BY A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
'It is like a wife who is beaten so badly that she will do anything to
please her husband'
There is now only one way. There are no other options left. Time, inaction
and lost opportunities have placed Zimbabwe where it is right now.
Zimbabweans have talked themselves into paralysis. They simply won't face
reality. I'm quite sure that many will dispute what I'm saying because it is
NOT nice to say or hear these things. In fact, I do not like saying them
because the natural reactions of some is to immediately attack, denigrate
and accuse me of being an armchair critic (ala pro and anti senate). The
trouble is that the demise of Zimbabwe has happened unchecked, with
devastating speed, and as I write, there is no tomorrow.
The tragedy is that Zimbabwe's democratic leaders have not arrived at the
realisation that you CANNOT negotiate with Zanu (PF). They still think that
applying pressure will bring Zanu (PF) to the negotiating table. Pressure?
What pressure? Who on earth would contemplate destroying their country? No
one, not even in their wildest dreams would anyone have expected this to
happen. Well, Zanu (PF) have consciously gone ahead and have done just that.
What was good is now evil. They have corrupted every sector of society. What
was normal is now abnormal. The bucket of logic has been turned upside down.
There is nothing to negotiate even if Zanu (PF) were prepared to negotiate!
It is on this basis that I say that Zimbabweans inside Zimbabwe must realise
is that what they consider to be "normal" in Zimbabwe today is NOT normal.
This society is traumatised and has been beaten into submission.
Zimbabweans need to comprehend these realities, come to terms with them,
acknowledge them and take responsibility for them. Unfortunately it can be
extremely difficult to accept reality. This is quite understandable given
the enormous scale and dimension of what has and is happening. It is like a
wife who is beaten so badly that she will do anything to please her husband.
But the reality is that Zimbabweans have no option but to destroy Mugabe and
Zanu (PF) before they destroy Zimbabwe.
There is no gain from criticising anyone or any sector of society for this
disaster. Everyone must accept responsibility equally.
In particular, I comment on the white Zimbabweans, who constitute a
minuscule proportion of society. What are they expected to do? The reality
is that they are not wanted because their black fellow citizens don't want
to be seen as stooges as a result of association.
"Leave them alone" is my message because if they become involved, many
Africans will see it as some kind of "new" colonisation and loss of
"sovrenity"(sic). I know of many whites who are doing their bit for
Zimbabwe. It is not right to get out the paintbrush and paint a bad picture
when it is patently not the case.
The general observation that civic, activist and political groups should
unite is absolutely correct. Why haven't they? The answers are well known
and documented. The truth is that as long as they remain segmented and
disunited, the longer Zanu (PF) will remain in power.
Zimbabweans are not truly united and there is no viable strength in the
current democratic leadership. It's too fragmented. We have seen two
congresses of the absurd. Their energies have been so easily diverted into
hanging onto a name. It's a pathetic show. Are these people truly Zimbabwe's
best alternative to Mugabe? Do they really have Zimbabwe's best interests at
heart? Do they really know what to do? Are these side-shows not indicative
of the disunity of Zimbabwe as a whole? What has happened since these
congresses? Is anything going to happen?
What I do know is that IF Zimbabweans (inside and outside) have dedicated,
focused resolve and act in unison, things could change very quickly. But
first, there is a need for smart, strong, cohesive, organised leadership.
This leadership must be fully operational at ground level, in the streets.
It must be seen to be leading the way. It must be uncompromising in terms of
where it is headed. It must start humiliating Zanu (PF) and start winning
the propaganda war. This leadership must not warn the regime of its actions
in advance. This leadership must also have the confidence that when that
call is made, the people will respond in their millions.
There is no other way forward. If these realities are too tough to stomach,
there is no tomorrow.
It seems Zanu (PF) has taken a deliberate policy decision to wreck the
entire country - not just the economy, but everything. In fact it looks as
though there is a scorched earth policy now in place. How else can one
possibly explain the intervention by government in every sphere of life -
not to improve the situation, but to make things worse.
The once vibrant agricultural industry has been destroyed - to a point where
the country now cannot feed itself even with good rains. The manufacturing
sector has been severely damaged to a point where it cannot sustain a
workforce of a few hundred thousand people. Nearly a million people were
rendered homeless by brutal government action a year ago, and most of them
are still living in the open despite much-touted construction exercises.
Recent government interference in the lucrative mining industry has resulted
in Zimbabwe being listed as the worst possible destination on earth for
mining investment. Now the destroyers have turned their attention to the
private health sector, which had managed to stagger on (despite
near-impossible conditions) because of the dedication of health care staff,
private medical insurance and a wealthy clientele. The comparison between
this sector and the collapse of government's health facilities throughout
the country was obviously too much for health minister David Parirenyatwa to
He has now frozen all admission and consultation fees charged by private
health operators. With inflation nudging 1000% such a freeze is the kiss of
death. A similar move, earlier this year, saw the freezing of private school
fees while government fees were increased by up to 1000% - leading to
massive drop-out rates and continuing disturbances by university students
throughout the country. When will this government learn to leave well alone?
If it works - don't 'fix' it.
Death threats for Morgan
The leaders of Zanu (PF) have threatened to kill opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai if he continues with his programme of mass resistance. In most
civilised countries, such a threat is a criminal offence. But not in
Zimbabwe where the ruling elite are above the law. Tsvangirai has refused to
be intimidated by the threats and vowed to continue. We salute him.
HARARE - "The lives of all Zimbabweans are under threat, not just mine," was
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's response to threats to annihilate him from
President Robert Mugabe, some of his ministers and Zanu (PF) heavies.
"There is absolutely nothing one can do if the forces of a dictatorship are
determined to liquidate him," said Tsvangirai. "We all live in the shadow of
a criminal state and for each one of us to continue to exist under a brutal
dictatorship is entirely in the hands of Almighty God."
He said many had already paid the ultimate price fighting for freedom in
"The cost of the Mugabe dictatorship is immense. How do you quantify the
damage to a family that loses a breadwinner because of the shortage of
malarial or anti-retroviral drugs? I see myself as a mere symbol of the
resistance of most Zimbabweans to the tyranny that is oppressing us. I carry
a message that resonates with the aspirations of an oppressed people. If
Mugabe confuses the difference between the role I am playing and myself as
an individual - that is his choice. The national crisis will not disappear
because Mugabe is angry and has declared a war against the people."
Tsvangirai said the people had charted a road map to a New Zimbabwe, which
included a new constitution, and MDC would not let them down.
He said the government's wrath had fallen on MDC because it was not a
toothless opposition. "We unmasked this shameful act of deception - a
society where the opposition is allowed, but constrained; dissent is vaguely
tolerated, but infiltrated and severely limited. As was witnessed by all at
our Congress last month, there no longer exists a dispute as to who
represents the pulse of the nation."
The MDC leader said it was no secret that the people were organising
themselves for a final resolution of the crisis. Despite their frenzied
attempts to do so, the authorities had failed to muzzle that debate.
"The people are clear about what needs to be done. And they shall do it. I
am confident that when it happens, the result shall be in the national
interest," he said. - Own correspondent
HARARE - The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC is to launch a major international
diplomatic offensive to explain its new strategy of active, but peaceful,
resistance to the tyrannical Mugabe regime.
In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean this week the publicity
secretary, Nelson Chamisa said the party would send delegations of senior
personnel to friendly governments in the region and abroad to explain the
country's political crisis, introduce the party's new leadership and outline
the way forward following the recent MDC congress. The party would
simultaneously reorganise its structures in an effort to prepare internally
for the next chapter of the struggle for freedom in Zimbabwe, said Chamisa.
"We need re-invigorated party structures to sustain the planned active
resistance." For security reasons he would not elaborate on what form such
resistance would take "We know this dictatorship well," he said. "And for
strategic reasons we cannot divulge any details at this stage. But the
people of Zimbabwe know what a struggle we are engaged in and will be ready
to respond when the time is right."
In his acceptance speech to the congress on March 19, MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai, announced a new season of resistance. This was immediately
followed by unveiled threats from Zanu (PF) heavies, who called for his
arrest for treason. The minister for home affairs, Kembo Mohadi, said: "This
treachery has now gone beyond all forms of decency and must be stopped. The
courts must take note of Morgan Tsvangirai's open call for violence which,
in essence, constitutes high treason." Chamisa emphasised that Tsvangirai
had never advocated violence in any form and had always insisted that active
resistance against the Mugabe regime should take the form of mass, peaceful,
Zanu (PF) spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and the party's political commissar
Elliot Manyika last week tried to evoke the spectre of war to scare
opposition groups from taking mass action. "Those who reject the legal and
democratic way of running the government and choose confrontation will be
confronted by the long arm of the state (sic). Zanu (PF) alone has the
gruelling experience of war, and strongly urges the armchair talkers to shut
up. War is not like a picnic or a dinner party, it is blood, sweat, injuries
and death," Shamuyarira and Manyika said in a joint statement. Earlier State
Security Minister Didymus Mutasa told the CIO-owned Financial Gazette that
the government would crush any mass protests against the administration.
BY MARICO SOKO
BULAWAYO - From a distance you can see a mountain of refuse and tiny figures
scavenging through the rubble. As you get nearer, a reeking smell assaults
your nose and you wonder how the people are surviving the stench.
This is a place known as Ngozi mine, home to more than 500 men, women and
children. Ngozi means danger in local SiNdebele, and one does not have to
look far to see the danger these families are exposing themselves.
Japhet Ndoro with his tattered jeans covered with soot like a real miner,
emerges from his shack where he says he has lived for months now after his
original hovel was destroyed last year by government demolition teams at the
height Operation Murambatsvina.
Ndoro says before Operation Murambatsvina about 3000 people lived here, but
while others were assisted with relocation by the Combined Churches of
Bulawayo, a multi-denomination grouping of local pastors, others came back
to earn a living through scavenging for scrap metal.
Meluleki Ndlovu says while he would like to go to his rural home where his
children are, but he has no money to take him home. Fr. Danisa Khumalo, a
Catholic priest working with the people who have made their homes amid the
filth here is assisting a number of families with relocation to their rural
Some have been given homesteads in Plumtree, south-west of Zimbabwe, the
priest says, but not all who are here are willing to leave this place which
is an obvious health hazard.
This place, far removed from the city centre is used by companies as a
dumping site, and burnt tyres from a major tyre maker here can be seen a few
metres from where a woman stoops preparing the family meal.
The scrap metal which they pick from the huge mountain of junk is sold for
Z$2,500 per kg. The men and women who have made their homes here are part of
thousands across Bulawayo living in the bushes despite being in what urban
planners say is part of Greater Bulawayo with its modern buildings.
In Cowdray Park, about 12 miles from the Bulawayo Central Business District,
an 80- year-old patriarch lives with eight other families in tents erected
by the government last year, ostensibly as some form of transit camp.
Moffat Bwanali, who says he left Malawi before the country's first president
came to power in 1964 is frail and in poor health. "This is no way to live,"
he said, watching his grandchildren play in the filth around the tents -
just a stone throw away from the government's much hyped Operation Hlalani
Kuhle, another programme began as a knee-jerk response to the much condemned
As these houses are still to be occupied by their beneficiaries, the
tent-dwellers have taken advantage of the absence of tenants to get their
drinking water from there - but for how much longer no one knows.
Bwanali says he was told by government officials to renounce his Malawian
citizenship before he could be assisted. A controversial law here has made
children born in Zimbabwe but of Malawian parents virtually stateless and
also taken away their franchise.
With the demolitions last year, it emerged that many of the evictees were of
Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican descent, but because they are not
officially registered with respective embassies, they also cannot, after the
new legislation, claim Zimbabwe as their home, though they have in the past
participated in local elections.
BY A CORRESPONDENT
HARARE - Having exhausted farcical claims of a coup plot in Mutare, the
state-run media shamelessly found fresh "coup" material in grossly distorted
coverage of Morgan Tsvangirai's plans for mass protests, portraying him as
bent on the violent overthrow of Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai's remarks, at the congress of his faction of the fractured
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, became in the state-run media a
planned bloody coup, and Mugabe officials were passively quoted warning
Tsvangirai to "stop talking about or planning violence and insurrections."
The media watchdog, the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), in its
report covering March 20-26, noted, for example, that none of the ZBH
reports provided the context in which Tsvangirai allegedly planned a violent
coup, or quoted him actually saying so. ZTV only briefly showed Tsvangirai
telling a post-congress news conference about his group's plans to
"confront" the regime, and then abruptly chopped him off before he could
explain how they intended to do it. The state-run dailies, The Herald and
The Chronicle, were equally malign, reporting the threats by Zanu-PF
officials "without viewing them as being repressive, intolerant and typical
of government's authoritarian attitude towards political opposition," said
MMPZ. The monitors singled out as particularly offensive columns by Caesar
Zvayi and Nathanial Manheru in The Herald and Munyaradzi Huni in The Sunday
Mail, all apparently "preoccupied with attempting to discredit the
opposition party's activities for the sake of it." The private media,
including Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa, provided more balanced coverage.
They quoted Tsvangirai as saying what he actually said about peaceful
protest, and analysed the implications of the congress for the divided
opposition and Zimbabwe politics generally. They also balanced their reports
with quotes from Zanu (PF) officials threatening Tsvangiari's group with
boodshed if they dared demonstrate against the authorities. In addition, the
private media carried seven reports of actions by state agents against the
regime's perceived opponents: the MDC, businesses, foreign trade unionists,
church leaders and white commercial farmers. The state-run media ignored
these latest violations of human rights. But then this is an administration
that has never been big on press freedom, and which now no longer bothers
even to pay lip service to the tenets of free speech. Thus came an outburst
from Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya raging on about Western
governments clandestinely buying into media organisations "through seemingly
private corporate bodies" - though he did not naturally come up with any
names - and urging that Africa "organise itself" in similar fashion.
"We are Zimbabweans first and journalists much later in life. We cannot
sacrifice the country on the altar of so-called media freedom," said
Jokonya. The MMPZ noted that the state mouthpieces carried Jokonya's words
without question, including allowing him to "depict reports on the country's
worsening crisis as a creation of the Western media, such as the BBC and
CNN." Well, even the most brain-washed Zanu (PF) devotees would have a hard
time squaring that with the reality of their daily lives of soaring prices,
power cuts, and shortages of everything. So the state media continued with
their technique of reporting the symptoms of economic decline, from the
plunging agricultural output to soft drink shortages, as one-off events
without asking why the authorities have allowed it all to go so wrong. The
private media, however, battled on with critical insights into any move by
the regime to start seizing mines - one of the few remaining productive
sectors. Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa also carried stories on the dire food
situation and how donor agencies are battling to raise funds.
Letter from America
BY STANFORD MUKASA
WASHINGTON - No one in his or her right mind can ever doubt the cold hard
facts that Zimbabwe has passed all exits and detours on its one way to sheer
And totally oblivious to a disintegrating country around him Mugabe has,
true to his character, threatened to use violence against MDC president,
Morgan Tsvangirai, if the opposition movement should stage demonstrations.
He has placed a great deal of faith in his army, police, youth militia thugs
and the CIO to do the dirty job for him. A particularly disturbing, but not
surprising, event was Mugabe's threatening Tsvangirai with death. It is
obvious that Tsvangirai is now in mortal danger.
Mugabe's outrageous speech, while reflecting an obviously deranged mind of
an ageing dictator, must be taken seriously. Each time Mugabe has issued
such threats in the past his youth militia thugs have wreaked havoc on the
Mugabe's threat reflects his desire to finally and decisively deal with
Tsvangirayi. For the MDC president stands between Mugabe and his retirements
plans. Mugabe would like to retire but he wants to make sure he leaves
behind a successor who has a chance of winning in the next presidential
Mugabe's hand-picked successor, Joyce Mujuru, is not only unelectable, just
like Emmerson Mnangagwa, she does not inspire any confidence, even within
Zanu (PF). She is the Uhuru Kenyatta of Zimbabwe. Mugabe knows that
eliminating Tsvangirai will make his succession plans for Mujuru easier.
The arrest of former Liberian freedom fighter- turned- dictator Charles
Taylor, and widely distributed pictures of Taylor in handcuffs must have
sent shivers in Mugabe, also a supposedly freedom fighter -turned -dictator
who has committed crimes similar, if not worse.
But Mugabe also knows the consequences of killing Tsvangirai, just like the
apartheid regime in South Africa was cognizant of what would happen if any
harm befell Nelson Mandela. It would bring a swift and sustained
condemnation of Mugabe and perhaps hasten the end of the regime in ways that
Mugabe never imagined.
Some Zimbabweans may be wondering whether it is worth staging mass
demonstrations against the 82-year-old geriatric Mugabe, given that Mugabe
is now a spent force, a politically rotten apple that is about to fall
The strange reality in Zimbabwean politics is that Mugabe's laundry list of
supporters and sycophants are still hanging on to the ageing dictator even
as he politically totters because of his advanced age and the pressures
building on him. They know that Mugabe is headed for a disastrous end. Yet
they still cling on to him religiously.
It will be interesting to watch how Mugabe's faithful disciples fall like
dominoes after their master collapses. But there are others who have seen
the impending disastrous end and are now jumping the Zanu (PF) ship as it
approaches the political iceberg. There can be no doubt that the stakes are
now very high.
While most political writing has focused on the leadership split in the MDC
and how the opposition movement has supposedly been rendered too weak to
confront Mugabe there is, strangely enough, relatively less aggressive
coverage on the decay within the ruling party.
The politics of the opposition movement in Zimbabwe are a legitimate subject
of journalism and public debate. But the opposition is not in power. They do
not have to account for anything, or be held responsible for the situation
in the country.
MUNICH - Hundreds of people gathered here at the weekend to celebrate the
10th anniversary of the partnership between the cities of Harare and Munich.
" Due to the difficult political situation, the twinning is different from
what we imagined 10 years ago," said Mayor Hep Monatzeder as he opened the
festivities, " but it is all the more important not to abandon the citizens
of Harare now." He then cut a huge, 10-tier cake, with Robert Franck, the
representative of HamuPa /ESS (Harare-Munich Partnership/ Ecumenical support
Services) and Sister Tendai Makonese, from the Dominican convent in Harare.
The German-Zimbabwean band "Pamuzinda-Munich" entertained the crowd, which
donated ?400 for human rights work in Harare. Some people asked if it would
not be better to cancel the twinning as there is no contact between the
Munich City Council and the (illegal) Commission, which is misruling Harare.
" There is close co-operation between the City and its organs and the
citizens' group HaMuPa which uses any opportunity it can to organise public
meetings and run information stands. For HaMuPa it is a political school.
We have learnt very much through our friends in Harare. We have learnt that
civil and human rights need to be defended. We can't take them for granted,"
said a spokesman for the organisers.
PRETORIA - At least 100 Zimbabwean and Somali refugees who mobbed the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees offices in Pretoria last year
demanding repatriation from South Africa have not yet been attended to.
The refugees, who camped at the UNHCR offices in August last year, have now
formed a committee to force officials to attend to their dilemma.
The chairman of the committee Farai Juma, a Zimbabwean, said: "Now it is
nearly 10 months for us gathering outside UN offices demanding repatriation.
We are not going to move out of here unless we are repatriated. The
officials are neglecting us but we will never be intimidated by them. Some
of them are even demanding money to help us and we are fed up with all these
When CAJ News visited the opulent UN offices during the night recently, a
number of refugees were busy cooking on the entrance hall and some were
sleeping inside the building.
Contacted for comment, UNHCR information Officer Pumla Rulashe acknowledged
the disturbance at the offices.
"Yes, we know of these who are boycotting at our offices. But the fact that
they are staying at the building is not our concern as we do not own the
building. We can't evict them," she said
South Africa's Director-General for Refugees, Busisiwe Mkhwebane-Tshehla,
professed ignorance about any disturbances, while human rights commissioner
legal officer Phillip Mabletsa, who is defending the refugees, has appealed
to the UNHCR to assist the refugees.
According to UNHCR statistics South Africa hosts approximately 29,000
recognised refugees and 110,000 asylum seekers whose asylum applications are
not finalized. - CAJ News
Recently I met someone who was on the spot when a fire destroyed the top
floor of Mater Dei Hospital, Bulawayo, on August 26 last year. An electrical
fault is the prime suspect. But it was the outcome not the cause that gives
rise to wonder.
Although the fire occurred at 10.00 at night 21 patients were evacuated
safely from the floor and they were even able to take their cell phones with
them to call relatives. Just one person died. The fire brigade was quickly
on the spot and put out the fire. The patients were gathered on the lawn and
all the doctors of Bulawayo came to offer their services. As the word spread
it seems the whole of Bulawayo came to see what they could do. Jews, Muslims
and people of different religious and political persuasions - all rose above
their differences in a moment of crisis. They brought sheets and blankets,
made beds and helped clean the debris. By noon the following day all the
patients, except one baby, were back in the hospital or in the adjoining
convent and were being cared for as before.
Once again, as so often in history, crisis brought people together and
pulled down the walls between them. 'He has broken down the barrier which
used to keep us apart' (Ephesians 2:14). The one who shared this account
with me was full of praise for everyone in Bulawayo. She feels it is a
wonderful city where people are united and have a strong sense of community.
Chinua Achebe, writing about Nigerians says:
There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is
nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything
else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness of its leaders to rise to
the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example, which are the
hallmarks of true leadership.
There is nothing wrong with the people of Bulawayo or Harare or Gutu or
anywhere else. Given the opportunity of responding to the crisis in our
midst they would all happily rush to the scene and offer whatever help they
could. But there is one thing needed: an admission that there is a crisis
and a willingness to accept help in resolving it. If we go on saying:
'Crisis! What crisis?' and denying anything is wrong the flames simply
By Jenni Williams
About 1,000 women of WOZA met in Harare and Bulawayo last week to reflect on
their vigil of March 31, 2005 - election night - when hundreds were beaten,
trampled and imprisoned by the police. The prayer sessions were convened to
allow members to pray for healing and share their testimonies. The
gatherings were undisturbed by police. The leadership of WOZA would like to
pay tribute to the women for the courage shown that election night and for
keeping their sisterhood bond. A year later, we recognise that there is a
dire need for WOZA women to receive counselling. Many tears were shed and
many emotions felt as sharply as if the experiences were from yesterday not
last year. One of the women testified that she had spent a month in hospital
undergoing ear and eye surgery after being injured by police brutality, but
was now fully recovered and able to work again. She thanked her WOZA sisters
for standing by her throughout her ordeal.
WOZA sisterhood bond
I give my word that I will strive to stand up in support of my sisters. I
will give 'her' my hand in support as we struggle together towards our
rightful place as equals in society. Working together, hand in hand, we
shall bring Zimbabwe back to peace, justice and prosperity. As the struggle
continues, I will remember the following guidelines:
1. To speak out and encourage other women to do the same, so that the female
voice is heard. Women should no longer suffer silently.
2. To participate in peaceful assembly and meetings to discuss our
challenges and to act rather than complain.
3. To be a comfortable shoulder to lean on or a listening ear. 'A problem
shared is a problem halved'.
4. To demonstrate love and courage in our homes and communities so that
people can shake away fear.
5. Women are the mothers of the nation and must demand that Dignity.
6. I agree to be disciplined if I endanger the lives of my sisters in any
7. To be a supporter of Non-violence so that people can see that problems
can be solved peacefully.
8. To seek out and be in solidarity with like-minded women.
9. To be God fearing and encourage activities that promote spiritual health.
10.To support Democratic participation with tolerance for differing views
11."An injury to one is an injury to all".
"I was arrested on 31 March at Africa Unity Square. I arrived there and saw
police standing holding batons. I sat down with other WOZA women. When I was
about to jump into the Santana, one of the officers beat me with a baton. I
jumped inside because of the pain. She is called Constable Musiwa. At the
police station, Musiwa beat me again. After a while when I wanted to go to
the toilet one of the police women said, "I want to eat - you are disturbing
me". She was slim, tall, light in complexion wearing navy blue trousers and
a grey shirt, maybe about 24 years of age. I slept seated the whole night at
the courtyard without any treatment or medication." - Eva of Emakhandeni
born in 1952, unemployed.
"A police officer said: "You WOZA ladies are giving us problems - now I am
working overtime because of you." He started beating us and I was beaten
once on my lower back with a baton stick. I was also kicked on my left foot
near the ankle. Then the same officers told us to stand up and walk into the
Square, were I saw a female officer and WOZA women kneeling facing down. We
were told to do the same and we did. Her name was Musiwa, she was short and
slim around mid 20's. I saw her the next morning as she was writing our
fines and got her name. She picked me out to stand up and asked me why I
came to Harare. I was then told to lie down by a short, slim police officer,
He gave me another six stokes on my thighs. I saw this same baton broken on
one of my colleagues later. I was seriously injured and could not walk
properly. When I went to give my detail to Musiwa to process my fine, she
refused saying I was crying. When I was released I was hospitalised for five
days but remained having physiotherapy three times a week for over two
weeks." - Brenda of Pumula, 17 yrs old.
"We were at the Railway station when police officers invaded and started to
beat us. They firstly ordered us to lie down on our stomachs on the wet
pavement outside the station. They then started to beat us with baton sticks
asking us what we were doing in Harare. One baton stick even broke. They
said we should stay in Bulawayo and said 'Kusina mai akuendwi' meaning we
have no mother in Harare so we should not go there! They said they would
teach us a lesson so that we will never come to Harare again. I was beaten
on my bottom and back seven times along with other women, some of them
grandmothers. We were then ordered to run to the Central Police station
where we found over 200 of our colleagues - most had also been beaten. I
could not sit down properly for more than two weeks and even now one year
later, I still feel pain when it is cold." - NS
"I was arrested with the starting group at Africa Unity Square shortly after
7 pm. The police officers requested vehicles and we were taken to Harare
Central Police station and made to sit in a veranda near the car park.
Truckloads of women kept coming. Women were beaten, pushed and kicked as
they disembarked from the police vehicles. They kept trying to count us but
more and more women kept arriving. Eventually they gave up and told us to
stay there in the open. We were very crowded and had to sit between each
others legs to fit. We spent the whole night seated. Lawyers came but they
were denied access to us. Food and medication came and they refused to let
us have it." - Magodonga Mahlangu
JOHANNESBURG - Prayers for deliverance from the Zanu (PF) government were
made by Zimbabweans from all walks of life at Braamfontein last Friday
night. Dubbed the International Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe, several Zimbabwe
Diaspora Civil Society Organisations prayed for freedom and democracy to
return to Harare. The South African Council of Churches (SACC)
representative, who came to share the message of solidarity prayed for God
to give MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai the much needed courage in these
tempting times. "I am praying to you God so that you give courage to Morgan
Tsvangirai so that he liberates Zimbabwe and its people scattered all over
the world. "I am praying to you God so that you return Zimbabwe to its
previous position, where food was abundant with your children enjoying every
moment of life. Oh God, deal with Mugabe," prayed Paster Peter Moyo of the
SAAC. Pastor Moyo likened president Mugabe to the hard-hearted Egyptian
Pharoah, who over many years oppressed the people of Israel. The Zimbabwe
Pastors Forum (ZFP) President, Pastor Stephen Chiadzwa, was the main speaker
as he preached peace, love of one another, forgiveness, unity among the
Zimbabweans in the diaspora as well as urging them to put focus on God for
total deliverance. He said God was the only answer to all the problems and
sufferings his fellow countrymen were going through whilst in the foreign
lands. - CAJ News.
JOHANNESBURG - The seven-women delegation from the Southern Africa
Development Community who had been in South Africa for one week mobilisation
mission to create regional awareness of the repressive regime in Zimbabwe
have said their mission was a resounding success. Speaking after the hectic
tour, the Secretary General for Women In Prayer Together for Zimbabwe, Grace
Mugwidi said: "We managed to meet several organisations and they appreciate
the problems we are facing in Zimbabwe. Some church women promised to come
to Zimbabwe and give solidarity and contribute to our cause." WITPZ is
planning also to launch a chapter in South Africa for Zimbabwe women living
in the diaspora so that they constantly pressurise regional leaders about
the evils of the Mugabe regime. "Our colleagues in South Africa encouraged
us to continue with the struggle and it was a worthwhile visit as some were
not aware of the evils and crisis that is taking place on the ground in
Zimbabwe. We are now battle-hardened for the struggle. People will come out
from every corner to fight Mugabe's evils," said Mugwidi. - Zakeus Chibaya
JOHANNESBURG - Most Zimbabwean civic society organisations based in South
Africa are on the verge of collapse as they have been infiltrated by Central
Intelligence Organisation agents and there is rampant mushrooming of dubious
and briefcase organisations trying to divide and create confusion in the
diaspora. There are more than 50 Zimbabwe organisations based in South
Africa. Most of them are only involved in internet activism - yet very few
Zimbabweans use the internet, even in the diaspora. In Johannesburg alone
there are over 30 organisations competing for the same political space. The
groups and their leaders rival each other bitterly. Presenting a paper at
the South Africa Institute for International Affairs on Mobilising the
Diaspora for Political Activism, Zimbabwe academic, James Muzondidya said
there was a need to streamlining the organisations and to identify their
common ground and goals. "The overwhelming use of internet to spread
information and advance debate has proved to be the greatest weakness of
Diaspora activism. While opening up the space for debate, cyber democracy
has offered democracy to a minority and restricted the major debates to
those with access to computers and internet," he said. "The problems of
Zimbabwe Diaspora activism are compounded by the fact that most of the
existing Diaspora groups lack clear focus. Moreover, the excessive reliance
on the internet to carry out political programmes, at the expense of other
forms of activism, has reduced their activism to what critics have
disparagingly described as desktop or keyboard activism," said Muzondidya.
Muzondidya noted the Movement for Democratic Change Johannesburg branch was
best known for infighting rather than its ability to organise support. Joddy
Kollapaden, the Chairman of South Africa Human Rights Commission said most
of the groups were infiltrated by Mugabe intelligence agents. "The other
problem is that the South African community does not appreciate the crisis
in Zimbabwe and the environment in the country is not conducive for
organisations to actively participate," he said. - Own correspondent
MDC emerges stronger, better and sharper
"The team of courage and hope"
The regime better be warned. The MDC's second national Congress resolved
that this year, the party should engage in a sustained people's programme to
confront the dictatorship and bring salvation to suffering Zimbabweans. The
15 000-strong delegates then elected a team of courage and hope, brimming
with an exciting mixture of youthful zeal, confidence and experience. The
nation is excited that this team will achieve the nation's vision of a new
Zimbabwe and a new beginning.
Here are some of the profiles of the new leaders elected at the historic
second national people's congress held on 17-19 March 2006.
Morgan Tsvangirai (President)
The re-elected MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is a self-made person, a solid
administrator, competent thinker, charismatic leader, democratic team player
and above all, a compassionate family man. He has an unshakable appreciation
of the key challenges facing Zimbabwe as a country and Zimbabweans as a
President Tsvangirai is a product of important social movements in this
country, which include the labour and constitutional reform movements. He is
the former Secretary General of the powerful Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) and is the founding chairperson of the National Constitutional
Assembly, a pressure group that advocating for a new constitution for
He is a graduate of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of
Government, where he attended the school's Executive Leaders In Development
Program, in June 2001.This programme concentrates on such themes as
leadership, managing political and economic reforms, managing transition,
economic development, financial management and globalisation. This is a
programme for executive global leaders in key organizations, government
departments, international organizations, academic institutions and
The eldest of nine children, Tsvangirai was born in Gutu, Masvingo and
attended Munyira Primary School and then Silveira and Gokomere High schools.
At 20 he was working at Mutare Clothing where he had his first taste of
trade unionism as a member of the local textile union. Two years later he
joined the Trojan Nickel Mine in Bindura. He spent ten years at the mine,
rising from plant operator to general foreman. President Tsvangirai became
branch chairman of the Associated Mine Workers Union and was later elected
into the executive of the National Mine Workers Union before becoming
Secretary General of the ZCTU in 1988.
President Tsvangirai has also held several high-ranking positions in many
regional labour movements. He has been a guest speaker at various faculties
of various universities on the continent and beyond. He has also been a
guest speaker and presenter at various conferences including the World Trade
Forum, trade union related forums, and both NGO and government organized
seminars. The man is an eloquent speaker, has a multitalented personality
and displays an amazing amount of energy, which drives his hard work.
It was President Tsvangirai, as the then secretary-general, who led the ZCTU
away from its alliance with the ruling Zanu PF. As the influence of the
workers and that of the movement grew, his relationship with the Zanu PF
government deteriorated. In 1989 he was imprisoned for six weeks on charges
of being a South African spy. He has also been a victim of premeditated and
government inspired harassment and violence. There have been three
assassination attempts on his life, which include the 1997 attempt, where
unknown assailants burst into his office and tried to throw him out of a
tenth story window.
President Tsvangirai has been acquitted of two trumped-up charges of
treason. The first was for an alleged plot to assassinate Mugabe before the
2002 presidential elections, and the other over a remark allegedly made at
rallies in Bulawayo and Mutare in May 2003 when he is alleged to have called
for the unconstitutional removal of Mugabe.
Many people throughout the world feel that President Tsvangirai was robbed
of victory in the Zimbabwean 2002 Presidential Elections, which many local
and international observers have described as highly flawed.
President Tsvangirai, has been married to his wife Susan since 1978. They
have 6 children. When not in the office or out meeting the people, President
Tsvangirai likes to read and spend time with his family.
Since his election as MDC President in February 2000, he has remained
steadfast in his belief that the people should complete the change for a
better life for all. In his acceptance speech at the second people's
Congress, President Tsvangirai warned the regime of a long winter of
resistance by the people of Zimbabwe. He has remained unshaken and is
convinced that only confrontation, and not capitulation, is the hope for the
people of Zimbabwe.
'In the closure of democratic space where the road is full of skeletons and
blood, we are determined to complete the change we set on to achieve a few
years ago," the MDC leader said.
TENDAI BITI (secretary-general)
The newly appointed MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti is well known across
the country as a courageous political cadre, a brilliant lawyer, an eloquent
and persuasive speaker and a vigilant fighter for human rights and
A week ago, suffering Zimbabweans placed their faith and hope and elected
him the second secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change. He
was born on 6 August 1966 and grew up in the Dzivaresekwa suburb of Harare.
Biti was educated at Goromonzi High School just outside Harare and later
went to the University of Zimbabwe where he graduated from the law school.
At University, he was a student leader and helped lead the famous
demonstrations in 1988 and 1989 which ground to a halt the government's
intention on curtailing academic freedom. It was an exciting age of student
activism against government's unbridled corruption and its wicked intention
to establish a one-party state. The demonstrations, led by Biti and others,
formed the basis and nucleus of present day student activism.
In 2000, Biti helped found the MDC and was elected its MP for Harare East.
He is currently serving his second term as MP for the area and has helped
found important civic groups such as the NCA and the Zimbabwe lawyers for
The eloquent secretary-general was the party's secretary for Economic
Affairs and was one of the brains behind RESTART, the MDC's economic
blueprint that proposes practical solutions to the country's multi-layered
He is a brilliant lawyer and in 1995, at the age of 29, he made his name in
the legal fraternity after he exposed massive rigging in the Zanu PF
electoral management system. He successfully represented Margaret Dongo
(independent) against Zanu PF's Vivian Mwashita in the elections for Harare
South constituency. The polls were nullified and Dongo won the rerun.
Biti has distinguished himself as a polished lawyer and since 2000, he has
been an articulator in Parliament on issues of the law, corruption, human
rights and justice.
Biti is a spirited team player who believes that every blood is precious,
particularly considering the various components constituting the MDC. He
celebrates diversity of opinions and pluralism of ideas. He is humbled by
the support and trust bestowed upon him by members of the party in
appointing him to such a high position.
He has faith in the team appointed by this Congress and he is raring to go.
"We are going to be different. There is no doubt about that. I know the
capabilities of the people who have been elected and have no doubt that the
team will deliver. I know the team understands what it is like to carry the
hope of the nation on our shoulders," he said.
"Our last hope is with this team. To Zimbabweans, I can only tell them the
end of the end is about to begin."
THOKOZANI KHUPE (Vice President)
The new-look team includes veteran trade unionist and prominent women's
rights activist Thokozani Khupe, who was elected vice President.
The 42-year old Khupe was born in Bulawayo. She has three children and has
faith in the team elected at Congress. A member of the ZCTU general council
and the women's advisory council for many years, Khupe, the MP for Makokoba,
is woman with immense zeal to achieve the best for Zimbabwe.
"I believe we will work together (with the new team). I thank the nation for
investing their trust and confidence me and placing me on the stewardship of
the party. This team will do great things. Together we will rally the people
for a new Zimbabwe," she said.
"My election means women are now moving away from the corner to the centre,
from the periphery to the centre. And the centre is where the whole game is
She says she is ready to fulfill the wishes of Congress in confronting the
regime by using people pressure to help resolve the country's crisis.
"I am ready. I have always been a fighter. Fighting this regime is my call,"
Khupe holds a Bachelor's degree in Media Studies, a diploma in Information
Technology from Turin College in Italy. She has several courses in
industrial relations, teaching methodology and community development.
Khupe says she has a passion for helping the nation realize its vision,
especially the women whose heroism remains unsung and unnoticed.
Since 2000, she has been deputy chief whip of the opposition, deputy
chairperson of the Parliamentary Women's caucus and is a member of the
Budget and Finance committee as well as the Defence and Home Affairs
Khupe has attended several inter-parliamentary union conferences and is also
a member of the African Parliamentary Network against Corruption.
She enjoys reading and attending political sessions.
LOVEMORE MOYO (Vice Chairman)
The affable and youthful MP for Matobo and provincial chairman for
Matabeleland South, Lovemore Moyo, was elected to the post of deputy
Moyo has rich experience in civic and political leadership, which started in
the late 1970's when he joined the liberation struggle at the age of 14. He
is a former freedom fighter with ZAPU.
Born in Matobo on 29 January 1965, Moyo is married and has three children.
He attained his early education in Matobo and later went Foundation College
in Bulawayo for his Advanced Level education.
A businessman in his own right, Moyo has qualifications in Credit
Management, insurance, Leadership and Management. He is in his last year
for a degree in Development Studies with the University of South Africa. In
1993, he participated in a leadership training programme under the Young
African Leaders Project in the United States.
Moyo brings to the top echelons of the party his vast experience in various
civic and political groups. He has been a board secretary for the
Matabeleland Development Foundation (1999). He is a founder member of the
party and served in the first interim executive in the formative stages of
the MDC.He served in the Policy and research arm of the party and helped
develop the party's policy programmes and the constitution.
He later became the Matabeleland South provincial secretary. He became the
provincial chairman in January 2006 before he was elected the party's first
" I am excited. I am very excited. It is encouraging to be part of the
exciting team of dedicated cadres who will definitely take the struggle to a
higher plane. We are a futuristic team with a strong fighting spirit. In my
new position, I undertake to preside over people's grievances impartially,"
Moyo said with enthusiasm, adding he was ready to take up the resolution of
Congress to confront the regime.
"I have always been ready to engage in democratic resistance. This team will
lead the people. We cannot sit anymore. It is better to die fighting. We
need to rise and tame the beast. Some of us are determined to put our lives
at risk in order to save our nation."
Moyo is a sports enthusiast. A keen volleyball player, he was vice president
and treasurer-general of the Zimbabwe Volleyball Association. He was in the
organizing team for the All-Africa games held in Zimbabwe.
MORGAN KOMICHI (deputy organizing secretary)
Komichi is trade unionist and co-founder of the Zimbabwe Electricity Workers
Union, in where she was vice president in 1994.
He was born on 18 April 1964. Educated at Silveira mission, Komichi moved to
Kwekwe for his secondary education. He is an instrument technician and is
now chief technician with a big power company.
With his background as a trade unionist, he joined the MDCD in 1999 and was
one of the founding organizers of the party in Matabeleland North, where he
has been provincial chairman since 2000.
Komichi is an ardent party activist and married with four children. He is
currently an undergraduate in Electrical Engineering with the Zimbabwe
Institute of Engineers. He also holds a qualification in Management.
Komichi has confidence that the new team will deliver a new Zimbabwe and a
"I am proud of this team. We have much in common. We are all aggressive and
results-oriented. Personally, I am not new in democratic resistance. We have
planned and executed similar projects. The good thing is that all dictators
will go in the end," said Komichi.
"Most of these dictators have succumbed to people power through democratic
Profiles for other leaders, namely Isaac Matongo (national chairman) Elias
Mudzuri (organizing secretary), Roy Bennet (treasurer-general), Nelson
Chamisa (Information and Publicity), Lucia Matibenga (women's assembly
chairperson), Thamsanqa Mahlangu (youth assembly chairperson) are yet to
HARARE - The MDC has distanced itself from allegations that its members have
disrupted meetings held by other political parties.
"We wish to dismiss allegations that we are in the business of hiring thugs
to disrupt meetings held by the pro-Senate group," said spokesman Nelson
Chamisa this week.
"In any case, it is impossible to infiltrate and disrupt their gatherings
because of the large number of state security agents who cordon off these
meetings. The security agents often outnumber those who attend," he added.
"Their allegations against the party are a desperate attempt to camouflage
their own thuggish behaviour. Instead of making wild accusations against the
party, this motley group owes the MDC members and the nation at large an
explanation on the missing $8 billion that belongs to the party."
Meanwhile, the pro-Senate group has expressed outrage that MDC Harare
provincial chairman, Morgan Femai, allegedly told a rally at the weekend
that: "We will stamp them out before we stamp out Zanu (PF)" and said the
pro-Senate group should not be allowed to hold its rallies in Harare or
allowed to put up posters in the city.
Chamisa emphasises that the MDC was concerned with real national problems
such as poverty, HIV/Aids, unemployment and acute shortages of basic
"The party is preoccupied with revitalising and expanding party structures
in line with resolutions of the second national people's Congress. The
priority of the party is to rally the people for a new Zimbabwe," he said.
HARARE - The shambolic administration of Harare by a Zanu (PF) appointed
commission has been openly acknowledged by the top civil servant in the
Ministry of Local Government and by a Mugabe-supporting ex-mayor.
Local Government Ministry Permanent Secretary Patson Mbiriri told a
parliamentary committee that the city workers are lazy and the
administration had no priorities, simply channelling revenues into the same
coffers. "The attitude of the workers leaveas a lot to be desired. Nobody
cares about putting an eight-hour work effort," said Mbiriri. ". We have not
had strict and forthright management over the last few years." Zanu (PF)
Senator Charles Tawengwa said bluntly: "We have inept people running the
affairs of Harare." The Combined Harare Residents' Association, which is
battling to have the commission replaced by an elected council, is urging a
rates boycott .- Own Correspondent
HARARE - Human rights bodies, the genuine ones, have dismissed plans by the
Zanu (PF) administration to set up a self-styled human rights commission as
a public relations gimmick and probably also an attempt to muzzle NGOs.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the commission would be a
"white elephant" unless, among other things, the regime's raft of laws
preventing freedom of speech and assembly are repealed. "To establish a
human rights commission in the prevailing legislative and administrative
operating environment without corresponding and simultaneous changes to the
current repressive laws is tantamount to deception," the lawyers said.
Similarly, Zimrights said the commission would be a "toothless institution,"
and that a proposal that civil society bodies should affiliate to it "is
most likely being steered by the government's desire to muzzle and reign in
NGOs." "The establishment of a human rights commission should be for the
promotion and defence of people's rights and freedoms and not as a public
relations gimmick to spruce up the battered image of the government," said
Zimrights in a statement. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
reported more than 1,000 cases of human rights violations during February -
a sharp increase because of arrests at demonstrations by women, students and
the National Constitutional Assembly. Police also assaulted demonstrators.-