The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Robert Mugabe’s men seek coalition to run country until new poll

April 24, 2008

Zimbabwe’s state-run media floated the idea yesterday that Robert Mugabe would annul last month’s presidential election and stay as President of a national unity government while preparations for a new poll are made.

The proposal was put forward in an opinion piece in the Herald newspaper, regarded as a mouthpiece for and barometer of opinion in Mr Mugabe’s ruling Zanu (PF) party.

The idea was condemned by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change as yet another attempt to overturn last month’s election.

It came amid disagreement over a mooted arms blockade against the Mugabe regime. Gordon Brown urged an embargo on all arms exports to Zimbabwe while President Mugabe remains in power. But Jacob Zuma, leader of the African National Congress, who was visiting London, emerged from talks with Mr Brown to say: “I don’t think we’ve reached that stage where we have to call the arms embargo.”

Uncertainty surrounds the arms shipment from China that dockers in South Africa refused to unload last weekend. Chinese officials conceded on Tuesday that they may have to take back the weapons as neighbouring African countries balked at allowing the vessel to dock.

Mr Zuma’s rejection of an arms blockade was an embarrassment for Mr Brown, who had told the House of Commons earlier: “Because of what has happened in South Africa, where there is an arms shipment trying to get to Zimbabwe, we will promote proposals for an embargo on all arms to Zimbabwe.”

British officials said later that Mr Brown was not seeking a United Nations embargo, as Thabo Makgoba, the Archbishop of Cape Town, urged yesterday, but a de facto boycott imposed by Zimbabwe’s neighbours.

The proposal that President Mugabe should lead a government of national unity was written by a pro-Mugabe academic who holds no formal position in the party. He argued that an election would be impossible to hold in the current climate of rising tensions and suggested a transitional government take power while a new constitution was drafted and fresh elections organised.

Nearly four weeks after the poll, presidential results have still not been released and a lengthy recount is under way, apparently aimed at overturning the opposition’s victory in the parliamentary poll.

The recount of one seat, the only one called by the opposition, was concluded yesterday with only one vote allocated differently, keeping the constituency in Zanu (PF)’s hands. Zanu (PF) has called for recounts in 22 constituencies newly lost to the opposition but would require only seven to regain control of Parliament.

There are increasing signs, however, that despite its desperate determination to stay in power, the Government is as yet undecided on exactly how best to do so. Any recount that hands victory to Mr Mugabe will be all but unacceptable even for Zimbabwe’s most supportive neighbours to accept.

“The fact of the matter is that the Zimbabwe people voted in a particular way,” Mr Zuma said yesterday in an interview with Channel 4. “I don’t think it should be acceptable in the democratic culture that even if you lose an election you can stay there by force.”

Zimbabwean security forces and militia loyal to Mr Mugabe have unleashed a brutal campaign of violence against opposition workers and supporters in preparation for a run-off presidential election against Morgan Tsvangirai. At least ten opposition supporters have been killed.

Mr Tsvangirai has said he would accept a power-sharing agreement but not with Mr Mugabe at its head. The South African Army, meanwhile, reported a surge in the number of people fleeing Zimbabwe.

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When You Can’t Rig The Election, Ignore It!

The Liberty Papers
April 23, 2008

There’s been a bit of deriliction of duty going on here at The Liberty Papers. I’ve been trying to keep track of happenings in Zimbabwe, but we’re now 25 days into an electoral nightmare in that nation, and I’ve not had the time to address it.

Zimbabwe has spent most of the last decade as an example of every possible thing that a government can do wrong. It gone from the “breadbasket” of the region to a starving, impoverished nation, with 6-figure inflation and 80%+ unemployment, and refugees streaming south into South Africa to escape the hopelessness. It’s gone from breadbasket to basketcase.

The remaining residents are fed up with their socialist dictator, Robert Mugabe. Mugabe is known for rigging elections, but political unrest is so severe this time around that many believed that he couldn’t win the race even with heavy-handed rigging.

The election was held more than three weeks ago, and most outside of the Mugabe regime believe that– at worst– his challenger has forced a run-off. Many believe that the challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, has won outright.

So what has Mugabe done? He’s withheld the results and proposed a national unity government with– you guessed it– Robert Mugabe at the helm!

A unity government led by President Robert Mugabe may be the best way to break Zimbabwe’s post-election deadlock, state media said Wednesday, as the first result from a recount of votes was declared.

The state-run Herald newspaper — a government mouthpiece — said it was clear that no side won a majority in the presidential election on March 29 and the best way forward was to form a government of national unity.

The opinion piece in the Herald, a tightly-controlled state newspaper, said the presidential election in which 84-year-old Mugabe faced off against opposition leader Tsvangirai had produced “no outright winner.”

“It is unlikely the ongoing recount will substantively alter that position. Accordingly, it stands to reason that the transitional government of national unity… should be led by the incumbent president,” it said.

The end of the Mugabe regime seemed– only three weeks ago– imminent, and those who have watched this situation from near and afar were ready to breath a sigh of relief. Yet he remains defiant, and it is becoming ever more clear that he won’t leave office voluntarily. It’s far better for Zimbabwe that this ends peacefully than through an uprising, but frankly the latter looks like the only way this may be rectified.

The time has come, Mr. Mugabe. The people have spoken. For the good of the residents you have often professed to champion, it is time to listen and go.

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Former army general says Zanu PF must accept defeat

Nehanda Radio

24 April 2008

By Never Kadungure (Political Editor)

Former army commander and Gutu senatorial candidate General Vitalis
Zvinavashe has broken ranks with hardliners in the party urging them to
accept defeat in the just ended elections. Zvinavashe was addressing fellow
Zanu PF candidates at a counting centre in the province.

The blunt general said, ‘There is no need to fight over these results. We
must accept the reality that we have lost these elections to the MDC. What
is important is to live together in peace, both losers and winners. We do
not want violence in this area. We are relatives.”

Zvinavashe is on record as warning the party before the March 29 poll that
Mugabe would cost them victory if he remained at the helm. He repeated his
remarks this week putting the blame for Zanu PF’s defeat on Mugabe’s

‘Most of us lost these elections not because we are not popular in our
constituencies. We lost these harmonised elections because of one man.'

' People rejected us because we were campaigning for Mugabe. People in
Masvingo have rejected him and we became collateral damage. There is no
reason to fight with the MDC over this election. The real problem is that
man not us.’

Zvinavashe lost to an MDC candidate in the constituency and a recount
ordered by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission under instructions from Zanu PF
failed to overturn the result. Meanwhile Zanu PF retained its Goromonzi seat
with the figures remaining the same from the initial count.

Other recounts are taking place in Mberengwa East, West, South, North,
Masvingo Central and Masvingo West, Chimanimani West, Mutare West, Bikita
West, Bikita South, Bulilima East, Zhombe, Zaka East, Zvimba North,
Silobela, Chiredzi North, Gokwe-Kabuyuni, Buhera South and Lupane East.

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Zimbabwe Voters Continue to Face Reprisals


By Peta Thornycroft
23 April 2008

A steady stream of people injured in political violence continues to arrive
in Zimbabwe's capital Harare looking for medical treatment. Peta Thornycroft
reports for VOA that a number of people have been beaten following the March
29 elections and many more continue to flee their rural homes for the
relative safety of the towns.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said Wednesday that 81
cases of organized violence and torture have been inflicted on people in
just three days ending April 21.

The group says, so far, 323 people have needed medical treatment since
partial election results were released in the first week of April.

The Association says there may be substantially more incidents of political
violence which have not been reported as people may have sought medical help
from doctors who are not members of the Association

The Association says the overwhelming number of perpetrators are members of
the uniformed forces, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National

The Association also says many patients report extreme psychological stress
after having their homes and property burned.

In eastern Zimbabwe, where many people say they are being assaulted for
voting for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, many are fleeing
to the regional capital Mutare on the border with Mozambique.

Some are arriving with household effects at the MDC's Mutare offices and are
camping in the garden.

On Tuesday there were about 200 people who seemed to have settled
semi-permanently at the MDC offices. Many of them told human rights workers
they had fled because ZANU-PF had burned their homes and threatened them
with retribution for voting for the MDC.

On Wednesday there were three people in a small private clinic in Mutare who
had been attacked in their homes in the last week.

Surprisingly, some victims of post-election attacks are families who say
they were settled on land seized by the ruling ZANU-PF from white farmers
since 2000.

In Karoi, about 200 kilometers north of Harare, the MDC's losing
parliamentary candidate and some former commercial farmers still living in
the area say there are several hundred internally displaced people seeking
refuge around the small town.

They fled their homes in rural areas around Karoi since the election. Many
say they feared they would be attacked. Some homes were burned down, and
many say they can name their attackers who they say belong to ZANU-PF.

MDC welfare officials in Harare estimate that several thousand people have
been internally displaced.

The Commercial Farmers Union in Harare continually updates reports of
disruptions on commercial farms. Its officials say that since the elections
there have been about ten times more incidents than usual.

Many farm workers have been beaten or kidnapped or forced to give up their
jobs or attend all night ZANU-PF political "re education"sessions, called

About 70 MDC supporters, activists and party workers, are currently in
detention in Harare.

Harare lawyer Alec Muchadahama says they have all been accused of violence
following the elections.

Not a single MDC supporter, among thousands arrested over eight years, has
ever been convicted of violence. Only a handful has been brought to trial.

As far as can be established, no one from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party has been arrested in connection with political violence following last
month's elections.

Zimbabwe's Electoral Commission has facilitated recounts of election results
in 23 constituencies. So far there is little change to the original results
announced on April 3 which saw ZANU-PF narrowly lose its parliamentary
majority for the first time since independence in 1980.

The MDC says its candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, was a clear winner of the
presidential poll. But three weeks after counting was completed, the
commission has still not released the results.

According to the electoral act, the victor of the presidential poll has to
win a majority of the votes cast or face a run-off.

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SADC handed evidence of Zim post-election terror

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu Thursday 24 April 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have submitted
a dossier containing damning evidence of state-sponsored murder and violence
against opposition supporters to southern Africa’s chief elections observer.

Diplomatic sources said NGO leaders met Southern African Development
Community (SADC) observer mission head Jose Marcos Barrica on Tuesday this
week and presented him with chilling evidence of post-election violence,
including pictures of opposition supporters with broken limbs.

According to sources, the director of SADC’s Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security, Tanki Mothaey, also attended the meeting.

“The civic leaders told the SADC team of the deteriorating political
climate in the country since the disputed polls, specifically chronicling
the alleged deaths, beatings, rapes, maiming and torture of defenseless
citizens by soldiers, police and state security agents,” said sources.

Barrica and Mothaey were not immediately available for comment on the
matter but our sources said the two officials promised to convey the NGO’s
dossier to relevant authorities in the region.

Spokesman of Zimbabwe’s National Association of NGOs Fambai Ngirande
would not be drawn to discuss details of the meeting with the regional
officials although he revealed that civic leaders asked SADC to intervene
and help disarm war veterans and government militia who are brutalising
opposition supporters.

“We told them that SADC will have to stem up its efforts deal to the
critical security situation. SADC should help to disarm and disband so
called war veterans and youth militia,” said Ngirandi.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa was not immediately available for
comment on the matter. But Chinamasa this week dismissed rejected charges by
human rights groups and the MDC that ZANU PF militants were victimising
opposition supporters.

Zimbabwe, facing its worst recession and food shortages, was plunged
deeper into political crisis after electoral authorities withheld results of
a March 29 presidential election that President Robert Mugabe is believed to
have lost to opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC says 10 of its supporters have been killed while at least 3
000 others have been displaced from their homes in what the opposition says
is a war being waged by government security agents against the people in a
bid to cow them to back Mugabe in an anticipated second round run-off
against Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai this week asked UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon for
intervention by the world body to stop the violence and murder while
Zimbabwe’s senior church leaders warned that the rising post-election
violence could reach genocidal proportions.

The leaders of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe
Catholic Bishops' Conference and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches – the
three main representative bodies for Christians in Zimbabwe – urged African
leaders and the UN to intervene to stop the country from sliding into
another Rwanda or Burundi. – ZimOnline.

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US says Nigeria or any other country with sway over Zimbabwe should intercede in impasse

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 23, 2008

WASHINGTON: The United States would welcome the intercession of Nigeria or
any other African nation with influence in Zimbabwe into that southern
African nation's electoral impasse, State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said Wednesday.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met briefly on Monday with
former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo seeking his intervention in the
election that Tsvangirai feels venerable Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
is trying to steal from him.

"As for Nigeria or any other African state's role in bringing a resolution
to the current political crisis in Zimbabwe, we would encourage those who
have some leverage with the government to use that leverage to bring about a
peaceful resolution to what is a very deep political crisis," McCormack

Tsvangirai's opposition party is widely thought to have defeated Mugabe's
followers in the March 29 balloting, but the government has not released the
official vote count and has recounts under way. Officials floated the
possibility Wednesday of a coalition government headed by Mugabe.

As president of Nigeria in 2003, Obasanjo cooperated with an international
effort to entice Liberia's warlord president, Charles Taylor, to accept
exile in Nigeria. Liberia now is a democracy, and Taylor is on trial for war
crimes in an international court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The United States and most Zimbabwe's Southern African neighbors have been
encouraging region's richest country, South Africa, to intervene. South
African Thabo Mbeki has refused to press Mugabe, however, on the theory that
subtle pressure would be more effective.
McCormack was asked about a suggestion of British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown of an international arms embargo against Mugabe's government.

The U.S. spokesman said he was unaware of details of Brown's suggestion but
endorsed the idea in principle.

"We believe that it is prudent for any state that is contemplating export of
arms to the Zimbabwean government to reconsider those exports," McCormack

He noted a recent case in which members of unions, churches and other
organizations in neighboring states refused to allow a shipment of weapons
brought by a Chinese freighter to be transported across their territory to
the landlocked country.

"These, we believe, are prudent steps, given the current political situation
in Zimbabwe," McCormack said.

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Zimbabwe will be on fire should Mugabe win: Moyo


April 23, 2008, 22:15

Antoinette Lazarus and Palesa Kobedi
“All hell will break loose and finally Zimbabwe will be on fire.” That is
what one of Zimbabwe's independent political candidates, Jonathan Moyo,
thinks will happen should President Robert Mugabe win the disputed March 29
presidential poll.

Speaking to SABC in Johannesburg after the Critical Thinking Forum
discussion on the crisis in Zimbabwe, Moyo said that Mugabe “can only win by
blatant outrageous cheating and rigging the election.”

Moyo, who won a parliamentary seat in Tsholotsho North in Matebeleland, says
Mugabe cannot win a free and fair election. “It's not possible because every
Zimbabwean is suffering as a result of the country's economic meltdown.”

“He was president before. He's doing nothing to solve the economic
situation. The economy is the one voter that has cast a negative vote
against Mugabe. If he wins through some miracle, then the consequences will
be so devastating it will simply run him out of state house,” Moyo added.

Moyo is not in favour of an election run-off. “I don't think it will make
sense to solve the problem with another election.”

However, he does believe that there should be a negotiated transition in the
country. Moyo says the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the
African Union, United Nations, European Union, Britain and the United States
all have an interest in Zimbabwe and should work towards pushing for a
negotiated settlement amongst the political parties.

Mugabe will be plunged into a civil war if Mugabe wins
During the discussion, the MDC's Heneri Dzinotyiweyi agreed with Moyo that
should Mugabe win, Zimbabwe will be plunged into a civil war. “Everyone
knows that a free and fair run-off will be disastrous for Mugabe. We are
trying to avoid war,” says Dzinotyiweyi.

Also participating in the discussion was Professor Ibbo Mandaza, who is also
a fervent Simba Makoni supporter. He says if a solution to Zimbabwe's crisis
is not found soon, there's a possibility of a civil war in the country.

"We are close to a civil war. There must be an insistence that the results
should be released." Mandaza also says he doesn't see a need for an election

Zimbabwe's presidential election results have still not been released. The
country's electoral commission is in the process of recounting parliamentary
votes in 23 constituencies.

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Mission Hospital In Zimbabwe's Midlands Said Terrorized By Ruling Party Militia


By Jonga and Carole Gombakomba
23 April 2008

The Zimbabwe Peace Project said Wednesday that post-election violence by
militants of the ruling ZANU-PF party is escalating in the provinces of
Midlands and Matabeland North, which had previously been less affected by
such attacks and intimidation.

The non-governmental group said ZANU-PF supporters have been terrorizing the
Driefontein Mission in the Chirumanzi South constituency in Midlands,
beating people and paralyzing operations at the mission which runs two
hospitals and two schools.

It said a Swiss doctor was forced to leave the hospital Tuesday and two
other doctors were said to be holed up in their residences. In Gweru itself,
police and soldiers were reportedly roaming the streets barring people from
standing in groups.

In Mashonaland East, the Murewa Community Development Trust said war
veterans and ZANU-PF youth militia have set up detention centers where they
are allegedly torturing local opposition members and human rights activists.

The group said one of the camps is located at a location known as Corner
Store on the Murewa-Nyamapanda highway where ruling party youth militia were
said to be attacking villagers suspected of opposition loyalties from a
dilapidated building.

The organization said Health Minister David Parirenyatwa and newly elected
Murewa Senator Bright Makunde were involved in perpetrating the violence.
VOA was unable to reach Dr. Parirenyatwa, a local member of parliament, on
his mobile phone.

Sources in Gutu West said a man was badly injured last night when he was
struck with an axe.

Zimbabwe Peace Project National Director Jestina Mukoko told VOA reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri that the violence has reached alarming proportions.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says a rising tide of people
from rural areas is flowing into Harare and other cities as villagers are
forced out of their homes by post-election violence aimed at suspected MDC

Sources among non-governmental groups said they met Wednesday with
international  aid organizations to discuss the possibility of setting up
temporary shelter for those displaced by rural violence who are gathering
now at opposition offices.

MDC officials say a truck reached Harare on Wednesday from Gokwe North
carrying around 50 people of whom about 20 needed medical attention.

Attorney Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told
reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his
organization has started processing cases concerning some of the thousands
allegedly displaced, beaten or tortured by ZANU-PF youth militia, war
veterans or uniformed forces.

Elsewhere, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said that in
the past three days its members have treated 81 patients with injuries
caused by organised violence and torture. The doctors said 54 of the cases
came from Harare or nearby Chitungwiza, 13 came from Mudzi and Murehwa, and
four from Mount Darwin.

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Winning Local Government Councillors Still Not Sworn in

SW Radio Africa (London)

23 April 2008
Posted to the web 23 April 2008

Tererai Karimakwenda

While all eyes have been focused on the recounts of parliamentary ballots
disputed by the ruling party and the delay by the Zimbabwe electoral
commission in announcing Presidential results, the fate of local government
councillors in the council elections has been forgotten.

Normally they should be sworn in within a week and begin running local
affairs, yet more than 3 weeks after being elected, ZEC has still not called
them to duty.

Mike Davies from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) reminded
Newsreel that the winning candidates in the council elections were announced
by ZEC the day after the election. But ZEC has not published a complete list
of their names, or informed them when they will begin working for the people
who elected them.

In Harare CHRA has called for a continuation of the rates boycott that they
started when local government minister Ignatius Chombo dismissed the elected
Council illegally, back in 2004. Davies said it is not clear how many
residents have been withholding their rates payments. At one point CHRA
believed about 5,000 residents were not paying rates and they later
discovered that at least 30,000 were participating in the boycott.

Meanwhile the state controlled Herald newspaper on Wednesday boasted that
the ruling party has been confirmed as the winner in the first recount
results to be announced out of the 23 constituencies that they disputed. The
result was for the parliamentary seat in Goromonzi West, which ZANU-PF won
in the first count, so they simply retained the seat.

It is clear that the headline was designed to instill the thought that the
original results were flawed, justifying the recount. The MDC insist that
the recounts are simply an attempt to reverse the oppositions majority.

According to The Herald the SADC observer team says it is satisfied with the
vote recounting process in all 23 constituencies. But our contacts report
that the Chiredzi North recount has been shrouded in secrecy.

It is becoming clearer that the recount is a pointless exercise meant to
delay real progress and keep Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF in power. With
Councillors not sworn in, Presidential results being held captive and
recounts yielding the same results, Zimbabweans have no doubt that once
again Mugabe is just playing games and using delaying tactics.

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Zuma rejects UK call for Harare arms embargo

Financial Times

By William Wallis, Jimmy Burns and James Blitz in London

Published: April 23 2008 23:14 | Last updated: April 23 2008 23:14

Jacob Zuma, the leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress,
dismissed British calls on Wednesday for an international arms embargo on
Zimbabwe, instead holding out hope during a visit to London that regional
mediation could still produce a solution to the post-election crisis.

Mr Zuma was responding to proposals put to him by Gordon Brown, the prime
minister, during their London meeting, for an international arms embargo on
Zimbabwe. He said the embargo was “not necessary”.

A South African official said he believed it would be an “empty gesture
designed to make the British feel good”. But he said Mr Zuma welcomed
regional efforts to prevent a shipment of ­Chinese weapons from reaching
Robert Mugabe’s regime.
South African dockers refused to unload the Chinese cargo when it arrived in
Durban last week, setting off a diplomatic, judicial and civil society
campaign across the region to prevent the ship from refuelling and

The campaign reflects growing African impatience with the Zimbabwe
government’s refusal to release the results of the March 29 elections, which
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change appeared to have won, and
evidence of the brutal tactics used by Mr Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, and
his allies to suppress dissent.

Mr Brown told parliament before meeting Mr Zuma that the political situation
in Zimbabwe was “completely unacceptable” and said he would promote
proposals for an embargo on all weapons to the country.

In a joint statement later, Mr Brown and Mr Zuma stressed “the importance of
respect for the sovereign people of Zimbabwe and the choice they have made
at the ballot box”.

They added: “We agreed on the importance of humanitarian aid and the need
for international co-operation to support the recovery of the economy of
Zimbabwe when a democratically elected government is in place in the
aftermath of a full, free and fair election.”

Mr Zuma has been more outspoken on Zimbabwe than his rival, Thabo Mbeki, the
South African president whom he ousted as leader of the ANC last December
and whom he could succeed if he survives a corruption trial in August.

However, he has been cautious during his British visit. He is keen,
according to the South African official, to avoid being seen to repudiate Mr
Mbeki publicly, even if politically he has gained from criticism of his
rival’s quiet approach as regional mediator.

Members of Mr Zuma’s delegation were more forthright. Mathews Phosa, the ANC’s
treasurer, acknowledged that if Mr Mugabe had won the elections, the results
would have been released. “He has lost on the ground. The only way he can
keep on is with force. Ultimately, the people will resist force. So the
stage is set for a possible major compromise,” Mr Phosa said.

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Journalist’s lawyers file urgent bail application

Zim Online

by Wayne Mafaro and Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Thursday 24 April

HARARE – Lawyers representing a jailed Zimbabwean journalist filed an urgent
court application for his release on Wednesday, as media bodies warned that
the security of journalists in the troubled country was under threat.

The lawyers for freelance journalist Frank Chikowore approached the High
Court after a magistrate’s court earlier on Tuesday refused to release him
on bail.

“We have filed an urgent bail application but we will only know tomorrow
(Thursday) which judge has been allocated to hear the matter,” his lawyer,
Harrison Nkomo said.

Chikowore was arrested together with 26 opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party activists on April 15 and charged with public violence.
They have remained in custody awaiting trial.

Former Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary-general Luke
Tamborinyoka, now director of information for the MDC, is among those
detained with Chikowore.

Zimbabwe authorities have stepped up a crackdown on journalists and other
voices of dissension since the country’s disputed March 29 elections.

ZUJ and other media groups deplored the crackdown, which they said appeared
meant to cow independent journalists and ensure they would be too scared to
report any flaws in an anticipated second round run-off election between
President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"We are concerned about the crackdown on journalists. Journalists have been
abducted, beaten and illegally detained and we condemn this abuse of power,"
said ZUJ secretary general Foster Dongozi.

"Our fear is that as we go to the presidential run-off the state will step
up its crackdown to ensure that whatever corruption and misdeeds are
happening go unreported," he added.

The Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa said the
crackdown had put the lives of journalists at risk.

"The security and safety of journalists is under serious threat in this
country, judging by the trends in recent weeks. We condemn the deliberate
attempts to muzzle the media," chapter spokesman Takura Zhangazha said.

Zimbabwe is widely regarded as one of the most difficult countries in the
world for journalists to work in.

For example, the country requires journalists and newspapers to obtain
licences from a state commission in order to operate, with reporters caught
working without being registered facing arrest. Newspapers that fail to
register face closure and seizure of their property by the police.

Another law, the Public Order and Security Act, imposes up to two years in
jail on journalists convicted of publishing falsehoods that may cause public
alarm and despondency, while the Criminal Codification Act imposes up to
20-year jail terms on journalists convicted of denigrating Mugabe in their

Repression against the independent media usually peaks during elections. –

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Church leaders urge UN to intervene in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

by Patricia Mpofu  Thursday 24 April 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwean church leaders have urged African leaders and the United
Nations to immediately intervene to stop a wave of political violence
gripping the country and which they say could easily slide into genocide.

The leaders of the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Catholic
Bishops' Conference and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches – the three main
representative bodies for Christians in the country – called on world
leaders to act now to stop Zimbabwe becoming another Rwanda or Burundi.

“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
elsewhere," the religious leaders of all denominations said in a joint

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

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says hundreds of its
supporters have suffered serious injuries while at least 10 others were
murdered in an orgy of violence it blamed on state security agents and
militant activists of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF party.

The MDC, which says the violence started almost immediately after it
defeated ZANU PF in elections on March 29, said some of its supporters in
remote rural areas were homeless after their homes were looted and burnt
down by the suspected ZANU PF activists.

The MDC says the violence is meant to cow voters to back Mugabe in an
anticipated second round run-off against its leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, South African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma stepped up his
criticism of Zimbabwe, calling on Africa leaders to intensify efforts to
resolve the crisis in that country.

Zuma told BBC radio: "We must intensify the intervention to ensure that
Zimbabweans are helped by all of us resolve their problems. That means
intensifying the interventions in whatever way. I'm not here to prescribe."

However Zuma, who of late appeared to have broken ranks with President Thabo
Mbeki over Zimbabwe, said the South African leader had done the most to try
to broker a solution to the crisis in his northern nieghbour. – ZimOnline

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'Must we send the army to Zim?'


23/04/2008 17:46  - (SA)

London - ANC president Jacob Zuma, who is on a tour of Europe with an ANC
delegation, has insisted that South Africa is taking action on Zimbabwe's
post-election impasse.

"We are doing something more than anyone else," Zuma said. "What else must
we do? We must send the army? We do more than other countries do."

He also said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission - and not Robert Mugabe - is
to blame for the delay in releasing election results.

"I am not certain whether I should stand there and really condemn people and
make myself a judge," Zuma told BBC radio, referring to Mugabe.

He also rejected claims that SA President Thabo Mbeki has failed to
adequately press Mugabe on the issues.

"Mbeki is a mediator," Zuma said. "You cannot have a mediator who takes
sides, who stands and criticises people he is trying to mediate."

Arms embargo

Zuma met British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for talks on Wednesday. Brown
said Britain will propose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe as it seeks to stiffen
international resolve over the country's failure to publish presidential
election results.

Last week, South African dock workers refused to unload a Chinese ship
carrying arms bound for Zimbabwe because of worries that Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe plans to use them against political opponents.

"Because of what has happened in South Africa, where there is an arms
shipment trying to get to Zimbabwe, we will promote proposals for an embargo
on all arms to Zimbabwe," Brown said during his weekly questions session at

Arms embargo

Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, leader of South Africa's Anglican Church, has
called for an arms embargo against Zimbabwe.

"On the basis that a heavily armed Zimbabwe would threaten peace, security
and stability in southern Africa, we call upon the Security Council of the
United Nations to impose an arms embargo on its government. We appeal to the
South African Government to support such an embargo," Makgoba said on
Wednesday, according to a statement posted on the church's website.

South Africa's leaders have been criticised for not strongly condemning
Mugabe over delays in publication of the March 29 presidential vote results.

Brown is a fierce critic of Mugabe and has urged African leaders to withdraw
recognition of his regime.


"A message should be sent from the whole of the UK that what is happening in
Zimbabwe - failing to announce an election result, trying to rig an election
result - is completely unacceptable," Brown told lawmakers.

Legislative election results that gave the opposition a majority in
Zimbabwe's parliament for the first time also are in limbo, with a partial
recount under way.

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change claims post-election
violence has displaced 3 000 people, injured 500 and left 10 dead.

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Zimbabwe torture victims' plight exposed


April 23, 2008, 18:45

An uneasy calm rests over the victims of torture and assault in far flung
villages in Zimbabwe. Scores of people have spoken out, saying they were
targeted after voting for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Most are too scared to be identified. A woman who travelled from Zimbabwe,
determined to expose what she claims are acts of brutality, claims to have
been beaten, and to have had her camera and footage confiscated. She managed
to smuggle some into South Africa.

The village the woman originates from is 200km from Harare. Zanu-PF has
practically lost its rural constituency. The ruling party parliamentarian,
who lost his seat, is accused of inciting violence. The villagers now live
in fear, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Zimbabwean Authorities could not be reached for comment.

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State declines to prosecute Mutare journalist

MISA-Zimbabwe Alert:

23 April 2008

State declines to prosecute Mutare journalist

Mutare public prosecutor Malvern Musarurwa has declined to prosecute
freelance journalist Sydney Saize whose trial on allegations of contravening
the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
and Public Order and Security Act (POSA) was set to commence in the eastern
border town on 22 April 2008.
Saize, who was arrested on 18 January 2006 and spent three nights in police
cells, was facing two separate charges under AIPPA and POSA. In count one,
Saize was being charged for contravening the now repealed Section 83 of
AIPPA which criminilised the practice of journalism without accreditation.
Under POSA he was alleged to have contravened Section 15 (1) (c) by
communicating falsehoods. Allegations against him were that on 18 January
2006, Saize had peddled falsehoods to Voice of America’s Studio 7 that two
teachers from Gomorefu Secondary School in Marange Communal Lands had been
assaulted by ZANU PF youths, war veterans and the youth militia, commonly
referred to as Green Bombers.
The State was to allege that this was false as the two had been assaulted by
“some people” after scolding a local woman.
In declining to prosecute, Musarurwa said the state did not have sufficient
evidence to warrant a prosecution.
Mutare Media Lawyers Network (MLN) member, Cris Ndlovu, together with
MISA-Zimbabwe Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde appeared for Saize.
MISA-Zimbabwe welcomes the conclusion of the case against Saize which had
been hanging in the air for more than two years and urges the police to
release his equipment which includes a Sony mini disc recorder which they
seized when they arrested him in 2006.

For any questions, queries or comments, please contact:

Nyasha Nyakunu
Research and Information Officer


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The struggle continues-A voice from Africa

We neither face east or west,but we face forward,Nkwame Nkrumah

Dr Nkrumah who had no guns to fight resorted to boycott,civil disobedience
and strikes to carry on the struggle.In our present vigorous struggle for a
democratic government,nothing strikes so much terror into the hearts of our
oppressors ,their agents and their informers like the term positive action.

Why positive action?

It is a comforting fact to observe that the people have spoken that they are
fed up of the rogue regime and now wants new government. Mugabe and his
thugs have failed to acknowledge the legitimacy of our demand for people
driven government. However it is by our exertion and pressure that Mugabe
can relinguish power

Two options to achieve a people oriented government

The two options are armed revolution and violent overthrows of existing
regime   or constitutional and non violent methods ,that is, moral pressure.
Freedom would never be handed on a platter instead we should therefore
render the country ungovernable. We have talked too much and hence the need
for constitutional  positive action to achieve our result.It is time for
some action at workplaces,streets ghettos and villages.

What is positive action?

By positive action we mean the adoption of all legitimate  and
constitutional means by which we cripple the forces of oppression in this
country.The weapons of positive action are :

i)Legitimate political agitation

ii)Newspapers and educational campaigns

iii)NGOs and CSOs should continue to put pressure

iv)Mr Morgan Tsvangirai should continue lobbying on international platforms

v)Strikes ,boycotts and non-cooperation based on the principle of non
violence should not stop

How is positive action to be applied.

People have unduly criticized Tsvangirai for his non violence  approach to
attain our freedom .They are saying Tsvangirai should do things behind the
government’s back,I say no ,he shouldn’t because he is a transparent man who
has nothing to hide.The people shall surely win against the rogue regime
against all odds.Tsvangirai surely cannot stay in Zimbabwe,just like Mugabe
during the struggle ,he needs to lobby for international intervention which
is currently very positive.Soon judgement upon those who have made
themselves demi –gods ,torturing ,murdering and mocking children of man is
surely coming.They shall run….vakomana muchamhanya ….matsotsi muchamhanya
zvisina akamboona.We have the records of all your evil deeds against the

People of Zimbabwe ,lets us advance fearlessly and courageously armed with
the MDC party’s programme of positive action, based on the principle of

Long live MDC. Long Live the forward march of the people of Zimbabwe, Long
live the new Zimbabwe that is to be and I will surely be there on that day .

Changamire Dombo

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