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Biti arrested as he disembarked

June 12, 2008

Movement for Democratic Change officials have now established that plain
clothes police details arrested party secretary-general, Tendai Biti, as he
disembarked from a South African Airways flight at the Harare International

MDC director of elections, Luke Tamborinyoka, who was at the airport to
welcome Biti and other MDC officials from South Africa, said Biti was
surrounded by ten men in plain-clothes, suspected to be officers from the
Law and Order Section of the police and Central Intelligence Organization
(CIO) agents, pushed the politician into a waiting Mercedes Benz vehicle,
which then took off at high speed.

"Biti was accosted as he was coming out of the plane by ten pain-clothes
policemen," Tamborinyoka said. "They handcuffed him from behind. They did
not say anything; they just handcuffed him."

He said the MDC had not yet established where Biti had been taken.

"They bundled him into a Mercedes Benz vehicle, registration number AA0
3822, and they then drove off at high speed. We are trying to locate him at
the moment and we should be contacting the lawyers to seek his release," he

Confirming that Biti had been arrested, Nelson Chamisa, the MDC national
spokesperson said the reason for the arrest was not clear as yet.

"Yes, he was arrested. But we do not know for what reason," Chamisa said.

Biti has been outside the country since the March 29 elections after the
police threatened to arrest him over his announcement of the presidential
election results.

Biti claimed, then, that MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai had garnered 60
percent of the presidential poll. Five weeks later the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission released results indicating that Tsvangirai had polled 47,9
percent while President Robert Mugabe won 43,2 percent of the poll. Because
neither candidate had polled the 50 minimum of 50 percent required to form
the next government in terms of the Electoral Act, a second election was
announced. Mugabe and Tsvangirai will dramatically each other at the polls
again on June 27. the forthcoming election has already been marred by the
outbreak of brutal violence mostly targetting supporters of the MDC, which
also won the parliamentary election.

Biti who travelled from Johannesburg on Thursday morning after two months
abroad was arrested before he cleared immigration and customs at the
airport. His South African Airways flight touched down on schedule at 12.20

MDC legal representative Selby Hwacha who was also waiting for the returning
politician in the arrivals hall at the airport said at 1.00 that while the
rest of passengers, including MDC official Elton Mangoma had come through
immigration, Biti was still unaccounted for, amid reports he had been
whisked away in a Mercedes Benz.

Before departure from Johannesburg Biti said, "I am prepared to meet
whatever will come my way in this long and difficult, but noble road to
Zimbabwe's democracy".

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Zimbabwe MDC opposition deputy faces death penalty for 'treason'

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Sebastien Berger
Last Updated: 7:53PM BST 12/06/2008
The deputy leader of Zimbabwe's opposition party was facing possible death
penalty, after police arrested and accused him of treason within minutes of
stepping from a plane at Harare airport.
Tendai Biti, second-in-command of the Movement for Democratic Change, was
surrounded by plain-clothes officers in the tunnel between his aircraft and
the immigration hall at Harare airport, handcuffed and taken away.

Before leaving South Africa after a two month stay, he had said: "The only
crime I have committed is fighting for democracy. I am prepared to meet
whatever will come my way in this long and difficult, but noble road to
Zimbabwe's democracy."

Zimbabwe's police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said: "We are charging him with
treason and communicating statements prejudicial to the state. For the
treason charge he faces the death penalty or life in prison.

"He is in police custody and we are still investigating the matter, adding
that the treason charge related to a "transitional strategy" document Mr
Biti allegedly published shortly before the first round of the country's
elections in March.
A copy seen by The Daily Telegraph was filled with references to "our
British friends", details of how foreign countries would take over
Zimbabwean institutions, and speaks of plans to bribe local electoral
officers and the possibly of "armed insurrection".

Observers who have seen the same document say it is clearly the product of
the propaganda machine of President Robert Mugabe's regime.

Mr Biti has denied the signature on it is his, calling it so blatant a
forgery as to be ludicrous.

However, it has frequently been referred to in the government mouthpiece
Herald newspaper, and been a key part of the ruling Zanu-PF party's campaign
claims that the MDC are the stooges of neo-colonialists.

The arrest came little more than a fortnight before the presidential run-off
between Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC.

Mr Tsvangirai himself was arrested for the third and fourth times in eight
days. He was first detained near Kwekwe, in Midlands province, to address a
rally, and was held for around two hours before being released.

Shortly afterwards he was re-arrested after driving Gweru, the next stop on
his campaign trail.

Zanu-PF has launched a campaign of violence to displace and intimidate
opposition voters, which the MDC says has resulted in the deaths of more
than 60 people.

Analysts said the scale of the violence, concentrated in former Zanu-PF
strongholds that backed Mr Tsvangirai in March, was such that it raised
questions over whether voters would be willing to take the risk of
supporting him a second time.

"There is no point in Morgan Tsvangirai trying to take part in this election
when the results are already pre-determined," said Eldred Masunungure, a
senior political analyst from the University of Zimbabwe and director of the
Mass Public Opinion Institute.

"I and many others hope common sense will prevail and that Tsvangirai will
see no purpose is served by this election under conditions which are the
most hopeless anyone could ever have witnessed, or have even read about.

"This election will serve nothing, fear is everywhere except in the ranks of
the military, who are in charge."

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Tsvangirai arrested, released

June 12, 2008

Hundreds of people line up to see Morgan Tsvangirai campaign bus in Harare.

By Our Correspondents

KWEKWE - Movement for Democratic Change president, Morgan Tsvangirai, was arrested again Thursday but was released without charges being laid against him late in the afternoon.

His arrest in the Midlands city of Kwekwe Thursday was his third in one week. The police pounced on the MDC leader hours after they arrested MDC secretary general Tendai Biti at Harare International Airport at midday.

Tsvangirai was arrested on the inaugural trip of his campaign bus, which was launched in Harare yesterday and has attracted thousands of supporters in the capital city, in the town of Norton, 50 kilometres of Harare, In the Mashonaland West Town of Chegutu and finally in Kwekwe.

In Chegutu recently elected Member of Parliament, Takalani Matibe was arrested soon after Tsvangirai visited his home, attracting thousands of local supporters. Zanu-PF militants then stoned Matibe’s home and looted property.

Tsvangirai’s convoy of vehicles was ordered to drive to Kwekwe Police Station. The convoy had initially been stopped at a roadblock just before entering the city. Last week Tsvangirai was arrested twice as he campaigned in the Matabeleland region, in Lupane and at Esigodini. His vehicle, a BMW X5 sports utility, was impounded. Tsvangirai was prevented from addressing scheduled rallies.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, said no charges had been preferred against Tsvangirai following his arrest in Kwekwe.

“The President’s Victory Tour bus had earlier caused commotion along the Harare-Bulawayo Highway,” Chamisa said, “with Zanu-PF thugs indiscriminately beating up any passers-by who waved at it.

“In Kadoma thousands of on-lookers went into a frenzy. They jumped with joy and waved at the convoy. But their joy was short-lived. Just after the convoy passed through hordes of Zanu-PF supporters beat people in the town up for waving at the motorcade.”

After Kwekwe Tsvangirai was expected to proceed to Gweru, the Midlands provincial capital.

“But news is that the police have already surrounded the Gweru Press Club where he was scheduled to address journalists this evening,” Chamisa said.

Meanwhile, said Chamisa, the whereabouts of Biti remained unknown. He had last been seen being shoved, with hands handcuffed behind his back, into a Mercedes Benz, registration number AAO 3822, which then drove away at high speed.

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... and arrested again


Zimbabwe police arrest Tsvangirai again: MDC
Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:59pm EDT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean police arrested opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai for a second time on Thursday as he campaigned for the country's
June 27 presidential run-off election, the Movement for Democratic Change

"MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was re-arrested while driving into Gweru,
his next stop on his presidential election campaign. The president and his
entourage are currently being held at a police station in Gweru," the MDC
said in a statement.

Tsvangirai, who faces President Robert Mugabe in the election later this
month, was detained by police earlier on Thursday at a police roadblock
outside of Kwekwe and released after two hours.

(Reporting by Paul Simao)

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Zimbabwe campaign: Secret documents

10:53 GMT, Thursday, 12 June 2008 11:53 UK

Undercover BBC News correspondent Ian Pannell has obtained evidence of plans by Zimbabwe's ruling party to harass and drive out opposition supporters.


Management Action...

The first document outlines who is running the campaign in Midlands Province. The JOC referred to is the Joint Operations Command, made up of the heads of the military and state security organisations. On the supervising committee are: senior Zanu-PF official Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has denied reports he is now running the country as chairman of the JOC; Edna Mazongwe, who is the speaker of the outgoing Senate, and Joshua Malinga, a campaigner for the rights of disabled people, who was a senator.


War veterans...

Jabulani Sibanda and Joseph Chinotomba are leaders of Zimbabwe's association of veterans of the 1970s war of independence. The group has been used recently as a Zanu-PF militia.


Covert operations...

Thousands of opposition MDC supporters have been assaulted and at least 60 killed, mostly in rural areas which voted for the MDC. The resettled farmers are those given land under President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme.



The government has denied repeated claims it is denying food aid to opposition areas. Last week, it banned aid agencies from rural areas, which critics say is to tighten its control of food aid.

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American food aid confiscated and handed over to Zanu PF

By Alex Bell
12 June 2008

A truck loaded with about 20 tons of American food aid, intended for poor
school children, was confiscated by Zimbabwean authorities last Friday and
distributed to supporters of Robert Mugabe at a political rally.

The incident took place in an area called Bambazonke near the town of Mutare
in eastern Zimbabwe.
The truck was hired by one of three nongovernmental organizations - CARE,
Catholic Relief Services and World Vision - that form a consortium and
contract with the United States Agency for International Development to
distribute food aid in Zimbabwe.

American officials said the truck's cargo of wheat, beans and vegetable oil
was intended for 26 primary schools and was part of a school food program
that provides hungry children with one solid meal a day.
Officials said the truck began its rounds last Thursday, but it had a
mechanical breakdown and wound up seeking safety by parking overnight at the
Bambazonke police station. That evening, the government released a letter
ordering the suspension of all field operations by aid groups, but it
reached many of the groups only last Friday - too late to head off the truck
on its rounds.

The government ordered that all aid groups suspend their operations and
claimed that some groups were giving out food as bribes to win votes for the
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of the presidential runoff on June

Political analysts, aid workers and human rights groups have countered this
and have said that the Zanu PF has ruthlessly used food to reward supporters
and punish opponents in a country where millions of people would go hungry
every year without foreign aid.

American ambassador James D. McGee said in an interview on Wednesday that
the seizure of the truck is a case in point of Mugabe's party tactics ahead
of the run off election on June 27.

McGee said: 'This government will stop at nothing, even starving the most
defenseless people in the country - young children - to realize their
political ambitions'

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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JOC meets al-Qaida officials

By Norbert Jacobs ⋅ ⋅ June 12, 2008 ⋅  Email This Post ⋅
Post a comment
British intelligence agents working for MI6 in Africa have established that
President Robert Mugabe’s top generals, who control Zimbabwe’s Joint
Operations Command, have met with two extremist terror groups linked to
al-Qaida about plans for an “Islamic empire” in southern Africa in which
Zimbabwe would play a crucial role.

The meetings were held while Mugabe was in Rome last week as a guest of the
United Nations conference on the world food shortage.

Intelligence agents at the conference confirmed Mugabe was in daily touch
with the generals to discuss details of their secret meetings with the PAGAD
and Qibla groups — regarded by London and Washington as two of the most
dangerous terror organizations operating on the African continent.

“The purpose was to see how the groups could provide the arms that China
failed to deliver recently when the ship’s cargo was turned away from
African ports and forced to return to China,” confirmed a senior
intelligence source.

The meetings were held in Bulawayo in a government safe house last week.

Chairing the discussions was Gen. Constantine Chiwenga, the country’s
overall military chief. With him were Augustine Chihuri, the Zimbabwe chief
of police; Gen. Paradzai Zimondi, head of the prison service, and the fourth
member was Air Marshal Perence Shiri, the commander of the country’s air

All four fought in Mugabe’s guerrilla force during the war against white
rule in the 1970s.

An MI6 intelligence analyst described the quartet as “the junta which is now
running Zimbabwe on a daily basis. It was they who stopped Mugabe from
quitting when he lost the first presidential election in March. It was they
who ordered the attack on British and U.S. diplomats last week and control
the continued campaign of terror against the opposition, Movement for
Democratic Change.”

The junta’s links with Qibla and PAGAD have raised serious concerns within
MI6 and other Western intelligence services that Zimbabwe soon could face a
full-scale blood bath.

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Chegutu MDC MP arrested, house destroyed

June 12, 2008

HARARE - Takalani Matibe, the MP elect for Chegutu West hosted Movement for
Democratic Change President, Morgan Tsvangirai, in his home Thursday morning
when he stopped over in the Mashonaland West town of Chegutu.

Soon after Tsvangirai's visit, which attracted thousands of local MDC
supporters to the MP's home, the police descended on Matibe and arrested
him. Moments later local Zanu-PF militants arrived on the scene and razed
Matibe's house to the ground.

"President Tsvangirai was on a victory tour in Chegutu and he passed through
the home of Hon. Matibe," MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa said. "Thousands of
people came out to greet him. However, soon after he had left Hon. Matibe's
residence, a group of Zanu PF supporters descended there and destroyed
property. They looted some of his property."

Meanwhile, the rural home of Kwekwe MP elect, Blessing Chebundo was last
night also razed to the ground in Kazangarare Village in Hurungwe,
apparently also by Zanu PF militia, Chamisa said. No one had been arrested
in either incident, he said.

"Armed Zanu-PF militants attacked the homestead last night," Chamisa said.

He said Chebundo's relatives, including his grandmother, who were sleeping
in the house were attacked and forced to flee for their lives. Four of them
had since been admitted to hospital.

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Thabo Mbeki blocks UN Zimbabwe agenda

The Australian

June 13, 2008

HARARE: The horrors of Zimbabwe's political violence will not feature on the
agenda of the UN Security Council meeting overnight after South African
President Thabo Mbeki blocked an attempt to put the crisis on the program.

The Security Council will now discuss only the humanitarian situation in
Zimbabwe, separating it from the ongoing political violence in the lead-up
to the presidential runoff.

Critics said it was hard to divorce the humanitarian crisis from the
political violence as the deliberate displacement of thousands of people,
the militarisation of food aid and the ban on international aid agencies
were all political tactics that had greatly deepened Zimbabwe's suffering.

The US and Britain were furious with South Africa's block at the UN,
achieved with Russia's help. Washington and London had lobbied to raise the
Zimbabwean crisis as an urgent matter after embassy staff who met victims in
the countryside were detained and harassed.

But Mr Mbeki is determined to keep Zimbabwe off the international agenda,
insisting that it is a problem for Africans to solve. Relations within his
own regional grouping, the Southern African Development Community, however,
are splintering over his attempts to prevent them from doing exactly that.

Yesterday, Mr Mbeki publicly denounced Zimbabwe's violence for the first
time, calling it a matter of "serious concern".

Yet he failed to lay blame on the Mugabe regime.

Mr Mbeki still appears to believe that he can settle the crisis. His
officials are said to have brokered talks between the Movement for
Democratic Change and ZANU-PF to form a government of national unity.

But neither side is likely to accept the role of junior partner, so the
process will almost certainly fail.

The diplomatic farce at the UN emerged as the US ambassador to Zimbabwe said
a truck loaded with 20 tonnes of American food aid for poor schoolchildren
had been confiscated by regime officials who ordered the wheat and pinto
beans be handed out to Mugabe supporters at a political rally.

"This Government will stop at nothing, even starving the most defenceless
people in the country - young children - to realise their political
ambitions," James McGee told The New York Times yesterday.

The regime ordered all humanitarian aid groups to suspend their operations
last week, charging that some of them were giving out food as bribes to win
votes for opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the June 27 runoff against

The Times, Agencies

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Zimbabwe Vigil's Protest outside the South Africa High Commission, London - 12th June 2008


It was appropriate that the Zimbabwe Vigil's demonstration outside the South
African High Commission in London took place on Thursday 12th June.  By
chance Thursday was the day when the Zimbabwe situation was to be discussed
by the UN Security Council.  Unsurprisingly, South Africa insisted that only
the humanitarian situation be discussed: the political situation (murders
and tortures) was not important enough.

The same attitude was reflected by the Hugh Commission, which initially
refused to accept our petition.  It all had to be arranged in advance they
said.  Like the outcome of the Presidential Run-off?  It was pointed out to
them what bad public relations this was, and we would simply put the
petition through the letter box. There is no letter box, they pointed out.
Well we would go round the corner to the Post Office and send it by
registered post.  Then they changed their mind and allowed one person to
take the petition in to reception. Let's hope Mbeki changes his mind as

To remind everyone, the wording of the petition: "A Petition to Thabo Mbeki:
Following the recent attacks on Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals in
South Africa we, the undersigned, call on President Mbeki to take action to
ensure the safety of these endangered people and bring the perpetrators to
justice.  We urge President Mbeki to end his support of President Mugabe,
allowing a resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis and the return home of exiled
Zimbabweans. Zimbabwean blood is at your door."

 Accompanying it was the following letter to President Mbeki: "We have been
horrified by the recent xenophobic attacks on Zimbabweans and other
foreigners in South Africa and enclose a petition signed on Saturday 7th
June by people passing by the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating
outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, London, every Saturday for the past 6 years
The situation can only get worse if Zanu PF is allowed to cling to power.
More and more Zimbabweans will have no choice but to flee.  We believe there
is a crisis in Zimbabwe and that you can help resolve it.  We pray to God
you will rise to this challenge."

The idea for the demonstration came from the ground of the Zimbabwe Vigil
and it was good to see people making such sacrifices to be with us.  The
singing and drumming made a strong impression on a Thursday lunch hour in
Trafalgar Square. People going past saw our banners: "No to Mugabe, No to
Starvation", "End Murder, Rape and Torture in Zimbabwe" and "Mbeki:
Zimbabwean blood on your hands".   The photographs of the recent atrocities
made a great impact.  When we explained what had happened in one incident a
gentleman broke down in tears.  The demonstration perhaps reached its height
when, singing and dancing, all fingers were pointed at the South African
High Commission. Without your help what hope have we?

We estimate that some 40 came to the Vigil but these are the people who
signed  the register: Doreen Mushowo, Dumi Tutani, Emmah Nyakurerwa, Enock
Dzonga, Evelyn Mhande, Francesca Toft, Fungayi Mabhunu, Geraldine Takundwa,
Gilbert Kandido, Jerry Mtotela, Josephine Kazembe, Khama Mutambanadzo,
Lovemore Mukeyani, Luka Phiri, Masimba K Chikore, Mildred Mwakwami, Molly
Ngawaimbe, Molly Denga, Nancy Chitiyo, Nancy Muparanga, Newton Chikwaina,
Paradzai Mapfumo, Patson Muzuwa, Prosper Kasilika, Rose Benton, Roseline
Motsi, Rudo Munhapa, Sue Toft, Teela Mukanhaira, Tirzah Loewenstein, Dennis

For photos of the event, check:

Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Exiled Zimbabweans protest in London against South Africa's policy

By Alex Bell
12 June 2008

A crowd of exiled Zimbabweans gathered outside the South African High
Commission in London Thursday to demonstrate against the South African
government's policy on Zimbabwe, as well as the recent xenophobic violence
that has forced thousands of foreigners out of South Africa.

The group of about forty demonstrators staged the protest this afternoon and
presented a petition expressing horror at the recent attacks that left more
than 60 foreigners in South Africa dead.
The violence there came as thousands of Zimbabweans were forced to flee
their homes and take refuge in South Africa, after the disputed March 29
presidential polls saw an upsurge of attacks on opposition supporters and a
climbing death toll.

A copy of the petition was handed to Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond
Tutu in London on Monday, where he asked forgiveness on behalf of the people
of South Africa for the violence against foreigners.

The petition reads: "A Petition to Thabo Mbeki: Following the recent attacks
on Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals in South Africa we, the
undersigned, call on President Mbeki to take action to ensure the safety of
these endangered people and bring the perpetrators to justice. We urge
President Mbeki to end his support of President Mugabe, allowing a
resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis and the return home of exiled Zimbabweans.
"Zimbabwean blood is at your door."

Thursday's protest came as the political violence in Zimbabwe was once again
blocked by South Africa from being placed on the agenda of the United
Nations Security Council. The Council met Thursday to discuss Zimbabwe, but
as a concession to South Africa they agreed only to discuss the humanitarian
crisis and not the political one. Mbeki has been widely criticised for his
quiet support of Mugabe, and for not taking stronger action against the
economic, political and humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday Mbeki publicly denounced Zimbabwe's violence for the first
time, calling it a matter of 'serious concern', but he opened the doors for
further criticism by failing to lay the blame on the Mugabe regime. Rose
Benton from the the Zimbabwe Vigil , the group that organised Thursday's
demonstration said it is 'unacceptable' that Mbeki's condemnation has come
so late after the violence in Zimbabwe started and that the South African
President's 'quiet diplomacy' can no longer be tolerated.

Benton said she hopes their petition will force Mbeki to start taking action
to prevent not only violence in Zimbabwe, but also attacks on foreigners in
his own country. She said: 'More and more Zimbabweans will have no choice
but to flee. We believe there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and that he (Mbeki)
can help resolve it'.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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US steps up criticism of Zimbabwe regime

Associated press

jun 12, 3:05 PM EDT

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration says Zimbabwe's government is
stooping to new lows to try to keep its grip on power ahead of a hotly
contested presidential run-off election this month.

U.S. officials accused authorities in the African nation of "unconscionable
behavior" by stealing American food aid intended for hungry schoolchildren
and giving it to government supporters.

They also condemned the police for twice on Thursday detaining President
Robert Mugabe's challenger, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and the
jailing of the No. 2 in his Movement for Democratic Change party, Tendai
Biti, to face treason charges in a dramatic escalation of a government
crackdown ahead of the June 27 election.

"This is a government that is taking tremendous and, frankly, awful strides
to maintain its power, that is increasingly abusing its own citizens and has
raised, or should I say lowered, the bar to a level that we rarely see,"
said Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman.

His comments came after Biti was detained at the Harare airport after
stepping off a flight from South Africa and police said he would be charged
with treason - which carries the possibility of the death penalty - and also
the moves against Tsvangirai, who was picked up twice while campaigning.

"We have seen the second arrest in a single day," Gallegos said. "This
tactic of repeated detention is yet another despicable example of the
regime's concerted effort to ensure that the opposition in Zimbabwe cannot
mount an effective run-off campaign."

Tsvangirai has now been detained four times while running against Mugabe,
the longtime ruler increasingly unpopular for repressive ways and a wrecked

The arrests came as news emerged of the food aid seizure last week in which
a shipment of 20 tons of U.S.-donated grains, beans and oil being sent to a
school in eastern Zimbabwe was hijacked by security forces and then passed
out to Mugabe backers at a pro-government rally.

"The government party (is) actually using the threat of hunger on poor
Zimbabwean children as a weapon against their parents so that they vote for
President Mugabe," Gallegos said.

The June 6 incident took place before the government ordered independent
relief agencies to halt distribution of aid in what is widely seen as an
attempt to channel food and other assistance to those who promise to vote
for Mugabe in the run-off.

"We believe that this must end," Gallegos said. "We call on the government,
the Zimbabwean authorities, to immediately reinstate permission for all aid
agencies to resume their life-saving assistance. Failure to do so
constitutes the government of Zimbabwean complicity in the assault,
suffering and deaths of innocent citizens."

The seized aid shipment contained items donated by American taxpayers
through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), one of the
leading contributors of assistance to Zimbabwe, which has been hit with
crippling hyperinflation, crop failures and food shortages that many blame
on Mugabe's controversial economic policies.

USAID director Henrietta Fore said the hijacking was done at the behest of
the local governor who then ordered that it be distributed to supporters of
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

"This unconscionable behavior must stop," she said in a statement. "It is
unacceptable for the Government of Zimbabwe to steal food from hungry

"It also represents an orchestrated theft of U.S. government property," she
said. "Those responsible should be brought to justice."

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SA's policy on Zimbabwe will not change -Mbeki


June 12, 2008, 15:30

President Thabo Mbeki has told Parliament that government's policy on
Zimbabwe will remain unchanged. In his reply to the debate on the budget of
the Presidency, Mbeki has rejected calls for him to distance himself from
President Robert Mugabe.

Mbeki says the government will continue to engage with Zimbabwean leaders on
the basis that the country's people must freely elect their government.
Yesterday Mbeki said incidents of violence and the disruption of electoral
activities in Zimbabwe are a cause for concern. This after reports of
disruption of electoral activities of opposition parties ahead of the June
27 presidential run-off elections.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe police today arrested main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general Tendai Biti as he arrived in the
country from neighbouring South Africa. He was arrested at Harare
International Airport.

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Enough of the quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe

Thu, 06/12/2008 - 10:22am

Incredibly, the situation is Zimbabwe grows ever more outrageous. There is simply no doubt that the runoff election on June 27 is going to be stolen by Mugabe's thugs. Opposition rallies have been banned. Aid organizations have been shuttered and diplomats detained. In a country on the brink of famine, authorities yesterday confiscated food aid earmarked for starving children and doled it out to Mugabe's supporters instead. Jails are being emptied to make room for opposition troublemakers -- anything to intimidate people away from polls (as if top generals weren't already doing a fine job of that). Abductions, beatings, and torture are commonplace since opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai bested President Mugabe at the polls in March.

But where are the outraged public statements? Hitchens is right: A denunciation from Mandela would boom in this enviroment, as would the pope's. (Good to see Desmond Tutu calling Mugabe's regime a "nightmare" yesterday.) South Africa's Mbeki has shown himself spineless in denouncing Mugabe's actions, and this recent statement by President Bush is simply not going to cut it. The polite applause Mugabe earned on his recent trip to Rome was just too much.

What's Bush got to lose? He should be out there every day condemning the brutalization of Zimbabwe's opposition and the inevitability that the country simply won't get anything approaching a free and fair election on June 27. What's preventing him -- or anyone else in a position of power -- from doing more than just throwing stern glances in Mugabe's direction?

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NCA condemns Tsvangirai and Biti's arrests

12 June 2008

The National Constitutional Assembly condemns Tsvangirai and Biti's arrests.
The National Constitutional Assembly wishes to voice its concern and
distress at the arrest of the Movement for Democratic Change's President
Morgan Tsvangirai in Kwekwe this morning and the party's Secretary General,
Mr. Tendai Biti, at the Harare International Air-port this afternoon.

While condemning this appalling act by the Zimbabwean Government we wish to
salute and congratulate Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Biti for their courageous
acts, of going back to serve the people of Zimbabwe in their quest for
freedom. The NCA laud Mr. Tsvangirai for defying the regime's fear tactics
and giving himself to see the Zimbabwean struggle coming to its logical
conclusion. Mr. Biti's act of bravery cannot go without commend given the
public threats against him by the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Augustine
Chihuri, of what awaited him should he go back home. Against all this he has
put himself in grave danger for the sake of the struggle.

Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Biti's brave acts are an inspiration to all those who
are at the front-line fighting for democracy. These acts of bravery are an
honour to those whose blood has been spilt in the recent vicious history of
Zanu-PF's intransigence in its refusal to accept that Zimbabweans want a
change of Government. Their blood has not been lost in vain, the struggle
for the democratic values and principles they stood for continues.

Since March 29, lives have been taken, homes destroyed, scores of activists
arrested, elected officials have not been spared in this despotic campaign
meant to cow the masses from expressing their desire for change once again
on 27 of June.

We call upon SADC and in particular South-Africa to take Mr. Biti's arrest
seriously, given the threats by the Police Commissioner and also given the
prominent role he has played in the SADC's mediation. The Government of
Zimbabwe must be pressured to release all political prisoners.

The NCA implores SADC to stop Zanu PF from interfering with Mr. Tsvangirai
from campaigning. It is of concern to the NCA that Tsvangirai is arrested
every time he takes himself to the campaign field.

SADC should there-fore view, Mr. Tsvangirai and Mr. Biti's arrests and
numerous other arrests of high ranking civic officials as a deliberate
attempt by the Zanu - PF party and in particular President Robert Mugabe to
undermine the regional body's standing and integrity in the eyes of the

We reiterate that the police should stand up and defend people who are being
victimized and tortured every day by Zanu- PF militia and members of the
Central Intelligence office. It is of concern to the NCA that perpetrators
of violence are walking free because they are a part of Zanu PF while
innocent citizens are arrested, harassed and tortured on daily basis. Their
crime- a demand for a free society, a demand for a democratic Zimbabwe, a
demand for a "free and fair elections in which international observers are
allowed to over see".

On our part as Zimbabweans we remain committed to the cause of justice and
democracy. In this regard we will continue to fight for a new people driven
democratic constitution which will grant the freedoms that we are yearning
for as a country.
Bumbiro ngarinyorwe nevanhu

NCA media unit

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Foreign Secretary statement on the arrest of Tendai Biti

Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Thursday 12 June 2008 18:28

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (National)

"Either a credible charge should be made, and promptly, against MDC Secretary General Biti or he should be released immediately. Until then we can only assume his arrest is part of the pattern of ongoing harassment intended to disrupt lawful campaigning ahead of the election. Tendai Biti should be given immediate access to legal representation and bail. We and the rest of the international community are watching and we hold the Zimbabwe Government responsible for his physical safety."

Press Office,
Downing Street (West),
London SW1A 2AL

COI ref 162061P

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SADC Observers Arrive

By Roy Chinamano ⋅ ⋅ June 12, 2008 ⋅  Email This Post ⋅
Post a comment
More than 100 observers from the Southern African Development Community
began deploying across Zimbabwe on Thursday ahead of a June 27 run-off
presidential election.

“We are now ready for deployment. Today is our D-day. Today we are now going
out,” Thanki Mothae, director of SADC’s secretariat on politics, defence and
security, told reporters in Harare.

Mothae said 120 observers were fanning out across Zimbabwe in the first wave
of deployments but more than 400 should be in place by polling day when
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is hoping to oust President Robert

“We had earlier anticipated that we would have 300 observers or so but based
on the responses from member countries we will have more than 400 by polling
day,” said Mothae.

Although the Zimbabwe government has banned Western countries from
monitoring the run-off, observer missions from the African Union and the
Pan-African Parliament are also due to deploy before election day.

SADC was heavily criticised by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) after a mission gave the first round of voting on March 29 a largely
clean bill of health even before any of the results had been announced.

In a follow-up report, SADC expressed its concern over mounting levels of
violence but apportioned the blame to all parties.

Mothae said it was important that the latest SADC mission was even-handed in
its approach.

“Let’s be very careful on the statements we are going to make out there. We
are not here to take sides but to help the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Whatever we do must be in line with the laws of the country,” he added.

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SADC Advocacy to get Election Observers to do their job properly

From: Trudy Stevenson
Sent: Thursday, June 12, 2008 6:45 PM

Good idea from Alex:

SADC Advocacy to get Observers to do their job properly

Do you think there can be free and fair elections in Zimbabwe? What matters
is what the SADC observers think. Chances are they will give it a clean bill
of health and say that the election represents the will of the people. They
have done that with previous elections. Even after the counting farce of
March 29.

If you read the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic
Elections you might choke.

As if there is any way the June 27 election will conform to these

So what is to be done? Let’s put pressure on those observers. Let’s tell
them “We are watching you.” If they say it’s free and fair, let’s challenge
them in The SADC Tribunal. Lets raise awareness throughout SADC about what
is really going on. The more public the thing is the more difficult it will
be for them to lie and say it was free and fair!  Let’s also write and call
to alert SADC citizens to help us put pressure on their Observers.

Below are some newspaper and government addresses in the 13 other SADC
countries. If you can add to the list please email back to  If you can write or speak French or Portuguese,
please do to those countries!

If you want some inspiration about Mbeki read “The Despot’s Democracy”
content/article/2008/05/27/AR2008052702556.html –

Don’t let SADC say they didn’t have the resources. The UN has promised huge
help if only they ask.


South Africa

Business Day -

Mail and Guardian -
For The Star, Cape Times, Mercury etc see their websites and send letter via
Cape Argus :

The Daily News, Editor       James Mphande
The Nation, Malawi, no address yet

  Ministry of Foreign Affairs  Email :
P.O. Box 30315,′Capital City,′Lilongwe 3, ′MALAWI.Telephone: (+265) 1 789
088, 1 788 020, 1 789 323  Fax :  (+265) 1 788 482, 1 788 516

Times of Zambia
Head Office′Kabelenga Avenue′P.O. Box 70069 Ndola′Zambia′′Tel:
026-02-614469′    : 026-02-617096′    : 026-02-/612865′′Fax: 026-02-614469′
: 026-02-617096
Zambia Post : or
The Daily Mail- no address yet
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zambia  Hon. Kabinga PANDE  Minister of Foreign
Affairs  POB RW50069, Lusaka, Zambia  Tel: 260 1 213 882  Fax: 260 1 222

The Public Eye  no address available yet
Mopheme  no address yet

Mozambique (Portuguese & English)
Mozambique Information Agency (AIM)

also a Mozambican journalist sympathetic to Zim: Mozambique:


Mmegi Editor:
Monitor Editor:


The Namibian  Letters to the Editor′Letters for publication are welcome and
can be sent to
Die Republikein
Address: Omurambaweg 11, Posbus 3436, WHK, Tel: (061) 297 2000, Faks: (061)
23 721
New Era – no address yet
Mauritius (French & English)

The Mauritius Times email: (weekly)
Le Matinal (English and French) &
AAPCA (Mauritius) Ltd′AAPCA House, 6 Rue La Poudriere Street′Port-Louis,
Mauritius′Tel: +230 2070909′Fax: +230 213 4069′Website:
Le Mauritien
Mauritius News
L’Express and
5-Plus Dimanche and

Madagascar (French)
L’Express (French)
Madagascar Tribune (French)
Administration - Rédaction : ′MADAGASCAR TRIBUNE′lalana
Ravoninahitriniarivo′Antananarivo 101 - Madagascar′ ′Tel. : +261 (0)20 22
226 35
The Swazi Observer  Musa Ndlangamandla  Chief
Editor   Cell: +268 622 9497
The Times of Swaziland
Angola (Portuguese)

Jornal De Angola

The Express
The Daily News    TSN Daily News building,
Samora Avenue, Plot No. 7, P.O.Box 9033, Dar es Salaam,  Telephone:
+255222110595, Fax: +255222135239 0r +255222112881
The Citizen Tanzania

DRC (French)

La Conscience: and
Kinshasa Times – can’t see email address
Le Phare – tel +243 81 502 5079
L’Avenir – tel +243 99 99 42 485 or +243 99 82 40 117
Le Potentiel –
Le Soft –

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Translation of Beeld article

Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 12:46 AM
Subject: Translation of Beeld article

Hi Ladies

The translation of the article from Beeld that you published today is horrendous.

I have done a proper translation below.  Please ask if you need help translating Afrikaans articles.  It’s really not that difficult for those of us who learnt Afrikaans at school!

Kind regards


The Zimbabwean government has ordered that people who possess satellite dishes for TV reception must remove the dishes from the roofs of their houses.
According to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Operation Dzikisai Madishi (pull down your satellite dish) is aimed at denying Zimbabweans access to e-TV, the SABC, Botswana TV as well as certain DSTV channels.
This leaves Zimbabweans with only the programmes from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation which is under State control.  Only urban areas receive proper reception.  Reception in the rural areas is, on the whole, very weak.
According to an MDC statement, “This operation is part of a calculated effort by the regime to close down all channels which can be used to get information and thereby to steal the election.”
Operation Dzikisai madishi follows after Operation Makavotera papi (who did you vote for) that has lead to widespread violence against voters who voted for the MDC in the March 29 elections.
Operation Dzikisai madishi began last week in South Matabeleland and is, according to the MDC, now being carried out countrywide by elements of the Central Intelligence Organisation, the army, the police and youth militia.
Reuters reports from Harare that the Mugabe regime has indicated that in areas where the MDC enjoys the greatest support it will deploy more War Veterans.
In the Masvingo Province where Zanu-PF lost various Parliamentary seats, party officials told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation that they will unleash the campaign “on problem areas where MDC structures have dug in”.
 “We urge units of War Veterans to enter these areas and to confront these people and companies who are supporting them” said retired Major General Alex Mudavanhu, Zanu-PF’s Masvingo chairman.
“We are going to tell the people that Zanu-PF is not going to lose this election”, he said.

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Harassment of aid groups continues as state agents descend on offices

By Tererai Karimakwenda
June 12, 2008

A week after ordering non-governmental organizations to cease operations in
the country, state agents have been descending on the offices of many NGOs
to make sure they are complying. Hearing about this some organisations
decided to close early on Thursday. Eileen Sawyer, director of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum, said they had closed the office in Harare early and
sent staff home, unsure of the nature of the operation. Earlier this week
police and intelligence agents raided the Ecumenical Centre which houses
many faith based groups. Several officials were arrested and equipment was

Sawyer said the word was put out to ZANU-PF's rural structures to close down
NGOs, and this is being acted on. She says the harassment of civil groups is
having a very negative effect on their employees. "The staff are
apprehensive and productivity is at its lowest. This madness probably won't
end before the elections. Insanity is prevailing at every turn. Humanitarian
groups are the last bastion of democracy in this country. In advance of this
runoff election they are trying to close down democratic space as much as
possible" said Sawyer.

State agents descended on the offices of the umbrella National Association
of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) and their chairperson, Cephas
Zinhumwe, confirmed that his group had suspended field operations until
further notice. He said they were not going to close their offices because
the order was specifically to suspend field operations. He added that he
understood several other organisations had been visited on Thursday.

There are unconfirmed reports that the offices of Bulawayo Agenda, Gweru
Agenda and Nango Midlands were also raided by police on Thursday. We were
unable to reach them for comment.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Where the Hell is the international community in Zimbabwe?

 In the past week, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's hyper-violent thugs
have burned to death the wives of two opposition leaders. In the first case,
they also burned the opposition leader's six-year-old son. In the second
case, the woman was first mulilated.

That's right: The president's men are hacking off hands and feet, and
burning people alive.

This information comes from The Times of London, which has a reporter in
Mhondoro, where the second murder took place and who gave this report:

"The men who pulled up in three white pickup trucks were looking for Patson
Chipiro, head of the Zimbabwean opposition party in Mhondoro district. His
wife, Dadirai, told them he was in Harare but would be back later in the
day, and the men departed.

An hour later they were back. They grabbed Mrs Chipiro and chopped off one
of her hands and both her feet. Then they threw her into her hut, locked the
door and threw a petrol bomb through the window."

It is a horrifying development, but is it surprising? Every week, the news
coming out of Zimbabwe is worse. So much so that this is, sadly, no longer

But the situation there has intensified lately. Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has been detained, time and again, while trying to campaign for
the June 27 "runoff election" that Mugabe will clearly steal.

Make no mistake, Tsvangirai is a brave man, and one who obviously believes
there's something worth saving in his native land. In fact, it's not a
stretch to say he clearly believes there's something worth dying for in
Zimbabwe, because to deny that his life should be considered to be in grave
danger every day he remains there looks to be ignoring the facts on the

Thursday, the second ranking member of his oppostion party, Tendai Biti,
returned to Zimbabwe from self-imposed exile, only to be arrested at the
Harare airport. He word from there is that he will be charged with treason,
for which he can be executed.

The crime? He demanded Democracy is the allegedly Democratic state.

From an AP report on the arrest:

"Biti, secretary-general of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
party, also will be charged with making false statements "prejudicial to the
state," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said.

The treason charge relates to what Bvudzijena described as a transition
document discussing changing Zimbabwe's government.

The second charge refers to accusations that Biti announced election results
before the official count was released. Under Zimbabwean law, only the
electoral commission can announce results.

Bvudzijena said Biti was in police custody but would not say where. He said
Biti would be charged "as soon as we are through with our investigation,"
but would not be more specific.

Biti's detention robs the party of one of its most impassioned spokesmen.
Biti has led on-and-off talks with Mugabe's party, and his arrest may signal
Mugabe's final rejection of the possibility of negotiating Zimbabwe out of
its political and economic crisis."

 To believe that, in two weeks, we'll see anything but a sham of an election
in Zimbabwe is, of course, foolish. Mugabe is now threatening voters with
both violence and starvation, should they fail to back him.

The tragedy in this is that, had he stepped down gracefully in the early to
mid 1990s, after more than a decade in charge of Zimbabwe post British rule,
he would have spent his retirement being fested around the world as leader
with vision, as one of the shining lights of sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe
looked like a multi-racial model. The economy was strong, and growing, on
the back of a vibrant agriculture sector. The future looked very bright, for
the then "Emerald of Africa," the "Breadbasket of Africa."

But he didn't, and since the late 90s, Zimbabwe has declined under him, in
recent years, rapidly. It's current horrific state, to a point where the
wives of the opposition are burned alive, cannot be tolerated.

Clearly, it is Zimbabwe, not a US territory, and it's clearly not a US issue
alone. But it's time to put some bite into our condemnation of this manmade

It's past time. We, the industrialized and industrializing world, need
direct, and harsh, talks with Mugabe, pushing him towards the exit. Ensure
the election accurate, buy him out of office, and Zimbabwe can flourish

Submitted by Matt Schofield on June 12, 2008 - 11:58am.

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Key role for Mugabe's security chiefs

Thursday, 12 June 2008 14:24 UK

By Joseph Winter
BBC News

Zimbabwe is now being run by a military junta, according to the opposition leader and Western diplomats.

Commissioner general of the Zimbabwe police, Augustine Chihuri, right, addresses a press conference, as the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Constantine Chiwenga, second from right, Air Force chief Perence Shiri
Have these three men taken control of the country?

Human rights groups say the military is organising a campaign of violence against opposition Movement for Democratic Change activists and supporters, designed to ensure that President Robert Mugabe is re-elected in the run-off due on 27 June.

The army has denied these reports but security chiefs have played a political role since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980.

Mr Mugabe came to power following a guerrilla war and those who took part in that conflict went on to take the top positions in both political and military spheres.

The former comrades remain united through the ruling party, Zanu-PF.

And while much of the Western criticism of Zimbabwe's government is aimed personally at Mr Mugabe, in truth he cannot ignore the wishes of those standing in the shadows behind his throne - the security chiefs.

'Graceful exit'

In the days immediately after the 29 March elections, Harare was abuzz with rumours that Mr Mugabe knew he had lost and would stand down.

There was talk of negotiations with the opposition to ensure he would be allowed a "graceful exit".

We will not allow any puppets to take charge

Augustin Chihuri
Police chief

But then the ruling Zanu-PF party seemed to stiffen its resolve and vowed to take part in a second round, with Mr Mugabe as its candidate.

Numerous reports suggest it was the leaders of Zimbabwe's police, army and prison services, who persuaded Mr Mugabe to stand firm, despite getting fewer votes than MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

These negotiations took place while the release of official results was put on hold.

Then came the reports that MDC activists around the country were being assaulted, their houses set on fire, some abducted and killed.

The violence seems to be systematic - known MDC figures targeted in rural constituencies which voted the "wrong" way - certainly consistent with military-style planning, rather than spontaneous political violence.


In the run-up to the March elections, army commander General Constatine Chiwenga, police chief Augustine Chihuri and prisons service head Retired Major-General Paradzayi Zimondi all said they would only serve Mr Mugabe, not any "puppet" - the president's favourite term for the opposition.

While ordinary police officers and soldiers are feeling the consequences of Zimbabwe's economic collapse, their superiors are reportedly telling them they must all vote for Zanu-PF.

Zimbabwean independence fighters
Many of those who fought for independence now run Zimbabwe
And many members of the security forces have benefited from the redistribution of white-owned land in recent years.

They may also be at the front of the queue of those to be given shares taken from foreign businesses - a plan that Mr Mugabe announced just before the election.

But former Zimbabwean Lieutenant Colonel Martin Rupiya told the BBC that "a large section" of the security forces remained loyal to Mr Mugabe, sharing his political convictions and global outlook.

Mr Rupiya, now at South Africa's Institute of Security Studies, dismisses those who say that security officials have been bought off with land.

"I would not for one moment consider that that would be a payment to keep their loyalty," he said.

He estimates that 20-30% of the security forces are "politicised".

"The rest are suffering with the people," he said.

Land struggle

Gen Chiwenga, Commander Chihuri and Maj Zimondi all fought colonial rule, along with Mr Mugabe.

They are reported to be those at the forefront of the campaign of violence, through the Joint Operations Command (JOC).

The feared secret police, the Central Intelligence Organisation, will also be closely involved.

Supporter of Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe bases his manifesto on the struggle for land

Another key organisation is the Zimbabwe National Liberation war Veterans' Association, which has become a Zanu-PF militia.

The association's leaders retain links to their former comrades, even if they now recruit younger people to carry out much of the actual violence.

The fight to reclaim land taken from black farmers was one reason why many Zimbabweans joined the war.

Thirty years later, Mr Mugabe and his allies say the UK is trying to use the opposition to oust him to reverse his land redistribution.

"We will not allow any puppets to take charge," Mr Chihuri said two weeks before the March elections.

"Most of us in here are truly owners of the land," he told a group of police officers.

"This is the sovereignty we should defend at all costs because for us to get at this point others had to lose their lives. At this point, our gains should never be reversed."

So what happens after the second round?

Given their reaction to the first round set-back, it seems unlikely that Zanu-PF would quietly accept defeat if Mr Tsvangirai were to win.

Equally, suggestions that the security forces might not use force against opposition protests in the event of Mr Mugabe being declared the victor seem to be wishful thinking.

But with each report of new deaths, the MDC is becoming less inclined to give those responsible amnesty in exchange for stepping down and more inclined to seek justice.

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Mugabe says seized farms under-used

Yahoo News

Thursday June 12, 10:50 PM

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, seeking to keep power
in a June 27 election run-off, has conceded that beneficiaries of his farm
seizures are using less than half the land and threatened to take it off
Critics say the veteran leader has used the land reforms to help sustain his
28-year rule, rewarding supporters with fertile farms seized from whites -- 
although many are ill-equipped to properly engage in agriculture.

The official Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as saying only 42 percent of the
land was under full use and renewing threats to re-possess farms that were
not being properly used in a country suffering food shortages and economic

"We would soon ask people who are not utilising their land to retire from
the A2 (large-scale commercial) farms we allocated them," Mugabe told
business leaders and government officials.

"There are people who took up land for status purposes and we want to advise
them that they are not farmers, but settlers. We do not want settlers, we
will get that land and give it to people who deserve it," he said.

Mugabe has previously threatened to repossess farms from those failing to
produce. But critics question whether he would and point out that the
government is still giving cheap fuel, seed and fertilisers to a few farmers
from Zimbabwe's elite.

What was once southern Africa's breadbasket has been grappling with food
shortages since 2001, worsening an economic meltdown that Mugabe's opponents
blame on his policies. Zimbabwe's 165,000 percent inflation is the world's

Mugabe says Western sanctions are responsible for the collapse.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change draws most of its support
from urban Zimbabweans who have borne the brunt of the crisis, and its
leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in a March 29 presidential election.

But official figures showed Tsvangirai did not win by sufficient votes to
avoid a second round election, which has been set for June 27.

The MDC says ZANU-PF activists have killed 66 opposition supporters to try
to intimidate voters before run-off, and police have detained Tsvangirai
twice over the past week while trying to campaign. The ruling party blames
the opposition for the political violence.

The party said its secretary general, Tendai Biti, was arrested on Thursday
as he returned to the country after several weeks abroad.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, dismisses the MDC
as a puppet of Western powers seeking to oust him over the land
redistribution programme.

(Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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Press statement on the arrest and harassment of NCA activists and officials

June 11, 2008

The NCA continues to be subjected to an orgy of intimidation and violence at
the hands of ZANU PF militias and the police.

On Tuesday, 10 June, ZANU PF militias shut down the NCA office in Masvingo.
The closure of the office followed a spate of violent activities by members
of ZANU PF youth militias that resulted in the shuttering of the office's
windows on the night of Friday, 6 June. NCA staff in Masvingo were also
exposed to personal threats from the militias.

Today, 11 June, uniformed members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police forced the
NCA Matebeleland South office to close on the grounds that NGOs must not be
operating as per the government's recent directive.

NCA officers and members throughout the country have been the targets of
political violence in recent weeks. On Sunday, 8 June, the police arrested
the NCA Chairperson for Guruve Constituency, Biggie Bangira, on baseless
grounds. On the same day, the home of the NCA Information Secretary in
Epworth, Musa Mabika, was torched by ZANU PF militia. Mabika's wife and
sister were severely beaten and are currently recovering in a local
hospital. In recent days, Leon Chiimba, the NCA Mashonaland East
Chairperson, received death threats from ZANU PF militias and was forced to
flee his home.

These and other incidents of intimidation and violence directed at NCA
members and other Zimbabweans point to a dangerous and unacceptable pattern
of state-sponsored violence that is shrinking democratic space in Zimbabwe.
The current constitutional framework creates an environment in which
barbaric acts can be perpetrated, and human rights violated, with impunity.
The people of Zimbabwe are now living in fear of those who purport to have
liberated them.

This is not democracy. This is not what the war of liberation was waged for.
The revolution cannot be protected by acts that violate the very principles
upon which the revolution must be based. This betrayal by the current
government and those with a vested interest in upholding dictatorship cannot
be tolerated. The time has come for the people of Zimbabwe to be liberated
from the oppressive constitutional regime presided over by ZANU PF.

To its members and officials who have been exposed to acts of violence and
intimidation the NCA says: Do not give up. Keep up the fight. Freedom is on
its way.

348 Herbert Chitepo Avenue
Tel 04- 736338, 730431

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