Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Interview by Thomas Hunter:
April 29, 2008
Times correspondent in Murewa
Dennis was beaten and left for dead with three shattered limbs, but even
when he was found and taken to hospital there was no plaster to set his
limbs or painkillers to quell the agony.
Jacob was set upon by militiamen who were armed with batons and was struck
until he could no longer stand, but when he got to hospital he was told he
could not be treated without a police report on his injuries.
When Harold’s house was burnt down and his foot almost cut through with the
axe that one of his attackers swung at him he did not bother going to the
government hospital at all. “It isn’t safe to be in a hospital where we can
be found,” he said.
As evidence of increasing government-sponsored violence against the
Zimbabwean opposition mounts a pattern is emerging of deliberate attempts to
obstruct medical treatment for its victims and to cover up the violence. The
Zimbabwean Minister of Health and other doctors who are linked to the ruling
party have been implicated in orchestrating the violence and using
government medical facilities for their activities.
Harold was attacked on Friday at his homestead in a village 40km (25 miles)
from the centre of Murewa, the constituency of David Parirenyatwa, the
Minister of Health and a doctor in his own right. Thirty-five men from the
local Zanu (PF) youth militia broke down his door, demanding to know where
his gun was kept.Even when he handed it over they attacked him with batons
and an axe, slashing him across the body. He never thought of going to the
nearest hospital, which is in Murewa.
“The same people who did this would find me there,” he said. Instead, he
limped to the roadside where he hitched a lift to Harare. His son then took
him to a private clinic, which is used by other victims of the violence.
Murewa is a long-time Zanu (PF) stronghold but in the elections last month
one of its three constituencies, Murewa West, fell to the opposition. That
was enough to provoke the retaliation of the local Zanu (PF) militia, led by
the senior party officials of the area, including Dr Parirenyatwa.
According to a witness, on April 10 Dr Parirenyatwa and two other local Zanu
(PF) MPs, accompanied by gunmen, rounded up people in the centre of Murewa
and forced them to attend a rally in the hospital grounds. “\ threatened MDC
supporters with death if they ‘re-vote’ MDC in the anticipated election
rerun,” said the affidavit, written and signed by an opposition activist who
was at the meeting. The militiamen, apparently acting on the orders of the
minister, also fired shots to round up people in the Chigogodza township.
Several hospitals throughout the areas worst affected by the violence —
including Murewa — have become the epicentres of the campaign to reverse the
election victory of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which is still
unannounced and is apparently in the process of being overturned by the
machinations of Robert Mugabe’s regime. An election official last night
announced that provisional results would be released today, following
controversial recounts in several constituencies.
On Friday more than 200 opposition supporters were arrested in a raid on the
MDC headquarters in Harare. Many of the detainees, including pregnant women
and children, were undergoing treatment at private clinics in Harare, which
was organised by party workers and civil society groups.
Many rural doctors are still battling to treat the wounded despite a lack of
medical supplies. Others have been threatened to prevent them from caring
Dennis was taken to Kotwa hospital in Mudzi after he was rescued by a party
official. He was forced to leave for Harare when doctors told him they had
run out of plaster to set his broken arms and shattered femur. He was
treated at a private clinic in Harare but last Thursday, a day before the
raid at the MDC headquarters, unknown men tried to break into the ward so he
was moved. Central Intelligence Office agents asked for the names of
patients the next day.
Human rights groups, who have helped to bring the injured to Harare for
treatment, reported yesterday that dozens had failed to arrive and reports
had reached them of police roadblocks stopping victims from getting through.
Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Interview by Thomas Hunter:
David Coltart is a senator with the Zimbabwean opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. He first spoke to Crikey on 8 April, a week after the election. Three weeks on, Mugabe clings to power, with an announcement expected this week on the result of the crucial Presidential vote.
News reports suggest that there will be announcement this week on the result of the presidential election. Is Zimbabwe likely to learn who won, or will it be a result that demands a run-off election?
I think it�s more likely that a run-off election will be called. As far back as Wednesday 2 April, the Herald newspaper, which is the Harare-based government controlled daily, ran a story saying that there would be a run-off. They knew the figures as far back as then. The government line ever since then has been that there would be a run-off. So it will be very surprising if we get anything but a run-off. The electoral act says that a run-off must occur within 21 days from the conclusion of the previous election, which we as lawyers believe means from the time of the declaration of the results. The moment the result is announced in the presidential election, which might be this week, then the re-run has to be held within 21 days.
There has been some disturbing imagery flowing out of Zimbabwe in recent weeks. According to the reports accompanying it, voters who supported the opposition in the election are being intimidated by Mugabe supporters to change their vote in any follow-up poll. Does that accord with the information you have?
Yes, it�s happening primarily in the rural areas and the north and east. There have been very few reports from the south west of the country where I live. It�s clearly a military campaign, very well coordinated, very well organised. In the course of the last week, I�ve spoken to doctors, I�ve spoken to journalists, to diplomats and to political colleagues who all report the same thing � a systematic campaign targeting villages and areas that voted for Morgan Tsvangirai in the first election. Burning houses, breaking bones, torturing people � I�m receiving credible reports of all these activities.
How widespread is the campaign? How many people are in the firing line, so to speak?
Certainly hundreds, possibly thousands of people are in danger. They are being targeted very specifically. Terrifyingly, Zanu-PF knows from the results of the last election exactly how each village voted. The votes were counted at polling stations and in rural areas we have only a few villages voting at each polling station. So Zanu-PF knows with incredible accuracy how each of these villages voted. They seem to have targeted villages that have never voted against Mugabe and his party before.
What sort of impact did the raids last week on the opposition party�s offices have on you and the opposition more broadly?
Well, first of all, I�m from the smaller MDC faction. There�s a dreadful split in the opposition which we are trying to resolve. The party I represent has not been raided, but of course I have many friends and colleagues in the MDC under Morgan Tsvangirai and we are very distressed by what has happened to them. The raid was obviously designed to intimidate. I understand from friends in the MDC that they not only raided the premises, they broke doors down, they took computers and passports away. They�ve taken confidential minutes and memoranda, and of course they arrested people who had come into Harare to seek refuge. It�s highly intimidatory. It undercuts the MDC�s ability to mobilise and organise in preparation for a re-run. There�s absolutely no justification for it. They�ve given us a pretext that they were trying to find information regarding the rigging of the election. If it wasn�t so serious it would be hilarious. Zanu are the masters of rigging, and for them to accuse the MDC of rigging an electoral process which they control from beginning to end is ludicrous. So in one sense, it is depressing, but in another sense it shows how desperate they are.
It seems courageous of you to have a conversation like this with a foreign journalist. How closely does Zanu-PF monitor their opponents� communications with the world beyond Zimbabwe's borders?
On this particular phone line I�m more confident that it�s very difficult for them track the conversation. My landline, my office phone and my home phone are monitored so I am more cautious about what I say on those lines. But even on those phones, my experience is that the best protection we have is profile. When one gives an interview like this and it�s on the record and one�s name is used, it does act, perhaps somewhat paradoxically, as protection. They know the international community is watching them. People who are most at risk are people without any profile whatsoever, people who are activists in the field.
Do you feel personally in danger?
Everyone in the opposition is in danger because we are dealing with a regime that is now paranoid, a regime that is desperate and senses that it's in its final days. As with all dictatorships down through the ages, the closer they get to their end, the more irrational and vicious they become. No-one is immune from their depredations.
Nyasa Times, Malawi
Nyasa Times Reporter 29 April, 2008
Malawi government has sent a top three man national intelligence experts to
Angola to look at ways of helping Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe clear
the weapons aboard the beleaguered Chinese ship that has docked in Luanda,
Angola, Nyasa Times has learnt.
The Malawi team is comprised of Mr Clement Kapalamula - Head of Secret
Intelligence Services (SIS), Mr George Masinga - Acting Director of Foreign
Relations (Intelligence) and a Mr Matanga - Technical Engineer
The delegation left the country on Sunday through Kamuzu International
Airport via South Africa to Luanda, Angola's capital to assess the means of
clearing the arms in disguise as if they have been donated to Malawi by the
Chinese Defence Forces.
"Malawi Secret Intelligence Services (SIS) was approached by the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) of Zimbabwe to help in clearing the arms if
the ship docked in Angola," said a State House source speaking on condition
Malawi leader Bingu Mutharika is a staunch supporter of the 84 year old
Zimbabwean dictator and has been providing supplies to his household and
‘donated’ 400 000 tonnes of maize to ZANU-PF to buy votes during the March
29 disputed general elections.
China and Zimbabwe want to clear the weapons as a donation to Malawi under
recently signed US$4 million China-Malawi defence cooperation. The weapons
are further to be smuggled into Zimbabwe.
"The plan is to clear the arms as if they are to be used by Malawi while in
real sense they will be passed over to Zimbabwe using trucks ferrying maize
being sold to Zimbabwe by the president," added the source.
The Malawi government actions come at the back of a Monday's White House
warning against sending arms to Zimbabwe where the March 29 general
elections has provoked a stand-off and bloodshed.
"We urge anyone who is thinking about sending arms to the region to rethink
that, so that we can try to solve this peacefully," said White House
spokesperson Dana Perino.
But Angola announced Saturday that the ship carrying would only be allowed
to unload merchandise destined for Angola while it docked in Luanda.
Besides Malawi, Angola has long been one of Mugabe's staunchest allies but
the refusal was wrongly adjudged as a symbol of solidarity in the region.
China and Malawi agreed to strengthen military cooperation in various fields
during the talks between the defence ministers of the two countries Beijing
during President Mutharika's official visit in March 2008 following the
recognition of the one-China Policy that refuses to recognise the sovereign
existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
"The Chinese armed forces attach great importance to establishing and
developing relations with the Malawian armed forces," said Chinese Defence
Minister Liang Guanglie and added that the China was ready to develop
exchanges and cooperation with Malawi in various fields.
Earlier this month, SADC states refused to allow a Chinese ship to unload
by Nokuthula Sibanda Tuesday 29 April 2008
HARARE – A Zimbabwe teachers’ union said on Monday several of its members
who served as poling officers have been abducted at night by suspected state
agents and forced to confess that they helped rig elections in favour of the
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) – one of two unions that
represent the country’s teachers – urged teachers to vacate schools for
their own safety once they suspect they are being targeted or threats have
been made against them.
"Teachers who were presiding officers are being abducted, in the middle of
the night and forced to write sworn statements to the effect that they
rigged elections," PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe said.
"Our advice to teachers is that vacate the school once political threats are
uttered. Never take chances, the country is full of blood thirsty ninjas and
Police have over the past four weeks cracked down on polling officials,
arresting scores of officials they accuse of conniving with the opposition
to deny President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party victory in last month’s
joint presidential and parliamentary elections.
Some of the polling officials, among them several teachers, have been
brought to court on charges of electoral fraud. However, a recount of votes
in 23 constituencies revealed minor inconsistencies in tallying of votes
that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said were not enough to alter
the opposition’s electoral victory.
The ZEC is yet to issue results of the presidential vote but ZANU PF party
and independent observers acknowledge that Mugabe lost to opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, although they say a second round of voting is required to
settle the contest.
Analysts and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party say the
crackdown against polling officials and resurgent political violence across
Zimbabwe are both well calculated to cow the voting officers and voters
themselves to back Mugabe in the run-off against Tsvangirai. – ZimOnline.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
28 April 2008
Incidents of violence continued Monday in Zimbabwe's rural areas where
ruling party militants and other elements are accused of mounting a campaign
of intimidation and physical attacks - some fatal - against those suspected
of voting for the opposition in March 29 national elections in which it
claimed a parliamentary majority.
Sources in the Headlands Constituency of Manicaland Province said about 15
armed ruling party militia members and soldiers Monday morning attacked a
family suspected of backing the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
but the assailants were overpowered by seized a loaded AK-47 assault rifle
from a soldier in the group.
Two villagers aged 64 and 84 were injured in the fight and were rushed to a
hospital in Mutare, local sources said. War veterans and militia members are
said to have set up torture camps at Nyamukamani in Village 4-C where homes
were burned down this weekend. Another camp has reportedly been set up at
Fairfield in Ward 37.
In Makoni North, 35 MDC members were arrested this weekend on charges of
inciting violence. Mutare police raided a house in the Chikanga district
which they believed to be harboring MDC victims of violence, but failed to
make any arrests.
In Shamva South, Mashonaland Central Province, more than 169 houses have
been burned down since Thursday, with Bushu and Jiti worst affected, a
Headlands Ward Councilor Mununudzi Chitsa, who reported the clash there to
local police, told VOA reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that he does not see an end
to violence because the police in Manicaland are not pursuing or arresting
By Peter Clottey
29 April 2008
Supporters of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s government have described
as treasonous calls by main opposition leader for the veteran president to
step down. Partisans of the ruling ZANU-PF party say the opposition is in
league with enemies of the country to force a regime change, which they
claim is in direct contravention to the constitution. This comes after
factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) reportedly
joined forces to take over the lower house of parliament as a majority party
after the disputed March 29 elections. Glen Mpani is a Zimbabwean political
analyst with the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He tells reporter
Peter Clottey that President Mugabe’s days in office are numbered.
“I think the unity of the two MDC formations is long overdue. If you know,
before the election, there was an attempt to unite the two MDC formations,
and that attempt did not lead to anything positive. And I think for the two
MDC formations to agree to unite, I think, one, it puts to rest the apparent
division that ZANU-PF was trying to put across that they have a majority
because the two MDC formations are divided. And I think it is now clear that
there is one opposition. The MDC has a clear majority, and ZANU-PF is now
officially in opposition in parliament,” Mpani pointed out.
He said the unity between the two MDC factions gives Zimbabwe citizens hope
for the future.
“I think what the unity does is that it boosts the confidence of the men and
women in Zimbabwe, who are being battered, and the leadership is responding
and taking up a more proactive and responsible leadership by coming together
and trying to come up with a common front against the illegitimate
government in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Mpani described as preposterous treason calls by partisans of the ruling
“I think those accusations are quite misplaced. First and foremost to the
government that is there in Zimbabwe right now, Mugabe is running that
government illegally. And the cabinet that he has put in place is not
constitutional based on the fact that they lost in an election. They have
not announced the result of the election, and for them to claim that Morgan
Tsvangirai is tantamount to treason, I think, is out of order,” Mpani noted.
He said the leader of the opposition is right to call for the president to
“What Morgan Tsvangirai is saying based on what we are hearing from him is
simply that the president of Zimbabwe should, one, allow the results to be
released, and secondly, to have ways for whoever is elected as that serve as
the president of Zimbabwe. And the results that were posted outside show
very well that Morgan Tsvangirai won the elections. And what they are simply
asking for is for him to be given the task to take over,” he said.
Mpani said staunch supporters of President Mugabe fear for their political
lives should the incumbent hand over power.
“What we should understand is that Mugabe is now a prisoner of the highest
office of the land. And he is being held under siege by his generals, by
people who know that in the event that he leaves, it is very likely that
they are going to be prosecuted for the crimes that they committed during
their time that they were in office. The easy option for Mugabe is to
concede defeat and get into a negotiating process where there can be an
agreement on the framework of an honorable exit for him,” Mpani noted.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission says it has finished with the
partial recount of the votes and is waiting for the opposition to verify
results before publishing them, possibly today. But the main opposition MDC
declines to participate in the verification, calling it illegal.
By Margaret Mutyambizi and Nkosilathi Ncube ⋅ April 28, 2008
MDC factions one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and another led by Arthur
Mutambara have announced a parliamentary cooperation agreement on Monday
giving them firm control of parliament.
But the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party factions – the larger one
led by Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by academic Arthur Mutambara – will
still be short of a two-thirds parliamentary majority required to amend
Zimbabwe’s defective Constitution that bestows wide-ranging powers on
“Its our pleasure to announce that our two formations in Parliament have
agreed to work together,” Tsvangirai told journalists in Johannesburg. “The
combined MDC parliamentary caucus is now in control of Parliament and ZANU
PF (Mugabe’s party) is now the opposition.”
The Tsvangirai-led MDC won 99 seats while the Mutambara group won 10, to
bring their total number of seats to 109, a simple majority in the 210-seat
House of Assembly.
Jonathan Moyo an independent won one seat Tsholotsho North while ZANU PF,
which had controlled Parliament since Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence took 97
seats. Three constituencies where voting could not take place will hold
by-elections at an as yet unknown date.
Tsvangirai, who says he should be declared president because he defeated
Mugabe in the March 29 combined presidential and parliamentary elections,
urged the veteran Zimbabwean leader to concede defeat because there was no
way he could rule effectively when he does not control Parliament.
“He should concede. He cannot be president without control of Parliament,”
However, analysts say with Zimbabwe’s strong presidential system Mugabe, if
he wins an anticipated second round ballot against Tsvangirai, would still
be able to rule although an opposition-led but traditionally weak Parliament
would make the task a little harder.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is expected to issue official
results of the presidential vote sometime this week. But ZANU PF and
independent observers acknowledge Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai said his party would this week meet Tanzanian President and
African Union Chairman Jakaya Kikwete in its bid to bring more pressure on
Mugabe to allow the release of the presidential election results.
The ZEC’s failure to release the results has touched off a tense stalemate
that analysts fear could lead to violence and bloodshed, while the United
States has threatened sanctions over delays to issue results.
The MDC says Mugabe is delaying results to use the time to unleash violence
and terror on voters in a bid to cow them to support him in the second round
ballot that, according to the electoral law, should be held within three
days of issuing of results.
The MDC says at least 15 of its supporters have been murdered while another
3 000 have been displaced in the violence, which it the opposition party has
described as a war being waged by state security forces and ZANU PF
militants against Zimbabweans.
Tsvangirai said the United Nations Security Council was on Tuesday scheduled
to discuss violence and the deepening electoral crisis at the request of the
“We have requested that the UN deals with the matter. The UN is meeting
tomorrow and Zimbabwe is on the agenda,” Tsvangirai said.
Monday, Apr. 28, 2008 By MEGAN LINDOW
Could the tide be turning once again in Zimbabwe's post-election crisis?
When the authorities declared their intention to recount the ballots in 23
of 210 seats in the election staged more than four weeks ago, opposition
activists and foreign observers assumed the intention was to rig the results
and maintain the power of President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. But
the revised result announced on Sunday upheld the historic victory of the
Movement for Democratic Change in the parliamentary election, meaning
Mugabe's party has lost control of the legislature for the first time in
Zimbabwe's 28-year history. Although the results of the balloting for the
presidency continue to be withheld, the opposition is clearly feeling the
wind at its back: After several weeks of bloody suppression at the hands of
security forces and militias associated with the ruling party, the MDC
announced Monday that it had overcome a split in its ranks that had resulted
in rival slates of candidates, thus adding strength to its parliamentary
"Old man, go and have an honourable exit," taunted opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai at a press conference announcing his reconciliation with
opposition rival Arthur Mutambara, urging Mugabe to end his 28-year rule.
Bold words for a man who has been beaten and jailed for his opposition to
Mugabe, although they were spoken, not in Zimbabwe, but in the South African
city of Johannesburg where the opposition leader has been courting support
for demands that the election results be immediately released. Tsvangirai
may, in fact, be on the verge of making a triumphant return home. On
Tuesday, electoral officials are at last expected to announce the results of
the presidential poll, which Tsvangirai insists that he has won by a margin
greater than the 50% majority he needs to avoid a runoff race against
The imminent release of the results may be a result of increasing pressure
from African leaders to resolve the crisis. And although analysts had
expected that after the four-week delay, the result would give Mugabe a
razor-thin majority, forcing a run-off that the ruling party would then try
to win through violent intimidation, the fact that the recount upheld the
opposition parliamentary victory may have revised pessimistic expectations.
"I think it's going to be very difficult for them to announce anything other
than a Tsvangirai win tomorrow," Zimbabwean human rights activist Elinor
Sisulu told TIME from South Africa, where she is based. "If they announce a
win for Mugabe it's just not going to be accepted."
According to Sisulu, the opposition's gains in parliament have forced a
crack that cannot be re-sealed in Mugabe's power structure. This will be the
first time since independence from Britain in 1980 that ZANU-PF has not
controlled Parliament. "This is a very precarious and dangerous situation
now," she says.
Yet if Tsvangirai is pronounced the winner on Tuesday, the political
violence that has gripped the country over the past month could escalate
rather than abate, because commanders of the security forces have vowed
never to yield to opposition rule. The MDC claims that 15 of its supporters
have been killed, and hundreds more beaten, tortured and evicted as ZANU-PF
attempts to assert its authority in rural areas and MDC strongholds. Outside
observers concur that political violence is increasing. On Monday, the 215
opposition supporters rounded up in a raid on MDC offices in Harare on
Friday — many of them injured party workers from elsewhere — were still
being held, despite an international outcry.
The crackdown may have put opposition activists on the defensive at home,
but pressure has been mounting on President Mugabe's government from
outside. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Fraser said last weekend
that the U.N. should consider imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe unless the
violence ceases. Unions, civil society and church groups from around the
region have also rallied to support Zimbabwe's opposition, successfully
preventing a Chinese weapons shipment bound for Zimbabwe from reaching the
landlocked country by refusing to offload it in southern African ports. And
the reunification of the opposition has supporters hopeful. "This was the
moment for them to reunite, because the disagreement between them was always
about how to get rid of Mugabe," says Sisulu. "So now that the electorate
has spoken, there's no reason for their differences." Still, whatever the
outcome of the election, ZANU-PF is showing little sign of meekly accepting
the verdict of the electorate. Last Friday, a South African newspaper
reported that Angolan President Eduardo dos Santos, a longtime Mugabe ally,
was ready to send his troops to the Zimbabwean ruler's aid if necessary. And
if the results announced on Tuesday require a runoff vote, the violence and
intimidation currently being meted out on opposition supporters could keep
voters away from the polls — and yet steal victory from Tsvangirai.
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 04/25/2008 19:58:44
A VOTE recount for the Zvimba North House of Assembly and Senate seats has
turned up new ballot papers from a polling station which had been omitted
from the first count, officials said.
Zanu PF candidate Ignatius Chombo -- announced the House of Assembly winner
after the March 29 elections before a recount was ordered by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) -- retained the seat, up 155 votes.
Ernest Mudimu of MDC-Tsvangirai gained 13 votes, taking his tally to 1714,
contrasted with Chombo’s 6939. Shelton Magama of MDC saw his total reduced
by 28 votes, and he was down to 916.
Zanu PF Senate candidate Virginia Muchenje, announced duly elected with 26
274 votes after the first count, was up 261 votes while her opponent,
MDC-Tsvangirai’s Fidelis Chiramba, improved on his 12 651 total by 295.
The Zvimba North result is only the third result from 23 recounts. Results
remained unchanged in Goromonzi West where Zanu PF won and Zaka West where
the MDC was ahead.
The ZEC has promised all results from the recount will be announced over the
weekend, possibly to be quickly followed by the presidential election
results which are still outstanding, almost a month after voting.
Recounts were initiated in 21 constituencies where Zanu PF claimed President
Mugabe and Zanu PF’s ballots had been undercounted by corrupt election
officials who took money from the MDC-Tsvangirai. The MDC-Tsvangirai forced
recounts in two constituencies.
Zanu PF hopes to overturn its defeat in parliamentary elections after losing
its majority to the two MDC factions for the first time in the March 29
Recounts are also being carried out in Chimanimani West, Mutare West, Bikita
West, Bikita South, Bulilima East, Zhombe, Zaka East, Silobela, Chiredzi
North, Gokwe-Kabuyuni, Buhera South, Lupane East, Mberengwa East, West,
South, North, Masvingo Central and Masvingo West.
Mon 28 Apr 2008, 22:50 GMT
HARARE, April 29 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government said one man was killed
and two others were injured when opposition supporters tried to attack an
army training camp, a state newspaper said on Tuesday.
Quoting a government statement, the online version of the Herald said the
incident had taken place in a rural district in eastern Zimbabwe, but it
gave no details of when it happened or the identities of the casualties.
Police and officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) -- which says it won last month's general elections to end President
Robert Mugabe's 28-year-old rule -- were not immediately available to
comment on the report.
But the Herald said Mugabe's government had warned that "security forces
would use necessary and appropriate force to ensure that life is respected
and property protected" after a spate of political violence around the
"The latest incident in which MDC-Tsvangirai supporters sought to attack
soldiers on training around Chiwetu Rest Camp in Rusape leading to the death
of one person and injury of two others is a case in point," it quoted the
government as saying.
UK Prelate Urges Prayer for Suffering Nation
LONDON, APRIL 28, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The people of Zimbabwe have responded
to "intense suffering" with "a dignified and quiet heroism," said an English
bishop who visited the country earlier this year.
Bishop Crispian Hollis, chairman of the International Affairs department for
the episcopal conference of England and Wales, published a statement Friday
appealing for prayer for the southern African nation.
"In February, I visited Zimbabwe with Cardinal Murphy O'Connor and what we
saw there filled me with anguish and hope," Bishop Hollis said. "The anguish
was because of the desperate poverty of a people being systematically robbed
and brutalized by their own government, resulting in that country, so rich
in natural and human resources, being reduced to destitution. There was
tragic evidence of that wherever we traveled.
"The hope that we experienced came from the extraordinary witness and
courage of those we met. In the face of intense suffering, Zimbabweans have
responded with a dignified and quiet heroism. Time and again, they have
demonstrated their commitment to justice and democracy and, most recently,
in the elections of March 29th."
The presidential and parliamentary elections last month caused turmoil in a
nation already in crisis. Zimbabwe's electoral commission has still not
released results from the presidential election, a situation recognized by
the international community as a ploy by 84-year-old President Robert Mugabe
to stay in power.
The parliamentary elections were originally declared to give a majority to
the opposition party. The electoral commission later decided on a recount;
however, over the weekend, the results from a partial recount showed the
opposition maintaining its majority. Nevertheless, there was no official and
final statement from the electoral commission today, as had been promised.
The opposition parties set aside their differences, though, to make a united
statement at a news conference today asking Mugabe to concede his loss and
"The Church is living out its vocation to be a peacemaker and the Zimbabwean
bishops have just released a call urging the international community to
support the people as they struggle for their democratic rights," Bishop
Hollis noted. "There is, as Pope Benedict recognized in his recent speech to
the United Nations, a solemn obligation on member states to intervene
appropriately to protect fundamental human rights.
"Zimbabwe is truly in crisis and at a crossroads. I ask you to pray for its
suffering people in the coming days as they struggle to assert the rule of
law over and against the supremacy of violence."
By Carole Gombakomba
28 April 2008
More than 20 Zimbabwean non-governmental organizations have either suspended
operations or scaled them back due to harassment and intimidation by state
security officials and war veterans supporting the ruling ZANU-PF party,
Organizations under pressure include the Zimbabwe Peace Project and the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network, whose chairman, Noel Kututwa, surrendered
to police on Monday after a raid Friday on ZESN's offices. He was released
after questioning but instructed to return with ZESN National Director
Provincial organizations including the Murehwa Community Trust and the
Center for Research and Development in Mutare have suspended their
Center for Research Director Farai Maguwu told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his organization drew official ire by
focusing on the post-election crisis and calling for the released of
long-withheld presidential results.
Advocacy and Communications Officer Fambai Ngirande of the National
Association of Non-Governmental Organizations said NANGO is receiving
similar reports daily from groups that focus on civic education, human
rights and humanitarian needs.
Date: 29 Apr 2008
Calls for Immediate SADC and AU Intervention
Africa Action, an organization that has stood in principled solidarity with
the struggle for human rights, democracy and economic justice in Africa
since 1953, roundly condemns the escalation of human rights violations in
Zimbabwe. Guided by our believe that the defense of human rights is an
international responsibility, Africa Action calls upon the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations
(UN) to immediately intervene to resolve the deteriorating post election
crisis in Zimbabwe.
Africa Action strongly denounces the Zimbabwe Republic Police raid on the
Zimbabwe Elections Support Network (ZESN) offices and the home of ZESN’s
National Director Ms Rindai Chipfunde Vava. We note with outrage the rising
pattern of systematic violence and human rights abuses against members of
Zimbabwe’s civic society and the opposition. The ZESN raid, in which the
police seized computers and organizational documents, was staged in tandem
with a raid at the Movement for Democratic Change Harare headquarters where
heavily armed police details arrested 215 opposition supporters and seized
computers and documents purportedly to search for subversive material. The
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights reports that most of those arrested were
internally displaced persons (IDPs) forced to flea their rural homes because
of escalating violence against villagers who voted for the opposition in the
March 29 elections. Reports are that dozens of rural homes have been
demolished and 10 lives lost in the post election violence.
Africa Action calls for the immediate release of those arrested in recent
police raids, including ZESN Chairman Noel Kutukwa. We implore Zimbabwe’s
Security Forces to immediately cease acting in a partisan manner and
professionally uphold Zimbabwe’s constitution. Further, we call for an
immediate end to systematic acts of intimidation and violence against civic
society and opposition actors and remind perpetrators that one day they will
be held to account.
Zimbabwe can only move forward when the results of the March 29 presidential
elections are released and the human and civil rights of Zimbabwean voters
is respected. It has become clear that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has
failed to release the results because of undue interference from the
President Mugabe administration. Africa Action urges SADC and the AU to
decisively pressure President Mugabe to immediately release the election
results forthwith and accept the outcome. Failure to act resolutely now will
undermine SADC and the AU’s standing in the region. Inaction by the
international community will allow Zimbabwe to sink further into crisis and
potentially destabilize the region and further undermine the integrity of
the democratic process in Africa.
Africa Action recently joined with TransAfrica Forum in a delegation to
Zimbabwe to consult with civic society in their quest for democracy and
social justice. Africa Action can give evidence to the pressing need for
change in Zimbabwe. The country’s economy has virtually collapsed. The
living conditions for many are unbearable. Despite the challenging reality,
pro-democracy and human rights advocates have struggled to address the
situation and have even been victorious in some efforts. Recently the South
African Allied Transport Workers Union (SATAWU) and its allies were able to
successfully block a shipment of Chinese arms to Zimbabwe that would have
further escalated the violence. Africa Action invites Americans to join in
solidarity with Zimbabwean civil society in a call for the immediate release
of the presidential election results and for respect by all actors of
democracy and human rights.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
By: Perla Trevizo
It took Joseph Madida more than 10 years to realize he wasn’t going back to
Zimbabwe after he left for college in England. But for his wife Nozipho
Moyo, returning was never an option.
“I knew I wasn’t going back; I couldn’t see things getting better,” said
Mrs. Moyo, 33, who goes by her maiden name.
Mr. Madida held onto a sense of hope until the presidential elections of
2000, when the government started taking over the farms of white Zimbabweans
and the economy started to worsen.
“When I left for college I still had hope of going back, but after every
visit I started realizing that wasn’t going to happen,” said Mr. Madida, 34,
a computer programer at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.
The couple, who are black, say they’re not surprised by the political
tensions mounting in Zimbabwe since presidential elections on March 29 seem
to have ousted President Robert Mugabe after a 28-year rule. But results of
the election have not been released, leading to widespread unrest in the
Last Friday, the Associated Press reported, police loyal to Mr. Mugabe
raided the offices of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic
Change Party led by presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai. More than 200
people were arrested, the AP reported.
“Nothing surprises you in Zimbabwe. It only surprises me they didn’t do it
sooner,” said Mrs. Moyo, who teaches English as a Second Language in
Hamilton County high schools.
Mr. Madida and Mrs. Moyo still have parents and siblings in Zimbabwe and
said they don’t think the family would be able to survive without the money
“We have relatives who have died recently because medical care is very
limited,” Mrs. Moyo said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air; people
don’t know what to expect.”
“People just want to be able to support their families and send their
children to school,” Mr. Madida said.
Mrs. Moyo and Mr. Madida said they left Zimbabwe at age 19 because they had
no future in their native country.
“People couldn’t express opposition to the ruling party, there was no
democracy,” Mr. Madida said. “Even to get a job you had to know someone in
the government, you needed to have a connection for everything.”
“If things truly changed, I wouldn’t think about it twice to get our things
and go back to Zimbabwe to be with my family and to teach,” Mrs. Moyo said.
“It’s definitely tough being away from your family for so long.”
Mr. Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe as either prime minister or president for
28 years, was considered a hero after helping the country, formerly known as
Rhodesia, win independence from Britain in 1980.
But greed soon turned things around, the couple said.
“People in power always wanted more; it led to corruption and to a bad
economy,” Mr. Madida said.
Still, they describe their childhood years as wonderful.
“We basically had everything. it was a perfect childhood,” Mrs. Moyo said.
“There was hope and optimism (during the early 1980s after Zimbabwe declared
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
28 April 2008
Posted to the web 28 April 2008
On 23 April 2008, the trial of the former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC) Manicaland bureau chief, Andrew Neshamba, who is accused of
contravening the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, was postponed
to 2 June, because the trial magistrate was not feeling well.
Neshamba has pleaded not guilty to a charge of contravening Section 174(1)
(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Criminal Abuse of
Duty as Public Officers).
Allegations against Neshamba are that on 4 February 2007 he and William
Gumbo facilitated the entry of Peter Moyo, an unaccredited journalist of
South African-based E-TV, into the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange where
he shot video footage of the mine fields.
Moyo was convicted on his own plea for contravening Section 83 (1) of the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which deals
with practicing journalism without accreditation.
Moyo was arrested, together with ZBC cameraperson William Gumbo, in the
eastern border town of Mutare after they were found in possession of filming
equipment which they were accused of using to cover illegal diamond mining
activities in Marange Village in Manicaland Province.
In a separate development, a Harare lawyer representing freelance journalist
Frank Chikowore, who is charged with public violence, filed an urgent High
Court application on 23 April for him to be granted bail denied by the
On 22 April, Magistrate Olivia Mariga denied Chikowore and his co-accused
bail when they appeared before her, saying the political climate in the
country is still volatile and as such the accused persons may continue to
incite violence. Chikowore and six other co-accused, among them opposition
MDC director of information and publicity Luke Tamborinyoka, were remanded
in custody to 5 May 2008.
However, in his application to the High Court, Chikowore's lawyer, Harrison
Nkomo, filed an urgent High Court Application arguing that the case against
Chikowore is weak as the state has failed to produce evidence implicating
the accused. He also stated that if granted bail, Chikowore would not
abscond as he is a professional journalist who is prepared to stand trial
and clear his name.
One of the allegations is that the accused waylaid and torched a bus in
Harare's suburb of Warren Park.
According to his lawyer, who was engaged by MISA-Zimbabwe under its Media
Defence Fund facility, the police initially wanted to charge Chikowore with
contravening the repressive AIPPA, allegedly by practicing journalism
However, Chikowore is duly accredited with the state-controlled Media and
Information Commission (MIC) and was similarly accredited by the Zimbabwe
Election Commission (ZEC) to cover the elections held on 29 March.
Nkomo said the police had also contemplated charging Chikowore with
malicious injury to property as well as attempted murder before settling for
the charge of public violence.
*Meanwhile, in another, unrelated development, hearings into the application
to be licensed by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of the
banned "Daily News" and "Daily News on Sunday," commenced before a special
committee of the state-controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC) on
The ANZ, represented by its lawyers and acting chief executive officer, made
representations before the committee pending a ruling on the application in
terms of the AIPPA.
The "Daily News" and "Daily News on Sunday" were banned in September 2003 by
the MIC for publishing without an operating licence, required under the
terms of the AIPPA.
Updates the Neshamba and Gumbo case:
For further information on the Moyo case, see:
For further information the Chikowore case, see:
For further information on the Tamborinyoka case, see:
For further information on the "Daily News" and "Daily News on Sunday" case,
For further information, contact Kaitira Kandjii, Regional Director, MISA,
Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61 232 975, fax: +264 61 248
016, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet: http://www.misa.org
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
28 April 2008
Posted to the web 28 April 2008
The trial of three journalists employed by the weekly "Network Guardian" in
the Midlands Zimbabwean town of Kwekwe who are charged with abuse of
journalistic privileges in contravention of the repressive Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) kicked off on 24 April
2008 before Kwekwe Magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso.
Blessed Mhlanga, James Muonwa and Wycliff Nyarota, who were initially facing
charges of contravening the Supreme Court-nullified Section 80 (1) (a) (2)
of AIPPA, which used to prohibit the publication of falsehoods, have now
pleaded not guilty to contravening Section 80(a) (ii) of AIPPA, which
criminalises abuse of journalistic privileges.
The state alleges that on 26 March 2006, the three or one of them,
unlawfully, intentionally and recklessly falsified information that is
injurious to the reputation, rights and freedoms of others and published a
story in the "Network Guardian" stating that George Muvhimi and Tatenda
Munhanga were caught with their pants down while having sexual intercourse
in a vehicle at Mbizo Shopping Centre in Kwekwe.
The state led evidence from Munhanga who confirmed that she had a
relationship with Muvhimi. She, however, denied having been literally caught
with her pants down. She said on the night in question, she was indeed with
Muvhimi who had later dropped her near her house.
Under cross-examination, she confirmed that Muonwa had phoned to try and
verify the story but she had hung up on him. Munhanga also confirmed her
friendship with a number of people mentioned in the story as having been
phoned to verify the story by Muonwa.
Mhlanga, Muonwa and Nyarota are being represented by Media Lawyers Network
member Prayers Chitsa, Kwekwe lawyer James Magodora and MISA-Zimbabwe Legal
Officer Wilbert Mandinde.
The trial is expected to continue on 6 May.