|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
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|Police block civic protests in Zimbabwe|
Police in Zimbabwe are blockading towns to stop disputes by civic groups.
Demonstrations have been called at strategic locations across the country in protest at the recent presidential elections.
Small groups of protestors have been stopped from reaching the planned site of a march through downtown Harare.
Police manned roadblocks have sealed off the central square and riot police have been posted on pavements, street corners and at bus and car parks.
Douglas Mwonzora, a spokesman for the organisers says there are no immediate reports of arrests of demonstrators.
He says police blockades have also prevented protesters gathering in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, and the provincial towns of Mutare and Gweru.
Authorities have banned the protests under security laws but organisers in the National Constitutional Assembly have vowed to defy the ban.
Meanwhile, witnesses in Harare say Edwina Spicer, a television journalist, has been arrested, while apparently filming police deployments.
Spicer, accompanied by her husband, is now being questioned, according to Pat Lewin, the couple's lawyer.
Police officials were not available for comment on the arrests.Story filed: 12:25 Saturday 6th April 2002
April 6, 2002 Posted: 5:44 AM EST (1044 GMT)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwean police chased over 100 protesters through the streets of Harare on Saturday in an attempt to break up a banned demonstration demanding a new constitution.
Zimbabwe introduced tough new security laws this year banning public protests and gatherings without police approval. Penalties range from fines to a year in prison.
The demonstration by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) comes two days after 350 of its members were arrested for holding an unauthorised meeting.
The NCA wants a new constitution to replace laws that critics say President Robert Mugabe has used to entrench his rule.
Police had banned the demonstration because they said the political situation in Zimbabwe was not conducive to protests.
They accused the NCA of trying to "impose its constitution on the government."
The protest got off to a slow start as riot police broke up small gatherings, but by mid-morning a sizeable crowd of chanting and shouting protesters had gathered for the march.
"Police keep breaking us up and we will try to regroup again and march towards Unity Square (near parliament)," NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku told Reuters.
The NCA, a coalition of student and church groups, political parties and human rights organisations, says deeply rooted flaws in the current constitution make it impossible to hold free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe was re-elected for a further six-year term last month following an election which Western countries and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) condemned as fraudulent.
The NCA denies government and police charges that it is pursuing a political agenda in favour of the MDC.
In February, dozens of riot police armed with batons and guns broke up an NCA-organised protest against the government's refusal to adopt a new national supreme law.
In 2000, the NCA was instrumental in the rejection by the majority of Zimbabweans of a proposed new constitution crafted by a government-appointed commission, which critics said left Mugabe's overwhelming presidential powers intact.
Mugabe has amended the constitution 16 times since assuming power at
independence in 1980 in what are seen as attempts to tighten his grip on power.
Article copied from Mirror Independent Newspaper in Masvingo, 5 April 2002.
MAHOFA BOUNCES BACK WITH THREATS
Ngundu: - Shuvai Mahofa, the Deputy Minister for Youth, Gender, Employment Creation and Development, and Gutu South MO, has threatened MDC supporters with retribution if they continue to support the opposition party. Mahofa made the remarks at a victory to celebrate the re-election of President Robert Mugabe, which was co-ordinated by the Cross Border Traders Association at the Ngundu Halt Business Centre over the weekend.
NO T-SHIRTS/NO MAIZE
"Our youths should be on the lookout for people who support MDC and you should be reminded from now onwards in Ngundu that no MDC T-shirt should be worn publicly," warned Mahofa.
She said any person who supported MDC should be beaten thoroughly and deprived of maize.
"BEAT THEM THOROUGHLY!"
"Zanu PF will not continue to sell maize to MDC supporters because they oppose us. They gave us a torrid time during the election and anyone who continues to support MDC should be beaten," said Mahofa.
Mahofa left her audience shell-shocked when she started to use obscene language to demonise the MDC.
THREAT TO CHIEFS
She threatened chiefs who support the MDC that their chieftainship would be revoked because the government would not tolerate such insubordination.
"We want to warn chiefs that we will not tolerate you if you are aligned to the MDC," she said.
Mahofa was recently involved in a bitter wrangle over the death of war veteran Amos Museva. The relatives and friends of Museva dumped the body at Mahofa’s homestead, demanding $2million and 40 head of cattle, or $4million.
Museva died after he was attacked over a farmhouse dispute with Mahofa’s daughter. The war vet’s body was buried only three weeks later, following the intervention of Mahofa’ relative, Vice President Simon Muzenda.
CIVIL SERVANTS THREATENED
Mahofa also reiterated at the victory celebration that civil servants who supported opposition parties would be fired.
People at Ngundu were still shocked after the rally about the statements made by Mahofa. " A senior, mature politician like Mahofa should not be seen to be promoting retribution. It was an irresponsible and derogatory speech," said a resident who refused to be named in case of victimisation.
Killa Zivhu, the general director of the Cross Border Traders Association, said since Zanu PF had won the elections, its members should start fulfilling their promises.
Starting next week, Government will be distributing $150million countrywide to help Cross Border Traders Association (an arm of Zanu PF).
CBTA held 120 rallies around the country to campaign for Mugabe, the Zanu PF candidate. - ZC
Issued by African National Congress - KwaZulu Natal
23 March 2002
Viva President Thabo Mbeki, Viva!
Viva ANC, Viva!
Viva SACP, Viva!
Viva Cosatu, Viva!
Viva Sanco, Viva!
Viva ANC Women's League, Viva!
Viva ANC Youth League, Viva!
Members of the ANC National Executive Committee;
Representatives of the South African Communist Party;
Representatives of the Congress of South African Trade Unions;
Representatives of Sanco;
Members of the ANC Women's League;
The Young Lions;
Former Commanders, Commissars, Men and Women of our People's Army, Umkhonto We Sizwe;
Minister of Land and Agricultural Affairs, Minister Thoko Msane Didiza,
The Premier, N. J. Mahlangu,
MECs, Members of the Legislature, Members of the National Assembly and Councillors.
The eyes of the nation are focused on this Provincial Conference. Comrade President Thabo Mbeki, the ANC National Executive Committee, the entire membership and supporters of our revolutionary organisation, the ANC, expect only one result from this Conference - maximum unity of purpose and a hundred-fold increase in the combative capacity of our organisation. We cannot but ensure that we come out of this Conference more united and more combat ready than ever before.
Our enemies wish us the very opposite. They have spent sleepless nights plotting our undoing. They hope that we will come out of this Conference divided into thousand splinter groups and at each others' throats. They hope we will come out of this Conference having renounced our very being - a being of being revolutionaries. But they shall fail because Oliver Oliver Tambo, Chief Albert Luthuli, Gert Ntsibande, J.B. Marks, Moses Kotane, Moses Mabhida, Alfred Nzo, Joe Modise, Lilian Ngoyi, Florence Mposho, Dorothy Nyembe, Chris Hani, Joe Gqabi, Cassius Maake and Comrade Mashego Morodi taught us to be revolutionaries, to defend the unity of the ANC even with our own lives. We cannot but follow the instructions of these great men and women.
The Mpumalanga province has always occupied a strategic point in our struggle. It was from this province, in Bethal, that the Lion of the East, Gert Ntsibande, roared in the 1950s. It was through this province that the Luthuli highway of soldiers of Umkhonto We Sizwe to the then Transvaal and Natal passed. It is in this province where the mortal remains of most of our fallen soldiers lie strewn in unmarked graves. Mpumalanga is a frontline province both literally and figuratively.
The enemies of freedom, having recognised the strategic importance of this province, practised and perfected their strategy to weaken and frustrate our revolutionary advance in this province and throughout the country. Mpumalanga became a testing ground for all counter-revolutionary strategies and tactics.
Having achieved a strategic victory in 1994, nevertheless the enemy did not accept its defeat lying down. Now and again it carries out counter-offensive attacks against us using the counter-revolutionary network it has built over decades, especially in this frontline province. It is still able to sow the seeds of despair, mistrust and suspicion. We are fighting an enemy that fights back. When it scores victories it usually does so out of its own strength and not because of our weaknesses.
But on the whole, the enemy is on a retreat. We must cut out its retreating routes and turn its retreat into a complete rout. To the battle, Comrades!
We can only be equal to our tasks if we close our ranks as never before. Unity in action means the very survival of the ANC and our revolution. We shall not allow any space for rumour-mongerers; people who sneek in the death of the night to character assassinate our leadership; populists and careerists who feed on the basest instincts among our people such as tribalism, regionalism, backwardness and ignorance. We shall seek and isolate those who ride on the wave of cheap populism.
Dear Comrade Delegates,
The National Executive Committee has full confidence in you. Over years the National Executive Committee has sought to strengthen the ANC leadership in this province through various interventions. Senior comrades have been deployed in this province. A series of meetings have been held to try and resolve problems among comrades. Strategic changes have been made in our caucuses. Comrades from the National assembly have been deployed into the province and vice versa. Intense political work is being carried out in our structures. Vital time, money and personnel have been deployed into the province.
As a result of all these efforts, the ANC remains the premier organisation in all spheres of life in the province. In the 1999 general elections, the voters returned us even with a greater majority. The prophets of doom and gloom were confounded. We are in full control of the three District Councils.
There were those among us who having thought that they were more popular than the ANC, stood as independent councillors. They behaved like a donkey that carried Jesus Christ to Jerusalem and mistook the popularity of Jesus Christ for its own. It was surprised when it came the second time to Jerusalem without Jesus Christ and was stoned by the very crowds that had cheered Jesus Christ. These independent councillors had decided to be independent of the people and of the ANC and met the wrath of our people. All the wards they contested were won by the ANC candidates.
The revolutionary culture of the ANC is finding its way back into our ranks. Ideological coherence is taking shape. We have approached the re-alignment process not simply as a technical process but it has been informed and superceded by our all-round political and ideological work. We shall continue along this path as we negotiate all the obstacles lying ahead of us. It does not mean that the leadership you elected was faultless.
The intervention of the national leadership was not aimed at destroying any member of the ANC. Yet it was aimed at defending the best interests of the ANC, our people and our revolution.
You will note that the intervention of the NEC did not lead to the disbandment of elected structures in the province as it was the case in the Free State, Gauteng and the Limpopo provinces. This is not an indication that there were lesser problems in your province than in the other three provinces. But it is an indication that the NEC has full confidence, that you dear comrades, have got the capacity to keep the movement intact; to keep the movement moving forward. You dare not fail President Thabo Mbeki. You dare not fail the national leadership. You dare not fail our people. You dare not fail our revolution.
It does mean that we must continue to exercise maximum vigilance against those who may still be lurking in the dark ready to cut the jugular vein of our organisation by engaging in lies, slander, spreading of rumours, misinformation and disinformation about genuine comrades and leadership. Our document, Through the eyes of a needle says; "Some will try to subvert the ANC from within. Because they know they cannot defeat the ANC frontally, they will try to create an ANC that serves their interests."
Of course, we must also be careful of those who will create the atmosphere of paranoia to stifle open and constructive debate in our structures. We believe in democratic centralism. We believe in centralism which is democratically centralised.
Dear Comrade Delegates,
Part of the tasks you are going to performance during this Conference is to elect a leadership core that will lead us in the battles that lie ahead. In our document, Through the eye of a needle, we describe the broad requirements of the leadership as follows:
1. "As a revolutionary organisation, the ANC needs revolutionary cadres and leaders. It should put in place leadership collectives that satisfy the character of the ANC as a revolutionary democratic movement, a non-racial and non-sexist revolutionary movement, a broad national democratic movement, a mass movement and a leader of the democratic forces.
2. An ANC leader should understand ANC policy and be able to apply it under all conditions in which she finds herself. This includes an appreciation, from the NDR standpoint, of the country and the world we live in, of the balance of forces, and of how continually to change this balance in favour of the motive forces of change.
3. A leader should constantly seek to improve his capacity to serve the people; he should strive to be in touch with the people all the time, listen to their views and learn from them. He should be accessible and flexible; and not arrogate to himself the status of being the source of all wisdom.
4. A leader should win the confidence of the people in her day-to-day work. Where the situation demands, she should be firm; and have the courage to explain and seek to convince others of the correctness of decisions taken by constitutional structures even if such decisions are unpopular. She should not seek to gain cheap popularity by avoiding difficult issues, making false promises or merely pandering to popular sentiments.
5. A leader should lead by example. He should be above reproach in his political and social conduct - as defined by our revolutionary morality. Through force of example, he should act as a role model to ANC members and non-members alike. Leading a life that reflects commitment to the strategic goals of the NDR includes not only being free of corrupt practices; it also means actively fighting against corruption.
6. There are no ready-made leaders. Leaders evolve out of battles for social transformation. In these battles, cadres will stumble and some will fall. But the abiding quality of leadership is to learn from mistakes, to appreciate one weaknesses and correct them.
7. A leader should seek to influence and be influenced by others in the collective. He should have the conviction to state his views boldly and openly within constitutional structures of the movement; and - without being disrespectful - not to cower before those in more senior positions in pursuit of patronage, not to rely on cliques to maintain one's position.
8. An individual with qualities of leadership does not seek to gain popularity by undermining those in position of responsibility. Where such a member has a view on how to improve things or correct mistakes, she should state those views in constitutional structures and seek to win others to her own thinking. She should assist the movement as a whole to improve its work, and not stand aside to claim perfection out of inactivity.
9. The struggle for social transformation is a complex undertaking in which at times, personal interests will conflict the organisational interest. From time to time, conflict will manifest itself between and among members and leaders. The ultimate test of leadership includes:-
9.1 striving for convergence between personal interests - material, status and otherwise - and the collective interest.
9.2 handling conflict in the course of ANC work by understanding its true origins and seeking to resolve it in the context of struggle and in the interest of the ANC.
9.3 The ability to inspire people in good times and bad; to reinforce members' and society's confidence in the ANC and transformation; and
9.4 Winning genuine acceptance by the membership, not through suppression, threats or patronage, but by being principled, firm, humble and considerate."
In selecting leadership core we should also take into account the nine strategic tasks we identified at the ANC National General Council in Port Elizabeth. These are:-
1. The progressive replacement of the apartheid state by a democratic state.
2. The commitment of the democratic state to reconstruction and development.
3. A better life for all.
4. The mobilisation of the masses of the people to govern themselves in the context of the objective "the people shall govern".
5. Social partnership for development and transformation.
6. Economic transformation.
7. The progress of the region of souther Africa.
8. The African Renaissance.
9. The unity of the poor of the world, for peace, democracy and democracy - South/South cooperation.
Dear Comrade Delegates,
We have dealt in greater detail about the selection of the leadership core for obvious reasons. We know there has been a lot of canvassing for all the candidates. Lists have been drawn up. Constitutional structures have given you certain mandates. I am not encouraging you to forget about those mandates. But the ANC is not a federal organisation. Candidates to this conference can influence and be influenced by others. When you go to the ballot box, while taking into account the mandate from your constitutional structure, you are not forced to follow the list. Make your cross in the best interest of the ANC according to the requirements of leadership and the strategic tasks facing the ANC.
The fate of the ANC in this province is in your hands. That is why we must pay special attention to the credentials. Delegates that are here should be delegates mandated by constitutional structures of the movement, especially ANC branches.
We are meeting here when the Western powers are geared towards rolling back the frontiers of liberation in southern Africa. They want to impose presidents of their choice in our region. Zimbabwe is only a strategic hill. The objective is South Africa. The gross interference into the internal affairs of Zimbabwe by Western powers is a dress rehearsal for South Africa. Their strategy is to weaken as much as it is possible governments and parties of the former national liberation movement in southern Africa.
Literally thousands of people in SA were massacred through apartheid state sponsored political violence between 1990 and 1994. Two months before the 1994 general elections, more than a thousand people were killed and yet the elections were deemed substantially free and fair. Of course, those thousands of people who were killed were all Africans. It did not matter to the Western powers.
The difference in Zimbabwe is that even though there were far fewer deaths during the build up to the Presidential election, about eight of those who died were whites.
We condemn an attitude that says elections shall be deemed free and fair only if the result accords to the interests of Western powers. The Western powers must not be allowed to impose Morgan "Six pence" Tsvangiraison on the people of Zimbabwe.
Unity within our ranks, unity within the Tripartite Alliance and all the progressive forces in South Africa, southern Africa, Africa and the world is a cornerstone upon which we will defend and expand our revolutionary gains. To the Battle Comrades!
Viva ANC, Viva!
Viva President Thabo Mbeki, Viva!
Contact number: 082 8081984.
The national poll will be held six years hence and let this sink in to Britain and... MDC (Movement for Democratic Change)
President Robert Mugabe
But the civil rights organisation the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), who organised the protests, has vowed to go ahead despite the detention this week of hundreds of their supporters, many of them women and children.
Earlier President Robert Mugabe ruled out another election, warning that he would not accept any challenges to his authority.
"The national poll will be held six years hence and let this sink in to Britain and... MDC (Movement for Democratic Change)," he said in a speech to his ruling Zanu-PF party.
A coalition of churches, trade unions and students groups had called for massive street protests following President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election last month.
The police have declared the protests illegal and 354 activists have been arrested and held for 24 hours, said Lovemore Madhuku, one of the protest's organisers.
The arrests come as mediators from South Africa and Nigeria are in Zimbabwe, trying to reconcile Mr Mugabe's government with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
They hope to cool the political temperature, possibly with the aim of setting up a government of national unity.
The NCA is an umbrella group set up to campaign for a new constitution - in particular a curb on the powers of the president.
"It is totally repressive. The police ban on our planned peaceful demonstrations in unlawful and unconstitutional. We are going ahead, even if they have to keep jailing people," said Mr Madhuku.
The MDC insists that the election was rigged and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has said he is only prepared to discuss the date of a new poll, held under international supervision, not any proposals for a government of national unity.
Meanwhile in the Zimbabwe countryside, the MDC says its members are still being victimised by triumphant Zanu-PF supporters.
The claim is backed by the Commercial Farmers' Union - the voice of Zimbabwe's white landowners - which has been reporting an increased level of farm invasions, looting and harassment of its members.
It says a large proportion of the incidents seem to have been retribution against farmers who supported Mr Tsvangirai.
The War Veterans Association, which led the farm invasions, has now issued an ultimatum to all farmers whose land has been designated for resettlement to pack up and leave.
It says they are using their farms to organise against the government, and make negative publicity against Zimbabwe.
From SABC News, 5 April
Mugabe fares worst in African survey
Zimbabweans were fed up with President Robert Mugabe and his government 18 months before his re-election last month, African researchers said today. Zimbabweans were the least satisfied and least trustful of their government of 12 nations in emerging African democracies, Gyimah Boadi, of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, told a news conference in Cape Town. Masipula Sithole, a Zimbabwean academic, said the research vindicated those governments that rejected the outcome of last month's presidential election, which was marred by violence and intimidation. Presenting the results of a comparative study of public attitudes to government in 12 African countries, Boadi and other researchers in the pan-African study said Zimbabweans were the least satisfied on almost every standard measured by the Afrobarometer Network in a 27-month study.
The Afrobarometer project polled between 1 200 and 2 400 people in each of 12 African countries that had implemented some measure of political and economic reform, to test their perceptions of government, their concerns and expectations. Mugabe earned the lowest personal score with only 20% saying they trusted him to any degree at all. Only 3% said they were at all satisfied with his economic management. The next lowest score, 38% trust, went to then-president Frederick Chiluba of Zambia, who chose not to stand for an unconstitutional third term last year. The survey, which will be repeated over the next 12 months, showed that Africans put freedom, civil liberties and delivery ahead of elections and multi-party competition in their definition of democracy. The surveys were conducted in Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Shots were fired today at the home of the white owner of a wildlife reserve which has been occupied by around 50 veterans from Zimbabwe's war of independence, a spokeswoman for the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said.
The problems began yesterday with war veterans threatening the owner and demanding that he leave the farm, following a dispute over the death of a rhinoceros at the reserve, CFU spokeswoman Jenni Williams told AFP.
The CFU groups mainly white farmers, who control a large part of Zimbabwe's prime farmland.
The war veterans, who have occupied the reserve at Inyati, in Matabeleland North province in southwestern Zimbabwe, for several months, had demanded the owner, Richard Pascal, pay them compensation for the rhinoceros's death.
The dispute appeared to have been settled yesterday evening. But when Pascal came out of his house this morning, he was threatened by an axe-wielding war veteran. When he tried to go back into his house, shots were fired at him.
The shooting continued even after Pascal had re-entered his house, according to Williams, who was unable to say if anyone had been injured in the incident.
The CFU spokeswoman did say, however, that "one person has been abducted".
A police unit has been called to the reserve and was expected to arrive there sometime on Saturday morning, Williams said.
Invasions by war veterans of land owned by Zimbabwe's white minority began more than two years ago when President Robert Mugabe stepped up a controversial land reform programme aimed at correcting imbalances in ownership that date from the colonial era.
The invasions - often mired in violence and carried out with the backing of Mugabe's government - usually target land owned by white commercial farmers who make up just one per cent of the population but own around 30 per cent of the country's prime farmland.
Under the controversial land reforms, Zimbabwe has listed for acquisition 95 per cent of all land owned by some 4,500 white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, according to the CFU.