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Zimbabwean soldiers beat up citizens on anniversary of independence

Monsters and Critics

Apr 18, 2008, 8:14 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwean soldiers went house to house in a poor
suburb of the capital Harare Friday, beating up men and youths shortly
before embattled President Robert Mugabe was due to give his first address
to the nation since last month's elections.

A Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa correspondent saw between 30 and 40 soldiers
travelling in two army trucks ordering families to come out of their homes
in Glenview suburb.

The soldiers then told the women and the elderly to get back inside and
turned on the men and boys, raining down blows on them with batons.

A bystander claimed the attack was in revenge for an assault on a soldier
living in the area earlier this week - a claim that could not be immediately

Otherwise Harare was quiet but the police presence heavy as Zimbabwe marked
the 28th anniversary of its independence from Britain.

President Robert Mugabe, leader since 1980, was due to address the nation
for the first time since March 29 elections the opposition claims he lost at
an annual Independence Day rally in Harare's Gwanzura Stadium.

A military display, a feast and a soccer match usually form part of the
celebrations but most people said they had little appetite for merrymaking
given the uncertainty gripping the country in the wake of the presidential

Nearly three weeks after the vote, the state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission is still refusing to release the results.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims he defeated Mugabe squarely. Mugabe's
Zanu-PF party claims neither Tsvangirai nor Mugabe won outright and that a
runoff is required, but the MDC is vowing not to take part.

An independent electoral observation NGO also predicted neither took more
than 50 per cent at the first round but had Tsvangirai very close.

Tsvangirai claimed in a BBC interview Thursday the two parties had been
close to a deal that would have ended Mugabe's autocratic and economically
disastrous rule a few days after the election.

The MDC had been approached by Mugabe envoys about the formation of a unity
government but the talks broke down because there were 'others in the
establishment who did not want to accept that.'

Several newspapers have reported that hardliners in the security forces
opposed Mugabe stepping down.

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Violence unleashed against government opponents in Zimbabwe, say victims

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 18, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Arthur Taderera marked Zimbabwe's Independence Day on
Friday in a hospital where he's being treated for multiple bruises and
suspected bone fractures after being attacked by government soldiers who
recognized him as an opposition activist.

"They beat me and tormented me. They said I was a stooge who wanted to sell
the country to the British and the whites," 56-year-old Taderera said from
his hospital bed.

In a clampdown against opponents of President Robert Mugabe since the
nation's March 29 election, scores of opposition supporters have been
assaulted, beaten and tortured, human rights groups say.

On Friday, Zimbabwe is to celebrate 28 years of independence from colonial
rule with a parade, an Air Force flyover and a speech by Mugabe at a sports
stadium in the impoverished western Harare township of Highfield. A free
soccer match also is scheduled.

Speaking in neighboring South Africa, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
said it will be "the saddest Independence Day since our liberation from
colonial rule." Already struggling under skyrocketing inflation and 80
percent unemployment, Zimbabweans now also do not know who won the

Zimbabwe has been waiting for results of the presidential vote for nearly
three weeks. Independent tallies suggest Tsvangirai won, but not by enough
to prevent a runoff.
Human rights groups say the ruling party has unleashed a campaign of revenge
in an apparent attempt to intimidate the populace into supporting Mugabe in
a runoff. The opposition has said it is reluctant to participate in a

Like hundreds of other opposition supporters, Taderera fled his home earlier
this week to avoid the ruling party militants who were seeking out backers
of Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC.

On Wednesday, Taderera became one of the victims.

That afternoon about 10 soldiers wearing camouflage and helmets searched his
car in the town of Chitungwiza, 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Harare.
They pulled out MDC campaign literature.

Taderera had been a polling agent for the party in the local district,
observing as the MDC's Felix Mashu unseated a ruling party opponent.

On finding the campaign pamphlets, a soldier who called himself "Black
Jesus" threatened to kill Taderera by cutting off his head with a bayonet,
the victim said. Instead they beat him, boasting as they did that they were
trained to kill people.

"Just do it, once and for all, I said. We are suffering and have been slowly
dying for so long, just do it now," Taderera recounted, groaning in pain as
he spoke falteringly to The Associated Press at the Harare hospital.

Villagers from outside the eastern town of Marondera said they slept in the
bush for the past five nights after attackers destroyed their homes.
Community leader Dominic Musekiwa said his homestead and three other homes
were torched by pro-Mugabe militants and left in ruins.

"They wanted to know who we voted for," he said. Musekiwa said they were
calling the onslaught "Operation Makavhoterapapi," a phrase in the local
Shona language that means "where did you put your cross" on the ballot.

The independent Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights organization says at least
200 people have been treated for severe injuries received in postelection
violence. The group was investigating at least two reported but unconfirmed

Gabriel Karonga, 38, said he hasn't been able to find his two children since
a group of men attacked his village in northeastern Zimbabwe. Burning homes
created a smoke screen through which he couldn't see.

One woman told doctors she was among 100 people force marched into a school
hall and made to lie face down on their stomachs, where they were kicked and
beaten with wooden clubs. They were then made to chant ruling party slogans
and swear allegiance to Mugabe.

Another villager at a privately run clinic in Harare said he was whipped and
beaten with fence posts, barbed wire and vehicle fan belts. Attackers told
him: "There's no protection from police. We do what we like," Owen
Tafirenyika said.

Amid the latest surges in prices in the economic meltdown, any traditional
social festivities aside from Mugabe's parade were expected to be muted
after prices of scarce food, gasoline and drinks more than doubled since

Tsvangirai said he had hoped for a resolution by Independence Day: "Given
the current state of decay and the political impasse that we face, I am sure
rather than a celebration there is going to be serious commiseration."

Waiting in the hospital to heal, Taderera said he would be trying not to
think of the holiday.

"People are crying. It is a travesty to talk of independence and freedom."

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Mugabe’s run-off rigging strategy leaked


In the Thursday edition of The Zimbabwean there were revelations that,
“Militant supporters of President Robert have set up torture camps in parts
of Mashonaland East province and stepped up a terror campaign against
opposition activists in the province”.

The reason for their deployment is to ensure a victory for Mugabe in their
planned run-off election.

Sokwanele is able to report that we are able to verify and endorse this
information with a report leaked to us by a member of the defence forces.
This was received yesterday.

There are a variety of strategies being employed to hoodwink Zimbabweans,
particularly those in the rural areas. What follows is a breakdown of the
information we have received.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has been directed to delay the
Presidential Election results for another two weeks, after which a further
three weeks need to be added as legally required for the election run-off.

The run-off election date being proposed is Monday, May 26th – the Monday
working day set aside as a public holiday to honour Africa Day on Sunday,
May 25th.

We are told that ZEC is likely to use the excuse of the 3 by-elections to
delay the Presidential results even further (Redcliffe, Gwanda South and

Key loyal cadres from amongst militant war veterans have been assigned to
execute a plan of intimidation and torture, one for each area in the

This plan is already in advanced stages, with henchmen deployed down to Ward
level throughout the country.

All Police officers have been asked to state their allegiance to the ruling
party, with those suspected of being opposition supporters rejected. This is
because 4,000 henchmen are required for “civilian duties”.

Those appointed to ‘civilian duties’ began their deployment yesterday (17
April) and have been instructed to wear old civilian clothes, not to shave,
to carry no identity documents and, if possible, no footwear.

Their job is to gather information and spread disinformation about the MDC.

These loyal undercover agents have been instructed to report to the listed
war veterans from the Military already assigned to their regions in the

They have been told to focus their attention on the elderly members of
society as soft targets.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police have also been instructed not to provoke anyone
in the cities and will only act as intelligence gatherers. This is to put a
public shine on the perception of the force as an agent of the government.
As part of their intelligence gathering, they are presently visiting
businesses in main urban centres demanding to know why certain companies
were closed during the general strike.

In the rural areas, each village Headman is to receive Z$ 5 billion and the
traditional Chiefs Z$10 billion with instructions to gather villagers for at
least 2 meetings to enlist support for Mugabe in the runoff. This will be
over the 21 day period. The period covered by bribes to traditional leaders
will be highlighted with ten Star political rallies.

The security forces hold a file on each MDC activist detailed right down to
the level of the football club he or she supports, together with family
members details. We were given one precise example and the individual
targeted has been warned that his family is in danger. We cannot reveal
details on this as it would compromise both the victim and the individual
who leaked this information. Key opposition personalities are being
identified as targets right across the country with emphasis on the rural

Dr Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor, will be releasing Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe funds for cooperatives and other rural ventures to boost Zanu and
Mugabe popularity.

This information was verified tonight by an announcement on Zimbabwe State
Television news last night that funds have been allocated to Matabeleland
North for such projects. This is especially astonishing news for a regime
that is well known to ignore the needs of this largely ignored region.

A further directive has been issued that no school fee increases will be
announced until after the elections and the elections will be held after pay

The Zanu PF donated urban commuter buses will be sent back into the rural
areas to offer drastically discounted fares to lure votes: fares of Z$80
million as opposed to the current fares of approximately Z$300 million.

The number of polling stations is to be further reduced in the cities (these
being traditional bases of support to the opposition) to discourage large
voter turnouts.

In the 21 day period following the announcement of the new Presidential
election date the winning Zanu PF candidates for the House of Assembly
election will hold victory parties and celebrations. Funds will be provided
by the regime.

Zanu PF is petrified of potential strike action by teachers because they
would like to use them as pawns in the election process; teachers lend an
air of respectability to the process because they are respected in the rural
communities. Accordingly, teachers will once again be given a pay rise but
we are told they will be dumped after the election.

Police officers were given their “election bonus” of 900 million on 22nd
January but have not been given their “top up” as promised after the
elections. This is working against the loyalty the regime is attempting to

It is only the few gullible, greedy and naturally violent who still support
the geriatric leader and his elite group of thugs.

Once again the regime is working on its time-worn strategy of divide and
conquer, and of bribery and violence.

But we believe that this time it is different: this time the eyes of the
world are keenly focused on the illegitimate regime that has long overstayed
its welcome.

This entry was written by Sokwanele on Friday, April 18th, 2008 at 5:30 am.

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Sending arms to Zim 'a recipe for conflict'


    April 18 2008 at 07:01AM

By Kamini Padayachee & Sapa

Opposition to a shipment of arms being offloaded in Durban and
transported to Zimbabwe increased yesterday when South Africa's largest
transport workers' union announced that its members would not unload the

"The union does not agree with the position of the South African
government not to intervene with this shipment of weapons," said Randall
Howard, the general secretary of the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union.

"Our members employed at Durban container terminal will not unload
this cargo, neither will any of our members in the truck driving sector move
this cargo by road."

      'South Africa cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of
weapons into Zimbabwe'
He said the ship, the An Yue Jiang, should not dock in Durban and
should return to China.

"South Africa cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons
into Zimbabwe at a time when there is a political dispute and a volatile
situation between the Zanu-PF and the MDC. The view of our members is that
nobody should ask us to unload these weapons," he said.

Political parties, religious organisations and non-government
organisations on Thursday criticised South Africa's role in facilitating the
shipment of goods to Zimbabwe.

Government spokesperson Themba Maseko said the government would not
take any action to stop the shipment from reaching Zimbabwe.

Nelson Kamdarami, the Movement for Democratic Change's vice-chairman
in KwaZulu-Natal, said many Zimbabweans in Durban were concerned about why
the Zimbabwean government needed arms.

"Mugabe is sitting on the election results and now he wants to use
these weapons to get rid of MDC supporters and create instability in the
country. Then he can declare a state of emergency and the election results
will never be released," he said.

Kamdarami added that Zimbabweans would be holding a protest march in
the Durban city centre tomorrow to highlight their concerns about the
weapons shipment and delayed released of the election results.

The Institute for Race Relations said it would be unconscionable for
the South African government to allow a consignment of arms through the
country's borders into Zimbabwe.

"Introducing shipments of arms into the unstable political climate in
Zimbabwe is a recipe for armed conflict which would result in direct
negative consequences for Zimbabwe as well as South Africa," said Frans
Cronje, the institute's spokesperson.

Diakonia Council of Churches chairman Bishop Barry Woods said the
council strongly objected to the ship being cleared by the Durban port.

Political analyst Kiru Naidoo said it was a real shame that South
Africa could be used as a conduit for arms that could be used against the
opposition in Zimbabwe.

"If one looks back over the last decade in the evolution of South
African foreign policy, human rights used to be a mainstay," Naidoo said.

"Sadly, it now appears that by acting as a transit point for offensive
weapons it might be interpreted that Pretoria is aiding and abetting the
discredited regime in Zimbabwe," he said.

This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on
April 18, 2008

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Court bid against arms cargo

The Witness

18 Apr 2008
Sue Segar and Sapa

 Lawyers in Durban were last night preparing to launch an urgent application
in the Durban High Court to stop the trans-shipment of six containers of
arms from the Durban Harbour to Zimbabwe.

Nicole Fritz of the SA Litigation Centre in Johannesburg confirmed yesterday
that an associate professor of international law on the Durban campus of the
University of KwaZulu-Natal, Max du Plessis, and an expert in Maritime
Commercial Law and member of the Durban Bar, Angus Stewart, were last night
consulting with advocate Malcolm Wallace, SC, with a view to bringing the
application on behalf of concerned citizens.

It is believed that at this stage it is proposed to bring the application in
terms of South Africa’s Constitution and international law.

Fritz said she does not expect any evidential problems in establishing that
there is a crisis in Zimbabwe in view of public statements to that effect by
senior South African government officials.

Meanwhile, Defence secretary January Masilela told Sapa that the National
Conventional Arms Control Committee’s (NCACC) scrutiny committee, which he
chairs, approved the conveyance permit on Monday.

He said an inspection team from the NCACC will still have to ensure that the
cargo meets the requirements of the permit before it can be transported to

The permit will be endorsed by the NCACC when it meets next month.

Asked about the controversy surrounding the shipment, Masilela said: “This
is a normal transaction between two sovereign states. We are doing our legal
part and we don’t have to interfere.”

In Cape Town, government communications head Themba Maseko said the country
cannot stop the shipment, as it has to be seen to be “treading very
carefully” in its relations with Zimbabwe, given the complexity of
facilitating talks between the Movement for Democratic Change and Zanu-PF.

Chris de Vos, the secretary-general of the United Transport and Allied Trade
Union, said the union is “not happy” about the arms shipment being
transported through South Africa, echoing the SA Transport and Allied
Workers’ Union, which said its members will not offload the cargo to be
transported to Zimbabwe.

DA defence spokesman Rafeek Shah said the government’s approval to allow the
arms to be shipped was “the surest sign yet that government has completely
lost the plot on the Zimbabwe issue”.

Shah said: “The world’s astonishment at President [Thabo] Mbeki’s political
defence of Robert Mugabe will likely turn into outright anger as we are now
not only denying the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe, but also actively
facilitating the arming of an increasingly despotic and desperate regime.”

Kallie Kriel, AfriForum chief executive, said the organisation intends to
organise “an extensive campaign of peaceful demonstrations in an effort to
prevent the trans-shipment”.

The SA Institute of Race Relations said: “It would be unconscionable for
South Africa to allow an arms consignment through its borders en route to

Spokesman Frans Cronje said that if the shipment goes ahead, “South Africa’s
culpability in the Zimbabwe crisis would then be without question”.

The cargo, whose existence was revealed by noseweek editor Martin Welz on
Wednesday, includes three million rounds of 7,62 mm bullets (used with the
AK47 assault rifle), 69 rocket propelled grenades and mortar bombs and
tubes, all valued at R9,88 million.

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Send back Chinese weapons

Africa News

Posted on Friday 18 April 2008 - 08:57

  By Frank Nxumalo
  South Africa’s giant transport industry union, the South African Transport
and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) representing nearly 300 000 transport
workers has demanded that the South African government send back a Chinese
vessels carrying weapons for the Zimbabwe government which has docked at the
southern port of Durban.
  “This vessel must return to China with the arms on board as South Africa
cannot be seen to be facilitating the flow of weapons into Zimbabwe at a
time where there is a political dispute and a volatile situation between the
ZANU-PF and the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change)”, says Randall Howard,
the general secretary of Satawu.
  “Our members employed at Durban Container Terminal will not unload this
cargo neither will any of our members in the truck driving sector move this
cargo by road.”
  Howard said Satawu will campaign for the vessel to be returned to China as
this was the only way through which a peaceful solution could be found in
  The union demanded that the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission respect the
will of the people by immediately releasing the results of that country’s
presidential election held on the 29 th March 2008.
  Satawu said it will formally raise the matter with the Congress of South
African Trade Unions, its mother body to ensure the return of the weapons
vessel to China to ensure that no mlitary force is used against ordinary

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Gukurahundi on the Way

Zimbabwe Metro


The South African National Ports Authority has confirmed that a Chinese vessel with sensitive cargo, headed for Zimbabwe, has been cleared to dock at the Durban harbour by the relevant authorities. The SA Police Explosives Unit confirmed yesterday that the cargo includes weapons. The ship, named “An Yue Jiang”, is now expected to enter the harbour.

Transnet spokesperson John Dludlu says the vessel has complied with all the requisite protocols, including the International Ship and Port Security Code and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Codes. Customs officials say they will release a statement later today.

The Chinese ship, the An Yue Jiang is carrying three million rounds of ammunitions for small arms and AK-47s, about 3 500 mortars and mortar launchers, as well as 1 500 rockets for rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) it arrived in Durban Harbour on Monday shortly before a permit was issued.

According to a copy of the ship’s cargo documentation, it was finalised on April 1, three days after Zimbabwe’s election.

It was not known when the order for the weapons had been placed.

An inspection by the South African customs authority deemed this consignment “risky” and further shipment was halted for the moment.

According to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), who are responsible for customs control, the six containers in which the weapons had been packed would be inspected by SARS and police officials on Thursday to determine whether they were, indeed, suspect.

Guy Lamb of the Institute for Security Studies said: “It’s not a question of illegality, but rather of morality, in light of the tense situation in Zimbabwe, especially if it was to contribute to the situation exploding.”

The weapons were supposed to be transported by road from Durban to Harare.

Besides the transport permit issued by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), a clearance permit from the explosives department of the police is still needed before the shipment can be released.

Minister of Justice Mosiuoa Lekota and Minister of Provincial and Local Government Sydney Mufamadi, who is also the chairperson of the NCACC, or their directors-general usually issue these kinds of permits in consultation with the National Intelligence Service, the Secret Service and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Mufamadi is also part of President Thabo Mbeki’s mediation team handling the election crisis in Zimbabwe.

The development comes as reports have been confirmed that Chinese troops had been spotted in Mutare.

In October 1980 Robert Mugabe, then Prime Minister, signed an agreement with North Korean President Kim Il Sung to have the North Korean military train a brigade for the Zimbabwean army. This was soon after Mugabe had announced the need for a militia to “combat malcontents.” Mugabe announced the brigade would be called “Gukurahundi”(Shona: “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”).

The Zimbabwean Fifth Brigade, led by Perence Shiri, killed suspected members and supporters of the Zimbabwe African People’s Union in the Ndebele provinces of Matabeleland and the Midlands from 1982 to the late 1980s. Most reliable accounts believe that about 20000 civilians were killed.

Most of the dead were shot in public executions, often after being forced to dig their own graves in front of family and fellow villagers. The largest number of dead in a single killing involved the deliberate shooting of 62 young men and women on the banks of the Cewale River, Lupane, on 5 March 1983. Seven survived with gunshot wounds, the other 55 died. Another way 5 Brigade killed large groups of people was to burn them alive in huts. They did this in Tsholotsho and also in Lupane. They would routinely round up dozens, or even hundreds, of civilians and march them at gun point to a central place, like a school or bore-hole. There they would be forced to sing Shona songs praising ZANU-PF, at the same time being beaten with sticks. These gatherings usually ended with public executions.

Those killed could be ex-ZIPRAs, ZAPU officials, or anybody chosen at random.When Prime Minister Robert Mugabe was directly asked the question if he knew what was going on in Matebeleland by British Investigative Journalist, Jeremy Paxman of ‘Panorama’ Programme fame. He vehemently denied it, and called it antique western sabotage tactics.

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This is just a Farce

Friday, 18 April 2008 06:08
Here we are - three weeks after the election and they are still
refusing to
say who won the ballot for the post of President. The reasons are
obvious -
Morgan won and they just cannot work out how to handle the situation.
They know the result and are trying to avoid the inevitable consequences of
making it public. Had Mugabe won, they would have been crowing 24
after the election!
When the polls closed on the 29th March counting was done at each
station and the results posted on the doors of the polling stations in
form of a copy of the form V11 that recorded the result of the count
from then onwards provided the legal basis of the final tally. While
final results of the local government, House of Assembly and Senate
were determined locally in each electoral district; the presidential
was tabulated at a national control center in Harare.

The results of each election were duly announced within 48 hours in
electoral districts with the exception of the presidential one, which
national. This final tally was started on Tuesday morning when all the
results from all electoral districts had been communicated to the
control center. This was done as required by the law, the 4 Chief
Agents for the four candidates sat at a table with the ZEC officials
on the
other side and they scrutinized the results for each electoral
working by Province.

Harare and Bulawayo came and went - all were reasonably satisfied as
results of ZEC were more or less in line with our own records taken by
polling agents at the polling stations. Then they started Mashonaland
Central. When the MDC team saw the figures and noted that they were
completely different from the results for the Cities (very high voter
turnouts, in one case exceeding the numbers of voters on the voters
they stopped the verification and counting process.

The MDC CEA said to the ZEC officials that he wanted to see the
original V11
forms for every polling station - over 9000 of them. He went further
said that the MDC had photographed the V11 forms at each station and
had a
record of the poll. He said that their count was to the effect that
had won by 50,3 percent and he said that he expected ZEC to disprove
figure.  That was the start of the problems.

ZEC then spent the next three days getting all the forms into Harare
and by
Friday this process was complete. They did not start the verification
process but instead did a count behind closed doors and in complete
Even the Commissioners and Candidates were excluded from the process.
Monday they had a final result - it showed well over 50 per cent for
Tsvangirai and this information was promptly leaked to the MDC.

They then put the damage control system into high gear. The ZEC center
closed down and the whole operation including all records moved to a
location. When this location was discovered, military guards barred
who tried to get to the new center - it was a "high security area"
they were
told. Publicly the only information released by the ZEC at this time
that the results were "sensitive" and disclosure was not in the

Then the ZEC came out with a spurious claim that Zanu PF candidates
lodged appeals against the results in 25 constituencies. This they
justified the ZEC conducting a recount of the 25 electoral districts
discover what mistakes had been made in the count. Remember in all of
districts the results had already been announced by ZEC and made
public on
the television and radio. By law such appeals had to be lodged within
hours - it was now 10 days since the election.

It was clear to the MDC that this was a blatant effort to overturn its
Parliamentary majority and to distort the presidential vote. We went
court to stop the recount, which in our view was both illegal and
unconstitutional. We won the case but ZEC has insisted that it will go
with the recount and has scheduled this for 23 constituencies for this
coming Saturday - 3 weeks after the election itself and 11 days after
had confirmed that Morgan had won the election by a wide margin.

Then came the SADC summit - Mbeki was able to bulldoze his way to get
resolution that basically endorsed the stance taken by ZEC, even
though it
was patently obvious that the whole process was illegal. Behind the
he tried to engineer a situation where he would negotiate between the
parties to the "dispute" and arrange a government of national unity in
manner similar to what has been negotiated in Kenya. MDC would never
to such duplicity and countenance a deal with Zanu PF. and that
fell flat on its face.

Right now a full-blown diplomatic storm is taking place as clearly
shown in
the Security Council debate last night. Mbeki personally chaired the
and it was a massacre for him. He tried to keep Zimbabwe off the
agenda and
instead it totally dominated the discussions as leader after leader
away at the illegality of what was happening and the serious nature of
sort of behavior, subverting as it does, the whole electoral process
democracy in Africa as a whole.

Just as importantly, at the international Parliamentary Forum in Cape
many speakers alluded to the crisis in Zimbabwe. One said that Africa
had to
define what it meant by democracy and to decide if this sort of
abuse of democratic process was acceptable. It was called a threat to
stability and security of Africa as a whole - a very serious charge
and one
that is absolutely true.

While all of this was going on, Zanu PF was making its own plans and
did not in any way include adhering to anything the outside world
including the SADC resolutions. They planned to rig the recount and
this was
put into action using military bases and compliant officials. Then, in
anticipation of a result that would give them a Parliamentary majority
reduce Morgan's vote to less than 50 per cent, they are planning a
for the re-run.

We have new intelligence that it is their intention to delay the
announcement of the results of the election until the 6th or 7th of
May and
to then target the 26th May for the re-run. This sleight of hand will
them eight clear weeks to implement their "election programme" called
did you vote?" They have deployed commanders to all electoral
together with militia who have been armed and are paid special
These irregular forces are now unleashing a reign of terror on the
population. Hundreds are being beaten and their homes burned. A number
people have already been killed. Food is being tightly controlled and
we can
expect traditional leaders to be co-opted or abused.

Of particular concern is a consignment of arms from China that has
been held
off Durban by the South African authorities for three days now and
a large consignment of arms and ammunition destined for Zimbabwe. The
Africans are holding this up because its documentation was not in
They do not say they will block its delivery. That we are buying arms
we cannot feed our people is a disgrace. That China can supply this
regime arms with which to suppress the people of Zimbabwe is a
of their willingness to support such regimes.

Plans are afoot to rig the re-run and to restrict the ability of the
voters to cast their votes. The media is under even tighter control
and MDC
leaders are being specifically targeted. They will again use the
threat that
if we do not vote for Mugabe in the runoff, they will "go back to the
Today they said that Morgan's recent actions were consistent with
Closer to home two activists who were caught distributing MDC
pamphlets in
Bulawayo were today jailed for 8 months. What a travesty of justice in

Eddie Cross
17th April 2008

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Angry students on rampage in election result protest

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 17 April 2008 14:49
Furious students at the National University of Science and Technology
(NUST) in the city went on the rampage this week, stoning campus buildings
in protest at the Zimbabwean authorities’ delay in releasing results of the
presidential elections, held more than two weeks ago.
In the first violent show of anger by Zimbabweans at the withholding
of the poll results, the students sang songs denouncing the regime and threw
stones at the buildings.
"We want election results because we voted more than two weeks ago.
Mugabe cannot be allowed to rule us by decree when we have voted him out.
This just cannot be the case. We kicked out dictatorship out of this country
in favour of a new leadership; our vote must count.” said a student leader.
“This (demonstration) is a ‘no’ to abnormal fees and slave grants. We want
Mugabe to go now. We no longer recognise him.”
Although university authorities said that they were still trying to
quantify the damage that followed the demonstration, the campus tuckshop had
its windows and doors broken and was looted by students.
Another student leader, who led the protests, vowed that the
demonstrations would continue until Mugabe allowed the electoral body to
announce the results.
“Till that happens, there will be no classes at this campus. Mugabe
must know that…we are prepared to die for democracy in this country. He
should also stop sending his illiterate war veterans to harass our parents
in the rural areas because we cannot be cowed by them into accepting him,”
he said.
NUST spokesperson Busani Bafana said: “I can confirm that we had such
a problem at the college today, but I am not in a position to quantify the
damage at the moment. We are still checking on the damage, but I can tell
you that as the university, we are following some leads.I also understand
that police have picked up some of those that were involved in the
Police sources in the city also revealed they had arrested some
students and were still following leads into who had instigated the protest.
“We have arrested five students whom we suspect to have been involved
in the NUST skirmishes. So far, we have been told that the Students
Representative Council (SRC) led the riots,” said a police source.
MDC says ‘no’ to violence
Pamphlets are trick by Zanu to justify clampdown

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Rice Says Africa Must Step Up on Zimbabwe Election Crisis


By David Gollust
State Department
17 April 2008

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is calling for Zimbabwe's neighbors
to step up and press for an end to that country's post-election political
crisis. Rice said it is time for Zimbabwe to move on after years of mis-rule
by the government of President Robert Mugabe. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's
opposition leader is calling for South African President Thabo Mbeki to stop
mediating Zimbabwe's crisis. VOA's David Gollust reports from the State

U.S. officials had been privately expressing disappointment with the seeming
lack of commitment by southern African countries on the Zimbabwe crisis.

But Rice, in a news conference here, took U.S. concerns public, saying
regional organizations like the African Union and the Southern African
Development Community need to take the lead in pressing for the release of
presidential election returns in Zimbabwe, and if necessary a peaceful
transition of power.

"The longer they hold the results of the election, the more suspicion grows
that something is being plotted and planned by the ruling party. And frankly
the United States and the European Union and others have spoken out about
this and made calls," said Rice. "But it is time for Africa to step up.
Where is the concern from the African Union and from Zimbabwe's neighbors
about what is going on in Zimbabwe."

Rice said U.S. concerns about the situation have been heightened by new
accusations of treason by the Mugabe government against opposition
presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangerai, who claims he won the March 29

Rice stopped short of flatly calling for the departure of President Mugabe,
who has run the country since independence. But she used her strongest
language to date to characterize his administration.

"Obviously this is a matter for Zimbabwe as to whether he steps down. But I
think he has done more harm to his country than would have been imaginable,
if you look at what Zimbabwe was 15 just years ago or so," said Rice. "I
know the role that he played in liberation of Zimbabwe, but the last years
have really been an abomination."

Rice said Zimbabwe, once a food exporter, will apparently be requiring a
dramatic increase in food aid from the international community.

She described Zimbabwe as "a country that really needs to move on, and get
on with its future."

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Mbeki rejects claims that SADC is favouring Mugabe

President Thabo Mbeki and President Robert Mugabe - picture by Reuters

Mbeki held talks with Mugabe and assured the world that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe

April 18, 2008, 08:15

President Thabo Mbeki returned from New York yesterday with the backing of the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) in his mediation role in the Zimbabwean crisis.

Mbeki rejected suggestions that the South African Development Community (SADC) leaders are unable to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis because of their liberation loyalty to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Mbeki says the regional body has intervened in Zimbabwe to correct the situation rather than protect Mugabe.

After a meeting with Mugabe on Monday, Mbeki was quoted as saying that there was 'no crisis' in Zimbabwe. However, he says he has made it clear that he believes there is a political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe, but not an election crisis. He told journalists in New York that SADC would not have held a special meeting on Zimbabwe if there was no crisis in that country.

Results from last month's presidential elections in Zimbabwe are still outstanding, more than two weeks after the poll.

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It's time for the UN to drop in and help the people of Zimbabwe

The Mirror, UK

Pity the poor people of Zimbabwe, struggling to survive under the jackboot
of dictator Robert Mugabe.
South African premier Thabo Mbeki has shown himself to be as weak as water
(of the kind already passed by a man).

His "quiet diplomacy" has merely entrenched the monster in power.

In Harare, the democratic opposition fighting Mugabe's regime is dismayed
that the "international community" has done nothing to help. Alas, there is
no such thing as the international community - only nation states that
sometimes act together, usually for selfish military or commercial purposes.


Just occasionally, the United Nations breaks through this vicious circle of
self-interest with a genuine humanitarian mission to feed the starving.

Gordon Brown has shown the way, accusing Mugabe of stealing the election and
appealing for international action.

The UN should respond now, with an airlift of food and essential supplies,
if necessary dropped by parachute to the hungry hands waiting below.

This would inevitably involve entering Zimbabwean airspace, but if Mugabe's
ageing MiG fighters take to the skies, then the USAF can deploy its war
skills for a mercy operation.

Anything is better than standing by while a tinpot Hitler crushes his
people's hopes of freedom.

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The Long Road to Independence

18 April 2008
Media Release

Marching to Musina for Zimbabwe’s Independence Day

It’s a long and tiring drive from Pretoria to Musina, close on 540 km, but
if you walk the distance it poses a significant challenge.

That’s exactly what a group of about 50 dedicated Zimbabwean activists in
exile have been doing this week – trudging along the never-ending tarmac
road that shimmers in the midday heat – heading north towards South Africa’s
border with Zimbabwe.

Their goal is to arrive in Musina around 11h00 today.  April 18 is the day
that they and their fellow countrymen should be celebrating 28 years of
independence at home together.

One again this year there is nothing to celebrate.  Zimbabwe’s economy is in
tatters, the country’s infrastructure has virtually collapsed, the
heath-care system is in chronic decay and the commercial farms lie fallow
and forlorn.

There is hunger and depravation everywhere, especially in the rural areas.
And the people are dying. More than 3 500 a week or 14 000 every month.
That’s a shocking statistic for a country with a population as low as 7-8
million, according to recent estimates.

Last month Zimbabweans voted for a change of government, and for a new
president.  Former President Mugabe was given the proverbial red card.

The marchers say everyone knows that Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party won the election.
However, three weeks have passed and the Zanu PF regime is still refusing to
release the results.

The entire country is in limbo.

They have read that the Joint Operations Command (JOC) took over control of
Zimbabwe when the MDC’s victory became irrefutable and that the JOC, in
collaboration with Mugabe, imposed the blackout of the results.

What is even worse than the state’s blatant attempts to rig and then steal
the election they say is the terrible orgy of violence taking place across
the county.

Appalling injuries have been reported as a result of vicious beatings of
opposition members or even perceived opposition supporters and there have
also been a number of deaths.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) reports rising
violence-related statistics, including 157 cases of injuries caused by
organised violence and torture.

This week 30 patients remained in hospital.  ZADHR is concerned that some of
the individuals sustained injuries that can lead to permanent disability.

It is against this appalling backdrop – one that the exiles believe could
have been avoided if the region had responded quickly and decisively – that
they decided to organise a protest march.

The group is participating under the banner of the Peace and Democracy
Movement of Zimbabwe.  One of the spokespeople is Remember Moyo who also
heads up the Zimbabwe Action Support Group.

“It is difficult to be a refugee in South Africa when unemployment is high
here and some people are afraid we will take their jobs,” says Moyo.
“Rebuilding a shattered life when you have no money or resources is also
challenging and there are many setbacks along the way.”

However, the encouragement and support that the marchers have received on
their long walk for freedom has been outstanding, Moyo says, with farmers in
4x4s and bakkies driving behind them, hooting, waving and cheering them on.

“People have offered us food, water and even money, although this is not a
fund-raising project.  Our objective is to raise awareness of the ongoing
crisis in Zimbabwe and the rapidly escalating violence which threatens to
get out of control,” said Moyo.

When they arrive in Musina, believed to be around 11h00, the marchers will
light three torches and carry them through the streets of the town to
symbolise the need for freedom in Zimbabwe.

They plan to meet with Zimbabweans working in the area, South Africans and
representatives of organisations which are assisting the refugees, as well
as newcomers fleeing the escalating violence and vicious terror tactics of
the regime.

Many of the people who leave Zimbabwe fall into the category of “border
jumpers” because they cross illegally into South Africa, a dangerous and
sometimes fatal undertaking. Passports are difficult to acquire and have
become so expensive that they are no longer affordable.

The marchers are scheduled to combine an address with prayers for a peaceful
transition to democracy below a giant billboard closer to the Beit Bridge
border post.   The controversial billboard was erected prior to the
elections by a Zimbabwean organisation called Zimbabwe Democracy Now.

Colleagues of the marchers will also meet with senior police officers in
Musina since it is vital that a good working relationship is maintained with
the police.

For the marchers, their Independence Day across the border from Zimbabwe
will be marked by tired, sore feet and aching muscles.

But they will use the occasion to highlight to the world the plight of
Zimbabweans who are being beaten or tortured – or whose homes and
livelihoods are being wantonly destroyed by the regime.

“We are not going to stop here.  We will continue with our campaign of
action until we have a legitimate government in power,” says Moyo.  “Morgan
is our President – the people have spoken.  It is time for Mugabe to step


Please note:

1.  It is important to phone to confirm the times and final arrangements.
2.  The group plans to return to Johannesburg on Friday afternoon and would
welcome interviews.

 For further information:

Remember Moyo - Cell:  072 032 4223  Spokesperson for the Peace and
Democracy Movement of Zimbabwe.
Mathula Masinga - Cell:  084 744 7272  Programme officer for the Peace and
Democracy Movement of Zimbabwe
Diyani Ncube -Cell:  074 434 6008  Acting Project Co-ordinator for the
Peace and Democracy Movement of Zimbabwe


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I swore I'd shoot the men who came for my Zimbabwe farm

Belfast Telegraph

Friday, April 18, 2008

By Chris Thornton

When seven machete-wielding thugs burst into Kevin Pope's farmhouse in
Zimbabwe, two things stood between him and a bloody death: his pistol and a
picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Pope, a British Army officer who'd carried the religious icon through
encounters with the IRA in South Armagh and Fermanagh, held up both to the
men who'd come to force him off his 3,000-acre farm five years ago.

"I said 'I swear on this Sacred Heart that I will shoot if you don't leave
the house'," recalled Captain Pope, now serving with the Army in Belfast.

They left, but so did he. Six weeks later he was back in the Army and
serving in Iraq - left only with the title deeds to his wrecked farm and the
hope that he could one day return.

As Zimbabwe independence day returns focus to the country's turmoil, Captain
Pope spoke of his fears that Robert Mugabe will unleash a violent crackdown.
He is particularly concerned for his elderly parents and other relatives who
remain in the country.

But now the 46-year-old also carries hope - because he says the recent
elections in the country signalled a decisive shift against Mugabe.

Captain Pope is now based in Belfast with the TA's 253 Medical Regiment. He
grew up in Zimbabwe, joining the British Army in 1982, shortly after the
civil war that brought down white Rhodesia and brought Mugabe to power.

"I'd always wanted to a be soldier and a farmer and follow in my father's
footsteps," he said. He became an officer in the King's Own Scottish
Borders, serving in Northern Irealnd and the Middle East in the first Gulf

But Army cuts and a deadline on a deal for white farmers in Zimbabwe
convinced him to return home while he could.

After a year at agricultural college in England, he returned to his father's
farm, about 95 miles northwest of the capital, Harare.

He worked his father's farm - "Because of the Army, I was nicknamed the
Colonel by my African neighbours" - and saved up for his own place.

He bought Kaduna Farm in 1999 while working for his father, nine miles away.
A "Certificate of No Present Interest" should have guaranteed him immunity
from any land grabs by Mugabe's regime. He dug trenches with his labourers.
"It was back to my Salisbury Plain days," he said, referring to the Army
training sites. "But I wanted to show them I could dig too."

Tobacco was his main crop, but as a non-smoker he wanted to move into other
areas and spotted the potential of the organic beauty industry - producing
tea tree oil, lavender and lemon grass, and other crops.

He also moved into safari tourism, promoting horseback tours to see ancient
bush paintings, zebra and leopards on the farm. "All my money went back into
build- ing up the land," he said.

In 2003, he fell victim to Mugabe's push to redistribute white farmers'
lands to Africans - a policy linked to current food shortages in the
country. Youths burned the wheat crop Pope shared with a black settler.

"The police came and took them away," he said. "The next day they were back.
That's Mugabe's influence."

The youths pulled up his tobacco seedlings, then began intimidating his 60

"I was one of six farmers left," he said. "It was a form of ethnic
cleansing, but I was determined to stay."

Captain Pope got a letter signed by Mugabe's sister, the MP for the area,
that said his farm should not be touched. "Especially with that letter, I
thought I was ok."

But when he returned to the farm, accompanied by two veterans from Mugabe's
army, he was attacked by 20 men.

"They attacked the war vets first. That gave me 30 seconds to get in the
house. All I had was my weapon, a mobile phone and my Sacred Heart."

He phoned police but they said they were unable to come because they had no

As seven of the men prepared to attack him, he phoned an Army buddy who
said: "think of your children".

"I think because of that and my Christian belief, I didn't pull the
trigger," he said.

"I actually cocked the weapon twice - mainly for my own confidence, but also
so they could see the bullet and know I meant business."

Police arrived eventually, but Pope realised he could not continue: "I
loaded tractor and trailer with whatever I could. My workers were beaten up
and intimidated. The cattle boy helped me by getting out my Rhodesian
ridgebacks and the horses, and the tractor driver and the maid who looked
after my children all helped. They were beaten up."

He returned to Britain, where his children were living with his ex-wife. Six
weeks after facing down the thugs, he was spending Christmas in Iraq. He
still believes he will return to his farm.

"My nightmare is that Mugabe will rig the election, because there's no food.

"Enough's enough and it'll burst. I can't see how he'll keep oppressing
people. I still think the will of the people will win. I'd love Zimbabwe to
given a legitimate, fair, transparent election and the chance to be the
jewel of Africa that it is."

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Who are the real puppets in Zimbabwe?

By Thabisa Sibanda
April 18, 2008

ONCE again we have been given another ridiculous dose of some nauseating
descriptions of Morgan Tswangirayi by that puppet of Robert Mugabe called
Patrick Chinamasa.

It comes as no surprise that the most active defender of our ageing dictator
is none other than this failed lawyer. I was reminded of that famous
parliamentary comedy where Job Sikhala promised to marry his unborn baby
girl to Chinamasa if he ever wins a parliamentary election.

It came as no surprise that even after being imposed on the people of Rusape
by his party he was thrashed by a political novice. He had all the
government resources at his disposal but failed to buy even a quarter of the
voters. I am happy that Job Sikhala’s seven year old daughter has been
spared the agony of being married off to such a character.

Today, we had the shameless Chinamasa describe Tsvangirai as a puppet of
Gordon Brown. Tsvangirai does not need to be anyone’s puppet because he has
been popularly elected by Zimbabweans. Only the failed lawyer would stoop so
low as to become the puppet of an ageing dictator. If Tsvangirai is a
puppet, he is my puppet and that of more than 60 percent of bona fide

The people who want to know the results of our presidential elections are
Zimbabweans who spent hours to elect a government of their choice on the
March 29. If Gordon Brown and others share our agitation, we welcome their
concerns. Any person who has lost an election would naturally not be eager
to have the results publicized. Mugabe and his puppets are no exception.

My colleague, David Parirenyatwa won an election in a constituency where
Mugabe was rejected. I would have expected him to be more vocal about what
the people of Zimbabwe want. I am not surprised at his silence because he is
a professional who knows he has been elected to represent people’s wishes
and not those of one man. There are a lot of other professionals who lost in
this election who are now busy trying to rebuild their lives. Why can’t
Chinamasa try and rebuild his private practice?

My idea of a puppet is one who has no ideas of their own. They usually only
repeat what their master says. Who actually originated this silly idea that
Tsvangirai is a puppet? Who is in the forefront in insulting anyone who
criticizes him for being undemocratic? Anybody who regurgitates these stale
speeches word for word is nothing else but a puppet.

As a lawyer, Patrick Chinamasa should be ashamed to call himself a
government minister. Unfortunately as he is just a puppet, he proudly
attended the SADC summit as a minister in the government of an unelected
president. He finds no contradictions in his comment that MDC is afraid of
an election run-off because they know they would lose.

Does he not realize that the whole world is aware that the reason why his
master is blocking the release of our presidential results is that he lost
the election to Tsvangirai?

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The Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 17 April 2008 06:54
The Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum is calling for an emergency meeting with
the South African Minister of State Security and the Minister of Home
Affairs to discuss the escalating victimisation of Zimbabweans in this
Incidences of xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans and other foreigners
are rife in the vicinity of Pretoria, notably in the Mamelodi, Denneboom and
Soshanguve localities.  Recent attacks in other areas have left several
Zimbabweans dead, including a child of nine who was burnt to death.
Yesterday the situation appeared to be spiralling out of control with
violent attacks on Zimbabweans in both Mamelodi and Soshanguve,
We have been informed that road blocks were set up in those areas and
that mobs of rampaging locals threatened Zimbabwean exiles, forcing a number
to seek sanctuary in Marabastad area.  The lives of women, pregnant mothers
and children have been put at risk, which is totally unacceptable.  At this
point there are also unconfirmed reports that two Zimbabweans died in the
The pattern emerging suggests that these are not isolated incidences
but are in fact systematic and co-ordinated. The response of the South
African Police is of growing concern, with reports of their being either
afraid to respond or complicit. As previously, we call on the South African
Police to execute their duties efficiently and bring to account those who
are responsible for these heinous crimes.
It is ironical that South African President Thabo Mbeki should be
chairing the UN Security Council in New York this week when Zimbabweans and
exiles from other African countries continue to face victimisation in South
We believe that President Mbeki is sending the wrong signal to the
citizens of this country by stating that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe.
Instead of condemning the atrocious human rights abuses committed by the
Mugabe regime, he chooses to imply that we are here voluntarily.  This
approach creates confusion and serves to fuel the criticism levelled at
Zimbabweans that they are stealing jobs from South Africans and are placing
an unnecessary burden on state facilities.
Furthermore we are deeply distressed that President Mbeki attempted to
stop the Zimbabwean crisis from being included as an agenda item at the UN
Security Council. The Zimbabwean crisis is now so grave that it requires
immediate international intervention.
The Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum expresses serious concern that certain
newspapers are publishing stories which are xenophobic in nature and serve
to further heighten tension.  It is highly irresponsible to imply that
Zimbabweans are responsible for increased levels of crime and HIV/AIDS.
The Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum believes it is essential for civil society
organisations, faith-based organisations, the SA Police and the Departments
of Home Affairs and State Security to analyse the situation and explore
workable solutions.
Finally, we call upon the South African government to invite the UN
Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and
Asylum Seekers in Africa, Commissioner Bahame Tom Nyanduga, to visit South

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