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Weary Zimbabweans brace for 2-day national strike

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 2, 2007

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabweans braced Monday for a two-day national protest
strike in the wake of a police crackdown on government opponents, while
police said they were sending reinforcements into the streets.

Business leaders said, however, that the call to strike appeared to have
stirred little open emotion, as a wary calm descended in the capital,
Harare. Scores of businesses have shut down, and some main factories were
operating at reduced capacity.

Police reinforcements were being deployed during the strike Tuesday and
Wednesday, spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said. Police also on Monday reported a
10th gasoline bombing in the past month, and blamed it on opposition

The main Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions called the strike to protest the
country's economic crisis, accusing the government of corruption and
mismanagement that fueled official inflation of nearly 1,700 percent - the
highest rate in the world - as well as 80 percent unemployment and acute
shortages of food, hard currency and gasoline.

The were no immediate reports of labor officials canvassing for support
that, before past strikes, had stoked tensions and led to police searches,
scuffles and arrests.

Labor unions urged strikers to stay home, and planned no street
demonstrations, for fear of inciting police action.
Bvudzijena said the planned strike had been declared illegal, and that
police were manning an increased number of road blocks and were being
"strategically deployed" at bus stations, outside businesses and factories
and at commuter transport ranks in townships to stop intimidation of workers
by labor activists, state radio reported Monday.

He said police would protect people going to work and "going about their
legal business."

Executives at one Harare engineering plant said its workers planned to
ignore the strike because the lunch provided in the canteen was the only
daily meal they could rely on. Other workers feared that participating in
the strike would lead to their pay being withheld.

Labor Minister Nicholas Goche, in a statement Monday, accused the labor
federation of "playing political games" in support of an opposition-led
defiance and civil disobedience campaign as well as a string of alleged
petrol bombing across the country.

"Individuals in the ZCTU ... want labor to be seen participating in the
current western backed violence aimed regime change in Zimbabwe," he said.

"Employers are free to deal with workers who choose to deliberately stay
away from work," the statement said, seen as effectively overriding labor
laws preventing the arbitrary firing of employees.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and top colleagues in the Movement for
Democratic Change were hospitalized after being beaten by police while in
custody last month after police violently stopped a Harare prayer meeting
that had been declared an illegal political protest.

President Robert Mugabe has admitted that Tsvangirai and least 40 opposition
activists were beaten in custody, and warned protesters they would be
"bashed" again if violence continued - a reference to government accusations
that the opposition is to blame for a wave of unrest and petrol bomb
attacks, allegations the opposition has repeatedly denied.

Fifteen opposition activists, nine of them ordered by a court to receive
medical attention during the weekend for injuries allegedly inflicted by
police, are scheduled to reappear in court Tuesday on violence-related
charges, their lawyers said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the U.N. was "very much concerned
about the situation" in Zimbabwe.

"It is necessary for the leaders of the Zimbabwean government to strictly
abide by all democratic rules, to firmly establish democratic rules again,"
Ban told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York.

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Zim central bank funds opposition crackdown

Zim Online

Tuesday 03 April 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is bankrolling a government
crackdown on the opposition, paying billions of dollars in allowances and
bonuses to police crack squads that have crushed anti-government protests
and assaulted opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his followers.

Sources in the police and at the RBZ said part of the money provided last
month by the central bank for use by the police and which they said ran into
several billions of dollars would be used to retrain the police's anti-riot
squads in anticipation of possible opposition-led anti-President Robert
Mugabe mass protests.

"Officers were paid a gratuity of one million dollars each from the money
provided by the RBZ after we successfully stopped the MDC (opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party) rally at Zimbabwe Grounds in
 February," said a senior police officer, who declined to be named fearing
possible reprisals from his superiors.

Dozens of MDC supporters were last February injured and property worth
millions of dollars destroyed when heavily armed police descended on
supporters of the opposition party beating them up and forcing them to
disperse from Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare's Highfield suburb where they had
gathered for a meeting.

The police stopped the MDC even though the High Court had issued an order
permitting the opposition party to hold the meeting. Days after breaking the
rally, the police imposed a ban on political meetings and protests in Harare
and its dormitory Chitungwiza city.

According to our source, police officers on duty in Harare to enforce the
ban on political activity by the opposition are paid a daily allowance of
Z$100 000, a hefty sum given the average salary of a police constable of
about $380 000 per month.

RBZ governor Gideon Gono on Monday confirmed releasing "some funds" to the
Ministry of Home Affairs under which the police falls. But the central bank
chief professed ignorance as to how the money was used, referring all
questions to Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi.

"We released some funds to the Ministry of Home Affairs last month (March)
part of which was used by the Registrar General's office. Some of the money
was used for other purposes details of which you can get from the
responsible ministry," Gono told ZimOnline.

Mohadi refused to take questions on the matter saying he did not discuss
security issues with the Press. "I cannot comment on such issues even if
they are true," he said before switching off his phone.

The government, battling to keep public discontent in check in the face of
worsening economic hardships, has over the past weeks intensified pressure
on the MDC and the opposition party's civic society allies.

Police hit squads have over the past few days abducted MDC and civic society
activists in the dead of the night and beaten them in many cases to within
an inch of their lives.

Nine MDC activists arrived at a Harare court last Saturday with severe
injuries after four days in police custody. The magistrate had to adjourn
proceedings to allow the opposition activists to be taken to hospital for
treatment after two of them collapsed in court.

The police allege the MDC activists are behind a spate of petrol bomb
attacks against police stations and a train in Harare and other cities.

The MDC denies it is behind the firebombing incidents, which it says were
orchestrated by government agents in a bid to find an excuse to clamp down
on the opposition party.

Mugabe has publicly defended the police for assaulting his opponents and
boasted that a Southern African Development Community summit last week had
backed his government's controversial treatment of the opposition.

The regional summit, which many had hoped would push Mugabe harder to stop
persecuting opponents and that he quits power when his term expires next
year, appeared to let the Zimbabwean leader off the hook when it failed to
publicly condemn repression by the Harare government.

SADC leaders instead appealed for the lifting of Western sanctions against
Mugabe and his top officials and also said they had appointed South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between the Harare administration and the
MDC. - ZimOnline

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State power firm hikes tariffs by 520 percent

Zim Online

Tuesday 03 April 2007

Own Correspondent

HARARE - State-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) on Monday
hiked power tariffs by 520 percent in yet another example of worsening
living conditions as the southern African nation grapples its worst ever
economic crisis.

Hard-pressed Zimbabweans, who at times have to endure daily changes in
prices of basic goods, will pay 350 percent more for electricity from the
beginning of this month. Tariffs will go up by 120 percent from the 1st of
June and 50 percent from the 1st of October to bring the compound increase
to 520 percent.

Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority Commissioner General Mavis
Chidzonga said the tariff hike was because of "soaring generation,
transmission and distribution costs".

"The commission also considered the cost of importing an average 35 percent
of Zimbabwe 's electricity requirements from regional utilities. Importing
electricity is inevitable as local generation capacity is insufficient to
cover the national maximum demand of around 2100MW during winter," said

The business sector welcomed the tariff hike expressing hope that by
charging cost-reflective tariffs ZESA would be able to operate profitably
and ensure more reliable supplies to consumers.

"Industry is prepared to pay cost reflective tariffs if that will help solve
the power outages we are facing," said Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
president Calisto Jokonya.

But the tariff hike is sure to trigger price increases across the board,
pushing inflation which at  1 730 percent is the highest in the world, to
even greater heights and making it more difficult for the majority of
Zimbabweans to feed their families.

Zimbabwe's economic crisis has also seen the country facing shortages of
food, fuel, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic
survival commodity.

Western governments and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party blame the crisis on repression and wrong policies by President Robert
Mugabe such as his seizure of productive white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks.

Mugabe denies ruining Zimbabwe's economy and instead claims his country's
problems are because of sabotage by Western governments out to punish Harare
for seizing land from whites. - ZimOnline

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Strikes Widen Among Zimbabwe University Lecturers, Other Groups


      By Carole Gombakomba
      02 April 2007

A new wave of strikes has continued to widen across Zimbabwe, threatening a
repeat of the labor crisis which faced the government of President Robert
Mugabe earlier this year at a point in the economic crisis when it can ill
afford to raise wages further.

A strike by university lecturers has spread to all 13 of the country's state
universities, though talks were in progress between university councils and
representatives of the lecturers, said State University Union of Academics
President Benjamin Njekeya.

At the primary and secondary school level, the Progressive Teachers Union
said it has started to lobby the government for another salary review this
month as the gains the teachers secured in February were quickly devoured by
hyperinflation. Inflation in Zimbabwe was last measured at a cumulative
annual rate of 1,730%.

Teachers earn an average monthly salary of Z$518,000, but the Consumer
Council of Zimbabwe says a family of six needs some Z$700,000 to meet
essential needs.

Doctors and nurses in the public hospital system are also walking off the
job again.

Doctors and nurses who were promised a 300%-500% salary increase early this
year have recently seen their salaries inexplicably reduced by half or more.

Economist Anthony Hawkins, a professor at the University of Zimbabwe
Graduate School of Management, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the government is falling behind the inflationary

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U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe says state violence continues unabated

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: April 2, 2007

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: A wave of state orchestrated violence continues
unabated in Zimbabwe, despite an admission by President Robert Mugabe to
southern African counterparts that his security forces were overreacting,
the U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe said Monday.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Dell said that presidents from southern African
countries meeting last week behind closed doors in Tar Es Salaam, Tanzania,
told Mugabe his police had been excessive in beating and torturing
government opponents.

The summit called Thursday by the Southern African Development Community
appointed South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to mediate a solution to
Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis, Dell said in a telephone interview
from Zimbabwe's capital, Harare,

However, Dell said he was "skeptical about the prospects of this initiative
leading to anything like a positive outcome," considering the past
performance of Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" with Zimbabwe.

Citing sources at the meeting, Dell said the presidents had been hard on
Mugabe. "He was criticized in particular for the police using violence
inside the police stations," Dell said, referring to the March 11 beatings
and torture of opposition Movement for Democratic Reform activists,
including opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

But the presidents' failure to make their criticism public showed the limit
of the South African Development Community's ability to play a constructive
"None of this means anything if in public they are going to say nothing and
thereby let him control the story," Dell said. "So he came out of the
meeting and claimed total victory and nobody dared to contradict him."

Dell said that, based on information from his sources at the meeting, Mugabe
acknowledged that his security forces had overreacted, especially in beating

The U.S. ambassador also said that, "as far as we are aware, the wave of
state orchestrated violence - including abductions, beatings, torture and
the unconfirmed but possible killings of MDC activists - continues

Nine people arrested last week in police raids on opposition headquarters
and activists' homes were hospitalized after being beaten while in custody
over the weekend, Dell said, noting the alleged abuses took place after the
meeting of presidents in Tanzania.

"The state has clearly unleashed its thugs and sort of given them license to
follow their worst instincts," Dell said.

Civilians' resolve to resist the oppression, meanwhile, is constantly
growing, Dell said, noting a pastoral letter by the Catholic Bishops
Conference that was read at churches throughout the country Sunday.

The bishops said in the letter that, soon after Zimbabwe gained independence
from Britain in 2000, the wealth and power of an elite group of whites was
appropriated by equally exclusive blacks, some of whom have since governed
the country through political patronage.

"Black Zimbabweans today fight for the same basic rights they fought for
during the liberation struggle," when Zimbabwe was called Rhodesia, the
bishops wrote.

The bishops said people "feel they have nothing more to lose because their
constitutional rights have been abrogate and their votes rigged.

"Many people in Zimbabwe are angry, and their anger is now erupting into
open revolt in one township after another," the bishops wrote.

Dell said Mugabe had managed last week to ram through his nomination as
ruling ZANU-PF party candidate in next year's elections, with little
debate - proving "he had the ability to sort of manipulate the party at

Given the result - that Mugabe will likely run in a March 2008 election -
everyone, particularly the opposition, should start now focusing on the

The opposition needs to step into the race, Dell said, noting Tsvangirai's
vow to boycott the election if no reforms were instituted to guarantee a
free and fair vote. "This is the third go around of this in the three years
I have been here. Every time there is an election, the MDC does this 'to run
or not to run act.'"

As a result, when they do decide to contest an election, they are not
prepared, Dell said.

In the interview with AP, Dell also denied the U.S. government had given any
weapons to the opposition, and also denied claims by the Zimbabwean
government that the U.S. was encouraging opposition activists to incite

"Of course it is absurd. It is patent nonsense," Dell said, expressing
skepticism that the government had found any weapons in its raids.

"The government has access to an arsenal," Dell said, suggesting it could
have planted weapons if it wanted to do so. "The government's whole game
from start to finish is to blame the victims" and condone police actions as
a reaction to government violence

Dell said he himself continued to be threatened by the government for
speaking out about conditions in Zimbabwe. "They say they'll consider it
unwarranted interference, and they will throw me out."

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Special police force called in ahead of Zimbabwe strike

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      02 April 2007 06:40

Zimbabwean police have asked a special police branch to maintain
order during Tuesday's two-day general strike called by the country's main
labour body, a spokesperson said.

"The National Reaction Force, which has been activated, will be
deployed in all problem areas to ensure that there is law and order during
this illegal stayaway," police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said in a

The special task force deals with "emergency situations" and
includes a military component as well as police.

Bvudzijena said the Zimbabwe Republic Police would ensure there
was peace, safety and security during the strike.

"The organisation is therefore determined to ensure that peace
prevails during the so-called mass stayaway called by the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions [ZCTU] tomorrow [Tuesday]."

He said commuters, business and industry would be protected
through strategic deployments at bus-boarding points, shopping centres and
industrial areas.

There would also be increased roadblocks. He urged people to
cooperate with officers on patrol or manning the roadblocks.

On Friday the ZCTU said the decision to embark on a general
shutdown on Tuesday and Wednesday was taken after the government's failure
to respond to concerns about the worsening economic crisis in a country
where 80% of people are jobless and inflation stands at 1 730%.

Labour officials said government must take steps to address the
economic meltdown, adding that authorities had failed to resolve workers'
demands for a minimum wage. -- Sapa-AFP

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Zimbabwe police say job protest cover for violence


Mon 2 Apr 2007, 16:02 GMT

HARARE, April 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's police accused the country's main
labour movement on Monday of stoking violence with a planned national job
boycott and warned they would fully deploy their forces in preparation for
the protest.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says a majority of its union
affiliates have signed up for a two-day "national stay-away" beginning on
Tuesday to pressure President Robert Mugabe's government to meet its demands
for better wages and conditions amid an economic crisis there.

The unions opted for the job protest instead of street marches due to fears
of violent reprisals from security forces, ZCTU officials said.

But Zimbabwean police, who the opposition says beat dozens of their
activists after arresting them following an aborted anti-Mugabe rally in
Harare last month, said the union was using its influence for violent means.

"Judging from previous demonstrations by the ZCTU we believe the call by the
organisation to stay away is an avenue ... to foment acts of violence on
innocent citizens in the guise of job actions," police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena said in a statement.

"The National Reaction Force, which has since been activated, will be
deployed in all problem areas to ensure that there is law and order during
this illegal ZCTU stayaway."

He said anyone seen coercing others to boycott would be arrested, although
he added it was not a crime to stay home from work.

The ZCTU wants a monthly minimum wage of 1 million Zimbabwe dollars (about
$4,000 at official rates but worth $50 on the black market) for workers, as
well as steps by the government to address an economic meltdown in the
southern African country.

Zimbabwe is struggling with inflation of more than 1,700 percent -- the
highest in the world outside a war zone -- soaring unemployment and chronic
shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

Critics accuse Mugabe and his government of widespread economic
mismanagement. The 83-year-old ruler says the problems are the result of
sabotage by Western nations, primarily Britain, who are upset over his
seizures of white-owned farms.

The ZCTU also wants the government to increase access to anti-retroviral HIV
drugs. Zimbabwe has one of the worst HIV epidemics in the southern Africa

The ZCTU's calls for strikes over labour and social issues in recent years
have largely failed due to government intimidation and workers' fears of
losing their jobs in a country with 80-percent unemployment, analysts said.

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UN to prosecute for crimes against humanity

presstv, Iran

Mon, 02 Apr 2007 21:38:49  A UN human rights expert has warned that police
officers and soldiers who shoot demonstrators in Zimbabwe could face
prosecutions for crimes against humanity.

"The Zimbabwean government must immediately halt its use of lethal force
against unarmed political activists," said UN Special Reporter Philip Alston
on Monday.

This follows the killing of 11 people who were either shot or beaten to
death in protests held last month.

Alston called for a full investigation into the matter and said police and
military men had no right to kill except in self-defense or in defense of
another person's life.

"Under international law, widespread or systematic attacks against the
civilian population are crimes against humanity," he said.

"Members of the police and military who comply with orders to gun down
demonstrators will eventually be held to account," he added.

Thousands of workers in Zimbabwe are to attend a general strike especially
to oppose the melting economy in the country under Mugabe's government.

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Tsvangirai calls on South Africa to act soon on Zimbabwe

Times Online
April 2, 2007

Jonathan Clayton, Johannesburg
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's embattled opposition leader, today signalled
an apparent change of tactics in his ongoing confrontation with President
Robert Mugabe and his brutal Zanu-PF regime.

Mr Tsvangirai, who arrived unexpectedly in Johannesburg for medical
treatment, struck a notably much more conciliatory tone than in recent
declarations and called on South African President Thabo Mbeki to act
quickly to defuse the crisis across the border.

"It is critical that President Mbeki act quickly and decisively to halt the
suffering of millions of Zimbabweans. There is no time to waste," Mr
Tsvangirai told a hastily convened press conference.

Mr Tsvangirai, who apparently had no difficulty leaving Zimbabwe and planned
to return after medical check-ups, appeared to be at pains to prevent a
general strike in Zimbabwe from further increasing political tensions. He
indicated he would be willing to take part in talks even while Mr Mugabe was
still officially the Zanu-PF candidate for Presidential elections next
year - a key reversal of previous policy.

President Mbeki, frequently criticised for failing to talk tough to his
neighbour, was last week appointed by fellow leaders in the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis - a
development dismissed by some as window-dressing, but seen as a critical new
departure by insiders.
Mr Mbeki is mandated to ensure that next year's Presidential elections are
"free and fair". The SADC decision represented the first time the regional
grouping had taken any concrete initiative on Zimbabwe. Diplomatic sources
say it was accompanied by the bluntest behind closed doors criticism Mr
Mugabe has ever received.

"Mugabe was left in no doubt the situation could not continue and his
explanation for the attack on the opposition was not accepted," said one
highly-placed Southern African diplomatic source. He dismissed a statement
expressing solidarity with Mr Mugabe and calling for a lifting of western
sanctions as simply "a face-saving exercise for the old man".

Mr Tsvangirai, whose ability as a leader has always been questioned by key
figures in the ruling African National Congress (ANC), went out of his way
to reject suggestions that President Mbeki was not "an honest broker" and
said he had every confidence the South African leader would approach the
crisis with "a new perspective".

"This is not a personal issue. Whether people have doubts about Mbeki is
immaterial. This is a new initiative that is not South African driven but
regionally driven," he said in comments which indicated he had fallen in
line with the new policy.

"Tsvangirai knows he cannot oppose the region on this," the source added.

Leading western nations are more than willing to drop sanctions as part of
an all-inclusive package of measures ensuring free and fair elections next
year - the goal Mr Mbeki is now set to try and achieve with the support of
all regional states, opposition figures, and civil society and church

Immediately on his return to Harare, Mr Mugabe, 83, was chosen as Zanu7-PF's
candidate for the poll. Insiders rejected the move as little more than grand
standing by party loyalists, terrified of taking any other decision. Zanu-PF
factions known to oppose Mr Mugabe will not do so publicly until they are
assured of broader outside support.

Mr Tsvangirai and other opposition activists were brutally assaulted while
in custody after police broke up a prayer meeting on March 11. There were
concerns that Mr Tsvangirai, still with a bloodshot eye and bruised face,
suffered a fractured skull.

Opposition activists have since continued to be detained, assaulted and
abducted in a crackdown by special police units amid reports of growing
unease in regular police and army units.

"Mugabe's crackdown on our people leaves a trail of broken limbs, rape
victims, torture victims and dead bodies," Mr Tsvangirai told reporters.

He called on the South African President, who has put together a high-level
mediation team, to negotiate the conditions for next year's elections in
Zimbabwe. "Mugabe has a last opportunity to show goodwill by allowing the
people of Zimbabwe to express their democratic rights," he said.

Mr Mbeki is known to want to negotiate a settlement to the crisis which all
sides must then respect.

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Journalist in bad shape after police assaults

2nd Apr 2007 19:45 GMT

By Nyasha Nyakunu

HARARE - Freelance journalist Gift Phiri is reportedly in bad shape after he
was severely assaulted while in police custody following his arrest in
Harare on 1 April 2007.

According to reliable sources MISA-Zimbabwe understands that Phiri who is
being detained at Harare Central Police Station can hardly sit as a result
of the beatings he was subjected to following his arrest and subsequent

MISA-Zimbabwe has been reliably informed that his interrogators are
demanding the disclosure of the sources of the stories published in The
Zimbabwean for which he strings as a freelance journalist. The police are
alleged to have searched and confiscated a computer and compact discs from
his home.

Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was this morning
denied access to the detained journalist by police at Harare Central Police

Phiri who freelances for The Zimbabwean which is published in London , was
arrested at Sunningdale Shopping Centre on Sunday afternoon. He was briefly
taken to Sunningdale Police Post before being transferred to Harare Central
Police Station.

Alec Muchadehama who is representing Phiri confirmed that the freelance
journalist was being detained by officers from the Law and Order Section at
Harare Central Police Station. Muchadehama was not yet in a position to shed
light on the events and details leading to Phiri's arrest as he was still to
have access to his client.

Recommended Action

MISA-Zimbabwe notes with great concern and condemns in no uncertain terms
the increase in the number of cases involving the wanton arrests, detention
and assault of journalists going about their lawful and professional duties
and demands that:

- the police should immediately grant lawyers representing Phiri access to
their client.
the charges that Phiri is facing should be availed to his lawyers.

- the journalist should immediately be produced before the courts as a
matter of urgency in view of the reports that he has been severely

- the government through the Ministry of Information should make its
position clear regarding the wanton, arrests, detention and torture of
journalists who are duly accredited to conduct their professional duties in
terms of the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

- the police or any other security agents for that matter should desist from
the wanton arrest, detention and torture of journalists going about their
lawful duties and that those who are responsible for these actions will
personally be held accountable for their actions as the crime of torture is
an international crime that attracts individual criminal responsibility.

Of great concern to MISA-Zimbabwe is the fact that Phiri's arrest comes hard
on the heels of that of freelance journalist Frank Chikowore and barely
weeks after the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights' Special
Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Advocate Pansy Tlakula, sent an urgent
appeal to President Robert Mugabe regarding the deteriorating situation on
freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.

Her complaint to President Mugabe followed the severe assault and unlawful
detention on 11 March 2007 of Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and Tendai Musiyazviriyo,
a photojournalist and film producer who respectively freelance for
Associated Press, when the police disrupted a national day of prayer meeting
at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare .

In light of these developments, MISA-Zimbabwe is left with no option but to
request the Special Rapporteur to urgently intervene once more and urge
President Robert Mugabe to guarantee the security of journalists and other
freedom of expression activists.

MISA-Zimbabwe requests that you send your letters of protests demanding the
release of Phiri to the following addresses.

President Robert Mugabe

Office of the President and Cabinet

Munhumutapa Building

Samora Machel Avenue/3rd Street


Telephone: 263 4 707091

Minister of Home Affairs

11th Floor Mukwati Building


Telephone: 263 4 723653

Commissioner of Police

Police General Headquarters

Josiah Chinamano Avenue


Telephone: 263 4 700171

Fax: 253212

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Tsvangirai hopeful on Zimbabwe, urges pressure


Mon 2 Apr 2007, 15:32 GMT

By Gershwin Wanneburg

JOHANNESBURG, April 2 (Reuters) - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on
Monday welcomed a new push to solve Zimbabwe's political crisis, but urged
outsiders to maintain pressure on the government to avoid any escalation of

Tsvangirai said his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was optimistic
after a summit in Tanzania last week appointed South African President Thabo
Mbeki as mediator between the MDC and President Robert Mugabe's government.

But he warned his African nations to be "wary" of Mugabe and any pledges by
his government to embrace reform, and said his party would only take part in
elections next year provided they were free and fair.

"Only a government with democratic legitimacy -- elected no later than
2008 -- can reverse Zimbabwe's slide into catastrophe" said Tsvangirai.

"I would hope that the international community would use the multilateral
institutions to put pressure on the regime," said Tsvangirai, who has
accused Mugabe of rigging a series of polls going back to 2002.

The MDC leader, in Johannesburg to receive medical attention for injuries he
said were inflicted by Mugabe's security forces, said Mbeki must "act
quickly and decisively to halt the suffering of millions of Zimbabweans".

"Let's look at 2004 when there were these talks about talks. It's Mugabe who
scuttled them ... because he was not interested in any negotiation, in any
solution," he told reporters.

"This time around I think President Mbeki must be wary not to be led through
a garden path of Mugabe pretending to go through some process of
negotiations but with an intention of scuttling those talks."


The Southern African Development Community (SADC) named Mbeki to mediate
following a summit last week, which was convened in the wake of the
Zimbabwean government's violent March 11 crackdown on political opponents.

Tsvangirai and dozens of others were arrested and reportedly beaten after an
aborted prayer rally in the capital Harare, prompting sharp condemnation
from the United States, Britain and other Western nations.

A United Nations human rights special investigator on Monday accused
Mugabe's government of effectively instructing security forces to use lethal
force against opponents and said they could one day be held accountable in
international courts.

SADC, which has been criticised for turning a blind eye to Mugabe's
crackdown, hopes its appointment of Mbeki, who has used his influence to
mediate in other African conflicts, will lead to talks between Mugabe and
the MDC.

Tsvangirai said he had "no doubt" Mbeki would act with SADC's full backing
and that it could lend the initiative force.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, has
been accused by the West of authoritarian rule and economic mismanagement,
which has left the country struggling with the world's highest inflation
rate, soaring unemployment and regular food and fuel shortages.

Mugabe says he is being punished for seizing white-owned farms to give to
landless blacks, accusing Western countries led by Britain of seeking to use
the MDC to effect "regime change" in Harare.

Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party on Friday brushed aside the Western criticism
and endorsed the 83-year-old leader as its candidate for elections expected
in 2008 -- a move that could see him remain in office through 2013.

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Hit squads beat 'undesirables' to a bloody pulp

Mail & Guardian

Godwin Gandu

01 April 2007 11:59

       Hit squads have been formed to target opposition
politicians branded "undesirables" by the state, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change said this week.

      "It reminds of [Nicolai] Ceaucescu," said opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, referring to the former president of Romania, on
Wednesday. "That's the mark of a dictator; that's how he deals with his
political opponents," he told the Mail & Guardian just before police
arrested him and 20 other MDC activists.

      Tsvangirai was due to hold a press conference to denounce
recent human rights violations and the formation of the hit squads, which
the MDC says are "coordinated by state security agents".

      It says these "developments leave no one in any doubt that
tyranny has taken root in Harare and SADC leaders need to take a solid
position on the deteriorating situation in the country. The region owes it
to posterity to rein in [President Robert] Mugabe."

      Opposition activists are being abducted, tortured or
beaten to a pulp as the repression of dissenting voices reaches new levels.
Mugabe warned last week that his government will heavily arm the police. The
Zanu- PF youth league declared it will "take the law into our own hands"
against the opposition.

      "It was common in Latin America and Asian countries where
there was a dictator," said John Makumbe, University of Zimbabwe political
science lecturer. "In Africa, Idi Amin used hit squads against opponents and
former Malawi leader Kamuzi Banda used hit squads to kill his ministers,"
Makumbe said. "We are already taking that route."

      Nelson Chamisa, the spokes-person for the MDC, said this
week that 116 activists had been abducted throughout the country in the past
two weeks, while others have "just been beaten and left for dead".

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Pastoral Letter by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference


on the Current Crisis of Our Country

Holy Thursday, 5 April 2007

As your Shepherds we have reflected on our national situation and, in the
light of the Word of God and Christian Social Teaching, have discerned what
we now share with you, in the hope of offering guidance, light and hope in
these difficult times.

The Crisis

The people of Zimbabwe are suffering. More and more people are getting
angry, even from among those who had seemed to be doing reasonably well
under the circumstances. The reasons for the anger are many, among them, bad
governance and corruption. A tiny minority of the people have become very
rich overnight, while the majority are languishing in poverty, creating a
huge gap between the rich and the poor. Our Country is in deep crisis. A
crisis is an unstable situation of extreme danger and difficulty. Yet, it
can also be turned into a moment of grace and of a new beginning, if those
responsible for causing the crisis repent, heed the cry of the people and
foster a change of heart and mind especially during the imminent Easter
Season, so our Nation can rise to new life with the Risen Lord.

In Zimbabwe today, there are Christians on all sides of the conflict; and
there are many Christians sitting on the fence. Active members of our Parish
and Pastoral Councils are prominent officials at all levels of the ruling
party. Equally distinguished and committed office-bearers of the opposition
parties actively support church activities in every parish and diocese. They
all profess their loyalty to the same Church. They are all baptised, sit and
pray and sing together in the same church, take part in the same celebration
of the Eucharist and partake of the same Body and Blood of Christ. While the
next day, outside the church, a few steps away, Christian State Agents,
policemen and  soldiers assault and beat peaceful, unarmed demonstrators and
torture  detainees. This is the unacceptable reality on the ground, which
shows much disrespect for human life and falls far below the dignity of both
the perpetrator and the victim.

In our prayer and reflection during this Lent, we have tried to understand
the reasons why this is so. We have concluded that the crisis of our Country
is, in essence, a crisis of governance and a crisis of leadership apart from
being a spiritual and moral crisis.

A Crisis of Governance

The national health system has all but disintegrated as a result of
prolonged industrial action by medical professionals, lack of drugs,
essential equipment in disrepair and several other factors.

In the educational sector, high tuition fees and levies, the lack of
teaching and learning resources, and the absence of teachers have brought
activities in many public schools and institutions of higher education to a
standstill. The number of students forced to terminate their education is
increasing every month. At the same time, Government interference with the
provision of education by private schools has created unnecessary tension
and conflict.

Public services in Zimbabwe's towns and cities have crumbled. Roads, street
lighting, water and sewer reticulation are in a state of severe disrepair to
the point of constituting an acute threat to public health and safety, while
the collection of garbage has come to a complete standstill in many places.
Unabated political interference with the work of democratically elected
Councils is one of the chief causes of this breakdown.

The erosion of the public transport system has negatively affected every
aspect of our Country's economy and social life. Horrific accidents claim
the lives of dozens of citizens each month.

Almost two years after the Operation Murambatsvina, thousands of victims are
still without a home. That inexcusable injustice has not been forgotten.

Following a radical land reform programme seven years ago, many people are
today going to bed hungry and wake up to a day without work. Hundreds of
companies were forced to close. Over 80 per cent of the people of Zimbabwe
are without employment. Scores risk their lives week after week in search of
work in neighbouring countries.

Inflation has soared to over 1,600 per cent, and continues to rise, daily.
It is the highest in the world and has made the life of ordinary Zimbabweans
unbearable, regardless of their political preferences. We are all concerned
for the turnaround of our economy but this will remain a dream unless
corruption is dealt with severely irrespective of a person's political or
social status or connections.

The list of justified grievances is long and could go on for many pages.

The suffering people of Zimbabwe are groaning in agony: "Watchman, how much
longer the night"? (Is 21:11)

A Crisis of Moral Leadership

The crisis of our Country is, secondly, a crisis of leadership. The burden
of that crisis is borne by all Zimbabweans, but especially the young who
grow up in search of role models. The youth are influenced and formed as
much by what they see their elders doing as by what they hear and learn at
school or from their peers.

If our young people see their leaders habitually engaging in acts and words
which are hateful, disrespectful, racist, corrupt, lawless, unjust, greedy,
dishonest and violent in order to cling to the privileges of power and
wealth, it is highly likely that many of them will behave in exactly the
same manner. The consequences of such overtly corrupt leadership as we are
witnessing in Zimbabwe today will be with us for many years, perhaps
decades, to come. Evil habits and attitudes take much longer to rehabilitate

to acquire. Being elected to a position of leadership should not be
misconstrued as a licence to do as one pleases at the expense of the will
and trust of the electorate.

A Spiritual and Moral Crisis

Our crisis is not only political and economic but first and foremost a
spiritual and moral crisis. As the young independent nation struggles to
find its common national spirit, the people of Zimbabwe are reacting against
the "structures of sin" in our society. Pope John Paul II says that the
"structures of sin" are "rooted in personal sin, and thus always linked to
the concrete acts of individuals who introduce these structures, consolidate
them and make them difficult to remove. And thus they grow stronger, spread,
and become the source of other sins, and so influence people's behaviour."
The Holy Father stresses that in order to understand the reality that
confronts us, we must "give a name to the root of the evils which afflict
us." That is what we have done in this Pastoral Letter.

The Roots of the Crisis

The present crisis in our Country has its roots deep in colonial society.
Despite the rhetoric of a glorious socialist revolution brought about by the
armed struggle, the colonial structures and institutions of pre-independent
Zimbabwe continue to persist in our society. None of the unjust and
oppressive security laws of the Rhodesian State have been repealed; in fact,
they have been reinforced by even more repressive legislation, the Public
Order and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act, in particular. It almost appears as though someone sat down
with the Declaration of Human Rights and deliberately scrubbed out each in

Why was this done? Because soon after Independence, the power and wealth of
the tiny white Rhodesian elite was appropriated by an equally exclusive
black elite, some of whom have governed the country for the past 27 years
through political patronage. Black Zimbabweans today fight for the same
basic rights they fought for during the liberation struggle. It is the same
conflict between those who possess power and wealth in abundance, and those
who do not; between those who are determined to maintain their privileges of
power and wealth at any cost, even at the cost of bloodshed, and those who
demand their democratic rights and a share in the fruits of independence;
between those who continue to benefit from the present system of inequality
and injustice, because it favours them and enables them to maintain an
exceptionally high standard of living, and those who go to bed hungry at
night and wake up in the morning to another day without work and without
income; between those who only know the language of violence and
intimidation, and those who feel they have nothing more to lose because
their Constitutional rights have been abrogated and their votes rigged. Many
people in Zimbabwe are angry, and their anger is now erupting into open
revolt in one township after another.

The confrontation in our Country has now reached a flashpoint. As the
suffering population becomes more insistent, generating more and more
pressure through boycotts, strikes, demonstrations and uprisings, the State
responds with ever harsher oppression through arrests, detentions, banning
orders, beatings and torture. In our judgement, the situation is extremely
volatile. In order to avoid further bloodshed and avert a mass uprising the
nation needs a new people driven Constitution that will guide a democratic
leadership chosen in free and fair elections that will offer a chance for
economic recovery under genuinely new policies.

Our Message of Hope: God is always on the Side of the Oppressed

The Bible has much to say about situations of confrontation. The conflict
between the oppressor and the oppressed is a central theme throughout the
Old and New Testaments. Biblical scholars have discovered that there are no
less than twenty different root words in Hebrew to describe oppression.

One example is the Creed of the chosen people, which we read on the First
Sunday of Lent: "My Father was a homeless Aramaean. He went down to Egypt to
find refuge there, few in numbers; but there he became a nation, great,
mighty and strong. The Egyptians ill-treated us, they gave us no peace and
inflicted harsh slavery on us. But we called on the Lord, the God of our
fathers. The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our
oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and
outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders. . "(Deut

The Bible describes oppression in concrete and vivid terms: Oppression is
the experience of being crushed, degraded, humiliated, exploited,
impoverished, defrauded, deceived and enslaved. And the oppressors are
described as cruel, ruthless, arrogant, greedy, violent and tyrannical; they
are called 'the enemy'. Such words could only have been used by people who
in their own lives and history had an immediate and personal experience of
being oppressed. To them Yahweh revealed himself as the God of compassion
who hears the cry of the oppressed and who liberates them from their
oppressors. The God of the Bible is always on the side of the oppressed. He
does not reconcile Moses and Pharaoh, or the Hebrew slaves with their
Egyptian oppressors. Oppression is sin and cannot be compromised with. It
must be overcome. God takes sides with the oppressed. As we read in Psalm
103:6: "God, who does what is right, is always on the side of the oppressed".

When confronted with the politically powerful, Jesus speaks the language of
the boldest among Israel's prophets. He calls Herod 'that fox' (Lk13:32) and
courageously exposes the greed for money, power and adulation of the
political elite. And he warns his disciples never to do likewise: "Among the
gentiles it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority
over them are given the title Benefactor. With you this must not happen. No,
the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as
if he were the one who serves" (Lk 22:25-27). And he warns Pilate in no
uncertain terms that he will be held to account by God for his use of power
over life and death (John 19:11).

Throughout the history of the Church, persecuted Christians have remembered,
prayed and sung the prophetic words of Mary: "[The Lord] has used the power
of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart. He has pulled down princes
from their thrones and raised high the lowly. He has filled the starving
with good things, sent the rich away empty" (Lk1:50-53).

Generations of Zimbabweans, too, throughout their own long history of
oppression and their struggle for liberation, have remembered, prayed and
sung these texts from the Old and New Testaments and found strength, courage
and perseverance in their faith that Jesus is on their side. That is the
message of hope we want to convey in this Pastoral Letter: God is on your
side. He always hears the cry of the poor and oppressed and saves them.


We conclude our Pastoral Letter by affirming with a clear and unambiguous
Yes our support of morally legitimate political authority. At the same time
we say an equally clear and unambiguous No to power through violence,
oppression and intimidation. We call on those who are responsible for the
current crisis in our Country to repent and listen to the cry of their
citizens. To the people of Zimbabwe we appeal for peace and restraint when
expressing their justified grievances and demonstrating for their human

Words call for concrete action, for symbols and gestures which keep our hope
alive. We therefore invite all the faithful to a Day of Prayer and Fasting
for Zimbabwe, on Saturday, 14 April 2007. This will be followed by a Prayer
Service for Zimbabwe, on Friday, every week, in all parishes of our Country.
As for the details, each Diocese will make known its own arrangements.

May the Peace and Hope of the Risen Lord be with you always. Happy Easter.


God Our Father,

You have given all peoples one common origin,

And your will is to gather them as one family in yourself.

Give compassion to our leaders, integrity to our citizens, and repentance to
us all.

Fill the hearts of all women and men with your love

And the desire to ensure justice for all their brothers and sisters.

By sharing the good things you give us

May we ensure justice and equality for every human being,

An end to all division, and a human society built on love,

Lasting prosperity and peace for all.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Our Father.            Hail Mary.            Glory be to the Father .

+Robert C. Ndlovu, Archbishop of Harare                        (ZCBC

+Pius Alec M. Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo

+Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa, Bishop of Mutare            (ZCBC

+Michael D. Bhasera, Bishop of Masvingo

+Angel Floro, Bishop of Gokwe                                    (ZCBC Vice

+Martin Munyanyi, Bishop of Gweru

+Dieter B. Scholz SJ, Bishop of Chinhoyi

+Albert Serrano, Bishop of Hwange

+Patrick M. Mutume, Auxiliary Bishop of Mutare

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Help Requested

Hello  All.
First -  A very big Thank You  to everyone who  has aready made a Contribution and Donation towards Mary Burkes  visit to Australia. 
Some of you may know of Dennis and  Mary Burke from the lowveld  ( Chz / Triangle Zimbabwe )  - and their children , one of whom is Patrick  aged 25 . Patrick was diagnosed with a Brain tumor and  has to undergo approx. 6 weeks of Radiation treatment, having recently undergone brain surgery at the Royal Brisbane hospital in Brisbane  Qld. Patrick's treatment starts on the 12th April .Mary his Mum arrives in Australia on the 5th April  and will be here for about 2 months .  Affordable accommodation within a 5 minute walk to the Hospital itself has been arranged as Patrick has to go daily to the hospital for treatment. Patrick' can get some of his expenses  covered by Medicare and he  will be able to claim on the PTS (Patient Travel Scheme) which will allow him to claim back some of his own transport  flight costs (Bne - Rockhampton & return later). However there are still a  few more pennies to raise so we can help Mary with her immediate  living expenses  within Australia. If anyone wishes to make a donation towards  these expenses, then please make your donation into the  Bank Account  below.  Geoff Higgs  is a reputable registered Migration Agent  residing in Toowoomba Qld  and will be responsible for any monies received . Please feel free to contact Geoff  if needing an update to the balance of funds on hand . Geoffs contact details are as follows -   Tel. +61 7 4698 7422  & Fax +61 7 4698 7433. Thank you.
Please ensure that with a deposit made to Geoff  to email  him stating the date and amount deposited so that he can (a) confirm receipt of sum and (b) keep a record in Patrick's file and (c) maintain a record of the running total and disbursements  whereby these funds will be  channeled either to Patrick or  to Mary. . .
Bank Account details are as follows : -
ANZ Bank
BSB 014 210
Acct. No. 5957 23143
Acct. Name G.A.R. Higgs
Thank you again for your generosity and support !
Kindest regards
Deirdre Reichard 
A&D Timesaving Zimbo
ABN- 73 195 841 311
Lotus Park Grazing co
MS 898 Marlborough
Qld 4705: Australia
ph ,61+ 7 49505073
mob, 61+429605073

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MDC Press Conference Statement

Maintaining Momentum Against The Mugabe Regime.

Let us Drive the Tyrant out of Town.

2nd April 2007; Harare , Zimbabwe


The MDC National Executive Committee met on Saturday 31st March 2007 ,
followed by the National Council on the 1st of April 2007 . The National
Council considered the current National Crisis. This diplomatic briefing is
pursuant to the discussions and resolutions of the National Council, the MDC
supreme decision making organ in between congresses.

On The SADC Summit

The MDC places a lot of significance on the convening, deliberations and
decisions of the SADC Heads of State Emergency Summit held in Tanzania on
the 28th March 2007 . The fact that the regional body met specifically to
discuss Zimbabwe is in itself an acknowledgement of the Zimbabwean crisis
and an acceptance that the despot Robert Mugabe has failed to run the
affairs of our nation. More importantly, the SADC Emergency Summit clearly
recognized that the on-going economic and political crisis is both
unsustainable and a threat to regional stability. This is unprecedented.

The SADC position is further reinforced by the bold decision to appoint
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa as the mediator with a view to
facilitating resolution of the crisis through dialogue between ZANU-PF and
democratic forces. Such an unequivocal regional mandate to the SA President
was unthinkable a mere four weeks ago. This is a triumph of regional
sovereignty and Pan-Africanism over narrow, perverted and misconceived
notions of national sovereignty. This is victory for the people of Zimbabwe
, and Africans in general. The MDC applauds these resolutions of the SADC
Emergency Summit and condemns the attempt by the Dictatorship to underplay
SADC efforts by declaring the Summit a victory for the disastrous Mugabe
policies that have brought suffering to the people.

Hell, No. It was neither victory nor an excellent meeting for Robert Mugabe.
It was a devastating blow to the ugly face of ZANU(PF). There has been
movement in attitudes and opinions among Africans with respect to Zimbabwe .
Africans no longer accept Mugabe's grandstanding as a liberation hero,
freedom fighter, land revolutionary, anti-imperialist and champion of
African rights. They now accept him for what he is: A despot who has become
a negation of the values and principles of the liberation war; a dictator
who brutalizes Africans and denies them basic human rights and economic

What We Want

So what is it that the people of Zimbabwe want? It is our submission that at
the core of the Zimbabwean crisis are issues of governance and legitimacy.
Our country is ruled by a corrupt, incompetent, criminal, and brutal
kleptocracy, which has retained power through fraudulent elections. We do
not want any further polls in our country under the current constitutional
and electoral framework. We want a new people-driven democratic
constitution, electoral law reforms and legislative changes that allow for
the holding of free and fair elections.  Furthermore, we want this new
democratic and electoral dispensation to take root in our country now, thus
creating conditions conducive for free and fair elections. It is our demand
that the first plebiscite under these conditions should be internationally
supervised. We will respect any government that is produced by these

Beyond resolving the challenge of illegitimacy, the people of Zimbabwe can
then deal with issues of economic recovery, stabilization, transformation
and growth. We want Zimbabwe to be a globally competitive economy in terms
of GDP, per capita income, business growth, exports, FDI, worker conditions,
wages, and entrepreneurship. Our vision is that of Zimbabwe as the leading
African democracy, characterized by people-centered social development and
economic growth.

The Strategy to Victory

How are we going to achieve what we want? In order to establish leveling of
the political playing field in Zimbabwe , through the reforms we seek, there
is need for a broad alliance of all democratic forces. Civic society
organizations and political parties must work together to restore democracy
and freedom in Zimbabwe . Events of the past month have demonstrated the
capacity of Zimbabweans to execute unity of action and purpose. As a party
we resolve to continue with the spirit of cooperation in pursuit of the
re-democratisation of Zimbabwe beginning with the achievement of national
consensus on a new constitution followed by agreement on a new electoral
dispensation which will ensure that the next elections are a palpably free
and fair. We will continue with our Defiance Campaign to press the ZANU-PF
government towards an all inclusive dialogue around the changes we seek. We
will continue to defy POSA, AIPPA, and the illegitimate government of Robert

It is critical to maintain and leverage the momentum that has gathered
against Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe .  All democratic forces must close ranks,
carry out joint actions of defiance against unjust laws and the illegitimate
regime, and also support each other in their independent institutional
initiatives and actions. It is in this context that the MDC unreservedly
supports the national Stay Away planned by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions on 3-4 April 2007. We fully endorse this revolutionary confrontation
with the regime and call upon all Zimbabweans to rally behind the trade
union movement to make the Stay Away a success.

When the conditions for free and fair elections have been achieved, the MDC
believes it is critical for the democratic forces to ensure that every vote
counts against ZANU(PF). It is essential that opposition parties do not
compete against each other in elections. There is need to galvanise and
energise the entire national electorate by presenting a united front against
ZANU(PF). We believe in a single candidate philosophy and principle in all
elections (Presidential, Parliamentary, Senate, Council, etc).

Consequently, the MDC resolves to continue dialogue and seek agreement with
other opposition parties in order to establish a possible election coalition
framework and candidate selection methodology.  It is our submission that
national interest should take precedence over narrow and selfish interests.
The democratic forces should not allow ZANU(PF) to reinvent, regenerate, and
succeed itself. If this happens, it will mean ZANU(PF) rule for another
20-30 years. This must be stopped by any means necessary. The old adage has
never been more applicable; united we stand, divided we fall.  An all-
inclusive and cohesive united front of ALL democratic forces is essential to
give our country a fresh start. Our nation needs the injection of a new
value system, a different political culture, and redemptive institutional
frameworks. Our economy demands creative technocratic solutions and capacity
that these ZANU(PF) morons are incapable of providing.


We will be masters of our destiny. We will not allow the dictator to
determine the future of our country. We will step up to the plate and free
ourselves. We will   embark on an economic journey to the promise land. We
have the potential to be a globally competitive economy. With our strength
in natural resources, physical infrastructure, and human capital, Zimbabwe
is destined for greatness. What we need is to stand up to the ZANU(PF)
cowardly dictatorship which has turned the state into an unashamed criminal
state. The transformation of the police into a criminal sadistic brutal
force is worse than any thing we ever saw under the Smith regime. We will
stand united as a people as we confront the regime in the process of
reclaiming our sovereignty, freedoms, liberties and dignity.  It is our
generational mandate. We will not be found wanting. We will defeat the
ZANU(PF) dictatorship. We owe it to ourselves, to future generations and to
posterity to stand firm.

The Struggle Continues.

Arthur G.O. Mutambara

MDC President

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Activists abducted from hospital and re-arrested

By Lance Guma
02 April 2007

Eight opposition officials and activists were abducted from their hospital
beds and taken to prison late night on Saturday. MDC Glen View Member of
Parliament Paul Madzore, National Executive member Ian Makone, former Daily
News journalist and now MDC information officer Luke Tamborinyoka and 5
others were re-arrested, despite a court order that they be hospitalised.
Only one, Shame Wakatama, a bodyguard to MDC Chitungwiza MP Fidelis Mhashu,
was left at the Avenues Clinic.

Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel some of those abducted
from hospital were on intravenous drips but this did not deter the security
agents who just ripped them out of their arms.
MP Madzore, Wakatama and Makone had collapsed on Saturday while they and 6
others awaited a bail hearing at the magistrate's court. Police arrested
them over trumped up allegations that they masterminded a string of petrol
bomb attacks across the country. Tamborinyoka was arrested alongside other
party workers following a police raid at Harvest House, the MDC
headquarters. On Saturday the courts had ordered hospital treatment for
those severely beaten and tortured in custody.

Meanwhile the magistrate's court on Monday denied bail to 8 other opposition
officials, including Raymond Bake the Chairperson for ward 34 in the
Combined Harare Residents Association. Bake was abducted last Tuesday in
Mufakose and Newsreel reported how his 17-year-old daughter Rosila visited
every police station in Harare looking for him. He was found at Harare
remand prison on Sunday. The exact number of activists arrested and in
custody is unknown but estimates run into hundreds. MDC lawyer Alec
Muchadehama says they will only know the exact number once all the activists
are brought to court.

The state is accusing the MDC of orchestrating a spate of petrol bomb
attacks on police stations and business premises owned by Zanu PF officials.
Chamisa however dismissed this as 'preposterous' saying it 'smacks of a
desperate regime.' He says the government has no solutions to problems
affecting the country and was now lashing out at people in the opposition
who are perceived to be effective in their work. 'This is a sustained terror
campaign against the opposition,' he added.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Students under attack

The Zimbabwean

Students in Zimbabwe's tertiary institutions are under serious and life
threatening attacks by the unruly regime of Robert Mugabe. The ZINASU
President, Promise Mkwananzi is currently in hiding, after being reliably
informed that he is amongst the top most wanted pro-democracy activists. An
innocent student was viciously attacked by state security agents in town
after being mistaken for Mkwananzi. The student was however released after
producing his identity. He sustained a broken jaw.

Two student leaders from the University of Zimbabwe were severly assaulted
on the 21st of March 2007, whilst on their way to their halls of residents
from the evening study at around 8.45pm. One of the student leaders, Tatenda
Kunaka sustained two deep cuts in the face. Another student leader, again
from the University of Zimbabwe, Lovemore Chinoputsa, was attacked by the
police in town at the Haverst House and sustained internal injuries.
Lovemore is currently admitted at a private clinic in Borrowdale, Harare.
ZINASU Vice President, Gideon Chitanga,  was physically assaulted by
non-uniformed police officers at the Magistrates courts in Masvingo today,
where he was to appeared in court for his trial after being arrested for
addressing a Students General Meeting at the Masvingo State University in
February this year.

Two student activists from the Bulawayo Polytechnic College, Lancelot
Mugadza and Obey Munyoro who were on suspension, were last week expelled
from college after having addressed students in the campus dining hall.
Lancelot was a candidate for the SRC Presidential elections which were then
held after his expulsion.

Meanwhile, students and their leaders all over the country have vowed to
support the two day stayaway, which was called for by the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU). The action is on from 3rd of April to the 4th of
April 2007. The stay away comes against a backdrop of high annual inflation
rate, which is currently pegged at 1729.9%, high cost of living, exhobitant
prices of the anti-retroviral drugs among other issues.

Defending Academic Freedoms in Zimbabwe (DAFIZ)

The Information Desk
Zimbabwe National Students Union
21 Wembly Road, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe,
00263912301231/ 002634788135
zinasu@gmail. com

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Bringing Mugabe to book - article and comments

The Guardian

We need to stop navel gazing and utilise the legal mechanisms available to
bring an end to Robert Mugabe's despotic rule in Zimbabwe.

Rosa Davis

April 2, 2007 10:30 AM |
The situation in Zimbabwe has been at crisis point for a number of months,
but recent events have shocked even the most robust followers of African
politics. The recent beatings of political opponents, threats to expel
diplomats, and other despicable actions have created a furore amongst the
international community. From a legal point of view, the question is whether
Robert Mugabe can be held accountable for these events and in what forum
this will be possible.

There have been a number of instances where attempts have been made to
prosecute foreign leaders abroad for atrocities committed in their own
countries. Belgium issued an arrest warrant for the leader of the Democratic
Republic of Congo in order to prosecute him under the jurisdiction that he
had committed crimes that breached international conventions, and therefore
any party to those conventions could enforce them. This attempt failed, but
shows the basic premise that as an international community we have an
obligation to try to enforce international law and punish those who breach

One of the main problems is that of state sovereignty - even if an arrest
warrant were to be issued for Mugabe, he could only be arrested outside of
Zimbabwe, and even then his country of nationality would have the option of
prosecuting him rather than him being tried abroad. This is problematic,
especially given that the likelihood of a sham trial would be high.

The United Nations has a specialised court - the international court of
justice - which is designed to resolve disputes between states. It cannot
deal with purely domestic events, nor can it be used as a place to deal with
individuals who fall foul of international law. Although an advisory opinion
may be requested by a non-governmental organisation concerned with the
legalities of the situation in Zimbabwe, the ruling of the court will have
no legal effect and can only be used to place political pressure on the

Unfortunately, political pressure does not seem to have curbed the political
chaos in this country, and it is unlikely that an international court of
justice advisory opinion will make any difference to Mugabe's current
actions. Unfortunately the only countries who seem to respond to
international political pressure are those who value being members of the
international community. Mugabe appears to relish his role as a pariah, and
presumably the more pressure that is applied the more that this role is

The international criminal tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda were set up
in order to deal with domestic atrocities perpetrated by nationals against
other nationals. Although some protection of nationals from other nationals
is afforded by international conventions, this is a situation that was not
previously thought of in terms of the laws of war. These tribunals were
partly set up to deter further atrocities, and partly set up to punish
previous crimes due to the lack of legal infrastructure available in these
war-torn countries to deal with them on a national level. By and large they
have been successful, mainly due to the cooperation of the countries and
leaderships involved. It is nigh impossible that Mugabe will agree to such a
tribunal being set up, let alone cooperate with it. Mugabe has already
demolished the national legal system in Zimbabwe, so the chances of him
cooperating with any other legal system remain slim at best.

Countries such as Cambodia, East Timor and Sierra Leone have had mixed
systems of justice based on national and international law in order to deal
with past atrocities. This may be a solution in the future once the country
has been torn apart and rebuilt. However, it would be preferable to find a
solution which would stop further atrocities being committed in Zimbabwe
now, rather than waiting until the country (and many people within it) has
been destroyed before taking retributive action through legal methods.

The international criminal court (ICC) was set up in order to deal with
atrocities committed by state representatives against foreign nationals,
both domestically and abroad. Whether it can be used to deal with the
situation in Zimbabwe is a very different matter. This court, though highly
relevant, is only emerging from its embryonic state. It was set up to deal
with perpetrators and orchestrators of the worst types of atrocities known
to mankind. Mugabe, in my opinion, fits this bill. He is a dictator and a
despot who is wreaking havoc with the country and people over which he
rules. Moreover, the atrocities committed breach numerous international
conventions against torture, crimes against humanity, et al. He is a prime
candidate for the ICC, especially since he has committed crimes against
foreign nationals over which their countries of origin could exercise
jurisdiction and ask the ICC to prosecute. Further, there is no chance that
the ICC will allow Zimbabwe to exercise the complementarity rule and
prosecute these crimes nationally, due to the decimation of the domestic
legal infrastructure.

So, rather than bleating and whining about the situation in Zimbabwe, and
instead of twiddling our thumbs and crying into our lattes, we should be
utilising the legal mechanisms available to deal with Mugabe. Political
pressure has not worked so far, and, whilst we sit back waiting to see if it
ever will, people's lives are becoming increasingly bleaker. However, if we
lobbied our government and raised the issue in parliament, we could ensure
that the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC begins investigations and
proceedings against Mugabe. All that it requires is a little less navel
gazing, and a little more concerted action.



Comment No. 508156

April 2 10:43


It's as clear as black and white. the situation was better under Ian Smith
when at leat the pound in our pocket meant something. He might have been a
Yorkshireman, E-BA-GUM.


Comment No. 508158

April 2 10:43


It's as clear as black and white. the situation was better under Ian Smith
when at leat the pound in our pocket meant something. He might have been a
Yorkshireman, E-BA-GUM.


Comment No. 508165

April 2 10:47

good to know that there might actually be a way of prosecuting the monster,
mugabe, who has terrorised and impoverished zimbabwe with impunity for so
many years. however many more people will die from hunger and disease and
police action before the international courts will take action. witness


Comment No. 508171

April 2 10:49

So some court in a white country could prosecute him. Would he care?


Comment No. 508197

April 2 11:00

Whatever happened to the principle that we don't interfere with the internal
doestic affairs of a sovereign state?

And why should not Mugabe be given a modicum of credit for the heroic
overthrow of the foul and stinking apartheid regime of Ian Smith and his
Unilateral Declaration of Independence?


Comment No. 508198

April 2 11:00

Interesting piece. Do you think this principle should be applied widely?
What do you think of the attempts to bring Sharon to book for Sabra and
Shatilla, for example?


Comment No. 508237

April 2 11:16

Rosa, didn't you used to be a commenter here and now you've got your own
column? Well there's hope for us all...

Alexstein: "Do you think this principle should be applied widely? What do
you think of the attempts to bring Sharon to book for Sabra and Shatilla?"
Worth a go - it's not like he could stop us is it.


Comment No. 508245

April 2 11:22

Robert Mugabe is the father of his nation.
He did what South Africa is afraid to do so openly: redistribute the land
stolen from the African people by the conquest of the British colonists
invading under Rhodes.
Where was Britain when Rhodesia declared UDI under Smith? No defence of
justice and democracy and equality and the right of the majority to control
their own country then.
South Africa has learned lessons from Mugabe. It has learned to take a
softly, softly approach to land refor.
Why do people assume the opposition has legitimacy just because they are
opposition. The opposition in Zimbabwe are being groomed by the US and the
UK. They are being supported by the US and the UK to the extent that they go
along with the US and UK idea of market driven negative liberty.
African politician's have told me that the pposition in Zimbabwe don't have
much support in the country and that Zimabweans would rather see Ms. Mujura,
the vice-president of Zimbabwe in power.
Let's remember, Mugabe took on a white settler elite that had a lot of rich
fertile land to lose and that these are people with strong links to the
Some of the voices you will hear on this debate are the embittered voices of
white Rhodesians who lost their priviliges.
Yes, Mugabe should leave, but it's none of Britain's business. We have done
enough damage in Africa in our history already.

It's none of our damn business.


Comment No. 508253

April 2 11:24

"So, rather than bleating and whining about the situation in Zimbabwe, and
instead of twiddling our thumbs and crying into our lattes, we should be
utilising the legal mechanisms available to deal with Mugabe. Political
pressure has not worked so far, and, whilst we sit back waiting to see if it
ever will, people's lives are becoming increasingly bleaker. However, if we
lobbied our government and raised the issue in parliament, we could ensure
that the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC begins investigations and
proceedings against Mugabe. All that it requires is a little less navel
gazing, and a little more concerted action."

I'm sorry but this is both laughable and totally ill-advised. Contemptuous
and dismissive too. How many people do you think have been trying to sort
Mugabe out for years, decades even, and you think reading a lawbook will
sort it out? Don't you think people have lobbied parliament, talked to their
MPs, etc etc.

Oh, if only we'd thought of that first...

A couple of facts:

Peter Tatchell tried to do a citizens arrest on Mugabe.

Mugabe is banned from the EU entirely as a result of political pressure.

Half-baked research dressed up as serious comment. Please, your latte is
getting cold.


Comment No. 508254

April 2 11:24

stein directed me here - but it's all a bit highbrow for my liking. as for
prosecuting sharon - bit like flogging a dead horse, wouldn't you say? let
sleeping dogs lie (and any other adages that fit the bill)


Comment No. 508255

April 2 11:25

Alex: you are confusing the ICC with proscutions under universal
jurisdiction (as does the article to some extent). Sharon could not be
prosecuted under the ICC for Sabra and Shatilla because the massacre
occurred before the the Statute came into force and anyway neither Lebanon
nor Israel have ratified it. There was an attempt to prosecute Sharon in
Belgium under universal jusridiction laws, but it failed. This followed the
Pinochet case and a number of others. It was partly due to concern about
'politically-motivated prosecutions' that the US became so paranoid about
the ICC - although the principles involved are quite different.

I think Peter Tatchell tried to do a citizen's arrest on Mugabe the last
time he visited Britain. If he joins the thread it would be interesting to
hear him say a bit more about it.


Comment No. 508270

April 2 11:33

nickpheas - the ICC is not a 'court in a white country'. It is a court
designed for the international community as a whole to prosecute war
criminals and suchlike. Hopefully it will live up to its mandate as a
representative of all nations.

Figliomedio - there must come a point in time where the internal affairs of
a sovereign state are deemed the responsibility of the international
community. The reason for international conventions on human rights et al
are to impose a universal morality upon all nations. It is a very tricky
area in terms of when and how to intervene, but it is my opinion that the
situation in Zimbabwe warrants international intervention for the sake of
those who live under that regime.

Ishoulapologise - "He did what South Africa is afraid to do so openly:
redistribute the land stolen from the African people by the conquest of the
British colonists invading under Rhodes." Unfortunately Mugabe's
redistribution of land has resulted in such a reduction of produce that
there is a significant food shortage in the country. I agree that
colonialism was morally abhorrent, and that African nations have the right
to rebuild their countries under new regimes. However, surely it is the duty
of the ex-colonial states to help ensure that the rebuilding of these states
is done without human rights violations and without bloodshed and
destruction. As my mum always said - "if you make a mess, it is your job to
clean it up".


Comment No. 508282

April 2 11:40

As much as I would like to see Mr. Mugabe removed, I don't think that an
International Court is the way to remove him, or bring him to book.
FiloMedio is correct about not interfering with a sovereign state.


Comment No. 508298

April 2 11:46

No doubt when Mugabe is replaced another poor quality leader will replace
him. Termoil is going to be the future of Africa until the socities mature
and no doubt our children and their children will have similar discussions.
General predictions are that this poor government in Africa will last at
least until mid-20th century where western government may not be able to
allow such despots to continue. The West will then have to sit back while
Africa become a powerhouse following China's lead. Mugabe soon pass into
history where he belongs, but who will replace him and will this bring real
stability to the country, can they attract the skills of the white farmers
back to feed the people and restart the economy, I think not!


Comment No. 508326

April 2 11:59


It's not going to happen until someone discovers oil in Zimbabwe.

As for prosecuting Sharon (not that you would be able to get him into
court - he's in a coma unless you hadn't noticed), I have no problem with
that provided you also campaign to prosecute the leaders of the Christain
Phalage terror group that carried out the killings.

Add to this shopping list of world dictators and despots; King Fahd of Saudi
Arabia, Mubarak of Egypt, Assad of Syria, Ahmadinejad of Iran, Kim Jong-il
of North Korea, Chavez of Venezuela, Nassrallah of Hezbollah, Khaled Mashaal
of Hamas, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, the Junta in Burma and finally not
forgetting Livingston of London.

I'm sure there's more. No doubt the left would sooner impeach Bush and Blair
before this bunch, but after Sharon of course.


Comment No. 508349

April 2 12:09

How come the Iraq solution doesnt apply here? If its good enough for Saddam
its good enough for Mugabe. Dont we want the walnut oil wells?

Bit late to brimg Sharon to book. What about Bush for Guantanamo?


Comment No. 508363

April 2 12:15

Don't expect to generate any heat on here.

if it aint Israel they aint interested.


Comment No. 508386

April 2 12:25

Ishouldapologise: "Yes, Mugabe should leave, but it's none of Britain's
business. We have done enough damage in Africa in our history already."
I don't think Rosa was proposing that Britain should invade Zimbabwe, but
rather the international community (not Britain, or even the west) should
hold Mugabe (not Zimbabwe) to account. The fact that Britain has an awful
record of colonialism should not be confused with efforts of the
international community to act internationally.


Comment No. 508389

April 2 12:26


An Easter Tragedy

At the Magistrate?s Court in Harare, a crowd gathered outside
weeping for men and women who carry an invisible cross.

Thousands have suffered at the hands of baton-wielding zealots,
masquerading as Police, in a land where lives have little price.

Is this commercialism gone mad? Trading in muscle and limbs
feeding their families with the blood of countrymen and women?

Who weeps for Mugabe ~ he who styles himself after Jesus continually
resurrected, who pretends to heave his country away from Colonial roots?

Why should we cry for a Chinese Palace, wifely shopping sprees in Paris;
a man protected from his own voters by his army of security enforcers?

His people no longer believe he leads for them ~ have seen how he dictates,
feathers his own nest and the cronies he keeps very close ~ walled in by

How long will millions of starving, beaten people wait for their turn at
their chance to eat, to sleep peacefully in a khaya built in prosperity and

Will the tears shed this Easter encourage the world to stand up for

Frances Macaulay Forde ? 2007


Comment No. 508404

April 2 12:32

JoshFB:"I don't think Rosa was proposing that Britain should invade
Zimbabwe, but rather the international community (not Britain, or even the
west) should hold Mugabe (not Zimbabwe) to account. The fact that Britain
has an awful record of colonialism should not be confused with efforts of
the international community to act internationally."

Well the "international community" either consists of a few dozen former
colonial powers or nearly 200 assorted Third World kleptocracies. I really
don't see why Britain, whatever you think about the British colonial record,
will suddenly become much wiser when working with France and Spain. Either
the British ought to, or they ought not. The international community can do
nothing unless the First World states put some military muscle behind their
calls anyway.


Comment No. 508414

April 2 12:36

Reading laws and inditements at Mugabe will mean diddly squat. Many of his
policies have been declared illegal by the Zimbabwean high court already.

It is clear that he has destroyed a functional country as he becomes
increasingly senile, power-hungry and racist. But it's a tough question,
asking when intervention in another country's affairs is justified. Is it
that much worse than Saddam's Iraq, against the invasion of which 2 million
of us marched through London? The West can't try to 'fix' every problem
around the world.


Comment No. 508415

April 2 12:37

"One of the main problems is that of state sovereignty"

Indeed. If only all foreigners were content to be ruled by the British the
world would be a wonderful place.

Alternately the problem would be solved if only we allowed Mr Mugabe to
issue arrest warrents against Britsh people he didn't like.

Or, with infinitely more justice, we enforced warrents issued by by
Yugoslavia against a British PM clearly guilty of war crimes & almost
certainly also of genocide. Does anybody seriously suggest that Mugabe is
guilty of more murders than Bliar?


Comment No. 508418

April 2 12:38


So do you support US/UK moves to "clean up the mess" Britain left in
Zimbabwe. Or do you support the African Unions moves or what exactly do you
propose? Who would set up this "international tribunal"?

@JoshFB, I take your point, but RosaDavis did suggest Britain "clear up it's
own mess".


Comment No. 508447

April 2 12:50

Teacup - if you dont think international law should be used to bring Mugabe
to book, how would you suggest doing so? I agree that sovereign states
should have independence to run their own affairs, but where do you draw the
line? With so many starving in Zimbabwe, with medical care sparse, and with
atrocities rife, at what point would you step in?

OwenOliver - it is rather refreshing to see a topic other than Israel
generating any form of discussion on CIF!

SeerTaak - the international community, as personified in the UN< is in fact
amde up of all nation states. Furthermore, there are many influential
countries within the organisation who are not 'western' (India, Japan,
Brazil, to name but a few).

GaelicMogg - but of course the brilliance of the ICC is that if an
individual from a non-member state commits an atrocity against a person from
a member state, they can be brought in front of the court!

Ricardinho - I couldnt agree more. However, intervention through warfare is
very different to intervening through the legal system. Both have their
advantages and disadvantages, but the method outlined in this article would
ensure a very different outcome from that in Iraq.

Ishouldapologise - what I mean is that all colonial powers should take some
responsibility for the chaos in many African countries, and should be
involved in a process that ensures a swift end to the atrocities and human
rights violations that are ongoing in many parts of the continent.


Comment No. 508451

April 2 12:51


"But of course the exceptional nations, little and large, are both Israel
and the US, big partners in crime."

Papertiger, I thought you were banned. What a clever cat you must be to
sneak in through the back door. So intelligent to see everything in terms of
Israel, by which we know from your previous posts that you mean the Jews. A
small minded, ignorant bigot. Or is that your banned alter-ego? Whilst you
are the dashing, intelligent virile one?

Be careful, we'll have your blood for our matzos.


Comment No. 508454

April 2 12:52

Teacup - if you dont think international law should be used to bring Mugabe
to book, how would you suggest doing so? I agree that sovereign states
should have independence to run their own affairs, but where do you draw the
line? With so many starving in Zimbabwe, with medical care sparse, and with
atrocities rife, at what point would you step in?

OwenOliver - it is rather refreshing to see a topic other than Israel
generating any form of discussion on CIF!

SeerTaak - the international community, as personified in the UN< is in fact
amde up of all nation states. Furthermore, there are many influential
countries within the organisation who are not 'western' (India, Japan,
Brazil, to name but a few).

GaelicMogg - but of course the brilliance of the ICC is that if an
individual from a non-member state commits an atrocity against a person from
a member state, they can be brought in front of the court!

Ricardinho - I couldnt agree more. However, intervention through warfare is
very different to intervening through the legal system. Both have their
advantages and disadvantages, but the method outlined in this article would
ensure a very different outcome from that in Iraq.

Ishouldapologise - what I mean is that all colonial powers should take some
responsibility for the chaos in many African countries, and should be
involved in a process that ensures a swift end to the atrocities and human
rights violations that are ongoing in many parts of the continent.


Comment No. 508513

April 2 13:08

RosaDavis:"if you dont think international law should be used to bring
Mugabe to book, how would you suggest doing so? I agree that sovereign
states should have independence to run their own affairs, but where do you
draw the line? With so many starving in Zimbabwe, with medical care sparse,
and with atrocities rife, at what point would you step in?"

I don't think that handing authority over to Mugabe's peers is likely to
achieve much. They are more likely to over throw Blair and Mugabe. The only
solution is for Britain to do something with the Royal Marines or more
plausibly, for South Africa to pull the plug.

RosaDavis:"the international community, as personified in the UN< is in fact
amde up of all nation states. Furthermore, there are many influential
countries within the organisation who are not 'western' (India, Japan,
Brazil, to name but a few)."

I am not sure you read me correctly. The "international community" usually
has two meanings - either the G8 or some similar body (usually when it comes
to handing out cash) or the UN for most other matters. If it is the G8 you
are dealing with, basically, the former colonial powers who are not
industrialised nations. If Britain has no right to do anything, why does
Britain with some other former colonial powers? How is many colonialist
heads better than one? If it is the UN, well, that bunch of kleptocrats will
only vote to keep Mugabe in power - to avoid creating a precedent or out of
anti-White racial solidarity or something. His peers will never get rid of
him because they could be next.

RosaDavis:"but of course the brilliance of the ICC is that if an individual
from a non-member state commits an atrocity against a person from a member
state, they can be brought in front of the court!"

What most people would call an act of war.

RosaDavis:"Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but the method
outlined in this article would ensure a very different outcome from that in

How so? How do you prevent "insurgents" from insurging?

RosaDavis:"what I mean is that all colonial powers should take some
responsibility for the chaos in many African countries"

How can the colonial powers take responsibility for what they are not
responsible for?


Comment No. 508620

April 2 13:44

GaelicMogg - the UK and France have not exercised their veto for many years.
Why? Presumably because they know they do not have the power to back up a
radical stance. In terms of the Security Council, an overhaul of the system
is desperately needed, and has been on the cards for some time. Further, I
am not sure why you state that Israel has such a veto unless you are
insinuating that America uses its veto on Israe;'s behalf. Russia exercised
her veto on behalf of other communist countries, and there have been
numerous instances of the P5 using their veto power to help their allies. I
dont think that the Israel/USA relationship within the UN is the isolated
case that many believe it to be.

In my opinion the influence of non-western countries is large, especially
considering the economic, military and trade power of these states.

To answer your question about Ariel Sharon - I believe the ICC will
eventually be the correct forum to bring all international criminals to.
This includes leaders who have committed or ordered atrocities. Whether or
not Sharon will be brought there is a difficult question as it depends how
far back the ICC is prepared to look in terms of cases it opens. However, I
am sure many requests will be sent to the Office of the Prosecutor to open
cases against both Israeli and Palestinian leaders.


Comment No. 508624

April 2 13:45

"RosaDavis: You didn't answer my own question - were you being evasive?"

And you didn't answer mine.

Midnight at the poisoned well?


Comment No. 508628

April 2 13:46


"He did what South Africa is afraid to do so openly: redistribute the land
stolen from the African people by the conquest of the British colonists
invading under Rhodes."


Convenient then that it took him two decades to get round to land
distribution, and only when he was facing the real danger of losing power.

And this even after we offered to pay for land redistribution as long as it
was done through the UN and not channeled through the Zanu-PF.

Sadly there is no morally righteous goal behind his land redistribution
programme, I wish there was, but in reality it is cynical and designed to
further the interests of Mugabe and his supporters.


Comment No. 508713

April 2 14:12


>>>And how influential are these non-western countries without being able to
>>>wave a veto like China, Russia, the US and UK, France ... and Israel of
>>>course? <<<

Israel? Of course! It's your obsession

Next it'll be the Protocols of the Elders of Matabeleland

Carry on you Irish Pussycat: Bull-away-o! You're always good for a laugh.


Comment No. 508714

April 2 14:14


"Sadly there is no morally righteous goal behind his land redistribution"

I disagree.

It took Mugabe that long because he didn't want to alienate a powerful
section of Zimbabwe society, the whites with links to the metropolis.

Mugabe was under pressure to carry out land reform from his own people, it
wasn't just a cynical measure.

The threat from the white population was that if he did carry out land
reform, then they would pull the plug on the Zimbabwe economy.
They, the settlers, pulled the plug by their brinkmanship. The British
settlers should have come to an agreement with ZANU earlier and on better
terms, but they didn't.
They should also be held reponsible for the economic disaster in Zimbabwe
and not just Mugabe.
Mugabe may be a tyrant, but if he sees Britain and the US maouvering to oust
him, magnifying the beating of an opposition leader, a former Mugabe
henchman, into an international, a global event, then he can justifiably say
that the former colonial power and the new international hegemonic power are
out to get him and he can present himself as a patriot and an
anti-imperialist...and he will be right, in a strange way.


Comment No. 508756

April 2 14:29

It seems very clear that the removal of Robert Mugabe from power will depend
on the reversal of his fortunes inside Zimbabwe, since the African leaders
that could help bring about changes in that catastrophe-stricken country
don't appear to be sufficiently willing to do so. What is keeping Mugabe in
power is the backing he still enjoys of his country's army and police
forces. But it would have seemed that things are not unlikely to change.
Mugabe recently criticized openly his deputy, Joyce Mujuru, and her husband,
Solomon Mujuru, who happens to be the former head of the army, which is said
to be still loyal to him. He fears that these two powerful Zimbabweans may
be planning a coup.

If anyone were to seek to prosecute Mugabe, chances are they would do it
outside Africa. More specifically in Europe. It could be argued that this
might play in Mugabe's hands, because he built his reputation as an African
revolutionary mainly through championing the anti-colonial cause. He would
immediately cry foul, and accuse those intent on bringing about criminal
charges against him of being Western, which in Mugabe parlance means
'natural enemy'. However, Solomon Mujuru, who is probably better placed than
anyone else to carry out the toppling of Robert Mugabe, not only understands
how important it is for Zimbabwe to restore its reputation in the
international community, but has also been making his views known to his
countrymen. Furtheremore, business interests could force Solomon Mujuru and
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former head of the secret police, to start
considering working together on an alternative solution to just wait until
Mugabe dies. Plus, unconfirmed reports suggest Mr. Mujuru has been holding
talks with Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

Seeking to prosecute Mugabe would make sense at any point in time, given
that there is little doubt that he has committed crimes against humanity.
Doing it now, though, would be the right thing to do in strategic terms.


Comment No. 508774

April 2 14:35


"Isn't it intriguing how the Semitic peoples now circle gleefully around the
developing tragedy in Zimbabwe? Where were the Semitic hordes when tragic
Rwanda called for international help over the unfolding genocide of the
Tutsi people? "

By Semitic do you mean Arabs? Or Arameans? Feeling a little coy today are
we, why not say what you really mean? And please confirm whether you will
keep our appointment. Time is moving on, we need a korban pesach.


Comment No. 508881

April 2 15:14

Rosa "nickpheas - the ICC is not a 'court in a white country'. It is a court
designed for the international community as a whole to prosecute war
criminals and suchlike. Hopefully it will live up to its mandate as a
representative of all nations."

Just trying to put myself in his head. You don't honestly think that Mugabe
and his supporters won't just see the ICC as another means by which the
developed nations try to interfere in the activities of Africa while failing
to bring their own war criminals to book to you?


Comment No. 508938

April 2 15:31

As a couple of people have pointed out, Peter Tatchell has attempted a
citizen's arrest on Robret Mugabe. He has tired this twice, in 1999 and
2001. During one of the attempts he was severely beaten by Mugabe's
Tatchell also filed complaints in both French and British courts in 2003
seeking to have Mugabe tried on charges of torture, but neither case
I'm surprised that this wasn't worth a mention in the article.


Comment No. 508952

April 2 15:33

I'm still waiting for GaelicMogg to explain his totally incomprehensible
opost about "Semitic tribes" and Madelaine Albright.

Come on GaelicMogg- dont be shy. What did you mean?


Comment No. 508978

April 2 15:44

GaelicMogg -

I'm not sure how we moved on to a discussion about Israel, but whilst we are
there let me respond to your post.

You wrote "Ariel, the big slumbering bull-dozer ... is safe from the ICC.
But I think you knew that Rosa, didn't you? But then again, I think the war
criminals who scattered cluster bombs over Lebanon sleep soundly in their
beds as Israeli jets thunder over Gaza, making Palestinian children wet
their beds. What do you say, Rosa?"

The ICC is an appropriate forum to deal with the atrocities committed on
both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict. Whether it will ever be
utilised for this purpose is another issue. I am sure that people are
pushing for this to occur. I am not sure that a legitimate war between
Israel and Lebanon requires criminal investigation.


Comment No. 509018

April 2 15:57



Comment No. 509039

April 2 16:06

Oh no! GaelicMogg's been banned. Coming hard on the heels of the sending off
of CelticTiger this is a dreadful blow. They'll be indicting Adolf Hitler
for war crimes next.

A fiver for the first person to spot the creepy cat's next skin.


Comment No. 509079

April 2 16:21

Mugabe's removal will be in one of two ways, death from natural causes or
death by unnatural causes. I'd say the latter is more likely right now and
good riddance. He's just another blood soaked terrorist tho' with more
brains than many of that ilk.

He left the farmmers alone for twenty years or so because he understood
their contribution to the country in both local and export terms. He only
turned on them for his own political advantage when a viable opposition
appeared to be forming.

The only problem with his departure is that the likely successors don't look
much better.

As for South Africa, it's starting down the same slippery slope only it's
being done more quietly. Namibia will follow, the rumblings have started.


Comment No. 509116

April 2 16:38


>>>> Mugabe's removal will be in one of two ways, death from natural causes
>>>> or death by unnatural causes <<<

..... or deleted by Georgina

(The Third Way)


Comment No. 509201

April 2 17:12

Yak40 - death is the fate of all people, and we are all destined to die by
either natural or unnatural causes. I hope that Mugabe's death is of the
former rather than the latter. Hopefully his death will occur after he has
been removed from his position as leader of Zimbabwe.


Comment No. 509202

April 2 17:13

..... or deleted by Georgina

OK, I'll bite, who is Georgina ?


Comment No. 509231

April 2 17:24

A prosecution of Mugabe by the ICC may sound an attractive option but in
practical terms it would be very hard. Firstly, Zimbabwe is not a state
party to the 1998 Rome Treaty and so the court has no automatic jurisdiction
in Zimbabwe. In theory, an investigation could be referred to the
Prosecutor's office by the UN Security Council under chapter 7 of the UN
charter. Given their recent massive investment in African raw materials and
accompanying diplomatic push, it would be highly likely that the Chinese
might veto any investigation.

In any case, the court is empowered to prosecute genocide, war crimes and
crimes against humanity. I would love to see Mugabe made accountable but I
think it would be very hard indeed to get a prosecution under the core
crimes defined by the Rome treaty. It might be preferable to see him held to
account by a future Zimbabwean government and independent judiciary - but it
seems unlikely.


Comment No. 509296

April 2 17:50

Of course we all die in the end.

In Mugabe's case calling for some International Court won't work if only
because it'll take years let alone be seen by Africans as more european

Regarding Mugabe himself, the sooner his demise the better as far as I'm
concerned and I could care less about the cause. To hear what's going on
there versus seeing for myself what it was once like (under the same ruler)
is both heartbreaking and enraging.


Comment No. 509300

April 2 17:52

Ishouldapologise: "It took Mugabe that long because he didn't want to
alienate a powerful section of Zimbabwe society, the whites with links to
the metropolis.

Mugabe was under pressure to carry out land reform from his own people, it
wasn't just a cynical measure.

The threat from the white population was that if he did carry out land
reform, then they would pull the plug on the Zimbabwe economy."

The whites in Zimbabwe had virtually no power in 1997 when 'land reform'
started to take off. Mugabe could have taken the land back and redistributed
it using his own laws if he had been really determined. He started the
process, failed to keep to the legal timetable, and then gave up because he
and his ministers are basically lazy and self-interested. In 1998 he called
an international conference to discuss the land issue. That conference
agreed to fund a transparent and fair poverty alleviation land
redistribution scheme. Mugabe drew up proposals shortly afterwards, but
didn't follow them up.

Land redistribution to 'landless peasants' is an economically disastrous
idea and was recognised as such by every educated Zimbabwean, including
Mugabe. What he needed to do was create alternative employment for those
landless peasants. He had been instrumental in providing them with a good
education, but not the jobs he had presumably educated them for.

The opposition is not being groomed by the UK and US. The opposition grew
out of the Trade Union movement and the academic community.

African politicians are lying to you about support for the MDC. In 2000 the
MDC won approx 50 % of the total vote and almost 50% of seats in the rigged
parlimentary election. In 2002 they came close to voting Mugabe out in an
even more rigged presidential election.

They are lying about Joyce Mujuru too. Why should she be popular? What will
she do? How would a Zimbabwean know anything about her in a country where
there are no free media?

And I'm not a Rhodie, embittered or otherwise.


Comment No. 509361

April 2 18:19

Danny69 - if Mugabe has committed any crimes against foreign nationals then
the ICC can take jurisdiction. Furthermore, I believe the crimes he has
committed have breached the core crimes that are protected by Conventions.


Comment No. 509376

April 2 18:25

@Dr Jazz.

You seem suspiciously clear about what Mugabe should and should not have
done. Suspicious, because, if you are not from the Southern African region,
my point is, it is really none of your business.
When you say:

"Land redistribution to 'landless peasants' is an economically disastrous
idea and was recognised as such by every educated Zimbabwean, including
Mugabe. What he needed to do was create alternative employment for those
landless peasants."

Really? That simple is it? I can see the tea pouring out of the nostrils of
a thousand laughing government officials.

And yes, alliances are being organised by US/UK as reported in the Guardian.
Representatives and the opposition did originally come from within ZANU,
trade Union members or not.

Dr. Jazz, you are overly crisp and confident in your opinions on Zimbabwe
and in particular on what Mugabe should or should not have done about land

And what's behind all the problems in Zimbabwe according to you:

"he [Mugabe]and his ministers are basically lazy and self-interested"
Sounds a teensy bit like someone whose diet has been unadulterated British
media, and someone who has a few "interesting" opinions on African
politicians and laziness.

My comment to @Rosa Davis

The suggestion that Mugabe be taken to the international court is historical
myopia. We should not take the lead on this and follow the African Union and


Comment No. 509435

April 2 19:01



Comment No. 509555

April 2 20:25

The best result is not for Mugabe to be prosecuted, but to simply bugger

He is a resilient fucker but I think we could get rid of him by the UN
security council making a resolution that everyone has to mispronounce his
surname. That really gets under people's skin.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The future of agriculture in Zimbabwe, Netherlands

MOUNTING evidence that we are about to suffer another massive food shortage
and that the costs of importing the shortfall have doubled invites us to
focus our attention on an undeniable fact : we have never needed expertise
in the farming sector as much as we need it now. Another fact is that the
quickest way to start a recovery process that will ease all of the country's
economic problems will be to rebuild the foundations of commercial

Currently, Zimbabwe's broader options can be placed into three categories :
The first is that we carry on as we are now, trying to make about a million
small-scale farms work successfully against all the odds. Small farms need
subsidies. Even the brilliantly equipped and expertly run farms in Europe
need subsidies because farms throughout Europe are small. Zimbabwe, as a
developing country, cannot afford subsidies, but subsidies are being paid
anyway. To fund them, Zimbabwe has to borrow or print most of the money. The
more the government borrows, the larger the budget deficit and the higher
the inflation rate; the more it prints, the more vigorously it forces the
already severe inflation to rise.

Subsidies that rescue farmers from inadequate performance, if not
bankruptcy, also relieve them of the need to improve their operating
techniques. Therefore, subsidies help perpetuate low yields, and this they
do at very high cost. This generates even more inflation. As government
finances become more stretched, budget deficits rise, the shortages become
worse and yet more inflation becomes inevitable.

On this track we will not progress. In fact, the stronger probability is
that the rural areas in Zimbabwe will become patchworks of derelict farms.
More people will migrate to the already overcrowded cities and these
pressures will carry Zimbabwe into worsening chaos, increasing conflict and
deepening political instability.

The second possibility is that we could try to make our new farmers
productive under the discipline of state-run central planning authorities
that depend upon the considerable involvement of the military and other
uniformed services. At best, we might see these management methods lead to
gradual improvements in output, but subsidies will remain essential and the
skills that still have to be learned could see us still floundering in 30
years' time.

The third option is to go for large-scale farms. For these, we will have to
encourage our experienced farmers to return to the land. They will set tough
requirements, but assistance that will certainly be denied under the first
two options will undoubtedly become available if we choose this third route.
To succeed, we have only to install the components needed to make commercial
farming function as a big, successful industry in a modernising economy.

These components are property rights, title deeds, security of tenure and
the transferability of land in an open market. Between them, they will give
the land the collateral value the farmers need to access essential bank
funding and they will give the farmers the confidence to make long-term
commitments to create a productive and profitable, subsidy-free industry.

Zimbabwe could start the recovery process almost immediately by re-engaging
farmers who know what to do now. With government's acceptance of the need to
harness economies of scale, the knowledge and experience of skilled farmers
would soon become a driving force in Zimbabwe's economy, and they would make
possible the creation of well-structured and viable financial and technical
service centres as well as training institutions in the small farming towns
around the country.

Special tax advantages and other incentives would be needed, but they would
be extremely cost-effective as they would bring about the production of
reasonable crops and reduced imports in the shortest possible time. These
successes would lead directly to the revitalisation of every other kind of
economic activity throughout the country. The farmers would need a lot of
assistance to get to work, but the indications are that assistance would be
readily offered by the many countries and development agencies that want to
see rapid recovery in Zimbabwe. However, no such assistance will be
forthcoming if the country remains committed to policies that deny civil and
property rights, or depend upon policies of collectivisation and central

We must first agree to work together. Industry, commerce, banking,
transport, construction, the tourism sector and the government all need to
work with the farmers because none of these can hope to see a revival of
their own fortunes until a recovery in agricultural output has started. Once
they have worked out their recovery strategies for their separate
enterprises, Zimbabwe's re-engaged skilled farmers should be able to rely on
considerable local support as well as help from abroad.

However, the essential first step is to redirect government's attention and
policy decisions to the country's recovery and future success. No recovery
will be possible while government concentrates on a history that cannot be
changed. It is the future that matters most, and Zimbabwe's commercial
farmers could lead the way in restoring hope for a full recovery of the
country's economic prospects.


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Pattern of abuse takes a turn for the worse

Mail & Guardian

      Christopher Dube

      01 April 2007 11:59

            The severity of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe has increased in
the past three years, according to a recently released Human Rights Watch
(HRW) report. State security institutions are directly involved in the
violations -- a new development since 2000, when militias and war veterans
were mainly responsible.

            The report, based on a research mission to Harare in September
and October 2006, notes that police routinely arrest pro-democracy
activists, who are then "brutally beaten" with batons and rifle butts. The
state is increasingly resorting to repressive laws such as the Public Order
and Security Act (POSA) and the Miscellaneous Offences Act.

            Activists are arrested and detained, sometimes for more than 48
hours -- the legal limit -- without being charged. The conditions in which
those arrested are held are "often overcrowded and filthy, with human waste
on the floor and blankets infested with lice".

            POSA provisions are used to effect arrests "that violate the
rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly". Although the law
says police should be notified before any meeting, the police interpret this
as signifying permission, which they routinely refuse.

            Several hundred National Constitutional Assembly and Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) activists have been arrested in the past year but, in
most cases, they have been released without charge, or the charges have been
dropped. "The repeated cycle of arrest, detention and non-pursuit of charges
is applied to deter activists from carrying out their work," the report

            It notes that 63 Woza activists were detained for three days in
February last year. "While in detention the women were . ordered to strip
naked, had their underwear taken away, and were denied sanitary pads."

            The report documents "severe beatings that involved being
punched, kicked and struck with batons, beatings on the soles of the feet,
repeated banging of detainees' heads against walls and the shackling of
detainees in painful positions".

            Promise Mkwanazi, a student leader, told HRW that on one
occasion he was arrested and detained for five days at a police station in
Bindura, a Zanu-PF stronghold, where he was beaten every night. "Every night
they would threaten me and say, 'We will kill you tonight.'"

            In May last year, Alec Muchadehama, a human rights lawyer, was
asked to secure the release of 200 students who had been arrested during
demonstrations at Bindura University. "The students were badly assaulted. It
was quite systematic," he told HRW. Some of the students were held in
solitary confinement at Chikurubi, a notorius maximum security prison.

            The authors of the report say the government has done little to
address issues of torture and ill-treatment of detainees in police custody,
noting that to their knowledge no one has been prosecuted or disciplined for
these violations.

            The report calls upon the government to ensure that security
forces abide by Zimbabwe's obligations under international law. It also
calls upon the government to uphold the Zimbabwean Constitution, condemn
excessive use of force, and investigate allegations of arbitrary arrest and

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Doctor Describes Human Rights Horror

March 29, 2007
Posted to the web March 29, 2007

Charles Cobb Jr.
Washington, DC

Tuesday's arrest of Movement for Democratic Change leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, boosted the expressions of international outrage that began
accelerating in early March over the violence used against Tsvangirai and
other opponents of the Zimbabwe government. At that time, the MDC leader's
skull was cracked and another MDC leader, Grace Kwinje suffered deep
lacerations from police beatings. Scores of others were attacked by police.
Many of the hurt poured into the Avenues Clinic in Harare to be treated by
members of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights. Police with
pistols and batons swarmed in after them, demanding to be present during
medical examinations. The clinic's head, Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo , who is also
chairman of the human rights association ordered them out and backed them
off. Doctor Gwatidzo spoke to the U.S. Congressional Human Rights Caucus
last Friday. He also spoke with's Charles Cobb . Although the
situation of government opponents appears to be worsening Gwatidzo continues
to wear an optimistic face. Excerpts:

Let's start immediately with what's happening now. You are a doctor, you
have been dealing in the last few weeks with injuries to the Zimbabwe
opposition. What exactly are you seeing?

What we, I have been seeing in Zimbabwe is torture basically by government
agents, of people who were gathering to hold peaceful prayers for the
problems that Zimbabwe is going through. It was carried on within the
grounds of police stations, not on the streets. There was no resistance
whatsoever by the victims; it was all perpetrated by police officers.

Can you give me an example or two?

In all I attended to 64 victims from that group. The ones that come to
mind - there's four, starting with Morgan Tsvangirai who is the leader of
the MDC [Movement for Democratic Change]. Then there is Lovemore Madhuku,
the leader of the National Constitutional Assembly, and Sekai Holland, who
is also with the MDC and Grace Kwinje.

These four suffered more severe injuries than the rest of the group.
Starting with Morgan Tsvangirai - he had a 15-centimeter laceration on the
scalp which I presume, because of its largeness, means he must have bled
profusely in police custody. He passed out. It is possible that he might
have had a concussion. He also had fractures in the left hand as well as
bruises all over the body, especially in the back.

Lovemore Madhuku was also bleeding from a laceration on the head. Then he
also had a fracture of the right forearm. Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinje,
the two ladies, received quite severe beatings with Sekai Holland getting
bruised from the shoulders down to the upper part of the thighs. It was a
continuous area of bruising without any breaks, which means she must have
been beaten on the back several times with a blunt object. She also had
fractures of the left forearm and left leg. Grace Kwinje had severe bruising
on the whole body, but particularly on the back. She suffered quite a bit of
head trauma.

What is their condition right now?

As I speak, Morgan Tsvangirai and Lovemore Madhuku have been discharged and
I think they have done remarkably well. The two ladies, unfortunately, have
not done so well. They need further treatment but when they tried to go to
South Africa for further treatment, they were blocked at the airport for
some flimsy reason. You know, one wonders why they were blocked. They were
not fugitives from justice. They were just going there for treatment.

Grace Kwinje is reliving the torture that she suffered. She sees people
threatening to attack her, she gets nightmares, she is very unstable right
now. When they were brought back from the airport, they were put in a
hospital ward guarded by two police officers who were heavily armed with
assault weapons, weapons for use in the bush. That was further torture when
you are already injured and people with big guns sitting next to you.

So there is a mental effect here as well as a physical effect?


At least on the two women.

That's right. They have been fortunately flown to South Africa after a court
battle, so one hopes that they will continue to improve.

Is this unique, or does this kind of mental stress exist in other people who
have been brutalized by authorities?

It is not unique. Anybody who goes through that kind of treatment you can
expect them to have some mental stress or mental problem. In Grace's case,
it has become more profound than in other cases that we have seen before. It
is not unique to this exercise.

Tell me something about how you or the organization functions in this
context. It is hard to imagine here in Washington, DC.

That question has come from many people, including my own colleagues who
wonder why we have to do this in a tense environment. At the end of the day,
I ask myself and ask my conscience to guide me, and this is what is guiding
the rest of the members of the association.

We are not responsible for the injuries. All we are doing is documenting,
treating, and offering help to those who have been affected. Although it may
be frightening, at the end of the day, somebody has got to know. The
government doesn't want it out but somebody has got to put a stop to this.
This is what encourages us to carry on.

Under how much threat from the government are you and your colleagues in
this association?

No threats directly to the medical profession yet, but if you speak to other
people they have heard very direct threats to them. One lawyer was told that
if he carries on "harassing" the police, they are going to go after him.
When you hear such things, the question is: Am I the next one to be harassed
in that fashion? The nearest I came to being threatened was when I was
called to the police in 2003 to explain why I was doing this kind of work. I
told them that I was simply seeing people that come to me with injuries that
they sustain in the manner that they tell me.

What caused establishment of the association in the first place? As I
remember, Zimbabwe has a fairly developed medical system, trained doctors
and nurses. Why an association?

One needs to look back even into the pre-independence era and look at the
training that medical doctors get in Zimbabwe. There is no input on human
rights work, there is very little input on ethics. As we go through the
training program, you are just trained to be a scientific medical
practitioner. The [university medical] school has been producing what can be
referred to as technically proficient people who are technically able to do
the work but they have got no social relevance to the community they live

This is the kind of input we are trying to get into the whole health
delivery system. As much as we are very good technically, there is the
social, human aspect of it which is lacking. This is one of the reasons we
came up with an association that actually focuses on those issues so we have
a complete human approach to medical practice.

When was the association established? Was there some event that triggered
your decision?

It was formed in 2002, in November. It was after the experiences that we
went through from 2000 to 2002 and even beyond then into 2003; when we were
seeing all these victimized people coming in during those contested years of
the referendum, the parliament elections in 2000, and then the presidential
elections in 2002. All of these victims were flocking to the hospitals; we
said look, we can't just treat these people and let them go. Something has
got to be said about it, and the question was who was going to say something
about the victims of torture. We found ourselves in an advantageous position
as doctors and medical professionals.

Who exactly was "we"?

It was the group of doctors that formed the association.

Who was that group? Presumably it is not every doctor.

Those doctors who were attending to victims of torture; everybody who
attended to a victim of torture raised those questions, and we came together
as a group.

Were you mostly in Harare?

Initially it was mostly in Harare, and later on we grew and were joined by
people from outside Harare. It all started in Harare because that is where
most of the victims were, although the problem was countrywide.

So, a group of you were seeing patients who had been tortured and decided
that you would have to speak up about it. Not every doctor, however. Why
wouldn't every doctor speak?

There are some among us who actually benefit from the system as it is,
although they would not come out openly and say, 'I benefit from the
system.' Some people decide just to keep quiet. Not everybody feels so
strongly that they need to speak up about human rights work. Some people
would rather "See No evil, Hear no evil, and Speak no evil"; be technically
proficient but otherwise socially irrelevant.

But I suppose that fear is also a factor.

Fear is a factor indeed. For me, yes, I have had to live through fear and do
something about it. When you see someone coming to you with these injuries,
the next question you ask is, am I going to be the next victim? So you tend
to sort of censor yourself as to what you do, what you write, what you say
in public. It does no good for you, however, because your conscience is
always going to nag you and ask you why you did not do something.

Also, most patients look up to doctors, we are a last port of call where
there is a chance for something being done about their welfare-their
injuries. If somebody is seeing you and documenting your injuries, you
expect them to do something beyond just treating you; you expect some sort
of protection from that person. This is what many of my colleagues back home
are still not doing.

You said you decided to speak up about this wrong. Did you then pick up the
telephone, knock on doors? How did you get whatever your group is together?

To start with, when we formed the association we actually wrote to the
Minister of Health to inform him that we had formed an association that was
going to do that kind of work. We approached our colleagues in the medical
field to tell them that this is what we are doing and we expected them to
join us in doing this kind of work. Every time we saw large numbers of
people who had been brutalized we put up statements in newspapers and
interviews with the radio stations, that sort of thing. We started holding
workshops countrywide trying to educate our colleagues on these issues. We
invited international experts in the areas human rights and health to come
and tell us about their experiences. So we started sharing ideas amongst
ourselves, spreading the news right around the country.

The Minister of Health and the rest of the government responded how?

The only response that I remember was a telephone call from the Minister
asking about what I was doing. I told him exactly what I was doing. At some
point, I invited him to the hospital where I work, where on that day we had
seen 85 cases of torture. That was the last that I heard from the minister.

The other thing that we did is to invite the main medical association in the
country, which is called the Zimbabwe Medical Association. We asked them to
embrace the culture of human rights. That was rejected. We were told that we
were perceived as a political group. But as far as I'm concerned, there's
politics everywhere, even in the practice of medicine. If you are tending to
a patient who has malnutrition, for example, it is politics. You are talking
about the politics of food distribution, the availability of food, the
ability to acquire food, incomes, and that sort of thing. So it is all

I'm putting this question to you to get your response as a Zimbabwean and
also drawing on my memory of the country in its early days of independence.
Here's a country whose leadership is fairly well educated, there are a
substantial number of people in various professions who are well-educated. I
am not excusing [the last white prime minister] Ian Smith at all, but given
where Zimbabwe started on the day of independence, how does it get to a
place where doctors like yourself have to fight the government for human

That has been a puzzle for many people to try and figure out how and why we
got to where we are now. If one looks at human behavior, when things become
difficult we tend to behave in an instinctive [manner], which is the basic
animal instinct of survival at all cost. I guess that is what has been
happening. People are choosing to preserve self rather than somebody else.
If one really sits down and looks at what is happening in Zimbabwe, I don't
anyone is benefiting. In fact, we are creating more problems for ourselves.
As things get more and more difficult, it is now each man for himself. It is
survival more than anything else.

How much of this is the fault of Robert Mugabe, the individual who is
President? How much of this is the fault of Zanu-PF, the party that
dominates politics?

It is not easy to say who is at fault within that grouping. Many factors
have brought Zimbabwe to where it is now. Any leader in any situation would
do something to ensure that they survive in the leadership position. If you
are in a group of people, you tend to influence the thinking of other
people. So it is a social club type of situation where people want to be
where they are in order to be better than others. Also, there are others
besides President Mugabe and politicians who have benefited from this kind
of situation, but unfortunately they benefited at the expense of the
majority of Zimbabweans. You cannot blame one person; I think there are many
factors that put Zimbabwe in the way that it is.

What brings you to the United States?

When I was at home, my brief was an invitation to speak to what is called
the Open Society Initiative and also to the Congress. The reason as
explained to me is that there are so many articles in newspapers, articles
on TV, all these stories are going around, but they have not yet [gotten]
information first-hand from either the victims or somebody else to speak for
the victims.

When you leave here ...

I am going straight back to Zimbabwe.

Are you worried that people you have been criticizing will read these
articles or hear Voice of America where you were interviewed, or read

I have criticized the system back home. I have addressed people in various
forums. As far as I'm concerned, the work that I do is about issues and
systems that are not working. And as far as I'm concerned, the work that I
do is about issues and systems that are not working. I am not attacking
anybody's personality. I am simply talking about bad behavior. This is my
feeling, and this is what gives me the courage to do the kind of work that
I'm doing.

Are Zimbabwean doctors and medical personnel inclined to be like you and
stay in Zimbabwe and fight the battle, or are they inclined to leave and go
to England or South Africa or Austraila? Are you losing medical personnel?

We are. We are losing many people. Many of my colleagues choose the easier
option. The easier options that exist are you either keep quiet and you
carry on, or you leave the country. Many have left the country, and many
have decided just to keep quiet. So, not everybody is like me. But I believe
that there are - there's quite a number who would like to be like me.

How did you get to be like you?

I don't know. Maybe it's my personality. I don't know how I came to be how I
am, but ever since early childhood I never accepted a situation where
somebody abused another person. I couldn't stand abuse of any kind. I would
speak out, speak my mind, even in high school.

What do you see when you look down the road for Zimbabwe, both in the
immediate and long-term future?

The crisis is going to be with us for quite a bit. What one hopes, and what
I think is. that we're going to emerge [as] a better Zimbabwe, because I
don't think anybody would want to relive this exercise, either as a
perpetrator or as a victim. I don't think that the police who are doing this
to people really believe in what they are doing. I'm sure at some point they
are going to search in their minds and they will ask themselves why it is
that they are doing what they are doing to the people.

What about other African countries? Would you like more from them? Are you
getting support from your own colleagues in say South Africa, or Mozambique,
or Zambia - your immediate neighbors?

Yes, South Africans are pretty good. They write, send emails, and that sort
of thing, and some of them actually call me just to find out how I am. We've
got support from the Kenyans, for example. There's an organization called
the Independent Medico-Legal Unit in Kenya, and they give us good support.
Uganda is very good. Zambia has just come on board. We've formed a grouping
[with members from] Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi,
Mozambique, and South Africa. So there are eight countries that form that
regional grouping and we get support from all those people.

As for the heads of state, I'm sorry to say, they have been disappointing
probably because it is an elitist club. They have let Zimbabwe down,
considering what Zimbabwe did for many of those countries like South Africa,
Namibia, and Mozambique. Zimbabwe sacrificed a lot for those countries to be
where they are today-the so-called quiet diplomacy is a waste of time. They
are just deceiving everybody else, pretending that they are doing something
when they are not doing anything..

I hope as time goes on they are going to change their attitude. I believe a
social club has rules and regulations. You put down rules and say, look, you
have to behave in this manner for you to be a member of this club and if you
misbehave you are out. So this is what we expect from the African leaders.
If they see one of their club members misbehaving, they have to tell him
openly that you are misbehaving and if you want to remain in this club, you
have got to be better.

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Analysis: Is Mugabe still in control?

UPI Correspondent
WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Front has endorsed President Robert Mugabe's 2008 re-election bid.

This came as a shock to many who had hoped ZANU-PF would act on the
condemnation of Mugabe's maltreatment of opposition leaders.

"I think it is disappointing and does not bode well for Zimbabwe's immediate
future," said Jennifer Cooke, co-director of the Africa program at the
Center for Strategic and International Studies.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack in a statement Friday called the
nomination sad and outrageous as they had hoped better for the Zimbabwean

Meanwhile, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change Morgan
Tsvangirai said he was appalled by the results. Tsvangirai was detained and
beaten twice this month by government forces. British Prime Minister Tony
Blair called the situation "appalling, disgraceful and utterly tragic for
the people."

The current crisis began when local police officials imposed a three-month
ban on political rallies in the capital, Harare, in February. Opposition
parties vowed to defy the ban, thereby triggering the violence.

"Police forces have gone house-to-house beating people with batons, stealing
possessions and accusing them of supporting the opposition," a Human Rights
Watch report said.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has come under pressure to use his
relationship with Mugabe to resolve the crisis. He has to contend with the
liberator status Mugabe enjoys in the region. Despite this, analysts say
support for Mugabe has diminished as his people are afraid of what he would
do to them if they oppose his views.

"The government of Zimbabwe has intensified its brutal suppression of its
own citizens in an effort to crush all forms of dissent," Georgette Gagnon,
deputy Africa director for Humans Rights Watch, said in a report Wednesday.

Mbeki has refused to publicly criticize the 83-year-old Mugabe, preferring
instead to adopt a quiet and constructive approach to handling issues.

On Thursday, 14 member states of the Southern African Development Community
met in Tanzania and mandated Mbeki to set up a meeting between Mugabe and
Tsvangirai to resolve the stalemate. The members expressed solidarity with

The summit called on Britain to "honour its commitments" to funding land
reforms in Zimbabwe. Blair has continuously insisted the issues at stake go
beyond bilateral relations with his country.

"What is not true is Britain is the only country in the world that is
desperately concerned at the plight of Zimbabweans," British Foreign
Secretary Margaret Beckett said in an interview with the Times.

But Zimbabwean presidential spokesman George Charamba responded to comments
by world leaders by saying his country was "under assault from western
countries that have imposed illegal sanctions on it."

Human Rights Watch also confirmed the role Zimbabwe plays in committing
serious abuses against opposition activists and ordinary Zimbabweans.

SADC's support raises questions about the possibility of resolving the
crisis, or to what extent African leaders are ready to alienate Mugabe to
please the West. Already, with ZANU-PF's endorsement of Mugabe's re-election
bid, all avenues for resolving the crisis appear gone. There is little the
West can do right now if the regional leaders themselves decided to adopt a
lukewarm approach.

Some regional leaders believe what is happening to Mugabe could happen to
them also and are afraid supporting the West to Zimbabwe's detriment may
result in loss of support for them.

"The big change would have to come from the ruling party. It is hard to see
where the United States and the rest of the international community can do
anything, and I don't think travel sanctions and asset freezes would change
Mugabe's behaviour," Cooke stated.

Martha Mutisi, a Fulbright scholar from Zimbabwe studying for her master's
in conflict analysis at George Mason University, told UPI her government
spreads propaganda in high schools and brainwashes the students into
believing ZANU-PF plays a positive role in the country.

Mutisi said students are banned from using books written by western authors.
These children have to work at the farms first before attending school, she

"I can say the Zimbabwe from 1980 to the late '90s was something to talk
about. I am a product of that education. But the Zimbabwe we are talking
about now is equally different."

Current economic downfalls, high inflation and high unemployment, she said,
have all contributed to a depletion of educational facilities at high

"When I went to school, I used to have a book for every subject, but it is
not any more. Now students have to share books," Mutisi said.

She said the opposition in her country is too weak.

"It needs a lot of capacity building and leadership skills. We need someone
who would be able to work well with members of the opposition to create the
Zimbabwe we want. This is contrary to the current Zimbabwe, characterized by
political violence and abuse of young people and women," she said.

The Mugabe administration has to grapple with other concerns, especially the
hunger situation in the country. The U.N. Office for Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs estimates Zimbabweans need about 2 million metric tons
of maize to survive.

British Foreign Minister Ian McCartney in a statement to the House of
Commons recently attributed the high dependence on food aid, the free fall
in the economy and 3,000-percent inflation to Mugabe.

With the dissatisfaction by the police and the military, traditionally
Mugabe's base, many analysts believe his days are numbered and a massive
uprising or coup d'etat may be in the offing.

"Mugabe may eventually lose control of the military and the police. The
lower rank and file are not getting paid, they are not able to feed their
families and they are suffering from the economic catastrophe just like the
rest of Zimbabwe," Cooke said.

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Mugabe - An evil genius or a great manipulator of minds?

2nd Apr 2007 15:54 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

THE LATE Eddison Zvobgo, a one-time rival for the leadership of Zanu PF of
Robert Mugabe, is reported to have said no wife of his would wear any cloth
emblazoned with the picture of another man.

There is no record of Julia Zvobgo, who died soon after her husband a few
years ago, ever wearing that familiar uniform of the Zanu PF women's league
which features a very large portrait of Mugabe,

Such was the rebellious nature of the lawyer-turned-politician. Yet he was
the same man who crafted what many political analysts described as the
ultimate tribute of one man to his idol - the constitutional amendment which
created the executive president.

For many people, and not necessarily political or rocket scientists either,
that piece of legislation turned Zimbabwe, with one stroke of the pen, from
a would-be democracy into a dictatorship.

In one famous interview, Zvobgo, in full flower as a Zanu PF loyalist or
demagogue, said his party's task, once in power, was to retain power at any
To many people, this suggested the party would go to the ends of the earth
to retain power.

Which is what we are facing today: a party which will throw everything at
its opponents to retain its stranglehold on political power.

Zvobgo was not always so pliant in terms of his loyalty to Zanu PF. For
instance, his eloquent rebuttal of the first legal draft of Jonathan Moyo's
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bill has been hailed as a
classic example of one politician's loud commitment to freedom of

It sounded nowhere near like the garden-variety platitude of a Zanu PF
leader echoing his master's voice. In spite of his latent rebellion against
his party's anti-democratic policies, it would not be unfair to say that, in
the end, Zvobgo capitulated.

He and his wife lie buried today at Harare 's controversial Heroes Acre.
The controversy has long been anchored on the perception of many neutral
observers that, quite simply, not all the people interred here qualify as
heroes by any stretch of the imagination.

Which is where the question must be asked: if all this is a result of the
evil genius of one man, Robert Mugabe, is it inconceivable that the current
political impasse in Zanu PF will be resolved in favour of that same man?

Take his "triumph" in Dar es Salaam, at the summit of the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc).

There must been dissenting voices to the idea of this 83-year-old man,
undoubtedly the author of one of the most tragic economic disasters in
African history, wanting to be returned to power for another six years.

Did leaders such as Zambia 's Levy Mwanawasa and Botswana Festus Mogae,
among others, not walk out when it was decided to let Mugabe off the hook so
That the Sadc leaders could so easily fall for Mugabe's old trick of evoking
the bogey of the "recolonisation" of Zimbabwe by the British must be a
tribute to either his evil genius or a confirmation of his prodigious talent
for manipulating people's minds to his will.

For them to then add insult to injury by naming Thabo Mbeki as their own
"point man" in negotiating a meeting between Zanu PF and the opposition
parties can only stand as irrefutable testimony to their own lack of resolve
to confront the region's problems with the requisite robust determination.

This has to be courage different from that of the old Organisation of
African Unity, the present African Union, and the predecessor of the current
Mbeki was once named by George W. Bush as his "point man" in the seemingly
never-ending international attempts to end the Zimbabwean imbroglio.

Mbeki is clearly contemptuous of the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai,
perhaps primarily because the former trade unionist reminds him of the rise
to power of men such as the hapless Frederick Chiluba of Zambia or South
Africa's own Cyril Ramaphosa, who is still young enough to challenge for the
job now held by Mbeki - not now but in the near future.

Mbeki is also alleged to have shown a distinct bias in favour of the MDC
faction led by Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube. For their own sake, the
two factions must disabuse the SA president of this weird notion that the
fight to replace Zanu PF as the government in Zimbabwe is related to any
elements of ethnicity.

Evil genius or not, Mugabe has shown himself to be utterly fallible as a
politician. Nobody can interpret the events at the "people's" conference in
Goromonzi as anything other than an unmitigated disaster for Mugabe. His
plan to "harmonise" the presidential and parliamentary elections in 2010 was
rejected by the conference - although he himself tried to put a different
spin on it.

Moreover, he had indicated he would step down in 2008. Now, without so much
as a respectful pause or a valid explanation, he says he will stand as the
Zanu PF presidential candidate next year.

Even more amazingly the party's central committee endorsed this candidature.
To many observers, all this stinks of a deal. What happened to Emmerson
Mnangagwa's presidential ambitions? Or even John Nkomo's? He had as much as
thrown his hat into the ring only a few short weeks ago.

Mugabe probably played the Sadc card for all it was worth to disarm his
opponents, again playing on their minds. If the Sadc heads of state had
accepted his reasons for "bashing" their political opponents until they are
admitted to hospital with life-threatening injuries, what possible reason
would they have for not letting him stand for re-election?

Clearly, the ball is now in the opposition's court. The 2008 elections will
not be free or fair. None of the amendments proposed at the Zanu PF central
committee meeting relate to a levelling of the electoral playing field.

Typically, they are all intended to level the playing field for a Zanu PF
victory. The impunity with which the ruling party manipulates the
constitution to suit its purposes must be unprecedented, even in African
political history. It's as if there was no opposition in Parliament; in the
Senate, certainly, there can be only token resistance.

In the National Assembly, the combined opposition could make the situation
entirely embarrassing for the ruling party.

Yet, at the end of it all, it is unimaginable that such a divided opposition
could ever offer much of a formidable challenge to a ruling party so steeped
in violence it can only be confronted on that level.

The Western countries' reaction to the Sadc rebuff has yet to be fully
appreciated. Most of the hype in the Western media before the summit seemed
to suggest that Mugabe would be given the heave-ho.

Most of this may not been based entirely on wishful thinking. There did seem
to be, from the outside, a fairly clear indication that the leaders would
not let Mugabe come away believing that their position had not changed, that
they still believed he was on the right track, that they didn't believe his
position was endangering their own positions, both politically and

There must have been some straight talking from some of the leaders, perhaps
even including from Mbeki himself, who cannot be excited about the hundreds
of Zimbabweans flocking into his country from the terror unleashed on them
by Mugabe's forces.

It is understandable for the Sadc leaders not to appear to be publicly
endorsing the Western countries' stance on Mugabe, just as it would have
been embarrassing for Mugabe to announce publicly that his colleagues had
berated him for his bashing of his opponents and had asked him to leave the
political scene now before he could do even more damage.

This will be the hope of many Zimbabweans who genuinely fear for the future
of their country, not only politically, but even more seriously,
The widespread fear is that if Mugabe believes only he can salvage the
country from the economic collapse that is certain to befall it, then
something ought to be done - and one urgently - to disabuse him of this.

If Zanu PF lacks the stomach to do this, then perhaps the people ought to
assign that mission to themselves.

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Mr Mugabe is also a shrewd performer

The Economist.

Mr Mugabe is also a shrewd performer, switching from Shona to English to
send different messages to different audiences. He exploits foreign
condemnation of his rule so effectively that Britain's government,
especially, now rarely comments on Zimbabwe. His playground jibes against
the foreign leaders he dislikes - Britain's Tony Blair is "a boy in short
trousers" - provoke laughter even among the hungry who want to see him gone.
Next month his government plans to set up a 24-hour propaganda station,
News24, to counter "negative publicity" from the West. "Nothing frightens
me," said Mr Mugabe at a meeting in Harare on March 23rd. "I make a stand
and stand on principle here where I was born, here where I grew up, here
where I fought and here where I shall die." At 83 he still works punishing
hours, rarely returning from the office until late evening, and is sharper
minded than most, perhaps all, of his many opponents. He is said to rise
before dawn, well before the rest of his young family, and to start the day
with yoga exercises. He is frugal, typically taking no breakfast but sipping
tea throughout the day. His doctors say he is in formidable good health.

Heidi Holland, the author of a forthcoming book, "Dinner with Mugabe", who
has interviewed many relatives and colleagues of the president, sees him as
sprightly and canny. Whenever possible he eats sadza - the local maize
porridge - with a relish of vegetables, usually with his hands in the
traditional way of the Shona people. Unlike many African dictators, with
their fierce appetites for booze, meat and women, Zimbabwe's leader is
teetotal, a near-vegetarian and by all accounts faithful to Grace, his young
second wife. His tailor notes that Mr Mugabe's measurements (he likes vents
at the sides of his jackets and cannot abide double-breasted suits) have not
altered in 20 years.

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Zimbabwe: Bloggers invade mainstream media

Global Voices
Monday, April 2nd, 2007 @ 9:02 EDT

With the world’s eyes focused on events in Zimbabwe, the country’s blogosphere has come of age over the last two weeks. Zimbabwe’s bloggers have claimed their rightful place among the leading re-tellers of the Zimbabwean story.

All of last week, popular group blog This is Zimbabwe was the guest blog featured on Sky NewsInsider Blog. In their introduction to the week long feature, Sky News explains why Zimbabwean bloggers are a critical source of information thus;

What is life is like in a country where any sign of dissent or defiance to the Government can result in beatings or jail? Where media is either state-owned or regulated? And where blogging is dangerous.

All this week the Sky News Insider Blog comes from inside Zimbabwe - where activists hoping for democracy are beaten or killed; where HIV/AIDS is rife; where life expectancy is low.

Many of Zimbabwe’s bloggers are living the experience that the rest of the world only hears about.

In this article titled Bloggers turn up heat on Zimbabwe, the BBC takes notice of a variety of perspectives on the Zimbabwean crisis coming from the country’s bloggers. Another Zimbabwean blogger, Zimpundit was interviewed by the BBC, and made several appearances on their World update program.

Angry about South Africa’s complicit role in the prevailing crisis in the country, the aforementioned This is Zimbabwe have posted this telling cartoon following the appointment of Thabo Mbeki as the mediator of Zimbabwe crisis.Sokwanele cartoon

At Kubatana blogs, this post titled “Under the cover of darkness,” describes the reality on the ground in Zimbabwe yesterday

Zimbabweans who ventured out of home this Sunday morning will have been greeted by the front page news in The Standard of more officially sanctioned violence by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

What they wouldn’t know at this juncture is that all 9 detainees bludgeoned whilst in police custody and ordered off to hospital by the presiding magistrate, were last night abducted around 11pm from their hospital beds. An army doctor and a clutch of men in the ubiquitous blue uniforms of youth militia forced the injured into prison garb and dragged them off to destinations not known at this stage. Why? Under what authority were they acting?

Ostensibly our law enforcement agents are trying to bring the perpetrators of a series of petrol bombing incidents to book. They must do this at 11pm at night?

In a normal democracy, there is a separation of powers to ensure that no single arm of governance overreaches its authority. In a normal democracy the police would be out of line. But here they have been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to beat Zimbabwe’s citizens into submission.

Now, according to the public face presented by SADC’s leaders, Zimbabwe’s democracy is functioning within the norms set by the region.

Zimbabwe:Outpost of Tyranny has a post about a motion introduced in the U.S. congress condemning Zimbabwe.

The bearded man posts multiple updates everyday.


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Mugabe Will Go Quietly, Says Analyst

Institute for War & Peace Reporting

A Zimbabwe-based observer believes quiet diplomacy will ease Robert Mugabe
out of office, though it will take time.

By Norman Chitapi in Harare (AR No. 107, 2-Apr-07)

The communiqué that emerged from the Southern African Development Community
summit last week on the political stalemate in Zimbabwe was not as
spectacular as the international community and people in the country may
have wished. Onlookers hoping for more obvious signs of progress in
resolving the Zimbabwean crisis may have regarded the outcome of the Dar es
Salaam summit as an anti-climax.

The decision of the Central Committee of the ruling ZANU-PF to endorse
President Robert Mugabe as its candidate for the presidential election in
March next year no doubt met with the same mood of dismay.

But two things are almost certain - Mugabe is finally ready to go, and South
African president Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" is not dead. Indeed, Mbeki's
approach could come out on top in the complex array of diplomatic
initiatives and proposals on the table to end Zimbabwe's long drawn-out
economic and political crisis, a political analyst told IWPR.

"It is instructive that [Tanzanian] president Jakaya Kikwete decided that
the SADC heads of state should confront Mugabe privately," said the
political scientist, who is based at a university in Zimbabwe and did not
want to be named. "They have dealt with Mugabe for a long time and know he
is congenitally stubborn. He will not tolerate being publicly humiliated."

He said a public spat would simply have played into Mugabe's hands, so the
SADC leaders did right to massage his ego and talk to him quietly. He said
Mbeki, whom the SADC tasked with leading the mediation effort from now on,
was unlikely to change this approach.

"The major difference is that whereas in the past it was almost entirely a
personal initiative, now the same 'quiet diplomacy' has the force of the
region," said the analyst.

He said SADC did not have a better option, since threats of action were not
really available to Zimbabwe's neighbours.

"They may quietly hint at economic embargoes, but will not dare push Mugabe
into a corner where he might call their bluff. The consequences would be
worse than what we are talking about at the moment," said the analyst.

Another factor that informs Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" is the need to appear
to be working by consensus rather than confrontation.

"It is not cowardice but a cultural thing. You don't try to browbeat a
neighbour simply because he is failing to run his family. You sit down over
a calabash of beer and discuss issues almost informally. It is almost
certain you will achieve your goals without provoking resentment," he said.

At 83, Mugabe is the oldest ruling president in the region and possibly in
the world. He is the last of the first generation of African
liberation-movement leaders still alive, besides Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia.

The analyst said the generation gap between Mugabe and his ZANU-PF
colleagues made it virtually impossible for them to go for open
confrontation. Mugabe was fully aware that this cultural factor worked his
favour, and took complete advantage of it.

The political scientist said there was no contradiction between the SADC
quietly pressing Mugabe to go and his party at home endorsing him as its
candidate next year. He said this was just part of the plea bargaining

Mugabe has said he will not leave power as long as his party is a "shambles",
and believes he is best placed to lead the epic confrontation with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.

The analyst said the SADC leaders may have "allowed" Mugabe to serve out his
term and even stand for election again next year.

If he loses, he will have to leave and endure the humiliation. "If he wins,
he will probably serve two or three years as part of his 2010 project and
then resign," said the analyst.

In the latter scenario, Mugabe would be killing two birds with one stone -
staying on for a couple more years yet avoiding the risk of alienating
supporters of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who are opposed to the project.

"Once he resigns, Mujuru will then take over," said the analyst, noting that
this explained a proposal made at the Central Committee meeting that when a
sitting president resigns or dies, "parliament will sit as an electoral
college to elect his successor". Assuming ZANU-PF wins a majority in the
next legislative election, it will be in a position to dominate the
selection of a successor, obviating the need to call a national election.

The political scientist said these factors explained why there was no
acrimony at the Central Committee meeting, because the Mujuru faction, while
opposed to the 2010 project, is set to benefit from a Mugabe victory in
2008, so a possible rift in the party will be avoided .

"Mugabe's greatest fear is to leave behind a legacy of a divided ZANU-PF,"
said the analyst.

This was evident when Mugabe used his closing remarks to urge party members
to resolve their differences amicably and stop briefing against one another.

"Whatever the nature of the differences between us or quarrels we have, it
is completely wrong to allow them to go into the public arena either through
publicity or litigation," said Mugabe said.

"I happen to know that quite a lot of material aimed at 'exposing' so and so
or harming his or her integrity is being surreptitiously published in the
opposition press by some of us."

The president said the "hostile press" was being kept in business by party
leaders who leaked "information that should be kept a secret".

He was clearly referring to the rivalry between former army general Solomon
Mujuru and Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The latter is also
suing national party chairman John Nkomo for defamation.

Meanwhile, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai may have given the president further
ammunition by threatening to boycott the 2008 election next year. The
political scientist said instead of talking of boycotts, the opposition
should keep up the pressure on Mugabe by agitating for electoral reform.

"They should be getting people ready to vote instead of confusing them as
they have done in the past, threatening to boycott elections and then
changing their minds at the last minute," he said. "Moreover, any talk of
boycott weakens Mbeki's hand in trying to resolve the crisis, when they [the
opposition] should be helping him."

Norman Chitapi is a pseudonym used by a reporter in Zimbabwe.

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MDC leader pushes for single candidate in next year's poll

Zim Online

Tuesday 03 April 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - The leader of one of the factions of Zimbabwe's main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Arthur Mutambara yesterday called on
the opposition to field a single candidate to challenge President Robert
Mugabe in next year's presidential election.

Mugabe, silenced opponents within his ruling ZANU PF party who were pushing
for him to step down, to emerge as the party's candidate in the presidential
poll expected around March 2008.

Political analysts say the opposition probably has its greatest chance next
year to defeat Mugabe, who they say is at his weakest, with most Zimbabweans
blaming him for plunging the country into its worst ever economic crisis
while he has also become increasingly unpopular within ZANU PF.

Mutambara, a prominent academic and leader of the smaller faction of the
MDC, said the opposition party could best take advantage of "the momentum
that has gathered against Mugabe" if it sponsored one candidate.

"It is our submission that national interest should take precedence over
narrow and selfish interest," said Mutambara.

He added: "The democratic forces should not allow ZANU PF to reinvent,
regenerate and succeed itself.. it is critical to maintain and leverage the
momentum that has gathered against Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe. All democratic
forces must close ranks."

Mutambara said his faction fully supported today's stay-away called by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) that has also been backed by the
larger faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

The ZCTU has called on workers across the country to boycott work today and
tomorrow to protest against poor and worsening living conditions.

The labour body said further job actions would be called after every three
months until the government addressed the myriad of ills bedevilling the
tottering economy.

Mutambara said an all-inclusive and cohesive united front of all democratic
forces was essential to give Zimbabwe a fresh start. "Our nation needs the
injection of a new value system, a different political culture and
redemptive institutional framework."

On the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit, which publicly
backed Mugabe, Mutambara said the mere fact that the regional group had met
specifically to discuss Zimbabwe was itself an acknowledgement and an
acceptance that Mugabe had failed to run the affairs of his country.

"More importantly, the SADC emergency summit clearly recognised that the
on-going economic and political crisis is both unsustainable and a threat to
regional stability. This is unprecedented," Mutambara said.

Many observers have criticised SADC leaders for not publicly condemning
repression by Harare and their refusal to pressure - at least publicly -
Mugabe to quit power when his term expires next year. - ZimOnline

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The region gangs up on Mugabe

Mail and Guardian

      Godwin Gandu

      02 April 2007 11:59

            The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is placing
unprecedented pressure on President Robert Mugabe to quit office and pave
the way for peace and stability at home and within the region.

            Mugabe is now facing a war on two fronts: with SADC heads of
state at the regional level and a divided ruling Zanu-PF party at home. All
are pondering the political implications of his continued stay in office.

            At the regional level, Zimbabwe's close allies are closing ranks
and making it abundantly clear that political reforms are essential. This
week Angolan Deputy Prime Minister Aguinaldo Jaini told the media that "the
resolution of the Angolan conflict provided lessons to other African
countries, particularly Harare, if it was willing to listen".

            Jaini added that the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe is now
a barrier to "greater regional integration, restore[ation] of peace and

            Meanwhile, during his visit to Zimbabwe two weeks ago, Tanzanian
President Jayaya Kikwete made it clear to Mugabe that SADC, as well as
crucial SADC allies such as the European Union, are fed up with Harare.

            Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe's former spin doctor, now an independent
MP, says this is the first time SADC has taken a proactive stance on
Zimbabwe. "It's the first time that the SADC has successfully put Zimbabwe
on the agenda. Once you find yourself on that agenda, then you are simply
confirming that you have security problems back home ... you are already
knocking on the doors of a similar agenda at the United Nations."

            Despite resistance from South Africa, the United States and the
EU are insisting that the Zimbabwe issue should be discussed by the UN
Security Council. South Africa, which chaired the Security Council for the
month of March, has kept Zimbabwe off the agenda.

            This week's hastily convened SADC meeting -- the situation in
the Democratic Republic of Congo was also on the agenda -- came only a day
before a crucial Zanu-PF party meeting at which Mugabe had hoped to gain
support for a renewed presidential bid in 2008.

            "It is genius for the SADC to have this meeting ahead of the
[Zanu-PF] central comittee meeting. Whatever agenda Mugabe had [to extend
his presidential term] will be put on hold, if not removed completely," Moyo
said. "Mugabe will never be removed from the SADC agenda until he has solved
his problems back home."

            "The SADC will remind him his time is up, politely, and he may
have to think again when he meets his party's central committee," says an
insider within Zanu-PF, who believes regional pressure is vital if Mugabe is
to quit.

            Political analysts in Zimbabwe agree that SADC pressure could
affect the current crisis. "SADC this time around will achieve something
because South Africa is desperate. It doesn't want the 2010 World Cup
disturbed," says Dr John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science

            "If the SADC doesn't achieve anything, South Africa will be in
bad shape. So they are fighting collectively, pressuring Mugabe to stop
violence," he added.

            "[South African President Thabo] Mbeki will fight for dialogue
first -- between the opposition and Zanu-PF -- and then Mugabe's exit by
2008," Makumbe added.

            According to sources briefed about the talks between Kikwete and
Mu-gabe, Kikwete told Mugabe that the SADC was concerned about the beatings
and torture of opposition activists. Kikwete and Mbeki want the August SADC
summit in Zambia to find a conclusive resolution to the question of
succession in Zimbabwe.

            A bemused Mugabe blamed opposition forces for fanning political
violence, but implored SADC "to turn a blind eye to Western interests to
effect a regime change in his country," the same source said.

            Last week, South Africa pushed its own diplomatic initiatives to
a new level, gathering intelligence and other information from various
Zimbabwean players present in Johannesburg. The information was expected to
guide SADC leaders during their meeting this week.

            Last week, South African foreign affairs officials met the
secretaries general of the two wings of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), Professor Welshman Ncube and Tendayi Biti.

            According to a Zimbabwean opposition source, senior South
African officials, including the Director General in the Presidency, Frank
Chikane, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad and others were locked
in meetings for six hours to "obtain the views of the MDC collectively, and
gather comprehensive information on the root cause of the problem", to "see
how they can resolve the crisis to the satisfaction of everyone for the
restoration of normalcy".

            The opposition leaders are understood to have taken the
officials to task for not taking an aggressive public stance against the
deteriorating political situation.

            But the source said the South Africans complain that their
position is being misunderstood, that to "remain engaged and have access to
all sides, they must never alienate any of the various sides", and that
condemning Mugabe would provoke him to "hit back".

            South African is said to be planning separate meetings with
Mugabe and various other players involved in the dispute, including the

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Zimbabwean exiles say halt aid to Southern Africa

From the Zimbabwe Vigil

Press Release - 3rd April 2007

Zimbabwean exiles in the United Kingdom have called for aid to Southern
Africa to be suspended because of the failure of the regional body to stand
up for human rights in Zimbabwe.

The call comes from the Zimbabwe Vigil which has been demonstrating outside
the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past four and a half
years in protest at human rights abuses.

Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met in Tanzania
last week to discuss the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe but
unexpectedly failed to make any public criticism of President Mugabe's
regime.  Instead they urged the lifting of the targeted sanctions on Mugabe
and his cronies which prevent them visiting the European Union, the United
States and some other countries.

The Vigil is to run a petition calling on all countries in the European
Union to suspend government to government aid to the 14 SADC members until
they observe their commitment to promote good governance in the region.

"Our supporters are very angry", said Ephraim Tapa, a founder member of the
Vigil. "All we see is political immaturity from our neighbours. The last
thing we want to do is to hurt our brothers and sisters in Southern Africa
but we must drive home to their hypocritical governments their obligation to
promote the good governance they have all signed up to.  We do all we can to
encourage humanitarian aid but people here question whether it is a good use
of resources that Malawi pays guards to stop people defacing signs on the
new highway Malawi has named after Robert Mugabe."

Mr Tapa went on to say "We know this is controversial but we are desperate.
The Southern African leaders must be made to understand that they cannot
support tyranny and brutality without consequences.  Our gloves are off."

The text of the new petition reads: "We record our dismay at the failure of
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate
people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We urge the UK government, and
the European Union in general, to suspend government to government aid to
all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold
human rights in the region."

The Vigil's main petition calling on the UN to intervene on human rights in
Zimbabwe has been signed by more than 100,000 people passing by the Vigil on
Saturdays (not by just a click on the email).

For more information, contact:
§         Ephraim Tapa, Founder Member of the Vigil - 07940 793 090
§         Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa, Founder Member of the Vigil - 07984 254
§         Dennis Benton - Press Facilitator - 07932 193 467

Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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How Mugabe Made a Basket Case Out of Zimbabwe

The Monitor (Kampala)

April 2, 2007
Posted to the web April 2, 2007

Nicholas Sengoba

Come 2008, Zimbabwe's Robert Gabriel Mugabe (83) will again stand as
ZANU-PF's presidential candidate, after being in power for twenty seven

Should Mugabe win (which is likely, going by the record of Zimbabwe's
fraudulent elections) and last the distance, he will celebrate his 90th
birthday in office and 32 years in power.

Interestingly, the endorsement by ZANU-PF's Central Committee happened at a
time when speculation was rife about factions developing within the party
motivated by a desire to bring an end to Mugabe's reign. Clearly, ZANU-PF
lacks the stomach to rein him in.

Earlier a meeting of the South African Development Community (SADC) states
was convened in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania to discuss the Zimbabwe crisis. SADC
was expected to reprimand Mugabe for the brutality visited on the opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and to persuade Mugabe to start thinking about
leaving the stage to stem the retrogression currently suffered by his
country. A joint communiqué indicated that he instead got support and not

Optimists, who thought that for once a section of African leaders would
divorce themselves of the tired notion of 'non interference,' are now much
wiser. Currently as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Madeleine Albright put it in
an article "Zimbabwe which was formerly a food basket, has now become a
basket case!"

Unemployment stands at almost 80% sending burdensome migrant labour into
neighbouring South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, and Zamibia.

At 1,700% the inflation rate is the highest in the world and life expectancy
at 36 years one of the lowest. The figures for health, housing and education
are equally depressing.

Zimbabwe is a classic product of an African nation with an adamant leader
who is well past his sell by date.

As exemplified by most African nations, twenty years is time long enough to
judge whether a leader is the type who will swim or sink and not many have
passed the test. Those who have trudged along have in more ways than one
been found wanting as far as good governance and national prosperity is

Zimbabwe is a relatively 'young' nation having got its independence 'only'
27 years ago in 1980. Most African states were born twenty years earliers.
The occurrences in Zimbabwe today are what most of Africa witnessed at the
end of the 70's and during the 80's -- the so-called "lost decade."

Long-standing leaders who had led their countries right from independence
like Mugabe started losing their grip on power eventually leading to regime
change. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Kamuzu Banda
of Malawi, Felix Houphet Boigny of Cote d'Voire being examples.

The 'advantage' twenty years ago was that when the international community
and media talked about sad news from Africa; including hopeless economies,
wars, drought, famine and military dictatorships, the examples were too many
to afford the highlighting of a particular country.

Unlike today, there were hardly any countries that had made remarkable steps
towards democratisation and successful economic reformation and
liberalisation (pretentious or otherwise).When the democratic upheavals of
the late 80's and early 90's that were christened "the winds of change" were
taking place, Zimbabwe survived for three reasons.

Because it had just got its independence Mugabe was still riding high on the
crest of a viable economy that he had inherited from the white minority
government of Ian Smith.

Secondly, he had the gift of the benefit of doubt and was given time by his
people to deliver on the promises of the war of independence.

Thirdly, Mugabe was seen as the only leader who would make good the flaws
that were created by the unfair distribution of land by the colonialists.

Now that Mugabe is very unpopular, he is using this popular land question as
his life line but may inadvertently be his downfall. The white farmers and
many in the international community especially the British see aspects of
racism and blatant abuse of property rights in the whole exercise and are
using their influence to isolate Mugabe's regime.

The redistribution effort has been hampered by corruption meaning that most
of the land moved from the hands of the 'hated' whites to the hands of
equally hated Mugabe cronies.

Most of the new land owners are yet to find their bearing in the world of
commercial farming at a time when the economy is overtaken by financial
break down. Resultant food shortages only make Mugabe's regime more
unpopular and hence the need to assert his authority with the help of

Because African leaders, his own party and the opposition do not appear to
have what it takes to move Mugabe out of the way, one only hopes that his
poor judgment as seen in the tactless handling of the land question will
eventually lead him to cause his own downfall.

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Exodus from poverty and terror

The Statesman, Ghana

Alec Russell , 03/04/2007

Published 02 April 2007

As Zimbabwe descends into chaos, its border has become the focus of the
fastest-growing movement of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

From a distance the khaki rag looked like just another piece of rubbish
blown against the barbed-wire border fence. Beneath it, on the ground, were
a couple of sticks in the shape of an arrow pointing away from the South
African/Zimbabwe frontier.

Major Neels Smit, a South African border patrol officer, stopped his vehicle
and walked over to the fence. Yanking at the rag, he discovered it had been
carefully knotted to the wire. He peered at the lowest of the coils of wire
that make up the fence.

Then, with the gentlest of taps, he kicked open a "trapdoor". A minute later
he had discovered 28 breaches in a 40-yard stretch. "The only way you can
stop this is when troops deploy at arm's length apart," said a colleague.
"They are coming like never before."

When, on 21 March, President Levy Mwana wasa of Zambia compared Zimbabwe to
the Titanic and warned that people were "jumping out in a bid to save their
lives", Harare reacted with outrage.

Two nights later, state television beamed footage of empty roads around
Beitbridge, the main border post, and denounced media reports of an exodus
as western propaganda. The state cameraman must have worked hard - or never
swivelled his lens to the right or left - to secure such unrepresentative

Normally the border region does indeed have a sleepy feel, but now, as
Zimbabwe descends into economic chaos, the area around Beitbridge has become
the focus of probably the fastest-growing movement of people in sub-Saharan

Joseph Muleya works as a ranger on a game farm just ten miles south of the
Limpopo River. For more than a decade, he has gone on pre-dawn patrols, but
in the past year his game-viewings have suddenly become much more bizarre.
Every day he almost literally stumbles on groups of Zimbabwean refugees.

He has been shot at; he has had a bicycle stolen at gunpoint; ten days ago
he came across a group of more than a hundred men, women and children; he
has also come across scenes of utter misery. Late last year, he found the
body of a Zimbabwean woman under a bush, with the body of a two-year-old
child a few yards away.

"Last year, it was a question of finding one or two every now and then," he
said. "Now I find them every night and they are many." Moments later, he
jumped off his Jeep, shining a powerful game torch under a bush. There were
Isaac and Nathan, eyes blinking in the light.

The two young Zimbabweans in Gap T-shirts had crossed the border that same
night. Clearly exhausted, they said they had not eaten for two days. "There
are no jobs in Zimbabwe," said Isaac. "We used to work as electricians.

Now we are unemployed. We were thinking of starting a business here." So
were they supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the embattled
opposition Movement for Democratic Change? "It is difficult to support him,"
Isaac said simply. "The police are everywhere."

The figures - and rate of increase - are extraordinary. Last year, the army
arrested 72,000 people illegally crossing the border in the frontier zone.
The year before, they caught about 48,000. The year before that they caught
just over 26,000.

And they reckon they capture only a tiny fraction of the people flooding
south. South African officials estimate the number of Zimbabweans living in
South Africa at three million.

That seems on the high side, but what is not in doubt is that with inflation
in Zimbabwe predicted to reach 5,000 per cent this year, the exodus is
gathering pace.

For South Africa, this poses a huge challenge. While pursuing its policy of
"quiet diplomacy" towards President Robert Mugabe"s increasingly despotic
regime, the government has been reluctant to speak out about the situation
on the border.

Indeed, many in the security services believe the government has sought to
play down the influx in order to avoid having to admit that there is a
crisis in Zimbabwe. This position, however, is becoming untenable.

It is no longer just Musina, the nearest town to Beitbridge, that is swamped
by Zimbabweans. Several of the townships and squatter camps around
Johannesburg, 340 miles to the south, are also showing signs of strain - and

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Diepsloot, an informal settlement
north-west of Johannesburg. Residents talk of Zimbabweans filling the
clinics, of mounting tension between locals and newcomers.

 It is the fallout from this influx that appears to be stirring the
government in Pretoria to become more involved in searching for a solution.
President Mbeki's inner circle was this week given a dire assessment of the
consequences for South Africa of a complete collapse of Zimbabwe. "It would
be catastrophic for us," said one adviser.

All the while, the flood gathers pace. In Zimbabwe, there are villages that
increasingly resemble the empty communities in Mexico whose young people
have relocated across the Rio Grande.

The South African army keeps the immigrants it man ages to catch in a small
camp by the border before sending them back. This past week, a group of
detainees were debating Zimbabwe's prospects and their own plans.

"It is impossible to survive there," said Cleophas, who worked at a timber
yard until he was laid off two years ago. Since then, his old wages have
become meaningless when set against 1,700 per cent inflation. "I didn't have
anything to give my children."

Another detainee, in a blue T-shirt, piped up: "You have to take a paper bag
now to carry your wages." And a third, wearing an Arsenal strip, said: "He
is very tough, Mugabe.

You can't resist him. We've been patient. We thought something might happen.
But now . . ." No one wanted to talk politics; most sat in silence. Then
another load of immigrants arrived including several young women with

So what would they do when they were returned to Zimbabwe? They waited until
the soldiers were out of earshot. Then they pointed to the river and mimed a
border crossing.

They will be back. And the chances are that next time they will make it.
Alec Russell is the southern Africa correspondent of the Financial Times

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