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Zimbabwe opposition: 113 members killed since March

International Herald Tribune

after talks

The Associated PressPublished: July 11, 2008

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Zimbabwe's opposition party reported Friday that
at least 113 of its members have been killed in political violence since the
country held its first round of presidential voting in March.

Among the dead was Gift Mutsvungunu, who helped the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change monitor voting in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, in March,
the group said in a statement. He disappeared last week and his body, with
eyes gouged out and back severely burned, was discovered Thursday, it said.

President Robert Mugabe claimed victory in a widely denounced June 27
presidential runoff in which he was the only candidate. Opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe and two other candidates in the first round of
voting in March, but pulled out of the June runoff because of
state-supported violence against his supporters.

The U.N. refugee agency, meanwhile, said Friday that more and more families
from Zimbabwe were fleeing across the border into South Africa "as a result
of political violence, with several people showing signs of beatings or

The agency urged South Africa to suspend all deportations. It said 17,000
Zimbabweans have been deported from South Africa in the last 40 days alone,
and said some of them could now be in danger as a result.

The chief negotiator for Zimbabwe's opposition returned home Friday after
going to South Africa to set out conditions for substantive talks with
Mugabe's government - chief among those being an end to violence blamed on
Mugabe's supporters.

Chief negotiator Tendai Biti met Thursday with Zimbabwean government
officials. South African President Thabo Mbeki has mediated talks on and off
for more than a year.

Opposition spokesman Nqobizitha Mlilo said more talks were expected, but no
date was yet set.

"The conditions have been discussed. The issues are in discussion," Milo

Once substantive negotiations begin, the goal would be forming a coalition

Both sides say they are willing to share power, if only during a transition
to new elections, but differ on who should lead it. Mugabe's ZANU-PF wants
Mugabe at the head, something the opposition and Mugabe's critics in the
West have rejected.

Beside ending the violence, other opposition conditions for holding talks
include appointing another mediator alongside Mbeki, whom the opposition
says is biased toward Mugabe.

The opposition also is calling for the release of political prisoners,
allowing humanitarian organizations to resume work and for parliament to be

Tsvangirai's supporters won control of parliament in legislative elections
in March. As president, Mugabe has to convene parliament, but he has not
done that yet.

Mugabe's party has shown increasing willingness to start talks, apparently
in the hope of persuading U.N. Security Council members to reject possible
U.S.-backed sanctions on Mugabe and his top officials.

Zimbabwe's U.N. mission said Thursday the sanctions could push the nation
toward civil war.

U.N. council member South Africa has led the opposition to the sanctions,
arguing that Zimbabwe is not a threat to international peace and therefore
not a proper matter for the council. Russia has threatened to veto the
sanctions resolution.

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Negotiators head back home after consultations over talks

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 July 2008

Negotiators from Zanu-PF and the two formations of the MDC broke off from
two days of consultative meetings in Pretoria on Friday to fly back to
Zimbabwe to brief their leaders on the progress of consultations.

Newsreel is reliably informed the national executive councils of the two MDC
formations are set to meet in Harare on Saturday for talks aimed at
formulating strategies of entering negotiations with Zanu-PF as a united

A source in Harare told us Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara were
expected to meet in the capital on Friday to set out the agenda for Saturday's
all important indaba. The consultative meetings in Pretoria, under the
mediation of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, were to set out
conditions for substantive talks with Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Once substantive negotiations begin the goal would likely be the formation
of a coalition government. It's believed both sides are willing to share
power, if only during a transition to new elections, but differ on who
should lead it. ZANU-PF wants Mugabe at the head, something the MDC rejects.

Both sides have set pre-conditions for the revival of the negotiations.
Chief among the conditions for the MDC is an end to the state sponsored
violence campaign against the opposition. The MDC is also demanding the
March elections be used as the basis for negotiations, while Mugabe is
saying the MDC formations must accept his re-election.

AU chairman Jakaya Kikwete and AU Commission chair Jean Ping are expected to
visit Harare soon to facilitate further discussion.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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UN Security Panel To Meet On Zimbabwe Sanctions This Afternoon


UNITED NATIONS (AFP)--A divided U.N. Security Council was due to meet Friday
to decide whether or not to approve U.N. sanctions against Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe, diplomats said.

The Western sponsors of the sanctions resolution scheduled consultations for
3:30 p.m. EDT with a view to holding a vote on the U.S.-drafted text, which
would slap for an assets freeze and a travel ban on Mugabe and 13 of his
cronies, as well as an arms embargo.

"We are told by the co-sponsors that they would like to go to a vote this
afternoon, so we are all running to get our instructions," South African
ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, whose country is mediating Zimbabwe's election
crisis, told reporters.

Several council members, including Russia, China and South Africa, have
clearly stated their opposition to the sanctions, arguing that they would
jeopardize delicate negotiations between Zimbabwe's rival parties currently
in Pretoria.

A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the council's
five veto-wielding permanent members - the U.K., China, France, Russia and
the United States - held a crucial closed-door meeting on the issue Friday.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Zalmay Khalilzad insisted Tuesday that a vote on
the draft would have to take place this week.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition held a second day of talks
in South Africa Friday.

The talks, aimed at laying the groundwork for fully-fledged negotiations to
resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis, were the first since Mugabe won a new
term as president in a June 27 poll widely denounced as a sham.

-Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5500

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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US: Nations opposing Zimbabwe sanctions on "wrong side of history"

Monsters and Critics

Jul 11, 2008, 18:50 GMT

Washington - The United States on Friday directly challenged wavering
countries to vote in favour of United Nations sanctions on Zimbabwe in
response to the African nation's heavily disputed elections held last month.

With a vote in the UN Security Council possibly coming later Friday, US
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said any country opposing the
resolution 'will be on the wrong side of history.'

'I don't see how anybody, anybody, any country in good conscience can vote
against this resolution after witnessing what has gone in Zimbabwe,'
McCormack said.

Pushed by the US, Britain and France, the council is considering imposing an
arms embargo on Zimbabwe and travel bans against President Robert Mugabe and
13 other high-ranking officials in the country.

South Africa, Vietnam, China and Russia have resisted UN sanctions, arguing
it is not the council's place to get involved.

Mugabe won a runoff election on June 27 after his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai
withdrew from the race, fearing for the safety of supporters who had been
subjected to violent repression in the run- up to the vote.

The United States, Europe and some African countries have rejected the
election results.

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Zimbabwe facing isolation through United Nations sanctions

Times Online
July 11, 2008

James Bone, New York
Robert Mugabe and his top henchmen will have their assets frozen and be
barred from leaving Zimbabwe under tough UN sanctions due to be adopted

The deeply divided UN Security Council was scheduled to vote to punish
Zimbabwe's leadership for rigging the presidential run-off election on June

The resolution would take the highly symbolic step of imposing sanctions on
the African country - and its leader - for the first time since it became an
independent nation in 1980, after decades of UN sanctions on white-ruled

Western officials argued the sanctions would help pressure Mr Mugabe's
ruling Zanu-PF into a political settlement with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, who won the first round of the
presidential poll on March 29. But Zimbabwe called the sanctions "escalatory
and tragic".

In a statement circulated at UN headquarters, Zimbabwe said the UN Security
Council was being used "as a force multiplier in support of Britain's
colonial crusade against Zimbabwe".
"The situation in Zimbabwe does not warrant the attention that it is
getting. Zimbabwe's quarrel with Britain is purely bilateral and has no
place on the UN Security Council agenda," it said.

If adopted, Mr Mugabe and 13 other officials will face a worldwide asset
freeze and travel ban, and an arms embargo will be placed on the entire

The vote could force Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, to leave South
Africa, where he has been representing the ruling Zanu-PF party in peace
talks mediated by President Thabo Mkeki.

The targetted officials are all members of Mr Mugabe's inner circle accused
of undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe, "including
having ordered, planned, or participated in acts of politically motivated

They include Constantine Chiwenga, the commander of the Zimbabwean Army;
Augustine Chihuri, the police chief; Perence Shiri, the head of the air
force; and Happyton Bonyongwe, the chief of the Central Intelligence
Organisation. Also on the UN blacklist are Gideon Gono, the central bank
governor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Rural Housing Minister, and George
Charamba, Mr Mugabe's spokesman, who recently told Western leaders to "go

The draft resolution condemns the "campaign of violence" in Zimbabwe and
demands that the government immediately halt all intimidation of opposition

The UN will also be required to appoint a "individual of international
standing" to mediate in the crisis, effectively sidelining Mr Mbeki.

The US proposal met strong resistance from South Africa, which argued that
its mediation efforts required more time.

Russia was also strident in voicing objections to the proposal - even though
President Dimitry Medvedev signed up to the idea of new financial sanctions
at the G8 summit in Japan earlier this week. Russia argued that the UN
Security Council had no place in certifying an election of a member state.

In a week of tough diplomacy, Russian and Chinese diplomats both repeatedly
insisted they had not received instructions from their capitals despite the
UN's "24-hour rule" that requires Security Council members to be ready to
vote within a day of receiving a text.

The United States decided to press for a vote after concluding that Burkina
Faso would give it the crucial ninth vote needed for victory on the
15-nation council.


The British Government should take note of the Zimbabwean refugee and exile
march in London today. The right to work in the UK needs to be given to
these people as a practical gesture of solidarity and support. Zimbabwean
exiles should have the right to remain beyond the current 12 months allowed.

Colin, Carmarthen, United Kingdom

Russia and China should not attempt to veto the UN Zimbabwe sanctions vote.
China has a great deal to lose if they act badly in the eyes of the world,
particularly with the Olympics about to start.

Colin, Carmarthen, United Kingdom

At last, at last................!!

Ian Payne, walsall,

Well done! You don't tell the world to "go hang" then be surprised when they
take action against you. They should also be stopped from buying their
groceries abroad, at a time when their countrymen cannot even find a loaf of
bread, let alone afford it at Z$ 100 billion. Teacher earns less than that.

Charan Muzaya, London, UK

ZANU(PF) people swagger bombastically round the world, yet the situation at
home is chaotic. It would be comic were it not so tragic. Inflation at 9
million %, 1 British pound = Z$ 300 billion, one loaf of bread is 90 billion
if it can be found, teacher earns 50 billion/month, i.e. less than a loaf!

Charan Muzaya, London, UK

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Fresh violence clouds resumption of Zimbabwe talks

Ottawa Citizen

MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters
Published: Friday, July 11, 2008
HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition on Friday accused government security forces
of murdering a polling agent in fresh political violence that could
undermine preliminary talks with President Robert Mugabe's ruling party.

Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai withdrew from a June
27 presidential run-off poll, citing attacks on his supporters by pro-Mugabe
militia. The MDC and Western powers branded Mugabe's landslide re-election a

Tsvangirai's MDC and a smaller faction led by Arthur Mutambara began
preliminary discussions on Thursday with officials from Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF under the auspices of South African mediators in Pretoria, the South
African capital.

"Yes, the talks are continuing," a diplomatic source close to the talks told
Reuters on Friday.
Tsvangirai's MDC has played down the importance of the talks.

"There hasn't been any dialogue as far as we are concerned, but what I can
confirm, though, is that we have had consultative contacts with a view to
outlining the broad parameters, the framework of the negotiation ...," MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

A total of 113 MDC activists have been killed in election-related violence
since the first round of elections in late March, the party said in a
statement announcing the death of one of its officials, Gift Mutsvungunu.

His decomposing body was found in a Harare suburb on Thursday, with eyes
gouged out and a severely burned backside," it said. "There is reasonable
suspicion that state security agents killed him."

Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in a March 29 presidential election but failed to
win the absolute majority needed to avoid the second ballot. The MDC leader
has refused to negotiate a power-sharing deal until the government halts the

Once prosperous Zimbabwe suffers the world's worst inflation rate, estimated
to be at least 2 million percent, and millions of its people have fled to
neighboring countries in search of food and work.

Tsvangirai is under intense African pressure to enter full-blown
negotiations with Mugabe, who has branded the MDC puppets of the West and
vowed to never let them take power.

Both sides have laid down pre-conditions obstructing a deal.

Mugabe, 84, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, insists
the opposition recognize his landslide victory in the election last month.

Tsvangirai has demanded that the government recognize his victory in the
March poll in addition to halting violence, releasing MDC activists from
jail and allowing humanitarian agencies to resume their work in the country.

Mugabe's government suspended the work of overseas aid agencies before the
June poll, accusing them of working on behalf of the opposition.

Western nations led by Britain and the United States are pushing the U.N.
Security Council to impose sanctions on Mugabe's inner circle and an arms
embargo on Zimbabwe. A vote has been delayed by disagreements within the
15-member council.

South Africa, backed in the past by veto wielding council members Russia and
China, opposes sanctions, as do most other African nations. The African
Union, at a summit last month, called for talks leading to a national unity

They say harsh punishment of Mugabe could derail a political solution and
push Zimbabwe's economy deeper into crisis.

"The important thing is that there must be a dialogue, there must be an
expeditious solution and an expeditious outcome that will address the
problems of Zimbabwe," South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
said in Pretoria.

South African President Thabo Mbeki has mediated unsuccessfully in the
crisis for more than a year, drawing increasing criticism. The MDC say he
favors Mugabe and has called for expanded mediation from the AU and United

Some African leaders support a power-sharing solution in Zimbabwe like the
one mediated by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to end Kenya's
bloody post-election crisis this year.

Annan, however, warned on Thursday that any deal ignoring the will of
Zimbabwe's people was doomed.

"But in sorting it out it has to be done in a manner that is seen as
democratic, in a manner that is fair to the people of Zimbabwe, in a manner
that respects their wishes not something that is cooked up to accommodate
the political elite," Annan told Reuters in an interview.

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Negotiators must take work seriously: Dlamini-Zuma


July 11, 2008, 17:15

Foreign Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has urged the negotiating
teams in the Zimbabwean crisis to take their work seriously as the hopes of
ordinary Zimbabweans lay on them.

Dlamini-Zuma told opposing parties in Zimbabwe to sort out their differences
and help solve the crisis in that country. She says the main parties
involved in talks on Zimbabwe must commit themselves to solving the
political and economic crisis.

She says instability in Zimbabwe is having a major impact on the lives of
its citizens and they have waited too long for a resolution.

Meanwhile, the UN has accused South Africa for deporting thousands of
Zimbabwean refugees. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says 17 00
Zimbabweans have been sent back in the last 40 days. It has urged South
Africa to suspend all deportations. UNHCR spokesperson, Jennifer Pagonis
says several refugees have arrived in South Africa showing signs of torture.

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Archbishop demands right to work for Britain's Zimbabwean exiles

Yahoo News

by Robin Millard 2 hours, 44 minutes ago

LONDON (AFP) - Zimbabwean exiles rallied in London on Friday demanding the
right to work, with the Church of England's second most senior cleric urging
the government to "do the right thing" and let them take jobs.

Ugandan-born John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, pleaded for Prime
Minister Gordon Brown to give Zimbabweans fleeing President Robert Mugabe's
rule "human dignity" and exceptional freedom to work.

Britain has stopped forcibly deporting people to Zimbabwe. However, rejected
asylum seekers or those whose applications are pending cannot work, leaving
up to 15,000 Zimbabweans in limbo.

Brown has slammed Mugabe over his widely-discredited one-man election
victory last month, branding his regime an illegitimate and brutal "criminal

At a "Restore Zimbabwe" service of prayer in Saint Margaret's Church by the
Houses of Parliament, Sentamu praised Brown for helping ensure that world
leaders had "woken up to the "brutality" of Mugabe's regime.

However, Brown had to do far more to help Zimbabweans living in exile while
Mugabe remained in power, he told worshippers.

"Give back to your brothers and sisters their human dignity," the archbishop
said, in comments directed at the premier.

"Show your humanity. Show your statesmanship. Stopping forced repatriation
is laudable but why not take the next step and allow them permission so that
they can work?"

Considering the implications for other asylum seekers, he said: "I know that
the government is locked in a moral conundrum. But I believe that you should
do the right thing for the right person at the right time."

The congregation, which sang hymns in English, Shona and Ndebele, then
rallied in Parliament Square with placards and flags, before delivering a
petition to the Home Office.

Labour lawmaker Kate Hoey, who chairs parliament's scrutiny group on
Zimbabwe, said making an exception for Zimbabweans claiming asylum would
show the government's "real support for the Zimbabwean people".

Letting the "very well-educated and skilled Zimbabweans" in Britain work
would mean they would not return "completely destitute", she told AFP at the

"As soon as the country is free, they all want to go home," she said.

"This little bit now would make a difference because they could go back
skilled and bring the country back to what it used to be."

Thando Sibanda, 25, draped in a Zimbabwean flag, said he was was involved in
opposition student politics but fled his homeland in 2002 after his life was

"It's too dangerous for me to go back. You can stay here but you're not
allowed to work or even claim benefits, not that I would want to claim
benefits," he told AFP.

"If you're going to condemn the Zimbabwean government, you should do
something to help the people here. My asylum claim was turned down. Now I
have a family and I'm not allowed to work."

Tendayi Goneso, 35, treasurer of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change in Britain, called for Zimbabwean asylum seekers to be allowed to
work so they can "go back in dignity" once Mugabe has gone.

"I've been here for six years and I've nothing to show for it when I go
back," he told AFP. "Where would I start? At least if I could work I could
raise my airfare."

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Songs of joy amid the hardship

Friday, 11 July 2008 16:41 UK

Marshall Tafadzwa Chomore with his cousin Tapiwa Maponga and Nevaeh
Marshall Tafadzwa Chomore (left) wants to "go home and be somebody"
Hundreds of the Zimbabweans who have been left in "limbo" in Britain have come to London to rally in support of the right to work.

They told stories of hardship and hopelessness. Exiled from their troubled native land yet refused asylum status or leave to remain in the UK, they must report regularly to the government - but they are not allowed to work.

They fear years of enforced idleness mean they are losing the skills they once had.

One man who did not give his name had come from Sheffield to the rally. "I used to have a shop in Matabeleland, but they burned it," he said.

He has been in this country since 2003. Does he want to go back? That is a problem too, he says. "I've got nothing now. Where am I going to start?"

Praise Jesus

But before the rally the exiles fill a very, very English church with hymns and prayers in Shona, Ndebele and English, with cheering and applause.

The service of prayer for Zimbabwe at St Margaret's, Westminster, was due to start at noon - but proceedings got going well before that as the choir practised the hymns, and soon had the congregation on its feet, swaying, clapping and joining in.

Marshall Tafadzwa Chomore, 28, who lives in Surrey, translates the hymn - "I need to praise Jesus; No better name than His".

"It is a tragedy for those who are skilled not to be allowed the dignity to contribute to this country
Dr John Sentamu

Marshall explains that he came to this country eight years ago and studied for a National Vocational Qualification in adult health.

He worked for a while on a "one-to-one basis" looking after a man with a spinal injury - then the patient had had to go into a home, and Marshall could not take up formal work.

"They don't come out and make it clear what they want us to do," says Marshall. He has an interview on his asylum status due next month, and hopes that will enable him to work and study.

The government says failed asylum seekers will no longer be deported. "They won't send me, but I'll still be nobody," he says.

He says he wants to develop his skills and "get myself a profession" so that "one day I can go home and be somebody rather than just going back".

If Zimbabwe became democratic overnight, he says, it would still take years to "put things right" and to contribute, he would need training here because the schools in Zimbabwe have ceased to function.

Walter Semwayo
Accountant Walter Semwayo says that sometimes he goes without food

One by one, Zimbabweans tell their individual stories between the prayers. "I was an engineer but I cannot practise here," says one. "I pray the British government and people will allow us to maintain our dignity."

Murmurs of approval grow into applause - this happens every time the word "dignity" is mentioned.

"I was a police officer," a woman tells the congregation, "I have been separated from my daughter for eight years and she's only 12."

Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, gives the address. More than any other one person, he embodies new life being breathed from Africa into the British Church - and soon has the congregation cheering him on.

I'm being wasted. I'll end up old."
Walter Semwayo

"God - believe me He is active; He may be slow but He is active," he reassures his hearers. "God pulls down the mighty from their seats and raises up the humble... He did not create this world so that evil might triumph."

And he chides Britain: "It is a tragedy for those who are skilled not to be allowed the dignity to contribute to this country." That word again.

Walter Semwayo, 43, a former accountant, tells the BBC News website how his office was ransacked and his house destroyed in Zimbabwe.

His asylum claim was rejected, he says, because he could not prove he was a member of the Movement for Democratic Change. Every month he has to come from his home in Barking to central London to report to the Home Office.

He studied information technology at a college of further education and was told he had been accepted at university - but only if he could pay the many thousands of pounds in overseas student fees.

Good resource

Walter hopes he can be granted exceptional leave to remain so he can get his degree.

"Then if Zimbabwe goes back to sanity I can go back there to work - I will be an accountant and an information technology graduate and I'll be a good resource for the country."

As it is, the support he gets from his local council is not enough - he must pay for electricity and gas and "sometimes I go without food".

"I'm being wasted," he says, smiling grimly. "I'll end up old."

Florence Matongo, 42, from Wandsworth, has three children in Zimbabwe. She came here in 2002.

Florence Matongo
Florence Matongo: "I'm trying to keep up the skills I used to have".

Her asylum application was refused and in 2005 she was detained for seven days and told she was going to be deported. She was released on the day she was supposed to be flown out.

For years she was told she was not allowed to do work - paid or unpaid. The latest letter she had from the British authorities did not mention unpaid work, so she has been doing volunteer work at a help desk for people attending court, and as a receptionist for a project for elderly people.

"I am trying to keep up the skills I used to have," she says, so that when she can work again she will not be like someone who is just starting out. "My typing speed has gone right down," she laments.

"I want to study for a degree. This can give an opportunity to people like us - we will be the next generation in Zimbabwe."

The Strangers into Citizens campaign estimates that there are 11,000 Zimbabweans in "limbo" in the UK, unable to work. It is calling for them to be granted two years' exceptional leave to remain so they can work and study.

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In pictures: Zimbabwe exile rally

Friday, 11 July 2008 17:17 UK

Zimbabweans gather at St Margaret's church, Westminster

Zimbabwean exiles have rallied in London to demand the right to work. A service for Zimbabwe was held at St Margaret's Church (left), in the shadow of Westminster Abbey.

Congregation inside St Margaret's church

St Margaret's is the parish church for the Houses of Parliament and has seen many services on historic occasions.

Dr John Sentamu

The Archbishop of York told the congregation that "God pulls down the mighty and raises up the humble".

Florence Matongo (left) and Geraldine Takundwa

Exiles Florence Matongo (left) and Geraldine Takundwa. "Zimbabwean people are hard-working," says Ms Takundwa.

Zimbabwean rally in Parliament Square

Hundreds joined the rally in Parliament Square to call for exiles in "limbo" to be granted leave to remain.

Marchers leave rally site

Under the gaze of Nelson Mandela's statue, protesters move off to present a petition to the Home Office.

UNHCR Urges South Africa Not to Deport Zimbabweans


By Lisa Schlein
11 July 2008

The U.N. refugee agency is urging the government of South Africa not to
forcibly deport Zimbabwean asylum seekers back to their home country where
they could face danger.  The UNHCR reports a significant increase in the
number of Zimbabweans crossing into South Africa following the presidential
runoff vote at the end of June. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from UNHCR
headquarters in Geneva.

The U.N. refugee agency says it is disturbed by the pattern of displacement
from Zimbabwe since last month's presidential election. Previously, it says
most Zimbabweans crossing the border into South Africa were single men or
women seeking work.

But, it says an increasing number of families are now arriving as a result
of political violence. UNHCR spokeswoman, Jennifer Pagonis, says several
people have shown signs of beatings or torture.

"In the town of Musina near the northern border with Zimbabwe in South
Africa, there is a visible presence of vulnerable Zimbabweans sleeping rough
in the bush, begging at the traffic lights and clearly in distressed
circumstances and desperately needing humanitarian help... Many of the new
arrivals are entering the country through unauthorized border points," she
said. "Those entering legally do not usually claim asylum upon entry. So
this makes it difficult to give an accurate estimate of the numbers
involved. They are fearful of arrest and deportation, they remain
underground, making them vulnerable to other forms of violence and
exploitation, such as rape and robbery."

Pagonis says figures from reliable sources show some 17,000 Zimbabweans have
been deported from South Africa through the Beit Bridge border post in the
last 40 days alone. She says these deportations have gone ahead despite
earlier calls from the UNHCR to suspend all forcible returns.

"In view of the large scale deportations, coupled with the difficulties that
Zimbabweans face braving the crowds to access the national asylum procedure,
it creates a real risk that refoulement - or forcible return to their
country of origin where they could face danger - could occur," said Pagonis.
"The High Commissioner is reiterating his appeal to South Africa to halt all
deportations of Zimbabweans and ensure that those seeking asylum should have
access to the national asylum procedures."

Given the critical situation, Pagonis says the UNHCR is appealing to South
Africa to exceptionally grant Zimbabweans a temporary legal status allowing
them to stay in the country.

The U.N. agency reports hundreds of Zimbabwean asylum seekers in need of
protection also have arrived in Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique since March.

UNHCR: Entire families now fleeing Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Jul 11, 2008, 15:08 GMT

Johannesburg - The crisis in Zimbabwe is now driving entire families out of
the country, the United Nations refugee organization UNHCR reported Friday
in the South Africa capital Johannesburg.

In the past, most refugees travelled alone, said UNHCR spokesman Yusuf
Hassan, adding 'we are now seeing however, an increasing number of families
arriving as a result of political violence, with several people showing
signs of beatings or torture.'

The UNHCR spokesman also said that the manner in which Zimbabwean refugees
were arriving to South Africa was also evolving, with an increasing number
of Zimbabweans (up to 4,000) daily applying for asylum in Johannesburg.

Other Zimbabwean refugees 'fearful of arrest and deportation... remain
underground, making them vulnerable to other forms of violence and
exploitation such as rape and robbery.'

Calling on South Africa to stop its deportations of Zimbabweans back to
their country, Hassan said the UNHCR would be increasing its present on the
Zimbabwe-South African border and assisting asylum seekers in registering
with the relevant authorities.

SA to investigate mass deportations of Zimbabweans


July 11, 2008, 18:45

The Department of Home Affairs says it will investigate allegations of mass
deportations of Zimbabweans highlighted in a United Nations Refugee Agency
press statement today.

The statement claims that in the last month some 17 000 Zimbabweans migrants
have been deported amongst those asylum seekers. It says in the wake of
President Robert Mugabe's presidential run-off victory last month more
Zimbabweans have illegally crossed the border.

Siobhan McCarthy the chief director of communications at Home affairs, says
it's a contravention under which they work a delegation has been deployed to
travel to Musina tomorrow to investigate and access the validity of these
allegations. Mugabe claimed victory in a presidential run-off vote on June
27, boycotted by opposition candidate Morgan Tsvangirai because of campaign

Since then, a growing number of Zimbabwean families have crossed into South
Africa "as a result of political violence, with several people showing signs
of beatings or torture", the report said. Zimbabwean political activists,
teachers, journalists and others targeted for their real or perceived
political views are among those who have fled, she said. The UNHCR had no
overall figures, as it said many new arrivals enter South Africa through
unauthorised border points.

Zimbabwe's UN ambassador threatens civil war over 'sanctions'

By Violet Gonda
11 July 2008

The ZANU PF government is trying very hard to stop the United Nations
imposing smart sanctions on Robert Mugabe and 13 of his cronies, and the
latest effort is to try to scaremonger about a civil war, if punitive
measures are put in place.

Zimbabwe's mission at the United Nations has written to the Security Council
warning that any targeted sanctions could turn the country into another
Somalia. The mission, led by ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku, is trying to
stop the US backed resolution calling for an arms embargo, plus travel
restrictions and asset freezes on targeted individuals in Mugabe's regime.
All those listed are directly responsible for the violence and murders that
have claimed the lives of over 113 people since the March 29 poll.

The Zimbabwe mission argued that the UN resolution would lead to the removal
of the government and 'start a civil war in the country.' Unsurprisingly the
same argument has been used by South African President Thabo Mbeki , who is
also trying to block the UN resolution.

An opposition activist said: "Clearly, there is desperation in Zanu PF's
ranks. The frightening thing is I believe that if the UN passes the
resolution, Mugabe will declare a state of emergency to protect himself and
the inner circle."

In a repetition of the same 'colonial' arguments used by Mugabe's regime,
Chidyausiku said the sanctions would mean the Security Council supporting,
'Britain's colonial crusade against Zimbabwe.'
Judging from the frantic moves by Mbeki, Mugabe and other allies to make it
look like Zanu PF and the MDC are in dialogue, the regime is trying any
tactic to stop the resolution going through. Chidyausiku admitted there was
violence in the country but he claimed it was not enough to have warranted
Tsvangirai pulling out of the run-off. He again blamed the British and
Americans for helping to 'exaggerate' the crisis.

Meanwhile the United Nations announced on Thursday that a vote on the
resolution would be delayed, pending the outcome of the "talk about talks"
facilitated by Mbeki.

There are mixed reactions about this latest development. Some observers say
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has miscalculated by venturing into the
pre-dialogue talks and should have waited for the UN vote.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

African citizens to unite against atrocities in Zim

By Alex Bell
11 July 2008

African citizens will unite in Johannesburg on Saturday to express their
solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, following a call by CIVICUS, the
World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

Together with Amnesty International, the Global Call for Action Against
Poverty (GCAP) and Human Rights Watch, CIVICUS will launch the Pan African
Campaign of Solidarity with Zimbabwe on Saturday.
The launch will start with a press conference in Johannesburg, which will be
followed by the first mobilisation event of the Campaign, organised by South
African civil society. A symbolic ballot will take place outside the Human
Rights Watch offices, where concerned citizens from a diversity of
organisations and backgrounds will write a note of solidarity with the
Zimbabwean people, and place it in a ballot box, highlighting the
illegitimacy of the June 27 presidential run-off.

Honorary President of CIVICUS, Kumi Naidoo, told Newsreel on Friday that the
"African public need to mobilise as a key part of the solution to the crisis
in Zimbabwe". He said there "needs to be a concerted effort directed at the
African leaders to stop human rights violations continuing".

Naidoo added that the June 27 poll cannot be condoned and said that Robert
Mugabe has done "a great disservice to the people of Zimbabwe and the
continent". Naidoo said it is the "responsibility of all Africans to
urgently put a stop to Mugabe's anti-democratic activities".

Saturday's Campaign is the first of an Africa-wide campaign at the
grassroots level, allowing African people to speak out against the injustice
in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, led a rally in London on
Friday to demand that Zimbabweans be allowed to seek employment in the UK
until it is safe for them to return home. All deportations to Zimbabwe have
been halted while the violence continues there, but the British Government
is facing growing pressure to change its policy on Zimbabwean asylum
seekers, who face a life of poverty in the UK.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Decomposing body of MDC polling agent found

By Lance Guma
11 July 2008

In yet another chilling chapter exposing Zanu PF's brutality, the
decomposing body of MDC polling agent Gift Mutsvungunu was discovered in
Kuwadzana East on Thursday. After working for the MDC during the March 29
election Mutsvungunu went missing last week Saturday, after being abducted
by state security agents. His body was discovered dumped at a co-operative
in the Harare suburb of Kuwadzana 3.

The MDC released a statement saying, 'His body shows signs of intense
torture, his eyes were gouged out and his backside suffered serious burns
before his abductors killed him.' Relatives say he will be buried Monday at
Granville Cemetery, amid fears ruling party militia might seek to disrupt
the funeral, as has happened to other victims in the past. MDC Information
Director Luke Tamborinyoka said he spoke to Mustvungunu's distraught uncle
who, despite the family grief, said they understood the price Zimbabweans
had to pay for their freedom.

At least 5000 MDC supporters, mainly polling agents and council candidates,
are thought to be missing or unaccounted for. Following Zanu PF's
humiliating loss to the MDC in the March elections thousands of polling
agents were targeted because their contact details were available to the
electoral authorities. These must have been passed on to the security
services who are now simply hunting them down individually. The Zimbabwe
Election Support Network also reported several of its polling agents
abducted and killed in the aftermath of the first round of voting in March.

The MDC meanwhile has now recorded 113 deaths since the March 29 poll, but
other groups put the figure at over 130. Tens of thousands of people have
been beaten and tortured and many deaths are going unreported in rural areas
that have been sealed off by militants loyal to Mugabe. In Bulawayo Lionel
Saungweme reports that Zanu PF torture bases keep growing in number,
especially at Mawabeni, 50km outside the city. New bases have emerged at
Mblamboyi, Longfield and Bhezha despite regime claims they were being
dismantled. Those leading the violence campaigns have been named as Nicholas
Moyo and another called Zikhali. 'Moyo is a small scale gold miner, whose
enthusiasm seems to be borne by a desire to protect his mine,' Saungweme

Villagers are being frog-marched to the bases, made to sing Zanu PF songs
and in most cases forced to sleep at the bases.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

MDC: Mat North 11 July - Report

All of our people were denied bail in Hwange today and remanded in custody
until Monday.

This has come as a bit of a relief as it has given us time to organize
ourselves. It is becoming increasing difficult to get organized with the
lack of transport (4 vehicles still impounded, also to be dealt with on
Monday ) .

Yesturday Pearson appeared in court and was remanded in custody for today's
hearing, we were advised by our informers that the magistrate had recieved
orders to release him and there was a team from law and order waiting at the
court to pick him up. There were actually three vehicles waiting outside the
court . We were also informed that there is an instruction to "do him in". I
can only guess that they are still holding the other 15 as a smoke screen to
get at Pearson. The Magistrate appears to be on our side. If and when
Pearson and the other are released we are going to have to move very fast.

Everyone is very jumpy in Hwange at the moment with on going threats and
rumors about people being looked for and new militia in town. Most of our
people are lying low.

Law and order should however be quiet this week-end as they are all gong to
a big party at Nyathi to celebrate the victory of their "President"

On another note apparently Obert Mpofu has taken over one of the main petrol
stations belonging to the colliery in Hwange and John Nkomo the other.
Sometimes it seems that Obert has taken over half of Mat North.

Interestingly, after speaking to some of the people who work on overland
trucks,( they bring large groups of tourists from Nairobi all the way to
Cape Town) they said that tourism is right down throughout the whole region.
With the problems that Kenya experienced and the on going problems that we
are having here people are choosing more stable destinations. The overland
trucks all stopped coming into Zimbabwe months ago due to travel warnings
affecting their insurance, so what remains of our tourism here is a trickle
of independent travelers.

Political violence grips the Midlands in Zimbabwe

11th Jul 2008 15:03 GMT

By a Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Politically-motivated violence is raging countrywide with at
least six Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters having been killed
in Midlands province since the June 27 presidential election run-off, a
human rights body has said.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) blamed Zanu PF supporters for perpetrating
the violence with impunity. In a few cases that MDC supporters were to
blame, said ZPP in a statement to the, they would be
retaliating for earlier attacks or acting in self-defence.

"ZPP has received reports that violence is still going on in most provinces
in Zimbabwe and Midlands being one of the most affected provinces," said the
statement made available Wednesday.

"Human rights are continuing to be violated by Zanu PF members what is
disturbing is the impunity with which violence is perpetrated. A number of
murder cases in the Midlands have also been reported. It has also been noted
from the reports received that some people who have been victims previously
have turned into perpetrators themselves either to protect themselves or in
retaliation to violations perpetrated against them. Two such cases have been

Zimbabwe witnessed its worst violence between the first round election on
March 29 to the run-off late last month when suspected Zanu PF thugs,
together with soldiers and so-called war veterans went on a rampage in rural
areas, attacking MDC supporters for apparently voting for their party in the
first round poll.

The MDC estimates that at least 90 of its supporters died during the reign
of terror with more than 100 000 people having been displaced nationwide..

It is chiefly because of the violence and the resultant deaths and injuries,
displacements and loss of property that MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai pulled
out of the presidential election run-off race despite having out-polled
President Mugabe in the first round.

Human rights organisations say at least 20 opposition activists have been
murdered since the run-off.

ZPP said on election day on June, 27, two well-known MDC supporters of
Gwenyika ward in Chief Njelele area whose names the human rights body is
withholding, fled their homes after being confronted by Zanu PF thugs for
allegedly not voting for President Mugabe.

It is said that on the day of elections, ruling party polling agents were
taking down ballot paper serial numbers to see those who had voted for their
party and those who had not.

All those that had voted for President Mugabe submitted the serial numbers
to the polling agents and it was discovered that the two had not voted for
Zanu PF.

"Zanu PF supporters were now after them and they fled. The two are still in
the bush and relatives taking food to them in the bush. Relatives are
appealing for assistance that their folks are provided with a safe hiding
place," ZPP said.

In an area called Matshekanduba, some 30km north of Gweru, six people were
murdered July 3 and their bodies were still at Gweru mortuary and there are
reports of relatives being denied access to identify the bodies.

"It is alleged that a Councillor (name supplied) of Ward 7D in Gokwe
Nembudziya is leading ZANU-PF supporters (names supplied) in an orgy of
violence in the Nembudziya area," said the human rights body.

In Gokwe-Kabuyuni constituency, said ZPP, a war veteran, one Nkomo was
killed on June 30 as he tried to evict MDC activists from the area.

ZPP said Nkomo had earlier in the day went round the villages of all known
and suspected MDC supporters issuing letters of eviction advising that
victims leave the area for the United Kingdom by midnight on the day.

"Later at night the war veteran is said to have gone back to the villages to
follow up if the people had vacated and only found that the villagers had
ganged up to beat him. He was severely beaten and left for dead and died on
the way to hospital," said ZPP.

On July 6, police at Gokwe centre impounded a MARS ambulance which had gone
to collect victims of violence from Gokwe-Chireya was impounded by police
and remains there. On the same day, Zanu PF supporters attacked MDC refugees
at Chinyaradzo.

In Gweru's Mkoba suburb an MDC supporter, who is brother to the opposition
party's member of Parliament elect for Mkoba House of Assembly constituency
was killed on the eve of the run-off and died at Gweru Provincial Hospital.

In Chitungwiza, a factory belonging to Kambuzuma Member of Parliament-elect,
Willas Madzimure was petrol-bombed in the early hours of Sunday.

Zimbabwe Needs a Political Settlement

Fahamu (Oxford)

11 July 2008
Posted to the web 11 July 2008

Mpho Ncube

It is common knowledge that the Movement of Democratic Change (MDC) party
won the parliamentary and presidential elections earlier this year. Based on
its performance, it would therefore be fair to say that the MDC would
probably have also won last week's presidential run-off had it not pulled
out at the last moment. Yet, despite these facts, Zanu-PF still remains in
power today. Robert Mugabe has once again outmaneuvered his opponents in
Zimbabwe and abroad.

No surprises there then, given that the government had set in motion a chain
of events that were designed to pre-determine the outcome of the elections
in its favour. Indeed, the MDC cited the systematic harassment, torture and
murder of its supporters and leadership as the main reason for its
withdrawal from the election.

Given this state of affairs and as the Pan-African parliament observer
mission reported, the elections could not have been conducted in a free and
fair environment. African leaders meeting in Egypt last week called for a
government of national unity to be established in Zimbabwe, thereby
conferring semi-legitimacy to Mugabe much to the dismay of the MDC and
others who were hoping for outright condemnation and ostracisation.

However, the MDC was right to contest the elections in March even though it
was faced with insurmountable odds. By participating in a contest they knew
would be pre-determined and still registering more votes than the
government, the party won a moral victory in the eyes of many Zimbabweans.
That moral victory would have been enough to carry the MDC through last
week's presidential run-off election, which was also preceded by the same
unfavourable conditions of the March election.

The people of Zimbabwe were denied their fundamental right to choose a
leader of their own liking on June 27. This fact alone renders those
elections null and void. That the results of both the March 29 elections and
the recent one-candidate presidential run-off were allowed to stand is yet
another reason, after the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland in the
1980s, that we should not recognise the legitimacy of the Zanu PF
government. It goes without saying that to want to hold Zanu PF to account
for its actions is to invite accusations from its propagandists of being "an
agent of the colonialists."


Three months since the disputed March elections, the MDC seems to be in
disarray. It doesn't appear as if the party has really mastered the art of
opposition politics. It has not been able to translate its moral victories
since 2000 into power. This, however, is hardly a surprise because having
been founded on an anti-ZANU PF populist wave, the MDC will always be
re-active rather than pro-active to the political situation in Zimbabwe. It
appears to be looking to the masses for signals to act while becoming very
good at telling us what we already know - that Zanu PF is now very unpopular
and must be replaced.

As things stand, talk of Zanu PF demise is misplaced. The military junta or
the Joint Operational Command (JOC) now running Zimbabwe will have been
emboldened by the fissures and lack of a united position at the African
Union and SADC. It is in this post-election period of disillusionment that
all the major players in the Zimbabwe body politic need quiet reflection. I
would like to think that the MDC is currently undergoing this process,
otherwise how does one explain the series of strategic blunders by its
leadership? I would like to see its leaders emerge from this ever-deepening
crisis with more courage than they have shown so far.

There is undeniable thirst for a viable alternative to the present ZANU PF
government, which once again, is holding the country hostage. Since
independence in 1980, Zanu PF has been in open confrontation with the
citizens of Zimbabwe - first it was the Ndebele and today it is everybody.
For all its intellectual clout, ZANU PF cannot see, or if it does, refuses
to accept that reforms both within its ranks and the country at large, are
long overdue. Instead, it is gripped by paranoia, blaming everyone and
everything but itself.

Zimbabwe is now a country in a state of siege equal to that of the 1980's.
When the Fifth Brigade massacred thousands of civilians in Matabeleland and
the Midlands, international opinion was focused on apartheid South Africa.
Similarly today, world focus has shifted to the "war against terrorism"
thereby relegating Zimbabwe to the sidelines. Robert Mugabe used apartheid
South Africa as cover for his genocide in Matabeleland. Today he is hiding
behind the international campaign against Al Qaeda to rape, maim and murder
opponents of his government. He should not be allowed to get away with it

The ZANU PF government sees land re-distribution as the final act in its
black empowerment programme. Judging by its preceding Affirmative Action
Campaign, which started off as a well-intentioned plan to promote black
economic empowerment but ended up as a vehicle for self-enrichment, it is no
wonder that the so-called "Hondo yeminda" (war for land) has suffered a
similar fate. Senior government, police and army officials have unashamedly
helped themselves to the best farmland, evicting ordinary people already
settled on these properties. While there is an undeniable need for land
re-distribution in Zimbabwe, the politicisation of the process by Zanu PF
has condemned millions of citizens to unemployment, starvation and death.
The country has been set back a century. So, given this background and the
fact that ZANU PF and MDC are now pitted against each other in a
low-intensity civil war, what should be the way forward for Zimbabwe?


The first thing to say is that the two main parties in Zimbabwe have to
accept that a political settlement is now pre-requisite to any lasting
solution and must therefore renew their efforts to talk to each other.

Second, both parties and the MDC in particular, must understand that the
negotiation/talks process will be long and hard given their contrasting
philosophies. ZANU PF is a party heavily steeped in liberation war politics
and therefore reliant on violence, secrecy and war as policy instruments
while the MDC is the exact opposite with its emphasis on diplomacy and

Finally, Zanu PF must accept that the MDC is now an indelible part of the
Zimbabwean political landscape while the MDC, on its part, will have to
understand that no political settlement with ZANU PF will preclude violence.
To therefore insist on the total cessation of hostilities, as a precondition
for talks is not only unrealistic but also perpetuates the suffering of
Zimbabweans because ZANU PF will always use violence as a policy or
negotiating tool. It used violence prior and during negotiations with
PF-ZAPU in the 1980s and so will have reckoned that the same strategy will
work with the MDC this time around.

MDC leaders would therefore be wise to study settlements in South Africa,
Northern Ireland or even Zimbabwe itself (Lancaster House Agreement and
"Unity Talks/Accord"). In fairness to the MDC, the party has largely
refrained from retaliation, instead insisting on democratic re-course to
argue its case. This has undoubtedly won it many sympathisers at home and
abroad, but how long will they continue to look the other way? We will have
to wait and see. There needs to be a conducive platform to work from. The
present confrontational and destructive situation does not provide
conditions that will make it easy for Zimbabwe to get back on track.

A political settlement between the two main parties must be the starting
point. Such a settlement is required to end the current state of siege and
allow for the creation of a platform from which to institute a reform
programme best suited to Zimbabwe. Solutions to the current crisis lie
inside Zimbabwe itself, if only the politicians could cast aside personal
ambition and seize the moment for the greater good of the country.

The shape and form of any political settlement is what the MDC and ZANU PF
are most likely to be discussing behind the scenes at the moment. The
sticking points are likely to be the way ZANU PF will want to cast itself as
the senior party and therefore insist on setting the agenda for the
negotiations. Indeed, the way ZANU PF is so enthusiastic about the proposed
government of national unity (GNU) shows that the party has calculated that
it would still emerge better-off were a GNU actually implemented. Remember,
ZANU PF is well practised in this type of stand-off, it has the benefit of
experience when it was engaged in a similar situation with Joshua Nkomo's PF
ZAPU party in the 1980s. Even though the political settlement which
culminated in the signing of the Unity Accord in 1987 is largely considered
as a hostile takeover of PF ZAPU, it will very likely be ZANU PF's template
for its negotiations with the MDC. ZANU PF negotiators will be on the
lookout for potential "banana skins" in any settlement, which is why they
are wary or suspicious of the MDC's much preferred option of a gradualist,
transitional government that emphasises the temporariness of Mugabe's
government. Of chief concern to ZANU PF will be the provisions for immunity
from prosecution for crimes against humanity.

Even though a GNU does not mean that ZANU PF will hand over total power to
the MDC, Mugabe and his henchmen/women will still want to cover all possible
scenarios and buttress themselves against future prosecution. And herein
lies the problems for the MDC, who will be under severe pressure, perhaps
more than ZANU PF, to be pragmatic and give Mugabe the immunity he will
demand in return for peace.

Will the MDC be bold enough in its demands or will it capitulate? That
remains to be seen. And what about ordinary MDC supporters who have borne
the brunt of ZANU PF brutality in the last 10 or so years? Will they be
happy to let their leaders grant Mugabe and his henchmen/women immunity or
as some people see it, impunity?

What about the thousands of Gukurahundi victims in Matabeleland, most of
whom have voted for the MDC since its inception in 1999 - will they feel
that their pain and sorrow counts for nothing when they have been crying out
for justice all these years? The MDC has to conduct a fine balancing act to
accommodate the sometimes conflicting wishes and expectations of its various
membership. In order to do so successfully, it will have to consult widely
and deeply within its membership because failure to do so will leave it open
to yet more division.

Prominent Wholesaler Mulls Closure

MASVINGO, July 11 2008 - N Richards, the prominent wholesaler in the
province, mulls closing shop in the wake of the political impasse, leaving
the future of more than 30 000 employees here bleak.

Edward Richards, group chairman of N Richards Wholesalers, revealed in
an exclusive interview Thursday that he is contemplating closing all his
shops dotted in and outside the province if the current political and
economic climate continues.

"We will have no option but to close business as there are no orders .
and if we manage to get supplies from South Africa , something which we used
to do, the price crackdown pounces on us and we make losses," Richards said.

Richards said it was very difficult to operate a business in Zimbabwe
, given the hyper-inflationary environment bedeviling the country.

"With inflation well over 8 000 000 %, it is difficult to make a
business plan in the country. You wake up everyday to change prices, which
is not realistic. One cannot have a realistic pricing mechanism," said

One employee, who declined to be named who has worked at the
wholesaler for more than 30 years, said his life was going to be very
difficult if he lost his job.

"I have been working here for more than 30 years and managed to send
my kids to school and build my rural home. Now, with the imminent closure, I
do not know what will become of my life," he said.

N Richards, arguably the largest wholesaler in Masvingo, with
hardware, grocery and retail shops, was among the few white-owned shops that
were still operating after the government threatened to seize all
foreign-owned companies through its ill-fated Indigenization and Empowerment
Bill that has been described by analysts as the latest company grab after
the chaotic land seizure in 2000.

Health Crisis Looms in Prisons

BULAWAYO, July 11 2008 - Disaster is looming within the Zimbabwe
Prison Service (ZPS) amid reports that some prisons have gone for several
weeks without electricity, washing and bathing soap as well as sanitary

According to inmates who have been just released from prisons,
courtesy of a recent controversial presidential amnesty, the situation
threatens to turn into a humanitarian disaster.

Some of the released prisoners who spoke to Radio VOP this week said
the situation was particularly acute at Chikurubi, Khami, Mutimurefu and
Hwahwa prisons where lack of adequate sanitary facilities exposes inmates to
disease outbreaks and cholera.

The former prisoners also revealed that some prisons had gone for
weeks without bathing soap, sanitary wear for female prisoners and that
blankets had gone unwashed for months owing to the exhaustion of the budget
for soap, detergents and toilet papers.

"The situation at Khami where I was is really bad. Can you imagine a
person tearing blankets and pages from bibles to use as toilet paper? Women
prisoners also use the same material as substitute to sanitary wear," said
Dick Sigauke, a former inmate at Khami prison on the outskirts of the city
of Bulawayo.

Sigauke who was imprisoned last year for stealing a generator at his
work place said  most of the toilets at the correctional center were always

Prisons are also suffering from serious shortages of food and other
consumables, with some reported to have gone for several months without
sugar, mealie- meal, cooking oil, beans and meat.

As a result of the shortages some prisoners are suffering from
malnutrition diseases such as pellagra.

"I can hardly remember the last time we had sadza and beef. It was
always sadza and boiled cabbage throughout,' said another former inmate who
was released from Chikurubi Prison.

The prisons have also been hit by a shortage of drugs for Tuberculosis
(TB) and HIV-related infections. The former prisoners said they were still
waiting for their gratuity from the government.

The suffering of the women

Zimbabwe Today

Why life behind Zimbabwean bars is far from ladylike

Jenni Williams, the high-profile (because she is white) head of Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has walked free from Chikurubi maximum security
prison, after being detained for 37 days following a street demonstration in
Harare. She has brought with her harrowing descriptions of the privations
she and the other WOZA members, and their fellow female prisoners, have been

"Women are living in terrible conditions in Chikurubi," she reported. "They
face serious issues of hygiene, health, even violence, that make it
impossible to live a life approaching normality."

These are some of the aspects of prison treatment which have horrified, if
not exactly surprised, her.

Wrongful detention:  "There are several women there who are denied basic
justice. I met one who has been at Chikurubi since 2004. Women like her just
sit there, they are never even taken to court."

Semi-starvation:  Jenni Williams says that several inmates are on the verge
of starvation. "For breakfast we were served porridge without salt or sugar.
The main meal of the day would be two teaspoons of cabbage, half a glass of
water, and sadza (maize porridge)."

Violence:  Guards often beat women at random, even those who were pregnant.
"One woman complained about the amount of food she was given. She was beaten
on the soles of her feel. It was very bad."

Hygiene: A total lack of essential supplies meant that women found it
impossible to maintain hygienic standards. There was no opportunity to take
a proper bath, and no soap. Supplies of proper sanitary pads were
non-existent. And most women had no underwear at all.

"As we left the prison," Jenni remembered, "the other inmates asked us to
leave them our underwear. We were glad to do so."

The official reason for keeping her and the others in prison for so long is
that, if released for the presidential election run-off, they would have
organised "violent Kenya-style demonstrations."

The truth is, the only violence the brave women of WOZA have any knowledge
of is that committed against them by the state.

Posted on Friday, 11 July 2008 at 15:04

CHRA Information

 CHRA Information blitz activities


11 July 2008


Dear Colleagues


I am pleased to inform you that the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has resumed its information blitz program (E-mail alerts system). For some time, you have not been getting email-alerts from us. We have been able however, albeit the challenges to send sms alerts via phones, which I hope you have been constantly receiving. This was due to the fact that we have not been operating from our offices in an effort to circumvent the ban on civic society organizations. It was also a measure we took in the interests of our security in the face of attacks, abductions and even killings of our members.


I have attached a report that shows the harassment that has befallen our membership and the Secretariat between April and June 2008. My members of staff have also been the subject of harassment and attack by state security agents and Zanu Pf militias during the course of our work.


The Association will be giving you an update of key events and activities that took place from March 29 2008 up to date. No amount of repression and state propaganda will ever deter us from pursuing our cause as ‘a people united for the community’. CHRA remains steadfast in implementing its programs which are underpinned on enhancing civic participation in local governance. I will be sending you our report for the 2008 CHRA elective AGM which details our programs and future activities.


N.B Please end us your cell-phone numbers for sms alerts.


Farai Barnabas Mangodza

Chief Executive Officer

Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


Landline: 00263- 4- 705114


Contacts: Mobile: 011 563 141, 0912638401, 011862012 or email, and




Joy Mabenge on Behind the Headlines

Broadcast 10 July 2008

Joy Mabenge, a Programme Associate at the Institute for a Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe, is the guest on Behind the Headlines. With the threat of targeted sanctions coming from the United Nations Security Council what does he make of desperate pleas by Mbeki to save Mugabe using ‘talk of the talks?’ Lance Guma also questions him on the two likely scenarios emerging of either a national unity government or a transitional authority that will prepare the groundwork for fresh elections. Mabenge believes Zimbabweans are too traumatized to have an immediate fresh election and will require a period of national healing. click to listen

Lance Guma


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Zimbabwe: Beyond the Endgame

17 July 2008 -

The Old Theatre
Ground floor, The Old Building
London School of Economics
Houghton Street, WC2

As talks between Mr Mugabe and both factions of the Movement for Democratic Change open in South Africa, the crisis in Zimbabwe continues. Western countries are pushing for more sanctions against Zimbabwe’s rulers, while President Mbeki and the African Union oppose them. Meanwhile, the shrinking economy provides Mr Mugabe with less and less to pay the army, police and administrators.

The June 27 presidential run-off was dubbed the endgame. It proved just another stage in Zimbabwe’s unfolding catastrophe. What might happen next?

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Hosted by the Crisis States Group, the Royal African Society, the International Bar Association, the Africa Research Institute and the Institute for Public Policy Research.


  • Dr Martin Rupiya, Director of Research, Africa, Cranfield University
  • Patrick Smith, Editor, Africa Confidential
  • Knox Chitiyo, Head, Africa Programme, RUSI
  • Gugulethu Moyo, International Bar Association
  • James Putzel, Director, Crisis States Group, LSE (chair)