SW Radio Africa (London)
14 June 2008
Posted to the web 14 June 2008
MDC Leader Morgan Tsvangirai and 11 other members of his election campaign
team were again detained by police and members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation just after 10:00 am on Saturday at a road block outside
Shurungwi, in the Midlands province. They were then taken to Shurugwi police
In a statement released on Saturday the MDC said It was clearly impossible
to talk about free and fair election in Zimbabwe and to suggest otherwise is
to be clearly blind to the grave harassment, intimidation and violence that
the people of Zimbabwe have had to endure over the past few years.
The statement went on to commend the resolve of the Zimbabwean people and
called on SADC leaders to act on the current crisis in the country.
"The determination and resolve of the people of Zimbabwe to build a new and
prosperous Zimbabwe surely has to be complemented by decisive leadership
from SADC. The people of Zimbabwe have done, and are still doing all they
can to finish off the era of dictatorship, and define a new destiny of the
country, a destiny of peace, jobs, health care and general prosperity. This
harassment of the leadership and the people of Zimbabwe must stop," the
The arrest on Saturday is the third time the MDC leader has been detained
since Thursday and many believe it is the intention of the police and
security forces in Zimbabwe to intimidate and pressure the MDC into a
Government of National Unity with Robert Mugabe as its head.
June 14, 2008, 12:00
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) secretary-general, Tendai Biti, has
been brought before a Harare High Court judge for a hearing into the
legality of his detention. The hearing is taking place in the judge's
Biti was brought into court handcuffed and in leg chains, escorted by armed
police officers. This was the first time he had been seen in public since
his arrest at Harare airport two days ago. The state intends to charge him
with treason and publishing information prejudicial to the state.
The charges stem from Biti's announcement in April of the MDC's own tally of
the results of the March 29 presidential election. The MDC's tally at the
time gave MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai an outright majority of over 50%. The
official result - announced weeks later - gave Tsvangirai 47% against
President Robert Mugabe's 43% leading to a run-off vote on June 27.
June 14, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The High Court has deferred to Monday an application by the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) seeking the release on bail of its
secretary-general, Tendai Biti.
Biti who was brought to court in leg-irons Saturday faces charges of treason
and communicating falsehoods. He was arrested at the Harare International
Airport on Wednesday soon after arriving from Johannesburg, South Africa. He
has been in police custody since then.
Lawyers representing the MDC's third highest ranking official said the
accused had been subjected to intensive interrogation at the hands of the
police, going up to 15 hours at a time.
Luis Huriri, who co-represented Biti with MDC lawyer, Selby Hwacha briefed
journalists after the chamber application for Biti's release that High Court
judge, Ben Hlatshwayo had deferred the case to Monday. An earlier Zimbabwe
Times story incorrectly identified Chris Mhike as one of the lawyers
"Tendai (Biti) was this afternoon presented to the High Court after the
intervention of the court. He looked well save for complaints against the
intensive interrogation he was subjected to at the hands of the police. The
case has been set for Monday by the judge," Huriri said.
Huriri revealed that the state had charged Biti under Section 20 of the
Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act which deals cases relating to the
communication of false information.
The state also laid treason charges against him for having allegedly caused
chaos through the unofficial announcement of the March 29, 2008 general
election results. The results were publicly displayed outside polling
Huriri said the court had granted the lawyers unconditional access to their
client as they moved to build Biti's defence against the charges he faces.
Huriri said: "The police have indicated that he will be at Matapi Police
Station where he will be held until the case is dealt with. We have been
given unconditional access to him so that we are able to work out our
defence against the state charges."
Asked why the court would not grant an order that would have resulted in
Biti's immediate release, Huriri said the court had already issued a warrant
of arrest for Biti; hence there was no basis for his release.
"Another magistrate issued a warrant of arrest for Tendai (Biti) on June 6,
2008 and it is that warrant that has made it impossible for the High Court
to grant us the immediate release of our client," the lawyer said.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said Biti had been denied food and access to
lawyers since his arrest on Wednesday.
"The police were keeping mum on his whereabouts," he said. "Honourable Biti
was brought to court in leg irons like a common criminal and is in police
custody at Matapi Police Station in Mbare, Harare."
Human rights campaigners have declared Matapi Police Station to be unfit for
Biti was dramatically whisked away by state security agents and officers
from the Law and Order Section of the police just as he stepped off a South
African Airways flight. The police say the charges against Biti arise from a
document published by his party before the March 29 presidential election.
As Biti appeared in court there were unconfirmed reports that the MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and 11 other party officials had again been arrested. This
would be his fifth arrest in a week.
The police have repeatedly arrested Tsvangirai as he campaigns for a June 27
presidential election re-run against President Robert Mugabe. Tsvangirai
defeated Mugabe in a presidential election held on March 29 but failed to
secure the majority required to form a new government.
The police have banned Tsvangirai's campaign rallies.
Meanwhile an MDC official says the party's headquarters, Harvest House,
"like the rest of the MDC infrastructure, has been rendered totally
"There is no staff working out of Harvest House or any other office for fear
of abductions, kidnappings and subsequent murders. The information
department is struggling to put out whatever is coming out, out of the
The police impounded two Tsvangirai campaign buses in the Midlands city of
Gweru on Thursday, claiming the new buses were not properly registered.
By Robyn Powell and agencies
Last Updated: 6:41PM BST 14/06/2008
Robert Mugabe has pledged the Opposition will not govern Zimbabwe while he
is alive, as police moved to arrest several senior members of rival party
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The veteran president said he would go to war to stop an Opposition win at
the June 27 run-off election against MDC leader leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mr Mugabe said: "Should this country be taken by traitors... it is
impossible," referring to the opposition party MDC", at the funeral of a
former army general.
"It shall never happen... as long as I am alive and those who fought for the
country are alive," he said.
"We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for it."
Mr Tsvangirai and 11 MDC members were taken into custody and held at a
police station, according to party officials.
MDC said in a statement their leader was arrested at a road block with his
Mr Tsvangirai has been detained several times over the past week.
It comes as deputy Opposition leader Tendai Biti could face the death
penalty, after he was charged with 'treason' after stepping from a plane at
Harare airport. In 2004, Mr Tsvangirai was acquitted after a treason trial
that lasted more than a year.
Mr Biti's arrest adds to concerns the election runoff will not be free and
fair, after blatant intimidation and a series of attacks on Opposition
MDC said: "It is clearly impossible to talk about free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe and to suggest otherwise is to be clearly blind to the grave
harassment, intimidation and violence that the people of Zimbabwe have had
to endure over the past few years."
It called on the country's neighbours to intervene, and claimed the
government was using food as a political tool, denying it to all non-Mugabe
The government has suspended all work by aid groups and non-governmental
organisations indefinitely, accusing them of breaching their terms of
Sat 14 Jun 2008, 9:03 GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - The army's commander has urged Zimbabweans to defend the
country against a "treacherous opposition" that threatened its sovereignty,
a state newspaper reported on Saturday.
General Constantine Chiwenga, who the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) says is coordinating President Robert Mugabe's re-election
campaign, said Western forces led by Britain were trying to seize control of
Mugabe and MDC head Morgan Tsvangirai contest a run-off presidential
election on June 27. The opposition leader won a first ballot in March but
without the necessary majority.
According to the Chronicle, the general said it was "imperative to
Zimbabweans (to) remain resolute in defending their sovereignty" after
freeing themselves from British occupation, oppression and exploitation at
independence in 1980.
"The raising of a new flag meant reclamation of independence and sovereignty
and we should guard these jealously.
"The former colonial power is manifesting itself through (economic)
sanctions and a treacherous opposition, and threatens these values that we
hold so dearly," he said.
Chiwenga did not mention the MDC or Tsvangirai by name, but he and
Zimbabwe's other security chiefs have previously branded them puppets of the
West who should never be allowed to rule.
"This treacherous act of reducing Africa and her people to mere spoils for
powerful European countries is replaying itself in the present standoff
between, on one hand, the United Kingdom and her allies and Zimbabwe on the
other hand," Chiwenga said.
The MDC claims 66 of its followers have been killed in attacks since the
March poll, while some of the party's leaders, including Tsvangirai, have
Zimbabwe's High Court ordered police to bring to court MDC secretary-general
Tendai Biti, who is facing a treason charge, after police questioned the
authenticity of a previous order, his lawyer Lewis Uriri told Reuters.
Biti was arrested on his return to the country on Thursday.
(Additional reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe, edited by Richard Meares)
11:06 GMT, Saturday, 14 June 2008 12:06 UK
Undercover reporting from Zimbabwe is a risky business. Add to the mix a close encounter with one of President Mugabe's most feared supporters and, as Ian Pannell discovered, it becomes a brief glimpse of the terror that many people in the country are living through.
"We would like to apologise for the late release of results, this was due to the rigging process which was more difficult than we anticipated."
This joke was being passed around on mobile phones the last time I was in Zimbabwe.
It was early April and the country felt as though it was on the brink of historic change.
But I have just returned from another visit and this time the atmosphere could not be more different.
Many people have been arrested, more than 60 opposition activists have been murdered, thousands have been beaten, and tens of thousands of people have been driven from their homes.
People have learned to live very different lives.
They talk in code and use passwords to communicate with friends.
Anyone who has been actively involved in opposition politics can be assumed to be a target of the sinister gangs which come at night, dragging people from their beds for a savage beating or sometimes worse.
There are days when it feels that everyone is hiding something, running from something, planning or plotting something.
The vast majority of the violence over the last two months has been in the countryside.
We left Harare and headed east towards Manicaland, a lush, fertile, province whose rolling fields give way to mountains on the Mozambique border.
The areas that have seen most of the violence are those which have historically voted for Zanu-PF but which switched sides in the last election. Manicaland is one of those places.
We knew that hundreds of opposition supporters had been forced from their homes in a brutal campaign of retribution.
A source told us of a site where 400 men, women and children were in hiding.
The area was thick with stories of ongoing violence and we knew that the militias, the military and the widely-feared war-veterans were active here.
After 30 minutes of driving along a fairly deserted road, we pulled over to wait for our contact.
That was when we encountered Joseph Chinotimba.
He was not our contact.
Joseph Chinotimba is the deputy leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and perhaps the most feared member of a group that has become synonymous with the worst excesses of violence in Zimbabwe in the last eight years.
His car blocked ours. He got out with three other men, striding towards us, wearing a T-shirt with two Kalashnikovs and Robert Mugabe's face printed on it.
We were in trouble.
His eyes were unflinching, a large, brooding man, full of hatred, smelling of alcohol and full of threats.
He leaned into the car, demanding to know who we were, where we were from, what we were doing, where we were going.
"We know what you are up to," he said and he paused, as if waiting for a confession.
"There are journalists here you know."
Still no response from us.
Joseph Chinotimba is a thug of a man who has acted with impunity for many years, and it was only fast and fluid talking by two South African colleagues we were travelling with that persuaded him to leave us alone.
I will never quite believe that he really bought what felt like a terribly flimsy cover story about travelling to see friends, but he did eventually let us pass.
It was a frightening few minutes, a brief glimpse of the terror that many people in Zimbabwe are living through.
We did eventually meet our contact and drove on through many police road blocks to the people we had come to see.
We were taken to a run-down holiday camp which was now home to hundreds of people who had been forced out of their village for voting "wrongly".
That was not their word but the one used by the thugs who attacked them.
Time and again we heard that same charge being levelled against people: "You voted wrongly and we're going to punish you."
I told our contact that we would only be 20 minutes here. "Ten would be better," he said, "it's not safe here."
And actually 10 minutes was enough time to hear not just what had happened to them but also what they would do about it.
The atmosphere in the country may have changed, the violence and intimidation is systematic and brutal and people are living different lives... but one thing has not altered and that is people's desire for change.
Fear yet defiance
I have spoken to people with deep gouged wounds in their buttocks and their feet, broken limbs, burnt down homes, even the bereaved.
Almost all are scared but they are also defiant.
Robert Mugabe's thugs may well have over-stepped the mark and actually stiffened people's resolve.
One woman who had lost everything was emphatic.
She told me that her beating had made her stronger. "It is my certificate," she said, like some perverse badge of distinction.
Now she would go and use it to vote again for change.
Saturday, 14 June 2008 10:30
Police in Kwekwe last week were ordered to use Zanu (PF) language
whilst at work and wear party regalia when off-duty, The Zimbabwean on
Sunday has established.
According to the confidential minutes of a meeting held at the Cactus
Bar, addressed by Assistant Commissioner Jangara, officers were told to
refer to each other as 'comrade'. They were also told they should campaign
for Robert Mugabe. Those who did not comply would be fired or could even
At the meeting, all officers in charge of Kwekwe district stations
were made to stand up with their juniors and chant Zanu (PF) slogans
denouncing the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). They were also forced
to sing Chimurenga songs.
There were told that they and their spouses, who were present, would
be voting for Zanu (PF) at Kwekwe Police District Headquarters under the eye
of their superiors. The exercise would be completed by June 20.
From Business Day (SA), 14 June
Authorities in Zimbabwe have banned wind-up receivers, a favourite among
nongovernmental organisations seeking to promote access to information in
rural areas. Their presence has often spawned listening clubs accused of
tuning in on "illegal" foreign news bulletins broadcast through shortwave or
AM.. Instead of batteries, which are almost unavailable in Zimbabwe, the
low-priced gadgets are powered by human muscle. Along with satellite dishes,
ownership of a wind-up radio is enough to land villagers in trouble. "They
have been warned that they must hand in those radios. It has become a
subversive tool," says Rob Jamieson, chairperson of the Southern Africa
Editors' Forum. "It is quite shocking to see the situation in Zimbabwe. No
professional media in Zimbabwe can operate," says Jamieson, who was part of
a week-long mission that went to Zimbabwe. The mission found that
journalists operate under the constant fear of being abducted, arrested,
detained or beaten up. They have to battle for survival in a failing economy
that has also placed extreme pressure on the remaining local media
businesses. Freelancers battle to get accreditation and are sometimes forced
to operate illegally. "There is no way they can be accredited because you
have to belong to a media organisation to be accredited," says Jamieson.
Even then, licensed journalists cannot travel outside the city centre for
fear of security agents and militia in the rural areas. Under those
conditions, normal journalistic investigation becomes a hazardous task.
Worsening the conditions is the harassment and departure of lawyers and
other human rights defenders, leading to concern that there might be no one
to assist should journalists be arrested. Last month three people, two of
them South Africans, were sentenced to six months' imprisonment after they
were caught with "illegal broadcasting equipment" for British TV network Sky
TV. A few weeks ago a truck transporting 60000 copies of The Zimbabwean - a
newspaper produced in SA and the UK - to Harare from Musina, was
petrol-bombed by unknown assailants. "What I saw and experienced I had not
seen in any part of Africa these days, even in Ethiopia and the Gambia -
countries that we say are difficult," says Gabriel Baglo, the Dakar-based
Africa director of the International Federation of Journalists. Another
member of the mission, Luckson Chipare, says Zimbabwean journalists are
often forced to move towns when the heat gets too overwhelming. Chipare also
painted a gloomy picture of the main TV news bulletin. "There is not a
single bulletin that talks about the opposition except to denigrate them. It's
all about Zanu PF."
Saturday, 14 June 2008 10:41
South Africa’s failed bid to end Zimbabwe’s political crisis is
unlikely to see better results after the June 27 presidential election run
off, given Robert Mugabe’s threat of rejecting the results if he loses.
Political analysts say miscalculations and mistakes have marked South
Africa’s strategy toward its northern neighbour, leaving President Thabo
Mbeki facing an election outcome that could extend rather than extinguish
Zimbabwe’s political stand-off.
Mbeki is facing strident criticism for not using South Africa’s
enormous economic muscle to rein in Mugabe, who is widely accused of
misrule, vote rigging and repression of opponents.
Mugabe has resorted to the use of extra-legal means such as abductions
and executions to cow the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). He has also
refused to even countenance defeat to the MDC, with war-like rhetoric. Yet,
Mbeki has not moved an inch.
Mugabe’s army generals continue to threaten a coup if Morgan
Tsvangirai wins the poll.
“Mbeki has been careful not to antagonise those who sympathise with
Mugabe’s rhetoric,” said Chris Maroleng, an analyst at Pretoria-based
Institute for Security Studies.′
John Stremlau, Professor of International Affairs at Johannesburg’s
Witwatersrand University, said Mbeki did not have good options.
“A dream scenario is a government of national unity that allows Mugabe
to retire in dignity,” Stremlau said. “The problem is how do you go from
here to there? It requires going through elections, but can you have free
and fair elections?”
Tsvangirai, though, has rejected a unified government.
“Our view is that whoever gets the authority or mandate by the people
will form what I would call an inclusive government as a show of magnanimity
not as a show of negotiations,” Tsvangirai told The Zimbabwean.
Maroleng said Mbeki’s hopes for a unity government had also been
shattered by hardliners in Zanu (PF) and army generals.
“South Africa’s policy was largely informed by an attempt to reform
Zanu (PF) from within but the (Simba) Makoni thing collapsed in spectacular
fashion,” Maroleng said.′”Pretoria had concluded that Zimbabwe’s military
was very partisan in favour of Zanu (PF) and would block any change that
brought the MDC to power.”
time ahead – please come and support these protests and events at
Saturday 21st June from 3.30 – 5 30 pm outside the
Demonstration for democracy, rights
and freedom for
Service of Solidarity with Torture
Zimbabwe Vigil’s Mock Presidential
27th June outside the
Mandela 90th Birthday
27th June, in
· Shona / Ndebele Mass In Southwark. Sunday. 13 July At , Southwark Cathedral will be holding a special Eucharist for the Zimbabwean community in the Shona and Ndebele languages with a Zimbabwean choir.
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.
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.http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
Saturday, 14 June 2008 09:46
KWEKWE - Journalists live in perpetual fear of the state's security
apparatus as the target on media practitioners ahead of June 27 intensifies.
A Central Intelligence Organization operative identified as Lizwe Mapahla,
June 6 caused a scene at Redcliff Hotel, owned by Robert Mugabe's chief
election agent and Zanu (PF) heir, Emmerson Mnagagwa. Mapahla confiscated a
copy of Midlands News (an independently owned community newspaper) from the
hotel's reception and banned staff from reading it. He accused the paper of
an anti Zanu (PF) stance.
Mapahla, stationed at the Kwekwe President's office, uttered threats
for individual reporters: Group Editor Owen Matava and News Editor, Blessed
Mhlanga. He is reported to have said that they would be effectively dealt
with. According to eye-witnesses, the CIO operative was in a drunken stupor,
and was incensed when a hotel employee read a copy of the newspaper at the
"He threatened to deal with Matava and Mhlanga saying the two were
working against the struggle. The guy was very abusive and most of us
thought he was going to assault the receptionist. Security had to be called
in to deal with the situation. We were later told that the guy is a CIO
operative," an eye-witness said.
On June 6 a war veteran delivered a death threat to the Editor of
another community newspaper based in Kwekwe. He told Flata Kavhinga of The
Midlands Observer that there were plans to eliminate him. The war vet
accused him of publishing anti-Mugabe stories and working against the
struggle. Kavhinga is reported to have gone on leave for fear of his life.
"Ask Iden Witheral (of the Zimbabwe Independent) whether Zanu (PF)
has the capacity to deal with you. If you continue writing like that we will
deal with you. I am not a person you can play around with," Valentine
Makombe, the Kwekwe Rural District Chairman of Zanu (PF), threatened Matava.
Reports continue to show that reporters have either disappeared or
were found dead following abductions by the CIO.
Saturday, 14 June 2008 09:17
Zimbabwe needs to go ahead with the election to avoid giving Robert
Mugabe more time to decimate the opposition and human rights defenders, says
Arnold Tsunga, Director of the Africa Programme of the International
Commission of Jurists.
In an interview with SA Talk Radio 702, Tsunga said Mugabe remained in
power as a loser, because of the army, the police and the security
personnel. The legitimacy of his presence in office was both politically and
"He wants to reverse this by stealing the result," said Tsunga.
"Mugabe is determined to stay in power and will most likely try to steal the
election at the point of counting or announcing the votes. That is a tragedy
and the main problem is logistical and operational as opposed to purely
political. We need adequate numbers of domestic and international observers
deployed [in time] to protect the people's vote."
He said the African Union and Southern African Development Community
(SADC) needed to concentrate efforts on ensuring there were enough observers
to cover the 8,000 to 9,000 polling stations.
"As things stand now, it seems there will only be 400 to 500 SADC and
AU observers present. This is an inadequate amount and failure to beef up
the numbers and to deploy them immediately will be tantamount to complicity,
as the need for this has been known by SADC and the AU for a long time."
Saturday, 14 June 2008 09:22
"We are watching you!" is the message from Alex Stevenson, an activist
based outside Zimbabwe, who is urging people to put pressure on election
observers to do their jobs properly.
"What matters is what the Southern African Development Community
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," warned
"If they say it's free and fair, let's challenge them in the SADC
Tribunal. Let's 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. Don't let SADC say they didn't have the
resources. The UN has promised huge help if only they ask."
Stevenson highlighted a news conference in which Lesotho's Prime
Minister, Pakalitha Mososili, said the sovereignty of Zimbabwe must be
respected. Mososili said he understood there was "no way" that the run-off
poll could be rigged. His argument was rejected by Alina Rantsolase of the
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), who said: "The first round
was already rigged."
Stevenson said Pakalitha was clearly uninformed about events in in
"But congratulations to the trade unions. Democracy and international
pressure aren't just about governments, " he said. "African despots should
beware - there are democratic forces lurking and acting out there."
Saturday 14th June 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Every time the man insulted and complained in his ugly, raised voice, I
could feel droplets of his spit on my neck. He was standing so close behind
me that I felt distinctly uncomfortable. There must have been about twenty
of us waiting in the queue at the supermarket but no one commented or said a
word about the abusive tirade. The owners of this sort of behaviour are well
known to us all and to stay safe we stay quiet. "Hey Manager," he shouted,
"someone send for the manager. Why must I wait like this? I don't expect to
have to wait." The more the man ranted the quieter it got in the shop. Two
security guards standing at the exit doors did not come forward, instead
they retreated out of sight and the shower of spit on my neck increased.
"Hey, bring more tellers! Come on, I'm tired of waiting. Hey, you, how much
is that chocolate? No, not the local one, the imported one. What about the
newspaper, the imported one? How much? Hey, hurry up."
The owner of the abusive behaviour was a man of perhaps thirty. His head was
shaven and he wore a thick gold chain around his neck. In his hand, on
obvious display, he flicked a thick bundle of money. Under his loose,
open-necked shirt we could all see the T shirt he wore with the face of Mr
Mugabe on it.
This is the face of Zimbabwe a fortnight before elections: one man silences
twenty. We see but we stay quiet.
Two men arrived on foot at a farm this week and they were carrying Zanu PF
posters. As they began putting up the posters on the walls of outbuildings a
worker tried to object - this is private property after all. "You are not
allowed to complain," came the response. "Or maybe you are MDC?" The worker
did not respond and the posters of Mr Mugabe were plastered on the walls of
This is the face of Zimbabwe where election observers have begun arriving
but are only allowed to watch from 8 am to 5pm.
A friend was at the hospital when the latest victim of political violence
arrived. The victim was in his early sixties and accused of being an MDC
supporter. Both his arms and one leg were broken , his skull was fractured
and the injuries too severe to be treated at the local hospital.
This is the face of Zimbabwe where only 400 election observers will watch 12
million Zimbabweans on the 27th of June. 400 election observers to watch
9231 polling stations. One observer for every 23 polling stations - it is a
mockery, an insult to a tired, broken, hungry and frightened population. Is
this really the best Africa can do?
Until next time, love cathy
|Saturday, 14 June 2008 14:46|
Climbing the mountain – in search of a dream
We must take the positives out of recent history and build a set of new principles that will never allow us to let our country and our people be destroyed by a ruthless and greedy authority ever again.
BY SIMON SPOONER
BULAWAYO - Our beautiful country is reaching the pinnacle of its problems and we are virtually exhausted to the point where we all have to focus on digging deeper than ever. We are emotionally and psychologically battered and drained and we have become fragile in these respects. It is rather like a treacherous climb up a steep mountain, the slopes littered with crevices, ravines and vertical cliffs. Like any adventurer, we commit to the challenge and yearn for what is beyond that mountaintop. Rather like explorers, it is often not visible, but we believe it is there, beckoning.
Zimbabweans are in search of a long-lasting dream, a dream that will fulfill our existing expectations and something that, despite the trauma, is becoming more and more realistic. That dream is about reaching the summit and standing, looking into the distance towards a land of hope, freedom, prosperity and happiness where we all belong. When we, sapped by the long climb, drop our gaze and look down the slope towards the objective, the realisation will hit us that there is work still to be done to reach that Promised Land now visible in the distance, the path before us even less negotiable. However, our energy levels will rise; our enthusiasm, our determination to get to our destination fueled by the tantalising vision set before us.
We then ask why the struggle, why the hemorrhaging of our treasured land, why the suffering, the genocide, the torture and killing? Why not just give up and turn our backs on our countrymen and those less fortunate than ourselves? Just like Nazi Germany, this brutal period in our history is building a new set of values, values that have emerged out of every negative experience and every failure to uphold decent human principles, values that appreciate responsible authority and build respect for our fellow man and our country.
In Germany there will never be a government lead by the Nazis ever again. Firstly, because of the experience of the people of the previous generation, secondly, because a system was put in place that would never allow it to happen again. This system is protected and defended by those very ideals that came about from the Nazi experience. In Zimbabwe we must take the positives out of recent history and build a set of new principles that will never allow us to let our country and our people be destroyed by a ruthless and greedy authority ever again. Likewise, when we have our democracy, we will dramatically contrast the experience with that of the reckless and ruthless rule which we have endured. It will be so striking that we’ll hold on to what democracy will deliver us: a life and future we all justly deserve. Right now, our society is more constitutionally imprisoned and restricted than Hitler’s Germany.
This struggle is about bringing about a new nation, free of divisive legacies in which our children can be safe and secure.
This new order will not be imposed from a far off land but will be born out of the African experience and psyche, tailor-made to protect these precious fundamentals. With this in place, Zimbabweans will have confidence in their future and we will shine in Africa and the world. We will prosper, bring our families back together and the whole country will become a revelation that has never been seen before. Once again we will be proud to call ourselves Zimbabweans, and have faith restored in a future for our children in the land of their birth.
We will herald our national heroes on the sports field, in Commerce and Industry, the Arts and Culture. We will do this together as a unified and proud nation bound together by a true and deep sense of patriotism borne out of this bitter and protracted struggle. After all we have suffered; we have learnt what is truly precious to us. We will restore what has been destroyed and look forward to the challenge with real fervour, invigorated by our desire to succeed, fueled by the fact that we have claimed our country and scored a dramatic victory over evil.
We will be focused in looking forward and not backwards, what we have brought from history will help us prepare our future. There will be no time to peer through a narrow rear vision mirror; we’ll look through a large and wide windscreen revealing the excitement set before us. To give up now would mean dishonouring the massive sacrifices those who have died, those who built our nation and those who are continuing the fight for freedom right now.
by Stephen Bevan in Pretoria and a Special Correspondent in Harare
Last Updated: 6:05PM BST 14/06/2008
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has declared that he will go to war if he
loses the presidential election in two weeks' time.
His grim warning, delivered at the graveside of a former army comrade, came
as police and "war veterans" continued their brutal campaign of intimidation
against supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change and its leader,
"We shall never, never accept anything that smells of the MDC," said the
84-year-old president, who was speaking at the burial of a former general,
Nobert Chingombe, in Harare.
"Anyone who tries to undermine our land reform we will challenge. We are
prepared to fight for our country or to go to war if we lose it - as
happened to our forefathers."
President Mugabe's increasingly belligerent stance is being blamed by
insiders on the heavy influence of his second wife Grace, who fears that her
entire family will be imperilled if he loses power.
Not normally active in politics, Mrs Mugabe is now emerging as a political
figure in her own right, playing a more high profile role in the election
campaign. "Tsvangirai will never set foot on State House," she told a recent
rally in Rusape, 80 miles east of Harare.
"My husband will only leave if a Zanu PF person takes over power to protect
our heritage. Mr Mugabe started fighting for this country before we were
born. Tsvangirai has done nothing for this nation."
Even as Mr Mugabe was speaking yesterday, the MDC's secretary general,
Tendai Biti, was brought before a Harare court with his hands cuffed and his
legs chained. A judge had ordered the police to produce him after his arrest
on Thursday at Harare airport, where he arrived after fleeing the country in
Mr Biti, who had been lobbying for intervention in the crisis by the
international community, faces a charge of treason for allegedly writing a
document outlining the MDC's plans for taking power. However, the document,
which includes calls for Zanu PF hardliners to be punished, has been
dismissed by the MDC as a crude forgery.
In a further sign of the regime's determination to hang on to power, the
head of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, General Constantine Chiwenga, was
quoted in state-owned media urging Zimbabweans to defend the country against
a "treacherous opposition".
Mr Tsvangirai himself was detained for three hours yesterday at a road block
near Shurugwi, 200 miles south west of Harare while out campaigning. It was
the third time he had been detained in three days and his spokesman said the
arrests were now "routine".
Mrs Mugabe is said to fear that any attempt by her husband - 40 years her
senior - to step down or negotiate with the opposition could provoke the
country's military chiefs to turn on them both.
She married the president in 1996, long after an extramarital affair that
yielded two of their three children, and until recently stayed out of the
However, in recent weeks she has travelled across the country donating food,
money and roofing materials for "victims" of what the government claims is
MDC sponsored violence.
Two weeks ago Mrs Mugabe - dubbed the first lady of shopping for her lavish
spending sprees abroad - said her husband would never allow Mr Tsvangirai to
take power. Her outburst prompted the African Christian Democratic Party of
South Africa to claim she was undermining the election process.
In a more recent address to a rally in Chivhu, 60 miles south east of
Harare, she claimed she would rather die than give back land seized from
"The country is mine, it is also yours, it is not for Grace alone," she
said. "I have told people that I will die for this land this time around."
She had earlier handed out 300 ox-drawn carts and other farming equipment to
Zanu PF supporters.
A sinister element of Mrs Mugabe's political rise was her recent appointment
as patron of a new hardline group of war veterans calling itself Mwana Wevhu
(Revolutionary Council). It has demanded cancellation of the election
run-off until Western sanctions are lifted, and also wants 20 per cent of
the seats in Parliament.
Her new role has fuelled rumours that her husband is increasingly frail and
out of touch. According to a recent report, President Mugabe's vision is now
so poor that he cannot read newspapers.
Commenting on Mrs Mugabe's new high profile role, MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa said: "It's clear she can see the writing on the wall and that is
why she has decided to try to restore her husband's fortunes. But she must
understand that she is not at State House by own will, but by the will of
Saturday, 14 June 2008 10:48
Raids on humanitarian organisations and a ban on their work in
Zimbabwe have infuriated Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR) Zimbabwe.
"The move is not only unconstitutional but criminal, as it is done by
an illegitimate government that lacks credibility and the popular support of
the majority," said a statement from ROHR.
On June 5, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister,
Nicholas Goche, sent out a circular, banning all aid agencies and charities
from carrying out field operations in the country "with immediate effect".
This followed the suspension of Care International, an international
humanitarian aid group, which the military junta accused of using food aid
to campaign for the MDC. Save The Children was also forced to suspend
operations the same week.
"The claims made by the government through its propaganda mouthpieces
that NGOs are funding and campaigning for the opposition using food are not
only incorrect but malicious," said ROHR. "The Mugabe government has thrived
on gross human rights violations, state-sponsored anarchy, bad governance,
disregard for the rule of law and corruption of the highest order.
"Given their fascist mindset, the Zanu (PF) government has proved to
be a slow learner of the principles of democracy and tolerance to second
opinions. Zanu (PF) does not take kindly to dissenting voices. The closure
of NGOs is only a sad reminder of the shutting down of the Daily News, Daily
News on Sunday and Tribune in 2003.
Saturday, 14 June 2008 15:43
14 June 2008
TREATMENT OF ADVOCATE ERIC MATINENGA DEPLORABLE
Since the announcement of the results of the 29 March 2008 harmonized
elections, Zimbabwe has witnessed an unprecedented increase in politically
motivated violence, arson, torture, abductions and subsequent murders and
killings. Individuals and institutions which have protested against the
continued human rights situation have been unfortunately targeted, arrested
and detained for purportedly causing or contributing to disaffection and, in
the worst case scenario, inciting political violence. Lawyers, as officers
of the court representing all accused persons regardless of their political
persuasion and inclination, have also been targeted. One such disturbing
case is that of Advocate Eric Taurai Matinenga.
Adv. Matinenga is a registered legal practitioner, a former President
of the Administrative Court of Zimbabwe and currently an Advocate of the
High Court of Zimbabwe, and the duly elected Member of the House of Assembly
of Zimbabwe for Buhera West Constituency. He recently successfully sued the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) to have them removed from his constituency
over alleged harassment, torture and political persecution of MDC supporters
in the constituency in violation of the military's constitutional mandate
and functions (Case No. HC 2624/08).
On 31 May 2008 Adv. Matinenga travelled to Buhera to investigate the
alleged arrest, assault and detention of his clients and to serve the court
order he had obtained against the ZDF. On arrival at Buhera police station
Adv. Matinenga stated the nature of his business and produced his Law
Society of Zimbabwe identity. Adv. Matinenga was denied access to his
clients and instead he was subjected to questioning by an officer he
remembers only as Assistant Inspector Jim. The said officer advised Adv.
Matinenga that he would not be allowed to see the accused persons but was
free to leave but as Adv. Matinenga was protesting his right to see his
clients, one Major Svosve, whose notoriety is recounted in the High Court
papers in Case No. HC 2624/08, arrived and consulted privately with A/I Jim.
On his return from his conference with Major Svosve, A/I Jim said he could
no longer let Adv. Matinenga go. Adv. Matinenga was then ordered to go and
wait at the Charge Office and he complied. When A/I Jim followed he advised
Adv. Matinenga that he had been instructed to, and he had no choice but to,
arrest and detain him on unspecified charges of "public violence".
One Muchinjikwa and another officer then asked to search Adv.
Matinenga's car, which they did. Despite finding nothing of interest to
them, they still impounded the car and confiscated the car keys. Adv. Eric
Matinenga's wife had to walk to the main road and use other means of
transport to go and find shelter for the night. This arrest occurred around
00.31hrs. At the time of the arrest of Adv. Matinenga, the arresting officer
had no reasonable grounds to suspect him of having committed any offence,
which is a key requirement in Zimbabwe law.
Adv. Matinenga was not informed "forthwith" by the person arresting
him of the cause of arrest. This failure persisted even when Trust Maanda,
one of Adv. Matinenga's legal practitioners, attended Buhera police station
on Sunday 1 June 2008. The police officers at Buhera said that they did not
know the reason for Adv. Eric Matinenga's arrest and were merely keeping him
for CID Mutare.
When Mr. Maanda finally met the CID Mutare officers, namely Detective
Sergeant Murambiwa, Detective Sergeant Jonhera and Chief Superintendent
Makone, none of them knew the reasons for arrest and detention. Mr. Maanda
was then allowed to see Adv. Matinenga who was still in the dark as to why
he was being detained. At the Charge Office all that was in the Detention
Book was an entry of Adv. Matinenga's name with no information of who had
arrested him, as is required by law and the rules of criminal procedure. The
CID officers left promising that they would return early Monday, 2 June
2008, to record statements from Adv. Matinenga and take him to court.
On Monday no statement had been recorded at all. Adv. Matinenga's
lawyers, Tino Bere and Trust Maanda, inspected the detention book (DB) and
it had entries which Adv. Matinenga had not seen before suggesting that one
Chogugudza was the arresting officer and the alleged offence was "public
violence". The car which had been taken the day before did not appear in the
DB and had apparently been taken without legal formality. The lawyers then
confronted Constable J. Kapfudza who was the person in charge at the Charge
Office to tell them what they were detaining Adv. Matinenga for and she said
she did not know. She said she could not release the vehicle.
Chief Superintendent Makone, who was said to be the Investigating
Officer, finally arrived and he said he could not shed light on the
allegations but was transferring Adv. Matinenga there and then to Mutare for
appearance in court the following day. Chief Superintendent Makone asked
them to come to the CID offices at 10:00hrs the next day if they wished to
assist the accused to record a warned and cautioned statement. Adv.
Matinenga was then transferred to Mutare by Chief Superintendent Makone and
detained overnight at Mutare Central police station.
The officers who attended the next day were Detective Sergeant
Murambiwa and Detective Sergeant Jonhera. The charge was ". contravening
section 187 (1) (a) as read with section 26 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, incitement to public violence at Mbambata
Nkomo's homestead and Muindisi Homestead of Gwebu Village Buhera on 31 May
2008 where it is alleged that accused incited MDC youths to attack ZANU PF
supporters in Buhera West Constituency.". Back at Mutare Central police
station, the lawyers were advised that the allegations had changed and now
had different names of the complainants and other details. The new charge
was "public violence which occurred on 31st May 2008 between 9.00hrs and
24.00hrs at the following homestead all in Gwebu at Makotami Homestead,
Phillip Gwebu's Homestead, Richman Gwebu's homestead, Wellington Ncube's
homestead and Tinei Makwavarara's homestead, where it is alleged that
accused paid monies to a group of about 50 to 60 MDC youths and thereafter
thanked them for unleashing acts of violence against Zanu Pf supporters and
further encouraged them to continue perpetrating violence against Zanu PF
supporters. It is further alleged that the same youths went on to attack the
aforementioned homesteads assaulting the occupants.."
Adv. Matinenga denied the allegations and did so in writing and was
asked questions which he answered in writing too. The lawyers then asked to
go to court and were advised that it was too late. Chief Superintendent
Makone went away and when he returned he advised that the lawyers should be
available for further statement recording because he could be pressing more
charges from investigations that he said were ongoing. The lawyers
approached the Area Public Prosecutor to see if Adv. Matinenga could not be
brought to court and were told that he was busy with some officials from
Harare and could not attend them. The set-down prosecutor indicated that it
was too late to hear any new cases and that in any event the prosecution
could not expedite any case. Adv. Matinenga had therefore spent 72 hours
since arrest in violation of the laws of the country and had no choice but
to seek relief of the Magistrates' Court to have his arrest and detention
declared unlawful and an order for immediate release granted. He averred
that the allegations were politically motivated to silence him and his
Constituents, punish him for challenging the army excesses in Buhera West
and to intimidate MDC members in the area.
Regional Magistrate, Mr. Mwayera, ordered his immediate release on 5
June 2008 after Adv. Matinenga had spent four (4) days in custody, far
beyond the legally provided period of detention. The court ruling indicated
that there were no grounds for placing Adv. Matinenga on remand and the
state could, if still interested, proceed by way of summons.
After a day of freedom, Adv. Matinenga was once again arrested at his
Harare home on Saturday 7 June 2008 at around 06:00hrs and was driven off
without being informed of why, and where the police were taking him. He was
subsequently driven back to Buhera and detained at Murambinda police
station. His lawyers urgently petitioned the High Court, presided over by
Justice Chitakunye, who ordered the state to produce Adv. Matinenga at
10:00hrs on Sunday 8 June 2008 and show cause why he should not be released,
failing which the state should release him forthwith. This provisional court
order was served on all parties namely Officer in Charge, Murambinda police
station, Officer Commanding Law and Order Mutare, and Investigating Officer,
Chief Superintendent Sipo James Makone.
The representatives of the Attorney General asked to return at
14:15hrs with Adv. Matinenga, but failed to do so. Thus the provisional
order was confirmed as the final order of the court. Chief Superintendent
Sipo James Makone, made it clear to Mr. Bere and Mr. Maanda that he would
not comply with the order but rather that the state counsel whom he said
were in court would explain to the Judge why they were in contempt. Mr. Bere
asked him if he realised that doing what he was doing was contempt of court
and his reply was that "the state representatives will deal with the case".
During these repeated exchanges other police officers were compelling
Advocate Matinenga to sign a new warned and cautioned statement, which he
continued to refuse to sign. He was then moved to Buhera police station.
The office of the Attorney General, represented by law officers who
had travelled to and from Harare, Mrs Florence Ziyambi (the Director of
Public Prosecutions) and Tawanda Zvekare, then lodged a chamber application
for review of the decision of the High Court in the Supreme Court. This was
intended to frustrate earlier efforts and orders by the Magistrate and High
Court to release Adv. Matinenga. The two law officers had made repeated
undertakings to produce him in court, but to no avail, despite being aware
as officers of the court that there was a final order to have him released
immediately. Adv. Matinenga's lawyers filed a contempt of court application
which is now pending before the High Court.
On Tuesday 10 June 2008 the police, still in contempt of the
Magistrates' and High Court order, moved Adv. Matinenga from Buhera police
station to Rusape police station without lawful reason, especially as the
police drove past the nearer Magistrates' Court in Murambinda and Mutare
where the case was previously heard. He was detained in Rusape overnight,
without again either being released or brought before the court.
On Wednesday 11 June 2008 in Rusape none of the magistrates were
prepared to preside over the matter, even after the intervention of the
Chief Magistrate. The magistrates were all aware of the existing and
effective court orders as well as a pending application for contempt of
court for all those who chose to aid and abet in the defiance of the
Magistrates' and High Court orders.
With no warrant for further detention, Advocate Matinenga was locked
up in the Rusape Police Cells, despite heavy protestation from his counsel
of record. The decision to detain Advocate Matinenga was seemingly made by
the arresting police officers (who had all day consulted with the Acting
Director of Public Prosecution, two Assistant Commissioners and on the
telephone with the Chief Magistrate and the Permanent Secretary of the
Ministry of Justice), who simply decided and announced that they would
re-detain Adv. Matinenga and take him back to police cells.
Adv. Matinenga's lawyers returned to Rusape Magistrates' Court on
Thursday 12 June 2008 to argue for their client's immediate release. Once
again, a magistrate could not be found and Adv. Matinenga was returned to
cells. On Friday 13 June 2008 Chief Magistrate, Herbert Mandeya, travelled
from Harare to hear the matter as magistrates in the area all continued to
refuse to preside. The AG's office argued for the state that the Supreme
Court application for review meant the High Court order was suspended, which
position was vehemently challenged by Adv. Matinenga's legal
representatives. Judgment was reserved to 10:00hrs the next day, and Adv.
Matinenga spent his seventh night in unlawful detention.
In a decision on Saturday 14 June 2008, Chief Magistrate Mandeya
placed Adv. Matinenga on remand for the same charges dismissed by the
previous magistrate on 4 June 2008 and despite the High Court order for his
release dated 8 June 2008. An application was made for bail. Bail was
granted and Mr. Zvekare on behalf of the state invoked section 121 of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to keep him in custody pending appeal of
the decision to grant bail. No reasons were provided, and Adv. Matinenga was
then remanded in custody to 26 June 2008 at Rusape Remand Prison. Adv.
Matinenga's lawyers have been instructed to lodge a constitutional challenge
of the validity of section 121.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) remains deeply disturbed by
this sequence of events which, to any reasonable person, can be perceived as
a pattern of systematic persecution rather than a legitimate prosecution.
Adv. Matinenga is a senior lawyer and member of the Law Society of Zimbabwe,
as well as of ZLHR, and has spent his professional life representing human
rights defenders of all political persuasion without fear or favour. His
decision to stand as Member of the House of Assembly in order to work for a
better life for his constituents in Buhera West and the treatment he has
received as a result violates his constitutional right to participate in the
government of his country. The violation of his rights as a detained person
will have a chilling effect on the lawful activities of others like him, as
the state is no longer able to assure the public that it is willing to
comply with its constitutional and international legal obligations to
protect the rights of accused persons.
It is further shocking and disturbing to ZLHR to witness and recount
the repeated and continued defiance and contempt of court orders by state
representatives from law enforcement and protective institutions. This
incident undermines the confidence of society at large in our institutions
of protection such as the police and the courts.
1. The Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Office of the Attorney
General to maintain their independence, impartiality and professionalism and
to ensure that the constitutional provisions protecting the rights of an
accused person are respected at all times.
2. All state representatives to comply with orders of the courts of
Zimbabwe in efforts to ensure that impunity is countered and they adhere and
are seen to be adhering to the rule of law and the separation of powers.
3. The regional observer missions currently in the country, and
those following, to investigate and take up this grave matter with the
relevant authorities and provide public assurances and information of their
interventions to the legal profession in this regard.
4. The SADC mediator, President Thabo Mbeki, to immediately and
diligently investigate this state of affairs and make a public statement on
action taken, information received, and steps which will be taken to ensure
the safety of the legal profession and popularly elected political party
representatives, as well as reduce the threats to peace and security in
Zimbabwe and the region in the run-up to the presidential election run-off,
and beyond 27 June 2008.
It is my understanding that the international community was punch
its success in the smooth handover of power to Mugabe at Zimbabwe
independence, that they failed to censure this man for his extermination of
the Ndbele people in the 1980's. The Zimbabwean people have been paying the
price ever since. That impunity of those crimes against humanity laid the
groundwork for Zanu supremacist ambitions that continue to this day.
This protracted genocide and politicide over so many years must be the best
documented crimes in history, and still the regime has not been indicted at
the International Criminal Court. This failure of justice should originate
charges against these protectionists whether foremost Chinese communist
party cadres and the South African leadership.
The intention to commit these crimes is well reported over these years and
the charges should stick like glue. The Mugabe regime will be indicted
whether or not they succeed in keeping Mugabe as president. They know this,
and this makes the fate of the Zimbabwe people all the more precarious.
Therefore solid plans should be put in place to have the regime criminals
removed from power before they commit more mass exterminations as the runoff
proceeds towards the destruction of the Zimbabwe people.
Whether or not the United Nations mandate of the Responsibility to Protect
is invoked, boundaries have been crossed by the Mugabe regime which oblige
the international community to intervene by force in order to save lives.
The roll call of the dead all ready is massive. Significant numbers of
people are now deceased due to starvation, disease and murder. All manner
of crimes have been perpetrated by the state; genocide, arson, food
deprivation, sex crimes, murder, torture, mutilations, forced displacement,
disappearances, abductions, they are an encyclopaedia of mass atrocity.
And throughout, the hallmark of an unrepentant regime which is denial of
these events and the disfigurement of the truth through ridicule and
The responsibility of this government to uphold civil law and to protect the
weak has long been breached beyond repair. On all counts the Mugabe regime
has both announced and demonstrated its intentions to exterminate its own
peoples. Love of country needs to come before Zanu PF ideology, and in this
test of patriotism the Mugabe regime has not only failed but has acted as a
force of utter destruction in advancing the supremacy of its own
Politicians seem to forget that the purpose of criminal prosecution is to
prevent further evil, and also to prevent the infamy of perpetrators
increasing and to reclaim their souls for humanity.
That is far kinder for all than conniving in their evil.
Wars cost big bucks, Zanu PF is broke; broke of friends, broke of ideas and
broke of money!
Who will fit the bill? China, Russia, South Africa, not likely. (Mbeki would
love to but can’t.)
Will Mugabe’s fat cat wives bring their ill-gotten gains back to bank roll
this war, never!
Can Gono print enough monopoly money, never!
Mugabe and Zanu PF must now know there time is nearly up, they’re going