Monsters and Critics
Jun 17, 2008, 10:34 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - President Robert Mugabe threatened to arrest Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his
opponent in the run-off presidential elections June 27, just as a special
United Nations envoy arrived in Harare.
A UN spokesman in Zimbabwe confirmed that Haile Menkerios, the world body's
assistant secretary-general for political affairs, arrived in Harare late
Monday, following Mugabe's agreement to a request from UN secretary-general
Bank-Ki Moon to send an envoy to investigate the crisis in Zimbabwe.
No details of his plans were immediately available from the UN office in
Meanwhile, in the state-controlled Herald newspaper Tuesday, Mugabe claimed
that MDC supporters were carrying out 'arson, kidnappings and violence on
people, especially ZANU(PF) (Mugabe's party).'
There has been no independent confirmation of claims by Mugabe and the state
press of violence perpetrated by members of the pro- democracy party.
Instead, churches, human rights groups and doctors have confirmed a wave of
killings, brutal assaults, torture, abduction and driving people out of
their homes in which the victims assert their assailants have been ZANU(PF),
except in a small minority of cases.
Mugabe said there was 'an organized system of violence aimed at disturbing
law and order.'
He said the government would 'soon invoke what is known as (the law of)
vicarious responsibility and liability which means that we will hold them
responsible for the violence across the country.'
The law was usually used against the state, when state agents were
committing crimes, and top government officers were held responsible for the
actions of their juniors, said Irene Petras of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Already, the MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti, is under arrest on charges
of treason. Tsvangirai has been arrested without charge at least six times
in the last two weeks as he attempted to campaign around the country, but
was detained for no longer than 12 hours.
About six MDC MPs have been arrested since the first-round elections on
One of them, advocate and former administrative court judge Eric Matinenga,
is in police cells in his constituency in south-east Zimbabwe after being
arrested twice on 'inciting violence' charges, which were dismissed by a
His lawyers are in the process of securing a court order to have police
commissioner Augustine Chihuri arrested for contempt of court for disobeying
high court orders over a week ago for Matinenga's 'immediate release.'
Observers say Mugabe's rhetoric in campaign speeches is growing increasingly
violent, with him declaring yesterday that he would not allow 'a mere X' in
the June 27 election to make him give up power.
Aged 84, Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980 and the
country's economy is on the brink of grinding to a halt, according to
In Tuesday's Herald, he told his audience that 'there is hunger in this
country and there are no commodities but you cannot sell the country for
that.' He asserts that Tsvangirai 'cannot be allowed to win because he will
hand the country to the British and the Americans.
'You decide for yourselves, to vote for war, or for people who work for the
development of the country,' he said Tuesday.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation signed an open letter calling for free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe, the foundation said on Tuesday.
The letter was also endorsed by other African leaders, organizations and
individuals in Africa.
'We are profoundly concerned by the situation in Zimbabwe and would like to
join all freedom-loving people who have added their voices to the growing
call for true democracy, ' said CEO of the Foundation Achmat Dangor.
The letter stated that it was crucial for the interests of both Zimbabwe and
Africa that the upcoming elections were free and fair.
'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,' the letter said.
'It is vital that the appropriate conditions are created so that the
presidential run-off is conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner,'the
Tue Jun 17, 11:16 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Senior UN official Haile Menkerios met with Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe in Harare on Tuesday ahead of a run-off presidential
poll, said a source close to the United Nations.
"He (Menkerios) met with the president just before lunch," the source, who
asked not to be named, told AFP.
Menkerios, an assistant secretary general for political affairs responsible
for Africa, arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday to evaluate the political
situation in the country and discuss the upcoming election.
Following the meeting with Mugabe, of which the content and duration were
not immediately known, the UN delegation was holding internal meetings, the
Menkerios' visit, which will last until Friday, follows talks between UN
chief Ban Ki-moon and embattled Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on the
sidelines of a food summit in Rome early last week.
It comes amid an escalating humanitarian, economic and political crisis in
the country since Mugabe's ruling party lost control of parliament in
general election on March 29 and the veteran leader came second in the first
round of the presidential poll.
Mugabe has stepped up rhetoric ahead of the run-off on June 27, threatening
to arrest opposition leaders over mounting violence, and warning he is ready
to fight to prevent the opposition from coming to power.
The opposition has said that the violence has so far claimed the lives of
more than 60 of their supporters since the first round of the presidential
election in March.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces Mugabe in the run-off, has claimed
Zimbabwe is now run by what is essentially a "military junta" that has
unleashed a campaign of violence and intimidation throughout the country.
Police have detained Tsvangirai five times over the last couple weeks and
two MDC campaign buses have been seized, though one has since been returned.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's main opposition party is demanding
Tuesday to know why its secretary-general has not been formally charged six
days after he was arrested on "frivolous" charges.
Tendai Biti was supposed to be formally charged in magistrate's court on
Monday, but the hearing was delayed for a day due to "a lot of paperwork," a
Zimbabwe police official said.
Tuesday's hearing has also failed to happen, and his lawyers have issued an
urgent application for his release.
Biti faces charges of treason, which could carry the death penalty, and
disseminating malicious falsehoods. The charges relate to a document
published by the MDC before the March 29 presidential election, according to
Zimbabwe national police.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Movement for Democratic Change accused
Zimbabwe's police of not having enough evidence to charge Biti.
"The police made a lot of noise about their threats to arrest Mr. Biti,
which in a normal society would have presupposed they had basis for doing
so," the statement said. "Six days later they still have not charged him,
which vindicates our position that the charges are ludicrous, frivolous and
vexatious, only intended to frustrate our campaign."
Biti is the secretary-general of the MDC, whose leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
is trying to unseat Zimbabwe's longtime ruler, President Robert Mugabe. A
runoff election is scheduled for June 27.
Speaking at a campaign rally Monday, Mugabe threatened to arrest more MDC
officials, blaming the party for pre-election violence. Watch Mugabe say
he'll fight to keep is party in power »
In its statement, the MDC said Zimbabwe's inability to formally charge Biti
"indicate[s] that the Mugabe regime has lost recollection of how a
civilized, law-governed society interacts with its citizens.
"They are behaving like thugs, gangsters and ward lords, without any attempt
to be rational and civil," the statement said.
Biti was arrested on Thursday as he arrived in the Zimbabwean capital on a
flight from South Africa. His lawyers were initially not told where Biti was
being held after he was arrested. A warrant had been issued for his arrest
on June 6, while he was abroad.
Police on Monday searched Biti's home for more than three hours, according
to an MDC statement that called it "harassment."
"Clearly the police are on fishing expedition," the statement said.
Biti made an initial court appearance Saturday after his attorneys filed
several court orders demanding it. Wearing leg irons, Biti appeared
"dejected and dull," according to a reporter in the courtroom.
After the court proceeding, Biti was returned to police custody. He is being
held at Matapi Police Station, in Mbare, the oldest suburb of the capital
Mugabe supporters have been accused of conducting kidnappings, beatings and
murders in an effort to influence the June 27 runoff election between Mugabe
and Tsvangirai. Zimbabwean authorities have also banned all aid
organizations from distributing aid to needy citizens, claiming that aid
workers were trying to influence people to vote against Mugabe. Learn more
about Zimbabwe »
Tsvangirai has been detained several times in the weeks leading up to the
runoff election -- most recently on Saturday with 11 other MDC officials and
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said he and other opposition members refused to
stop campaigning despite Mugabe's threat to arrest more opposition
"We do not want to betray the people of Zimbabwe by going into hiding," he
Tue 17 Jun 2008, 17:49 GMT
HARARE, June 17 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's High Court on Tuesday dismissed an
application for police to release Movement for Democratic Change
Secretary-General Tendai Biti, who faces treason charges.
"I am not satisfied that the application has demonstrated that what he is
calling continued detention is unlawful," Judge Samuel Kudya said. Biti has
been held since his arrest on his return on Thursday to Zimbabwe ahead of a
June 27 presidential run-off vote. (Reporting by Nelson Banya)
By Jonga Kandemiiri
17 June 2008
Political violence in Zimbabwe continued Tuesday in Harare's Mbare district
where members of the ruling ZANU-PF party's militia forced opposition
members to declare their allegiance to the ruling party in front of state
television cameras, sources said.
Evictions of Mbare families continued as suspected opposition supporters in
Matapi, Nenyeri and Mbare apartment flats and the Siyaso market stalls were
forced to vacate.
Sources said election observers of the Southern African Development
Community tried to visit the areas hit by such violence but were chased away
by ZANU-PF militia members. The sources said observers were also attacked in
Epworth, a suburb east of Harare.
The director of SADC's organ on politics, defense and security, Tanki
Mothae, said he had not yet received a report on attacks against observers
chased from Mbare and Epworth.
Parliamentarian-elect Piniel Denga of Mbare told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that local officials trying to accommodate
those forced from their homes.
The Combined Harare Residents Association condemned the forced evictions by
ZANU-PF's Chipangano youth wing. Association Chairman Mike Davies said his
group is appealing to the international community to take action before
things get out of hand.
Meanwhile, the wife of the newly elected mayor of the MDC-led Harare
council, Emmanuel Chiroto, and their four year old son, were said to have
been abducted from their Hatcliffe home by ZANU-PF militia Monday night.
Sources said the son was left at the Borrowdale police station Tuesday
morning, but that the mother remained missing.
Chiroto, elected mayor on Sunday by other Harare councilors, said his house
was burned to the ground. He said the burning of the house was witnessed by
SADC election observers, and a source in the SADC delegation later confirmed
this to VOA.
HARARE, June 17 (AFP)
The head of an African observer mission on Tuesday warned over violence
ahead of Zimbabwe's presidential run-off next week and expressed concern
about President Robert Mugabe's recent threats of "war."
"Violence is now at the top of the agenda of this electoral process," said
Marwick Khumalo of the Pan-African Parliament as the group's observers began
deploying in Zimbabwe.
"We have had so many horrendous stories. This election is a far cry from
what we had last time," he added, referring to the first round of the
election on March 29.
Mugabe recently warned he was ready to go to war to keep the opposition from
taking power in Zimbabwe, and while Khumalo did not mention the 84-year-old
leader by name, he denounced such statements.
"Beating the drums of war is not acceptable in any situation even if it is
in Zimbabwe," he said.
Observers from the Pan-African Parliament, an African Union body, will
include 40 parliament members from throughout Africa and 24 support staff,
said Khumalo, who is from Swaziland.
He did not specify who to blame for the violence ahead of the June 27 vote.
"We can only hope that both (parties) will tone down," he said. "We have
been to the hot spots. The issue of violence, whether by the military or an
individual, is unacceptable."
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has also begun deploying
Some 120 observers from the 14-nation bloc were fanning out across Zimbabwe
in the first wave of deployments last week but more than 400 should be in
place by polling day.
An SADC mission which oversaw the first round of voting was heavily
criticised by the opposition after it gave the vote a largely clean bill of
health before any of the results had been announced.
The Times, SA
Sapa Published:Jun 17, 2008
Zimbabwean Vice President Joyce Mujuru has criticised "lazy" farmers for
leasing the land they invaded, The Herald Online reported today.
"Do you think there would be another government that would come and do the
farming on your behalf while you sleep?" she asked at a rally in Chiweshe
attended by 20,000 people yesterday.
"What do you get when you lease your pieces of land? How do you expect to
survive with your families?
"Such behaviour is the root to other disgraceful behaviour like stealing and
prostitution," said Mujuru.
She said leasing pieces of land was "tantamount to laziness and such
retrogressive behaviour was wearing away government efforts to empower
farmers through giving them land", the website reported.
She said people did not appreciate the fact that there was no greater
empowerment than offering citizens land.
"We appeal to you all to utilise land as there are no other means to improve
our wealth, stabilise the economy other than production.
"We are aware that some of you are having problems like procuring inputs in
time. It is because of sanctions imposed by western countries at the behest
of opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai," she said.
Mujuru also expressed concern at the fact that agricultural production in
the area remained low despite a government irrigation scheme in the area.
She assured farmers that Zimbabwe's record-high inflation was just a phase.
"Some countries like Germany and Brazil reached a stage when people were
paid weekly, daily and hourly because of hyperinflation, but today you are
going there to buy goods because it was merely a passing phase.
"Zimbabwe is going through a similar phase," she said.
Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of southern Africa, now has the highest
inflation rate in the world. The past eight years have seen shortages in
basic foodstuff as the government's controversial land redistribution
programme saw agricultural production grind to a near halt.
The country is in a pre-election mode as it prepares for a presidential vote
on June 27.
IOL Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights Yahoo News http://www.hararetribune.com Financial Times SABC The Zimbabwean Zimbabwe Gazette Ottawa Citizen The Zimbabwean The Zimbabwean Afrique en ligne Media-Newswire Business Daily Africa, Nairobi News24 OhMyNews Monsters and Critics
International civil societies and the UN had distributed radios in rural areas, but the Zimbabwe Government and war veterans are now confiscating them. Mugabe declared a ban on all television satellite dishes last week.
Full Beeld report
Zim police seeks 'evidence' against Biti
June 17 2008 at 09:50AM
Harare - Zimbabwean police have searched the home and computer of the
opposition's number two leader, who is facing a treason charge ahead of a
June 27 presidential run-off, his lawyer said.
Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change
opposition, was due in court on Monday, but police were likely to delay the
appearance, said Lewis Uriri.
"Police searched his home and they spent the last three hours going
through his laptop," said Uriri, who was present during the searches.
"It is highly unlikely they will bring him to court on Tuesday."
Officers took nothing away from the house in Harare and left the
computer there, he said.
Uriri said police may ask the court to allow them to hold Biti
longer. He had not yet been officially charged.
Police are legally allowed to hold suspects for 48 hours, and Biti is
already beyond that limit after having been arrested on Thursday.
His lawyer was also planning to ask the High Court to declare further
detention of Biti unlawful, he said.
Police arrested Biti minutes after he arrived back in Zimbabwe from a
long stay in South Africa.
At first they refused to reveal his whereabouts but a court ordered
authorities to produce him on Saturday. The lawyer said afterwards that Biti
had been interrogated continuously for 24 hours after his arrest.
Authorities have said they plan to charge Biti for allegedly authoring
a document said to have contained details of a plot to rig the election.
He is also accused of "communicating and publishing false information
prejudicial to the state" for proclaiming victory for his party in the first
round of March 29 polls ahead of official results.
The treason charge carries a potential death penalty.
The opposition has accused authorities of harassment and "thuggish
tactics" to prevent them from campaigning ahead of the run-off, when MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai will be seeking to end President Robert Mugabe's
Police have detained Tsvangirai five times over the past couple weeks
and have seized two MDC campaign buses, though one has since been returned.
Violence has also mounted in the approach to the election, and the MDC
says more than 60 of its supporters have been killed in a campaign of
Mugabe blames the opposition for the upsurge in violence, but the UN
has said the president's supporters are responsible for the bulk of it.
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the March first round, but with an
official vote total just short of an outright majority. - Sapa-AFP
This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on June
Systematic Violent Assault and Torture Overwhelm
17 June 2008
ZADHR is deeply concerned about the continuing violent trauma being
inflicted on the Zimbabwean population. The escalation in numbers and
severity of cases of systematic violent assault and torture during May was
of a scale which threatened to, and for brief periods did, overwhelm the
capacity of health workers to respond. Both first line casualty officers and
specialists, especially surgeons and anaesthetists, to whom patients were
referred had great difficulty in adequately managing the burden of serious
ZADHR commends the efforts of health professionals in Zimbabwe who continue
to provide the highest possible quality of health care to victims of
violence under extremely difficult circumstances.
In addition to individuals with significant physical injuries, members of
ZADHR saw over 300 displaced patients with medical conditions such as
pneumonia or asthma, or psychiatric diagnoses, in particular anxiety and
depression, and many with chronic conditions such as diabetes whose
medication had been lost or destroyed when the patients were violently
forced, by arson or the immediate probability of injury or death, from their
It is certain that a far greater number of patients will have been attended
to by other members of the health professions, especially nurses, but will
never have been near a doctor. Psychiatric and social problems may result in
an even greater burden on health care workers than the frequently
complicated but relatively clearcut diagnoses such as fractures.
One thousand and seven patients were seen during the month of May. 119
patients sustained fractures, more than 50 of which were recorded as
confirmed on x ray. The remainder were clinical diagnoses, either with
clinically evident physical distortion or with the broken ends of bone
protruding through an external wound (?compound fracture?). 36 patients had
fractures of the ulna (the inner or medial bone of the forearm), 27 of the
radius (the outer or lateral bone of the forearm). Of these 13 had fractures
of both radius and ulna, 4 had fractures of the ulna bones of both arms, and
one patient had both radius bones broken. Seventeen further cases of
fractured ?wrist?, ?forearm? or ?elbow? were recorded.
Most of these fractures will have been sustained in attempts to defend the
face and upper body from violent blows with a weapon such as a heavy stick
or iron bar. As evidence for the sustained severity of the violence of many
of the assaults there were several cases of multiple fractures to different
areas of the body, for example one patient with fractures of the left ulna,
right radius and a metatarsal (small bone of the foot), and another with a
patella (knee cap) and bilateral ulna fractures. Three patients had skull
fractures and 9 had broken ribs. Two of these cases had multiple rib
fractures associated with haemothorax (bleeding into the space between the
lungs and the chest wall, probably caused by penetration of the broken end
of a rib, which can be rapidly fatal).
Forty five cases of fractures of the small bones of the hands (31) or feet
(12), both hands (1), or both hands and feet (1) were recorded. Many
patients sustained fractures to several bones, again witness to the
sustained brutality of the assaults, and consistent with reports of hands
and feet being pounded by a pestle (mutswi) in a mortar (duri).
At least two pregnant women, one 24 and the other 32 weeks gestation, were
systematically beaten on the back and buttocks, resulting in extensive
lacerations, bruising and haematoma formation. They were among the 312 cases
classified as having severe soft tissue injury. This category includes
widespread severe bruising, haematoma (collection of blood) formation,
necrosis (tissue death), sepsis (infection, usually where there is extensive
skin loss or abscess formation in a haematoma), or deep and extensive
lacerations (cuts or wounds).
One patient, beaten extensively on the shoulders, back, buttocks and thighs,
was also struck in the face and suffered a leak of vitreous humour (the
transparent gel-like substance behind the lens of the eye) resulting in
There have been reports of over 53 violent deaths up to the end of May 2008.
However although post-mortem examinations are legally mandatory in such
cases, few are being undertaken and therefore cases are only rarely
confirmed by doctors. However 7 of these deaths occurred in hospital
following admission for injuries sustained during violent assault or torture
and a further three did have post-mortem examinations. One confirmed a
broken neck as the cause of death. A second died as a result of intracranial
haemorrhage (bleeding inside the head) with extensive facial injury
indicative of having been beaten on the head. The second died as a result of
probable acute renal failure secondary to extensive myolysis (destruction of
muscle) and soft tissue necrosis with evidence of falanga and widespread
whipping type injuries. In the third case, the body was found several days
after abduction, and although it was partially decomposed, the detailed
post-mortem which was carried out did not reveal evidence of beating or
torture. The estimated time of death (nearer to the time of abduction rather
than when the body was found) and the witnessed method of abduction in which
the head was forcibly extended, the face covered and, with the victim prone,
several attackers putting their weight on his back, are consistent with
death due to asphyxia.
There has been a gross surge in both the quantity and severity of injury.
Fracture cases alone increased three-fold in number from April to May. These
documented cases speak for themselves in terms of the urgency of the need to
stop the violence which is sweeping large areas of the country. ZADHR
reiterates its call on all parties to cease the use of assault and torture
intimidation, victimisation or retribution. In addition to cessation of
violence there are other urgent needs for affected individuals including
shelter, food and water for internally displaced persons and mental and
physical rehabilitation for victims of violent trauma.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
6th Floor, Beverly Court, 100 Nelson Mandela Ave
PO Box CY 2415, Causeway
Tel: 708118, 251468
Attacks On Families And Abductions On the Rise
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 June 2008
Posted to the web 17 June 2008
As the date of the election run-off draws ever closer, it appears as if Zanu
PF's reign of terror is continuing to escalate, with a growing number of
reports of violence, abductions and attacks on families of activists and MDC
The whereabouts of the wife of MDC Mayor in Harare, Emmanuel Chiroto remain
unknown after she and the couple's four year old son were seized by a group
of armed men at Chiroto's house in Hatcliffe on Monday night. The child was
found dumped outside a police station on Tuesday morning, but there has been
no word from Chiroto's wife or her abductors.
In a separate incident, a local organiser for the Combined Harare Resident's
Association was abducted by a mob of Zanu PF militia on Tuesday afternoon
and is being held at the militia base in Sunningdale. The attack came less
than twenty four hours after the woman's adult son and daughter were
abducted from their Sunningdale home on Monday evening. The pair managed to
escape during the night.
The attacks are the most recent in a string of incidents targeting the
families of activists and MDC officials. Almost two weeks ago, the
78-year-old grandmother of MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, along with his
mother and young brother were severely assaulted when armed soldiers raided
their rural homestead in Gutu. The family of MDC MP elect for Mbare in
Harare Piniel Denga, was also attacked by a group of Zanu-PF supporters at
Daybroke resettlement scheme in Chivhu. Several nephews and nieces were
force-marched from the family homestead to a torture camp at a place called
A few days before, Zanu PF thugs in Harare South set on fire a house
belonging to the councilor for ward 1. The councilor, his pregnant wife and
their 6-year-old son were all at home at the time of the attack. The 6-year
old died in the blaze and the pregnant wife died on her way to hospital,
while the councilor survived. Over the weekend police in Hatfield were said
to be refusing to assist the family in compiling a report, which was also
needed to secure a burial order. Harare South Zanu PF MP Hubert Nyanhongo
was blamed for the attack.
Meanwhile, the abductions have continued throughout the country, with the
news emerging that at least three teachers in the Manicaland area have been
abducted since Friday. Tabani Moyo from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
said the teachers, including a local primary school headmaster, were bundled
into Zanu PF branded vehicles and hauled away in separate attacks.
Sources on the ground in Harare have told Newsreel with obvious fear that
the situation is becoming out of hand and dangerous. Moyo said the
atrocities being committed are becoming as brutal as those committed in 2000
Moyo said: "It is clear that Mugabe's party is not interested in the
election and that it only wants a certain outcome. Mugabe is sending out a
'They looted my body like I was dead'
Women are being targeted with rape and beatings to intimidate opponents of
Robert Mugabe ahead of the run-off vote on June 27, say campaigners
Sophie Shaw in Harare
Tuesday June 17 2008
Robert Mugabe is accused of extending his efforts to retain power forcibly
by targeting women. Among thousands of reported cases of violence, his
militias have allegedly raped, beaten and made homeless three MDC supporters
in a Harare suburb, while members of the non-violent Women of Zimbabwe
Arise! (Woza) movement are in their third week of detention.
Of the three raped women now receiving treatment in a Harare clinic, one is
too broken by her experience to talk. She lies silently in her bed, her eyes
darting nervously around the room, the covers pulled up to her neck.
But her two fellow-victims, Liza Mwaramba and Yvonne Chipowera, are eager to
tell their story. For Shona women, traditionally submissive, they are
remarkably direct and open. They also demonstrate an astonishing physical
and emotional resilience by laughing and joking about what they have been
"They came to my house on June 8," says Liza. "They said I was an MDC
supporter. I was wearing my party T-shirt and I was about to go to a rally.
They burned down my house and took all my things. I ran away and hid. But
the next day they came back to rape me. I knew some of them as local Zanu-PF
members. But some others were from another area.
"They kicked my breasts, which are still badly swollen. They took me to a
graveyard and raped me again. When I was trying to stop them, they took a
hot wire and burned my hand. They looted my body like I was dead. They took
my ID card and all my money."
No card, no vote
Yvonne's experience was similar, but her assault was sustained during a long
night at a detention centre run by Zanu-PF.
"They came to my place at 8pm on June 9. I was with my baby. They told me to
surrender all my MDC regalia and cards. They wanted my ID card."
Stealing identity cards has become standard practice for Zanu-PF militias.
Without ID, opposition supporters will be prevented from voting on June 27.
"They took me to their base," says Yvonne. "One guy raped me on the way.
They poured cold water on me all night, so I was freezing. They beat me over
and over again with rods. They beat my genitals, legs, back, buttocks and
head. They called me names. They said I was a dog because I supported
Yvonne's body is covered with deep bruises, which remain painful a week
after the attack. But she discovered more hardship after being released:
"When I got home I found they had taken everything from my house and they
had destroyed it right down to the ground."
Epworth, where the three women live, is a poor suburb of Harare. Houses are
roughly built of breezeblock and muddy cement. Most lack drainage or
electricity. The area is named after the Lancashire birthplace of John
Wesley, and Methodist missionaries still operate here. It is a natural
heartland for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Until June, Zanu-PF was content to ignore urban areas - which form only 20%
of parliamentary constituencies - believing it could win simply by
dominating the rural vote.
But it is now clear that Robert Mugabe cannot count on his traditional
supporters, who have grown weary of relentless economic decline and hunger.
So Zanu-PF is bussing militias into urban areas to terrorise MDC voters and
deter them from turning out to vote in the presidential run-off.
In Zimbabwe, where at least one-quarter of young men are infected with HIV,
the consequences of rape are potentially lethal. The women, who were all
confident of their negative status, are waiting for the results of HIV
"I am stressed especially about the rape," says Yvonne angrily. "I have
contracted an STD from the rape. I wish God would take them all. Mugabe is a
pig. I wish he would die."
Liza is more fearful than angry: "I am stressed because I have two children.
They poisoned my husband and he is in the ground since 2006. Maybe I am HIV
positive now because of these guys. Who will look after my children if I get
Aids? To be raped is like death."
On the other side of Harare, members of Woza have now been held for three
weeks in the notorious Chikurubi jail.
"We marched on May 28," says Annie Sibanda, a spokeswoman for Woza. "The
plan was to march from the UN office to the Zambian embassy. We handed in a
petition at the UN office calling for action to end the violence and for a
peaceful, free and fair election.
"Fourteen of us we were arrested in central Harare. Our members are just
ordinary Zimbabwean women - housewives, mothers. The riot police beat our
driver a few times and beat one of our members. Two passersby intervened and
asked the police to stop beating the woman, but the police just arrested
The 14 women were charged with holding an illegal demonstration with the
intent to promote violence.
Sibanda considers this a laughable charge because Woza is rigorously
pacifist and proud that it has operated for five years without recourse to
violence. But the prosecution repeated the claim that Woza was a violent
group as a pretext for denying bail to the women.
"They accused Woza of organising Kenyan-style violence," says Sibanda. "It's
disgusting that we've been locked up and not the people who are beating,
burning, murdering and raping."
Twelve of the women have now been released. But two - Jeni Williams and
Magodonga Mahlangu - are still in Chikurubi prison and now face much more
serious charges: publishing false statements prejudicial to the state and
causing disaffection among the police and defence forces.
The latter charge, which carries a maximum 20-year sentence, relates to no
more than a statement in a Woza newsletter that "the uniformed forces must
realise that there is no peace while violence continues".
Sibanda understands that it must appear crazy to demonstrate in Zimbabwe
while death squads loyal to Robert Mugabe are active.
But she is unrepentant. "Woza was formed in 2003 to show the world that
Zimbabweans do not just roll over. We wanted to demonstrate our courage and
to show that Zimbabweans are still dignified and outraged by what's
"We heard that they wanted to arrest the leadership and hold them, because
they knew that Woza was capable of organising mass protests. We take it as
quite an honour that they are threatened by our ability to mobilise people.
"But they have not appreciated that Woza is a 60,000-strong national
movement that will not be deterred because two people are in prison."
Sophie Shaw is a pseudonym.
Kenyan PM Describes Country As Africa's 'Eyesore'
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 June 2008
Posted to the web 17 June 2008
As the youth militia, police and soldiers in Zimbabwe continued their
violent campaign of abductions, torture and assaults just one week before
the crucial election, the Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Tuesday
spoke out against fellow African leaders for remaining silent on the abuses.
Speaking on a trip to Washington, Odinga is quoted as saying: "Zimbabwe is
an eyesore on the African continent ... an example of how not to do it. I'm
sad that so many heads of state in Africa have remained quiet when disaster
is looming in Zimbabwe,"
Odinga added that the South African government needed to speak out strongly
against Mugabe and impunity in Zimbabwe.
Last week 40 prominent African leaders, including former heads of state,
Nobel Laureates, famous musicians and former top UN officials issued a
public letter calling on the Zimbabwe government to end the violence and
conduct peaceful elections. Notably the list of signatories did not include
any current African leaders.
Odinga made the comments in a discussion run by the Centre for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington. Just last week he blasted the Zimbabwe
authorities during a visit to Cape Town, and he said that he had been
"declared enemy number one in Zimbabwe" since then.
But this did not stop Odinga from pointing out the truth. He reportedly
said: "African leaders should be able to stand up and say what is happening
in Zimbabwe is unacceptable".
Mutambara to appeal to regional
Tue Jun 17, 12:02 PM ET
HARARE (AFP) - A leader of a faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition facing
charges for a written attack on President Robert Mugabe plans to petition
the SADC regional body over the case, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Arthur Mutambara, who heads a rebel faction of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), appeared before an Harare court Tuesday, 10 days ahead of the
country's presidential run-off election.
His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was set to apply to remove his bail conditions
but the prosecutor in the case failed to turn up.
"We gave notice today to challenge the case and appeal to SADC (Southern
African Development Community) on the basis that it breaches one of the SADC
guidelines on elections which provides for the right to freedom of
expression," Mtetwa told AFP.
They would also file a complaint with the SADC, a 14-nation regional bloc,
for "discrimination by the state media", said Mtetwa.
Mtetwa argued that state media "gives some political leaders airtime to
launch the most scurrilous attacks on other people to the extent of inciting
hatred while denying other politicians the platform to express themselves."
Mutambara was arrested and detained for two days last month over an article
he wrote in April for the country's only independent Sunday paper, The
The article accused Mugabe, who faces MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the
June 27 run-off poll, of running down the country's economy and his security
forces of abuses.
Mutambara was granted bail with stringent conditions including presenting
himself once every week to the police and surrendering title deeds to his
The prosecution said the article was prejudicial to the state and undermined
public confidence in the security forces.
The editor of the newspaper was also arrested but later released on bail in
connection with the same article.
election results won't be withheld -- ZANU-PF
By Tawanda Takavarasha | Harare Tribune News | Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Zimbabwe, Harare --Despite the massive violence in Zimbabwe against
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
Zimbabwe's Minister of Rural Housing, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on a brief visit
to Maputo on Tuesday, claimed that the conditions in the country are
conducive to hold a second round in the presidential election on 27 June.
Mnangagwa was in Maputo in his capacity as Secretary for Legal Affairs
of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF, and he spoke to reporters after an audience
with President Armando Guebuza.
Recent reports indicate Mnangagwa is poised to be nominated by Robert
Mugabe as his successor in the event that ZANU-PF wins the June 27 election.
Mugabe intends to win another six year term, but due to his advanced age, he
will opt for early retirement and give the reins of power to Mnangagwa.
In Maputo, Mnangwagwa boasted that the second round would take place
on the date announced and ZANU-PF had no intention of delaying it. He
predicted that the ZANU-PF candidate Robert Mugabe would win with "an
In reality, Mugabe is trailing. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the
first round with 47.9 per cent of the vote to just 43.2 per cent for Mugabe,
according to highly contested official results. The MDC has insisted that in
fact it won outright on the first round, and the figures were adjusted
In an apparent admission that ZANU-PF had forced ZEC to delay the
release of the March 29 election, Mnangagwa promised that the results from
the second round would be announced speedily - unlike the first round, where
theZimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) delayed for five weeks before
announcing the results.
As for the violence, Mnangagwa shrugged it off as "deceitful MDC
propaganda" with the intention of confusing the electorate. He alleged that
the MDC carries out acts of violence under cover of night and then blames
them on ZANU-PF.
This story flies in the face of every credible account of the
violence, which lays the blame squarely at the door of ZANU supporters (such
as members of the ZANU youth militia, and self-styled "war veterans" -
though many are too young to have taken part in Zimbabwe's liberation war).
Mnangagwa denied that the repeated detentions of Tsvangirai (five
times last week) were any kind of harassment or intimidation. He claimed
that the MDC was using cars without proper number plates, and the police
therefore had to stop them.
Tsvangirai "likes being arrested", claimed Mnangagwa, allegedly
because this is way of grabbing the world's attention.
Mnangagwa is one of Mugabe's key lieutenants, running the campaign for
the second round. He was accompanied to Maputo by Defence Minister Sidney
Sekeramayi, and the head of the intelligence service, Happyton Bonyongwe.
By sheer coincidence, Mozambican civil society organisations were also
discussing Zimbabwe on Tuesday. The Zimbabwean and Kenyan election
experiences came under analysis at a seminar organised by the Electoral
Observatory, a coalition of several of the country's religious groups and
NGOs, which organised the largest contingent of observers at the 2004
Speaking on Zimbabwe was Fernando Goncalves, editor of the independent
weekly "Savana", who lived for many years in Zimbabwe. He declared that all
the information reaching Maputo suggested "that there are no conditions for
free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe".
Among the clear indications of this were the harassment of Tsvangirai
and the arrest of MDC General Secretary Tendai Biti on treason charges.
Goncalves had no doubt that the force largely responsible for the
crisis was ZANU-PF. "Violence does not allow free and fair elections", he
stressed. "The violence is on a large scale, and it is now spreading from
the rural to the urban areas".
He thought prospects for the second round were bleak. "You would have
to be very naïve to believe that things will change so radically in the few
days left so as to produce free and fair elections, that will be accepted by
the Zimbabwean people and by the international community".
Goncalves accused the Zimbabwean government of flagrantly violating
its obligations as a member of the African Union (AU) and of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), but that other members of these
organisations were by and large keeping quiet. "What is the attitude of SADC
and the AU when one of their members deliberately violates the principles
they are supposed to defend?", he asked.
A fair Zimbabwe poll is not enough
By Kofi Annan
Published: June 17 2008 19:36 | Last updated: June 17 2008 19:36
Zimbabwe is in freefall. This is a crisis that affects us all, and not just
its people, whose fate is on our conscience. For those of us who believe
governments have a responsibility to protect their citizens, it is a moment
that imposes a special challenge and one we must not ignore.
Zimbabwe's economic meltdown is having tragic consequences both inside the
country and in the southern Africa sub-region. The recent suspension by the
government of the work of aid agencies will only make the already desperate
plight of millions within Zimbabwe even worse. This is a picture of need
that we Africans had hoped to put behind us.
But it is not just an internal crisis. It spreads far beyond Zimbabwe's
borders. Thousands of people have fled Zimbabwe to escape attacks or
imprisonment. Many more have been forced to seek work in neighbouring
countries to try to feed their families. The collapse of the Zimbabwean
economy is having a serious impact on the whole region.
What is also worrying is that the crisis plays into the hands of those
outside Africa who claim that the continent's problems are beyond solution
and that additional development aid and assistance will simply be wasted or
stolen. The report of the African Progress Panel, published on Tuesday,
showed how false a claim this is. It detailed how, away from the headlines,
democratic government and respect for the rule of law and human rights are
spreading across Africa.
It is grossly unfair to make any single country a litmus test for a whole
continent. But there is no doubt that what we are seeing in Zimbabwe is
tarnishing the reputation of Africa as a whole in the eyes of both friends
Zimbabwe is, of course, a nation with a proud history. Its struggle for
independence was a story that inspired pride across the continent. Its new
leaders, and Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, in particular, gave all of
us confidence in African achievement. And, in turn, Mr Mugabe unstintingly
gave sanctuary and support to the aspirations of others, not least the brave
freedom fighters of South Africa.
Our pride in this history is now tested. But instead of simple condemnation,
we owe its people something in return for their historic example. The debt
we owe is to make our best efforts to help Zimbabweans find their own
stability, their own solution.
Zimbabwe faces a second ballot in its election of a president. Neither
candidate gained the required majority on the first round. The constitution
requires a run-off, and this is now scheduled for June 27. It comes as no
surprise, in the cauldron of this contest where there is so much at stake,
to hear claims and counter-claims of voter intimidation, of targeted
killings of party officials and of the political use of food aid. It is a
bleak bulletin and has raised questions of whether there is any hope for a
fair vote and outcome.
But Zimbabweans have a proud tradition of democracy. They are not easily
cowed. Already, there are credible reports that violence and intimidation
against certain sections of society, intended to prevent them from
exercising their democratic rights, are having the opposite effect.
Zimbabweans are determined to have their voices heard and their votes
But if this is true, we must do everything in our power to help make polling
day free and fair. We must insist on the deployment of the greatest number
of election monitors, on their freedom of movement, on zero tolerance for
violence and intimidation.
The repeated arrest of Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the Movement for
Democratic Change, and other senior MDC colleagues is preventing the
opposition from campaigning and is a serious barrier to free and fair
elections. The government must prevent such infringements of liberty. The
role of government is to protect everyone.
If the government, which many claim to be the author of violence, cannot
ensure a fair vote, Africa must hold it accountable. The victor of an unfair
vote must be under no illusions: he will neither have the legitimacy to
govern, nor receive the support of the international community.
Zimbabwe's pain, however, cannot be relieved simply by a fair vote,
essential as that is. The country's future will depend upon the collective
will of all its citizens, and not just those who claim an election success.
It is for this reason that the interests of Zimbabweans also now require
efforts to move beyond division to reconciliation.
Even as the nation prepares for election, its leaders must, without delay,
negotiate a compact that will survive the election, whoever is the winner.
This compact must provide for agreement on a smooth transition and effective
governance arrangements supported by all Zimbabweans. It should respect the
eventual vote, but just as importantly anticipate the need for leaders from
both sides to come together to build Zimbabwe's future.
This process - of cross-party negotiations on the elements of
reconciliation - requires our support just as much as our insistence on the
creation of the conditions for a fair election. The responsibility to
protect Zimbabwe's people thus demands action on two fronts. Both are urgent
and neither is easy nor assured: an election free of intimidation; and a
compact of reconciliation from its leaders which guarantees Zimbabwe's
The writer is a member of The Elders www.theelders.org and chair of the
Africa Progress Panel www.africaprogresspanel.org. From 1997 to 2006, he
served as secretary-general of the United Nations
Open letter calls for free, fair Zimbabwe election
June 17, 2008, 09:45
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has signed an open letter for Zimbabwe's
presidential run-off election next Friday to be free and fair.
Foundation Chief Executive Officer Achmat Dangor says they are profoundly
concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe. The open letter calls for an end
to the intimidation, harassment and violence in that country.
It says there should be sufficient independent electoral observers to
monitor the election and to verify its results. African leaders,
organisations and individuals who've already endorsed the letter, include
Kofi Anan, Benjamin Mkapa, Festus Mogae, Graca Machel, Desmond Tutu and
Only brute force will move Mugabe
Tuesday, 17 June 2008 09:26
I thought Adam Hibib did an excellent piece on the op-ed page last
week, reminding us all that President Thabo Mbeki's patient encouragement of
Robert Mugabe over the years has at least gotten us to the point where we
know, for sure, that the MDC won the March parliamentary elections and,
second that Mbeki is the only African leader able to get through Mad Bob's
door, writes Peter Bruce, editor of Business Day, Johannesburg.
The point is whether it matters. The whole world and probably most
Zimbabweans believe that Mbeki has taken sides with Mugabe. It's no surprise
that ever time one of us locals suggest we do something about Zimbabwe, one
of the buffoons masquerading as an "adviser" to Mbeki will ask someting
like: "What? Do you want us to invade them?"
Well, No Mr Bufoon, that would be wrong. Mainly because our defence
force has been so run down the Zimbabweans would probably beat us. But the
man you're advising needs to remember what country he is president of. Its
South Africa. That means his job is to look after SA's reputation and
How holding Mugabe's hand helps South Africa is beond me. What Mbeki
should have said ages ago, and could profitably say today is, "we in South
Africa are apalled at the behaviour of the Government of Zimbabwe and we
would like to offer any help we can to restore peace to our neighbour".
Then, with South Africa's reputation restored, we could play a
meaningful role in a broad international diplomatic (and even military)
effort to get a democratically elected government in place in Harare.
Anything else is just so much rubbish. Nothing will move Mugabe and his
cronies, except brute force.
Not now and not ever.
Mugabe's Dictatorship Reaches Alarming Levels
Ahead of Poll
By Lee Shungu, on June 16 2008 20:50
Zimbabwe's eighty-four year old president Robert Mugabe, who has
been in power since 1980 is clearly indicating he is a power hungry tyrant.
He says no-one and nothing will remove him from power, whilst incidents of
politically motivated violence perpetrated by his ruling ZANU PF party
reaches alarming levels ahead of this month's presidential poll.
Mugabe continues to vow he will not step down to let main
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai rule the country even if defeated
through the ballot, and is prepared for war, if the later wins.
Information at hand reveals the youth militia and uniformed
forces continue murder, assault and intimidate opposition party supporters
across the country ahead of the June 27 presidential election run-off
A source says over the weekend in rural Goto, Wedza, ZANU PF
supporters caused mayhem at the shopping centre in the area, as they
launched a clampdown on MDC supporters in the area.
"I stay in Harare and had visited St.Annes Goto, which is my
home area. At first, I heard rumors from relatives and friends that ZANU PF
militants were beating up people in my village."
"I happened to have witnessed it all that very same day I
arrived there this past weekend. It is pathetic and scary too. People were
beaten up like stray animals," he said.
As the election date nears, Mugabe has intensified his violent
campaign which has entered urban areas, especially in the capital, Harare.
During the weekend, Mugabe said his party is prepared to fight
to defend the country if "we lose it the same way it was lost" by our
"Those who seek to undermine the land reform programme, itself
the bedrock of Zimbabwean politics from time immemorial, seeks and gets
war," he emphasised.
The source said at the shopping centre, there is a shop owned by
a well-known MDC party member. When the militia reached there, they asked
for the shop owner and were told he was not around.
"The militia started singing 'propaganda songs' whilst they
destroyed everything inside."
"They also beat up the wife of the shop caretaker seriously
"They fired a couple of gun shots in the air whilst still inside
the shop, resulting in each and every civilian at the business centre
scurrying for cover and eventually disappearing in all directions," he said.
According to the MDC, more than 66 of its supporters have been
killed in ZANU PF sponsored violence.
Recently, forty prominent Africans asked Mugabe for assurances
the 27 June Presidential election run-off will be free and fair
The United Nations envoy, Haile Menkerios was also expected in
the country yesterday as many nations and leaders continue to pressure
Mugabe to stop human rights abuses.
The gang later on ransacked the whole place where they piled up
everything they could find, including property.
"They simply set alight the clothes and property in the shop,
and the whole building caught up fire and was completely destroyed," said
With a number of ZANU PF bases now set in and around the capital
city, there has been numerous incidents of the notorious youth militia
Many residents are currently being forced to attend ZANU PF
rallies, usually at night, or face the 'consequences.'
According to an eyewitness, in the area of Whitecliff, the
police had to be called in to intervene after war veterans and the militia
caused havoc and terror.
"The police had to order the ZANU PF gang to stop the terror,
which they unleashed more than a fortnight ago."
"For instance, the gang moves door by door calling for anyone
who is more than 12 years of age to attend evening rallies."
"They order residents out of their houses, of which if one
refuses, they will come back to deal with them," she said.
The eyewitness said she has never been terrified in her life.
"At one house, they came around midnight and assaulted two boys
(around 16 years of age) who had not shown up for a rally."
"They cut each of the boys' fingers and warned them they should
comply with their orders because they are 'above the law'," she added.
The police is not acting in any way to stop the murders and
violence caused by the ruling party. In turn, Mugabe accuses the MDC of
Other places where political violence and intimidation has been
strongly reported entail Mbare, Glen View, Kuwadzana, Harare's uptown
suburbs, Chitungwiza and Ruwa.
How Mugabe clings to power
Harry Sterling, Citizen Special
Published: Tuesday, June 17, 2008
A country's military is supposed to defend a nation's sovereignty and the
security of its citizens. But in Zimbabwe the army is carrying out a reign
of terror against the civilian population.
The reason is simple. President Robert Mugabe has given the army the task of
eliminating any chance that Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, could win the country's
June 27 presidential run-off vote.
The tactics being utilized are scarcely concealed. The army, along with the
pro-Mugabe police, is physically intimidating and attacking MDC members and
London-based Human Rights Watch says it has already documented more then
three dozen deaths and in excess of 2,000 injuries inflicted upon MDC
supporters at the hands of the army, police, and members of Mr. Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party. The MDC says the total is actually much higher with almost
double slain, countless beaten up and hundreds missing.
Anyone who doubts the willingness of the army to brutalize and kill its own
people to maintain President Mugabe in power has to remember that almost all
the military's top leaders were once members of ZANU's guerrilla forces
during the 1970s insurgency against the white minority government of then
Their loyalty to Mr. Mugabe was vividly demonstrated when Mr. Mugabe sent
the infamous Fifth Brigade into Matabele-land during 1983-87 to quell an
alleged plot by his political rival, Joshua Nkomo, leader of the ZAPU
guerrilla movement. Close to 5,000 were butchered by the pro-Mugabe army.
While Mr. Nkomo was respected by many countries -- including Canada -- as a
relatively moderate and open-minded leader, Mr. Mugabe was regarded as much
more rigid, mistrustful of others and prepared to use violence with little
or no compunction. His guerrilla leaders were similarly inclined. (On one
occasion ZANU militants stationed in a sanctuary in Lusaka, Zambia, even
turned on each other, slaughtering their rivals.)
The army's leaders stand to lose personally if Mr. Mugabe doesn't win on
June 27. To ensure army personnel had no doubts concerning where the
military's ultimate allegiance lies, the head of the army pointedly told
army personnel to quit unless they voted for Mr. Mugabe on June 27.
Human Rights Watch and others have called upon African leaders to intervene
to stop the current reign of terror, including the 15-member Southern
African Development Community, which had appointed South African President
Thabo Mbeki to mediate between Mr. Mugabe and the opposition. But Mr. Mbeki
has been unable (or unwilling) to persuade Mr. Mugabe to end his harassment
and attacks against the MDC.
Like many African leaders, President Mbeki is reluctant to face up to the
reality of what has been going on in next-door Zimbabwe where the economy is
close to total collapse. Such leaders still remember Mr. Mugabe's long
struggle against white rule, and their own bitter memories of the
white-dominated colonial period in Africa have made them hesitant to deal
forcefully with a leader they once highly respected
Nevertheless, such reluctance clearly comes at a price for Zimbabwe's
neighbours, particularly those, like South Africa, who've been inundated
with millions of Zimbabwean refugees fleeing their country's violence and
economic turmoil. This has unleashed widespread violence in South African
cities with South African blacks attacking the "foreigners" now blamed for
taking away jobs from local people or accused of other alleged sins.
What is now at stake is thus not merely President Mugabe's blatant violation
of human rights in Zimbabwe and his attempts to thwart the democratic
process there, but also the very stability of an entire region of southern
African leaders confront a very unpalatable reality. Even if President
Mugabe is able to retain power June 27 through the use of violence and
terror tactics the continuing deterioration of the situation in Zimbabwe is
likely to release yet another flood of refugees into neighbouring countries
already burdened by their own serious socio-economic problems.
Is the risk of such a regional catastrophe and the unpredictable chaos it
could unleash in neighbouring countries worth the cost of remaining silent
over President Mugabe's depredations in Zimbabwe? It's time African leaders
face up to the ugly reality they now confront by their inaction over
Harry Sterling, a former diplomat, is an Ottawa-based commentator. While
serving in Africa he had close contacts with Zimbabwe's guerrilla movements.
Election observers as waste of time
Tuesday, 17 June 2008 09:07
ELECTION observers representing the Southern African Development
Community have started fanning out across Zimbabwe in anticipation of the
presidential run off election scheduled for two weeks' time, says The
Weekender, Johannesburg in an editorial.
The odds are that they are wasting their time. Political, social and
economic conditions in the country have deteriorated to such an extent in
recent weeks, it is doubtful many of them will be able to take up their
posts - if polling stations can be set up at all.
Vast parts of the country have been taken over by gangs consisting of
youth militias and so-called war veterans, aided by the police and the
military. These gangs have been campaigning aggressively for Robert Mugabe
and intimidating anybody perceived to favour opposition leader Morgan
Zanu (PF) has ejected nongovernmental organisations that were
providing food aid to starving villagers in rural areas, and independent
media have been denied access. Senior commanders of the police and army have
stated in no uncertain terms that they will not accept any outcome other
than a victory for Mugabe - who polled fewer votes than Tsvangirai in the
All of this leaves little room for any conclusion other than that the
June 27 election will be an even bigger farce than the first round of
elections, which was marred by widespread allegations of intimidation and
vote-rigging in favour of the incumbent, as has become the pattern in
Zimbabwean elections in recent years. Yet the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has little option but to stick to the campaign
trail, no matter how badly the odds are stacked against it, and in spite of
real threats to the physical wellbeing of its leaders.
The alternative would be to hand the election to Mugabe on a platter
and ensure several more years of authoritarian rule in spite of the fact
that the MDC now has a majority in Parliament. But wait. Another option has
been put on the table, one that is sure to be tempting to opposition leaders
and supporters alike because it promises respite from unbearable state
repression and hope that the civil war that has been threatened if
Tsvangirai wins can be avoided. That option is power sharing.
The MDC is coming under intense pressure to agree to the abandonment
of the democratic process in favour of a negotiated solution.
This would result in the formation of a coalition government along the
lines of that which has been running Kenya since a disputed election there
led to political and ethnic violence. Such an outcome implies Mugabe would
stay on as president with reduced executive powers and Tsvangirai be
appointed to a newly created prime ministerial position.
President Thabo Mbeki is reported to be particularly keen on the
coalition concept and it is not difficult to understand why - he has nailed
his colours to the mast by refusing to take a hard line against Mugabe.
Bringing the parties back from the brink would allow him to use the words
"quiet diplomacy" and "vindication" in the same sentence once again without
evoking howls of derision.
However, the MDC is apparently balking at the prospect of rewarding
Mugabe's tyrannical behaviour by entrenching him in power, and
understandably so. The Zimbabwean state is so firmly in Zanu (PF)'s ruthless
grip, it is hard to see how Tsvangirai and the MDC could exercise any sort
of real power under such an arrangement.
Unless Mugabe can be persuaded to step down and allow the few doves
that have survived among Zanu (PF)'s leadership to work with the MDC as
equal partners in a government of national unity - intended to prepare the
way for proper elections - the power-sharing concept is doomed to fail as it
would amount to delaying the inevitable. As bad as things are in Zimbabwe
now, keeping the lid on a simmering pot risks a build-up of pressure that
could lead to an explosion.
President Tsvangirai embarks on second leg of his
Tuesday, 17 June 2008 14:41
President Morgan Tsvangirai's victory tour ahead of the 27 June
presidential run-off has been a huge success despite harassment, arrests,
intimidation and impounding of campaign vehicles by the police, Zanu PF
thugs and state security agents.
The first leg of the tour has seen President Tsvangirai visiting
Matebeleland North and South and Bulawayo provinces where huge crowds have
come out to meet the president.
Thousands of people have come out to meet the president who has during
his campaign come up with a strategy of meeting people in the streets, homes
However, despite the campaign's success, there have been cancellation
of several rallies that had been lined up in areas such Chinotimba in
Victoria Falls, Hwange, Binga and Lupane by the police.
In further attempts to stifle the campaign by closing the MDC's
political space, the police in Lupane also impounded a vehicle that the
president was using in his campaign tours in the province.
But continuing with his campaign last week, President Tsvangirai
launched a new campaign strategy at the party's headquarters; Harvest House
in Harare at he unveiled two new buses that would be used by his campaign
team during their tour to across the country.
The Harare central business district was brought to a stand still as
people filled the streets to get a sight of the buses and President
However, within 48 hours of the launch, the police in Gweru, Midlands
province, had impounded the two buses.
President Tsvangirai riding in one of the buses had on Thursday
received rousing welcome from thousands of people in towns such as Norton,
Chegutu, Kadoma, Redcliff and Kwekwe.
One of the buses has since been returned but Zanu PF has mobilised
about 200 youths to torch the bus. Since the launch of his campaign, the
president has been arrested five times. He was arrested in Lupane,
Umzingwane, Kwekwe, Gweru and Shurugwi as the Zanu PF regime steps up its
efforts to frustrate the people of Zimbabwe from meeting President
But the ordinary people of Zimbabwe have formulated a way of meeting
their president ahead of the 27 June elections.
The people of Zimbabwe have shown that they have a great desire to see
President Tsvangirai and discuss with him the challenges that they are
The second leg of the President Morgan Tsvangirai's victory tour will
see him going to Mashonaland West, Central and East provinces. He will also
visit Manicaland and Masvingo provinces before winding up his tour next week
Tsvangirai Takes Campaign to 'Hotbed' of Political Violence
SW Radio Africa (London)
17 June 2008
Posted to the web 17 June 2008
MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai will this week visit the three politically
charged provinces of Mashonaland West, Central and East in the second leg of
his election campaign for the June 27th presidential run-off.
The provinces, all former strongholds of the Zanu-PF party until the March
29th elections, have borne the brunt of retributive violence against MDC
activists, who overwhelmingly voted for Tsvangirai in the first round poll.
He will also visit Manicaland and Masvingo provinces before winding up his
tour next week
An elections officer with the party, Donald Chirunga disclosed during a
strategic meeting over the weekend that 80 percent of MDC activists in
Mashonaland East had been displaced, while 50 percent had fled Mashonaland
Central Province. Another 30 percent had been forced to flee from
Mashonaland West Province.
Out of the 70 MDC activists killed so far countrywide in the state sponsored
violence, almost 50 have been from the three provinces. The first leg of the
tour has seen Tsvangirai visiting Matebeleland North and South and Bulawayo
provinces where huge crowds have come out to meet him.
Tsvangirai's spokesman George Sibotshiwe confirmed the MDC leader's
itinerary for the three provinces but would not specify exactly when they
would be in each province, fearing for their safety.
The MDC said despite the harassment, arrests, intimidation and impounding of
campaign vehicles by the police, Zanu PF thugs and state security agents
Tsvangirai's campaign, ahead of next week's presidential run-off has been a
huge success. Since the launch of his campaign, the president has been
arrested five times. He was arrested in Lupane, Umzingwane, Kwekwe, Gweru
and Shurugwi as the Zanu PF regime stepped up its efforts to frustrate the
electorate from meeting Tsvangirai.
In a statement on Tuesday, the MDC said: 'Thousands of people have come out
to meet the president who has during his campaign come up with a strategy of
meeting people in the streets, homes and buses. However, despite the
campaign's success, there have been cancellations by the police of several
rallies that had been lined up in areas such Chinotimba in Victoria Falls,
Hwange, Binga and Lupane.'
IFJ says Zimbabwe's media under pressure
Dakar, Senegal - Zimbabwe's media are operating under tremendous pressure
from state and security agents, as well as non-state actors like youth
militia, ZANU PF supporters and war veterans, the International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ) said in a report received by PANA Monday.
From 8 to 13 June, IFJ Africa office, based here, along with Southern Africa
Edi tors' Forum, Southern Africa Journalists Association (SAJA), the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Regional Office and the Accra-based
Network of African Freedom of Expression Organisations sent a "fact-finding
mission" to Zimbabwe.
"Almost all those interviewed, especially freelance journalists, tell of
harrowi ng and saddening stories of arrests, beatings and intimidation," the
mission stated in the report.
"Zimbabwean journalists face a difficult operating environment in which they
are not only expected to be licensed by a government-appointed Media and
Information Commission (MIC), but have to brave political violence and the
challenges of afailing economy."
"Those journalists working for the state media live in fear of being fired
or su spended for not showing sufficient enthusiasm for the reporting and
coverage of the party in power."
The mission further pointed out that "the state media is under severe
control by the party in power as an exclusive campaign tool."
Dakar - 16/06/2008
Zimbabwe Government's Theft of Children's Aid Is
Washington -- Humanitarian aid intended for hungry Zimbabwean children was
looted by military and police forces June 6 and distributed to government
party members as part of what U.S. officials have described as the
government's control of food as a weapon to discourage support for President
Robert Mugabe's political opposition.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington -- Humanitarian aid intended for hungry
Zimbabwean children was looted by military and police forces June 6 and
distributed to government party members as part of what U.S. officials have
described as the government's control of food as a weapon to discourage
support for President Robert Mugabe's political opposition.
U.S. Agency for International Development ( USAID ) Administrator Henrietta
Ford described the action as "unconscionable" in a June 12 statement. "It
is unacceptable for the Government of Zimbabwe to steal food from hungry
children," she said.
USAID said Zimbabwe's governor of Manicaland directed the military and
police to hijack the truck carrying 20 metric tons of U.S. food assistance
destined for schoolchildren and give it to supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF
party who had gathered for a political rally in Mutare District.
"Given the existing food insecurity and widespread violence that has
recently spread throughout the country, this event is another affront to the
people of Zimbabwe and the humanitarian organizations working to assist
vulnerable Zimbabweans," Fore said. "It also represents an orchestrated
theft of U.S. government property. Those responsible should be brought to
MUGABE REGIME TAKING "AWFUL STRIDES TO MAINTAIN ITS POWER"
Opposition leader Tendai Biti was charged with treason ahead of the runoff
vote, a crime that carries the death penalty.At the State Department, deputy
spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said June 12 that the Mugabe government "is
taking tremendous and frankly just awful strides to maintain its power." By
denying food to children, the regime has "lowered the bar to a level that we
rarely see" in terms of the abuse of its own citizens.
U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee had told reporters June 6 that as
the June 27 presidential runoff election approaches, government officials
have been using food aid as a weapon against the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change ( MDC ) party by providing assistance to MDC members only
if they surrender their identification cards, thereby forfeiting their right
to vote in the June 27 presidential runoff election.
"The only way you can access food is give up your right to vote. It's a very
well-orchestrated campaign," McGee said.
Gallegos called on the government to "immediately reinstate permission for
all aid agencies" to resume badly needed food and other assistance. "Failure
to do so constitutes the government of Zimbabwe in complicity in the
assault, suffering and deaths of innocent citizens."
The State Department also condemned the Mugabe government's arrest of MDC
Secretary-General Tendai Biti after his arrival from South Africa.
"This is another example of their concerted effort to ensure that the
opposition party cannot campaign effectively," Gallegos said. The United
States is continuing to note the abuses and consult with parties in the
region, he said.
"The world is taking note. And if this government does not allow a free and
fair runoff, they will have to pay in some way, shape or form in the end.
And they will be held accountable," Gallegos said.
The full text of the USAID statement on food aid and a transcript of
Ambassador McGee's briefing are available on America.gov.
Africa must speak out for
Written by Laila Macharia
June 18, 2008: First was a decades-long slide into economic decay from
one of Africa's most promising countries to a mere shell of its former self.
Next came an election where results were not announced for weeks
before a run-off was mysteriously declared. Then followed brutal violence
against citizens and harassment of opposition leaders.
Scores are internally displaced with millions on the move to
neighbouring countries. The atmosphere of intimidation has observers already
saying that a free and fair election is entirely impossible.
One would think that for Africans, many having suffered repressive
regimes, the Zimbabwe tragedy would be easy to rally around. But Africa
seems eerily silent.
South Africa, which bears the brunt of refugees, hems and haws. The
African Union shrugs. Even Kenya, no stranger to post-election violence,
appears willing to let Zimbabwe languish.
How to explain this quizzical indifference? It appears that Africans
have been swept again into that familiar frenzy that emerges whenever the
spectre of colonialism is raised.
Since there is no love lost between Mugabe and many Western regimes,
many feel it is better to side with a dictator against our own than be seen
to agree with Westerners who oppose him. Especially if he was a freedom
This is especially a syndrome of countries that have recently emerged
from colonialism who refer to apartheid 'legacy issues' constantly. True,
colonialism was a blight across Africa and myriads of other nations.
But a sharp difference of opinion is developing. On one side are the
old political elite whose frame of reference for politics remains
colonialism and who use it to explain most of our problems.
On the other is a new generation who feel the 'sovereignty' argument
is often a decoy that uses the rhetoric of racism and neo-colonialism to
deflect scrutiny from the current governing class and our own shortcomings
When whipped up into an anti-colonialist frenzy, one is too busy to
ask hard questions of one's own leaders. The indignities suffered today by
Zimbabwe, under black rule for almost 30 years, have little to do with the
British. It is time for the voting public there and throughout Africa to
re-examine what might be the true roots of their poverty today.
Once freed of this strange obsession with small islands far away,
Africans might start holding their current leaders to account.
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1. Ben Freeth - Open Letter to diplomatic community
Thank you for your concern regarding the situation on Mount Carmell Farm.
As you are aware we live in the Chegutu district and as Mike Campbell and
Mike Campbell P/L were the first to go to the SADC Tribunal where we got
protection from eviction and imprisonment for still being on the farm in
December last year.
We went back to the tribunal in March where various other farmers also got
legal protection. We went again last month but unfortunately we had our
main hearing deferred to 16 July because the Zim government was not ready
with its papers.
We have had various recent warning threats through various sources that we
will be forcibly removed from the farm at night this weekend through the
organisation of Webster Shamu [Minister of policy implementation] and an
unnamed "General". There is to be another all night pungwe on Saturday
night [14 June] organised to be on Mount Carmel Farm which all our workers
are compelled to go to. We fear for their safety. I assume the illegal
jambanja [eviction] is planned to take place then too.
We are not taking this threat lightly in the light of some of the things
going on around us.
While we were away in Windhoek 18 people from Thistle farm [5 farms away to
the south west] were badly beaten up for allegedly not having voted for
Mugabe. Bruce Campbell [my wife's brother] managed to get a number of them
to hospital that night. Some of them had broken arms and legs and many of
their houses have been burnt down. There is an army chap living in the
On Pilmuir farm there were another ten former farm workers families who were
evicted [4 farms away to the North East]. On Ijapo farm, [6 farms away to
the West], a girl was beaten to death. On Petra and Sablehome farms [5
farms away to the West] 4 farm workers were beaten and whipped horribly with
barbed wire last week by a large group of ZANU youth. On Impofhoe [5 farms
to the North east] 14 farm workers - mostly women - were beaten for not
attending a ZANU rally last week too.
There are many other horrible happenings all around us too but we only hear
of some of them.
Last week there was a ZANU rally on the next door farm which all our
workers had to go to so all work stopped. The workers were told that if
they did not vote for Mugabe they would come door to door and shoot people
one by one.
There is another compulsory ZANU meeting going on today. They were all
informed that they had to attend the pungwe on Mount Carmel on Saturday
night [14 June].
I just heard that Gilbert Moyo who was involved in evicting 6 SADC protected
farmers from their homes early last month in Chegutu district as well as
beating up the Rogers and looting homes etc. is back out of custody in the
forefront of the intimidation campaign going on at the moment in Chegutu...
Any actions that you can take to get observers and your staff alerted to
what is going on here, especially for 14 June, would be most appreciated.
If they are watching then my experience is that the intimidators tend
to back off for a while.
We fear that the violence at the current time is nothing to what will be
unleashed in the post election period. We desperately need your help and we
know that if you care enough you can give it.
All the very best and may God bless you,
Tel. 0912 241477 email@example.com
Directions to Mount Carmel farm:
1. Take Bulawayo road from Harare to Chegutu.
2. Turn right onto main Chegutu/ Chinhoyi road.
3. After 10 km turn right along Madzongwe Road.
4. After 8 km turn left onto Mount Carmel Farm.
2. J L Robinson - Sins of the fathers
The Tienie Marten's and Brian Maguti story is simply a case of "the sins of
Zanu might think that they are immune to the global influence, but the
Maguti story is just a repetition of the young Gonos, Chihuris or
Karamanziras being deported from Australia for "the sins of their fathers."
The electronic media has fast forwarded bush telegraph and the whole world
knows the sins of the fathers - it is now actually sickening to see what
these unholy fathers are up to.
These fathers need to come out of denial - neither murdering, nor torturing
nor starving nor raping their own kith and kin - or causing others to do it,
will be of any assistance to them.
These fathers still seem to think that their Mugabe Brand Name is a world
best, but it has truly failed now and is well past its sell by date - some
84 years on.
Even Thabo is copping a bit of fall out for his adherence to the Mugabe
3. Joan Marsh
I hope that Craig Dunlop's letter gets to Lord Tebitt as it expresses what
so many of us feel.
4. Gerry Whitehead - Zimbabwe is a Nazi horror story in the 21st Century!!!!
When Nazism took hold in 1941 and countries around Germany began to fall to
these evil forces, resistance started very slowly, but eventually grew into
the Allied forces which beat and destroyed the Nazi machine completely and
punished those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia was one of those allies and played its part in
destroying the Nazi machine. Many black and white airmen, sailors and
soldiers died in that massive struggle against what seemed to be an
How can the International communities now stand by and watch as defenceless
people get mowed down by the very same kind of Nazism in Zimbabwe???
The Mugabe regime is doing the very same thing it did in the 1980's against
Joshua Nkomo's Ndebele people; it massacred thousands of people including
women and children to soften them up for an agreement towards a Government
of National unity headed by Robert Mugabe. Absolutely nothing has been done
about the genocide perpetrated against this once strong tribe.
Now again, there is talk of a government of National Unity headed again by
Robert Mugabe, and some countries are actually prepared to throw us to these
wolves, especially South Africa headed by President Mbeki.
This move will never stop the fight for true democracy, because the evil
will continue as it did after the Government of National Unity was formed in
Mugabe is threatening war if Morgan Tsvangirai wins the elections; he has
been at war against his own defenceless people since the 80's, and further
more he will continue this war, because, just as after the referendum held
in 1999 when he was first opposed, he punished the white and black
population to the detriment of the country as a whole, he will continue to
punish his people.
These latest elections come no where near being democratic or free and fair,
the population is now terrified and you cannot have a true reflection of the
peoples will under these conditions.
THE PEOPLE OF ALL TRIBES AND CREEDS CALL ON THE INTERNATIONAL AND SADC
COMMUNITIES TO INTERVENE AND FORM A TRANSITIONAL GOVERNING BODY TO BRING
ABOUT LAW AND ORDER AND A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION.
5. Cathy Buckle - To stay safe, stay quiet
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, Copyright
cathy buckle 14th June 2008.
My books: "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in South Africa
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6. Ben & Jenny Norton
Please could this be printed somewhere.
I read the news every evening with a heavy heart. With all the infighting
why is it impossible for Mr. Makoni to be brought in as President and brave
Mr. Tsvangirai as chairman. I feel absolutely sure that this move would suit
everybody. He has said that he is still ZANU PF but at the same time
realizes that this country must be brought back to the rule of LAW, and in
doing this the ex white and Black farmers who had their farms confiscated
would have the choice of compensation or return to their farms. I am sure
that there are many competent white and Black farmers that could do better
than some of our frustrated settlers or Big Wigs who are using the farms for
a week end breaks. We realize that there are a number of black business men
who have bought their farms quite legally and are farming them very well, or
should I say as well as necessary ingredients become available.
We fully realize that there are many ex farmers who through age or many
other reasons would not take up the option of returning to their old farms,
and these farms could be used for settling interested black farmers who with
help could become very productive.
I feel very sure that there are many people who have seen very productive
small farms being worked by black people who are working hard and
productively and helping the economy.
Surely if Makoni became our next president the rest of the world would pour
money into this country to get it back onto its feet again. There are many
countries that are far more densely populated than Zimbabwe and are managing
to get on with life without the problems that we are being faced with.
Zimbabweans both black and white are industrious good people. Let them get
on with their lives and make Zimbabwe once again the Pearl of Africa.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
MPs protest SA role in Zim
17/06/2008 18:04 - (SA)
Cape Town - A series of attacks on the government's policy on Zimbabwe were
made in Parliament on Tuesday as MPs voted on the various budgets allocated
to the different ministerial departments.
African Christian Democratic Party leader, Kenneth Meshoe, opposed the
budget of the presidency blaming a failure of the president's policy of
quiet diplomacy for the fact that Zimbabweans were being "tortured and
He called President Robert Mugabe "an old man initiating war in his own
Joe Seremane, for the Democratic Alliance, opposed the budget of Foreign
Affairs for failing to live up to its human rights commitment in Zimbabwe.
He also blamed its policy of "dilly dallying and denial syndrome" for the
outburst of xenophobic violence earlier this year.
Pieter Mulder, the leader of the Freedom Front Plus, said that the
department has boosted Mugabe by insisting that there is no crisis in that
However Motsoko Pheko from the Pan Africanist Congress leapt to the defence
of the president stating that Zimbabwe was right not to allow any
colonialist power to lecture it on democracy - especially when considering
the record of America and Britain in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
Once Upon a Bloody Journey in Beloved Zimbabwe
When will freedom come?
Published 2008-06-18 02:04 (KST)
Once, traveling in ragged Zimbabwe
-- heartbroken, head pounding
As if a thousand madmen had run amok
All fuelled by propaganda's machinery
I saw a drunken fight,
Two men sprawled and kicking
Each other on the ground
head-bashing, and blood-gushing
Next to a bus filled to the hilt
Now I was sober like daylight
And couldn't make why the country had been dragged
Into a cesspit
When I saw the first man rise up
Spitting blood, a crack above his eye
With his tongue lolled out, he screamed:
"When will freedom come?"
Around, people shook heads in agreement
And in that moment, I saw the whole of Zimbabwe
From Mutare to Victoria Falls
Draped in the people's blood.
Of all the things on that journey
That's all I can still recall
A country torn apart, and
its people soaked in blood
Like the two drunks fighting to death
Over a political slogan
Maybe that senseless fight
Was the beginning of tearing
Down the walls that divided us.
E Guinea prosecutors demand 30 years for British
Jun 17, 2008, 18:27 GMT
Nairobi/Malabo - Prosecutors in Equatorial Guinea Tuesday demanded British
mercenary Simon Mann serve 30 years imprisonment as his trial for plotting a
2004 coup in which the son of former British prime minister Margaret
Thatcher was also implicated got underway.
Mann, who was extradited from Zimbabwe in January to face trial in the tiny
West African nation, has admitted he was involved in the plot to overthrow
President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, but claims he was not the brains behind it.
'We've reached a conclusion that Simon Mann was used as an instrument, but
there were material and intellectual authors behind it that financed the
operation,' Obiang told Britain's Channel 4 news.
Obiang has accused an unnamed former British cabinet minister, the Spanish
government and Lebanese-British oil tycoon Eli Calil - believed to be the
man referred to as 'Smelly' in Mann's prison notes - of masterminding the
attempt to seize control of the oil-rich country.
Mann, a former SAS officer and pupil at Britain's prestigious Eton College,
was arrested in Zimbabwe four years ago along with 69 others when they
attempted to pick up a shipment of arms.
He served four years in Zimbabwe before being extradited to Equatorial
Guinea, where he has been held in Malabo's notorious Black Beach prison.
Many of Mann's co-conspirators are already serving jail sentences.
South African arms dealer Nick du Toit is amongst that group, although
Amnesty International claimed that the trial convicting him was flawed.
Ponciano Mbomio Nvo, Mann's former defence lawyer who was stripped of his
right to practise last week, told British daily The Times that he believed
the trial would be rigged.
The former Spanish colony has been accused of human rights' abuses and
Transparency International lists it as one of the world's most corrupt
The BBC said that a verdict was expected as early as Thursday.
Mann earlier named Sir Mark Thatcher as one of his co-conspirators.
Thatcher still maintains he believed he was financing an air ambulance
company in West Africa.
However, he was fined 500,000 dollars and given a four-year suspended
sentence in South Africa in 2005 for his part in the coup.
Prosecutors in Mann's trial named Thatcher as a co-organizer of the coup,
the BBC reported.
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
Afrique en ligne
Business Daily Africa, Nairobi
Monsters and Critics