|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Mr Tsvangirai told the BBC that the charge was "ridiculous" and an example of harassment.
It was the second time in two days that the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had been detained by the Harare police. He was briefly detained on Friday on the same charge.
He complained then that it was not necessary to hold a licence for the radio.
Mr Tsvangirai's lawyer told the BBC that the police have said the charge will now be referred to the attorney-general, and that Mr Tsvangirai can expect a court summons. The charge is punishable by a maximum of two years in prison.
The incident comes after President Robert Mugabe launched his campaign for re-election at a conference of his Zanu-PF party on Friday, where he told his audience that the MDC party was a puppet of white interests.
Mr Tsvangirai is likely to be his prime opponent in the poll, due in March.
Last year the opposition leader was arrested for allegedly inciting supporters to violently overthrow Mr Mugabe, but the charges were rejected by the courts. Conviction would have disqualified him from the presidential race.
From News24 (SA), 14 December
Zim cops' arrest blunder
Harare – An apparent bid to ignite President Robert Mugabe's ruling party conference with the arrest of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, backfired on Friday when police were forced to release him after only two hours. After a dramatic dawn raid by a detachment of heavily armed police on the suburban home of the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the only reason authorities could claim for arresting him was that he was not able to produce a licence for his security guard's two-way radio. The popular 49-year-old former trade unionist was taken to Harare central police station where his lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, pointed out that there was no law requiring the guard's cheap, low-range radio to be licenced. "You arrest someone of Morgan Tsvangirai's stature at 5am for a possible offence under the Radio Communications Act?" asked Chagonda. "You can buy these things at any flea market," said MDC spokesperson Learnmore Jongwe.
Tsvangirai was released without charges being pressed against him. The arrest coincides with the ruling Zanu PF party's two-day "national people's conference" in the tourist town of Victoria Falls where Mugabe launched his campaign for presidential elections in March next year. On Thursday Mugabe accused the MDC of posing "a real terrorist threat" against the government and promised "a real physical fight" with the pro-democracy party. Tsvangirai said Mugabe's allegations should be "dismissed with contempt". "It is Mugabe who is building institutions of violence," he said. "He is using the government agencies, the police, the army, militias. He has told police not to arrest Zanu PF thugs. Eighty-three MDC people have been killed and no-one has been arrested. Who are the victims and who are the perpetrators?" he asked. Since Wednesday, helicopter gunships have patrolled the skies over Victoria Falls which was declared a no-fly zone. Hundreds of heavily armed soldiers and paramilitary police lined the streets. However, the 77-year-old leader's rousing speech gained little response: many of the 7 000 party faithful were seen to doze and yawn, and offered only mild applause when he ended.
From BBC News, 14 December
Mugabe's descent into dictatorship
Robert Mugabe will be 78 by the time he is expected to face Morgan Tsvangirai in presidential elections in March 2002. If he wins, and stays healthy he would rule Zimbabwe until the age of 84. The last thing most octogenarians would want is the onerous task of running a country in economic free-fall and facing international isolation. Many Zimbabweans, and others, are asking why he does not just put his feet up and enjoy his remaining years with his young family. But if nothing else, Mr Mugabe is an extremely proud man. He will only step down when his "revolution" is complete. He says this means the redistribution of white-owned land but he also wants to hand-pick his successor, who must of course come from within the ranks of his Zanu PF party. This would also ensure a peaceful old age, with no investigation into his time in office.
One senior party official told me that the defeat of the government's proposed constitution in February 2000 - which showed the strength of the opposition - had set back Mr Mugabe's retirement by several years. That defeat stirred him into action, transforming him from a relatively relaxed man contemplating his twilight years, into someone desperate to remain at any cost, even willing to destroy the country he had fought to liberate. The key to understanding Mr Mugabe is the 1970s guerrilla war where he made his name. World opinion saw him as a revolutionary hero, fighting racist white minority rule for the freedom of his people. Since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 the world has moved on, but his outlook remains the same. The heroic socialist forces of Zanu PF, are still fighting the twin evils of capitalism and colonialism. His opponents, in particular the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), are labelled "sell-outs" to white and foreign interests and, as during the war, this tag has been a death warrant for many MDC supporters. But Mr Mugabe's critics - and these days they are many in a country where he was once an untouchable figure - say that despite his socialist rhetoric, his rule has been one of state capitalism which has not materially benefited ordinary Zimbabweans. The president's political cronies have meanwhile been given lucrative state contracts irrespective of how they perform, and the economy as a whole has suffered.
Harare, a hotbed of political opposition, frequently buzzes with rumours of Mr Mugabe's impending death. While the predictions have always proved premature, the increasing strain of recent years has obviously taken its toll and his once-impeccable presentation now looks a little worn. But at 77, he still has remarkable stamina. His second wife, Grace, 35, says that he wakes up at 0400 for his daily exercises. In 1997, she gave birth to their third child, Chatunga. He professes to be a staunch Catholic, and worshippers at Harare's Catholic Cathedral are occasionally swamped by security guards as he turns up for Sunday Mass. However, Mr Mugabe's beliefs did not prevent him from having two children by his young secretary, Grace, while his popular Ghanaian first wife, Sally, was dying from cancer.
One of the undoubted achievements of the former teacher's 21 years in power is the expansion of education. Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa at 85% of the population. Political scientist Masipula Sithole says that, ironically, by expanding education, the president is "digging his own grave". The young beneficiaries are now able to analyse Zimbabwe's problems for themselves and most blame government corruption and mismanagement for the lack of jobs and rising prices. Having realised his political mistake, Mr Mugabe is now trying to disenfranchise the young, who generally want political change - and jobs. As many others have found, it is far easier to find ways of sharing the national cake than to make it grow bigger. Professor Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe sums it up by saying that "whenever economics gets in the way of politics, politics wins every time".
But, in his own way, Mr Mugabe is indeed a clever politician. As his fortunes have declined, he has resurrected the nationalist agenda of the 1970s - land redistribution and anti-colonialism. He unleashed his personal militia - the self-styled war veterans – who are using violence and murder as an electoral strategy. It may not be playing by the rules but it is widely believed to have ensured the Zanu PF victory in the June 2000 parliamentary elections and may work again in 2002. The man who fought for one-man, one-vote now wants potential voters to prove their residence with utility bills, which the young, unemployed opposition core is unlikely to have. Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Mr Mugabe is becoming a cartoon figure of the archetypal Africa dictator. One of Mr Mugabe's closest associates, Didymus Mutasa, told me that in Zimbabwean culture, kings are only replaced when they die "and Mugabe is our king". But if Zimbabweans feel they have been cheated at the polls, they may look for an alternative way to remove him.
From IRIN (UN), 14 December
Free and fair elections first
Harare - Lot Hove paces up and down the hall at the government-run employment exchange in downtown Harare with a newspaper in his hand. He is one of several hundred job seekers in the place. Hove is clearly irritated with the main story in the state-controlled Herald newspaper. It says that southern African leaders have expressed support for President Robert Mugabe's land redistribution programme and have criticised Britain for dishonouring pledges to bankroll the reforms. "We do not have jobs because someone messed up the economy," the unemployed Hove told IRIN this week. "We want a free and fair election now so that we can choose someone to lead us through this crisis. Let those SADC (Southern African Development Community) people or anyone else accept this or they should just leave us alone." Zimbabwe's economy has been in decline since October 1999, when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) froze financial aid because of differences with Harare over policy and its failure to meet agreed fiscal targets. It hit rock-bottom after militant government supporters began seizing white-owned farms as part of the ruling Zanu PF party's chaotic and politicised land reform process, according to analysts. As foreign capital and Western donors fled the lawlessness and violence this year, the economic crisis manifested itself in acute shortages of foreign currency and fuel. Now, looming food shortages, as a result of bad weather earlier this year, could spark civil unrest, observers warn.
Fearful of the collapse of the region's second largest economy, SADC leaders in September formed a special committee to complement international pressure on Mugabe to halt the land invasions. This week, SADC ministers held two days of talks in Harare to audit the government' commitment to the land agreement, in which the authorities had pledged to act within the rule of law. In their final communique on Tuesday 11 December, the SADC ministers reiterated that land was at the core of Zimbabwe's problems and called on all stakeholders to ensure the problem was resolved amicably. But for Hove and many other Zimbabweans, the SADC initiative is too soft on Mugabe and misses the point. Outside the gate of the job centre this week, a woman fruit vendor who gave her name only as Chido, told IRIN that her concern was the presidential elections in March, rather than land. "Will this SADC you are talking about ensure the violence will end and that we will be able to vote freely? I also do not have land but I think if we can vote and have peace again then we can resolve this land issue," she said.
"President Mugabe and even SADC are correct when they say land is a key problem, but that is not what most people here want now," said Peter Hana, a University of Zimbabwe graduate who has never been formally employed. Like most of his colleagues, the 27-year-old Hana was born and bred in the overcrowded townships of Harare. When his father, a street-side grocer, was knocked down in a hit-and-run accident 12 years ago, his mother took over the business to get Hana through school. But five years after coming out top of his class at the university, Hana still has to depend on the small income from his mother's vending business. Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of 50 percent. Hana told IRIN he supported land reform because of the injustices of white settler rule that resulted in a mere 4,500 white farmers owning 80 percent of the best agriculture land, while some six million black villagers were crammed into the barren communal areas. But he said he believed, like most of his friends, that resolving Zimbabwe's multi-faceted crisis needed new management. "A new leader with a fresh mandate won through a free and fair presidential election who should then lead the way forward regarding not only land, but HIV/AIDS, unemployment and many other national problems," he said.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian, 14 December
Sceptics have tended to answer any discussion about South African policy on the Zimbabwean crisis with the riposte: 'What policy?' They appear to have been right. Eighteen months on, there is little evidence the government has set clear goals to avert a catastrophe. And there is even less to suggest our government has decided on the means that will deliver its objectives, let alone set about developing those instruments. The latest absurdity was the two-day meeting in Harare this week of ministers from the Southern African Development Community. Having been led to believe that our own president, Thabo Mbeki, was now determined to get tough with Robert Mugabe's regime - and that this week's meeting would evince this new tone, the SADC ministers, our own representative included, could scarcely have been more obliging.
Most of the blame for this must rest with Mbeki. He has determined that he should run our relations with Zimbabwe. He entrusts the odd encounter to his close friend, the peripatetic Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - when she can be tracked down in Asia, or North America, or South America, or Australasia, or wherever. But he and she seem agreed that the department of foreign affairs should be excluded from the issue. As president, Mbeki is entitled to behave thus. It is his prerogative. But we are as entitled to examine the product of this behaviour and to say - as we do now - that South Africa's approach on the most important foreign policy issue in our region is an inchoate mess. Likewise, we are entitled to say that our approach would benefit greatly from formative input from the experts in the Department of Foreign Affairs, the universities and institutes. Similarly, Mbeki's decision to send his close friend the Labour Minister, the intellectually blunt Membathisi Mdladlana, to represent South Africa at this week's Harare meeting was both inappropriate and foolish.
We now know that Zimbabwe's presidential elections are likely in March next year. This gives us a time line. It is short. But it is long enough to demand of Mugabe iron-clad guarantees that he will hold free and fair elections; all parties will be free to organise, campaign and canvass; foreign observers will be allowed in the country for the three months leading up to the poll; his government will act against any individual or organisation fomenting violence; and that he, his party, government and security forces will abide by the outcome of any election declared free and fair by the SADC and the Commonwealth. The time line is also long enough to decide the consequences for Mugabe if he fails. These could include expulsion from the Commonwealth and other forms of political isolation. Further down the line, there would have to be a willingness to intervene directly. We must fill the policy vacuum on Zimbabwe as a matter of urgency.
From The Star, 14 December
Tsvangirai's arrest knocks socks off the rand
The rand has slipped past the level of R12 to the dollar as it continues its free fall, SABC radio news reported on Friday. The currency tumbled by nearly a rand to the pound and by more than 50 cents against the dollar on Friday morning. The rand has also hit a new low against the euro. Traders said the market was weighed down by new concerns over Zimbabwe, where the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was briefly detained by police on Friday morning. The latest slide brings the rand's depreciation against the dollar so far this year to about 35 percent. The rand was trading at R12,04 against the dollar, at R17,50 against the pound and at R10,88 against the euro.
From The Star, 15 December
'Captain Mugabe' takes a flight of fancy
Victoria Falls - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe called for unity in his ruling party's ranks on Friday to defeat a surging opposition party he said was sponsored by Zimbabwe's former white minority rulers. Looking tired during most of an hour-long speech kicking off his campaign for re-election in March, Mugabe, 77, vowed to stick to his controversial land reform programme and champion the interests of Zimbabwe's black majority. "Sanctions or no sanctions we will not desist from the process of acquiring our land. We will survive on the fruits of our labour, in the land of our ancestors," he said in his native Shona language. Mugabe also said his government had tried to stabilise the economy, which he said had been sabotaged by his opponents. "In my heart, I will not have succeeded in liberating the people of Zimbabwe from oppression as long as economic oppression continues." Mugabe charged that there was an international attempt to demonise him. "There's an outcry in Britain that Mugabe is a dictator, is a Hitler, is a Napoleon, is a devil. I don't know what I'm not," he said.
Zanu PF national chair and Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo had urged party faithful to rally behind Mugabe's re-election hopes, likening his land and campaign programme to an unstoppable supersonic aircraft. "The Concorde has taken off and it has attained its altitude. The captain is in control; it has no reverse gear, no emergency breaks. Captain Mugabe is in command," Nkomo told the 7 000 delegates. Mugabe repeated charges that Morgan Tsvangirai's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was a tool of the former Rhodesia's white minority rulers seeking to topple Mugabe over redistributing land to blacks. "The Rhodesians have been organising themselves clandestinely for all this time from 1980, they have never rested. They have grouped in South Africa, in Australia, in Canada and knit strategies like a spider to upset our victory in 1980 and gain control."
Mugabe faces his strongest political challenge in 21 years of power. Next year's election will pit him against Tsvangirai, who was briefly detained by police on Friday after they found a two-way radio during a search of his home. "What is beginning to emerge from the Zanu PF conference is what we have always known - Zanu-PF is confused. Their party is moving around like a headless chicken," the MDC said in a statement. The MDC said almost 100 of its supporters had been killed in violence since the run-up to last year's parliamentary voting. United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner warned Mugabe on Wednesday to ensure conditions were in place for fair elections or risk US sanctions. Critics say Mugabe has chosen a biased state election body, barred millions abroad from voting, and allowed militant supporters to run a violent campaign against the opposition. The MDC nearly defeated Zanu PF in parliamentary elections last year despite the violence.
My dear friends,
In the past year or so I have felt a deep burden for my country of Zimbabwe. I have cried for it and prayed for it. Somehow, prophetically, I have felt its pain in a very real sense in severe personal losses that I have experienced – together with my country-folk of all races. I have been angry in my spirit at the utter wickedness that we have seen in our land. I have written and spoken and encouraged wherever I have been able, and I pray that this has been of some comfort and help to our people.
However, The Lord has suddenly brought about a very significant change in my spirit. No longer do I feel heavy or angry or burdened. Rather I sense a tremendous release of spirit. Some might be aware that our family had experienced two severe thefts including being mugged and tied up in our own home and many of our valuables stolen. God has miraculously restored to us what was stolen, and given us much more besides. (The amazing testimony of this I shall write under separate cover). However, in experiencing this amazing recovery, I have sensed prophetically that God is about to bring about an amazing recovery for our nation – so much so that people will not believe their ears when they hear of the amazing miracles God will bring about in this land.
Therefore I wish to declare prophetically that God is about to bring about an amazing change in our land. In the spirit I see wickedness falling with a massive crash. There will be no need of outside intervention to cause it to fall. Evil spirits of greed and jealousy and racial hatred and anger will turn upon one another and devour one another. Those who are under their control and who have ruled with terror in the underworld – be it gang leaders of thieves, or governmental leaders who have been corrupt - will become terrified themselves, and their tyrannical world will crumble. This will happen very fast.
I further see a restoration taking place. All that the enemy has stolen or destroyed will be restored. In the place of sorrow, fear and severe heartache, will be such exuberance and abundance of joy – so much so that the sorrow that was experienced before will be completely forgotten as the overflowing joy floods in.
I see God preparing for a massive harvest of souls – first in Zimbabwe, and then using our nation to springboard into the rest of Africa. Many farms which were so devastated will be restored – but not as they were before. Rather they will become centres from which the gospel can go out, in preparation for a massive harvest. I see a shattering of the power of witchcraft. It will no longer hold dominion over our African people. In the Spirit I proclaim release to our African people from the bondage of witchcraft. It will no longer terrorise you. Your culture will be freed from its grip, and you will take on the culture that God had originally ordained for you – not a western culture, but a godly African culture in its full strength and dignity and amazing creativity as God had created you to be.
I want to encourage Christian leaders from inside and outside our country to prepare yourself and your people for a massive harvest. In spite of this call, I know that our churches will be ill prepared. The harvest will be like the miracle draught of fish – so sudden and so massive that the nets will tear under the strain of the multitude of fish. Please get ready. Prepare the nets of organised structure so that you will not lose that which God is about to do in Zimbabwe.
A number of people have asked me if I think Mugabe will be voted out. I do not really see myself as a prophet, and cannot answer that question with certainty. I know that many would like to see this happen and a new government voted in. However, that is worldly thinking and I cannot say that that will happen. Actually I would personally not be surprised if he was voted in again - albeit by means of massive intimidation and corruption. However, I look at the bigger picture of the battle of good vs evil, and I see the powers of darkness fleeing in stark terror as the prayers of the saints prevail. Please do not get side-tracked with political issues - and things that seem to get worse. Intimidation will tend to frighten many people. Rather lift up your heads, look above, and see the redemption of God working on behalf of the righteous - with the express purpose of reaching multitudes of souls.
With regard to the prevailing wickedness in the land, I see a strong comparison with the situation in Egypt just before the exodus. Pharaoh had hardened his heart, and wickedness and oppression seemed to be prevailing - all for one purpose - to bring about deliverance for the Israelites and at the same time complete destruction of the wickedness of the Egyptian rule. Egypt’s power was so thoroughly broken that this nation which at one time was a world power, was reduced to a small insignificant nation - never in history to rise to any form of prominence again. I see that happening to the powers of witchcraft in Zimbabwe. May its power be so severely shattered as to never have influence over our African people again. This is the real battle we are fighting in Zimbabwe - not a political one. Let’s not be confused by the enemy’s smoke screen of politics.
I submit this word to the Christian leadership of our country and welcome your comment and godly council
With special love and great excitement in my spirit for you all
Henry D Jackson