatrice Mtetwa, who protested against this unlawful detention
were forced into police vehicles and driven to a secluded area where they
And in 2006, lawyers at ZLHR, including its then head, Arnold Tsunga, were
subject to a systematic campaign of intimidation, including death threats.
The recent threats are cause for heightened concern, however, following as
they do the orchestrated violence unleashed by Zimbabwean security agents in
the wake of the March elections and specifically the murders in the past two
weeks of at least four of Mr Makoni's clients: Better Chokururama, Godfrey
Kauzani, Cain Nyere and Shepherd Jani.
Said SALC Director, Nicole Fritz: "When the most prominent, the most active
and the most courageous human rights lawyers are targeted and forced to
flee, you know that you're dealing with the most grotesque forms of
"South African and regional leaders need to put human rights monitors on the
ground now because the Zimbabwean authorities who refuse to relinquish power
can not be trusted to secure the lives, let alone the interests, of their
Press release issued by the Southern African Litigation Centre
SW Radio Africa (London)
4 June 2008
Posted to the web 4 June 2008
Zanu PF militants wearing army uniforms petrol bombed an MDC office at
Jerera growth point in Masvingo killing 3 officials on Tuesday.
A statement from the MDC said a truckload of militants arrived at the party
offices at midnight and fired shots into the building. The attackers later
petrol bombed the building that was also housing victims of political
violence in the area. At least 4 activists are missing and presumed dead
while another 2 suffered critical injuries and are detained at St Anthony's
Musiso Hospital. The charred remains of 3 bodies lay on the floor in the
burnt out MDC offices and all had bullet wounds.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel they were still awaiting the
positive identification of the deceased before they could release their
names. He described the attack on their offices in the Zaka district as
being part of an ongoing Zanu PF campaign of violence that has so far
claimed the lives of 53 activists. He explained that since Morgan
Tsvangirai's historic win over Robert Mugabe in the March 29th election,
Zanu PF has targeted specific areas for violent retributions. He cited,
Zaka, Uzumba, Murehwa, Mutoko, Mudzi, Buhera, Makoni, Mutasa, Hurungwe,
Kadoma, Chegutu, Zvimba North, Shamva, Mazowe, Mount Darwin and Muzarabani
The MDC dismissed prospects for a free and fair election arguing, 'our
people continue to be killed, brutalised and maimed. Armed militia have
brought the specter of death in both rural and urban homes, forcing the
victors in the last election to flee into the mountains.' The MDC says
villagers are being required to produce Zanu PF 'passes' if they want to
move from one village to another. It added that thousands of homes have been
torched countrywide with Zanu PF showing no shame or compassion in its
'barbaric onslaught on innocent citizens for expressing their sovereign will
on March 29th.'
The party also accused Mugabe of trying to masquerade as a victim of the
violence when in fact he was the perpetrator. The state owned media was
accused of fanning the violence by using hate speech against the MDC in
their lopsided coverage. 'The MDC is appealing to SADC, the African Union
and the international community to take a tough stance against the regime in
order to allow the people of Zimbabwe to freely express themselves once
again on 27th June 2008,' an MDC statement read.
By Scott Bobb
04 June 2008
Human rights organizations are accusing the government of Zimbabwe of using
food as a political weapon in its campaign to win the presidential runoff
election in three weeks. The charges come one day after the government
suspended three international aid agencies accusing them of involvement in
politics. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from our Southern Africa Bureau in
The Human Rights Watch group says the Zimbabwean government is seeking to
control food distributions in order to win the presidential run-off election
on June 27.
The organization's Zimbabwe researcher, Tiseke Kasambala, says in addition
militants of the ruling ZANU-PF party are preventing aid agencies from
reaching needy people in some rural areas.
"In the past the government of Zimbabwe has used food as a political tool to
force people to vote for ZANU-PF and it seems increasingly likely that these
suspensions are tied in with the government's attempts to take control of
food distribution in the rural areas and to use food as a political weapon,"
She says the suspensions are also aimed at blocking international reporting
on alleged violence against supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change
The Zimbabwean government says the agencies were suspended because they had
become involved in politics. President Robert Mugabe Tuesday told delegates
to a United Nations food summit in Rome that food and funds were being
channeled through aid agencies to campaign against the government. The
agencies say they distribute food to needy people regardless of their
The MDC won a majority in parliament and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
received more votes than Mr. Mugabe in national elections in March. But
Tsvangirai did not win a majority of the votes and as a result is to face
Mr. Mugabe in a runoff election in three weeks.
The opposition says since the election more than 50 supporters have been
killed, hundreds wounded and thousands of people displaced in attacks by
Kasambala said the attacks were part of a campaign of intimidation.
"Thousands of people have been disenfranchised from their right to vote,"
she said. "The violent conditions themselves do not lend themselves to free
and fair elections."
She called on the Zimbabwean government to end the violence and urged the
14-nation Southern African Development Community, SADC, to speed up
deployment of its observers. SADC said it will double the number of
observers, to 400, and most will be in place by next week.
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Date: 04 Jun 2008
(New York, 4 June 2008): United Nations Under-Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes today
expressed grave concern at a decision by authorities in Zimbabwe to restrict
efforts by humanitarian agencies to deliver relief aid to those in need in
'This goes against fundamental humanitarian principles,' said Mr. Holmes.
'Humanitarian agencies must be allowed to reach freely those who are in need
in Zimbabwe. Millions of Zimbabweans are unfortunately dependant on
humanitarian aid in the present circumstances,' Mr. Holmes said.
'Humanitarian agencies are guided by the principles of neutrality and
impartiality, their mandate being only to alleviate the suffering of people
in distress,' Mr. Holmes added. 'I hope the Government of Zimbabwe will
facilitate unrestricted access, as well as safety and security, for
humanitarian aid workers,' he said.
NGOs in Zimbabwe have been facing increasing restrictions in the run up to
the run-off presidential elections later this month. More recently, NGOs in
different parts of the country have been ordered to suspend their
operations, partially or totally. Aid programmes that have been affected
include school feeding programmes and those for orphans and vulnerable
children. According to UNICEF, those displaced by election-related violence
include more than 10,000 children.
Non-governmental organisations are key implementing partners of UN agencies,
and curtailing operations affects the implementation of UN programmes in
The restrictions are also coming at time when food security in Zimbabwe is
deteriorating, leaving an increasing number of people vulnerable. According
to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, poor rainfall and lack of seeds
mean that this year's harvest will be worse than in 2007.
Aid operations in the country are intended to benefit over four million
Zimbabweans, or over one-third of the population. In late 2007, 42 UN
agencies and NGOs appealed for $317 million to provide urgently needed aid
to the country in 2008. Halfway through 2008, the Appeal has been only 17%
funded, and increased resources are urgently needed given the increasingly
difficult humanitarian situation in the country.
For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1
917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; John Nyaga, OCHA-NY, + 1 917 367 9262;
Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570. OCHA
press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or
On Friday, May 30, CARE International's country office in Zimbabwe was
ordered by the government of Zimbabwe to suspend all field operations
pending an investigation into allegations of political activism. CARE has
complied with the order and has recalled all field staff.
CARE has strict policies against political involvement and categorically
denies the organization has encouraged or tolerated any political activity.
CARE is committed to providing independent, impartial, apolitical relief and
development assistance on the basis of need to improve sustainable
livelihoods for vulnerable populations, according to the Code of Conduct for
Non-Governmental Organizations and to CARE International's Code of Ethics.
CARE's mission is to serve individuals and families in some of the most
vulnerable rural and urban communities in the Zimbabwe. Drawing strength
from our global diversity, resources and experience, we promote innovative
solutions and facilitate lasting change by strengthening capacity for
self-help, providing economic opportunities, delivering relief in
emergencies and addressing discrimination. Over 1.8 million Zimbabweans
benefit from CARE programs, which include projects in food aid and food
security, sustainable agriculture and natural resource development, water
and sanitation, microcredit, support for orphans and vulnerable children and
home-based care for the chronically ill.
CARE has pledged to cooperate with the government of Zimbabwe in resolving
the situation so that humanitarian operations may be resumed as soon as
JOHANNESBURG , 4 June 2008 (IRIN) - The implementation of a food
distribution scheme for 100,000 people has stalled after the Zimbabwean
government suspended CARE International's operations for alleged "political
CARE works to alleviate poverty and promote community health, with a
particular focus on empowering women, and is one of the largest
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) operating in Zimbabwe. On 28 May it
was ordered to suspend its operations, pending a government investigation
into its activities.
In a statement CARE said it was "committed to providing independent,
impartial, apolitical relief and development assistance on the basis of
need, to improve sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable populations,
according to the Code of Conduct for Non-Governmental Organisations and to
CARE International's Code of Ethics."
The suspension of CARE's operations would immediately affect about 500,000
Zimbabwean beneficiaries of projects such as water and sanitation,
micro-credit, home-based care for the chronically ill, most of whom are
infected with HIV, and support for orphans and vulnerable children.
CARE's Africa Communications Manager, Kenneth Walker, told IRIN that the
feeding scheme for 100,000 people had been scheduled for implementation in
June 2008, after the government said Zimbabwe's anticipated maize harvest
would be poor - about one million tonnes shy of the national requirement. "I
have no idea where they [people earmarked for food assistance] might get
food from now," Walker said.
In 2007/08 international donor agencies provided food aid to 4.1 million
people, more than a third of the population. The country's acute food
shortages, compounded by government's recent admission that only 13 percent
of the planned 2008 winter wheat crop had been planted, mean more people are
expected to require food assistance earlier in 2008 than the previous year.
During the "lean period" between October 2007 and the March 2008 harvest,
CARE was responsible for food aid to nearly one million Zimbabweans, or
about a quarter of those requiring assistance.
CARE, which has channelled more than $US100 million in development
assistance and relief since starting operations in 1992, said it had
requested, "but to date has not yet received, the details of any
allegations, including names, dates and locations ... [and] has pledged to
cooperate with the government in resolving the situation so that
humanitarian operations may be resumed as soon as possible."
About 300 Zimbabweans employed by CARE have been told to "remain at home
pending further notice from the government".
NGOs agents of Western powers
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe told the UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO) summit in Rome, Italy, on 3 June that NGOs were being
used to undermine his ZANU-PF government.
"Funds are being channelled through non-governmental organisations to
opposition political parties, which are a creation of the West," Mugabe
said. "These Western-funded NGOs also use food as a political weapon with
which to campaign against government, especially in the rural areas."
According to a report by the US-based New York Times newspaper,
representatives of aid groups were summoned by government officials in four
districts of Zimbabwe and told to stop operations until after the run-off
presidential vote between on 27 June, when Mugabe will stand against Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Zimbabwe Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche told ZimOnline, an
internet-based news service, that "several other non-governmental
organisations ... will be asked to cease their operations while we
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, said after
addressing the FAO summit in Rome that if reports that NGOs had been
instructed to suspend their activities were correct, "this would be an
"To deprive people of food because of an election would be an extraordinary
perversion of democracy, and a serious breach of international human rights
law," she said.
There have been widespread reports of violence since the elections for
local, parliamentary and presidential candidates were held on 29 March, when
ZANU-PF lost control of parliament for the first time since the country won
its independence from Britain in 1980.
Bumper maize order
At a presidential election rally on 29 May at Shamva, in northeastern
Zimbabwe, Mugabe reportedly told the audience that 600,000 tons of maize had
been purchased from neighbouring South Africa to alleviate the food
At current prices of about R1,800 (US$231) per metric tonne (mt) for white
maize, a 600,000mt white maize order would cost Zimbabwe about US$139
million, before transport costs.
Zimbabwe's economy is in meltdown, with annual inflation estimated at about
one million percent and acute shortages of foreign currency, food, fuel,
electricity and basic commodities.
South Africa is expecting the harvest of white and yellow maize to exceed 11
million tonnes in 2008, according to traders.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: June 4, 2008
WASHINGTON: The White House said Wednesday that the Bush administration is
"saddened and troubled" by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe regime's
decision to suspend apolitical non-governmental operations in Zimbabwe,
including those by CARE.
"The government's actions mean that 110,000 Zimbabweans dependent on CARE's
assistance will go hungry this month," White House press secretary Dana
She said it further displays the regime's "callous indifference" to the
Zimbabwean people's plight and pleas for change.
"Instead of delivering empty rhetoric in Rome, where Mugabe went to
participate in a world food conference, we urge the Mugabe regime to take
real action, including the reversal of this ill-advised decision, to prevent
government-induced starvation in Zimbabwe," Perino said.
By Tendai Maphosa
04 June 2008
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he is working with African leaders
to get international observers into Zimbabwe to ensure that the upcoming
presidential runoff election there is free and fair. Tendai Maphosa has more
in this report from London.
Prime Minister Brown told parliament Wednesday that the outcome of the
presidential runoff will only be acceptable if the government of President
Robert Mugabe allows international observers into the country.
"There is a need for hundreds of observers because of the geography of the
country and because of threats of intimidation and I am working with the
president of the African Union and the president of SADC and other leaders
around the world to make sure that the offer of international observers is
there and is taken up," he said.
The runoff vote was set for June 27 after the initial presidential balloting
was inconclusive and marred by allegations of fraud and vote rigging.
The Zimbabwean government has in the past insisted it will only allow
observers from friendly countries. During the general elections in March no
observers from western countries were allowed in. That poll resulted in Mr.
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party losing control of parliament for the first
time since independence in 1980.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) beat Mr. Mugabe in the presidential poll, but not by the margin
required to avoid a runoff.
Wednesday's debate in the British parliament comes a day after Mr. Mugabe
again blamed former colonial power Britain for much of Zimbabwe's economic
plight. He accused London of persuading other western countries to punish
Zimbabwe for its controversial land reform program.
In a speech at the summit of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) in Rome, Mr. Mugabe accused western countries of imposing sanctions on
Zimbabwe for the sometimes-violent exercise launched in 2000. The program
saw white farmers lose their farms to make way for landless blacks. But the
president's critics say the farms were handed out to his close supporters
who have failed to maintain production. As a result, four million
Zimbabweans now depend on food aid.
During Wednesday's parliamentary debate in London, leader of the opposition
Liberal Democratic party Nick Clegg brought up the issue of stripping Mr.
Mugabe of the honorary knighthood bestowed on him by the British government
in 1994. Prime Minister Brown responded, saying it is not a priority.
"Mr. Speaker I am less interested in the symbols than the substance and we
have got to get elections in Zimbabwe that are seen to be free and fair," he
added. "Zimbabweans deserve to have a government that is fully
democratically elected put in place."
However a Foreign Office spokesman, speaking on condition anonymity, told
VOA that there have been calls for the withdrawal of the knighthood and, he
said, the matter is under review. Last year Edinburgh University became
the first institution to strip Mr. Mugabe of an honorary degree bestowed on
him in 1984.
Monsters and Critics
Jun 4, 2008, 10:16 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe rebuffed a proposal by United
Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to send a UN envoy to the country,
saying that 'anything that smells of American and British influence will not
be acceptable to us,' Zimbabwe's Herald newspaper reported Wednesday.
Speaking after a meeting with Mugabe Tuesday on the sidelines of the UN
summit on hunger in Rome, Ban said he would send a special envoy to Zimbabwe
to discuss ways the UN could support a fair presidential run-off election on
Ban said he would send Haile Menkerios of Eritrea to Zimbabwe with Mugabe's
approval, a spokeswoman confirmed in New York.
Mugabe faces opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in the run-off that was called for after neither candidate won an
outright majority in the first round of voting on March 29.
The MDC has called for the run-off to be opened up to scrutiny by Western
and UN observers but the government has barred observers and journalists
from 'unfriendly' nations.
According to the state-controlled Herald, Mugabe told Ban he took 'great
exception to the use of the UN Secretary General by Britain and the US to
further their interest' and that he would only support the UN giving
technical assistance to the non-Western observers.
The Herald said Mugabe told Ban his comments on Zimbabwe 'completely ignored
the fact that Zimbabwe was bleeding under illegal sanctions' imposed by
Britain, the European Union and the United States.
'Mr Secretary General, don't be used by them. I plead, I plead, I plead. We
want you, we respect you, we chose you,' Mugabe was quoted by the Herald as
telling Ban, who has repeatedly expressed concern over the situation in
Mugabe on Tuesday used a speech to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) summit in Rome to lash out at his critics, who said his presence at
the meeting, given the widespread hunger caused by his populist policies in
Zimbabwe, was an embarrassment.
The 84-year-old leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence since
1980, blamed his country's food shortages on the sanctions that target
mainly ruling party top brass and again accused the West of trying to effect
'illegal regime change.'
Human rights groups say Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is responsible for most of
the post-election violence that the MDC says has claimed the lives of at
least 50 opposition supporters.
Mugabe was reported by the Herald to have drawn Ban's attention to the
deaths of two supporters of his Zanu-PF party.
Wednesday, 04 June 2008 05:50
BULAWAYO - FORMER senator in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North Province
and a group of war veterans have allegedly unleashed a reign of terror on
villagers in Kezi district, some 70 kilometres west of Zimbabwe's second
The violence has so far claimed the lives of two opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in the district, as ZANU-PF seeks to
retain power in the build up to the presidential run-off election and three
parliamentary by elections on June 27.
The former senator, Ananeas Nyathi, is alleged to be actively involved
in a violent campaign that has led to the closure of five schools in the
district after war veterans sent letters to the teachers warning them to
leave the schools between May16-17. The schools are still closed.
People targeted were mostly key MDC leaders, and newly elected MPs.
Efforts to get comment from Nyathi were unsuccessful.
Alexander Phiri, the new councilor for ward two in Matobo, said he was
now sleeping in the bush fearing for his life after the war veterans
threatened him with death and warned that he would never be a councillor in
his lifetime, at a meeting that was supposedly called to register people for
food hand outs.
"They told me point blank that they were going to kill me. I thought
it was just a threat. But that very same evening they talked emphatically
about killing me. After realising that they were serious, I went into
"They chanted slogans right round my yard saying I was their meat,"
Phiri's 14-year-old daughter was also thoroughly beaten up with
sjamboks and logs by the same group of war veterans, and sustained serious
injuries. She was being "punished" for failing to show them her parents' MDC
"At a roll call meeting they beat up six youths they accused of being
supporters of the opposition. They then 'baptized' them at the dam in the
name of ZANU-PF after forcing them to roll in mud.
"They burnt several MDC T-shirts and cards, threatening that anyone
found supporting the opposition would be in trouble," said Mlamuli Ndlovu, a
In ward two, an MDC activist, Luis Ndlovu, has since abandoned his
homestead after the war veterans attacked him, while he was asleep in the
early hours of the morning.
He spent a week at Mpilo Hospital and his two young children are now
living with neighbours.
A door in one of the houses was axed and windowpanes shattered.--CAJ
June 4, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A senior official within the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) has warned villagers in Zimbabwe's Mashonaland Central Province that
there will be an outbreak of war if Zanu-PF is defeated on June 27.
Mernard Muzariri, the deputy director general of the fierce organisation,
which is known for its loyalty to President Robert Mugabe, warned that
Zanu-PF would launch another armed liberation struggle should Mugabe lose to
the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai in the forthcoming run-off.
Tsvangirai is widely tipped to win the re-run of an election which he won on
March 29 by a margin of 47, 9 percent of votes polled to Mugabe's 43, 2. An
orgy of bloody violence by Zanu-PF militants, including in the security
forces, in the aftermath of the election has been strongly condemned both in
and out of Zimbabwe.
Muzariri was quoted in the government media as saying Mugabe and Zanu-PF
were defending the land "which did not come on a silver platter".
Muzariri was speaking at Nyamahobogo Primary School in Mt Darwin where 63
supporters of the MDC, including two recently elected councilors, promptly
announced they had "defected to Zanu-PF after realizing the MDC was taking
us for a ride".
In the face of sustained violence by Zanu-PF, some opposition supporters
have taken to crossing to the former ruling party as a strategy to safeguard
their lives and property.
The CIO boss said Zimbabweans should therefore "vote wisely" to avoid
another war, adding that the people of Mashonaland Central had fought in the
forefront in the previous liberation struggles and should not join hands
with "sell-out opposition parties".
"Mbuya Nehanda was resident in this province and she died while defending
land. On December 22 1972, the first AK rifle was fired (in this province)
heralding the beginning of the Second Chimurenga and that gun was fired in
Centenary, which again is in Mashonaland Central."
Muzariri hails from Mashonaland Central Province.
The warning by the CIO boss comes in the wake of similar warnings by a top
police officer, Senior Assistant Commissioner Musarashana Godwin Mabunda
that voting for the MDC was tantamount to voting for war.
Senior Zanu-PF officials have repeated similar messages at several rallies.
This also comes at a time when politically motivated violence is escalating
throughout the country. The violence is blamed on the security forces, the
war veterans and Zanu PF militias.
Wednesday, 04 June 2008 05:53
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said it will take the
legal route to challenge the increased number of postal ballots that have
been cast for the June 27 presidential run-off election.
Party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said information they gathered
indicated that the police have applied to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) to have the number of postal ballots increased to 60 000.
In the March 29 elections only 8 000 requested to use the postal
"We don't know why the number has to increase by such a huge margin.
Nothing has changed since the last election and we will do our best to stop
it. The only challenge we have is that no police officer is prepared to come
out and confess for fear of victimisation," said Chamisa.
Under the Electoral Act, only police officers deployed on duty away
from their voting constituencies as well as civil servants on duty outside
the country, are allowed to vote by postal ballot.
"We have since written to ZEC advising them about our fears and we
hope they will take note. But you should also understand that ZEC itself is
now not in charge of this election. ZANU-PF has taken over, they are
prepared to remain in power at whatever cost," said Chamisa.
He said the violence going on around the country has also affected ZEC
officials and a number of them face prosecution for the mere reason that
President Robert Mugabe lost to the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the
March 29 poll.
"The vampire instincts of ZANU-PF have come out and there will be more
violence until 27 June.
"But the people of Zimbabwe should not lose hope because the darkest
hour is always before dawn. A new Zimbabwe is on the way whatever tricks the
regime might use, they will come to nothing. We spoke on March 29 and we
will speak again come June 27," said Chamisa.
The postal ballots that our sources said was likely to be extended to
include spouses of soldiers and police officers, is expected to raise at
least 50 000 postal votes for Mugabe.
Police spokesman Assistant Commission Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday
denied that the police were planning to rig the presidential run-off
election by making spouses and children vote for Mugabe by postal ballot.
There was no immediate comment from the ZEC or ZANU-PF on the alleged
plan by the police to sway the June 27 vote in favour of Mugabe ---CAJ News.
Wednesday, 04 June 2008 10:58
By Savious Kwinika
CAJ News Agency
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News)-- THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) has described President Robert Mugabe's presence at the ongoing
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation conference in Rome, Italy,
as a disgrace to Africa.
Japhet Moyo, deputy secretary-general of the ZTCU, told journalists
that Mugabe's presence at the summit was a big "disgrace" for Africa and the
world, especially to nations that respected the rule of law and democracy.
"Mugabe's presence in Rome is an insult to the world democracy and
rule of law. South Africa and China have been protecting Mugabe for quite
sometime now, especially in various United Nations (UN) fora and other
"However, we are currently negotiating with other world labour bodies
to continue making lots of noise about Mugabe's presence in Rome," said
More than 50 Zimbabweans have so far been killed shortly after the
March 29 harmonised elections, with several dozens of thousands fleeing
their native country for safety following death threats and torture.
Moyo said the socio-political situation in Zimbabwe was pathetic
arguing that the United Nations' Security Council should deploy its troops
as a matter of urgency.
"We urgently call for the UN to deploy its peacekeeping mission to
Zimbabwe without fail, because any delays would expose the majority of
villagers to Mugabe's militia youths for massacre," said Moyo.
His remarks were supported by the president of the Zimbabwe National
Students Association (ZINASU), Clever Bere, who insisted that a joint
peacekeeping mission from the UN and the African Unity (AU) should be
deployed to protect the masses.
"President Thabo Mbeki (of South Africa) has failed the nation of
Zimbabwe, but we still hope the UN and AU should deploy their peacekeeping
missions before the elections. This has to be done speedily," said Bere--CAJ
June 4, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A total of eight senior journalists have been suspended at the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) amid accusations they are
sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Topping the long list of the journalists suspended Tuesday night at Pockets
Hills, headquarters of the government-owned and Zimbabwe's only public
broadcaster are Robson Mhandu, the general manager, Television Services,
Patrice Makova (news editor Television Services) and Steven Ndoma (deputy
The others are Robert Tapfumaneyi, Brian Paradza, Monica Gavhera, Lawrence
Maphosa and Sibonginkosi Mlilo.
Their suspension follows that of former chief executive Henry Muradzikwa who
was fired last month for allegedly failing to ensure a victory for President
Robert Mugabe who was trounced by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tapfumaneyi is particularly accused of deleting a tape, which had recordings
of speeches made by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union leaders Wellington
Chibhebhe and Lovemore Matombo.
"The state wanted to use the tape to aid in the prosecution of Chibhebhe and
Matombo but it turned out the tapes had been deleted," said a ZBC insider.
Chibhebhe and Matombo were arrested after the Workers Day celebrations on
May 1 at Dzivarasekwa Stadium. They were charged with inciting workers to
revolt against President Robert Mugabe's government.
The suspended ZBC workers are barred from setting foot at Pockets Hills and
other premises of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, among other conditions.
Since stepping into the shoes of Muradzikwa, Muchechetere has dramatically
changed news content and programming, filling an estimated 99 percent of the
news slots with Zanu-PF propaganda in the run-up to the June 27 presidential
Muchechetere was not available to comment.
But the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), president Matthew Takaona and
the Media Institute of Southern African (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter national
director Takura Zhangazha, confirmed some of the suspended employees had
been in touch with their respective organisations over their plight.
"ZUJ condemns the suspension of the journalists from ZBC by the new
management," said Takaona in a statement to the media. "The suspension
constitutes the most deplorable form of unfair labour practice as it is
irrational, unlawful and personal," said Takaona, noting that this was
happening hard on the heels of the dismissal of Muradzikwa.
Zhangazha said: "It seems there are deliberate attempts to undermine the
ability of professional journalists at ZBC to discharge their duties. Those
not supporting the ruling party are surely going to be hounded out of the
June 4, 2008
By Tendai Dumbutshena
THE time to prosecute those responsible for the murder and torture of
innocents in Zimbabwe is now.
The first and most important duty of government is to protect its citizens.
If a government uses the enormous power at its disposal to murder, torture
and rape defenceless citizens, burn their homes and unleash all manner of
brutality, it must be held to account. Perpetrators must be hauled before
the courts of law - including the International Criminal Court - to face
charges of crimes against humanity. Talk of blanket immunity to facilitate
self - serving compromises is totally unacceptable. It must not be
The Zanu-PF government demonstrated as soon as it got into power that it
would use unrestrained violence whenever it faced a real or imagined threat
from political opponents. During the reign of Ian Smith's white minority
government people in rural areas were subjected to unspeakable atrocities in
a vain attempt to thwart the advance of liberation forces. A blanket
immunity law ensured that no one was arrested and prosecuted for heinous
When Robert Mugabe took over in 1980 he did not break with the past. The
Gukurahundi massacres in Matebeleland and parts of the Midlands in the 1980s
were his response to what he alleged was an attempt by ZAPU to topple his
government. Those who murdered, raped and pillaged were rewarded with
promotions especially in the military ranks.
Faced with an electoral threat from the MDC in 2000 Mugabe's response was
predictably brutal. Cynically using the land issue as cover, MDC activists
were systematically murdered. Thousands of farm workers perceived to be the
bedrock of MDC support in rural areas were driven off farms and condemned to
Following the 2005 parliamentary elections when desperate attempts by
Zanu-PF to win the urban vote had failed, Operation Murambatsvina was
unleashed to break large concentrations of perceived MDC supporters. Peoples'
homes, businesses and livelihoods were wantonly destroyed. Today death
squads are roaming rural areas in an orgy of murder, rape and torture.
Grassroots organizers of the MDC - the arms and legs of the party - are
Families are being driven from their burnt homes. Young Zimbabweans
recruited into the militia have become callous killing machines given money
and logistical support by the army and other state institutions, such as the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. In this madness not even infants and the elderly
are spared. Again not a single person has been arrested and prosecuted. How
can they, when the whole thing is state-sponsored? The murderers, rapists
and torturers enjoy blanket immunity. It is this culture of impunity that
must be broken.
Post-colonial Zimbabwe was built on a lie - a false premise. Its new rulers
claimed sole proprietorship of the liberation struggle. Without Zanu-PF
there would have been no liberation from colonial bondage. Therefore, the
party had the right not only to rule in perpetuity but to do as it pleased
with the people and resources of the country. Its right or mandate to rule
emanated from the barrel of the gun.
According to this logic Zanu-PF had the right to murder its opponents and do
what it pleased to protect what it won on the battlefield. When Grace Mugabe
recently said Morgan Tsvangirai would not see inside State House, even if he
won the forthcoming presidential poll she was only voicing the thinking of
her husband and the securocrats who underpin his rule.
What is disappointing is the failure over the years of intellectuals -
historians and political scientists in particular- to challenge Zanu-PF
claim to be the sole liberators of Zimbabwe. It is patently absurd for a
political party formed in 1963 to claim sole ownership of a liberation
struggle that began the moment white settlers planted the Union Jack on
Zimbabwean soil in 1890. It was a long struggle by successive generations of
nationalists and freedom fighters against an enemy with superior weaponry
and a then dominant ideology of white supremacy.
The most difficult part of any liberation struggle and the longest is to
raise the consciousness and self- confidence of the oppressed to confront
their oppressors. It is to raise the demands of the oppressed from seeking
equality to demands for self rule. It was only when this was achieved that
ZANU and ZAPU in the 1960s and 70s were able to recruit young men and women
to join the armed struggle. Furthermore, the armed struggle only succeeded
because of the support peasants gave to the liberation forces.
These are the very peasants who today bear the brunt of the cruelty of the
Zanu-PF regime because they dare look for an alternative political home.
There are those who argue at this critical juncture that since Smith was
pardoned the same should apply to Mugabe. They forget that Mugabe was
supposed to be champion of the liberation of his people. Did he liberate
them from the violence, oppression and brutality of the Smith regime? Should
he not be chief custodian of the freedoms he claims he won for his people?
Should people be so beholden to their so-called liberator to the extent of
accepting murder, torture, rape and displacement?
There is an understandable tendency for people to concentrate on the urgent
need for economic reconstruction in a post-Mugabe era. The economy lays the
golden egg and people are materially suffering badly to the point of
emigration to foreign and hostile lands. It is however folly to believe that
economic recovery and reconstruction can be achieved without addressing the
issue of the rotten body politic in Zimbabwe.
The belief that Mugabe's government is not answerable to the people of
Zimbabwe is the reason why things went so terribly wrong. It is the reason
why even today with all crumbling around him Mugabe still places his
personal interests above those of the nation. Any decent society must be
underpinned by values the core of which is respect for the dignity and
sanctity of human life. Such a society recognizes that certain principles
and values should be beyond sacrifice. It acknowledges that not all should
be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency and survival.
A good starting point for a post Zanu-PF government is to hold to account
those responsible for atrocities. There is much talk of national healing and
unity. This is not possible if those responsible for crimes against humanity
are not brought to book. The rights of ordinary powerless people cannot be
disregarded by compromises between political elites solely concerned with
either the acquisition or retention of power.
There are core values that cannot be negotiated away by politicians pursuing
If it is in the interest of Zimbabwe to have a government of national unity
after the June 27 presidential poll it should exclude those elements in
Zanu-PF responsible for crimes against the people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans
deserve a human rights based political dispensation. Any attempt to
construct such a dispensation with criminal elements of the Mugabe regime
A message must be sent that the days of impunity are over. Those who have
murdered, raped, tortured, looted and burnt homes must be prosecuted. They
should face the full consequences of the law.
Only then can Zimbabwe heal, unite and create foundations for a free and
(Tendai Dumbutshena, who is currently based in Johannesburg, was Editor of
the now defunct The Zimbabwe Times in Harare at the time of Independence in
June 04 2008 at 02:18PM
Three people thought to be South Africans have been arrested in
Zimbabwe, the department of foreign affairs said on Wednesday.
The three were being held on charges of immigration violation, foreign
affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said in a statement.
"The South African embassy, in Harare, is in urgent engagement with
the Zimbabwean authorities on this matter," he said.
"Consular assistance shall be rendered according to standing
The arrests follow the jailing of South Africans Bernet Hasani,
Resemate Chauke and Simon Maodi for six months each on Monday.
A court in Zimbabwe convicted them of possessing broadcast equipment
without authorisation, in breach of the country's media laws, according to a
The three were found in possession of equipment bearing the logo of
Britain's Sky News channel when they were pulled over at a roadblock last
week. Sky intends appealing on their behalf. - Sapa
June 04, 2008, 14:30
Migrants who fled the deadly xenophobic attacks in South Africa last month
will return to their communities or be repatriated within two months, a
government official said today.
An estimated 30 000 Zimbabweans, Mozambicans and other African migrants have
been living in refugee camps and shelters since mobs went on the rampage,
killing at least 62 people in impoverished shantytowns around Johannesburg
and other cities.
Facing criticism from relief agencies and the United Nations over poor
conditions in the shelters, President Thabo Mbeki's government has started
relocating the refugees to tented camps in Gauteng province and elsewhere
around the country.
Gauteng encompasses Johannesburg, which was the flashpoint for more than two
weeks of murder, rape and looting.
No tents by end of July
"By end of July we shouldn't have tents in Gauteng," Dorothy Mahlangu, a
minister in the Gauteng government, said during a briefing in Cape Town by
members of a task force investigating the xenophobic outbreak.
Mahlangu said those who did not want to be reintegrated into the community
would be sent home to their respective countries and that the government was
working with its African neighbours on arrangements to smooth repatriation.
Zimbabwe is arranging for about 2 500 of its citizens to be repatriated, its
state media said on Wednesday.
About 50 000 migrants have left South Africa, with the bulk crossing into
neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Some refused to go back to their
communities in South Africa out of fear, they told officials, that the armed
mobs would return.
Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula said there had been no fresh
attacks since shortly after soldiers were sent into the townships, though he
added that Mbeki might extend the army's deployment when it expires this
Nqakula added that 1 436 people had been charged with murder, arson, assault
and other crimes in connection with the violence, the worst to occur in
South Africa since the end of apartheid in 1994. - Reuters