|ABOUT 350 women activists from a
pro-democracy group, several of them with babies on their backs, were in custody
yesterday after being arrested by Zimbabwean riot police for holding an
Most of them were arrested on Thursday in a Young Women’s Christian
Association hall in the Harare township of Kambuzuma as they gathered to plan
for nationwide demonstrations today to demand a new democratic constitution.
Police have banned the planned demonstration by the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), an alliance of church, civic and labour organisations, under the
terms of draconian security laws passed in January.
Also arrested were a smaller number of NCA workers who were distributing
leaflets in the city centre yesterday, Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, said.
Three NCA officials were also detained when they went to visit the arrested
women, who are being held in nine police stations in Harare townships.
“This is a police state,” Mr Madhuku said. “There are pregnant women in the
cells, women who brought children with them and women who left their children at
A police spokesman denied that there were any children with the women.
However, the Independent Daily News published a photograph of two
toddlers in a police yard.
Lawyers are seeking a court ruling to secure the release of the women. “What
police intend to do is to keep them until after the demonstration,” Mr Madhuku
The latest police action is seen as evidence of the Government’s rapid
decline into dictatorship in less than a month since President Mugabe was
declared the winner of presidential elections that most of the world has
“They think we will continue to be soft. That’s gone, that’s finished,” Mr
Mugabe said at the weekend.
The women were arrested under the Public Order and Security Act which the
Government used as a near- blanket ban on the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change’s political meetings during the election campaign.
Police have also used the law to ban today’s scheduled demonstration. “I
think there will be trouble,” Mr Madhuku said. “But we will not obey unlawful
orders, including unlawful orders by the President.”
Zimbabwe militia accused of abuse
April 5, 2002 Posted: 11:45 AM EST (1645 GMT)
LONDON, England (Reuters) - State-sponsored militia in Zimbabwe are
assaulting and raping supporters of the country's opposition in reprisal attacks
following last month's disputed presidential ballot, Amnesty International said
The human rights group said it was concerned about mounting reports of rape
and sexual torture by the militias, continuing a pattern seen in the run-up to
elections won by President Robert Mugabe but rejected as rigged by Western
The Crisis in Zimbabwe human rights group said on Thursday as many as 50,000
people, mostly supporters of the defeated Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
had fled their homes fearing revenge attacks.
Amnesty said militia had used a published list of names and addresses of MDC
polling agents to attack and destroy the homes of opposition officials.
"The Zimbabwe government has an absolute obligation...to protect all its
citizens from human rights violations," Amnesty said in a statement.
"Instead, the government's condoning of militia violence serves a political
purpose: destroying an opposition party and taking revenge on Zimbabweans who
may still support the MDC."
Amnesty said dozens of people were being held in some 50 illegal detention
centres around the country and cited a report that around 1,000 women were being
held in camps.
Youth militia stationed outside food distribution centres were assaulting
those thought to be MDC supporters and preventing them from buying food, despite
a rising risk of famine in the country, Amnesty said.
Copyright 2002 Reuters. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Zimbabwean militias attack opposition -
LONDON, April 5 — State-sponsored militia in Zimbabwe are
raping supporters of the country's opposition in reprisal
last month's disputed presidential ballot, Amnesty
International said on
The human rights group said it
was concerned about mounting reports
of rape and sexual torture by the
militias, continuing a pattern seen in the
run-up to elections won by
President Robert Mugabe but rejected as rigged by
The Crisis in Zimbabwe human rights group said on
Thursday as many as
50,000 people, mostly supporters of the defeated Movement
Change (MDC), had fled their homes fearing revenge
Amnesty said militia had used a published list of names and
of MDC polling agents to attack and destroy the homes of
''The Zimbabwe government has an absolute
obligation...to protect all
its citizens from human rights violations,''
Amnesty said in a statement.
''Instead, the government's condoning of
militia violence serves a
political purpose: destroying an opposition party
and taking revenge on
Zimbabweans who may still support the MDC.''
Amnesty said dozens of people were being held in some 50 illegal
centres around the country and cited a report that around 1,000
being held in camps.
Youth militia stationed outside food distribution
assaulting those thought to be MDC supporters and preventing
buying food, despite a rising risk of famine in the country,
Mugabe's cronies upset by travel
Smart sanctions by the United States on select Zimbabweans have
wave of whinging in reports published in the country's only
privately owned Sunday newspaper, the Zimbabwe
While the United States Embassy in Harare will not divulge
names of people
on its list, the paper has in the last month reported that a
Parliament and the wife of the army commander who has game
investments have found themselves to be targeted.
about - though through hearsay - is an unnamed businessman
linked to arms
Jocelyn Chiwenga, wife of Zimbabwe National Army
Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, was to have travelled to
to attend an international hunting show.
"She said she
planned to use the show to promote trophy hunting on her
concession where she has a lodge," the paper reported.
"The Standard is
informed that the trophy hunts are being co-ordinated by
the Department of
National Parks which intends to recruit war veterans as
to assist prospective international hunters."
It said Chiwenga refused to
discuss her failed visa application but
confirmed she had bought air tickets
to travel to the US to attend the
Safari International Convention in Las
The unnamed businessman the Standard wrote about reportedly called
Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner and was
have been taken aback when Kansteiner is said to have stopped short
calling him an unashamed liar".
"Kansteiner one-by-one went through
a number of deals that the businessman
was involved in with or on behalf of
Zanu PF and the government, including
"Said one top
source: "He (named businessman) was really taken apart. He was
because he never expected Kansteiner to have that information about
was trying to lobby to get himself off the list, but he did not
serious and thorough the Americans have been about this whole
thing. I have
not myself seen the list of individuals to be targeted, but I
is quite frightening." "
The Member of Parliament, Philip Chiyangwa, from
Chinyoyi which has been a
hot spot of farm invasions and election violence,
was quoted as saying: "Why
are they interested in Chiyangwa? I do not need
anybody to tell me which
country I should or should not visit. Is America our
God? To hell with them.
All Zanu PF members will take appropriate action
against this move as we
have not committed any crime. We will respond very
soon. We are going to
take steps to match their actions, steps against the
American, British and
Swiss nationals working here. We are busy consulting
others so we can chart
the way forward," he told The Standard.
journeys are confined to countries in Africa. I have banned myself from
countries in the past five years. They will never see me landing on
Mediators see Harare politicians
From Jan Raath in
THE first moves toward a possible settlement of Zimbabwe’s
began yesterday when Nigerian and South African mediators
separate consultations with the ruling Zanu (PF) party and
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
State radio said
Adebayo Adedeji, a Nigerian diplomat, and Kgalema
secretary-general of South Africa’s ruling African National
discussed a venue and agenda for substantive talks.
It said that a full
meeting with both parties present could begin only when
the Justice Minister, returned from a business trip
The bulletin gave no more details, other than naming
the suprisingly junior
ruling party delegation that met the mediators. It
said that it was led by
the Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, who holds
the post of deputy
secretary in President Mugabe’s politburo. He was
accompanied by two former
Cabinet ministers, one dismissed for corruption in
1989 and the other
dropped for being ineffective.
The MDC was led by
Welshman Ncube, its secretary-general. He is also a
leading advocate and
Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of
Berserk soldiers beat up Gweru residents again
8:53:40 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Gweru
Gweru residents were injured on Tuesday night after they
indiscriminately beaten up at several nightclubs and council-owned
by soldiers in the city.
The residents said the
latest raids were meant to cow them into boycotting
the countrywide mass
demonstrations organised by the National Constitutional
The NCA, a coalition of several civic groups, tomorrow plans to
series of mass demonstrations to pressure the government to
the constitution, which it has described as grossly
Several revellers at the council-owned beerhalls in Mkoba and
fled when the soldiers moved into the high-density
The soldiers patrolled the city and high-density suburbs using
vehicles. Timothy Mukahlera, the owner of one of the nightclubs,
the raid as “barbaric” and called on the government to stop the
harassment of urban dwellers.
During the run-up to last
month’s presidential poll, the soldiers conducted
similar raids at nightclubs
owned by members of the MDC.
Angry revellers at Chitukuko Hotel, owned by
prominent Gweru businessman,
Patrick Kombayi retaliated, overpowered and
disarmed one of the soldiers.
The firearm, an AK 47 assault rifle and its
fully-loaded magazine, were
later handed over to the police, but the soldier
in question has not been
Chinamasa recalled from Geneva to lead negotiations with
4/5/02 8:49:09 AM (GMT +2)
Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
PF’s secretary for legal affairs, has been recalled from a
business trip in Geneva, Switzerland, to lead his party’s
the opposition MDC.
Contacted from Geneva yesterday, Chinamasa
said he would be home tomorrow to
head the Zanu PF delegation comprising
among others, Professor Jonathan
Moyo, the Minister of State for Information
and Publicity in the President’s
Office, Witness Mangwende, a former Minister
of State responsible for War
Veterans’ Affairs, and Frederick Shava, a Zanu
Chinamasa said: “I have been recalled home to lead the
delegation in the
talks. I have been attending to government
in Switzerland and that has been terminated. I will get the
full details when
I arrive home.”
Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC’s spokesperson, yesterday said: “I
there have been some consultations between the facilitators
on both sides,
but the official talks have not yet begun. We are waiting to
hear from the
facilitators as to when the talks will begin
Jongwe said the MDC team is led by Professor Welshman Ncube,
secretary-general. Other members of the MDC team include Gift
the party’s deputy secretary-general, Yvonne Mahlunge, a member
of the MDC
national executive, and Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, adviser to
Tsvangirai, the MDC president.
Mukonoweshuro is a lecturer in
the Department of Politics and Administrative
Studies at the University of
Ankomah's Solidarity Based On Falsehood And Violence
April 5, 2002
Posted to the web April 5,
THE coming of Baffour Ankomah to
Harare last week and the subsequent
discussions he held really help to
contextualise the Zimbabwean problem.
Like the Sadc leaders and many
other so-called Pan-Africanists who endorsed
President Mugabe's re-election
as "legitimate", " free and fair" Ankomah
demonstrated a lack of
understanding of what is happening through his
misplaced solidarity messages
and denunciations of fellow journalists.
He said the people's
condemnation of Mugabe's re-election was much ado about
elections were rigged in South Africa in 1994, the US,
Nigeria and elsewhere.
He also said he didn't see anything wrong with the
media laws in Zimbabwe
because there are worse laws in Britain.
Moreover he said Zimbabweans
need not cry loud because more people died in
South Africa during the 1994
Needless to say, this logic was bought by none other
Ankomah-think-alikes who include Tafataona Mahoso, Vimbai Chivaura,
Mandaza, and Rino Zhuwarara who are conspicuous beneficiaries of
It is not news to hear these people
hailing Mugabe's fraud because they are
part of the minority which is scared
of a new dispensation under which
competence, qualifications, credibility and
business ethics will be upheld.
Like Ankomah, their reasoning seems to be
that if thousands of people died
in South Africa then we shouldn't mourn the
less than 200 killed by Mugabe's
shock troops in the farmlands and elsewhere
because it was a revolution.
This logic is essentially built on falsehood
and bears within it elements of
its own decay. It ignores the fact that in
Zimbabwe we have a
supposedly-democratic leader, an anti-apartheid zealot who
loose his dogs of war to secure his
While in South Africa violence was often spontaneous
people, in Zimbabwe it is systematic occurring according to
state plans and
in such a way that election observers would not see
If the situation in Zimbabwe is normal why did Mugabe like Ian Smith
John Vorster introduce restrictive laws to block change? Why did he have
remove judges like Anthony Gubbay and reintroduce laws previously
How does Mugabe's fear of a future under which
he will be in exile in Libya
or on trial for killing people since 1982 become
People like Ankomah and his local mandarin friends seem to
be forcing us to
believe that the killing of farmers, headmen and others is
not murder per se
because it is part of a revolution.
them, Mugabe has a licence to allow his thugs to do anything
these will be classified as revolutionary acts. We are supposed
Mugabe's revision of the language of land redistribution.
The idea is to
force us to only condemn Smith's barbarities while
white-washing Mugabe's own
This is a clear abuse of African memory. Ankomah,
Zhuwarara and Mandaza are helping Mugabe to personalise our
memory and the African crisis by legitimising self- renewal and
projects such as the so-called Third Chimurenga.
The crisis in
Zimbabwe is not about land. It is simply about misrule,
patronage and thuggery.
That we find ourselves today held to ransom by an
old man who stole an
election explains how we have allowed a certain culture
of fear, deception,
gullibility and patronage to develop in the country since
The trouble with certain "scholars" in this country is that they
as a hero or master first and president last. These are the
Mugabe will grant space on national television and papers to
national values with his survival and personal projects.
does one explain that these scholars found in the Media Ethics
Constitutional Commision and National Ethos programme have never
show us how bad Mugabe is?
Is it a coincidence that they bless everything
which Mugabe champions?
Ankomah and his friends think that local journalists
are not as patriotic as
their British counterparts. What makes them think
that criticising Mugabe is
being unpatriotic or is "bashing" and
It is difficult for Zimbabwean journalists not to
criticise Mugabe every day
because he is an authoritarian who has put himself
at the centre of every
facet of life in Zimbabwe surrounding himself with
criminals-in-waiting who cannot disagree with him.
a national problem at the centre of the crisis. This is what Ankomah
have been told. He needs to be taken seriously and not hated by all