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Amnesty International Call for Africa leaders to speak out against brutality in Zimbabwe

18 April 2007


Public Statement

AI Index: AFR 46/011/2007 (Public)
News Service No: 073
18 April 2007

Embargo Date: 18 April 2007 00:01 GMT

Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the continued attacks on
trade unionists, human rights activists and members of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in Zimbabwe. The organisation is calling on all
African leaders, both political and civil society leaders, to speak out
against human rights violations and to urge the government of Zimbabwe to
respect and protect the rights of its citizens.

As Zimbabwe commemorates 27 years of independence on 18 April 2007, many of
its citizens are either in police custody, nursing injuries inflicted by the
police and other state security agents, or living in fear for daring to
exercise their right to peaceful protest. Many are spending sleepless nights
afraid of being abducted or of being subjected to torture, simply for
choosing to belong to an opposition political party. Since 2000, the people
of Africa and of the world over have witnessed the rapid erosion of human
rights in Zimbabwe, including mass destruction of the homes and livelihoods
of 700,000 people in 2005. Is it not time we all speak out with one voice?

Recently, the world witnessed systematic violations of human rights targeted
at government critics in Zimbabwe. On 11 March 2007, the police in Harare
shot and killed Gift Tandare, a local activist. On the same day police
arrested leaders of the political opposition and other activists who tried
to take part in a prayer meeting in Harare. Many of those arrested were
severely beaten, amounting to torture, at Machipisa police station in
Harare. The injured included Morgan Tsvangirai of the main opposition party,
the MDC, who suffered a fractured skull, and Lovemore Madhuku of the
National Constitutional Assembly, who suffered a broken arm. Other severely
injured activists included Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland who are both MDC
activists. Police kept the severely injured activists in custody denying
them access to lawyers and medical care. In total, about 50 activists were
arrested for exercising their right to peaceful association and assembly.
These are rights guaranteed in Section 21of the Constitution of Zimbabwe;
Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and
Articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that African leaders, who are
members of the African Union, have allowed Zimbabwe to operate outside the
African Union and United Nations human rights frameworks. They have allowed
a culture of impunity to thrive in Zimbabwe, with arrests, detention and
torture now becoming a regular occurrence.

The organisation would like to see African leaders doubling their efforts to
bring to an end the suffering in Zimbabwe. Central to resolving the crisis
in Zimbabwe is the need to ensure that perpetrators of human rights
violations are held accountable and that the victims have access to justice.
Any attempt to circumvent the needs of victims will not bring a lasting
solution. We are therefore urging all leaders in Africa to insist that the
government of Zimbabwe implements fully the recommendations of the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights in the 2002 Fact Finding Mission
Report as a first step to addressing the human rights situation prevailing
in the country.

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Interview: Archbishop Ncube and Bishops Manhanga and Motsi

New Zimbabwe

Interview: Kembo Mohadi and Grace Kwinjeh

Interview: human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama

Interview: Ayittey, Makgetlaneng and Black

• Interview: US Ambassador Christopher Dell

Interview Part 2: Coltart, Tsunga and Majongwe

• Interview Part 1: Coltart, Majongwe and Tsunga

Interview Part 2: Margaret Dongo

• Interview Part 1: Margaret Dongo

Interview Part 2: Morgan Tsvangirai

• Interview Part 1: Morgan Tsvangirai

Interview Part 4: Prof Moyo and Thornycroft

• Interview Part 3: Prof Moyo and Thornycroft

• Interview Part 2: Prof Moyo and Thornycroft

• Interview Part 1: Prof Moyo, Prof Raftopoulos and Thornycroft

Interview Part 3: Masamvu and Prof Mukasa

• Interviewe Part 2: Masamvu and Prof Mukasa

• Interview Part 1: Masamvu and Prof Mukasa

Interview: Muleya on Ziscogate

Interview: Archbishop Pius Ncube

Part 2: Bishops on Zimbabwe We Want

• Part 1: Bishops on The Zimbabwe We Want

Interview: Thabitha Khumalo

Interview Part 3: Kagoro and George Ayittey

• Interview Part 2: Kagoro and George Ayittey

• Interview Part 1: Kagoro and George Ayittey

Interview Part 2: Eric Bloch

• Interview Part 1: Eric Bloch

Interview Part 6: Madhuku, Prof Ncube and Biti

• Interview Part 5: Madhuku, Prof Ncube and Biti

• Interview Part 4: Madhuku, Prof Ncube and Biti

• Interview Part 3: Madhuku, Ncube and Biti

• Interview Part 2: Madhuku, Ncube, Biti

• Interview Part 1: Madhuku, Ncube and Biti

Interview Part 3: Raftopoulos, Moyo and Robertson

Interview Part 2: Moyo, Raftopoulos and Robertson

• Interview Part 1: Moyo, Raftopoulos and Robertson

SW Radio Africa's Violet Gonda talks with Archbishop Pius Ncube, Pastor Ray Motsi and Bishop Trevor Manhanga for the HOT SEAT programme:

Last updated: 04/18/2007 14:48:50
Broadcast on April 17, 2007

Violet Gonda: On the programme Hot Seat we take a look at the role of the Church in Zimbabwe in finding a solution to the crisis. The Catholic Bishops Conference issued the most critical statement yet by the Church in Zimbabwe, in a Pastoral letter for Easter. It spoke prophetically and warned of more bloodshed and unrest and blamed the chaos on the leadership of the Mugabe regime.

To discuss this and the continuing debate on the church response to the crisis we have Bishop Trevor Manhanga, the head of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and head of delegation of the Zimbabwe National Vision Document that was launched last year. We also have Pastor Ray Motsi, the spokesperson of the Christian Alliance, the conveners of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign and Pius Ncube, the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo. Ncube is one of the Bishops who signed the Pastoral letter.

I began by asking Pastor Motsi for his response to the Pastoral letter.

Pastor Ray Motsi: first of all, I haven’t actually seen the whole document, I’ve just had snippets of it because I’ve been away, but nevertheless, I think people can refer to it as hard-hitting. I personally believe that the Church needs to say the truth as they see it; whether other people actually believe it or not; but they need to say sincerely what they believe is the right thing. And therefore, if the Catholic Church in Zimbabwe has come to a point where they think they needed to say something about the situation in Zimbabwe, I think it’s a welcome development within our country.

Violet: Bishop Manhanga, the Bishops, the Catholic Bishops concluded in their statement that the crisis in Zimbabwe is a crisis of governance and leadership and that is apart from being a spiritual and moral crisis. Do you agree with this?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: Well, firstly Violet, I just wanted to say in your introduction you introduced me as the President of the Evangelical Alliance. I am the past President. I am the Chairman of Heads of Denominations, so just to make that correction.

Violet: OK.

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: And then we’ll go on to your question. I think, as Pastor Motsi has said, the Bishops in the Catholic Church have looked at the situation and they have felt, from their analysis, that’s how they see the situation. I think its common knowledge to everybody in the Zimbabwean scenario that, yes, things are not right. To ascertain exactly what the problem is and where it has gone wrong is what everybody is trying to do. So, I think it's well within the Catholic Bishops’ right to look at the situation and to analyse how they see it.

Violet: And Archbishop Ncube, you wrote as the Catholic Bishops that many people in Zimbabwe are angry and that their anger is now erupting into open revolt in one township after another and that the country is in an extremely volatile situation. What has been the response from your parishioners so far?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: The Catholic parishioners have been very positive in their response. They felt that it is good we had talked and some of them said it was high time that we talked, this should have been said, they said, much earlier. So, they are pleased with the Pastoral letter and they think that we should look for ways to solve the situation so that it’s not mere talk and it just ends in a mere letter.

Violet: And you know, this is, some have said, that it’s very rare that Catholic Bishops have taken such a radical stance. Catholic Bishops have never come together in this way. Has this in any way got to do with the Pope?

Archbishop Ncube: No, well, the Pope usually leaves; well, because the Pope is not really in touch with the local situation, though he’s got a representative in most countries, including Zimbabwe. But we ourselves felt, well, we got new blood also in our Bishops Conference last year, three Bishops were appointed, new ones. And so, perhaps some of us were getting kind of used to the situation you know and part of the new blood they said ‘well, let’s meet and really talk about this matter, we can’t just let things drift’. So perhaps that’s part of the reason.

Violet: And let me go back to Bishop Manhanga. The Church in Zimbabwe launched a document entitled ‘The Zimbabwe We Want: Towards a National Vision’. What has happened with this initiative?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: This initiative is going on Violet, as we speak we have put in place a secretariat, within the next week or so they will begin the outreach work in the provinces. In each province we’ll be looking at two districts, talking to ordinary people and gathering the thoughts and responses of ordinary people. Now yes, we would have liked to have moved faster but we were hampered by several things, resources, putting in place the correct personnel. So, we would have loved to have been a bit further along the road but that initiative is still on-going and I think it will yield a good result at the end of the day.

Violet: And, you know, with the latest statement by the Catholic Church, do you feel that you’ve been out done by events in terms of your document?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: No, no, no, far from it. This document is not like instant coffee that we are looking at something for tomorrow. This document is trying to gather consensus on a vision for the nation. Some people have said to us now that elections are coming up next year that does not alter what the document is going to do. Whoever emerges from the elections of 2008 will still be presented with the document from Zimbabweans saying ‘this is the nation that we want’. It’s not about personalities, it’s not about parties, it’s about the kind of country, Zimbabweans will want to live in and be governed by. So, no, it’s not about being outdone by anybody or any process. We feel that the process we are going through is very legitimate and it will bring forth its fruit in season.

Violet: What about your thoughts on this Pastor Motsi as a member of what is seen as the much more radical Church coalition; the Christian Alliance. Do you think the Catholic Church has gone outside of the National Vision document?

Pastor Ray Motsi: Not at all. In fact the nature of the Church is that we all come from different, what I would call constituencies and schools of thought and therefore as entities we have the liberty and the room to be able to respond to the Zimbabwean situation from personal perspectives and yet at the same time we are able to come together at a point where we need to rally together as a nation. And therefore what is actually happening, for an example, as an example the three issues that you have raised, the National Vision document, the Save Zimbabwe Campaign and the Catholic Bishops’ Pastoral letter, are all ideas and attempts by Churches who know that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe, and therefore these are attempts. I personally believe that when you put all that together then you can actually be able to understand that there is a Church that is actually active and working towards a goal and doing something about the situation in Zimbabwe.

Violet: And, Archbishop Ncube, you said at the time, some time last year that the National Vision document that was signed by the Church leaders was different from the final draft. Can you clarify on this?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: Yes, well, I mean the substance of it I think remains very much alike, but a few passages were removed before the launch of the document, especially those passages that were taken as rather radical. Then afterwards, our feeling was ‘well, OK, if at least we have a document which also the Government respects, it remains, even in those passages that remained during the launch of that document, are still very critical of the Government.

And I remember talking to one of the Ambassadors from Western countries, from France, he was actually saying ‘well, it’s amazing that the Government accepted the document to be launched because there is still so much that is very, very critical of Government even in that doctored statement’. So, in view of that, we felt that at least the Government will allow us to discuss it and not hinder us and not interfere, since it is a discussion document. Rather than having a document towards which the Government is negative and we thought that at least there are some positive aspects in us having a document accepted by both the Churches; the mainline Churches; and the Government.

Violet: Bishop Manhanga, how would you respond to this, that there are parts that were doctored and that there are some that would say that the National Vision document is a soft document and therefore lacked moral authority because it sought to appease the regime? How would you respond to this?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: I think if anybody, in all fairness, looked at the document, it cannot be accused of being a ‘soft document’. I agree with my brother, Archbishop Ncube. Look at the document in all fairness and it makes some very critical statements. We must give due respect, the Government accepted that and I think in accepting that they said that ‘we acknowledge some of the things that are here and let’s discuss’. For people then to say that it lacks moral authority is without any basis whatsoever. I think we must also understand that what we are trying to do, at least some of us within the Church, is to open space for dialogue. And, if we are going to open space for dialogue, I think one of the ways we are going to do that is to make everybody understand certain things.

Being antagonistic deliberately does not necessarily help. So our approach was, yes, as the Archbishop has said, there were some statements which were removed and maybe were a bit difficult in terms of trying to take a step forward. Now, once that was done, and yes, as the Archbishop has said, it never lost the heart behind it and it still maintained that in essence. So I don’t think we would buy the statement to say that it was a wholesale giving-in to any party. It is a draft, it was never meant to be the final copy. We are now hoping that it will set the stage for people to talk about some of the things in the document and also some of the things that people feel that are not in the document that people feel should be there. At least it gives us something to discuss.

Violet: And for the interests of the public, are you able to tell us which statements were taken out?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: Well you know, there were eight drafts and it might be a bit difficult right now because I’d have to actually see some of the clauses. Some were not removed because they were offensive but maybe for better reading and because they were being duplicated somewhere else, some paragraphs were shortened be. So, it would be difficult to actually state which the different things that were taken out were, and some other things added in. Because, like I said there were about eight drafts that it went through.

Violet: And Archbishop Ncube, do you think that it’s now time that the Church spoke with a more prophetic voice rather than just a priestly voice?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: Yes, I think that as the crisis deepens more and more we begin to be aware of the urgency of acting, so that perhaps in this case dialogue alone might not be enough. But I think internally we must also begin to put pressure on Government so that they normalize the situation because up to now they have been extremely intransigent. So many efforts were made, by Church leaders, by human rights groups, by representatives of nations’ - Ambassadors, by the United Nation’s Secretary General, the outgoing man, Kofi Annan and by African leaders. So much effort was made and the Government remained intransigent. So I think now the pressure must come from within, from locally. So, mere dialogue alone will not work with these people. We know what characters they are. We also need to put pressure on them to shake them up a bit.

Violet: And still on this issue about pressure Archbishop Pius Ncube, there are some who have asked, what more can the Church do. Now we know that Mugabe is a staunch Catholic and this is the first time that the Catholic Bishops have spoken out with one voice. If the regime continues to brutalize people, can the Church ex-communicate some of these people, including Mugabe himself, or withdraw communion from them?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: Ah, personally I’m thinking that it would have a negative effect. The man would become even more stubborn to ex-communicate him. So, I’m extremely skeptical whether it would be effective. In any case, the first person to move it would have to be the Archbishop of Harare where Mugabe is resident, and I don’t think he would be likely to make that move. You see, sometimes the Church is very careful not to use its spiritual status as a weapon; as a pressure weapon; especially where someone might react even more stubbornly, causing even more suffering on the local people and become perhaps even more violent than he already is.

Violet: Pastor Motsi, what more can the Church do?

Pastor Motsi: I think it’s important for us to understand, especially your last question as to whether the Church needs to be more, what’s the right word? Needs to be sharper in its rebuke and in the way in which we do things. I personally believe it is. I think there is a time where we need to be able to try all kinds of ways in which to persuade the Government and everybody who is wrong and perpetuating this kind of problems that we face in Zimbabwe. But, if that doesn’t work, I personally believe that the words of the Prophet needs to be very clear, not only in the level of the voices but also in terms of what exactly needs to be done. And partly, prophetic voices need to be put into action and these actions ought to be brought to bear especially to everybody.

And, I personally believe that the problem of Zimbabwe is not only those that are causing the suffering and the crisis, but it’s also those that are keeping quiet in the suffering, and those that are aligning those people that are causing the problem. That to me is what the problem is and therefore the prophetic voice needs to be very clear in order to tell everybody that the situation in Zimbabwe does not need anybody from Britain or America or, South Africa, for that matter. It is us Zimbabweans who must come together. Each and everyone of us playing a role and the Church ought to be right at the beginning because judgment begins at the House of God. And, therefore, all these attempts that the Church is making. And, I personally believe that the time is coming where we are beginning to be very clear in terms of who we are and what we want because of the mandate and the mission of the Church’s own scripture.

Violet: Do you think there should be a more proactive move by the Church to actually bring the two political parties together, you know this is over and above what the Regional leaders are trying to do, Thabo Mbeki in particular.

Pastor Ray Motsi: Well, I personally believe the idea is that people need to come together first. Our salvation does not come from political parties. That is all-important and I personally believe that the politicians continue to divide people, whether it’s MDC versus MDC or MDC versus ZANU PF. And yet, the people ought to be together because it is us who are supposed to determine where this country is supposed to be going, not ZANU PF or MDC.

Violet: And Bishop Manhanga, you know the Church is obliged to work with the Government but at what point does the situation become so bad that the Church is obliged to confront it?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: When you talk about confronting the Government, what sort of confrontation are you talking about? I think that’s what you’ve got to realize. I think that everybody that looks at the Zimbabwe problem has got to understand one thing, at the end of the day we have to engage Government. They are the people who are in power, who are ruling the country, and, no matter what we do, whether as Churches or as Opposition, even the Thabo Mbeki initiative now, is premised on the fact that we are going to engage Government. So, if we are going to engage Government, as I see it, it’s important that that engagement is done in a way that is none provocative because you want to reach a settlement.

Now, if you want to reach a settlement with somebody, by provoking that person, I don’t think that it’s in the best interests of everybody that you begin by provocation. You try and begin by persuasion that’s why I lean towards the side of saying let us try and persuade both the Government and the Opposition about things that we would want to see discussed. If we are unhappy with things that Government is doing, let’s engage them, let’s talk to them. I still feel that there is no alternative to talking. I would like people to tell me, what is the alternative? Violence? Armed Conflict? And I think that’s an option that I would want to propose, I don’t think that Zimbabweans should want to think that way because nobody wins in a situation where destruction takes place, violence takes place. There are no winners! I would lean on the side of persuasion; dialogue, dialogue. That is what we’ve got to do.

Violet: So has, you know you said on the issue of engagement, you know you said it should be done – it should be non provocative. Now, has the Church engaged the Government on the issue of violence? Has the Church actually appealed to the Government to halt the abuses, the human rights abuses?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: Look, I don’t think there’s anyone Violet who would sanction what happened last month in Harare. Nobody sanctions that. It was wrong, it shouldn’t have happened. Now, simply because we are not coming in the newspapers does not mean we are not engaging Government. We are engaging Government at the highest level to make a case that that should not happen again. And, in fact in our engagement we have been told that there have been people arrested. Our position is ‘OK, let’s see if the Courts will convict these people, because we have Courts and let’s see what happens’. I would like to believe that our Courts are still competent. We still remember that Morgan Tsvangirai was acquitted of treason; there have been other cases where people have been acquitted. And, I would say to the Government if there are people who are alleged to have done anything, let them be arrested, they must not be brutalized, they must not be beaten, and let the Courts take their action which is what should happen. So that kind of work is ongoing Violet I can assure you. We are discussing with the powers that be, expressing ourselves and we trust that there will come a time when this thing will be seen openly.

Violet: Archbishop Ncube, what are your thoughts on this? If in private the Government has been told to stop the abuses and it still continues is it not time to publicly condemn the Government?

Archbishop Pius Ncube: You see I’m not sure whether I got your question properly, but if it’s a matter of none provocation of the Government, we’ve had this Government for the last 27 years. We know who they are and we know the characters of all those people there. Bishop Trevor Manhanga himself was part of what was called the Troika. How long did they speak with these people? Three years from 2003 to 2005, from 2002 to 2005, they were trying to get Zanu PF to talk to the Opposition, all to no avail. If I heard properly, (Catholic Bishop Patrick) Mutumwa said that they met something like 45 times with Zanu PF, 41 times with MDC. All to no avail. We know that Archbishop Ndungane of Cape Town came to talk to President Mugabe, all to no avail. We know that a number of African President including Thabo Mbeki, Chissano, Mkapa of Tanzania, Muluzi of Malawi, the Nigerian President Obasanjo and I think as well as others, talked with Mugabe; all to no avail.

So what is meant by non-provocation? Must we kow tow to these people? These people have shown total disregard for human rights and are clinging to power at all costs to the detriment of Zimbabweans. They continue at our cost, they continue printing money at any time so that they cause inflation. Inflation right now is 4000%. That 1700% is incorrect because they are taking it on the official price which is not practiced. The official price of bread is 825; the real price of bread in the shop is 5000, so they are not being correct, right? Kofi Annan talked to that man, Kofi Annan is a high up official.

The Pope has sent messages appealing for peace. So if these people don’t listen then the Zimbabweans have a right to non violent civil disobedience and they cannot go on kow-towing to these people while we are being sunk to the ground. It’s the eighth year now! Eight years since this thing started with this grabbing of commercial land and unplanned fast track activities. This Government is not people centered. So if we are appealing to them and we talk to them, the Catholic Bishops have engaged President Mugabe on dialogue, I was part of the delegation. Anyhow, having tried everything with time, we just have to put pressure through civic disobedience. We cannot just go on being sweet to these people.

Violet: Now this is the same question that I’m going to ask Pastor Ray Motsi, that Bishop Manhanga said that just because they don’t report in the media the appeals that mediators are making to the Government, especially in connection with the violence that has been taking place in Zimbabwe. And also, Thabo Mbeki and the SADC leaders also said that they had appealed to the Mugabe regime for peace, and this was in private. Now my question is, if all these appeals that the mediators are making in private, if they are not yielding any results, is it not time for the mediators to actually publicly criticize the regime, Pastor Motsi?

Pastor Ray Motsi: Well I personally believe that every Zimbabwean has got a right to respond to this Government and any other Government for that matter in the manner in which he or she feels they need to because any Government is supposed to be by the people, for the people and from the people. And therefore, every Zimbabwean has got a right to respond. And, I also want to in some way agree with what my colleagues on the Conference except to differ with Trevor in the sense that non violence, peaceful is very confrontational. It’s based on the reality of what is actually going on. And therefore, if you cannot actually agree on the basis of the truth on the ground, there is no basis for engagement.

And therefore, as long as we as Church says there is something wrong and the Government says there is nothing wrong, there’s no basis for engagement and therefore there is a sense in which people will have to come and speak out. It’s exactly like a father in the house is in a disagreement with his children. Now, there are other children who are very conciliatory in their approach, others will simply keep quiet and others will say ‘well dad, if you are not really willing to respond to me, I’m going to do my own thing.’ But that is the kind of crisis and the kind of response that you have in any country. You actually have people that will respond in a conciliatory way, there are others who would say ‘hey listen, if you are not prepared to be my father and behave like a father, why should I be a child to you when in actual fact, you are not responding to my needs’.

Violet: Bishop Manhanga?

Pastor Ray Motsi: That is basically what is going on, you see.

Bishop Manhanga:
All I’m saying is what is the nature of the resistance that the Church should be taking? I think that unfortunately what happens is that we are not coming up with the kind of definition and therefore when the Church wants to express itself their actions are usurped by other people and they become violent. I don’t believe it’s Church people, but because of the situation in Zimbabwe, even if the Church was to have a peaceful demonstration, it can easily be overtaken by other elements and then it becomes violent and then we get the police coming in and you see, there’s that snowball effect. So I think it would be counterproductive. In this volatile situation we all need to exercise restraint.

I think speaking to Government at various levels, I don’t think you can come across anybody who will say that everything is right in Zimbabwe. They acknowledge that things are not right. The question is how do we get out of the problems that we have and correct the things that are wrong. That is the issue. I don’t think that even on ZANU PF’s side they are saying that everything is alright in the country.

Violet: So how would you answer your own question, because, as Archbishop Pius Ncube pointed out, you were part of the Troika that has been trying to bring the two, the political parties together, or trying to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. But, you know, nothing has actually changed.

Bishop Manhanga: Yes.

Violet Gonda: So what is the nature of resistance that the Church can take now?

Bishop Trevor Manhanga: Look, as I said, at the end of the day, I don’t know of any conflict in the world, which is settled through fighting. At the end of the day, people put pressure but they still come to the table to negotiate. I don’t think that all the discussions we had were a total waste of time. I don’t think so. I think Zimbabwe could have been further down an abyss of conflict had we not tried to discuss and bring people to some understanding. Yes, the crisis may not have been resolved in a timeous manner as we would have wanted, but I think that we must also look on the positive side that there’s worse things that could have happened that haven’t happened.

So, I think that despite the fact that we may not have come out of the problems that we are in, still, I will still hold on to the point that we must continue with our efforts to bridge the gap between the differing parties in Zimbabwe and we must talk to them. Whether we agree with them or not we must still talk and dialogue.

Violet Gonda: Next week the clerics argue on the nature of resistance or the activism they should embark on as a church, and we also hear their views on the state of the opposition in Zimbabwe. Archbishop Ncube reiterates that non-violent methods should be pursued and Manhanga says the door to talks is still open.

Audio interview can be heard on SW Radio Africa’s Hot Seat programme. Comments and feedback can be emailed to

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Mugabe bans aid groups to seize control of food supplies for polls

The Scotsman

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has decided to revoke the licences of all aid groups
in the run-up to next year's elections.

Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the information minister, said some non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) were working with "agents of imperialism" to unseat the
government, according to a report on state radio.

The Zimbabwean authorities have been incensed by a storm of international
criticism - some of it from aid groups - over last month's brutal arrests
and beatings of dozens of opposition officials, including Morgan Tsvangirai,
the opposition leader.

All NGOs have now been "deregistered" and must apply for new licences, Dr
Ndlovu told ruling party supporters in Bulawayo.

"Pro-opposition and western organisations masquerading as relief agencies
continue to mushroom, and the government has annulled the registration of
all NGOs in order to screen out agents of imperialism from organisations
working to uplift the wellbeing of the poor," said Dr Ndlovu.

Opposition is growing to Mr Mugabe and his 27-year hold on power, which has
seen once-prosperous Zimbabwe turned into a net food importer with critical
shortages of drugs, foreign currency and power.

Even senior officials in the president's ruling ZANU-PF party are reported
to be privately against him standing in next year's presidential poll.

Mr Mugabe has been so incensed by mounting resistance to his tenure that he
has sanctioned a reign of terror in Harare townships, where state agents are
reported to be abducting and beating government opponents. John Makumbe, a
political scientist, said the cancellation of NGO licences was a carefully
calculated move to ensure Mr Mugabe's party had control of scarce food
supplies ahead of presidential and parliamentary polls.

"Zimbabwe has a food deficit this season," Mr Makumbe told The Scotsman.

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NGO deregistration could see sharp drop in humanitarian aid

Zim Online

Wednesday 18 April 2007

By Edith Kaseke

HARARE - Zimbabwe's government has deregistered all aid groups and analysts
said while this was a bid to tighten President Robert Mugabe's grip on
power, it could see a sharp fall in humanitarian aid and worsen the country's
pariah status and a severe economic crisis.

The southern African nation is mired in a deep recession that has seen
inflation zoom to nearly 2 000 percent, the highest in the world, and
unemployment jumping above 80 percent while shortages of food and foreign
currency continue to bite.

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the chief government spokesman, said
in a surprise move that licences for all non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) had been revoked and that the groups had to lodge new applications to
screen those he accused of seeking regime change in Harare.

Political analysts predicted many NGOs would not be licenced but warned this
would expedite the country's humanitarian crisis and isolation as donors
would discontinue programmes such as those targeted at people living with
HIV/AIDS and distribution of food aid.

"This would appear to be ill-advised but then this government has never
shied away from courting controversy," Eldred Masunungure, chairman of the
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political science department told ZimOnline.

"The consequences are clear, we are likely to see donors scaling down on
crucial aid and this will affect ordinary people struggling with this
(economic) crisis," Masunungure said.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis worsened after the International Monetary Fund
cut financial assistance and foreign donors withdrew support to the Harare
administration, citing Mugabe's controversial policies, including the
arbitrary and often violent land seizures, which crippled an economy that
was once a model for Africa.

Analysts said after donors stopped dealing directly with Mugabe, NGOs and
aid groups had become key conduits of funnelling aid to vulnerable groups.
The analysts said foreign donors were unlikely to commit more funding and
resources to aid groups in Zimbabwe if these were unregistered.

The government's decision appeared to have been sparked by a United States
State Department report on human rights in which Washington revealed that it
was working with some NGOs and the opposition to influence government

This infuriated Mugabe's government, whose response was to suspend
co-operation between Parliament and the United States Agency for
International Development and on Monday raised the stakes by cancelling all
licences held by NGOs.

Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980,
has been uncompromisingly combative lately as he faced up to a barrage of
condemnation from Western powers over the heavy-handed response by state
agents to anti-government protests.

"We are really worried about this development (and) this could cause panic
in the sector," said Bob Muchabayiwa, the programme director at National
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations said.

There are more than 1 000 NGOs operating in Zimbabwe with those involved in
HIV/AIDS and humanitarian work playing a critical role in helping a local
population grappling with the economic crisis.

Analysts said programmes that combat Zimbabwe's HIV/AIDS pandemic could
suffer as a result of the move. There are 600 000 people who need
anti-retroviral drugs but the government can only provide for 32 000,
leaving the larger burden to NGOs.

The deregistration could halt food aid from reaching the southern African
country, which has warned of a huge crop deficit. Aid groups say over two
million people require food aid after crops failed this year.

Mugabe has repeatedly said his government welcomed aid but without
conditions and has charged that some of the groups were running covert
operations in support of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change

"This will present such a huge challenge to NGOs in this country because the
government can just say you have been working against us and deny you a
licence. It is a very sad situation coming at this particular time," an
official with a human rights group told ZimOnline.

Analysts said human rights groups, civic groups and those in food aid
distribution were likely to be fingered by the government as the chief
culprits in plotting Mugabe's downfall and could be denied licences.

Political analysts said the government could go a step further and re-table
a controversial and intrusive Bill that seeks to regulate and monitor
operations of NGOs but which Mugabe did not sign last year after strong
protests from local and international NGOs.

"What the government is doing is to block the only remaining channel to
vulnerable groups in the country who are suffering because of the bad
policies of the same government," John Makumbe, a UZ political science
lecturer added.

"But I am not surprised because the regime feels cornered and will do
everything to make sure no one exposes its bad record of human rights and
how it is using food aid as a political tool especially as we move towards
elections in 2008," added Makumbe.

Mugabe, now 83 and seeking re-election next year that would take his rule to
33 years, denies critics' charges that he has become authoritarian to remain
in office. Instead he has portrayed himself as a fighter against imperialism
and a victim of Western sabotage being punished for seizing white-owned
farms. - ZimOnline

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'Let them celebrate their independence'

Zim Online

Wednesday 18 April 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - Zimbabweans today mark 27 years of independence from Britain but
for the majority, there is little to celebrate with inflation nearly 2 000
percent, unemployment at above 80 percent, while poverty is at its worst
than at any other time since Britain relinquished power to Prime Minister
(now President) Robert Mugabe on April 18, 1980.

Sibangani Dube, 35, is a vegetable vendor who said he has never held a
formal job since leaving school 15 years ago - which of course is normal in
a country where only 20 percent of the workforce can ever hope to get hired
in one of the country's decaying factories.

Dube said for him independence meant very little: "Let them celebrate those
who have reason to . . . Otherwise for me it is business as usual. I still
have to make sure I sell as much vegetables to raise enough money to buy
food for my family."

Sithabile Nxumalo, 56, a primary school teacher, who started working in
1979, months before the British colony of Southern Rhodesia became
independent Zimbabwe said it is hard to admit, but life appears to have been
a lot easier during those bad old days. "The government of Smith (Ian,
Rhodesia's white supremacist ruler) made sure teachers and other
professionals were paid a living salary.

"But with the salary Mugabe is paying us now it is not even enough for
transport and that is the reason most teachers are leaving the country for
greener pastures in South Africa and Botswana and do you call that being

But Nxumalo said her greatest regret was that she was no longer young.
"Otherwise had I been younger I would have long left this wretched country
for other places where teachers are still given the respect and

Tawanda Mbizi, 48, was of a different view. A beneficiary of the government's
chaotic land reforms, Mbizi said independence should be cherished. "No
matter the present but passing difficulties.

"In fact the minority who are lambasting our leaders and saying Rhodesia was
a much better place are people who never saw the brutality of the whiteman,
Zimbabweans should count themselves lucky that independence was achieved and
that they now have their land back."

Nhlanhla Phiri, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change party supporter
said independence should not be something that comes once a year on April
18. "Zimbabweans should feel and experience that they are truly independent
and free every day of their lives. That unfortunately is not the case. The
reality is that there is no freedom in Zimbabwe, people are beaten,
abducted, killed, raped and intimidated by the police and ruling party thugs
for the simple reason that they hold a different political view."

Maria Moyo, a saleslady with one of Bulawayo's biggest clothing retailers
said she and most people she were not so much concerned about "independence
or these political debates. What we all worry about every minute of the day
is where to get money for school fees, rent, food, clothes and bus fare to
go to work. If they (the government) could solve these problems for us then
we could probably think about celebrating this independence they keep
telling us about."

High school student Mthulisi Nkomo always loves Independence Day
celebrations but maybe for different reasons. "The Independence Day musical
galas are always good. We get to watch our favourite local musicians
performing live for free, I mean it's not a bad thing, is it?" - ZimOnline

Maybe the young student is right - after all who wouldn't want a free
session of live music, just to make one forget for a while the daily
struggle that is life in Zimbabwe after eight years of an economic meltdown
described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone. -

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NGOs seek clarification on deregistration

Zim Online

Wednesday 18 April 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - Zimbabwean civic groups on Tuesday said they are seeking
clarification from the government following media reports that Harare had
deregistered all non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

In a statement on Tuesday, the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations (NANGO), which has about 1 000 members, said the announcement
had caused "alarm and despondency" among its members.

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu on Sunday told the state-run Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) that the government had deregistered all
licences for NGOs seeking regime change in Zimbabwe.

"NANGO notes with concern the alarm and despondency caused by a recent ZBC
bulletin on Monday 16 April 2007 report where the Minister of Information,
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu allegedly announced at a ruling ZANU PF meeting in
Bulawayo, that the government is going to deregister or cancel licences of
all NGOs in order to sift those that are aimed at effecting regime change in

"Whilst NANGO is in the process of establishing the actual facts and
position of government from the ministry responsible for NGOs, it calls upon
its civic society organisations to continue with their work, noting that
there is no constitutional, legal or moral basis for wholesale
deregistration of NGOs," read part of the statement.

NANGO said it was seeking audience with Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche, who is in charge of NGOs, for clarification
on the matter.

The Zimbabwe government has in the past threatened to shut down NGOs it
involved in human rights and governance matters accusing the NGOs of pushing
a regime change agenda against President Robert Mugabe's government. NGOs
deny the charge. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe police recruits to bring own training gear

Zim Online

Wednesday 18 April 2007

By Prince Nyathi

HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwean government has ordered police recruits
around the country to bring their own training gear and clothing as it can
no longer afford to provide the materials for the trainee officers.

Some of the recruits interviewed by ZimOnline said they had each been
ordered to bring a pair of white tennis shoes, a blanket, two pairs of
bedding sheets, bathing and washing soap as well as 10 cases of shoe polish,
among other things.

The six-month training stint is scheduled to start on 23 April.

"I went through all the interviews and medical examinations but I was
surprised when the personnel officer gave me this long list of things that I
was supposed to bring ahead of training.

"He said at least I should buy half of the stuff," said one of the recruits
who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.

The recruit said it was highly unlikely that most of his 300 colleagues who
were scheduled to start training next Monday would be able to raise the
Z$500 000 required to buy all the training gear.

President Robert Mugabe's government used to provide all that was needed for
the training of new recruits in the past including blankets, bedding sheets
and tennis shoes.

But a severe economic crisis that has manifested itself in the world's
highest inflation rate of nearly 2 000 percent, has seen the Harare
authorities struggle to provide the barest essentials for most government

Contacted for comment last night, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena,
said: "I am not aware of such a development. Recruits are supposed to be
given uniforms and equipment for training and that has not been changed."

The latest recruitment comes in the wake of reports of massive resignations
and desertions within the police over the past few years as disgruntled
police officers quit their jobs to seek better paying jobs outside the

The government is said to be eager to boost its depleted security forces
ahead of next year's watershed presidential and parliamentary elections in
the country. - ZimOnline

Most of the police recruits are said to be from the youth militia trained at
government-run national service training programmes around the country. The
youth militia are accused of committing serious human rights violations
against government opponents. - ZimOnline

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Opposition leaders say nothing to celebrate on Independence Day

By Lance Guma
17 April 2007

On the eve of Zimbabwe's 27th Independence Day celebrations, the two leaders
of the country's divided opposition united in acknowledging there was
nothing to celebrate. Newsreel on Tuesday spoke to both Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara to get their thoughts on the celebrations. Tsvangirai
said although it was an emotional day to reflect on past sacrifices the day
itself had lost the nostalgia previously attached to it, mainly because the
country had gone back on advances made after independence. He accused the
ruling Zanu PF party of 'Zanuizing' the event and deliberately excluding
everyone else. He said contrary to Mugabe's claims it was actually the
ruling party that has betrayed the ideals of the liberation struggle, not
the opposition.

He said the party and its supporters would not be attending any of the
festivities. 'You cannot go to events where your participation is vilified
and attendance is at personal risk,' Tsvangirai said. Turning to the SADC
initiative to appoint Thabo Mbeki as mediator, Tsvangirai said he was
hopeful things will be different this time around as the initiative had the
backing of the whole region. 'What we need is success, so we will give him
the benefit of the doubt.' Mutambara echoed similar optimism warning however
that they would not entrust their destiny to foreigners.

In his Independence Day message Mutambara said Zimbabweans did not owe
Mugabe anything; 'Mugabe was basically a spineless coward in the war, he
never fired a single shot and was a lucky coward of the liberation war.' He
said Zimbabweans were responsible for their own emancipation since they are
the ones who assisted ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas during the war. Mutambara
said the country needed leaders who put national interests before themselves
and that people should look for nation builders who can take Zimbabwe to the
next level.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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27th independence anniversary - not in our name says new youth group

17th Apr 2007 21:30 GMT

By The Zimbabwe Youth Movement

HARARE - We the youth of Zimbabwe take pride in its revolutionary history.
We take the 18th of April as the day we mourn our lost struggle, our
betrayed Chimurenga.

We know the gallant sons and daughters of the soil are turning in their
graves. We know what they fought for and it is on this honorable day that we
declare war on the betrayers of the revolution! We are prepared to continue
and die for the revolution!

We the youth of this great nation would like to celebrate our independence
like everyone else. We, the Zimbabwean youth who are inspired by those who
sacrificed their lives and limp to and join the war front, declare the 18th
of April as a utility day when all and sundry should reflect the goals of
the independence struggle and thus refocus our energies to attaining them.

It's a day when we should all come together and strongly to speak out
against neo-colonialism, neo-liberalism and class struggles. It is a day in
which Zimbabweans remember the fact that they sacrificed their lives in the
hope that they will decimate dictatorship and poverty once and for all!

The ZYM, as the vanguard of the revolution takes this opportunity to warn
our betrayers that the time for their end has come. We declare to them that
the spirit that got to them in 1962 is the same; if not more vigilant spirit
we carry today.

Surely, we cannot watch as these betrayers take over our great nation as
personal enterprise and suck it off its resources. The revolution starts and
ends with the youth! We are not prepared for any reformist changes but for a
complete change- a revolution! What we demand is nothing short of your
demise, a complete end to your tyranny and bourgeoisie politics.

As your former colleague and friend in arms, our hero Ndabaningi Sithole
once said "We turned away from reformist politics, we now enter the era of
takeover politics! We are our own liberators by direct confrontation"

As we celebrated independence in 1980, we anticipated a complete change in
our day to day lives. No sooner was it that we realized that our revolution
had been betrayed. This was when you began killing our fellow countrymen in
Matabeleland and trying in vain to force a one party state.

We anticipated an egalitarian society where all had access to our national
resources but then you decided to enrich yourselves. We expected to be given
land but then you decided to experiment with capitalist and anti-people
neo-liberal policies that completely failed. In no time you were showing
your true colors when you tried to shut down an alternative voice to our
democracy endeavor. Surely, our independence has been greatly undermined and
we cannot stand by and watch.

Just as we thought you had done enough, you again tempered with our patience
and inflicted lasting injuries on our generation in what you termed
"Operation Murambatsvina". No, we cannot watch anymore. We cannot standby
and watch as you bash our colleagues for having an alternative view. NO!!

It is on this honorable Independence Day that we declare our clear intention
to address this great anomaly in our great nation! Lest you forget that the
history of Zimbabwe did not end in 1980 but continues to evolve, we are
making the history now! We are insulted by the levels of poverty, inflation
is well over 2000% and unemployment is over 85%.

The youth believe that they have an obligation imposed upon them to save our
nation from these running dogs of dictatorship! We certainly cannot watch as
these betrayers of our great revolution monopolize and personalize our

We cannot watch as they destroy our future! We cannot watch as they
personalize our history! We cannot watch as they monopolize our land, our
heritage, our sovereignty!

We as the youth of Zimbabwe, declare that we are the vanguard of this nation's
great expectations, we will safeguard its future as it belongs to us, we
will safeguard today as it determines our future!

Mbuya Nehanda vauya ne ZYM

We salute all our departed, injured and detained comrades.


The ZYM will be launched on independence day at Huruyadzo Shopping Centre in
Chitungwiza. They can be contacted on

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Stop Mugabe's 'brutal' regime


17/04/2007 22:14  - (SA)

Copenhagen - Danish foreign minister Per Stig Moeller called on Tuesday on
Zimbabwe's neighbours to exert pressure on veteran leader Robert Mugabe and
help end his "brutal" regime.

Moeller, speaking after talks with two leading Zimbabwean opposition
figures, also urged the continent's powerhouse South Africa to do more to
defuse the political and economic crises plaguing its northern neighbour.

"I don't think they (southern African nations) have exercised sufficient
pressure up until now," the local Ritzau news agency quoted him as saying.

Urging the 14-nation Southern African Development Community regional bloc to
"react," Moeller said President Thabo Mbeki, mandated last month by his
peers in the region to defuse the crisis in Zimbabwe, should act firmly.

He said Mbeki, who has been accused by critics at home of treating Mugabe
with kid gloves, should "remember that the credibility of southern Africa is
at stake if Mugabe continues to steer the boat".

Once model economy

Zimbabwe's once model economy has been on a downward spiral for the last
seven years, characterised by runaway inflation - the highest in the world -
and perennial shortages of basic commodities.

Exacerbating the situation is the state's increasing crackdown on all
opposition to the rule of the country's founding President Mugabe, who at 83
is Africa's oldest leader. Mugabe has held power since 1980 when the country
gained independence from Britain.

Last month, the ruling Zanu-PF party chose Mugabe to stand again as its
candidate in presidential elections next year.

Moeller, who held talks with Welshman Ncube and Tendai Biti, members of
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change party that has posed
the strongest challenge to Mugabe, said their testimony was "shocking".

"The regime is extremely brutal and seeks to snuff out any opposition
through the worst possible means," said the minister.

Western countries have imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his government and
have accused him of stifling democracy and human rights in his now
impoverished country.

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Southern African Civil Society Groups Mobilize Around Zimbabwe Crisis


      By Patience Rusere
      17 April 2007

South African-based Civicus, an international alliance of civil society
organizations, announced on Tuesday that it will seek an audience with
President Thabo Mbeki to express its concern about what it says is a
deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.

Southern African leaders meeting late last month in summit named Mr. Mbeki
mediator between the Zimbabwe government and ruling party, and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change factions led by Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara.

Though Mr. Mbeki has engaged the Harare government and opposition leaders,
there have been continuing abductions and beatings of opposition officials
and activists.

Civil Society Watch Manager Clare Doube says her organization is concerned
at what it believes is Zimbabwean state-sponsored violence and intimidation.
The group will also be reaching out to regional organizations including the
Southern African Development Community and the African Union, Doube said.

Doube told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that her
group is looking for "more practical" ways to engage in the crisis.

Elsewhere, several Southern African NGOs have embarked on a program of
research on Zimbabwean refugees and their impact on poverty in the

The research project is being undertaken jointly by Malawi's Centre for
Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Botswana's Centre for Human Rights, the
Southern African Legal Assistance Network of Zambia and the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition of Harare. The organizations intend to present their
findings to regional leaders.

Executive Director Undule Mwakasungura of the Center for Human Rights and
Rehabilitation said Zimbabwe's crisis could negatively affect the whole

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US State Department Human Rights Report Raises Hackles In Harare


      By Blessing Zulu and Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
      17 April 2007

The Zimbabwean government's move this week against suspect nongovernmental
organizations and its termination last week of a U.S.-funded program to
develop the committee system in the country's parliament both appear to have
been prompted by Harare's reading of of a recent U.S. State Department
report on human rights.

The State Department report on its human rights and democracy programs,
published annually, says the U.S. strategy is to keep pressure on Harare
while supporting efforts by the political opposition and civil society to
increase the country's democratic space.

But Zimbabwean government officials say their reading of the report is that
the U.S. aim in Zimbabwe is "regime change" - removing President Robert
Mugabe - and now appear to be scrutinizing all U.S. activities mentioned in
the human rights report.

U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell told reporter Blessing Zulu of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe on Tuesday that the government's decision to end
the parliamentary program was "unfortunate and regrettable."

He said the program had been funded and undertaken by the State University
of New York at Harare's request. He added that if the U.S. objective were
regime change it would not have spelled it out in a document widely
available to the public.

Dell said he was cautiously optimistic that mediation by South African
President Thabo Mbeki in the Zimbabwe crisis at the behest of the Southern
African Development Community could bring about free and fair elections in
March 2008.

Zimbabwean Ambassador to the United States Machivenyika Mapuranga, speaking
from Washington, defended the government's decision to terminate the
USAID-funded parliamentary program and to take steps to deregister all
nongovernmental organizations so it can weed out those allegedly serving
Western aims.

Mapuranga told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye that Zimbabwe is acting within
its sovereign rights in halting programs it considers inimical to its

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Academic Organizers Suspended By Zimbabwe University Authorities


      By Carole Gombakomba
      17 April 2007

Officials at Masvingo State University in Zimbabwe have suspended two
leaders of the union representing lecturers, accusing them of mobilizing
teachers to strike demanding better pay and working conditions, sources said

The university suspended union chairman Kutsirai Gondo and secretary general
Takavafira Zhou, according to academic sources.

Zhou told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
officials aim to undermine the two-week-old strike by lecturers and
non-academic staff.

Lecturers at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo
returned to work while negotiations with university officials continued.

But University of Zimbabwe lecturers continued their strike, now in its
fourth month.

University Teachers Association President James Mhlaule said authorities
tried to serve union leaders with suspension letters, but failed to follow
proper procedures.

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Zimbabwe Tennis Star Cara Black Reported Emigrating To South Africa


      By Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
      17 April 2007

Zimbabwe's hopes for seeing a medal in tennis come home from the 2008
Olympics may have been dashed - reports say doubles star Cara Black has
added her name to the list of Zimbabwean athletes acquiring citizenship in
another country.

Some observers believe the fact that Black's doubles partner, Liezel Huber,
is South African, contributed to Black's decision to shift loyalties to
Pretoria. Her mother, Velia Black, was born in South Africa and is said to
have supported the decision, additionally citing the paucity of professional
players in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean tennis fans naturally are unhappy with the reported decision, and
say the move will further dim the national sports scene, under heavy
economic pressure.

Human rights lawyer Arnold Tsunga told reporter Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that more Zimbabwean athletes are likely to
seek greener pastures abroad as Zimbabwe's downward spiral accelerates.

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Crikey Says

Date: Wednesday, 18 April 2007
It must be comforting for Zimbabwe's citizenry to know that as they go about
their everyday life -- 80% unemployment, 1700% inflation, 3500 people killed
weekly by AIDS, more than a million AIDS orphans, widespread starvation and
police brutality -- the children of their leaders are getting a pukka

As Crikey has been reporting over recent weeks, many of the children of the
senior members of Robert Mugabe's disgraced regime are studying or resident
in Australia. Those children include the son of Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri (who recently issued orders for police to shoot to kill
the organisers of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign who had scheduled a prayer
meeting to pray for peace) and the three children of of Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono (who presides over the possibly the world's most
corrupt and ailing economy).

While the Australian Government maintains financial and travel sanctions
against associates of the regime, and generally expresses condemnation of
the unfolding human tragedy in Zimbabwe, it is apparently happy to open its
doors to the children of Mugabe's henchmen into Australia and into our best
Totalitarian Zimbabwe is as obnoxious as Saddam's Iraq, another regime
Australia saw fit to scorn and sanction. The Australian Government's tacit
welcome to the Mugabe regime's children in 2007 is tantamount to rolling out
the red carpet to the children of the Hussein clan, or to the children of
any number of other despotic governments who oppressed their population as
the world watched on with disgust.

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