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HRW - ZANU-PF Sets Up ‘Torture Camps’

Human Rights Watch

Opposition Voters Tell of Beatings, Intimidation
(Johannesburg, April 19, 2008) – Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF party is using a network
of informal detention centers to beat, torture, and intimidate opposition
activists and ordinary Zimbabweans, Human Rights Watch said today.

Victims and eyewitnesses told Human Rights Watch that ZANU-PF has set up
detention centers in the opposition constituencies of Mutoko North, Mutoko
South, Mudzi (all in the province of Mashonaland East), and in Bikita West
(in the province of Masvingo) to round up and instill fear in suspected
political opponents.

“Torture and violence are surging in Zimbabwe,” said Georgette Gagnon,
Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “ZANU-PF members are setting up
torture camps to systematically target, beat, and torture people suspected
of having voted for the MDC in last month’s elections.”

During the day, ZANU-PF and their allies (so-called “war veterans,” youth
militias and some armed men in military uniform) gather at these camps to
decide on their targets, generally those known or thought to support the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). According to witnesses, the targets
are then rounded up and brought to the camps at night, where they are beaten
for hours with thick wooden sticks and army batons. Human Rights Watch has
interviewed more than 30 people in the last two days who have sustained
serious injuries, including broken limbs, as a result of these beatings.

Zimbabwe’s parliamentary elections on March 29, 2008 delivered a decisive
defeat for the ruling ZANU-PF led by Robert Mugabe. Yet, nearly three weeks
later, the ZANU-PF-appointed Election Commission has failed to announce the
results of the presidential poll that took place at the same time.

ZANU-PF officials are calling the crackdown Operation Makavhoterapapi, or
“Where did you put your cross?” There seem to be two aims to this organized
violence: to punish people for having voted for the MDC and to intimidate
them to vote for ZANU-PF if there is a presidential run-off. One victim told
Human Rights Watch: “They told me that next time you will vote wisely, now
you know what we can do.”

Several individuals told Human Rights Watch that they had been held in these
camps for up to three days and interrogated about MDC leaders, MDC funding,
and the location of other MDC supporters.

One eyewitness told Human Rights Watch that in Mutoko South he visited
several “torture camps,” including Luckydip, Rukada, and Jani. The
eyewitness said that at another camp, Chitugazuwa: “I saw a woman who could
not walk she’d been so badly beaten.”

Human Rights Watch knows of only one case in which the police have arrested
individuals responsible for these beatings. In all other cases, the police
have refused to intervene, saying that they are instructed not to interfere
in “political matters.” Several victims told Human Rights Watch that some
police officers encouraged them to take the law into their own hands and “go
and fight back.”

Human Rights Watch said that the camps could not operate without the
complicity of senior officials in the security forces and government
ministers. Should ZANU-PF force an annulment of the parliamentary vote and a
presidential run-off, government bodies, the security forces and the
judiciary will not have any credibility to ensure the political impasse is
fairly and lawfully resolved, said Human Rights Watch.

In the capital Harare, mixed groups of military officers, riot police, and
ZANU-PF militia have rendered numerous MDC supporters homeless. In the
high-density suburbs of Harare such as Dzivaresekwa, Epworth, Chitungwiza,
and Budiriro, at least 40 people who are real and perceived opposition
sympathizers have been attacked since April 15 and driven from their homes.

To date, the intergovernmental Southern African Development Community (SADC)
and South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was appointed by SADC to
mediate the crisis, have done little to try to curb ZANU-PF abuses. Human
Rights Watch called on the African Union to immediately step in to address
the crisis.

“The SADC and President Mbeki have completely failed Zimbabweans, and are
allowing ZANU-PF to commit horrific abuses,” said Gagnon. “The African Union
should assume responsibility for protecting civilians from rising violence,
and ending the political impasse before Zimbabwe sinks deeper into

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Victims of Zanu brutality flood hospitals

The Zimbabwean

Saturday, 19 April 2008 08:29

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s government-in-waiting, the MDC, and several human
rights organisations said this week that government security forces loyal to
the civilian head of the military junta, Robert Mugabe, have arrested and
beaten hundreds of people in response to last week's general strike.
Meanwhile, one MDC MP, Marvellous Khumalo of Chitungwiza, and up to 50
people were being held on allegations that they participated in last week's
stayaway that brought Zimbabwe's economy to a standstill, the police and MDC
said. Police confirmed 38 arrests, state radio reported.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights monitoring group
said that emergency wards across the country are treating people for broken
bones, bruising and sexual assault after they were beaten with wire whips,
iron bars, electrical cords and rifle butts by ruling party militias,
uniformed soldiers and police reservists.
“Since the election on March 29, up to the end of April 14, members of
the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) have seen and
treated 157 cases of injury resulting from organised violence and torture,”
the report by the human rights group says. “The provinces where the injuries
were sustained include Manicaland, Mashonaland East and West, and Masvingo.”
In Harare, witnesses said soldiers were telling people to remain
indoors at night, with reports of assault of nightclub patrons reported at
Spaceman Bar in Glen Norah A, Tichagarika Shopping Centre in Glen View,
Makoni Shopping Centre and many others places in the ghettos where soldiers
had literally imposed a curfew.  Staff members at one private clinic said
its emergency services treated 20 people.
The police had no comment on allegations they had a role in the
attacks, but the military denied any involvement.
Speaking to children last Thursday on Independence eve, Mugabe
threatened retribution against his opponents, saying he could never
countenance defeat by the MDC.
“As long as we are alive, that shall never happen. Never again shall
this country be a British colony,” Mugabe vowed.
The authorities say the strike action was used by the opposition to
incite violence, and claim an opposition mob had burnt a bus in Warren Park.
It has since emerged that the bus developed a technical fault on its own and
burst into flames.
The strike was called by the opposition to protest the prolonged
hold-up in presidential election results, three weeks after the poll.
A statement issued by US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee said
three weeks after elections, the results are still not known, the economic
tailspin continues and for many, hope is fading. “Even more disturbing are
the many reports of violent retribution being carried out in rural
communities,” McGee said.
Amnesty International described deteriorating security conditions and
mass arrests in Zimbabwe as "a new and dangerous phase of repression".
MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said troops and militias have raided
the homes of opposition supporters across the country, assaulted over 200
activists, burnt almost 50 huts and killed at least four people since the
March 29 poll, describing the crackdown as slow motion genocide.

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Junta’s hit list targets MDC, civil society and media

The Zimbabwean

The military junta running Zimbabwe has heightened its witch-hunt and is
after several senior officials of the MDC (Tsvangirai) who have been forced
to go into hiding, as well as civil society and media practitioners.
The junta has a hit list comprising MDC officials, MPs, senior
administrators, media practitioners and civil society leaders it wants
Glen View legislator, Paul Madzore, Marvellous Khumalo of St Marys as well
as MDC’s chief executive officer Toendepi Shoni have gone into hiding after
being alerted to plans by the regime to arrest or abduct them following the
mass action organized by the MDC this week.
A group of members of the CID, based at Harare Central Police Station, is in
possession of the hit-list, which also names freelancer, Frank Chikowore who
was arrested on Tuesday whilst covering the stay away. He was still in
police custody on Friday, together with former news editor of the banned
Daily News, Luke Tamborinyoka, who is the MDC information director and
Fortune Gwaze, the party’s research and policy director.
The Zimbabwean on Sunday also heard on Friday that the hit squad was after
some of its reporters.
Other individuals targeted by the hit squad include Progressive Teachers
Union secretary general Raymond Majongwe, National Constitutional Assembly
chair Lovemore Madhuku and WOZA coordinator Jenni Williams.
 Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka denied the existence of the hit squad and
the operation. “That is not true. We are doing out duty normally and those
crossing the path of the law are duly dealt with,” he said.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the operation was part of a “wider plan to
incapacitate the MDC, civil society and the media ahead of Mugabe’s rerun or
to simply drag the country into a state of emergency where fear abounds

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Africa's silence on Zimbabwe worrying: Annan


April 19, 2008, 17:45

The deafening silence from Africa on Zimbabwe worries him, says former UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan.

Meeting Zimbabwe's opposition leaders in Kenya, he said Africa must act
vigorously on Zimbabwe. But he would not commit himself to playing an active
mediation role yet. Taking issue with the continent's leaders the Noble
Peace laureate had stern words. SADC leaders have already come under attack
from some quarters, for failing to show decisive leadership on the Zimbabwe

"Where are the leaders in the region? What are they doing?.... it is a
serious crisis with an impact beyond Zimbabwe and we must work together to
find a solution," appealed Annan. Yesterday Annan held a closed door meeting
with MDC leaders. They were hoping he would play an active role in resolving
the political stalemate. It was a daunting task, but Annan pulled it off.

Power sharing deal
He helped mediate a power sharing deal in Kenya. It ended three months of
violence which left over 1 500 people dead, and thousands more displaced.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has started recounting votes in
23 Parliamentary constituencies today. This follows claims by the ruling
Zanu-PF party that there were irregularities in last month’s elections.
However analysts say this is a deliberate ploy by the ruling party to sway
the outcome in their favour and propel President Robert Mugabe to a run-off
or even a landslide victory.

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Zim arms ship heads for Angola, says Mozambique

Mail and Guardian

Charles Mangwiro | Maputo, Mozambique

19 Apr 2008 17:26

A Chinese ship carrying arms to Zimbabwe, which was turned away from
South Africa, is heading to Angola in hopes of docking there, the transport
minister of Mozambique said on Saturday. The ship left South African waters
on Friday after a court refused to allow the weapons to be transported
across South Africa, the South African Press Association said. Mozambique
Transport and Communications Minister Paulo Zucula told Reuters that
Mozambique has been monitoring the movements of the ship since it lifted
anchor and left South Africa. "We know that it registered its next
destination as Luanda because here we wouldn't allow it into Mozambican
waters without prior arrangements", he said. The An Yue Jiang, a Chinese
ship, had been at anchor off Durban on South Africa's Indian Ocean coast
since Monday, turning into a flashpoint for trade unions and others critical
of President Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy toward Zimbabwe. The 300
000-strong South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu)
refused to unload the weapons because of concerns Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe's government might use them against opponents in the
post-election stalemate. Zimbabwean officials have failed to issue results
of a March 29 presidential election. Movement for Democratic Change leader
Morgan Tsvangirai says he won the presidential poll and his party took a
majority of parliamentary seats. Mugabe and his supporters are preparing for
a run-off as well as challenging some of the parliamentary results. A South
African government spokesperson confirmed weapons were aboard the ship but
said the government would not interfere with what it regarded as a trade
matter between China and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's Deputy Information Minister,
Bright Matonga, said on Friday that no party had the right to stop the
shipment. "Every country has got a right to acquire arms. There is nothing
wrong with that. If they are for Zimbabwe, they will definitely come to
Zimbabwe," he told SAfm radio. "How they are used, when they are going to be
used is none of anybody's business." For its part, China is trying to
prevent the controversy from fuelling criticism over its human rights record
and rule in Tibet ahead of hosting the Olympics in August. Violent protests
have followed the Olympic torch across the globe. China's Foreign Ministry
said in a short faxed statement to Reuters that it had seen the reports
about the ship, but "did not understand the actual situation". "China and
Zimbabwe maintain normal trade relations. What we want to stress is China
has always had a prudent and responsible attitude towards arms sales, and
one of the most important principles is not to interfere in the internal
affairs of other countries," the statement said. -- Reuters

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Zimbabwe vote recount underway


Sat Apr 19, 2008 12:02pm ET

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe began a partial recount of votes from the March
29 elections on Saturday, despite opposition efforts to block it and
widespread fears that political stalemate could erupt into violence.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, accused of treason by the government,
said in Johannesburg he feared being attacked or imprisoned if he returned
to the country.

The recount in 23 of 210 constituencies could overturn the results of the
parliamentary election, which showed President Robert Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF losing its majority to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
for the first time.

ZANU-PF lost 16 of those 23 constituencies in the original count, the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission said. The ruling party needs to win nine more
seats for a simple majority in parliament.
Results of a parallel presidential ballot have not been released but
Tsvangirai, leader of the MDC, says he won that.

"The vote recounting process has started, and it's going to be a thorough
exercise. We expect it to take about three days," a Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission official told Reuters.

There have been concerns in the West and among the opposition that Mugabe is
trying to rig the results and the MDC has said it will not accept the

"We reject the process. We reject the outcome of this flawed process," MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Reuters. "As far as the MDC is concerned, the
first results stand. Anything else will be an illegitimate process."

Tsvangirai, who left Zimbabwe earlier this month, said he would return but
first wanted to gather international support.

"It is no use going back to Zimbabwe and become captive. Then you are not
effective. What can you do?", he told Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper. "Do
you want a dead hero?"

Both President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have
urged African states to take more action to end the post-election deadlock
in Zimbabwe.

A South African-led team from the 14-country Southern African Development
Community (SADC) is observing the recount. The SADC called last weekend for
the outcome to be announced quickly, but African reaction has been muted.

A Reuters correspondent at one of the counting stations -- in the rural
district of Domboshava about 30 km (20 miles) north of Harare -- said SADC
observers and diplomats were present to witness the vote recount.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the state-controlled Herald newspaper
petrol bombs were thrown at offices where ballot boxes for three
constituencies in the Gutu rural district were stored early on Friday, but
all failed to explode.

ZANU-PF triggered the recount after it accused election officials of taking
bribes to undercount votes for Mugabe and his ruling party and committing
other electoral fraud. Several election officials have been arrested since.

Harare's High Court rejected an MDC application to block the recount on
Friday. The court previously denied its request to force authorities to
release the result of the presidential vote.

Opponents accuse Mugabe, 84, of wrecking his once-prosperous country, where
the collapse of the economy and inflation of about 165,000 percent have led
to chronic shortages of water, food and fuel, and 80 percent unemployment.

The delay in announcing results has given rise to opposition fears the
recount could be a government ploy to steal the election.

"Clearly these guys have tampered with the boxes. They can't deny that," the
MDC's Chamisa said. "How do you expect us to have confidence in the
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, has brushed aside
criticism from London, Washington and opponents at home and is preparing for
an expected run-off against Tsvangirai.

The MDC has accused the former guerrilla commander of unleashing loyal
militias to help him rig victory in the runoff and allowing veterans of the
independence war to invade some farms, echoing a wave of land invasions that
began in 2000.

Human Rights Watch said on Saturday ZANU-PF was using a network of informal
detention centers to beat, torture, and intimidate opposition activists and
ordinary Zimbabweans into voting for the ruling party.

(Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe and Cris Chinaka, and Renato
Andrade in Toronto; Writing by Caroline Drees; editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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Recounting starts amid chaos in Masvingo

From Owen Chikari

MASVINGO, April 19, 2008 ( - There was chaos in
Masvingo as the Zimbabwe electoral commission began recounting of votes amid
complaints from the Opposition MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai that the ballot
boxes were tampered with.

The recounting process which was supposed to start at 8 am was delayed for
two hours as winning MDC candidates for Masvingo Central and Masvingo West
constituencies complained bitterly that the ballot boxes were tampered with.

“The boxes which we see today are new,” said victorious MDC candidate for
Masvingo West, Tichaona Chiminya. “We cannot start recounting the ballots
when it is clear that these ballot boxes were tampered with.”

Jefferyson Chitando MDC candidate for Masvingo Central also complained that
some of the boxes were tampered with.

“We cannot open some of these ballot boxes because the presiding and
election officials who were present on the polling day are no longer here”
said Chitando. “Some have actually left the country.”

Despite these complaints from the MDC, which according to the results of the
election, ceased to be the opposition party on March 29, ZEC officials
insisted that the recounting of votes should go ahead as planned.

Zanu-PF candidate for Masvingo Central Edmund Mhere said the recounting
should go ahead because it was the only way one’s victory could be
ascertained. He did not explain how a candidate’s victory was more assured
in a recount than in the original counting.

“We do not share the same feeling with the MDC that the boxes were tampered
with,” said Mhere.

Heavily armed police officers, far outnumbering elections officials, were
deployed at the civic centre where the recounting of ballots for Masvingo
Central and West constituencies was conducted.

The police officers searched vehicles and even barred members of the public
from visiting the civic centre until the recounting process ends.

In Bikita South the recounting process kicked off at 8 am without MDC
elections agents. The MDC, which won the parliamentary elections, said all
its election agents in Bikita South were forced to move out of the are by
Zanu-PF supporters immediately after the election.

MDC Masvingo provincial chairman Wilstaf Sitemele said :"The recounting in
Bikita South is being done and our election agents are not there because
they were chased out of the area by Zanu-PF activists soon after the

Zanu-PF party has complained of irregularities in 23 constituencies where
the recount is being conducted.

In Masvingo a recount is underway in nine constituencies. In one
constituency Bikita West, Zanu-PF claimed victory on Sunday long before the

Meanwhile, Zimbabweans continue to wait anxiously for the results of the
presidential election, which the MDC says it its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai

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Patience wearing out as Zimbabwe vote recount begins


DOMBOSHAVA, Zimbabwe, April 19 (AFP)

As Zimbabwean officials recounted ballots from last month's general election
in the farming village of Domboshava Saturday, local residents said their
patience was running out.

"We have been waiting for nearly three weeks now for the presidential
election results and instead we have a recount," said one of dozens of
villagers who gathered near a local job training centre used for the

"Everyone wants a transparent process where whoever is declared winner is
the rightful winner but they need to move at a faster pace," said the
47-year-old villager, who would identify himself only as Murape.

Domboshava, 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of the capital Harare, is the
regional centre for the Goromonzi West constituency -- one of 23 areas that
on Saturday began recounts after disputed March 29 elections.

In the presidential race, veteran President Robert Mugabe faced a double
challenge from Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and former finance minister Simba Makoni.

But three weeks after the voting, the presidential poll results are yet to
be announced.

Meanwhile, official results from last month's parliamentary elections saw
Mugabe's party losing its majority in parliament for the first time since
independence 28 years ago.

Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party complained of fraud by officials from
Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission, leading to the arrest of several officials
and prompting the recount.

In the Goromonzi West constituency, the recount was at the request of the
MDC's Ian Makone, who lost the parliamentary vote.

Makone did not come to witness the recount but the party's chief election
agent Cosmas Njanji said: "We suspect there was stuffing of ballot boxes and
criminal activity. That is why we asked for a recount."

But hours after the counting was due to start in Domboshava, election
officials were still sorting poll material scattered in a lecture room at
the centre as armed police patrolled outside.

Voter lists were strewn on tables. In the confusion, officials could not
locate a supplementary register of voters omitted from the official list.

A provincial elections officer, who gave only his surname, Madziwa, defended
the delay, saying: "We are going to count every ballot from the council to
the presidential.... It's going to be a thorough and strenuous process."

But as the recount dragged on, villagers aired their frustration.

"We have been here for nearly four hours and they have only recounted the
ballots for one polling station," said Jasper Chitsote before he was joined
by three friends and set off for a drink.

"We are going to be waiting again for the results of the recount just as we
have been waiting for three weeks for the presidential election results. I
can't continue to wait," he said.

In Mugabe's home region of Zvimba, Local Government Minister Ignatius
Chombo, who won the vote, asked for a recount because he said he was

"I want to win and I want to win fairly, I don't want anyone to tamper with
my numbers," Chombo said as officials began recounting the ballots in a
local business centre.

Herbert Murerwa, a local official from the ruling party, said: "We won here
and we don't see any need for a recount. But if it adds to the transparency
of the process and makes everyone happy, its fine."

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MDC will not accept results of poll recount


April 19, 2008, 15:15

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it rejected
the partial recount of votes from March 29 elections which began today, and
said it would not accept the outcome.

The recount in 23 of 210 constituencies, which is due to take three days,
could overturn the results of the parliamentary election, which showed
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF losing its majority to the MDC for
the first time. Results of a parallel presidential election have not been
released. "We reject the process. We reject the outcome of this flawed
process," MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said. "The position of the party
is we have nothing to do with the process."

"It's not a recount, it's a discount of the will and the vote of the
people," he said by telephone from the Midlands city of Gweru, where the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is recounting votes from seven of the 23
constituencies. - Reuters

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Detained Freelance Journalist, Allegedly Facing Charges for "Malicious Damage to Property," Requires Medical Attention

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

18 April 2008
Posted to the web 19 April 2008

Detained freelance journalist Frank Chikowore's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, has
filed an urgent High Court application compelling the police to take
Chikowore to hospital as he is complaining of abdominal and chest pains.

The application also compelled the police to have Chikowore appear before a
Magistrate on 17 April 2008, as the 48-hour period within which a person
arrested by the police should appear before a Magistrate court, as
stipulated under Zimbabwean laws, has elapsed.

Chikowore, who was gathering news on the fateful day, was arrested on 15
April together with supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
He and the MDC supporters are said to be facing charges of malicious damage
to property for allegedly torching a bus belonging to Nyamwenda Bus Company
in Warren Park.

According to Chikowore's lawyer, who was hired by MISA-Zimbabwe under its
Media Defence Fund (MDF), the police initially wanted to charge Chikowore
under the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) but later discovered that he is an accredited journalist and that
there was no offensive material on his laptop.


Chikowore was arrested in Harare on 15 April 2008 in unclear circumstances.
According to his wife, Chikowore left their home in Harare's suburb of
Warren Park early in the morning on his way to work, only to return later in
the company of seven police officers, four of whom were in riot gear and
three in plainclothes. The police then reportedly searched the house and
confiscated a laptop, recorder and camera.

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President of Journalists' Union Brutally Assaulted; Freelance Journalist Abducted, Whereabouts Unknown

International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)

18 April 2008
Posted to the web 19 April 2008


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the
government of Zimbabwe to end harassment of media after an attack on Matthew
Takaona, President of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), and called
for an investigation into the abduction of Stanley Karombo, a freelance

"We are very worried about the worsening conditions journalists face in
Zimbabwe," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. "We
condemn the attack on Matthew and call on the government to conduct
investigations into this attack and the reported abduction of Stanley."

In recent weeks the government of President Robert Mugabe has cracked down
on journalists in the country in the midst of political unrest. At least
five foreign media workers and two Zimbabwean journalists have been arrested
for their coverage of tensions in the country after the opposition
reportedly won presidential and parliamentary elections held on March 29.

On Thursday night Takaona was brutally assaulted by individuals wearing
national army uniforms. His attackers also robbed him of a substantial sum
of money.

Karombo has reportedly been abducted by unknown persons and his whereabouts
are unknown.

Another journalist, Frank Chikowore, was arrested on April 15. According to
news reports, his lawyers filed an urgent application in the High Court
Thursday to have him taken to hospital. Chikowore, a freelancer, was
arrested on arson charges during an opposition strike. The IFJ believes the
charges against him are without merit and has called for his release.

The former secretary general of the ZUJ Luke Tamborinyoka who is now an
information director of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was
arrested along with the Chikowore and others and has been in police cells

The IFJ calls for the release of all journalists in the country.

Four of the foreign journalists arrested in Zimbabwe were cleared of charges
this week and released. A fifth journalist was convicted of making a false
declaration of the motives for his presence in the country and was deported.

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries.

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Mutasa suppresses damning land audit

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - The ministry of state responsible for Land Reform is sitting on a
damning report - the fourth audit on the bloody land grab - that highlights
the systematic looting of prime farms by senior government officials, army
generals and Zanu (PF) cronies.
The explosive report documents the fourth land audit exercise to assess the
status and ownership of farms acquired under the controversial land grab.
It highlights the abysmal production on grabbed farms, mainly due to input
and financial shortages, lack of security of tenure and the inability of the
grabbers to farm.
Highly placed government sources told The Zimbabwean on Sunday that Didymus
Mutasa, the former minister of state for Land Reform and Resettlement, was
sitting on the damning report, which should have been presented to Mugabe by
Sources said the report affirmed the findings of previous reports that
senior government and military personnel had looted prime farms at the
expense of the landless people. There are also several cases of multiple
farm ownership by senior government officials and generals, in open defiance
of Mugabe’s one-man-one-farm decree.
The sources said the latest move to reclaim at least 1,449 A2 farms - the
category for commercial production - was prompted by the land audit, which
is understood to have been completed at the end of 2007.
“The report paints a classic picture of looting that has characterised the
affairs of the party over the years,” added the source. Zanu (PF) is
peddling the lie that the MDC will return land to whites, a charge that has
unsettled senior government officials about change of guard. The allegation
has been dismissed by the MDC.
Efforts to obtain comment from Mutasa were futile. But a ministry official
admitted that “there were problems” in the report.
“Yes the report has been finalised and we are going to publish it soon. It
has some problems but we are not at liberty to discuss them with the press
now,” she said.
So far, government claims to have resettled over 300,000 families under the
A1 model scheme as well as about 51,000 others under the A2 model scheme.
Most of these A2 model farmers did not take up their pieces of land.

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Zim's strongest international warning


    April 19 2008 at 04:45PM

By Deon de Lange

The world's parliamentarians have issued their strongest condemnation
yet of the electoral crisis in Zimbabwe, saying further delays in releasing
results can only be "detrimental to the crumbling credibility of the

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which held its 118th assembly in
Cape Town this week, on Friday approved a "presidential statement" on
Zimbabwe that called for all restrictions on freedom of assembly and speech
to be lifted. "We are deeply concerned that almost three weeks after
elections were held in Zimbabwe, results have not been fully released. We
call for their immediate publication."

The statement further implies the recent election may not have been
free and fair, saying the people of that country "have a right to determine
their future through free and fair elections as enshrined in universally
accepted norms and standards governing democratic elections".

The IPU also urged "all parliaments - as institutions of democracy and
oversight - to continue to exert their influence until this matter is
resolved in its entirety".

This position will make it difficult for South African Speaker Baleka
Mbete, who served as president of the assembly, to deny South African
opposition party requests for a debate on Zimbabwe when Parliament
reconvenes next week.

The ANC has consistently refused to debate the situation in Zimbabwe
since a parliamentary observer mission declared the 2003 elections in that
country to be "free and fair".

This view was contradicted by DA members on the same mission who
issued a minority report to the contrary - as they did when the recent
Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission similarly declared the
Zimbabwean election to have been a "fair reflection of the will of the

The IPU presidential statement comes as a double blow to the
Zimbabwean delegation, led by parliamentary secretary Austin Zvoma.

Presenting its report to the assembly, the IPU committee on the human
rights of parliamentarians cited "gross human rights abuses" relating to
arrests, torture and illegal detention of a number of opposition MPs over
the past years.

This article was originally published on page 8 of Saturday Argus on
April 19, 2008

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19th April 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
Behind every tree, under every bush and around every corner, it seems there
is a British enemy waiting to invade Zimbabwe.
"We must maintain the utmost vigilance in the face of vicious British
machinations," Mr Mugabe warned as he spoke at his celebration of Zimbabwe's
28th anniversary of Independence.

No one that I've spoken to this week had even the vaguest clue of what a
machination is. A few thought it had something to do with machinery or
engines, others that it was a mispronunciation of the word imagination.
Still others wondered if these mysterious machinations had anything to do
with the Chinese ship steaming around looking for somewhere to unload its
cargo of death destined for Harare. The ship loaded with 3 million bullets,
1500 rocket propelled grenades and 3000 mortar shells. So we sat on the edge
of our chairs this Independence day wondering just exactly where the British
are hiding and what their unknown vicious something-or-other means to our
daily lives.

Nearly thirty years after Independence the threats and warnings of British
plots haven't just worn thin, they've worn out altogether. It is generally
agreed that at most there are perhaps thirty thousand white people left in
Zimbabwe - a miniscule percentage in a population of approximately 11
million people. It's way past time for our leaders to stop blaming someone
else and accept responsibility for their own deeds and machinations such as
those portrayed on the front page of one weekly independent newspaper:

"Hundreds flee Zanu PF Rampage."
"Murder, torture, terror."

It's three weeks since Zimbabwe voted and we are exhausted, frustrated and
frightened. As each day passes there is less and less food to buy, more and
more reports of people beaten and hiding and still no final election
Zimbabweans want food and jobs not grenades and bullets. We want our voices
to be heard and our votes to be respected. When the South African Transport
workers union refused to unload the Chinese cargo ship in Durban this week
they showed the way and we thank them for this. Zimbabwe is not at war, it
is hungry.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy

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A letter from the diaspora

19th April 2008

Dear Friends.
April 18th 2008 and Independence Day in Zimbabwe. No prizes for guessing
what Our Dear Old Man will talk about in his 'keynote speech' at Gwanzura
Stadium today. He will attack the British imperialists and their puppets in
the MDC. He will make the usual totally unproven allegations of white
farmers returning to the country to occupy their stolen farms in a British
inspired plot to retake the country. He will of course renew his vitriolic
abuse of Gordon Brown ' that little dot on the universe' as he so wittily
described the British prime minister much to his friend Mbeki's audible
amusement. And the great 'Liberation Hero' will probably boast about the
support he has from the rest of Africa. My bet is that he will not even
mention the recently held elections; he will behave as he always does on
these occasions, as the one man who led the nation out of bondage - the new
Moses as one of his creepy clerics once described him.
His 'supporters' will have been bussed in from all over the country and to
sweeten the pill there will be the usual football match to entertain the
captive crowd. All exits will be firmly closed by armed guards and no one
will be allowed out. That's how it works in Mugabe's Zimbabwe. The freedom
that Zimbabweans fought and died for in their thousands twenty eight years
ago is just a word. When Robert Mugabe talks about 'our sovereignty'- as he
undoubtedly will today - he is not talking about you and me, ordinary
Zimbabweans. No, he's talking about Zanu PF and the top chefs in the army
and the police, the very people who are still keeping him in power three
weeks after the elections. Mugabe and his cohorts care nothing for ordinary
Zimbabweans; how else can we explain this farcical delay in announcing the
presidential results? A delay which is causing untold suffering not only for
the hapless victims of brutality in the rural areas up and down the country
but for ordinary citizens desperately trying to survive as everything
collapses around them. No food, no water, no power and no government
officials to carry out their duties as the infrastructure breaks down and
inflation shoots ever higher. 165.000% the Central Statistical Office
announced this week and the fat cats rub their hands in glee as their bank
balances and waistlines get even bigger.
What kind of man can inflict such suffering on his own people? The answer is
clear, only a man of cruel and vindictive nature. Sane or insane, the truth
is that the one thing Mugabe cannot stomach is rejection. Study the voting
patterns around the country, pinned up outside polling stations and you will
see very clearly the correlation between the brutal assaults on opposition
supporters and the inroads the MDC made into what was once considered safe
Zanu PF territory. If you voted against Mugabe you will pay with your blood,
that's the message Mugabe is sending out to 'his' people. Even the British
media here in the UK has finally got the message, thanks to brave
Zimbabweans courageous enough to take photographs of the bloodied victims of
Mugabe's terror tactics.
He will mention none of this when he addresses the crowds today. He will not
explain to them why a Chinese container ship is moored in Durban harbour
waiting to unload its weapons of war destined for Zimbabwe. He will not
explain why he needs such weapons in a country that is not at war except
against its own people. He will not explain why Chinese troops have been
seen patrolling the streets of Mutare, armed and in full military regalia.

African solutions to African problems intones Thabo Mbeki in his pathetic
attempts to shield the old man and as each day passes the crisis that Mbeki
refuses to acknowledge grows ever deeper and the world looks on in amazement
at the sight of grown men behaving like bully boys in a playground. What
Mbeki is doing - or not doing - is bringing shame and ridicule on Africa.
Mbeki knows, he must know, that Mugabe is bringing the whole region into
disrepute. The flagrant abuse of human rights would never be tolerated in
South Africa for one minute. Yet Thabo Mbeki turns a blind eye to the chaos
in Zimbabwe, denies its existence because the man who is carrying out all
the destruction is a Liberation Hero and Africa cannot break ranks with the
heroes of the liberation struggle. The African Renaissance that Mbeki
promulgated in the early years lies in ashes because African leaders have
failed totally and utterly to condemn the excesses of men like Robert
Mugabe. It is so much easier to attack the white west for their colonial
past than it is to speak out honestly about Africa's dismal record on
governance and human rights.
Put not your faith in African leaders is the message I learn from all this,
instead put your faith in the people. Zimbabweans have shown their courage
in voting for what they want but once again a cruel and ruthless leader is
denying them their voice. And in South Africa there is growing evidence that
ordinary South African are not behind Mbeki in his support for the
Zimbabwean despot. The Cape Times reports today that the trade unions have
declared that their members will not unload or transport the Chinese weapons
of war to use against their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. 'An injury to
one is an injury to all' that was one of the slogans of the anti-apartheid
struggle but Mbeki appears to have forgotten it. We shall overcome!
Yours in the (continuing) struggle. PH

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Botswana raps 'no crisis' Mbeki

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 19 April

Mandy Rossouw and Jason Moyo

The Botswana Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, has taken the unusual step
of criticising President Thabo Mbeki over his dogged insistence that there
is no electoral crisis in Zimbabwe. With the results of the presidential
election not released more than two weeks after polling, Mbeki raised
eyebrows worldwide by claiming, after a meeting with Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe at the weekend, that "there is no crisis in Zimbabwe".
Referring to the extraordinary SADC summit on Zimbabwe in Lusaka at the
weekend, Skelemani said: "Everyone agreed that things are not normal, except
Mbeki. Maybe Mbeki is so deeply involved that he firmly believes things are
going right. But now he understands that the rest of SADC feels this is a
matter of urgency and we are risking lives and limbs being lost. He got that
message clearly." Although it was not articulated in its official
communiqué, the SADC summit gave the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
five days to verify and release the results of the presidential election.
Skelemani confirmed this, describing Zimbabwean attempts to compare the
delay with ballot counting glitches in the past in the United States,
Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo as "nonsense ... which won’t
wash". We couldn’t expect them to have it finished by Monday. So now we give
them a few days to do the verification with the representatives of the
opposition parties present," he said. But, he conceded that SADC could do
nothing except "bring pressure to bear on the government and get Mugabe to
ensure that the ZEC brings the results".

Botswana is one of a minority of SADC countries that wants a tougher line on
Zimbabwe - in part because it has been hard hit by the mass exodus of
Zimbabean economic refugees. With Malawi and Mauritius, it sided with
Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) at the SADC summit. However,
Mugabe’s heavyweight allies, principally Mozambique’s President Armando
Guebuza, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila, Namibia’s
Hifikepunye Pohamba and Angola’s José Eduardo dos Santos, blocked a tougher
stance. Calling only for the results to be released, the communiqué issued
at the end of the summit was the slightest tap on the wrist for Mugabe.
Skelemani remarked cynically that the Zanu PF delegation at the summit, led
by Emmerson Mnangagwa, had agreed to release the results "because they don’t
want to be seen as spoilers". Mugabe had not attended the summit because "he
wasn’t consulted when the summit was arranged ... Now it is a question of
revenge -- you snubbed me, now I snub you. If he had come in person and
heard what his counterparts had to say, he would [better] appreciate the way
they think." Skelemani said that in the case of a run-off in Zimbabwe’s
presidential poll, the SADC would need to send a larger monitoring group to
observe the elections. "People with more credibility need to be sent. If you
send the same team you’ll not be able to cover the whole country and you
have to make sure that there is an observer at every polling station. The
SADC team will need to be beefed up." Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad
said on Thursday that South African observers would travel to Harare at the
weekend to watch over the vote recount in 23 constituencies. Zanu PF is
disputing the results in these constituencies.

In a telephonic interview with the Mail & Guardian the chairperson of the
ZEC, George Chiweshe, said he would reject any attempt by SADC to tell it
what to do. "I don’t know what SADC said. We are an independent commission.
We don’t take orders from SADC and even if we get them, we will reject
them." Chiweshe said the commission was still awaiting a high court ruling
on a recount of the polling in 23 constituencies. A reversal of these
results would overturn the opposition’s narrow victory in the parliamentary
elections. He described as "erroneous" widespread media reports on Monday
that the Harare High Court had forbidden the ZEC to recount, as this would
be grossly unreasonable before the results had been released. The Department
of Foreign Affairs said to its knowledge there is no court case pending.
Skelemani also said that Botswana would not accommodate MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, who returned to Gaborone on Tuesday, after landing in Harare and
feeling unsafe, for an unlimited time. "If he did not win the presidential
election, we will say to him ‘my friend, you’ve lost, go back home’." An
African diplomat in Harare who attended the summit said the MDC had the
wrong game plan at the summit. "It needed to push for specific matters that
were within SADC’s reach. I would’ve expected it to go after a targeted,
strong statement from SADC demanding the immediate release of results.
Instead it wanted SADC to declare its leader president." Reclaiming
Parliament is important for Mugabe, as the legislature would have to vote in
his successor. "He knows he will have to step down soon. Even within the
party, there is consensus that we cannot carry on like this," a senior
member of Mugabe’s politburo said. "But you have to understand that Mugabe
will step down only for a Zanu PF person, not for Tsvangirai."

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Germany's human rights commissioner slams China's arms to Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Apr 19, 2008, 10:29 GMT

Berlin - China's arms deliveries to Zimbabwe are 'alarming in the extreme'
the German government's human rights commissioner said Saturday.

Beijing was delivering arms to a regime that had effectively been voted out
of office, Guenter Nooke told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an interview.

'This is alarming in the extreme,' Nooke said, noting the potential for
violence given the deadlocked situation between the regime of President
Robert Mugabe and the opposition following the March 29 elections.

The arms, reported to be millions of rounds for AK-47 rifles, mortar bombs
and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, were of a kind that could be used
against the population, Nooke said.

'That is disgraceful,' Nooke said.

There were no grounds for fresh elections in Zimbabwe, the commissioner
said, describing Mugabe's moves in this direction as an attempt to
prevaricate until he got the result he wanted.

He accused the Mugabe regime of attempting to intimidate the opposition and
called for international pressure on Harare to be increased.

Nooke was sharply critical of the attitudes of neighbouring countries, in
particular that of Zimbabwe's powerful southern neighbour, South Africa,
mentioning President Thabo Mbeki by name.

The Chinese ship carrying 77 tons of munitions destined for landlocked
Zimbabwe left the South African port of Durban Friday after a South African
court ordered that its cargo could not be transported overland.

Dock workers had also refused to off-load the cargo, saying that to do so
would be 'grossly irresponsible.'

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Sydney's Zimbabweans protest over Mugabe

Saturday Apr 19 18:43 AEST
A group of Zimbabwean activists rallied in central Sydney, calling for an
end to President Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe.

The group of about 30 white and black Zimbabweans marched from Belmont Park
to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade NSW office in Pitt Street.

They chanted Free Zimbabwe, waved hand-lettered signs bearing the slogan
Mugabe Must Go and sang and danced.

One of the activists, Fred Nyamhunga, said protests were gaining momentum
against the situation in Zimbabwe, where officials had yet to declare the
outcome of the March 29 general election.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed victory
in the presidential poll and says his opposition party had won a majority of
the parliamentary seats.

But Mr Mugabe and his supporters are preparing for a run-off in the
presidential contest as well as challenging some of the parliamentary
results, with a partial recount under way.

"There is a crisis and we must make our voices heard," Mr Nyamhunga said at
the event.

Mr Nyamhunga said it was risky for people to cast their vote in Zimbabwe and
the election results should be released.

"The Australian government is doing the right things and pushing the right
way," he said.

"Western countries can put pressure on the Southern African Development
Community. They have to take responsibility for the situation in Zimbabwe.

"How can the world look at this and say this is not a critical situation?"

Mr Nyamhunga said conditions in the country were dire, with huge inflation,
unemployment and poor life expectancy.

He also said the group was concerned about the movement of arms to the

A Chinese ship had tried to unload a cargo of arms in South Africa for
transport to Zimbabwe but was stopped by a court order.

"We fear there will be a war," he said.

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School children forced to attend April 18 event


Zimbabweans Shun Independence Celebrations

Nelson G. Katsande

     Published 2008-04-19 17:30 (KST)

Zimbabweans shunned the country's independence celebrations held April 18.
Most people accused President Robert Mugabe of ruling the country by force
after the March 29 presidential elections, in which observers say he lost to
Morgan Tsvangirai.

The celebratory scenes were pathetic as mostly school children, police and
security forces were in attendance. Even the war veterans shunned the
celebrations. The few war veterans who were in attendance chanted liberation
war songs. School children too, clad in ZANU-PF T-shirts, were forced to
chant chimurenga [struggle] war songs.

President Mugabe who has refused to concede defeat to the opposition
attacked Britain in his address speech. Road blocks were set up in Harare
where motorists were diverted and forced to attend the celebrations. ZANU-PF
youths were nowhere to be seen as they are believed to have jumped ship and
joined the opposition.

Elias Mafa a former ZANU-PF youth told OhmyNews, "It is senseless to support
Mugabe amid this economic and political turmoil. Go to the shops and see how
badly the situation is."

"The shelves are empty," he added.

In Mashonaland Central province, a former ZANU-PF stronghold, the opposition
is said to have won all seats in the just ended council elections. Prior to
the presidential elections, Morgan Tsvangirai the MDC leader held a rally in
the province in which thousands of former ZANU-PF supporters attended.

The Bindura council which had made efforts in repairing the badly
"pot-holed" road network which led to the venue where Tsvangirai was to
address his rally, was stabbed in the back by ZANU-PF for its alleged
support of MDC. This led to the suspension of Town Clerk, Mr Mugogo. But the
council which was doing its moral obligation of repairing roads in the area
was accused of siding with the opposition.

A source within the council's finance department said, "Staff are under
constant attack from ZANU-PF supporters. We are now even scared of reporting
for work."

Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world. The country's monetary
policies have been blamed for the current hyper-inflation as the government
prints currency as and when it likes. The acute food shortages facing the
country have resulted in millions of people dying from starvation. The
health delivery network has collapsed with nurses and doctors having fled
the country in search of greener pastures.

Civil servants are regularly on industrial action and the government has
failed to provide solutions. After the March 29 presidential elections,
people were hoping for a change. But after 28 years in power, President
Mugabe is determined to hold on to power despite his defeat to Tsvangirai.

The election results are yet to be announced. Zimbabwe is now dependent on
other neighbouring countries for food. From independence to dependence, the
southern African

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