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State orchestrated torture in Zimbabwe

This post serves to alert the press and others to images available for download from our Flick account. We also provide, at the end of this post, a list of RSS feeds to provide instant updates on Sokwanele information. Please subscribe to them; we'd be grateful if you alerted others to this information too.

Images taken on 20 April 2008

The email message accompanying these images read:

The attached pics are of a young man (38) from Dzivarasekwa, Harare who was abducted by “soldiers” militia in full combat camoflage kit with fringed hats who beat him for hours with chains and fan belts on his back and chest. Also on his feet and hands.

The reason for this terrible beating is that he transported MDC supporters to the pre election rallies.

Ambulances went to Kotwa Hospital on Saturday evening to uplift five critical cases and they were stopped just short of the hospital by CIO agents who threatened their lives and then followed them for 100 kms back to Harare.

Now the ambulances refuse to go out there.

I really fear for those peoples lives.

We have been trying to get them out in civilian trucks, but Police road blocks surround the Mudzi area. If we were not successful last night, then a convoy of vehicles will go in.

This is a shocking situation we find ourselves in, when we are prevented from taking our battered and burned members to hospital.

Images taken on 21 April 2008

This man, above, is from Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe, Mashonaland East Province, the local ‘war vet’ and Zanu PF militia put plastic on his back and arms and burned it. He only managed to get to hospital four days later.

This man, above, is also from the Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe area. He was tied to his hut door by militia and then set alight. This happened last week. He only managed to get to hospital last night.

Additional information:

The emails came from different sources. Both confirm the same situation; for example, the message accompanying the images sent to us today (taken yesterday) read:

We cannot get ambulances to go into that area as they are either turned back by police or threatened by CIO. So we are borrowing fuel off anyone and everyone for our MDC guys vehicles to go in and find the injured.

The same person who sent us this message also advised us that someone he knows in the Macheke area saw two youngsters walking down the road with AKs slung over their shoulders. He asked another person - a war vet he had a friendly relationship with - what it was about:

The answer was, “Yes we are all being armed; we are going back to war”.

Available RSS Feeds

We are blogging information (via This is Zimbabwe) as we receive it, and we are also adding the images to our flickr account. Images are avilable for download from our Flickr account. The following RSS feeds are available to help you keep up to date:

Sokwanele, main website feed :
This is Zimbabwe, blog feed :
Images - Album of Terror (on Flickr):
Images - High Resolution Versions (on Flickr):

Zimbabwe election results feed:


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Zim recount faces yet another delay


    April 22 2008 at 06:29PM

Harare - A controversial partial recount of Zimbabwe's general
election is now not expected to be finalised before the weekend, the chief
overseer of the polls said on Tuesday.

Initially slated to last three days when the exercise kicked off last
Saturday, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson George Chiweshe
said some counting centres had lost two days due to wrangling by the party
representatives about counting procedures.

"I expect them to be through at the weekend, but this is just an
expectation," Chiweshe said.

ZEC ordered recounts in 23 of the 210 parliamentary constituencies,
after alleged anomalies in the counting that took place after the March 29
joint presidential, legislative and municipal elections.

Initial results gave the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) control of parliament but the recount could end up with President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party regaining its majority.

There was still no word on Tuesday on the outcome of the simultaneous
presidential ballot although MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed
victory after Mugabe's 28 years at the helm.

Chiweshe could not be pinned down into speculating when the
presidential poll results could be out saying that would also depend on the
ongoing recount. - Sapa-AFP

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Zimbabwe recount futile, monitors warn

Chris McGreal,
Tuesday April 22 2008

Independent election monitors say they have seen significant irregularities,
including the illicit opening of ballot boxes, that makes the partial
recount under way of Zimbabwe's election an exercise in "futility".

As the recount enters its fifth day, and with the election commission saying
it could take many more yet, foreign observers have documented concerns in
many of the 23 constituencies where presidential and parliamentary votes are
being counted again. All but two of them were won by the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, helping it to end Zanu-PF's control of parliament for
the first time since independence 28 years ago.

A monitor with the Southern African Development Community, Dianne
Kohler-Barnard, says she witnessed tampering in two constituencies that
"points to a concerted effort to rig the result in order to bring about a
Mugabe 'victory'".

"In Mberengwa West they brought the first four boxes down for counting. Each
box has two of the blue ties with numbers on it that are used to seal it
along with padlocks. They had a whole set of duplicates of the blue ties,
with the same numbers, on the other side of the hall. The keys to the
padlocks are inside envelopes sealed with wax. All the seals were broken. I
can only surmise that the keys were removed and the padlocks unlocked," she

"Then they discovered that the protocol register, which lists how many
voting books were used and the numbers, was missing."

The next day, Kohler-Barnard was monitoring the recount in Goromonzi West.

"There were ballot boxes with keys missing. One had the padlock open. Some
had the envelopes with the keys sealed with Sellotape instead of wax," she

"All the party agents had signed that they placed ten books of voting papers
into a box after the election. When the box was opened there were only nine.
They scrabbled around and found the book lying on the floor somewhere.
Either the fairies came down and took the book out of the box or there was
someone in there. It tells me that the box was opened, the ballots were
fiddled with and it was repacked but the person did it badly."

Reports of significant tampering have come in from other constituencies,
including Bulima East where the seals were broken on all of the boxes for
the presidential election from 57 polling stations.

"From these particular instances I believe the election is fatally flawed.
It is an exercise in futility," said Kohler-Barnard.

Another independent monitor said he had observed serious problems but
questions whether the irregularities are on a sufficient scale to overturn
the opposition's victories.

"There are definite irregularities, but it's not clear that it's been enough
even though they know what they needed to do. Even if it is substantial in
some areas I'm not sure it is widespread enough to really change things.

"Once they realise that we may never see these results. It wouldn't surprise
me. Perhaps the recount is designed to draw things out while they get
another plan in place to kill off the election altogether," he said.

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Zimbabwe election body says first recount results Wednesday

Monsters and Critics

Apr 22, 2008, 17:47 GMT

Harare- Zimbabwe's election body said Tuesday it expected the first results
from a recount of votes cast in last month's elections by Wednesday while
its opposition leader again slated South African President Thabo Mbeki's
mediation in the country's political crisis.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) spokesperson Utoile Silaigwana said at
least one result from the recount of votes cast for parliament in 23
constituencies should be available by Wednesday.

But he could give no timeframe for results from the presidential election,
in which President Robert Mugabe is widely believed to have been defeated by
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Votes cast for president in the 23 constituencies are also being recounted,
despite the results never being made public.

'We are still verifying election material for the presidential election,'
Silaigwana said.

Seeking to explain the delay in the recount, which mirrors the nearly
month-long wait for the presidential results, he said: 'There were a few
problems in relation to the methods of recounting here. There were arguments
on methods of verification.'

Tsvangirai claims he defeated Mugabe in the March 29 presidential election
after his party won the elections to the lower house of parliament.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party says there was no clear winner in the presidential
vote and that a run-off is required. Zanu-PF alleged the MDC bribed election
officials to inflate the party and Tsvangirai's count in some areas.

The recount, which the MDC boycotted claiming the votes had been tampered
with since the election, could see parliament returned to Zanu-PF, which was
defeated 97 seats to the MDC's 109 in the original count.

The party needs nine seats to claim back its majority.

Analysts have speculated that the presidential recount is likely to bolster
Mugabe's bid for a runoff by narrowing the gap between the 84-year-old
leader and Tsvangirai. A Zimbabwean non-profit election observation
organization estimated neither candidate took more than 50 per cent of the
vote but put Tsvangirai very close.

The opposition leader was in Ghana Tuesday, where he met with Ghanaian
president John Kufour on the sidelines of a United Nations conference on
trade and development.

On Monday Tsvangirai met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as part of
his campaign for international support for his victory claim.

In a statement issued in Ghana, Tsvangirai again expressed concern over
Mbeki's mediation in Zimbabwe, without calling outright for his removal as
southern African envoy.

'We are disturbed by the role that President Mbeki is playing in undermining
our people's victory. We are disturbed by his conduct as a mediator,
particularly by his comments regarding the crisis in our country,'
Tsvangirai said.

The MDC last week called for Mbeki to be replaced as Southern African
Development Community (SADC) mediator in Zimbabwe after Mbeki declared he
saw no evidence of a 'crisis' in the country, but SADC leaders said they
want him to remain in the position.

Meanwhile a magistrates court on Tuesday denied bail to around 30 people
charged with public violence or incitement over last week's general strike
citing tensions in Zimbabwe and the need to 'deter' others.

The MDC called the work stayaway on April 15 to press for the presidential
results but the call went largely unheeded by the around one in five
Zimbabweans with a job.

'The climate in the country is very volatile. It is necessary that all
people facing election-related charges be denied bail to deter other
would-be offenders,' magistrate Olivia Mariga said, remanding the accused in
custody to appear in court again on May 5.

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Zimbabwe court denies bail to strike detainees to 'deter' others

Monsters and Critics

Apr 22, 2008, 13:37 GMT

Harare - A Zimbabwe court on Tuesday denied bail to 28 people charged with
public violence or incitement over last week's general strike citing
tensions in the country and the need to 'deter' others.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) called the nationwide
stayaway on April 15 to press for the release of results from last month's
presidential elections.

'The climate in the country is very volatile. It is necessary that all
people facing election-related charges be denied bail to deter other
would-be offenders,' magistrate Olivia Mariga said Tuesday.

The lawyer for freelance journalist Frank Chikowore, who was arrested while
covering the burning of a bus and charged with arson, said he was would
appeal the ruling.

The detainees range in age from 16 to 68 and include women. The state
accuses a 68-year-old man of being the 'kingpin' behind isolated incidents
of violence during the strike, including the burning of an empty bus and the
stoning of cars.

The magistrate remanded the accused, who were dressed in prison clothes, in
custody and ordered them to appear again in court on May 5.

Meanwhile, the recounting of votes from the country's disputed March 29
disputed elections, in which President Robert Mugabe is trying to cling to
power, dragged on for a fourth day.

Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
claims he won the presidential election outright after his party won the
elections to the lower house of parliament.

Mugabe's Zanu-PF party says there was no clear winner in the presidential
vote and that a run-off is required.

The state-controlled Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has refused to release
the election results but agreed to recount votes cast in 23 out of 210
constituencies, both for president and parliament, at the behest of Mugabe's

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MDC promises Mugabe 'honourable exit'

 Last Updated: 22/04/2008  19:36

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has called on all of Africa's
leaders today to acknowledge he won last month's disputed election, and
promised an "honourable exit" for President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, who insists he won the March 29 presidential poll in Zimbabwe,
was intensifying his public lobbying for Africa and the rest of the world to
intervene more forcefully to resolve the post-election crisis in the
southern African state.

His Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party says Mugabe, who has ruled
Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, is attempting to cling to power by
delaying declaring the results.

Speaking on the sidelines of a UN trade and development conference in Ghana,
Tsvangirai repeated accusations that Mugabe's government had launched a
post-poll security crackdown against opposition supporters, killing between
10 and 15, arresting hundreds and driving thousands from their homes.

"Zimbabwe as I speak is burning. President Mugabe and his band of criminals
have unleashed violence on the people as a punishment for choosing to vote
for change," he told a news conference in Accra.

Zimbabwe's government denies launching a crackdown.

International pressure has been building for Mugabe to announce the poll
outcome, but Tsvangirai said more was needed.

But he also had conciliatory words for the veteran Zimbabwean president.

"Robert Mugabe is a liberation hero on our continent and he must be
convinced to make a graceful exit. In fact, we have no intention of
violating his rights. We believe the time has come for him to have an
honourable exit," Tsvangirai said.

© 2008

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Help! We Are Dying, Churches Appeal to the World

Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)

22 April 2008
Posted to the web 22 April 2008


Distressed church leaders have appealed to the world to come to the aid of
Zimbabweans, driven to despair by state-sponsored terror and a humanitarian

The church leaders appealed to the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to arrest the
deteriorating political and security situation.

"We warn the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe
from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that
experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hotspots in Africa and

The Catholic, evangelical and Protestant leaders gave a chilling description
of systematic violence meted out to innocent civilians by state security
personnel in the countryside and in some populous urban areas where poverty
and famine are rife.

The violence is targeted at individuals, families and communities accused of
campaigning or voting for the opposition in the March 29 general elections.
The government has set up youth militia and war veteran/military base camps
in different parts of the country for the purpose, the church leaders said.

"People are being abducted, tortured and humiliated by being asked to repeat
slogans of the political party they are alleged not to support, ordered to
attend mass meetings where they are told they voted for the "wrong"
candidate and should never repeat it in the run-off election for President,
and, in some cases, people are murdered."

At the same time the humanitarian situation is plummeting frightfully. "The
cost of living has gone beyond the reach of the majority of our people.
There is widespread famine in most parts of the countryside on account of
poor harvests and delays in the process of importing maize from neighbouring
countries. The shops are empty and basic foodstuffs are unavailable. Victims
of organized torture who are ferried to hospital find little solace as the
hospitals have no drugs or medicines to treat them."

The churches called for an immediate end to political violence, closure of
the militia camps and release of the delayed presidential poll results.

"The unprecedented delay in the publication of these results has caused
anxiety, frustration, depression, suspicion and in some cases illness among
people of Zimbabwe both at home and abroad. A pall of despondency hangs over
the nation which finds itself in a crisis of expectations and governance.
The nation is in a crisis, in limbo and no real business is taking place
anywhere as the nation waits."

The leaders urged Zimbabweans to uphold peace and personal dignity in this
difficult time. "We urge you to refuse to be used for a political party or
other people's selfish ends, especially where it concerns violence against
other people, including those who hold different views from your own. It was
the Lord Jesus who said, 'Whatever you do to one of these little ones, you
do it unto me' (Matthew 25:45)."

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Africa shows impatience on Zimbabwe crisis


Tue 22 Apr 2008, 15:01 GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling party leader called on Tuesday for
a new African initiative to solve Zimbabwe's crisis, as neighbouring states
showed increasing impatience with President Robert Mugabe.

In what analysts said was unprecedented action towards Mugabe by his
long-passive neighbours, including traditional allies, maritime states
around landlocked Zimbabwe all refused to allow a Chinese ship carrying arms
to the country to unload.

South Africa's African National Congress (ANC) leader Jacob Zuma made his
toughest comments yet on the three-week delay in announcing the results of
Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential election. In an interview with Reuters in
Berlin he said:

"It's not acceptable. It's not helping the Zimbabwean people who have gone
out to ... elect the kind of party and presidential candidate they want,
exercising their constitutional right."

Zuma, who has distanced himself from the "quiet diplomacy" of South African
President Thabo Mbeki over Zimbabwe, added: "I imagine that the leaders in
Africa should really move in to unlock this logjam.

"Concretely this means African countries should identify some people to go
in there, probably talk to both parties, call them and ask them what the
problem is, as well as the electoral commission".

Zuma toppled Mbeki as ANC leader last December and has gradually boosted
power at the expense of the president.

The comments helped lift the rand currency, as traders welcomed Zuma's
readiness to take a lead on Zimbabwe after concern over the impact of the
crisis on Africa's biggest economy.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called on African leaders to
acknowledge that he won the election and said Mugabe would be allowed an
honourable exit.

He said Africa's reputation would suffer "serious disrepute" if it allowed
Mugabe to stay in power despite losing the vote.

China said earlier that it may have to bring its vessel

home after it was unable to unload in southern African ports.


Zambia, which has been one of the more critical countries in the region over
a crisis that has wrecked Zimbabwe's economy, urged neighbouring states to
bar the An Yue from entering their waters, saying the weapons could deepen
the election crisis.

Zambia is chair of the regional group SADC (Southern African Development

The Chinese ship was unable to unload in its original destination of Durban
on the Indian Ocean coast after trade unions -- which are allies of Zuma -- 
refused to handle the cargo, saying the weapons could be used against the

After it left South Africa, both Mozambique and Angola said it was not

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Mugabe, 84, should
stand down and make way for their leader.

The MDC deprived Mugabe's ZANU-PF party of its majority in parliament in a
parallel vote on March 29 but there has also been a delay to a partial
recount of votes from that poll.

The recount could overturn the MDC victory but the opposition and Western
governments say it is merely another ploy by Mugabe to steal back the

"We have been affected by the situation in Zimbabwe," Zuma said. "That's
part of the reason we're engaged. It's not just a out of political thinking,
but (because) there's a concrete, practical impact ... on the South African

Tsvangirai told a news conference in Ghana: "Robert Mugabe is a liberation
hero on our continent and he must be convinced to make a graceful exit. ...
We believe the time has come for him to have an honourable exit."

Mbeki has been criticised at home and abroad for playing down the gravity of
Zimbabwe's electoral deadlock despite widespread accusations that Mugabe has
launched a militia offensive against opposition supporters.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Monday denied MDC reports that 10
opposition activists had been killed in a government crackdown since the

A Harare magistrate on Tuesday denied bail to 28 people accused of arson
attacks during an abortive opposition protest strike last week.

Zuma, who is frontrunner to succeed Mbeki as president next year, was
sharply critical of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

"It is actually destroying its own credibility as an institution that is
supposed to be neutral," he said.

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Journalist Reported Missing As Crackdown Intensifies Against Independent Press

Reporters sans Frontières (Paris)

22 April 2008
Posted to the web 22 April 2008

Reporters Without Borders today voiced concern about the disappearance on 15
April of freelance journalist Stanley Karombo, as attacks on and arrests of
reporters continued and the state-run media resumed a propaganda campaign on
behalf of the government.

"Zimbabwean journalists are being exposed to great danger because of the
failure of the community of African states to put pressure on the government
of Robert Mugabe," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

"Without commenting on the issue of the 29 March general elections,
countries which still have the ear of the outgoing president should at least
make some clear demands, particularly in connection with press freedom. It
is not too late to prevent silence turning into complicity with tragic
acts," it added.

Stanley Karombo was seen for the last time on 15 April 2008 when he was
covering a general strike called by the main opposition party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), of Morgan Tsvangirai. His colleagues have
searched in vain for him at Harare police stations and police have said they
do not know where the journalist is.

Edward Chikomba, a freelance cameraman and former contributor to public
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), was found dead on 31 March 2007,
two days after he was snatched by unknown kidnappers who were suspected of
being secret service agents.

Freelance journalist, Frank Chikowore, who also disappeared on 15 April this
year from close to his home, was brought before a Harare court on 21 April,
along with 27 MDC activists, allegedly for disturbing the peace. He has been
accused of involvement in torching a bus, after initially being wrongly
accused of working as a journalist without compulsory accreditation from the
Media and Information Commission (MIC). The court today decided to remand
all of the defendants in custody, with the aim of deterring any possible
trouble makers.

Among the accused is also Luke Tamborinyoka, former editor of the banned
newspaper, The Daily News, currently the MDC's director of information. He
spent 71 days in custody in 2007, during which he was ill-treated, accused
of having thrown a petrol bomb at a police station. He was finally acquitted
and released by a court in the capital.

Elsewhere, Matthew Takaona, president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists
(ZUJ) was clubbed and pistol-whipped by six soldiers, on 17 April, while he
was in a shopping centre in Chitungwiza, 35 kms from Harare. His personal
possessions were stolen.

In the past few days, monitoring carried out by the independent Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) showed that news coverage by public media
remained partisan. Its monitoring of prime-time programmes showed in
particular that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) "maintained its
silence on the presidential election results and even failed to conduct any
programmes focusing on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's recounting of
votes in 23 constituencies (outside its news bulletins)".

The MMPZ also noted that it broadcast of two songs in support of the
presidential party, Zanu-PF, by singer Elizabeth Chinouriri, who wore a
t-shirt printed with a photo of Robert Mugabe.

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Magistrate denies journalist bail citing volatile political situation

Media Alert
22 April 2008

Magistrate denies journalist bail citing volatile political situation

Freelance journalist Frank Chikowore and other accused persons among them
the MDC director of information and publicity Luke Tamborinyoka who are
facing charges of inciting public violence were on 22 April 2008 denied bail
when they appeared in court on remand.

Magistrate Olivia Mariga denied Chikowore and his co-accused bail saying the
political climate in the country is still volatile and as such the accused
persons may continue to incite violence. She then remanded them in custody
to 5 May 2008.

His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo said he would file an urgent application with the
High Court on 23 April 2008 for Chikowore to be granted bail.


According to his lawyer who was engaged by MISA-Zimbabwe under its Media
Defence Fund facility, the police initially wanted to charge Chikowore with
contravening the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) for practicing journalism without accreditation.

However, Chikowore is duly accredited with the state-controlled Media and
Information Commission (MIC) and was similarly accredited by the Zimbabwe
Election Commission (ZEC) to cover the elections held on 29 March 2008.

Nkomo said the police had also contemplated charging him with malicious
injury to property as well as attempted murder before settling for the
charge of public violence.


For further questions, queries or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer

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Media student spends three nights in police custody

Media Alert

22 April 2008

Freelance journalist and registered media student of the University of
Witwatersrand, Stanley Karombo was on 18 April 2008 arrested at Gwanzura
stadium in Harare’s suburb of Highfield while taking notes during Zimbabwe’s
28th independence celebrations.

At the time of his arrest, the police contemplated charging Karombo for
contravening the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA). However the charge could not be sustained and was changed to that
of conduct likely to cause public disorder.

Karombo who spent three nights in police custody at the Harare Central
Police Station’s Law and Order Section was later forced to pay a Z$14 000
000 admission of guilt fine.

Karombo was released on 21 April 2008.

For any questions, queries or coments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer

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Terror Campaign intensifies…..

The Crisis Coalition Alert

22 April 2008

The ruling Zanu PF party has taken a deaf ear on the calls by the region,
international community and the people of Zimbabwe to stop the reign of
terror in areas where it lost in the just ended general election.
Seven families in Mvurwi and Mashonaland Central were forced to vacate their
homes at Wela Farm around 2300 hours. The seven families were given a ten
hour ultimatum to leave the farm on accusations that the families voted for
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on the 29th of March 2008.
The Catalyst could only identify the following family heads’ names: George
Zulu (29) and his father whose name we could not get hold of; Ephraim
Kuchauripo (47); Chihwakwa (52) and Akaim Ngwenya (36). The families are
feared to have slept in the cold since the neighbours could not accommodate
them for fears of reprisal.
The operation was led by a war veteran, who could only be identified as
Mashonga (56).
Upon receiving the eviction orders from the war veterans, the families
reported the matter at Mvurwi police station; however, the police did not
turn up to stop the war vets from effecting the evictions.


War veterans in Macheke, in the Manicaland province attacked five (5)
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in Villages 1; 2 and Ward 35
Mayo on Wednesday around 1200 hours. Eleven (11) houses were burnt down,
leaving the families to sleep in the open.

Clashes are looming and the MDC supporters are retaliating when their houses
are being set on fire. The following people lost their houses, Gesani Moto,
Shadreck Mugabe, Mitchel Chikwereti, Lameck Gwesu, Claude Gwijima and
Nyakukweto Abuda. Three Zanu PF leaders have since been arrested and are
being detained at Rusape Police Station.

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Mbeki urged to toughen stance on Zimbabwe


April 22, 2008, 18:45

Newly appointed Anglican Archbishop, Thabo Makgoba, wants President Thabo
Mbeki to toughen his stance on Zimbabwe. He has also called for a UN arms
embargo prohibiting the sale of weapons to Zimbabwe.

Makgoba thinks arming President Robert Mugabe would pose a threat to peace
and regional stability. The Anglican cleric's call comes amid growing
concerns over the shipment of arms to Zimbabwe by a Chinese ship.

Makgoba has described Zimabwe's political and economic situation as
"distressing" and "dire". He has also called on Mbeki to show the
Zimbabweans that he is concerned about their plight.

Makgoba says he will raise the Zimbabwe issue in the upcoming conference of
Anglican archbishops across the world, due to take place in Canterbury in
the UK in July. He says he wants his colleagues to pressurise their
respective governments to impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe. Makgoba says
the starving people of Zimbabwe need food, not arms.

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African Century? Not while we walk softly round a tyrant like Mugabe!

Released 21st April 2008 by one of the South African leading newspaper.

(c) Ndebele Philani Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum

AS YOU KNOW, I love good whisky. And for me it's more than a drink . . .
it's a defense against the mad things going on in this continent! And there
I thought this was going to be the African century! After all, President
Thabo Mbeki said so!

Well it looks like he got it wrong! That unhappy thought really puts the
brain cells to work. And how can I keep them on the treadmill if I abandon
whisky? The African century . . . There is a Chinese ship out there
somewhere in the Indian Ocean as you read this, loaded with weapons destined
for Zimbabwe. These guns, bullets and bombs could bring more bloodshed in
that country. These arms will be used to destroy whatever little hope the
people of Zimbabwe might have had that things might get better. There is a
civil war in the making there. And leaders of the African Union and the SADC
are too blind to see!

What's WRONG with the clowns?
Why are they pussyfooting around Mugabe?
Why are they so scared of telling Mugabe to step down?
Are they waiting for a million bodies before they tell him to take a hike?

What was Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki talking about when he said:

" . . . we must continue to claim the 21st century as the African Century,
ready to engage in serious, protracted and popular struggle to transform
this noble dream into reality. For us the new millennium must continue to
communicate the unequivocal message that - Africa shall be free."

How can we claim the 21st century as African and free, Mr President, when
you and your comrades on the continent continue to walk softly around
thieves and killers? I CANNOT for the life of me understand how we can
continue to dream in a continent where it is OK to steal an election - and
you find nothing wrong with that! The dream of a better future and a new
beginning for Africa is subjected to guns and machetes every day - and our
leaders are in denial. They are too meek to take on despots and tyrants from
the LAST century!

We had had enough conferences, discussions, deliberations, and debates! It
is time for a new African leadership. A leadership that will understand that
for Africa to move forward we need stability. A leadership that understands
that their bloody intellectual egos are NOT as important as the people of
our continent. For the love of God, where is leadership that understands
that you cannot spend years and money holding conferences on war and
poverty - and not act? War and poverty cannot be discussed forever . . .
action MUST follow. The time has come for the people of this continent, to
put down their guns and seek new ways of settling conflicts. The people of
this continent must get off the hero-worshipping boat. These "heroes" have
often set brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour and they must
be stopped. We have seen what HEROES have done to Mother Africa!

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NCA Warns Perpetrators of Violence And Offers Advice On Safety

SW Radio Africa (London)

22 April 2008
Posted to the web 22 April 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) have issued a strongly worded
statement condemning members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the
security forces, for their failure to protect opposition supporters across
the country, who are being targeted and brutalised in the aftermath of the
harmonised elections.

As the systematic state-sponsored violence escalates, the NCA offered advice
for ordinary citizens to protect themselves and warned that perpetrators
would be prosecuted.

Tapera Kapuya, NCA information officer in South Africa, said the group is
not calling for the public to attack anyone, but simply to be organised into
groups and be careful about their movements, particularly at night. He
advised those who go drinking to be vigilant, alert and to move in groups of
six or more, but never alone.

Kapuya referred to an interview on South Africa's SABC television news on
Monday night, in which Zim government spokesperson Bright Matonga said
Zimbabwe no longer had a reputation to protect and 'is going to clamp down
on those perceived to be enemies of the state.' Kapuya said this shows that
the government has abrogated it's duty to protect it's citizens and declared
war on the people, and it was therefore necessary to advise them on how to
protect each other.

The NCA is advising people to form 'back-up' squads in the suburbs to
protect their "houses, property and human lives from ZANU-PF malcontents". A
statement from the group read: "Youths should organise and patrol their
localities during the night to save their mothers, sisters and brothers from
ZANU PF vampires' purporting to be war veterans." He stressed that they are
not calling for any form of violence.

Kapuya said they are busy compiling the names of alleged perpetrators of the
violence, with the aim of eventually prosecuting them in their individual
capacity. He said they have credible reports and evidence linking not only
the police, but ZANU-PF elements, to the violence. "We call upon all
Zimbabweans to record the names of perpetrators and make them known", said
Kapuya. He added that anyone with information can contact NCA offices across
the country.

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Africa's civil society communique on Zimbabwe

22nd Apr 2008 13:22 GMT

By Civil Society Organisations


We, the 105 undersigned representatives of civil society from 21 countries
in Africa, after meeting in Dar es Salaam on the 21 April 2008, and

after debating, interrogating and considering the events subsequent to the
29 March 2008 elections held in Zimbabwe,

and after noting the following:

· the groundbreaking convening of such a diverse range of civil society
organisations from all regions of the African continent, all mobilizing for
a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis;

· that on 29 March 2008 the Zimbabwean populace voted for change;

· that there is currently a blocked process with ZANU PF attempting to stay
in power through coercion. There is intimidation, arrests, torture and
killing of opposition supporters, civil society activists and lawyers and
this is a miscarriage of justice and further undermines the fundamental
principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights;

· that through the ongoing delay in announcing the presidential results and
through spurious attempts by ZANU PF to have a recount in some parliamentary
constituencies, the election process has been negated and any run-off as a
result of a recount or an announcement of results will be illegitimate and
not an expression of the free will of the people of Zimbabwe as exercised on
29 March 2008;

· That the AU mediation process delegated to SADC was supposed to deliver an
election that was broadly accepted by the people and that the delayed
presidential announcement and recount in constituencies has prevented such
an election to the people of Zimbabwe;

· that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not acted independently
and are discredited;

· that the judiciary has been compromised and is not independent;

· that the military is politicised and has excessive control over the

· that Zimbabwe is in a constitutional crisis and the legal environment has
been compromised and does not provide for and protect the rule of law; and

· that certain international countries such as China are propping up an
illegitimate regime through a range of activities from diplomatic silence to
the provision of arms and ammunition to ZANU PF.

· We further recognize the important role played by certain countries and
people in attempting to resolve the crisis and impasse in Zimbabwe, and are
encouraged by efforts and support of particular African Heads of State who
recognized that the will of the people as reflected on the 29th March 2008
has been compromised in the subsequent electoral process.

We call upon the African Union to initiate and implement the following:

1. Any result emanating from the current recount should not be recognized
and that the electoral crisis be resolved through a political settlement
that reflects the will of the people as expressed on the 29th March 2008. To
achieve this settlement, the African Union must appoint an independent high
level Pan-African panel of eminent persons;

2. To prevent any presidential run-off that may emanate as a consequence of
the presidential results being announced; these results are corrupted and

3. The state campaign of violence against the people for exercising their
democratic rights must be condemned at the highest level of the AU;

4. The mediation efforts put forth by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) and endorsed by the African Union has failed to deliver the
necessary solutions and has further compromised the will of the people. The
entire mediation process has lacked transparency, neutrality, openness and
consultation of the majority of the people. The SADC elected mediator has
shown a clear bias to the incumbent government and he should be removed from
the mediation process with immediate effect;

5. The international law principle and norm of Responsibility to Protect
places primary responsibility in the hands of the State to protect its
people from crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes. However,
where the State itself is the perpetrator of such heinous crimes, and/or
where it fails or neglects to protect its people, the international
Responsibility to Protect cannot be stopped by self-serving claims of
sovereignty on the part of armed and predatory elites. The African Union has
the responsibility to put into place measures to protect;

6. Consistent with Article 4 of the African Union Constitutive Act which
provides for the “right of the Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant
to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances”, that is
war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, we call on the African
Union to protect the Zimbabwean population against the military and
paramilitary retribution that communities are currently being subjected to,
for voting Mr. Mugabe out of office.

7. That the AU call upon China and other countries that are propping up the
ZANU PF regime to desist from any such actions.

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Price wrangles stall Zimbabwe tobacco auctions

Yahoo News

Tue Apr 22, 11:16 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's once lucrative tobacco marketing season failed to
take off as scheduled on Tuesday for the second year running amid price
wrangling between farmers and buyers.

Not a single bale went under the hammer at the Tobacco Auction Floors before
officials agreed on a week-long postponement.
Andrew Ferreira, vice president of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association said the
selling season had been pushed back by a week.

"The whole problem relates to what package the farmers get. Last year's
exchange rate has now been eroded by inflation, and everybody now knows the
exchange rate applying on the parallel market," he told AFP.

Farmers get paid in Zimbabwe dollars based on the official exchange rate
with the US dollar which is a tiny fraction of the black market rate in a
country where inflation is running at around 165,000 percent.

Maxwell Machiya, a small-scale tobacco grower from Hurungwe, northern
Zimbabwe, said he was not looking for anything less than four US dollars per
kilogramme. In nearby Malawi, tobacco sales last month opened with prices
hitting a record high of 11 dollars (6.90 euros) per kilo (24.20
dollars/15.80 euros per lb.)

"I only brought four bales with me to assess the situation," he said.

"I have got another 300 kilogrammes at home, but right now I am waiting to
get a proper price."

Senior government officials including deputy agriculture minister David
Chapfika, buyers and growers had earlier gathered at the auction floors,
expecting to formally launch the selling season.

In April last year, sales of flue-cured tobacco -- once Zimbabwe's top
foreign exchange earning crop -- were also delayed over a pricing stalemate.

Flue-curing dries out the tobacco without exposing it directly to smoke.

Tobacco production in Zimbabwe has taken a slump from a record high of
236.13 million kilogrammes (236,130 metric tons) in 2000, the year
controversial land reforms were launched, to just 68.8 million kilogrammes
last year.

This year, the country expects to reap around 70 million kilos.

Once a leading exporter, tobacco farming has fallen on hard times which
critics blame on contentious land seizures, fuel and fertilizer shortages
and disputes over pricing.

At its peak in previous years tobacco used to rake in some 30 percent of the
country's foreign currency, then making it the country's second export
product after gold, but the sector is now a shadow of its former self.

Zimbabwe's land seizure programme, which started in 2000, had a major
negative impact on tobacco production. Some 4,000 commercial farms were
seized, and taken over by small-scale and mainly inexperienced growers.

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Current Zimbabwe govt illegitimate: Cosatu


April 22, 2008, 18:30

Cosatu's General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has described the current
Zimbabwean government as illegitimate.

Vavi, who met MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti this morning, says it's
unacceptable that the partial recounting of the parliamentary votes also
includes the unannounced presidential results.

Biti, who is drumming up support in South Africa, also met SACP General
Secretary Blade Nzimande today. Biti is expected to hold a similar meeting
tomorrow with ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe.

Vavi says they are now convinced that the Zimbabwean government was
dissolved on March 28. Vavi says Robert Mugabe was supposed to have handed
over the reigns to whoever won the elections.

Peaceful solution
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC say they are willing to
engage the ANC in a bid to find a solution to the country's political
crisis. This comes as the MDC alleges escalating cases of violence
throughout the country -- allegation the ruling party has vehemently denied.

The MDC has described the situation in the countryside as a developing
humanitarian crisis with scores of people fleeing their homes into the

Results from the recount in 23 constituencies are set to be delayed, and the
opposition alleges a widespread campaign of terror. Harvest House, the MDC's
headquarters, has become home to scores of people. The opposition alleges
that they have been displaced by ruling party militia.

Meanwhile, a Harare magistrate has dismissed the bail application of 28
people arrested last week following a MDC initiated mass stay-away. Their
case is to be heard next month.

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Caritas calls for Zimbabwe arms embargo as Church fears genocide

Caritas Press Release

22 April 2008

22.04.08 - Caritas Internationalis President Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez
Maradiaga is urging the UN Security Council to impose an immediate arms
embargo on Zimbabwe. Church leaders in the country said that without
international intervention Zimbabweans face genocide.

Caritas Internationalis, the umbrella organisation for 162 national Catholic
charities, said international observers must also be sent to Zimbabwe to
monitor human rights.

Caritas said that church worker reports from within Zimbabwe of increased
levels of violence are deeply troubling and in this context the
international community must prevent further arms reaching the country. A
Chinese arms shipment was refused permission to unload in South Africa over
the weekend. Caritas is urging all African countries to refuse to allow the
arms to travel through their territory.

Cardinal Rodriguez said, “No more arms must reach Zimbabwe unless there is
the guarantee that they will not be used against the people. Church workers
are reporting an upsurge in violence that is deeply troubling.

“The international community has a clear mandate to act by approving a UN
Security Council resolution enforcing an arms embargo against the country.
The UN must also act proactively by sending observers to Zimbabwe to monitor
any human rights abuses. The Government of Zimbabwe should welcome
international monitors.

“As Pope Benedict XVI said to the UN last week, if states are unable to
guarantee the protection of their people, the international community must
intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter
and in other international instruments. It is indifference or failure to
intervene that does the real damage."

The Caritas President is also urging for the democratic process in Zimbabwe
to be upheld. Results from elections in the country on 29 March have been

In a joint statement, signed by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches,
church leaders all called for outside help to end post-poll unrest.

"Organised violence perpetrated against individuals, families and
communities who are accused of campaigning or voting for the 'wrong'
political party ... has been unleashed throughout the country," the
statement said.

"We warn the world that if nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe
from their predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that
experienced in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and

"We appeal to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African
Union and the United Nations to work towards arresting the deteriorating
political and security situation in Zimbabwe."

Please contact Caritas Internationalis Head of Communications Patrick
Nicholson on 0039 06 69879725 or 0039 3343590700 or

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Children In Zimbabwe Affected By Post Election Crisis


By Wilma Consul & Sithandekile Mhlanga
22 April 2008

Zimbabwe’s post-election political crisis has worsened the plight of
children in the country who face increased food scarcity and are more
vulnerable to H-I-V infection as they struggle to survive, sometimes as the
sole family provider. Relief organizations say the political impasse and
mounting violence are blocking the provision of aid to the country’s most
vulnerable. From Washington, Wilma Consul reports.

Zimbabwe’s child issues are crossing borders. The South African Home Affairs
department says it is worried about the rising number of Zimbabwean children
begging for food and money in Musina, near the Beitbridge border crossing.

Home affairs spokesman Ngoako Moremi told the South African Broadcasting
Corporation today that the problem has been complicated by laws obliging
authorities to locate children's parents in their home country before
deporting them. In most cases, children refuse to cooperate.

Jacob Matakanye, Director of the Musina Legal Advice Office, which is
working with authorities to shelter such children, tells studio seven’s
Sithandekile Mhlanga that the children run away from shelters as they want
to bring the money they have begged to their families at home, then cross
the border again to resume begging.

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Zimbabwean children roaming the streets of Musina


April 22, 2008, 13:15

The town of Musina near the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and
Zimbabwe in Limpopo is experiencing an increasing number of street children
from Zimbabwe.

Children between the ages of nine and 14 are wandering the streets begging
for food and money. The department of Home Affairs says the problem is made
worse by laws regulating the deportation of children.

SA Home Affairs spokesperson, Ngoako Moremi says for children to be
deported, the department needs to trace their families in the countries of
their origin. "It's not easy to locate their parents.. as a result we are
working hand in glove with Non-governmental organisation's
(NGO's) that are assisting us.. we cannot just deport children because it is
very bad for us to do that ..."

Zimbabwe citizens are still waiting for the release of their country's
presidential elections.

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Zimbabwe Poll Result Delay Unacceptable, UN Secretary General Says


MONROVIA, Liberia (AFP)--U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Tuesday
denounced the failure of the Zimbabwean authorities to release election
results three weeks after the poll as unacceptable.

Speaking on a tour of Africa Ban demanded that the full results of the
March 29 contest be published as soon as possible.

His intervention comes a day after Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai called for the U.N. to intervene in the situation in the troubled
southern African nation.

"It is inacceptable that the results of the presidential election in
Zimbabwe are not being officially announced even after three weeks after the
election," Ban said at the end of a two-day trip to Liberia.

"I will urge the Zimbabwean authorities and the election commission to
release the results as soon as possible," he added, before he was due to
leave on the next leg of his African trip, to Burkina Faso.

Nearly a month after the contest, the full results of the presidential
election between incumbent President Robert Mugabe, 84, and Tsvangirai, 56,
remain unknown.

A partial recount is under way of the parliamentary election,
officially won by Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change. The results
of the recount may not be known before the end of the week.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Mutare journalist appears in court today

 22nd Apr 2008 13:02 GMT

By David Baxter

MUTARE - Zimbabwe journalist Sydney Saize, who is facing charges of
practicing journalism without accreditation from the government regulating
body, is set to appear in court today.

If convicted Saize, 34, faces between two to 20 years in prison. He is being
represented by Wilbert Mandinde, a lawyer from the Media Institute of
Southern Africa – Zimbabwe.

Saize, a freelance journalist, is alleged to have had worked as a journalist
without being accredited by the Tafataona Mahoso Media and Information
Commission (MIC) which has since been renamed Zimbabwe Media Commission.

The Mutare-based journalist was arrested in January 2006 at the Aloe Park in
the city after he was caught allegedly gathering news on behalf of Studio 7,
a Washington D.C.-based radio station that broadcasts daily into Zimbabwe.

Saize appearance in court comes at a time the government of Zimbabwe has
intensified a media crackdown following the controversial March 29 elections
which Zanu PF is believed to have lost to the opposition MDC.

Last week Matthew Takaona, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists (ZUJ) was assaulted by people in army regalia while freelancer
Stanely Karombo was abducted by yet unknown people.

Frank Chiwore, another freelnce journalist, was also arrested after he was
caught taking pictures.

According to the police, Saize violated Chapter 10.27 of the draconian
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), in that he
enjoyed the privilege of an accredited journalist by gathering news from
Gomorefu Secondary School in Marange for transmission on Studio 7, which
falls under the Voice of America.

Saize is alleged to have a covered a story in which two teachers at the
school were assaulted by Zanu PF youths and war veterans. The teachers were
accused of being supporters or sympathizers of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

Saize, a former Daily News journalist, is not the only journalist to be
arrested and charged for violating sections of AIPPA. About 100 journalists
have been arrested and arraigned before the courts since the law was enacted
after the disputed 2002 presidential elections.

Several others have fled the country after being arrested under the
draconian law. However, since AIPPA came into law the State has not
successfully prosecuted a single journalist.

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End of the journey for the "ship of shame"?

Apr 22, 2008, 19:11 GMT

Johannesburg - Four days after it slipped through the net of South African
authorities in Durban harbour, the high sea wanderings of what has been
dubbed China's 'ship of shame' in South Africa appeared Tuesday to be
nearing an end.

Faced with mounting international criticism for dispatching a shipment of
arms to the violent regime of autocratic Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe,
China on Tuesday announced that the ship had been recalled by the shipping

In an apparent victory for the unions and the activists that chased the
vessel from southern African shores, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman
said Tuesday the carrier had recalled the An Yue Jiang because it could not
complete its delivery.

The news came as the US State Department announced it had asked China -
which Mugabe calls Zimbabwe's 'all weather friend' - to withdraw the
shipment and halt weapons sales to Mugabe.

'If it's true (ship recall) it's the best news ever,' said Anglican Bishop
Rubin Phillip, one of the initiators of the first protest in the South
African port of Durban last week, which spread throughout the region as the
ship fished about for a port willing to accept the cargo.

The An Yue Jiang is carrying six containers of bullets for AK-47 assault
rifles, mortars and grenade launchers for landlocked Zimbabwe, where reports
of violence by Mugabe party faithful against civilians in the wake of last
month's elections are pouring in.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims 10 of its members
have been killed in revenge attacks since the March 29 presidential poll, in
which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed victory over Mugabe but
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party says was too close to call.

'Those weapons were not going to be used on mosquitos but clearly meant to
butcher innocent civilians,' the MDC warned Tuesday.

Dockworkers in Durban started the boycott by refusing to off-load the cargo,
saying to do so, given the situation in Zimbabwe, would be 'grossly

Bishop Phillip and activist Paddy Kearney also rowed in with an application
for a court order to bar the shipment crossing South Africa to landlocked

Durban High Court granted the order on Friday but the ship lifted anchor and
set sail before the order could be served.

The ship's next destination was the subject of furious speculation, with
many pointing to Mozambique as an obvious port of call because its ports are
the nearest to Zimbabwe.

Whether it did make a quick dash for the nearby port of Maputo is unknown.
Mozambique's government said the ship never tried to dock there but the
South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) that called the
Durban boycott claims the government rejected it after dockworkers in Maputo
vowed a similar protest.

When the ship reappeared on activists' radars it was headed west around the
coast towards one of Zimbabwe and China's biggest allies in Africa: Angola.

By Monday, South Africa's trade union federation was calling for an
international boycott and the ship was said to be planning a pit stop in
Namibia, where activists were also threatening a legal challenge.

Meanwhile, a German state bank, KfW, had also joined the fray claiming it
had also obtained a court order in Durban to seize the cargo to enforce
repayment of a loan to Zimbabwe's state-owned Iron & Steel Company, but that
the ship had also ducked that order.

For Phillip the protest brings back memories of the campaign for sanctions
on apartheid-era South Africa.

'I kept feeling this felt like what happened during apartheid. We were
mobilizing ... we were trying to organize a boycott.'

The boycott had also served as a rallying point for South Africans dismayed
at their government's laissez-faire approach to Zimbabwe.

President Thabo Mbeki has been heavily criticized for declaring that there
is no 'crisis' in Zimbabwe. His government also granted the An Yue Jiang a
permit for the conveyance of the weapons across South Africa.

'Again the government is guilty, at best, of a weak-kneed stance on
Zimbabwe, and at worst, actively supporting Mugabe and his thugs' diabolical
behaviour,' said Business Day newspaper.

Even if the ship hauls it cargo back to China, some fear hardline generals
in Mugabe's regime might try to obtain Chinese weapons by other, less
noticeable means. South Africa's Die Burger newspaper Tuesday quoted an
unnamed source as saying the generals were planning to fly in more
sophisticated weapons.

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China-Zimbabwe arms deal: If not by sea, then by air?

Tue, 04/22/2008 - 2:12pm

A shipment of ammunition, rockets, and mortar bombs en route from China to
Zimbabwe has been denied passage from the South African port of Durban to
the shipment's landlocked destination.

On Friday, South Africa’s High Court barred the transport of weapons aboard
the An Yue Jiang, arguing that the shipment would be used by Zimbabwe's
president of 28 years, Robert Mugabe, against members of the opposition

Although the An Yue Jiang is expected to return to China, a South African
paper, News24, reports that a second arms shipment from China is scheduled
to arrive by air in order to "expedite the delivery and to circumvent the
controversy around last week's shipment by sea." The story also claims that
both orders, placed by the Zimbabwean government, were finalized just days
after Zimbabwe's elections.

The arms shipments brings to light the hazards of China's growing role in
the world's poorest and most unstable continent. According to Serge Michel
in the current issue of FP, in the last seven years, "trade between China
and Africa jumped from $10 billion to $70 billion." But the resulting
projects highlight the competing interests of Chinese-African cooperation:

Take, for example, the dam being built at Imboulou in Congo. Officially,
it's a huge success: It's expected to help double national electricity
production by 2009... [But according to a project engineer] the quality of
the cement being used is sub-standard, the Congolese workers are so poorly
paid that none of them stays longer than a few months, and, above all, the
drilling has been so poorly done that half of the dam sits on a huge pocket
of water that continually floods the site and could cause it to collapse one

From weapons to shoddy cement, the Chinese-Africa deal is looking more like
a recipe for disaster every day.

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German bank gets impound order for Chinese ship's Zimbabwe-bound cargo

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 22, 2008

BERLIN: A German bank obtained a court order to impound the cargo of a
Chinese ship carrying weapons for Zimbabwe as it tries to recover unpaid
debts from the southern African country, officials said Tuesday.

But KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH, a subsidiary of Germany's state-owned KfW
development bank, was unaware that the An Yue Jiang was carrying arms when
it obtained the order from a South African court last week, spokeswoman Dela
Strumpf said.

The Chinese ship has been turned away from South African and Mozambican
ports in recent days as officials balked at its cargo of weapons and
ammunition for Zimbabwe's government. It is now believed to be headed for
Angola, possibly with a refueling stop in Namibia.

On Thursday, KfW IPEX-Bank obtained an court order in Durban, South Africa,
to impound the ship's Zimbabwean-owned cargo because the Zimbabwean
government still owes the German bank about €40 million (US$63 million at
current rates), Strumpf said.

"We did not know at any time that the ship was carrying weapons," Strumpf
said. "We would have never accepted weapons."

Strumpf said KfW IPEX-Bank awarded a €40 million loan to the state-owned
Zimbabwe Iron & Steel Company in 1998, but the loan was never paid back.
In 2006, the bank obtained an arbitration ruling from the International
Chamber of Commerce in London, allowing it to impound Zimbabwean property
abroad to recover its losses.

"As is common, we then hired an internationally operating company, in this
case Commercial Intelligence, to track down Zimbabwean overseas-property for
us and impound it," Strumpf said.

She added that Commercial Intelligence, which obtained the impounding order
for the An Yue Jiang on the bank's behalf, also did not know that the
Chinese vessel was carrying weapons.

"I don't think the court order was ever delivered to the captain of the ship
but it is still valid and, theoretically, if the ship would ever dock again
in South Africa, we could still impound parts of the cargo that are not
weapons," Strumpf said.

She added that the bank so far has had no success in getting Zimbabwean
overseas property impounded.

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