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Soldiers step up violence in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

by Jameson Mombe Friday 25 April 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe army soldiers have stepped up violence and abuse against
civilians in recent days and allegedly imposed an illegal curfew in one
city, according to a local human rights group.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said in a report released Thursday that it
had noticed an “alarming increase” in incidents of violence and human rights
abuses committed by soldiers, adding that accounts by some of the soldiers’
victims were “synonymous with a country at war.”

The group, which monitors politically motivated violence and human rights
abuses in Zimbabwe, said bands of soldiers in official army uniform and
carrying guns were roaming rural areas, cities and towns harassing and
assaulting civilians.

“ZPP has recorded an alarming increase of incidents of gross forms of
physical attack on civilians by soldiers in army gear. The soldiers
subjecting civilians to these gross physical violations are moving around
with guns and some putting on hoods to conceal their faces,” the group said.

The ZPP said it had, for example, recorded eight cases of civilians most of
them women aged between 40 and 50 who were hospitalised in Harare after
severe beatings by soldiers.

The civilians were from Harare, Mashonaland East and Mashonaland Central
provinces, showing that the army brutality was widespread.

Politically motivated violence has resurfaced across Zimbabwe since the
March 29 elections that saw the ruling ZANU PF party defeated by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, while President
Robert Mugabe is believed to have lost in a parallel presidential poll to
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The MDC says 10 of its supporters have been killed in the violence. The
party claims that another 3 000 supporters have been displaced from their
homes, in what it describes as a war being waged by state security agents
and ZANU PF militias against the people in a bid to cow them to back Mugabe
in an anticipated run-off against Tsvangirai.

Although the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is yet to announce results of the
presidential vote, ZANU PF acknowledges Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai but says a
second round of voting is required to settle the contest.

The ZPP said ZANU PF militants and pro-Mugabe war veterans were still
involved in violence against suspected opposition supporters but said
soldiers had taken the lead in committing violence in many areas.

In Harare’s dormitory town of Chitungwiza, soldiers had virtually imposed a
curfew, attacking residents seen on the streets after sunset.

“Soldiers have imposed an unofficial curfew of 7 pm in the town. Residents
are being attacked coming from drinking places and churches alike,” it said.

Both Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs Minister Kembo
Mohadi were not immediately available to respond to charges that soldiers
were committing violence against civilians.

But the Harare government has in the past rejected such charges as false
propaganda spread by Western-funded NGOs in a bid to tarnish Mugabe’s name.

Reports of increasing army brutality comes as China announced on Thursday
that it was recalling a ship carrying arms for Zimbabwe after South African
port workers refused to unload the vessel and neighbouring countries barred
it from their ports, China said on Thursday.

The Chinese vessel known as the An Yue Jiang is believed to be carrying
three million rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 1 500 rocket-propelled grenades
and more than 3 000 mortar rounds and mortar tubes destined for Zimbabwe’s

Regional governments and trade unions blocked it from docking saying they
feared the weapons could be used by Mugabe’s government to suppress

British Premier Gordon Brown said earlier this week that his government
would propose a full arms embargo against Zimbabwe.

But South African ruling party leader Jacob Zuma, the most senior political
leader in southern Africa to openly criticize Mugabe’s government over its
handling of elections, said on Thursday he did not believe it was the right
time to impose an arms ban on Zimbabwe. – ZimOnline.

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MDC discloses names of murdered supporters

Zim Online

by Simplicious Chirinda Friday 25 April 2008

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
has said 10 of its supporters have been 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 violence started after it defeated ZANU PF in elections
on March 29, has claimed that another 3 000 supporters have been displaced
from their homes.

The opposition party has described the violence as a war being waged by
state security agents and ZANU PF militias against Zimbabweans in a bid to
cow them to back Mugabe in an anticipated run-off against Tsvangirai.

But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa denied the allegations of violence
and challenged the MDC to produce names and details of people it claims were
murdered in political violence.

Below ZimOnline lists names of six people that the MDC says are its
supporters who were killed in political violence. The six are part of the 10
people the MDC says were murdered. The opposition party says it will release
all the names of all victims in a full report on political violence it is

List of Victims:

Tapiwa Mumbwanda (57) -- From Hurungwe West constituency in Mashonaland West
province. He was attacked and murdered near his home by suspected ZANU PF
activists on April 12. Hurungwe West is one of the areas hardest hit by
political violence.

Murunde Tembo (age unknown) – From Mudzi North constituency in Mashonaland
East province. He was brutally assaulted by suspected ZANU PF activists on
April 15. He sustained serious injuries and broken legs. He died on his way
to hospital.

Tatenda Chibika (age unknown) -- From Mutoko East constituency in
Mashonaland East province. He was shot and killed by ZANU PF supporter and
war veteran Richard Makoni on April 17. The incident happened at Chibeta
rural business centre in the constituency.

Moses Bashitiwayo (age unknown) -- From Maramba-Pfungwe constituency in
Mashonaland East province. Suspected ZANU PF supporters murdered him on
April 17.

Moses Makiwa (age unknown) -- From Lower Watershed area in Wedza
constituency in Mashonaland East province. He was brutally assaulted and
killed by ZANU PF supporters. He was buried on 19 April in Wedza.

Brighton Mbwera Jr. (5) -- From Manyika village in Uzumba constituency in
Mashonaland East province. He was burnt to death after ZANU PF activists set
a house he was sleeping in on fire on April 18.

The ZANU PF activists forced the parents (who are members of the MDC) to
bury their child’s body without a postmortem being done. However, police
intervened and ordered the body exhumed so that a postmortem could be

The MDC is the source of all the information above. ZimOnline has not
independently verified this information. – ZimOnline.

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COSATU plots weekly anti-Mugabe protests

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent  Friday 25 April 2008

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s labour movement and other civic groups are
planning to stage weekly marches and protests against President Robert
Mugabe’s government they accuse of illegally clinging to power in Zimbabwe.

Congress of South Africa Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said
Zimbabwe’s deepening political stalemate and rising political violence
allegedly committed by Mugabe’s supporters were matters South African civil
society could not afford to ignore.

Zimbabwe was plunged deeper into political crisis after electoral
authorities refused to announce results of a March 29 presidential election
that Mugabe’s believed to have lost to opposition Movement for Democratic
Change party leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Vavi said: “COSATU is proposing that in the next three to four weeks,
particularly on Saturdays, we organise huge marches with civil society,
church organisations and all those that disagree with the prevailing
political situation in Zimbabwe.”

The COSATU leader said Zimbabwe’s election crisis – that political analysts
have warned could lead to violence and bloodshed – could not be left
unresolved for too long because it had the potential to destabilise the rest
of southern Africa.

COSATU-led anti-Mugabe protests are likely to increase domestic pressure on
South African President Thabo Mbeki to take a more robust stance against the
Zimbabwean leader.

Mbeki is the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s mediator in
Zimbabwe but has been accused of failing to apply pressure on Mugabe to
allow the release of election results and remove all impediments to the
democratic process.

Mbeki has insisted on a policy of engagement rather than confrontation with
Mugabe but several key political players and social leaders in South Africa
have criticised that policy which they say has failed to yield results.

For example, Jacob Zuma, the leader of the ruling ANC party and frontrunner
to succeed Mbeki as South Africa’s president in 2009, has in recent days
openly broken ranks with Mbeki by publicly questioning the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission’s failure to release results of the presidential vote.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Thursday urged African
leaders to abandon their policy of quite diplomacy favoured by Mbeki and
instead tell Mugabe to quit power.

"I want to call on African leaders to show that they really care by speaking
quietly to Mr Mugabe and say, 'Step down, you've been there for 20 years,
man,'" Tutu told reporters in Stellenbosch.

Tutu, a long-standing critic of Mugabe, also said the United Nations should
impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe because of rising political violence in
the country blamed on Mugabe’s supporters.

"It is obvious that supplying large quantities of arms at this stage would
risk escalating the violence, perhaps resulting in the large-scale loss of
life," he said.

ZANU PF lost its parliamentary majority for the first time in 28 years in
last month’s election when it garnered 97 seats compared to 110 won by the
MDC and other minor opposition candidates.

But electoral officials are yet to issue the much awaited results of a
parallel presidential vote, which ZANU PF acknowledges Mugabe lost to MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, although they say a second round of voting is
required to settle the contest.

The MDC says 10 of its supporters have been killed in political violence
since the elections.

The party claims that another 3 000 supporters have been displaced from
their homes, in what it describes as a war being waged by state security
agents and ZANU PF militias against the people in a bid to cow them to back
Mugabe in an anticipated run-off against Tsvangirai. – ZimOnline.

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Unity government talk premature: Zuma

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent Friday 25 April 2008

JOHANNESBURG – South African ruling party president Jacob Zuma said on
Thursday there could no be talk of a national unity government in Zimbabwe
before election results have been announced and that any such thoughts
should be the prerogative of Zimbabweans not its neighbours.

Zuma told the media in London that the focus of the international community
should be on the announcement of Zimbabwe’s March 29 presidential election
results and the conclusion of recounts in 23 parliamentary constituencies.

Zuma has refused to criticise Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe over the
delays in announcing the election results and instead has blamed Zimbabwe's
Election Commission.

Speaking at a news conference in London, Zuma insisted that it is not yet
time to consider an idea of negotiating a government of national unity in
Zimbabwe, a possibility raised in the country's government-controlled Herald
newspaper on Wednesday when it suggested that Mugabe should head any such
government – an idea the opposition rejects, saying its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai won the poll.

"Once you begin to ask that question, you are even preventing a possibility
of discussing the issue from the beginning," Zuma said. "You are already
influencing what the outcome is likely to be.

"If that proposal becomes a firm proposal, which must be put to the
Zimbabwean people – if they accept it, let us allow them to go there before
we scare them with who will lead," Zuma told reporters.

He said that attempting to predict Zimbabwe's future could hinder efforts to
break the election impasse.

"I think going too much further might just complicate the process," Zuma

Zuma has of late talked tough against Mugabe, a departure from South African
President Thabo Mbeki who has been heavily criticised for not strongly
condemning Mugabe over delays in releasing the election results.

"What we did when we thought things in Zimbabwe were not going right is that
we took a very conscious decision to engage with them, to talk to them,"
Zuma said.

"We did not think it was prudent for us to stand on the rooftops and
criticise Zimbabwe and give them names, as you do, like dictator," he said.

Zuma rejected calls for South Africa to discuss a military intervention in
Zimbabwe, saying there was no comparison between post-election violence and
the 1998 South African troop deployment to Lesotho following disputed

"There was a particular situation in Lesotho where the army had got involved
in the process," Zuma said. He insisted there has been no discussion of
troops entering Zimbabwe among the 14-nation Southern African Development

But Zuma said reports of state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe are of great
concern. "That cannot be allowed, it is wrong and absolutely out of order,"
Zuma said, adding that the ANC will consider issuing a statement of
condemnation. – ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Recounts Controversial - But So Far Affirming Initial Counts


By Carole Gombakomba
24 April 2008

Independent election observers say recounts by the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission of ballots cast March 29 in 23 constituencies are tending to
confirm the counts made immediately following the elections, raising
questions as to the need for recounts.

Two recounts have been completed, and ZEC Deputy Chief Elections Officer
Utloile Silaigwana was quoted by the government-controlled Herald newspaper
as saying that the remaining 21 should be completed by the weekend.

Where house seats are concerned, the recounts completed so far have
confirmed one victory each for the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe
and for the Movement for Democratic Change of Morgan Tsvangirai.

Though the opposition sought recounts of its own in the immediate election
aftermath, it has charged that these 23 recounts are illegal as they were
initiated after the legal time limit had expired for challenges to the
election outcome.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network Chairman Noel Kututwa told reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that it is puzzling that the
recounts continue amid irregularities of process yet are confirming the
initial counts.

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Comesa Summit Put Off

The East African Standard (Nairobi)

25 April 2008
Posted to the web 24 April 2008

Beauttah Omanga

Political uncertainty in Zimbabwe has begun to affect business in eastern
and southern Africa.

The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (Comesa) summit scheduled for
next month is the first casualty and has been postponed.

Foreign Affairs minister, Mr Moses Wetangula, said President Kibaki, who is
the Comesa summit chairman, cancelled the meeting that was to be held in
Zimbabwe between May 13 and 15.

Addressing the Press in his office on Thursday, Wetangula said Kibaki would
continue to head the 20-member country organisation. He was expected to hand
over the chairmanship to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

The country held elections close to a month ago but the electoral commission
is yet to release the presidential results. However, parliamentary and civic
elections have been made public.

The opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Mr Morgan
Tsvingirai, claimed victory, but President Mugabe demanded a recount in 23

The Opposition and the international community have accused Mugabe of using
the recount to rig the elections.

Meanwhile, a Kenyan, Mr Mahaboub Mohammed, is the new chief executive of the
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad).

Wetangula said the former Special Programmes PS is the first Kenyan to hold
the post.

"It's a great honour that Igad member countries settled for a Kenyan as its
chief executive," he said.

Wetangula said Mohammed, who will be based in Djibouti, had accepted the

Another Kenyan, Mr Erastus Mwencha, who has been the Comesa
secretary-general, has been elected the new Africa Union Vice-chairman.

Meanwhile, the Government has asked the Ireland to reopen its mission in
Kenya that was closed in 1988.

"It is our request that the mission be opened to boost interaction between
the countries for the benefit of the citizens," said the minister.

Wetangula spoke during a luncheon he organised for his Irish counterpart, Mr
Dermot Ahert, and key players in tourism from Ireland and Kenya.

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Riot police invade Zimbabwe Mothers’ Union service

Church Times, UK
25 April, 2008

by Pat Ashworth

THE VOICES from South Africa became bolder, and the cries from
Zimbabwe more desperate, as the country intensified its pleas this week for
international help to avert genocide.

Their comments have been supported by the Archbishops of Canterbury
and York.

The Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba, spoke out
for the first time on Tuesday, describing the people of Zimbabwe as
“bruised, broken and crushed by oppression and economic hardship”, even
before the elections.

In the wake of the attempt by a Chinese ship to offload at Durban a
consignment of weapons for the Zimbabwe Defence Force, the Archbishop called
on the UN Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Zimbabwe.

He said it was “distressing” to South Africans that “our rulers, whom
we know to be compassionate people, currently appear to many beyond our
borders as heartless and unmoved by the sufferings of Zimbabweans”. He made
an urgent appeal to President Thabo Mbeki to “seek creative ways of reaching
out to our neighbours to assure them that we care about them deeply”.

The Bishop of Natal, the Rt Revd Rubin Phillip, and Paddy Kearney, a
consultant to the KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council, instigated the actions
that prevented the onward transport of the Chinese weapons. The two men
applied to the High Court for an urgent interdict to prevent the weapons
from reaching Zimbabwe.

A combined statement from the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, the
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and the Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe appealed to the Southern African Development Community, the African
Union, and the UN to intervene in the post-election crisis. The Churches
warned: “If nothing is done to help the people of Zimbabwe from their
predicament, we shall soon be witnessing genocide similar to that in Kenya,
Rwanda, Burundi and other hot spots in Africa and elsewhere.”

In a joint statement issued yesterday, the Archbishops of Canterbury
and York call for “a civil society movement that both gives voice to those
who demand an end to the mayhem that grows out of injustice, poverty,
exclusion and violence”. They also call for an international day of prayer
for Zimbabwe this Sunday in all Christian denominations “as part of a search
for increased solidarity and justice for the people of Zimbabwe at home and
in the UK.”

The Archbishops warn that without action from the international
community “continuing political violence and drift could unleash spiralling
communal violence, as has been seen elsewhere in the Continent where early
warning systems or the international community failed to act in time.”

The Archbishops call for renewed efforts by the Government of South
Africa, the United Nations and SADC to intervene in the crisis in Zimbabwe
and also call for a world wide embargo on weapons sales to Zimbabwe.

The statement also echoes the concern of Church leaders in Zimbabwe
about state-sponsored violence against ordinary Zimbabweans. They also say
that the climate of political intimidation and the continued delays in
announcing the election results has “left the presidential election process
without credibility.”

The outcry has increased after the circulation of strong evidence of a
widespread campaign of intimidation and torture. The Zimbabwe Association of
Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has documented 242 cases of extreme
injuries, which, it says, suggest “a disturbing trend of systematic violent
assault and torture”.

These are the cases who manage to reach the private hospital in Harare
where most victims of violence are treated. ZADHR warns: “With more victims
possibly unable to access medical attention in rural areas, urgent action is
required to prevent the situation deteriorating further.”

Poor people in rural Mashona are reported to be the main targets.
“Many hundred rural people have apparently left their homes. I do not know
where they have gone — some perhaps hiding in the bush, others no doubt to
relatives in town,” a Harare resident said on Monday.

The Zimbabwean continued: “In the Gukurahundi massacres of 1981-82,
Mugabe just slaughtered the Ndebele with the North Korean-trained Fifth
Brigade. Now 70 Chinese Army are here training. We just hope and pray
history is not going to repeat itself.”

The Chancellor of the diocese of Harare, Bob Stumbles, is calling on
Christians from all Churches and nations to focus their prayers this Sunday
on Zimbabwe, which he describes as “a nation in dire distress and teetering
on the brink of human disaster”.

Chancellor Stumbles, who has fought for several years to bring the
former Bishop of Harare, Nolbert Kunonga, to court, said in an urgent plea
on Monday: “A desperate cry from the hearts of Zimbabweans screams across
the world. . . Let this cry for help touch your heart and mind. Let it move
you to do what you can immediately to ensure this day of prayer takes place
in your country and neighbourhood.”

A de facto curfew is now operating in the townships. Anyone seen
outside after dark risks being beaten, and the army is patrolling the
streets, residents say.

On Sunday, riot police invaded and dispersed a delayed Lady Day
celebration at St Michael’s, Mbare, where 3200 Mothers’ Union members had
gathered from all over the country.

They were being addressed by Ruth Bakare, wife of the Bishop of
Harare, on the theme from Isaiah of “You are my witnesses”, when the first
truckload of police drove in. Mrs Bakare continued to speak until a second
truckload arrived.

“We were made to leave, but the women prayed first, before they left
slowly, and gathered outside the churchyard premises to sing hymns as loud
as they could,” she said in a message on Tuesday.

The Bishop of Harare, Dr Sebastian Bakare, who witnessed the events,
said riot police had driven into the crowd at high speed to intimidate the

In a press statement on Tuesday night, he said: “I never dreamt that, after
getting rid of a colonial system which denied me basic human rights, I would
one day lead a Church that is being persecuted by our own government. The
events of the past weekend have led me to believe there is a deliberate
attempt to persecute Anglican Christians in this diocese.

It make me wonder whether the Anglican Church in Harare is an easy target
because it was once associated with the colonial government.”

Churches and charities are trying to distribute emergency food
supplies to vulnerable households. Four million people need food

The Methodist Relief and Development Fund, supporting an Action by
Churches Together appeal, said last week: “Reports from Zimbabwe paint a
picture of desperation, with some families cooking leaves they had
previously considered poisonous.”

The people refuse to give up hope. Mrs Bakare said that as she and her
husband left the church at Mbare on Sunday: “When [the women] saw me moved
to tears at their singing and cheering us, they called to me ‘Musatye’ [‘Don’t
be afraid’], and indeed I was not — carried by so much joy and love and
hope. I knew that what we are going through is only for a while. ‘We shall

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British Anglican leaders warn Zimbabwe on brink of catastrophe


LONDON, April 24 (AFP)

Zimbabwe is on the brink of "national disintegration" and could face the
sort of communal violence seen in Rwanda and Kenya, the Archbishops of
Canterbury and York warned on Thursday.

Rowan Williams, the leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, and
Ugandan-born John Sentamu added their voices to calls for an arms embargo
against Zimbabwe and urged the international community to find a solution to
the post-election crisis.

The archbishops said the electoral process in Zimbabwe was now "without
credibility" because of vote-rigging, violence and delays in announcing
results from the March 29 vote.

"Continuing political violence and drift could unleash spiraling communal
violence, as has been seen elsewhere in the continent where early warning
systems or the international community failed to act in time," Williams and
Sentamu said in the joint statement.

They described President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe as a former "beacon of
hope" but said they viewed the current crisis with "foreboding and sorrow."

"The current climate of political intimidation, violence, vote rigging and
delay has left the presidential election process without credibility," they

"Now the people of Zimbabwe are left even more vulnerable to conflict heaped
upon poverty and the threat of national disintegration.

"It is therefore crucial that the international community act in support of
regional efforts to bring a mediated settlement to this political crisis so
that the social and economic and spiritual crisis of the country can be

Zimbabwe is a majority Christian country.

Zimbabwe's electoral commission Thursday continued slowly to release the
results of a partial recount from the elections which the opposition says it
won, while Mugabe's camp appeared divided over the merits of a possible
national unity government.

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Why wait for Zim to take the Kenya route?

New Vision, Uganda

Thursday, 24th April, 2008

By Jerry Okungu

ON the surface, it would appear like the African Union (AU) and indeed the
international community have this habit of playing double standards. One day
they do one thing; the next morning they do the opposite.

When Kenyans brought the Kibaki government to its knees following an
election dispute, the level of violence that was in progress shocked even
the most immune leaders of the African atrocity.

Within hours of the political uprising in Kenya, the soaring casualty
figures sent Desmond Tutu, Joachim Chissano, Benjamin Mkapa and two retired
presidents from Liberia and Botswana trooping in to help stop the mayhem.

As world leaders were grappling with what Kenya had presented to them as
their New Year gift, the UN and the AU took the cue, dispatching John Kufuor
of Ghana, then AU chairman and UN secretary general Ki-moon to come and help
sort out the political mess that had been created by the political class
when they attempted to steal the elections.

Despite the flurry of activities by Africa’s most eminent persons, it took
the resilience of Dr. Kofi Annan, Dr. Graca Machel of Mozambique and
President Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania to work out a peace and power sharing
deal that lasted 28 days. On that day that the power sharing deal was
signed, violence across the country came to a standstill.

Seven weeks since the Kenyan truce was signed, Zimbabwe has undergone almost
an identical political ineptitude except that instead of Mugabe
outrightly declaring himself the winner Kenyan style, he chose to dither and
tinker with the ballot papers in the hope that the opposition would relent
and allow him to continue plundering Zimbabwe.

Now, a whole month later, Mugabe has decided out of generosity to recount
the votes whose results, even the disputed ones have not been declared!

Yet, the whole world has sat by with folded arms leaving poor Zimbabweans to
their own devices! Does it therefore mean that the international community
and the AU can only intervene in cases of extreme violence that borders on
ethnic cleansing or genocide?

Why wait for Zimbabwe to explode, spill blood and burn a few churches with
children, the old and the disabled before they can stir from their slumber?
What kind of cynicism and sadism are these?

Where are the eminent Africans who came to Kenya’s rescue? Where are the
SADDC leaders led by powerful South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique and
Namibia? Where are Jakaya Kikwete and the AU which he chairs as Mugabe takes
the whole of Zimbabwe downhill? Where are the UN secretary general and his
predecessor, Benjamin Mkapa, Graca Machel and Joachim Chissano? Zimbabweans
are crying loud for you! When will you hear their cry?

Although Zimbabwe resembles Kenya in more ways than one regarding their last
elections, there are fundamental differences that the world community must
bear in mind. Whereas Kenya’s president was a civilian with no strong
influence in the military, Mugabe is a former guerrilla soldier whose
comrades still lead the military.

Utterances by top military generals on the eve of the elections were ominous
enough. They had sworn that they were not yet ready to mount a guard of
honour for any other Head of State in Zimbabwe except for ‘Comrade Bob’.

The world may want to remember that during the entire period of the Kenyan
crisis, the military very much remained in their barracks and left the
civilians to do their own thing with the police. They were only called in
briefly to put out the riots that had overwhelmed the police in Naivasha and
Nakuru areas.

The Zimbabwean military position brought out another dimension in that
country that few people, not even the politicians in that country had paid
attention to.

That when all is said and done, Zimbabwe has in fact been a military state
all along. That all these years, Mugabe has been ruling with the explicit
support of the men in uniform!

This development will pose a serious challenge to the AU and the
international community should they choose to intervene. Doing so would most
likely degenerate into a sort of Somalia and Burma situations.

If these former guerrillas decide to form militias to fight external
intervention, we may just create another Iraq or Afghanistan in Africa let
alone another Somalia. The question is; which superpower is ready to
sacrifice soldiers and guns to be bogged down in another bush war in

Certainly not Britain because they had their share of that in the run-up to
the Zimbabwean independence. Certainly not the United States because the
mood in that country is anti- war expeditions anywhere.

So the Zimbabwean crisis is an African problem crying loud for an African
solution. This is why we are asking Presidents Jakaya Kikwete and the
financially endowed Thabo Mbeki regime to provide the badly needed
leadership in the Zimbabwean crisis.

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Zimbabwean Rural Areas Terrorized As Post-Election Violence Surges


By Studio 7 reporters
Washington, Midlands, Harare
24 April 2008

Post-election violence by ruling party youth militia against supporters of
Zimbabwe's opposition continues to rise, a range of sources said on
Thursday, with more camps and centers being set up from which ZANU-PF
loyalists are said to be terrorizing rural inhabitants and driving many to
seek safety in Harare and other cities and towns.

Sources in the town of Gutu in Masvingo Province, in the southeast, said a
torture camp has been established at the Chiguhune Business Center there. In
Mashonaland West Province northwest of Harare, sources said teachers at the
Kenzamba Primary School in Makonde fled after ZANU-PF militia set up a
torture camp at the school.

A source in Midlands Province told VOA that another base for the militia was
set up at Masosone Primary School in Gokwe.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said many of its members who
served as polling officers in the presidential, general and local elections
March 29 were being arrested, with 38 detained on Thursday in Masvingo

The union said it is urging its members in volatile rural areas not to
report for duty when schools reopen Tuesday unless their safety can be

Opposition activist Stanley Manguma from Gutu, who transported victims to
Harare Thursday, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that Gutu West resembles a war zone as militia are indiscriminately
attacking the public.

An opposition activist from Muzarabani in Mashonaland Central was said to
have died from injuries sustained when beaten Tuesday by soldiers, ruling
party youth militia and war veterans at his homestead in an attack in which
20 others were assaulted.

Correspondent Sylvia Manika reported on the incident from Harare.

Youth militia and self-styled war veterans with ties to the ruling party
have severely disrupted hospital operations at the Driefontein Mission in
Chirumanzu, Midlands.

The Catholic Church-operated Driefontein Sanatorium and Muvonde Hospital
were forced to close this week for three days after workers and nurses were
threatened by marauding militia and war veterans. The health care facilities
reopened late this week, but staff remained fearful for their safety,
correspondent Taurai Shava reported.

The workers said the war veterans and ZANU-PF youth had a list of targeted
workers including two of the three doctors at the sanatorium who they
accused of supporting the Movement for Democratic Change. One of the
doctors, identified only as Marimo, left the Sanatorium with his family on
Tuesday due to the threats, the workers said.

The war veterans and militia members have been wreaking havoc in the nearby
agricultural resettlement areas of Chinu, Nyikavanhu, and Nyumbi Chinu,
assaulting people and burning the homes of suspected opposition supporters.

Muvonde Hospital nurses said they have treated several people in the past
week who sustained injuries in politically motivated assaults. A Driefontein
Mission administrator who was approached by a VOA reporter and identified
himself only as Father Shirikadzi said he was not in a position to comment
on the situation.

The 350-bed Driefontein Sanatorium is one of the country's biggest hospitals
and is known for treating tuberculosis. Police officers at the Driefontein
Mission base station confirmed reports of violence in the area but refused
to give further details.

But local sources said arrests have been made in connection with the

Francisco Masendeke, a member of MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai and
a losing candidate for the Chirumanzu-Zibagwe house seat, condemned the
violence and urged ZANU-PF to instruct supporters to desist from such

Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told reporter Blessing Zulu that
the scope of the violence was being exaggerated by the opposition, drawing a
sharp response from spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the MDC opposition grouping.

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Winners and losers in land of starving billionaires

While having a job can mean being out of pocket, Zanu-PF elite find rich

Chris McGreal in Harare
The Guardian,
Friday April 25 2008

Each day, Edwin Makotore's wife and children hit the streets to earn cash so
he can pay for the privilege of working.

The 38-year-old father-of-two is the only one in the family with a full-time
job, but by the time he has met the soaring cost of travelling to work in a
small Harare supermarket, paid out of wages wildly out of step with the
165,000% inflation rate, Makotore is out of pocket.

But with only one-in-five adults in employment, a job is a far more precious
commodity than money in Zimbabwe, and Makotore is not going to let it go.

"My wife gives me the money to go to work each day," he said. "We can't
afford to send the children to school so they go with her to the streets.
She sells some small things, fruit, things like that.

"One day things will get better and then it will be good to have a job.
Everyone will want one. It's like an investment; I pay to keep my job
because I will make money out of it one day. Until then someone makes money
out of me."

For now, Makotore is a loser in an economy which is shrinking faster than in
any other country. But there are some who are doing well out of

The winners include those whose mortgages were reduced to less than a
single, near-worthless banknote in a matter of months. Among the losers are
the elderly, the value of their pensions slashed to nothing.

But the real beneficiaries can be found in Borrowdale Brooke. This upmarket
suburb in the north of Harare is a mass of construction sites and newly
completed palatial homes. Besides President Robert Mugabe's own palace,
built by the Chinese with a hint of the forbidden city about it, ruling
Zanu-PF apparatchiks and generals have set themselves up in homes that none
could afford on their official salaries.

Some have become extravagantly rich by manipulating the vast gap between the
official and black-market exchange rates to plunder Zimbabwe's dwindling
hard currency, and buy brand new Mercedes Benz cars for £25 while the
country's manufacturing sector collapses for want of money to produce
crucial exports.

The new rich include men such as the Zanu-PF member of parliament and party
powerbroker Philip Chiyanga, who also happens to be one of Mugabe's cousins.
Chiyanga owns a sprawling 30-room mansion in Borrowdale Brooke with three
helicopter pads and has been seen driving a Hummer.

The mansions have grown as Zimbabwe's economy has shrunk by about half over
the past decade of crisis. Export earnings have dropped from about £2.3bn a
year to around £750m.

The manufacturing sector has halved in size and revenue from the tourist
industry, once another big earner, has fallen by 75% over the same period.
Many visitors now see Victoria Falls from the Zambian side and those who do
cross in to Zimbabwe do not stay as long as they used to.

Over the past week the black-market exchange rate for the Zimbabwe dollar
has plummeted against sterling, from about Z$90m to the pound to Z$190m. The
largest bank note in the country is worth about 25p. No wonder Zimbabweans
call themselves starving billionaires.

The currency has been driven down recently by Zimbabwe's central bank, which
has been turning to the black market in a desperate search for US dollars to
pay the bills, not least for electricity from Mozambique.

John Robertson, a highly regarded Zimbabwean economist, said the government
had also been plundering hard currency accounts held by businesses to pay
off the huge costs of its election campaign, contributing to the spiral of

"From January, with the election campaign, the government started importing
tractors and cars and television sets and all manner of things to give away.
That had to be paid for and it was paid for from the foreign currency
accounts," he said.

Any business that exports is obliged to hand over more than 35% of the hard
currency it brings back into the country to the government in exchange for
Zimbabwe dollars. The rest is held by the central bank and is theoretically
available to pay for imports necessary to the business.

But many are finding that they have to wait for up to four months for the
money, and some do not receive it at all.

"It got worse and worse," said Robertson. "Businesses have incurred debts
and they are not paying them. The suppliers, mostly in South Africa, found
they can no longer trust people in Zimbabwe to pay, so they've stopped

That has left some manufacturers unable to produce and export, another blow
to the country's hard currency earnings. Even entirely locally produced
commodities such as cotton and tobacco, once big money earners for Zimbabwe,
have been hit because they require imported pesticides, fertiliser and

Last year the government introduced drastic price cuts and controls to try
and curb raging inflation, but the measures proved a miserable failure.
Retailers were ordered to slash prices. Buyers surged into the shops to pick
up electronic goods and luxury items at a fraction of their value - but when
the shelves were empty, products were not restocked.

For a select few all of this is an opportunity. They deal in the official
exchange rate of Z$30,000 to the US dollar - meaning they can buy hard
currency at one three thousandth of what it costs on the street. Such rates
are only available to Zimbabwe's super elite.

"Only senior people can get that, but those that do make a fortune,"
Robertson said. "They buy dollars at the official exchange rate and then go
off and buy a Mercedes in South Africa for what is in reality just a few
dollars. They import it, sell it and make a killing.

"These are the same people who are running a lot of the food imports. They
take a billion [Zimbabwe] dollars, change it to rand at the official rate
and buy in South Africa for next to nothing."

Some economists trace the start of the economic downturn back to the mass
printing of money to payoff war veterans who were threatening Mugabe a
decade ago. But Robertson says the most significant blow to the economy was
the redistribution of white-owned farms without maintaining productivity.

"Those 4,500 farms were Zimbabwe's biggest industry," he said. "They
accounted for 17% of GDP in their own right but more than 50% when you take
into account the other industries they were supporting.

"They employed large numbers of people, they accounted for half the export
earnings. The farmers were also the biggest users of other industries such
as insurance and engineering."

There is no chance that the land redistribution will be reversed. It has
overwhelming support among black Zimbabweans as a policy, if not how it has
been handled.

The redistributed farms are now run on feudal lines with Zanu-PF acting as
overlord and anyone wanting to stay on the land required to pay suitable
political and, in some cases financial, homage. Those who dissent, and that
includes overt support for the opposition, are thrown off.

What industry remains is subjected to the "indigenisation law". This
requires foreign and white-owned public companies to sell or give half of
their shares to black Zimbabweans. In the view of some, it is just another
form of plunder.

As a result many of the jobs once considered the least desirable are now
amongst the most sought after. There was a time when being a domestic worker
was considered close to the bottom of the pile. It was poorly paid and often
required women to be away from their families.

But today it is a prized role, as it comes with free accommodation, water,
electricity and, crucially, no travel costs.

Robertson wonders how long Zimbabwe's economy can keep going.

"Everything seems so untenable and so absurd you can't believe there are
people out there trying to keep it on the road. They're breathing life into
a dead horse. You have to admire it I suppose," he said.

The current level of inflation means the income of most Zimbabweans is way
out of line with the cost of living

The black-market exchange rate for Zimbabwe dollars to the pound. Last week
the rate was Z$90m to the £1

The amount needed to buy a US dollar under the official exchange rate, only
available to the elite

The cost of a Mercedes Benz bought using hard currency from reserves
exchanged at the official rate

The amount Zimbabwe earned from exports last year, which was about a third
of the amount a decade ago

The proportion of hard currency from export sales that businesses have to
hand over to the government

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Japan warns nationals against travel to Zimbabwe

Japan Today

Friday 25th April, 05:48 AM JST


The Foreign Ministry raised its travel alert for Zimbabwe on Thursday,
advising Japanese nationals to think carefully before traveling there, due
to rising political tension and social instability over the non-release of
the March 29 presidential election results.

The travel advisory, the second-lowest of four warning levels, urges
Japanese who plan to travel to or stay in Zimbabwe to be particularly aware
of pickpockets and robberies, which often involve guns, and to avoid
traveling after dark. According to the ministry, 112 Japanese were residing
in Zimbabwe as of Oct 1, 2007.

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MDC Vice President Visits Victims of Zanu PF Violence

SW Radio Africa (London)

24 April 2008
Posted to the web 24 April 2008

Tichaona Sibanda

MDC vice-president Thokozani Khupe on Thursday met victims of Zanu PF
perpetrated violence in Harare, where elderly women and men cried as they
narrated the brutality they have been subjected to by the regime.

A statement from the MDC said hundreds of people have fled their homes and
are in hiding in Harare or are staying in the mountains due to violence
waged by Zanu PF militia and war veterans, backed by the army.

Most victims described their villages as war zones, with over a hundred
victims fleeing to Harare from just one area alone. Jimmy Jombo, an MDC
parliamentary candidate in last month's elections, told Khupe that Zanu PF
has created a hit-list in Mashonaland East province.

He said; 'A group of over 200 men are moving around Mudzi district armed
with guns and causing untold terror in the area. They have burnt villages of
perceived MDC supporters, looted their property and stole their livestock.
Most villages have since been torched by the marauding Zanu PF militia.'

Jombo said there over 30 people were admitted to various hospitals across
Mashonaland East and Harare following the attacks.

Each speaker narrated how women are being abducted and used as cooks at
bases that had been established by Zanu PF militia. The vice-president told
the victims that the party would do everything in order to assist them
during such trying times.

'Please do not despair. As long as we are united as a party we will emerge
as winners at the end. We need to defend our victory as we all know that we
won the 29 March elections. An MDC government will make sure that we will
compensate you,' she said.

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People in pain - please help

Thoughtleader, SA

 Anja Merret

What is it about the situation in Zimbabwe that has produced one of
the most severe cases of stick-your-head-in-the-sand-itis that one can
imagine? Watching a video on the online New York Times on the refugees
streaming into South Africa got me into such a state that tears were running
down my cheeks.

Of course, as part of dramatic reporting techniques, some of the shots
were probably staged. But nevertheless, the woman who had just scraped under
the fence into South Africa and was now filmed walking along the road to
Messina with one plastic packet of her possessions, got to me.

I wept for her and the hopelessness of her plight. The unemployment
figures in South Africa for its citizens are high. Stats SA maintains it’s
23%. It’s probably more likely to be double that. The exact numbers are not
known, as many South Africans do not claim unemployment benefits and fall
outside the scope of surveys.

So many eke out a living in any way they can. They might sell a few
bananas and oranges from rickety tables, stand guard over cars in shopping
malls or flog those ubiquitous plastic clothes hangers at traffic lights.

South Africans are blessed with a fairly well developed sense of black
humour. A joke that made the rounds a few years ago said that you know when
you are in Johannesburg when you can buy anything at the traffic lights.
Visitors are amazed at the goods available. Instant shopping. I used to get
my windscreen washed once a week, at a set of traffic lights at the top of a
freeway off-ramp, by Godfrey. He had a ’shop sign’ up that said

Fleeing into this environment in the hope that you can find employment
and shelter is beyond hopeless. One can only shudder at what has made this
woman walk for hours in the heat, clutching one packet. How much worse must
it be where she is coming from? According to The New York Times article, it
is estimated that about 1 000 people cross over into South Africa every day.

To those who might want to argue that Zimbabweans think of South
Africa as a land of milk and honey, I would like to ask what personal
circumstances would make them walk into another country, scraping through
barbed wire fences, even possibly facing crocodiles in the river separating
the countries? How desperate would you have to be to do that?

I have some personal experience. My family went across the border from
East Germany to West Germany in the late 1940’s. My brother-in-law, as a
young boy, walked with his family from the German areas of Russia after the
Second World War. My father saw the refugees at the Dresden railway station
and adjourning park just days before they were bombed.

Through all these personal histories of family members, one thing came
through loud and clear. They and we, only left our homes because we
absolutely had to. And as with the Zimbabwean refugees, we left everything
behind. In our case, my parents tried to give away as much as they could to
those staying behind, without raising suspicion.

What the difference was though, was that some provision, as much as
could be done after the war, was made for refugees. People were accommodated
and helped as much as was possible. Governments took note of refugees and
did something about it.

Regrettably this cannot be said for the way any of the countries
around Zimbabwe are reacting to this flood of desperate people. It’s as if
it is not happening. A report I read a few months ago estimated that there
are 2 million Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa alone.

I would imagine that Zimbabweans living in the north would head
towards northern neighbours rather. In other words, how many displaced and
desperate people are being ignored by the Southern African countries?
Millions. All totally overlooked, except for the few who are sent back by
the South African government when caught. That’s almost worse.

Why not call in the United Nations, Oxfam, Red Cross, Doctors Without
Borders, and all the other big refugee aid organisations? They will come and
help with shelter, food and medication. At least this will shine the
spotlight on the problem rather than allowing these poor folk to disappear
into abject poverty.

Perhaps everybody in Africa is listening to South African President
Thabo Mbeki’s ‘there is no crisis’ statement. Well, not everybody. It was
wonderful to see the trade unions take a stand during the recent arms for
Zimbabwe drama held in Durban. And the front page of the Independent in the
UK screams about genocide in Zimbabwe. So thankfully not everybody is buying
into the ‘no crisis’ point of view.

However, while a bunch of people are making some noise and rattling
some sabres, people such as the woman who brought me to tears, are walking
along dusty roads carrying their worldly possessions in a plastic packet. It
makes me want to cry all over again, just thinking of her. Stop focusing on
Mugabe and his henchmen and focus on the real issues here, the people.

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SADC leaders urged to persuade Mugabe to step down


April 24, 2008, 10:30

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu says southern African leaders should
persuade Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe to step down.

Tutu was addressing a conference on higher education and ethical leadership
at the University of Stellenbosch. He says there is a possibility that
Mugabe can still redeem and salvage his legacy if he steps down with

Tutu says he has been hoping that the political leadership in South Africa,
which is held in high regard by other countries of the world, will convince
Mugabe to resign.

The archbishop says the Southern African region is facing a number of
challenges such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, and can no longer afford to have what
he terms people who want to cling to power in order to satisfy their egos.

Obstacles to a unity govt in Zimbabwe
Meanwhile, a Research Director at the Electoral Institute of South Africa
says the personal hatred between Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and
opposition Movement Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai will
be an obstacle for a proposed unity government.

Khabele Matlosa says an urgent solution should be found to Zimbabwe's
crisis. Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper says a unity government led by
Mugabe may be the best way to break Zimbabwe's post-election deadlock. The
newspaper says it is clear that no side won a majority in the presidential
election on March 29.

Matlosa says: " By all indications, the talks are now stalemate - there is
no doubt about that - and the parties are drifting further and further
apart - but in the case of the relationship between president Mugabe and
Morgan Tsvangirai, there is also a deep personal hatred between the two
leaders - they hardly ever speak to each other.

“Mugabe treats Morgan Tsvangirai with utter contempt, and that is part of
the reason why President Mugabe has actually told himself he will never ever
hand power over to Tsvangirai.

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EU to urge neighbours to raise pressure on Zimbabwe


Thu 24 Apr 2008, 14:57 GMT

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will call on Zimbabwe's neighbours
next week to step up pressure on President Robert Mugabe for the release of
results of a March 29 election in which the opposition has claimed victory.

EU foreign ministers meeting next Tuesday will also pledge to explore how
the 27-member bloc can use its diplomatic influence, according to a draft
statement obtained by Reuters. Diplomats acknowledge EU leverage is limited.

"The (EU) Council remains concerned about the possible effects on the
stability of the region as a consequence of the ongoing events and therefore
calls upon SADC (Southern African Development Community) to engage with
renewed determination with the Zimbabwean authorities," ministers will say.

SADC member countries include South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and

"The EU will ... explore further options for increasing pressure on those
who direct and engage in state-sponsored violence and intimidation in the
post-election period," the draft for the meeting in Luxembourg added.

EU diplomats said the ministers would stress the role of Zimbabwe's
neighbours partly because the 27-member bloc has few options to apply
pressure itself.

Existing EU sanctions include a ban on Mugabe travelling to parts of Western
Europe. But that did not stop him from attending an EU-Africa summit in
Lisbon last December that was boycotted by Gordon Brown, premier of
ex-colonial power Britain.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he won the
presidential election outright and has accused Mugabe of delaying results to
rig victory and keep his 28-year hold on power.

The EU statement noted the bloc remained Zimbabwe's most important donor and
its willingness to resume full cooperation as soon as conditions allowed.

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Zimbabwean Rights Groups Petition Regional Body Over Violence


HARARE, Zimbabwe (AFP)--Rights groups in Zimbabwe have urged the Southern
African Development Community to intervene and stop mounting post-election
violence from lurching into civil war, a spokesman said Thursday.

"We see high prospects of civil strife if the situation continues unchecked
so we are appealing to SADC to intervene urgently," said Fambai Ngirande,
spokesman for the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations.

Ngirande said representatives of 20 civic organizations held a meeting with
the head of the SADC election observer team Jose Marcos Barrica and handed
him a dossier outlining cases of post-election violence.

According to the dossier, one rights group had attended to 456 victims of
politically motivated violence who needed medical treatment.

Barrica and his team were shown photographs of victims of violence including
an opposition Movement for Democratic Change election agent alleged to have
been stabbed to death by ruling party militants.

The photographs showed injuries ranging from bruises, through crushed limbs
and broken arms to missing teeth.

"More than 90% of the victims were election agents or MDC supporters, 5% had
been caught in the crossfire and several were ZANU-PF supporters who had
been targeted by supporters of the same party," the dossier said.

Cases of violence have been escalating across Zimbabwe in the aftermath of
the March 29 general elections which saw veteran President Robert Mugabe's
ruling party losing its traditional parliamentary majority.

Ngirande told AFP: "SADC needs to help to stop the violence, put measures to
protect citizens and prevent the increased conflict from deteriorating into
civil strife."

Nearly a month after the polls the electoral agency is yet to announce the
presidential results. ZANU-PF says it is preparing for a run-off as there
was no outright winner while the MDC declared its leader Morgan Tsvagirai
winner based on a tally from polling stations.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Let us allow MDC to rebuild Zimbabwe

By William Dhinhiwe
April 24, 2008

RETIRED General Vitalis Sheba Gava Zvinavashe’s acceptance of defeat is very
significant, considering he was the very first military man to vow never to
salute MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai should he ever win the presidential

This has to be the turning point we have all been anxiously waiting for. It
is to be hoped that all within the ruling Zanu-PF party will accept the fact
that their party has lost this election and will help to start rebuilding
the country.

It is, therefore, baffling to hear the views of the likes of Patrick
Chinamasa and the overzealous Brighton Matonga (Zimbabwe’s own Joseph
Gobbels or perhaps Comical Ali). The two men are angry that ordinary South
African citizens have won the battle to stop arms of war from being brought
into Zimbabwe to kill innocent civilians. What crimes have these Zimbabweans
civilian perpetrated other than to vote for a party of their own choice in
an election wholly run by Zanu-PF?

Assuming these arms do not find their way to Zimbabwe we should remain
grateful to the very alert South African workers. Their government would
really not mind these arms proceeding to Zimbabwe.

I am also perturbed by Simba Makoni’s appearance at the SADC Lusaka summit.
Yes, he could be the chosen man of the South African government and other
interests but the fact of the matter is that he was rejected by the people
of Zimbabwe as evidenced by the poll results. His closest allies Ibbotson
Joseph Mandaza and Kudzanai Mbudzi received a very small number of votes in
the House of Assembly elections. The combined total number of votes for the
two gentlemen was well below 1 500, if my memory serves me well.

I appeal to those close to Simba Makoni to advise him to get out of the way
and let the elected representatives of the people get on with the business
of leading the way forward. Makoni’s services might be more appreciated in
his own personal business, where I am informed that that he is not doing
very well either.

Morgan Tsvangirai and his party were the first to suggest a government of
National Unity. Why should it now suddenly appear as some kind of wonderful
compromise proposed by the losers of the elections?

The point is that the MDC won these elections and this has to be recognised.
They have the mandate to proceed to bring harmony into the country in the
best way they, and not Zanu-PF or Makoni, see fit.

It should be really up to them who they pick from the Zanu-PF establishment
if they consider such moves to be progressive. Remember they know these
individuals pretty well like indeed most of us.

There are people in Zanu-PF who will never repent. The likes of Didymus
Mutasa, Chinamasa, Matonga, as well as a whole bunch of Mugabe’s relatives
in government and his entire criminally inclined MPs and cabinet Ministers
from the Mashonaland Central area lead by Elliot Manyika.

I have recently read statements expressed by Welshman Ncube and Arthur
Mutambara in articles appearing on the Zimbabwe Times website. It is very
encouraging to see their views. Here are Zimbabweans who earlier appeared as
if they would never see eye to eye with Tsvangirai. They have now
acknowledged the results and are willing to offer themselves for the good of
the nation.

Zanu-PF wants us to believe Great Britain and the United States are out to
re-colonise us. Yet at the same time they want China to provide arms to maim
and kill ordinary peace-loving civilians.

I would urge a future MDC government to review links with countries such
China. We do not need any further dealings with their kind. They may have
provided arms to fight oppressive regimes during the war of liberation but
that does not grant them the right to replace the colonial masters. We
simply do not want to be colonised by anybody again.

Mugabe has always managed to divert attention when it comes to Britain and
the States and the African leaders who are too scared to attack the two
countries are very happy that in Mugabe they have a man who will say what
they themselves want to say but are too scared to. Mbeki hates the British
and Americans to bits and the sooner they realise that the more they will be
able to understand why he is with Mugabe.

Pictures of tortured Zimbabweans are appearing on a number of sites for all
to see. One then wonders how Africa fails to see a crisis of that nature.
Who will stand for these innocent people?

In so far as the Zimbabwean situation is concerned Africa has proved to be a

My appeal to you who have relatives in Zanu-PF to, please, invite them to
your homes and let them see how you live. Let it be known to them that they
cannot use the toilet in your houses because there is no toilet paper or
water to flush the toilet. Let them know when you last had a decent meal.

My fellow Zimbabweans we have a party here, the MDC,  that has won an
election, is prepared to forgive and clearly has a plan as to the way
forward. Why are we not giving them a chance?

Yes, Zanu-PF was involved in the war of liberation, but always remember that
this was voluntary.

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Prisons burst at the seams

Sydney Morning Herald

April 25, 2008

The Zimbabwean Government's 43 prisons were designed to accommodate 16,000
prisoners but hold about 25,000, media reports say.

Prison guards abuse prisoners. Poor sanitary conditions persist, which
aggravates outbreaks of cholera, diarrhoea, measles, tuberculosis and HIV
and AIDS-related illnesses.

Human rights activists familiar with prison conditions report constant
shortages of food, water, electricity, clothing and soap.

A Solidarity Peace Trust and Institute for Justice and Reconciliation report
said that "political arrestees are routinely and deliberately overcrowded,
with 30 or more people being kept at times in cells intended for six", and
those "who have been severely beaten by the police and have fractures and
other injuries are routinely denied any access to health care or medication
for varying period of time".

Source: The US State Department

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Revealed – Zanu plan to win back votes

The Zimbabwean

 Thursday, 24 April 2008 15:21 Arrest illegal traders, then flood the market


Robert Mugabe, civilian leader of the military junta now ruling Zimbabwe, is
to launch a crackdown against informal traders and parallel market dealers
in the cities, as a new twist in the regime’s campaign of retribution.
Sources within the Zanu (PF) and the spy agency, the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), last week told The Zimbabwean on Sunday that another
crackdown, which will “borrow” from both Operation Murambatsvina/Restore
Order and Dzikisai Mitengo/Yehlisani intengo is on the cards and will be
launched within the next few days.
The operation is said to be a retribution campaign against urban voters who
have remained faithful to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). It will
see most informal traders being arrested on accusations that they are
operating without licences and that they are illegal foreign currency
“The operation will be launched before the presidential elections. After
killing the black market on basic commodities, the government will then
release the basics that have been kept for campaign purposes, which will
flood the market and, hopefully, make the voters turn back to the ruling
party and vote for the president in the run-off,” said a source.
The sources added that Mugabe’s regime would release the staple maize-meal,
which is in short supply in the market, in a bid to simulate a normal
situation, whereby basic foodstuffs are available again.
“This is meant to show that, despite many people blaming the government for
the critical shortages of things like maize and sugar, it is some
unpatriotic businesspersons who are causing artificial shortages of these.
Many businesses will be hit by the new operation,” said another source.
The sources added that members of the CIO, the police and the army would be
deployed to monitor and harass businesses that were linked to the MDC, with
some of them being forced to close down, on allegations that they were
pushing a regime change agenda alongside the MDC and the West.
“There are some targeted areas like Egodini bus terminus and Lobengula
Street here in Bulawayo, where the deployments will be very heavy. This time
there will be no favours and many informal traders and parallel market
dealers will be beaten up and fined heavily, to deter them from coming
 back,” said the source.
A few years ago, Mugabe launched two operations, Murambatsvina and Dzikisai
Mitengo/Yehlisani Intengo, which left several urban people homeless and
killed off businesses, resulting in most basic commodities vanishing from
the shelves.
Obert Mpofu, the former Minister of Industry and International Trade, could
not be reached for comment.

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The show must go on - Zimbabwe International Trade Fair


Our cell phone network has been appalling in recent weeks, but one network
has managed to dramatically improve its service: my friend reckons its
because the Trade Fair is going on.

It’s all part of glossing up the lie that there are no problems in Zimbabwe
and trade is normal.

In 2005 we blogged here about how petrol was suddenly made available during
the Trade Fair week. In 2006, we wrote about how the homeless and street
kids were being rounded up and temporarily locked up to ‘clean up the

It is definately not ‘business as usual’ this year. In fact, I heard a story
that on one morning the Fair was opened up and it was littered - littered -
with protest phamphlets. So much so that all available police were rushed in
to clean the place up before the public arrived. Not quite normal then!

The government’s line on the Fair is this (from The Herald):

  “I know that our enemies were saying we would postpone the fair. What they
did not realise is that as Government, we are keen to promote business
because it has a direct link with the livelihood of the people.

  “Why then would we postpone such a thing? It is just that some people want
to politicise virtually everything,” she said.

  “We have both foreign and local companies at the ZITF out to do business
and that’s as it should be.”

Is business booming? The Herald tells us there were 565 exhibitors — 544 of
them local and 21 foreign. Those figures don’t indicate a rush of confidence
and interest to do trade with Zimbabwe to me.

It is was this comment from the first secretary for economic affairs at the
Zambian Embassy in Zimbabwe that made me laugh out loud: she optimistically
looks forward to business opportunites saying,

  “People have expressed interest in buying sugar, cooking oil and
medicines, which apparently are in short supply here,” she said.

Well… yes.. apparently they are! I’m surprised her stand wasn’t mobbed for
its display if that’s what they are exhibiting.

Normal happy trading days, indeed … how ridiculous!

This entry was written by Hope on Thursday, April 24th, 2008 at 10:05

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South African Party Leader Says Zimbabwe Arms Embargo Not Necessary


By Tendai Maphosa
24 April 2008

Jacob Zuma, the president of South Africa's ruling party, says the situation
in Zimbabwe has not reached the stage where an international arms embargo is
necessary. This contradicts the British prime minister's call for an arms
embargo on Zimbabwe. Tendai Maphosa attended Zuma's press conference in
London and filed this report for VOA.

African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, the man who could be South
Africa's next president, met Wednesday with British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown. He said the issue of an arms embargo came up during their meeting.

"We debated the issue, I do not think we have reached the stage of arms
embargo in Zimbabwe," he said. "We do not know of any order of anything that
Zimbabwe is making in terms of arms. I think it is going too far and really
it could just complicate the situation, which needs to be handled with great

But Zuma said the Durban dockworkers who refused to offload the Chinese ship
bearing arms for Zimbabwe had acted correctly.

The ship was forced to abandon plans to offload its cargo in the South
African port after activists won a court case that prevented the
transportation of the arms to the border with landlocked Zimbabwe.

Zuma also said the refusal to allow the ship into a Mozambican port and the
call by the chairman of the Southern African Development Community that the
ship should not be allowed to dock in any African port was an appropriate
response. The ship is reportedly on its way back to China with its cargo.

He also reiterated the withholding of Zimbabwe's March 29 presidential
election results is unacceptable, saying that the Zimbabwean Electoral
Commission is sabotaging its own work by the delay. Zuma said he has not
been given a good reason why the election results are being withheld.

The South African politician also addressed the issue of the post-election
violence against supporters of the opposition by the police, the army, war
veterans and supporters of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF

"We have condemned that, it cannot be allowed, it is wrong absolutely out of
order and when we go back home the ANC will certainly discuss the matter and
issue a well considered statement," he said.

Zuma who has recently been more outspoken regarding the Zimbabwean crisis,
supported South African President Thabo Mbeki's quiet diplomacy. He said
taking a tougher stance against Zimbabwe would be counter-productive and
South Africa would continue to engage with the Zimbabwean government and the

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