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Mugabe threatens to unleash war veterans

Sydney Morning Herald

June 13, 2008 - 5:34PM

President Robert Mugabe has warned that veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s
liberation war are prepared to take up arms again rather than see the
opposition win a June 27 election, state media said today.

"They came to my office after the (first round of) elections and asked me:
'Can we take up arms?'," Mugabe was quoted by the Herald newspaper as
telling a rally in Murehwa, to the northeast of Harare.

"They said this country was won by the barrel of the gun and should we let
it go at the stroke of a pen? Should one just write an X and then the
country goes just like that?"


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Open letter calling for an end to violence
Prominent African civil society leaders have united to call for an end to violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe ahead of the elections on June 27 2008.       In this open letter, former heads of state, business leaders, academics and leading campaigners call for the presidential election to be conducted in a peaceful and transparent manner that allows the citizens of Zimbabwe to express freely their will.       This is crucial for the interests of Zimbabwe, and for Africa as a whole.       We invite you as individuals, and as representatives of civil society organisations to join our call by adding your signature to the letter.       Let your voice be heard.
Thank you for your support
The Letter
It is crucial for the interests of both Zimbabwe and Africa that the upcoming elections are free and fair.
Zimbabweans fought for liberation in order to be able to determine their own future. Great sacrifices were made during the liberation struggle. To live up to the aspirations of those who sacrificed, it is vital that nothing is done to deny the legitimate expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
As Africans we consider the forthcoming elections to be critical. We are aware of the attention of the world. More significantly we are conscious of the huge number of Africans who want to see a stable, democratic and peaceful Zimbabwe.
Consequently, we are deeply troubled by the current reports of intimidation, harassment and violence. It is vital that the appropriate conditions are created so that the Presidential run-off is conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner. Only then can the political parties conduct their election campaigning in a way that enables the citizens to express freely their political will.
In this context, we call for an end to the violence and intimidation, and the restoration of full access for humanitarian and aid agencies.
To this end it will be necessary to have an adequate number of independent electoral observers, both during the election process and to verify the results.
Whatever the outcome of the election, it will be vital for all Zimbabweans to come together in a spirit of reconciliation to secure Zimbabwe’s future.
We further call upon African leaders at all levels – pan-African, regional and national - and their institutions to ensure the achievement of these objectives.
The signatories are:
Abdusalami Alhaji Abubakar Former President of Nigeria (1998 - 1999)
Kofi Annan Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997 - 2007), Nobel Laureate and member of The Elders
Kwame Appiah Laurence S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University
Boutros Boutros-Ghali Former Secretary-General of the United Nations (1992 - 1997)
Lakhdar Brahimi Former United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq and South Africa, member of The Elders
Pierre Buyoya Former President of Burundi (1987 - 1993, 1996 - 2003)
Joaquim Chissano Former President of Mozambique (1986 - 2005)
John Githongo Former Permanent Secretary for Governance and Ethics in Kenya
Richard Goldstone Former Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
Mo Ibrahim Founder of Celtel International and Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation
Sam Jonah Former Chief Executive of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation
William Kalema Chairman of the Uganda Investment Authority
Kenneth David Kaunda Former President of Zambia (1964 - 1991)
Angelique Kidjo Musician and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Wangari Maathai Founder of the Green Belt Movement and Nobel Laureate
Graça Machel President for the Foundation for Community Development and member of The Elders
Ketumile Masire Former President of Botswana (1980 - 1998)
Moeletsi Mbeki Deputy Chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs
Benjamin William Mkapa Former President of Tanzania (1995 - 2005)
Festus Mogae Former President of Botswana (1998 - 2008)
António Mascarenhas Monteiro Former President of Cape Verde (1991 - 2001)
Elson Bakili Muluzi Former President of Malawi (1994 - 2004)
Ali Hassan Mwinyi Former President of Tanzania (1985 - 1995)
Kumi Naidoo Secretary General of CIVICUS
Domitien Ndayizeye Former President of Burundi (2003 - 2005)
Babacar Ndiaye Former President of the African Development Bank
Youssou N'Dour Musician and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Njongonkulu Ndungane Former Archbishop of Cape Town and Founder of the African Monitor
Moustapha Niasse Former Prime Minister of Senegal (1983, 2000 - 2001)
Loyiso Nongxa Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand
Karl Offman Former President of Mauritius (2002 - 2003)
Mamphela Ramphele Former Managing Director of the World Bank and former Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town
Jerry John Rawlings Former President of Ghana (1993 - 2001)
Johann Rupert Chairman of Remgro Limited
Mohammed Sahnoun Former UN/OAU Special Representative for the Great Lakes region of Africa and former Assistant Secretary-General of the OAU
Salim Ahmed Salim Former Prime Minister of Tanzania (1994 - 1995) and former Secretary-General of the OAU (1989 - 2001)
John Sentamu Archbishop of York
Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo Former President of Benin (1991 - 1996)
Miguel Trovoada Former President of São Tomé and Príncipe (1991 - 2001)
Desmond Tutu Nobel Laureate and Chairman of The Elders
Cassam Uteem Former President of Mauritius (1992 - 2002)
Zwelinzima Vavi General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions
Joseph Sinde Warioba Former Prime Minister of Tanzania (1985 - 1990)

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MDC say whereabouts of arrested Biti still unknown


June 13, 2008, 08:15

Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic change (MDC) officials say they have not
been able to establish the whereabouts of the opposition party's
General-Secretary Tendai Biti, since his arrest yesterday.

Biti was reportedly arrested on charges of treason, which can carry the
death penalty in Zimbabwe. The MDC leader and presidential candidate, Morgan
Tsvangirai, was detained twice yesterday and released without charge.

Spokesperson for the party, Nelson Chamisa, says despite "efforts by the
government to destabilise their campaign", they're focused on the June 27
presidential run-off.

"The (Zimbabwean) people have a score to settle with dictatorship. The
people have a mandate to put a full stop to hunger, poverty and loss of
dignity. You are aware of Zimbabwe crossing Limpopo to try and find a way of

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UN relief coordinator raises alarm on Zimbabwe

Monsters and Critics

Jun 13, 2008, 3:27 GMT

New York - The top UN coordinator for emergency humanitarian operations
Thursday raised alarm about the worsening situation in Zimbabwe, saying the
coming harvest would likely only cover one- quarter of the country's needs.

John Holmes told the UN Security Council that the serious humanitarian
crisis was of increasing concern.

He criticized anew the government of President Robert Mugabe, who has
forbidden foreign aid organizations from working within the country as he
tries to hang on to power indefinitely.

Next week, Haile Menkerios, the UN undersecretary for political affairs in
Africa, plans to travel to Zimbabwe ahead of the run-off elections on June
27 against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was re-arrested again
Thursday as he was campaigning for office.

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What has gone wrong in Zimbabwe?


    June 13 2008 at 07:27AM

By Peta Thornycroft, Peter Fabricius and Sapa-AP

Johannesburg - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and his deputy Tendai Biti were both arrested in Zimbabwe on
Thursday as President Robert Mugabe's government continued its crackdown on
the opposition ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off election.

Police said they would charge Biti with treason which can carry the
death penalty.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said the treason charge relates
to "a transition document" discussing changing Zimbabwe's government.

Bvudzijena said Biti was in police custody but would not say where.
Tsvangirai was arrested in Kwekwe, about 200km southwest of Harare, while
campaigning. It was his third arrest in a week.

 He was detained for two hours and resumed campaigning after being

As before, no charges were laid against him and the MDC believes
police are arresting and detaining him just to disrupt his campaign.

The MDC expressed concern on Thursday about the safety of Biti who was
arrested at Harare International Airport on his arrival from Johannesburg.

"His whereabouts are still unknown... He was last seen being shoved,
with hands handcuffed, into a Mercedes-Benz, registration number AAO 3822,"
the MDC said.

Biti had been in SA since April and had predicted, in an interview
earlier this week, that he would be arrested on his return, as the
state-owned Herald newspaper had warned.

According to some sources, Biti had this week been conducting
negotiations in SA with representatives of the ruling Zanu-PF party about
the possibility of forming a government of national unity to avoid the

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee said his government was "very,
very concerned" about Biti's arrest and word that he would be charged with

He said he had seen the MDC's transition document, describing it as a
routine plan any political party would draw up to identify priorities if it
were to come to power.

But he said a forged version had circulated that raised issues not
contained in the genuine document, including punishing Mugabe hard-liners.

McGee said continuing political violence, Biti's arrest and
Tsvangirai's detention left him with little confidence that the run-off will
be free and fair.

"But I don't think we have any choice but to move forward with an
election," he said, saying that to do otherwise would be to hand victory to

McGee called on Zimbabwe's neighbours to intervene, saying the
Southern African Development Community should send more observers to ensure
peace before and during the vote.

SADC officials in Harare said they would deploy 400 observers, with an
initial deployment of 120 on Thursday. That is three times the number
deployed for the March 29 vote.

But Tsvangirai is coming under pressure from some Zimbabweans to pull
out of the run-off to save lives.

The military have taken over vast swathes of the country and few will
be prepared to take the risk of voting for him.

"We are under military rule," said Eldred Masunungure senior political
analyst from the University of Zimbabwe and director of the Mass Public
Opinion Institute.

"People are being killed and so many, many have disappeared. The war
against the people is intensifying rather than receding."

He said many NGOs had already closed down and that most human rights
lawyers had left the country.

"There is no point in Morgan Tsvangirai trying to take part in this
upcoming election when the results are already pre-determined."

The small group of lawyers who have represented political prisoners,
such as Andrew Makoni, Harrison Nkomo, Alec Muchadahama and Beatrice Mtetwa
have either left the country or are in hiding far from their homes.

More and more MDC MPs have fled to Botswana. Others are in hiding.
Only a minority are able to campaign for Tsvangirai's re-election, mostly in
south-western Zimbabwe where the population has been decimated by

Meanwhile, African leaders, including former UN secretary-general Kofi
Annan and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, were to issue a public call on
Friday for an end to violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe ahead of the

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Times on June
13, 2008


 Val wrote :
Biti and Tsvangirai should leave Zim immediately. Martyrdom is not all
it's claimed to be. Zim needs them alive and not dead. I fear the worst for
Biti in detention at an unknown place. The Attorney-General of Zim with his
decree of no bail is so brilliant a jurist that it boggles the mind.

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Magistrate castigates cops over selective arrests

June 13, 2008
Geoffrey Nyarota

MUTARE - A senior magistrate has warned that selective arrests of
perpetrators of political violence will tarnish the image of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP).

Livingstone Chipadze, provincial magistrate here told the court that the
police should desist from arresting only MDC activists and arrest anyone
implicated in acts of political violence regardless of their party

Chipadze was presiding over a case in which 11 MDC activists are charged
with allegedly attacking Zanu-PF supporters in Marange's Mafararikwa Village
on 26 May.

The provincial magistrate made the remarks after it emerged during the court
proceedings that Zanu-PF supporters had, in fact, instigated the violence.

The court heard that 36 Zanu-PF supporters had attacked MDC supporters while
accusing them of "selling" the country after they campaigned and voted for
Morgan Tsvangirai on March 29. The Zanu-PF supporters were apparently
overpowered, however, and forced to beat a hasty retreat. The MDC supporters
then pursued them and threw stones at them, the court was told.

But, surprisingly, when the police arrived they proceeded to arrest only the
MDC supporters, while leaving untouched the Zanu PF supporters, who had
started the fracas.

The magistrate queried why only the MDC activists had been arrested.

"If it is true that Zanu-PF supporters started the violence then the police
should have arrested them," Chipadze said. "Selective arrests will place the
image of the police in disrepute.

"In order to curb the menace of violence the police are supposed to act
professionally and arrest perpetrators without bias."

However, Chipadze said while he appreciated that Zanu PF supporters had
instigated the violence the MDC supporters had a case to answer because they
should have not retaliated. They should have made a report to the police,
instead, he said.
"They threw stones at them and pursued them for about one kilometre,"
Chipadze said. "They should have reported to the police instead of attacking

Innocent Gonese, the lawyer representing the accused, argued that the road
leading to the police station was blocked by war veterans, thus rendering it
impossible for the MDC activists to make a report.

The magistrate denied the MDC supporters bail saying releasing them would
send a wrong message to would-be perpetrators of violence. However, Chipadze
ordered the release of two of the accused saying they had no case to answer.

In their defence, the MDC supporters narrated their ordeal in being
terrorised by Zanu-PF supporters on accusation that they had not voted for
President Robert Mugabe on March 29.

The accused MDC supporters said they had then decided to report to the
police but on their way to the police station were confronted by Zanu-PF
supporters who attacked them.

"They repelled the attack," Gonese said, "but could not make a police report
because the road was blocked by war veterans. Instead the police came and
arrested the MDC supporters only."

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Government bans MDC adverts

June 13, 2008

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman, Nelson Chamisa
yesterday said the government has directed the public media not to
publish political advertisements from his party.

While Zanu-PF has started a campaign blitz on national radio and television
and newspapers, MDC political material is conspicuously absent. State media
sources confirmed Chamisa's accusations saying the Permanent Secretary in
the Ministry of Information and Publicity, George Charamba, pronounced the
order to not only reject MDC advertisements, but also to report the
opposition party in bad light.

"That one is clear because we are publishing Zanu-PF advertisements every
day but there have been no MDC advertisements," said an advertising
executive at the Chronicle.

"We were told that MDC adverts are banned. We have been in touch with their
(MDC) advertising agency, but we told them we cannot do anything as the
matter is beyond our control."

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who beat Zanu-PF candidate, President Robert
Mugabe by more than 100 000 votes in the first round election in March goes
into a re-match with the octogenarian leader late this month.

The former trade unionist garnered 47 percent of the valid vote while Mugabe
got 43 percent.

But he has been having a tough campaign period because police, apparently
working on orders from Zanu-PF have systematically refused to sanction his
rallies and have also arrested scores of MDC officials.

While Tsvangirai's rallies remain banned, Mugabe and Zanu-PF officials have
been holding rallies and political meetings all over the country.

Chamisa said the MDC has had problems with Zimbabwe Newspapers and Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

"We are having big problems with The Herald and ZBC," he said. "It is purely
because of the dictatorship that is leading this country. The ZBC and
Zimpapers are refusing to publish our campaign material and you can see
clearly that there is an instruction from somewhere. We know the order came
from Charamba."

The cash-strapped public media organisations, said our Zimpapers source, is
also losing tens of trillions of dollars in potential revenue by rejecting
MDC political advertisements.

A full-page advertisement in The Herald costs at least $1 trillion.

Zanu-PF is taking an average of two full-page advertisements in each issue
of the newspapers daily.

Chamisa said his party was crafting a measured response to the ban. He
refused to disclose the nature of the response.

"What Zanu -PF is doing is illegal," he said. "It is also against the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) principles and guidelines
governing democratic elections, which Zanu -PF endorsed in 2004."

Leaders in the 14-member regional bloc committed themselves to upholding the
principles and guidelines during a summit held in Mauritius in August 2004.

Broadly speaking, the guidelines seek to level the electoral playing field
in SADC through guaranteeing political tolerance, freedom of association,
full participation
of all citizens in elections and free access to the media.

Articles 2.1.5 and 7.4 specifically call for unhindered access to the media
for all political parties contesting in elections. Article 2.1.5 says member
states must provide, "Equal opportunity for all political parties to access
the state media. Article 7.4 states: "A country holding an election must
safeguard the human and
civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly,
association, expression, and campaigning as well as access to the media on
the part of all stakeholders, during electoral processes as provided for
under 2.1.5."

As if to confirm the ban, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa told state media last weekend that Zanu-PF would
entertain MDC arguments regarding the levelling of the electoral playing
field. Chinamasa, who is also the chairman of the Zanu-PF information and
sub-committee, said the ruling party would only consider doing so if the MDC
calls for the lifting of what he described as western sanctions on Zimbabwe.

He was referring to the targeted sanctions imposed by the European Union and
America on senior ruling party and government officials. Chinamasa claimed
that the so-called sanctions tilted the playing field against Zanu -PF.

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MDC MP Mukonoweshuro survives attack

By Raymond Mhaka ⋅ ⋅ June 12, 2008 ⋅

The MDC ’s International Affairs Secretary,Eliphas Mukonoweshuro,MDC-Gutu
South., on Thursday escaped an attack by the army and Central Intelligence
“I have been chased by a car of hit men. It is a combination of Zanu-PF
hoodlums and army officers who are campaigning for Zanu-PF.

“They call that campaigning but they use guns, machetes and spears to ensure
that they brutalise everybody into submission.

“Either you vote for Zanu-PF or you don’t vote at all. I’ve got information
that I must not go back into the constituency until after the 27th of June
because I’ll be killed.”

“For a long time, we ceased to have a civilian government in this country,”
he said.

“What we have is this civil military junta, a combination of a few
politicians and the army. We do not believe that Mugabe himself has lost

“He has not lost control, but he has ignored all civilian trappings of
government and is ruling with the army.”

“The strategy of Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF Party is to ensure there is no
re-run. At the present moment it is very very difficult to campaign,”
Mukonoweshuro said.

Mukonoweshuro says he will go back despite the threat.

“My supporters are in there, members of the MDC are in there and I cannot
leave them in the lurch,”I will put everything else into the hands of the
Almighty,”he said.

Mukonoweshuro won Gutu South when he beat Former minister of Youth and
Gender Shuvai Mahova by a wide margin.

Mahofa has held the Gutu South seat since 1985.

Matibe and Chebudo’s homes attacked

The MDC MP elect for Chegutu West Takalani Matibe’s house in Chegutu was
attacked,instead of police arresting the attackers they arrested Matibe.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had paid a visit to Matibe, 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 and
stoned Matibe’s house.

On the same day the rural home of Kwekwe MP elect, Blessing Chebundo was
last night also attacked in Kazangarare Village in Hurungwe, apparently also
by Zanu PF militia.

Observers shocked
Tanki Mothae, director for the SADC organ on politics, defence and security,
who is leading the SADC Observer team lammented,”It is a mammoth task. There
are challenges out there.”

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Five feared brutally killed in Masvingo

June 13, 2008

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - At least five people are feared murdered in Masvingo Province in
the southern regions of Zimbabwe this week alone. While the police confirmed
four murders, the fifth person feared dead, an abducted medical doctor
remains unaccounted for.

Political violence continues to escalate in the province ahead of the June
27 presidential election pitting Zanu-PF candidate President Robert Mugabe
against his more popular rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Mabika Mudzinga and Leonard Mhete were killed on Wednesday following violent
clashes between supporters of the MDC and those of the ruling Zanu-PF at
Chigumisirwa Village in Bikita East constituency.

At least eight people, mostly MDC supporters were arrested in connection
with the murder and police in Masvingo said they were keen to interview the
MP elect of the area Edmore Marima of the MDC

A Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) area manager in Chiredzi
Town, Dumisani Hapazari was on Monday found dead after two suspected agents
of the Central Intelligence Organisation led him away from his workplace
last week. They drove him to Gonarezhou Game Park. His body was discovered
at Chikombedzi along Zimbabwe's border with Mozambique.

Rodrick Mukova of Chimbudzi village in Mwenezi was killed last night after
suspected Zanu-PF supporters set ablaze the hut in which he was sleeping.

The whereabouts of a Chiredzi doctor, Godfrey Mugwazi remain unknown after
suspected CIO officers abducted him from his surgery on Tuesday

The police officer commanding Masvingo province Assistant Commissioner
Mhekia Tanyanyiwa confirmed the murder of the four, adding that cases of
politically motivated violence were now a cause of concern to the police.

Tanyanyiwa said, "I can confirm the death of four people since Monday this
week. The situation is very serious, especially in the rural areas."

"We have arrested about 20 people in connection with the death of these

MDC Masvingo provincial chairman Wilstaf Stemele yesterday claimed that all
the four murder victims this week were MDC supporters.

Stemele said, "The coming presidential election run-off will not be free and
fair. We have lost four of our supporters here in Masvingo in less than a

Meanwhile, the vehicle of Gutu senator, Empire Makamure, was reduced to a
shell on Tuesday morning after it was set on fire by suspected Zanu-PF
militants. His family was attacked.

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Zimbabwe's MDC Sees Latest Arrests As Mugabe Strategy to Divert Attention from Run-Off


      By James Butty
      Washington, D.C.
      13 June 2008

Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says the
latest arrests of its leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and secretary general Tendai
Biti are a strategy by President Robert Mugabe to ensure that the opposition's
focus is diverted from the upcoming run-off election to legal matters.

Biti was arrested at Harare airport Thursday upon returning from South
Africa. Police say he would be charged with treason.  MDC President
Tsvangirai was stopped twice at a roadblock while campaigning in the south
of the country and held at a police station. It was not clear at nightfall
Thursday whether Mr. Tsvangirai had been released.

Eliphas Mukonoweshuro is MDC secretary for international affairs. From
Harare, he told VOA the Mugabe government was doing everything to prevent
the MDC from campaigning for the run-off election.

"Mr. Biti is being charged with treason. That's the latest we have got. He
probably will be brought to court tomorrow morning, we don't know. And Mr.
Tsvangirai's bus has been released; we don't know when next he's going to be
arrested. But there seems to be a determined effort to ensure that his bus
progression does not succeed," he said.

Mukonoweshuro said Zimbabwe police give no reason why Tsvangirai's campaign
bus was stopped twice and Tsvangirai detained.

"The government is not saying anything that is comprehensible. So we must
conclude that it is because they don't want him to campaign," Mukonoweshuro

He dismissed any suggestion that Biti should not have returned to Zimbabwe
from South Africa since the Mugabe had been saying that he could be arrested
upon his return.

"Mr. Biti's position is that he has not committed any crime in this country,
and therefore he has got every right to return to this country. And I don't
believe that this case is going to go on for long because the treason
charges that have been preferred against Mr. Biti everybody knows will not
stick in court," he said.

Mukonoweshuro said the MDC does not understand why Mr. Biti was arrested and
threatened with treason when in fact the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and
even the ruling ZANU-PF have all said that the MDC won the first round vote.

"We don't see any reason why Mr. Biti should be the culprit when government
representatives themselves have made similar pronouncement. What we are now
convinced about is that this is just a strategy by the ruling party to
ensure that the leadership's attention is diverted away from the issues of
the run-off to issues of fighting legal battles. And I don't believe that
august well for the run-off," Mukonoweshuro said.

He criticized those who have argued that the MDC should not have agreed to
participate in the run-off knowing that its leaders and supporters would be
intimidated by the ruling ZANU-PF.

"What disturbs the MDC very much is that the MDC is being labeled as the
culprit in an election which it won, and the election laws of this country
are quite clear that if there is no clear winner as announced by ZEC, which
is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that there ought to be a run-off. I don't
see why the MDC is being blamed for taking part in the run-off which is
mandated by the relevant legislation governing elections in this country,"
Mukonoweshuro said.

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Mugabe reneges on promise to SA

Business Day

13 June 2008

Dumisani Muleya

Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe's regime intensified repression
yesterday, despite having given assurances to the South African government
that it would stop the crackdown on the opposition as the presidential
runoff vote approached.

Police arrested opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader
Morgan Tsvangirai while he was campaigning - and again late last night in

He has been arrested four times in a week.

Party secretary-general Tendai Biti was detained on arrival from SA, and
police raided the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association offices in a bid to pick
up its activists.

Tsvangirai was released after the initial arrest. Police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena said Biti was being charged with treason and communicating
falsehoods prejudicial to the state.

Tsvangirai has been charged with at least five treason cases.

Senior MDC officials were making frantic efforts to contact President Thabo
Mbeki yesterday to secure Biti's release. Mbeki helped last week to secure
Tsvangirai's release from police detention.

Bvudzijena said Tsvangirai was taken in by the police in Kwekwe for
protective detention since he recently said he feared assassination.

The house of MDC MP Takalani Matibe was attacked in Chegutu , and the home
of Blessing Chebundo - also an MDC MP - was torched in rural Hurungwe by
suspected state agents.

The escalation of repression - and Biti's arrest - came barely 24 hours
after Mugabe's Zanu (PF) negotiators had agreed at talks with the MDC in
Pretoria that the crackdown would stop.

The negotiators had told South African mediators and MDC representatives
that Biti would be allowed to return home safely after nearly two months in

Police recently said they wanted to arrest Biti for allegedly unofficially
releasing presidential election results in March. It turned out yesterday
that he was also wanted for treason.

He allegedly wrote a document titled The Transition Strategy which urged
"regime change" in Zimbabwe.

The document allegedly revealed that the MDC wanted British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown to intervene militarily in Zimbabwe. The government claims that
Brown wrote to Tsvangirai promising military intervention.

The British embassy in Harare said the claim of a letter from Brown to
Tsvangirai was "a clumsy fabrication".

The MDC said the document was so poorly drafted and so unintelligible it
could not have emanated from them.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa described Tsvangirai's behaviour as
"treasonous" on the basis of the alleged memorandum, which the British said
was a forgery.

Despite these allegations Biti - who went around Africa campaigning against
Mugabe after the March polls - decided to return home after Zanu (PF) agreed
that he could do so safely.

Zanu (PF) and MDC representatives met on Tuesday and Wednesday in Pretoria
to discuss the runoff and violence. This was a follow-up to a meeting they
had on May 30-31.

Biti's arrest threw the talks into disarray and left Mbeki with a mountain
to climb in his mediation efforts.

The MDC said arresting Tsvangirai was part of Mugabe's strategy to block him
from campaigning and break his spirit.

Political violence in Zimbabwe has claimed at least 66 lives, mainly of MDC
activists, sine March 29.

SA yesterday deployed its observers around the country after thy were
briefed about the escalating violence.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) observers said monitoring the
runoff would be a serious challenge. Monitors from western countries
critical of Mugabe have been barred.

"It is a mammoth task," SADC official Tanki Mothae said before the
deployment of 120 observers out of 400.

Mothae said the SADC wanted to help Zimbabwe run a free and fair poll. "This
is to help the people of Zimbabwe go through this election as peacefully as

But Mothae claimed that observers had not yet received any reports of
violence, despite daily incidents of brutality.

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Complicit in Tragedy


Thursday, Jun. 12, 2008 By RICHARD STENGEL

Zimbabwe is in the midst of a slow-motion, man-made disaster. It is as if
the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China were state-sponsored
tragedies. President Robert Mugabe's internal terrorism does not simply
consist of starving and harassing hundreds of thousands of people; it also
amounts to the systematic demolition of Zimbabwe's one small hope of
democracy. For a brief moment after the elections in late March, it seemed
that the former freedom fighter might redeem his dictatorial legacy by
acknowledging that the opposition had actually defeated him. But it turns
out that the 84-year-old despot was just slow off the mark in beginning the
further strangulation of his own nation. The recent order to shut down all
international aid groups and humanitarian ngos has crippled the only
institutions helping millions of Zimbabweans and removed all doubt about
Mugabe's totalitarian objectives.

Yet it is precisely such deliberate actions that should be galvanizing
nations and international organizations to protest and intervene. When there
is a typhoon in Burma or an earthquake in China, the world knows what
questions to ask. What can we do? How can we help? But when a calamity is
preventable and unfolding systematically before our eyes, nations sit on
their hands. The world, as W.H. Auden wrote in his beautiful poem Musée des
Beaux Arts, "turns away quite leisurely from the disaster."
The government of South Africa, Zimbabwe's neighbor to the south and the
nation most directly affected, averts its gaze. But with the runoff
presidential election between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai due on June 27,
why aren't the U.S. and other democracies making an attempt either to get
Zimbabwe to hold genuinely free elections (admittedly, something that by now
may be impossible) or to delegitimize in advance what will certainly be
undemocratic results? It may be true, as Madeleine Albright has noted in the
New York Times, that the idea of national sovereignty as inviolable has
regained luster. Yet what meaning does sovereignty have when it is used to
describe a state that not only starves its citizens but also snuffs out

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Zimbabwe House of Commons Debate
13th Jun 2008 00:48 GMT
By a Correspondent

UK Parliament

House of Commons

Wednesday 11 June 2008


The Secretary of State was asked—

Ann Clwyd (Cynon Valley) (Lab): If he will make a statement on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe. 

The Secretary of State for International Development (Mr. Douglas Alexander): The humanitarian situation is deteriorating. Four million people relied on food aid last year. The fact that President Mugabe has now stopped aid agencies from distributing food and engaging in other humanitarian activities is indefensible. That decision by Mugabe has impacted on 2 million people already, and as we approach the hungry season, that number could rise to 4 million or even higher.

Ann Clwyd: While I was in South Africa a few weeks ago, Zimbabwean refugees handed me a note for 10 million Zimbabwean dollars. That buys a bag of tomatoes in Zimbabwe. Now Mugabe is prepared to starve his people to death for their votes. What kind of human being is President Mugabe?

Mr. Alexander: It is morally indefensible to use the threat of hunger as a political weapon, and that is exactly what Robert Mugabe has shown himself to be willing to do in recent days. Hyper-inflation is but one manifestation of the chronic misrule that he has visited on a country that was previously the bread-basket of southern Africa. That is why I took the opportunity last Thursday to meet in South Africa both the Government of South Africa and the president of the African National Congress to press them to continue to engage with that vital international issue.

Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield) (Con): Is not the Secretary of State desperately saddened that Robert Mugabe, who lost the presidential election in Zimbabwe, should strut the stage at the Food and Agriculture Organisation conference in Rome, particularly as he is denying to his country and its starving people access to the aid that so many countries and aid agencies want to provide to help the people of Zimbabwe?

Mr. Alexander: Mugabe’s attendance was not only inappropriate but, in light of his subsequent actions, morally repugnant. The fact is that somebody who is willing to use the threat of starvation has little credibility or authority to lecture anybody on food prices or production. There is little comfort regarding the current situation in Zimbabwe, but my comfort is that a matter of weeks after the first election, even Robert Mugabe and his closest associates have been unable to claim that they were chosen by the people of Zimbabwe in that last election. We continue to be committed to ensuring that the people of Zimbabwe are able to have their democratic will expressed in their choice of Government.

Mr. Tom Clarke (Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill) (Lab): Can my right hon. Friend tell the House what impact the Government’s new strategy will have on tackling HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe?

Mr. Alexander: We launched the latest HIV/AIDS strategy for the British Government only last week. Zimbabwe is one of the countries in southern Africa that has been most devastated by that affliction. I will ensure that a copy of the report is provided to my right hon. Friend so that he is fully updated on the actions that we are taking.

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Mugabe seeks to make new friends

June 13, 2008

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Thursday, June12, was an extraordinarily busy day on the election
campaign trail for President Robert Mugabe .

He shifted into top campaign gear, telling both his supporters and key
groups he has viewed with suspicion in the past that Zimbabwe's former white
rulers were the backbone of his nemesis, Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the
Movement for Democratic Change.

The two rival politicians lock horns in a do-or-die presidential election in
two weeks time, amid evidence that the MDC leader enjoys growing popular

Mugabe met captains of commerce and industry in a rare round-table where he
uncharacteristically listened attentively as they expressed their concerns
while politely urging them, equally unusually, not to be fronts for the
white community. In the past his manner has been more abrasive when
discussing such issues.

Yesterday he treaded cautiously. He refrained from his usual bombast that
the business community hikes prices to sabotage his presidency.

He later met with youths bussed from all over the country to the University
of Zimbabwe for "academic discussions".

Earlier, he had met an entourage from the national soccer team and the
football mother body, ZIFA, for discussions on the "beautiful game". It was
one of those rare occasions when the President has displayed an active
interest in soccer.

While the majority of blacks have no affinity to cricket because of racial
historical factors, Mugabe is an avid fan. He hardly ever attends soccer
matches. His newly professed interest provoked suspicion that he was trying
to gain political capital from the game, given that Zimbabwe is a
soccer-crazy nation.

Looking tired during most of his hour-long speech to party supporters in a
poor township in the capital much later, Mugabe, 84, vowed to stick to his
indigenization campaign and to champion the interests of Zimbabwe's black

Mugabe said there were foreign moves to demonize him and the government over
the land issue.

"No amount of suffering from the illegal sanctions should persuade
Zimbabweans to sell out and vote for the MDC," Mugabe said. "We need to
understand that the current hardships are a result of the sanctions imposed
on us by western countries who want to force the people of Zimbabwe into
revolting against their own government.

"Let's safeguard our country."

He claimed the MDC was determined to return the land to the white minority
if the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, won the forthcoming presidential
election. He vowed this would "never, ever happen", charging "the country's
independence was bought through the barrel of the gun not through the ballot

He dismissed the travel ban against his ruling elite, saying that granting
the country's natural resources to blacks was more important.

Mugabe also rubbished reports that he was about to flee to Malaysia.

"Here I was born, here I will die," he quipped.

The 84-year-old leader repeated charges that Tsvangirai's party was a puppet
of his white opponents out to topple him over the land dispute. Mugabe
called the MDC a terrorist group with no viable political platform.

The MDC responds that Mugabe is desperate as he faces an electorate
struggling through a severe economic crisis. The party says the downturn has
been caused by economic mismanagement and Mugabe's controversial plan to
seize white-owned farms for black resettlement without proper planning.

The land program has been cited as sharply reducing agricultural production
in a country once ranked as the bread basket of the region.

President Mugabe, facing a key second vote on June 27, urged his Zanu-PF
party to unite to defeat the surging MDC group, which defeated the former
ruling party in parliamentary and council elections on March 29. Tsvangirai,
however, fell short of the minimum of 50 percent of the poll that would have
enabled him to form his first government.

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Tsvangirai arrested for his own protection!

Zimbabwe Today

Police come up with an original reason for their harassment of the MDC

The ludicrous series of arrests of Zimbabwe's leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, were, say the
Zimbabwe police, only designed to protect him from assassination.

Tsvangirai was arrested twice yesterday, firstly at the Midlands town of
Kwekwe, and then again at Gweru, some 60km south. No charges were made, and
on both occasions he and his party were released after a couple of hours.

Polce Commissioners Wayne Bvudzijena afterwards claimed that the arrests
were carried out to foil plots to assassinate the opposition leader. "We are
simply protecting him from his enemies," he said.

This explanation is repeated in a letter, sent to the MDC by Assistant
Commissioner Boyson Mathema, of the Zimbabwe police Law and Order section,
stating that the same reason lies behind the enforced cancellation of MDC

In the past few days Tsvangirai has been forced to cancel rallies across the
country, and particularly in Harare's crowded high-density suburbs of
Kambuzuma, Mufakose and Glen Norah, all MDC strongholds.

The Alice-in-Wonderland explanation for Tsvangirai's arrests, which ignores
the much more likely prospect of government plots to kill him, is echoed in
the stated reasons behind the arrest of MDC General Secretary Tendai Biti,
who flew in yesterday from South Africa and was grabbed by the police before
he'd even reached passport control.

Biti is said to face charges of treason, based on allegations that he
plotted to fix the recent parliamentary and presidential elections - the
same charge regularly levelled by the MDC against the ruling Zanu-PF.

The fact that the treason charge carries the death penalty has alarmed some
western observers, but most here expect Biti to be released in due course,
especially as South Africa's President Mbeki is said to have at last begun
to intervene with the Mugabe government on such issues.

Arthur Mutambara, leader of the minority MDC faction, who was arrested a
week ago after writing a letter in a national newspaper, was also released
yesterday without charge.

The widespread and furious intimidation of the MDC, of which yesterday's
events are only part, may now slacken a little, as observers from the
Southern Africa Development Commission begin to arrive in the country ahead
of the presidential run-off poll on June 27.

Posted on Friday, 13 June 2008 at 06:35 |

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