Human Rights Watch (Washington, DC)
April 5, 2007
Posted to the web April 5, 2007
When President Thabo Mbeki and other leaders of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) met in Tanzania last week to address the crisis
in Zimbabwe, they responded by announcing another round of "quiet"
Not a word was said in public about how Zimbabwean security forces
arbitrarily arrest, detain and brutally beat opposition leaders and ordinary
citizens around the country.
In an effort to end the crisis, SADC mandated Mbeki to lead its efforts to
mediate a dialogue between Zimbabwe's ruling party and the opposition. But
Zimbabwe's worsening crisis will not be resolved until SADC leaders start
talking openly about the massive human rights violations committed by the
Mugabe government, and demand an immediate end to them.
According to SADC leaders, directly confronting and criticising Robert
Mugabe about his abusive policies is counter-productive. But seven years of
this approach have not resulted in an improvement in the country's economic
or human rights situations. Instead, the suffering of Zimbabweans has only
deepened, driving about three million of them to South Africa.
The Zimbabwean government crushes dissent with violence and brutality, and
denies its citizens their fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and
association. SADC's continuing silence and its failure to call on Mugabe to
account only encourages further abuses.
Perhaps SADC leaders should explain their approach to Chipo (not her real
name), a 46-year-old woman I met last week in Glenview, one of the Harare
suburbs worst affected by the violence. Chipo knows all too well the brutal
methods favoured by Zimbabwean authorities.
In the early hours of March 12 police officers suddenly forced their way
into her home and beat Chipo and her family with truncheons and rifle butts.
Chipo was beaten unconscious and sustained serious head injuries and a
When I interviewed her, Chipo started crying as she recounted how the police
officer told her she deserved to be roughed up because, "you are the people
who support the opposition."
Chipo and her family have never been involved in politics. But in many
neighbourhoods like Glenview, police go from house to house, randomly
beating people and accusing them of supporting the opposition.
And Chipo is not alone. Throughout Zimbabwe ordinary people live in constant
fear of random violence at the hands of the security forces. During my
recent two-week visit to the country, dozens of Zimbabweans told me they had
faced similar abuses from the police, members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation, youth militia and Zanu-PF members and supporters. Anyone
remotely connected to the opposition or other forms of civic activism--and
even those who are not--runs the risk of arrest, abduction and brutal
One opposition activist told me about how police arrested her and her
relatives and savagely beat them. "I tried to tell them not to beat my
mother because she is old and not an activist, but they wouldn't stop," she
"They said she was my mother and, therefore, deserved to be beaten. We were
detained for three days and then released without charge."
Zimbabweans are desperate for an end to the brutal human rights abuses they
are suffering at the hands of the security forces, and the restrictions on
their internationally recognised rights to political freedom. Mbeki should
concentrate his efforts on bringing a robust human rights agenda to the
This means calling on the Zimbabwean authorities to rebuild the institutions
that ensure respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
including an independent judiciary. It means calling for a professional
security force that protects its citizens and respects human rights, rather
than one that beats people who dare to oppose the government.
It is about calling for an end to the disdain for human rights that is now
so entrenched in Zimbabwe's security forces, and bringing the perpetrators
to account. It is about repealing repressive legislation and opening up the
democratic space for free and fair elections. It means upholding the tenets
of regional peace and security, and the respect for human rights that SADC
leaders have vowed to promote.
In the past, "quiet" efforts by African leaders to mediate the crisis in
Zimbabwe have failed. This time Mbeki must succeed, or his talk of an
African renaissance and a new era of respect for democracy and human rights
in African governance sounds like empty rhetoric. Chipo and other
Zimbabweans like her have been consistently let down not only by their
government, but by their regional leadership.
If the SADC is serious about its solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, it
needs to stand up for justice and human rights in Zimbabwe.
Tiseke Kasambala is a researcher at Human Rights Watch
Friday 06 April 2007
By Thabani Mlilo
HARARE - The government's feared spy-Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
on Thursday moved in to occupy the sixth floor of Chester House in Harare
which houses of the headquarters Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
The ZCTU occupies the ninth and 10th floors of the building along Third
Street in the city centre.
ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe said he did not know whether the
move by the CIO - that has imprisoned and tortured several union leaders -
was one of the spy organs' attempts to intimidate the labour federation or
it was mere coincidence that the secret service had found accommodation at
the same building housing the union.
But Chibebe said whatever the reason, the ZCTU was not unsettled at sharing
the same premises with government spies.
"I had never thought about the feeling of sharing a lift with members of the
CIO but whatever reason made them occupy a floor in the building that we
rent does not unsettle us," he said.
The CIO that is the cutting edge of President Robert Mugabe's vicious
crackdown against the ZCTU and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party has in the past raided the labour union's offices ostensibly in search
of subversive material.
The ZCTU this week called a two-day national strike to pressure Mugabe's
government to act to end an economic crisis gripping Zimbabwe for the past
eight years and which has seen inflation soaring to nearly 2 000 percent,
rising poverty, unemployment and severe shortages of food.
But the job boycott largely flopped as workers turned up for work and
businesses opened although analysts attributed this to fear of a government
backlash, a few weeks after police brutally assaulted opposition leaders for
trying to organise anti-Mugabe protests.
Chibebe said the union was plotting further strikes to try and push the
government to end the economic crisis that has condemned most workers to
destitution. - ZimOnline
Friday 06 April 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's sole tyre manufacturer, Dunlop, on Wednesday stopped
production after hundreds of workers at its main Bulawayo plant downed tools
to press for more pay.
Disrupting of production at the Zimbabwean firm is sure to hit hard the
motor industry in then country as well as in some neighbouring countries
that buy tyres from Dunlop.
"Workers at the moment are not doing anything, they have staged a sit in and
they want management to address the issue of salaries," said one member of
the worker's committee who said he did not want to be named for fear of
The workers' representative said management and workers failed to reach
agreement despite several meetings convened to try and reach a compromise on
the salary dispute.
Both Dunlop managing director Eugine Turin and worker's committee chairman
Ishmael Nyahwa were yesterday said to be locked up in meetings and unable to
take questions from the Press.
On Wednesday, armed anti-riot police stormed the tyre firm in a bid to force
workers to resume duty but the workers refused to budge.
Zimbabwe is currently crippled by incessant strikes by workers both in the
private and public sector demanding more pay to cushion them against the
country's rampant inflation which at close to 2 000 percent is the highest
in the world.
State doctors, nurses, university lecturers and school teachers have all at
one time or another in the past four months boycotted work to press for
money and better working conditions, as a long running economic recession
threatens to bring Zimbabwe to a complete standstill.
The economic crisis has also spawned severe shortages of food, electricity,
fuel, essential medicines, hard cash and just about every basic survival
Western governments and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
party blame the economic crisis on repression and mismanagement by President
Robert Mugabe. He denies the charge. - ZimOnline
Friday 06 April 2007
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's deputy foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad
says there is no way his government could halt the massive influx of
Zimbabweans into the country fleeing hunger and repression at home.
Addressing the media in Pretoria yesterday, Pahad said South Africa had
agreed to help in the search for a political solution to the crisis to
create a conducive environment for Zimbabweans to return home.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) last week tasked South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to mediate in the conflict between President
Robert Mugabe's government and the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party.
Pahad said the secretary generals of the two factions of the splintered MDC
were already in the country and had already met South African government
officials on Wednesday over the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"Before the summit we had asked the two secretary-generals of the two MDC
formations to prepare a joint paper about what they consider as free and
fair elections in their country.
"We are meeting them today if the document is ready, then it would be
forwarded to Mbeki and taken for his consideration and then he will report
back to the Zimbabwean president," said Pahad.
The regional bloc was jolted into action last month after the Harare
authorities brutally tortured Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and several other opposition officials.
The torture triggered a storm of international condemnation for Mugabe's
government with several African leaders who included Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa
and Ghana's Kuffour, also condemning the crackdown in Zimbabwe.
At a hurriedly arranged SADC summit in Tanzania, the southern African
leaders publicly rallied behind Mugabe but are said to have grilled Mugabe
behind the scenes to put his house in order.
SADC appointed Mbeki to mediate in the seven-year old political stalemate.
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who head rival factions of the MDC have
already welcomed Mbeki's initiative but warned him to be firm against
Mugabe, in power over the past 27 years.
South Africa has been reluctant to openly criticize Mugabe over the past
seven years preferring instead to pursue a policy of "quiet diplomacy"
against Harare. - ZimOnline
Friday 06 April 2007
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri
HARARE - Zimbabwe's High Court yesterday freed on bail seven opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party activists accused of petrol
bombing police stations and a public train but denied bail to a second batch
of activists which the police say were the brains behind the bombings.
Justice Joseph Musakwa granted bail of $100 000 each to the seven activists
but did not free nine other MDC members because after the state it was not
yet ready to oppose the granting of bail to the opposition activists.
Those accused of masterminding the bombing campaign and denied bail include
Ian Makone, a former executive of insurance giant First Mutual Limited but
now a member of the MDC national executive, journalist Luke Tamborinyoka who
now works for the opposition party and legislator Paul Madzore.
MDC lawyer Alec Muchadehama accused state prosecutors of behaving in a
"deplorable" manner when they refused to have the bail application of the
opposition activists heard claiming they were not ready although they had
been fully notified the matter would be argued in court.
"The attitude of the state is so deplorable," said Muchadehama. "We made it
clear on Tuesday after the magistrate referred the matter to the High Court
that we would apply for bail but today we being told a new story (that the
state is not ready)."
Attorney General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, in charge of prosecution, however
defended his department saying: "There is nothing sinister about the whole
issue. We argued over one matter and the one we were not prepared is
different. This one involves the brains behind the bombing. Those who
trained the bombers of police stations and trains."
The state charges Makone and his co-accused led the MDC's military wing
called the Democratic Resistance Committee which was responsible for
training saboteurs to petrol bomb ruling ZANU PF party offices and police
Makone and his colleagues are denying the charges while the MDC has
vehemently denied it or its members were behind the bombing incidents, which
it says were orchestrated by government agents in a bid to justify a
crackdown on the resurgent party that has seen dozens of its activist
arrested and tortured by the police. - ZimOnline
· State department tells of regime change strategy
· Washington funded opposition activities
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Friday April 6, 2007
The US admitted openly for the first time yesterday that it was actively
working to undermine Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe.
Although officially Washington does not support regime change, a US state
department report published yesterday acknowledged that it was supporting
opposition politicians in the country and others critical of Mr Mugabe.
The state department also admitted sponsoring events aimed at "discrediting"
statements made by Mr Mugabe's government.
The report will be seized on by Mr Mugabe, who has repeatedly claimed that
the US and Britain are seeking regime change.
The comments are contained in the state department's fifth annual Supporting
Human Rights and Democracy report. It sets out in detail actions the US
government is taking worldwide to promote human rights.
The report has had a troubled history. Three years ago publication had to be
hastily delayed when details emerged about US human rights abuses at Abu
Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.
The US, compared with the UK, was initially slow to criticise Mr Mugabe, but
has since adopted an increasingly critical stance, most recently at the
Human Rights Council in Geneva last month.
In an unusual piece of candour, the state department report says: "To
encourage greater public debate on restoring good governance in [Zimbabwe],
the United States sponsored public events that presented economic and social
analyses discrediting the government's excuses for its failed policies.
"To further strengthen pro-democracy elements, the US government continued
to support the efforts of the political opposition, the media and civil
society to create and defend democratic space and to support persons who
criticised the government."
While the US and British governments still insist their aim in Zimbabwe is
not regime change, they have been encouraging the main opposition leader,
Morgan Tsvangarai, who was beaten up last month.
The report says that while Zimbabwe is nominally democratic, the government
of Mr Mugabe is "now authoritarian".
At a press conference to launch the document, the assistant secretary of
state, Barry Lowenkren, said the US goal was not necessarily regime change
but to create a level playing field for all parties. He added that where
there was a country with record levels of inflation, denial of basic human
rights and other abuses, the US had a duty to speak out so that people in
Zimbabwe knew they had support.
Asked whether US efforts to promote human rights worldwide were being
undermined by the hundreds of of people being held at Guantánamo, Mr
Lowenkren insisted the issue was not raised by non-governmental groups at
conferences he attended and participants were more interested in what the US
could do to help them in their own countries.
He also denied the report was softer on authoritarian governments allied to
the US, such as Belarus, than to Zimbabwe.
Mr Lowenkren said $66m was being spent on promotion of democracy and human
rights in Iran, about half of which was devoted to broadcasts from outside
the country and the rest spent on support for non-governmental exchanges,
cultural exchanges such as the visit by the US wrestling team and a Persian
The report is critical of Russia, noting the killing of the journalist Anna
It says: "Political pressure on the judiciary, corruption and selectivity in
enforcement of the law, continuing media restrictions and self-censorship,
and government pressure on opposition political parties eroded the public
accountability of government leaders.
"Security forces were involved in additional significant human rights
5 April 2007
Freelance cameraman found dead two days after being kidnapped outside home
Reporters Without Borders called today for an independent investigation into
the death of freelance cameraman Edward Chikomba, a former employee of the
state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), who was found dead on 31
March, two days after being kidnapped in Harare by men suspected of being
members of the intelligence services.
"We are utterly dismayed by this murder, which comes at a critical time for
independent journalists because, after years of harassment, they are now
being subjected to extreme violence," Reporters Without Borders said.
"This appalling crime must not go unpunished," the press freedom
organisation continued. "As the police do not have the required credibility
to conduct a serious investigation, we call on those presidents who still
maintain a dialogue with President Robert Mugabe to make him realise that it
would be inexplicable and dangerous if those who are responsible for
Chikomba's death are not clearly identified and punished. Only an
independent third party is capable of establishing the facts in Zimbabwe
Chikomba, who also ran a stall outside his home in the working-class suburb
of Glen View, was kidnapped by four men, who stopped and initially asked if
they could buy some beverages. Forced at gunpoint to get into their white
4WD vehicle, he was found dead at Darwendale (60 km west of Harare) on 31
March. Since then, his body has been at the morgue in Chinhoyi, 115 km west
of the capital.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (the leading organisation of its kind in
Zimbabwe) quoted one of his relatives as saying he tried to pull Chikomba
back as he was being bundled into the vehicle, but the abductors hit him
with the butts of their guns. The relative said the vehicle was found at
Mapinga, near Banket (80 km west of Harare).
One of Chikomba's former colleagues said Chikomba was accused of providing
the international media with video footage showing opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai with his face badly swollen after being beaten while in custody.
The same source said Chikomba was a supporter of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
A Harare-based journalist told Reporters Without Borders: "He was
undoubtedly targeted because he was known as a cameraman." After leaving the
production team of "Vision 30," a programme broadcast by ZBH until 2001,
Chikomba continued to work as a freelance cameraman for individuals or news
Footage of Tsvangirai with his battered face as he left a courthouse to go
to hospital was shot by several news media including Mighty Movies Zimbabwe
(Pvt) Ltd, a leading Zimbabwean production company that provided its footage
to foreign TV stations and news agencies.
Many opposition members, human rights activists and journalists have been
arrested by the intelligence services in similar circumstances in recent
weeks. Gift Phiri, a contributor to the London-based weekly The Zimbabwean,
has been held since 1 April on a charge of practising journalism illegally.
Luke Tamborinyoka, the former editor of the now-defunct Daily News, was
hospitalised on the orders of a Harare court on 30 March after losing
consciousness during his trial. He had been badly injured as a result of
mistreatment while in police custody following his arrest along with 34
activists during a police raid on MDC headquarters on 28 March.
By Blessing Zulu, Patience Rusere & Jonga Kandemiiri
05 April 2007
A lawyer representing nine detained officials and members of the Movement
for Democratic Change said Thursday that he fears for their lives because
authorities have defied a court order instructing that they receive medical
The nine activists were removed last week from the Avenues Clinic in Harare
by police without the consent of their doctors and taken to the Harare
remand jail. Among the nine still being detained at the lockup was
parliamentarian Paul Madzore, who represents the Harare district of
Glenview, an opposition stronghold.
Authorities say the men organized a recent string of firebomb attacks. The
men have denied the charges and opposition sources said they have been
beaten by police.
The Harare magistrate's court has denied them bail on three separate
occasions. The Harare high court today ruled that their cases should be set
down for April 11 so that the office of the attorney general can conduct its
Lawyer Alec Muchadehama, representing the accused, told reporter Blessing
Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that police disregard of court orders is
Elsewhere, the widow of slain opposition activist Gift Tandare said she has
gone into hiding after being harassed by police who she said demanded the
names of National Constitutional Assembly members who attended a memorial
service for her husband held in a Harare suburb on March 27. Gift Tandare
was shot dead by police March 11 in a confrontation in Highfield after the
authorities blocked a prayer meeting.
Tandare's body later was taken from a funeral home in Harare by suspected
agents of the central intelligence organization and buried in secrecy in his
rural home town.
His widow, Spiwe Tandare, told reporter Patience Rusere that she decided to
go into hiding this week after at least five police cars surrounded her
In a separate incident, suspected state security agents tried to abduct the
head of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe in Harare on Wednesday,
the final day of a two-day general strike called by the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions. As head of the teachers union, Majongwe is a member of the
ZCTU general council.
In recent weeks, suspected operatives of the feared Central Intelligence
Organization have been kidnapping opposition members, brutally beating them
and dumping them in remote locations scores of kilometers from the capital.
Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that he fears for his life as
another group of suspected CIO operatives visited his home yesterday
The opposition has maintained for weeks that the state has organized what
Movement for Democratic Change founder Morgan Tsvangirai called "hit squads"
to brutalize and terrorize opponents of the government of President Robert
Mugabe. But nerves have been put on edge by a document now in circulation
which purports to indicate that army intelligence has marked some opposition
members for death.
The document, a copy of which was obtained by VOA, purports to be a
communication from a Central Intelligence Organization official in the
office of President Mugabe to a "Comrade Colonel Chaminyuka" in the Zimbabwe
Intelligence Corps, an army unit.
Listed in the purported army communication by name or under a simple
alphabetical code are Tsvangirai, Majongwe, rival faction chief Arthur
Mutambara, human rights lawyer Arnold Tsunga, National Constitutional
Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku, Tsvangirai faction treasurer Roy
Bennett, and others.
The phone number listed on the document for "Colonel Chaminyuka" was
answered by a Colonel Muhambi at army headquarters who said Chaminyuka was
not available. He said army intelligence was aware that copies of such a
letter were circulating, but that there was no such list of opposition
figures to be targeted.
Madhuku expressed skepticism as to the authenticity of the document, saying
that he found it difficult to believe that intelligence officials would put
such a plan in writing.
But human rights lawyer Arnold Tsunga, director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights, who had also seen a copy of the document, was taking it
seriously and told VOA that Harare has embarked on a campaign to silence its
By Violet Gonda
Gift Phiri, the journalist from The Zimbabwean newspaper who was
abducted near his home in Harare last Sunday, was finally released on bail
Thursday. His wife said that he was severely beaten and has been
hospitalised. Lawyers confirmed that the journalist had been tortured
while in police custody and is at the Avenues Clinic.
Phiri is being charged with working without accreditation, although he
had applied for this. Under the repressive Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, journalists are allowed to practise while the
government-appointed Media and Information Commission considers their
application. The journalist is also being accused of abusing
journalistic privileges and selling out the country to the west.
Human rights groups are concerned about the deteriorating situation in
Zimbabwe where opposition activists and journalists are increasingly
being brutalised by state security agents. In the last month 2 opposition
officials have been murdered and last week 65-year-old cameraman Edward
Chikomba was bludgeoned to death after he was abducted from his home by
It's reported that he was the father of 7 children
who are all tragically deceased and he was caring for his 11 grandchildren.
We had reports late Thursday that there was heavy police presence at his
home in Glen View where his family were trying to hold a wake, but we have
been unable to get further information. - SWRA
By Violet Gonda
5 April 2007
The chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly Dr Lovemore Madhuku
has expressed concern that civic society is not being consulted on
initiatives that are taking place to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis. At the
disappointing SADC meeting in Tanzania last week South African President
Thabo Mbeki was appointed to help negotiations between the ruling party and
the opposition and on Wednesday South African government representatives met
the Secretary Generals of the two MDC factions. This is the second meeting
in less than three weeks. Vice President Joyce Mujuru also held talks with
her South African counterpart recently.
Dr Madhuku said all stakeholders need to be involved in this consultation
initiative, as the Zimbabwe crisis is so deep and so complex. Dr Madhuku is
also concerned that the opposition parties, as members of the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign, are not talking to civic society about these latest developments,
as the only way forward is if all players work together.
He said: "First of all we need to be clear that we do not know what is
happening in terms of the so called initiative where the Secretary Generals
of the MDC are traveling to South Africa for talks to South African
Mbeki was tasked to facilitate dialogue between the Mugabe government and
opposition to agree on how to hold free and fair elections next year. But
the civic leader believes that if there is to be any sensible resolution to
the crisis, the democratisation process has to involve the many players who
have been at the centre of the crisis. "So we would not expect just the
political parties would be the only players in the game and that is what we
have seen in the past few days."
All pro-democracy groups, including the two MDCs, have been working under
the Save Zimbabwe Campaign banner and it is this platform that people like
Madhuku say should be used to engage any outsiders who want to get involved
in resolving the crisis. The civic leader said the only information they are
getting is through the media, with the latest being that the Secretary
Generals Tendai Biti and Professor Welshman Ncube had been asked to prepare
a way forward document and had returned to South Africa with a written
document. "There has been no consultation whatsoever between the two MDC and
other players in the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. That is why I believe it is a
different initiative from the initiative that we have been working together
He added: "This is one of the problems we continue to have in Zimbabwe. I
would be very disappointed if there are opportunistic tendencies by the
political parties in Zimbabwe. The crisis in Zimbabwe is just not about
political powers. It is about creating a better future for all Zimbabweans."
Furthermore, the outspoken civic leader criticised opposition parties who
seem to get involved with pressure groups only when it involves protest
actions. "But when it comes to them trying to get a way forward and what to
do with next year's elections, the opposition always chooses to be
opportunistic and we condemn that kind of approach," he said.
The NCA chairman said it would be 'foolish' for any politician to think they
can be a spokesperson for all players in the broad movement, saying that the
suffering that people have gone through is something political parties
should not take advantage of.
Observers have also warned that just because the regional leaders have
initiated this process it does not mean that some of these African countries
have stopped backing Robert Mugabe's hold on power.
Madhuku says perhaps the isolation of civic society could be because the
SADC leaders are aware that once they involve all stakeholders then the
issue would be resolved in a more comprehensive manner, which might not be
agreeable to Mugabe.
He said: "Once you involve the civic players certainly the central issues
will be a new people driven constitution, fundamental reforms and this is
what the SADC leaders fear because once these issues are raised Mugabe would
Some observers believe SADC leaders are hoping that if they narrow the
issues and simply talk to the opposition political parties, hopefully they
will come up with a settlement which may not be satisfactory to the majority
of Zimbabweans, but which may create the impression there has been a
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
05 April, March 2007
Riot police units that had been patrolling the streets of the high-density
areas of Budiriro and Glen View on Wednesday attacked local residents as the
second day of the strike organized by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) came to an end. The residents said police accused them of piling up
rocks and debris to block minibuses from taking workers to their jobs. It is
not clear whether any arrests were made or if residents were injured. Both
areas were reported to be tense on Thursday.
Glen View has been the scene of several shootings and was the home of Gift
Tandare, the opposition activist who was shot and killed by police when they
blocked a prayer rally in Highfield last month. Residents say the area has
not been safe since.
Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said the opposition MPs that
represent Glen View and Budiriro are both very young and energetic. The
police accuse them of mobilising the youth in their constituencies to set up
illegal roadblocks. This is why MP Madzore and MP Chisvuure are being
targeted. Muchemwa also said there were skirmishes in many other areas
around the country that are not being reported because residents are too
afraid to speak out in the face of the brutal attacks that have been
Meanwhile on Thursday the government announced that it would deal with
businesses that had closed during the stay-away, accusing them of siding
with the ZCTU organizers and the opposition. Minister of Industry Obert
Mpofu said a list of what he described as "mostly white-owned companies that
chose to side with organisers of the stayaway" was being compiled. He gave
all the companies that closed Tuesday and Wednesday just 24 hours to explain
why they had done so. The minister did not specify how he planned to deal
with these companies. Muchemwa said this harassment of white-owned
businesses will lead to more of them relocating to neighbouring countries.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
05 April 2007
Further confirmation that Southern African leaders took Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe to task at last week's Southern African Development Community
summit has emerged from Mozambican President Armando Guebuza.
He told reporters in Maputo last week that Zimbabwe's crisis quote "affects
us a lot," citing the illegal entry of people and goods due to the breakdown
of border security, and Zimbabwe's delays in paying for electricity supplied
by its neighbor.
Researcher Nicholas Gaspar of the Higher Institute of International
Relations in Maputo told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe, that Mr. Guebuza and other Southern African leaders recognize the
crisis in Zimbabwe, but have preferred to take a more diplomatic approach.
By Carole Gombakomba
05 April 2007
A thinly veiled threat against a British diplomat serving in Harare that was
published in a state-controlled Zimbabwean newspaper has prompted British
authorities to demand an explanation from Zimbabwe's diplomatic
representative in London.
An article published in the state-controlled Herald newspaper under the
pseudonym of David Samuriwo appeared to threaten British Embassy Second
Secretary Gillian Dare. The article said that "it will be a pity for her
family to welcome her at Heathrow Airport in a body bag, like some of her
colleagues from Iran and Afghanistan."
Reports said Peter Rickets, the permanent under secretary of state at the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office summoned Machinga Wednesday and told him
that the British government is taking such threats seriously.
Rickets warned Machinga that Britain holds Zimbabwean authorities
responsible for the protection of British diplomats, as Britain provides
protection for the Zimbabwean mission in London.
The article on the Herald's opinion page accused Dare of "blatant
interference in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe" and of being the "purse
holder and financier" of what the paper charged was a campaign of violence
by the Zimbabwean opposition.
Political analyst John Makumbe, a senior lecturer in political science at
the University of Zimbabwe, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that the British government is justified in taking the threat
seriously given the escalation of abductions, brutal beatings and murders by
alleged state security agents.
Catholic News Service
By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- Zimbabwean Archbishop Pius Ncube of
Bulawayo said he is not surprised political leaders haven't pressured
Zimbabwe's government to stop the violence and reinstate the rule of law.
The southern African political leaders "have backed one another like this
before, but I hope they put pressure on (Zimbabwean President Robert) Mugabe
in private," Archbishop Ncube told Catholic News Service April 2 in a
telephone interview from Bulawayo.
The African bishops' strong support for Zimbabweans and their appeal to
political leaders to stop the violence is "unprecedented," he said.
The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, known by
its acronym SECAM, in March urged political leaders to "immediately take
measures to stop the violence and carnage that is engulfing" Zimbabwe.
SECAM members "have been watching Zimbabwe and feel it is high time there
should be change," said the archbishop.
But, he said, Mugabe "has shown no repentance" for his role in the suffering
"Everyone is terribly concerned" about the crisis in the country "as things
get worse and worse," he noted. Zimbabwe's economy is in free-fall with an
inflation rate of more than 1,700 percent and an unemployment rate of 80
percent. The recent chaos has caused public services for heath care, schools
and sewage to all but shut down.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who was appointed to mediate between
Mugabe and opposition leaders, met in early April with leaders from the
Movement for Democratic Change, the main opposition party, to discuss
resolving the conflict. Some Zimbabweans have been calling for
constitutional reform to reduce the power of the presidency.
The Zimbabwean bishops and other religious leaders have encouraged Catholics
around the world to join in a day of prayer for the country April 14.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Jesuits said in a newsletter that Zimbabwe's
bishops "have clearly distanced themselves" from any intention of
reconciling the oppressed with their oppressors.
The Jesuits called the bishops' March statement "truly liberating" for
Zimbabweans. The Jesuits quoted the statement as saying that "oppression is
sin and cannot be compromised with. It must be overcome."
The bishops "do not blame both sides equally for violence, afraid to say who
is responsible for it," the Jesuits said.
LONDON - 6 April 2007
The British Jesuits have responded to the appeal by the bishops of Zimbabwe
for a Day of Prayer for the people of their country, by posting a prayer on
one of their web sites and inviting people to visit it. The appeal by the
bishops came at the end of their Pascal Message, when they called for
Saturday, 14 April to be the day when people turned their thoughts to
Zimbabwe and offered a prayer that its current crisis may be resolved in a
Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia, as it was then called) was a part of the British
Province of the Society of Jesus until becoming a Province in its right in
1978. Since then, the two countries have maintained strong links, with
Jesuit Missions in London supporting a wide variety of Jesuit initiatives in
Zimbabwe, including schools and colleges, HIV-awareness and work among the
poorest of the population.
A Prayer for Justice in Zimbabwe is now on the Jesuit Missions web site:
© Independent Catholic News 2007
6th Apr 2007 00:53 GMT
By a Correspondent
LONDON - Efforts to bring to an end the political and economic crisis in
Zimbabwe should not ignore the Diaspora and other stakeholders that have
been fighting for change in the country, the militant Free-Zim Youth has
Responding to reports that the two opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) secretary generals, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube had gone to South
Africa for talks with representatives from the South Africa government on
the mediation process seeking to bring political parties in Zimbabwe to the
drawing table, the youths said pressure should be exerted on President Thabo
Mbeki to ensure that all stakeholders have a say in the future Zimbabwe they
They said the future of Zimbabwe should not be left to be determined by the
two MDCs and Zanu PF political parties only.
"It looks like the process has already started in the absence of proper
consultations," said Alois Phiri of Free-Zim Youth. "What we are saying as
the youths is that the process should be all-encompassing. The Diaspora
should not be left out because it has and will continue to play a role in
the development and stabilisation of Zimbabwe when all things have been said
and done. We want proper consultations to take place. We want to be able to
vote in the next election and that is one factor that must be looked at."
He added: "We want a better future and all stakeholders should be involved
in the process to bring back sanity, decency and the rule of law to our
South African President, Thabo Mbeki was recently appointed by the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) to help mediate in the Zimbabwean
Yesterday Mbeki disclosed that one of his cabinet ministers, Sydney
Mufamadi, and the Director General in the Presidency, Frank Chikane, had
held talks with Ncube and Biti.
No details of the meeting were readily available from the meeting, however.
In an earlier statement, the youths said: "We as young Africans have no
confidence with the so-called Mbeki mediation. We feel Mbeki has for a long
time been playing sustainable tactics, which were and are designed to
resuscitate and give more life to the Mugabe government."
"Young Africans shall resist by all means any efforts to manufacture a fake
peace settlement that will be tabled outside an independent platform which
can accommodate an independent election."
The youths said they would support any initiative that would lead to a new
Zimbabwe but only after a free and fair election has been held.
"We stand united today saying No to another Zanu-Zapu peace accord. We
demand that all stakeholders should be involved in this process that should
bring lasting peace and stability to Zimbabwe and not just for a few years,"
said Free-Zim Youth.
"Surely we shall mobilise all the young Africans to resist any betrayal of
the aspirations of our forefathers who have been victims of the fall of
black majority rule. We say No to another smoke screen accord."