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Mugabe mob kidnaps wife and child of MDC mayor of
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 11:44PM BST
President Robert Mugabe's onslaught against his opponents widened
their families when the wife and child of the mayor of Harare
Armed men raided the house of Emmanuel Chiroto, a senior
member of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change and recently elected
They burned down the house with petrol bombs and kidnapped his
Abigail, 27, and their four-year-old son, Ashley. The boy was released
hours later, but Mrs Chiroto is still missing.
bore all the hallmarks of a state-organised operation designed
to break the
MDC's organisation by targeting its key figures. Five of the
organisers have been murdered.
But Mr Chiroto was not at home when
the men arrived. The signs were that the
operation was deliberately aimed at
his family. "They came in two un-marked
pick-ups," said Mr Chiroto, 43. "The
maid escaped out the back and heard two
bangs. I think it was petrol bombs.
The house went up in flames and they
took my wife and son. My wife was
Both Mrs Chiroto and Ashley had been staying away from the
that it would be attacked by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. They
had returned to
the home in the township of Hatcliffe shortly before the
raid took place.
"She had been at our house for an hour so they were
watching it," said Mr
But kidnapping a child does not seem
to have entered the gang's plan. Ashley
was dropped off by unknown people at
a Harare police station a few hours
Mr Chiroto said: "He told
us 'mummy was blindfolded and they took her to the
bush, I don't know
whether she was alive or dead'."
Harare is an MDC stronghold and the
party won 45 of the 46 seats on the city
council in the elections held in
March. But Ignatius Chombo, the local
government minister, refused to allow
the councillors formally to take
office. They are still banned from entering
Harare's city hall.
Mr Chiroto was elected mayor of the city by his
fellow MDC councillors
during an informal meeting on Sunday.
officials have been abducted since early May. Most were later
others are still unaccounted for.
Mr Chiroto fears that his wife may have
At least 60 political murders have been recorded since the
election's first round in March. The wave of violence has
50,000 people from their homes.
Mr Mugabe faced rare
criticism from a fellow African leader when Raila
Odinga, the prime minister
of Kenya, described Zimbabwe as "an eyesore on
Mr Odinga also said that the presidential election run-off
involving Mr Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangari, the MDC leader, had been
Chemical warfare waged on civilians
Example of severe injury on buttocks of recent
By Our Correspondents
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s militia, operating
in the farming areas of Mashonaland provinces, are allegedly applying highly
toxic herbicides to the injuries of their victims, especially those sustained in
the buttocks, to exacerbate pain as well as increase the chances of
The Mashonaland constituencies are former strongholds
of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF which swung to support the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) in the March 29 harmonised elections.
In making the shocking disclosures of alleged Zanu-PF
brutal strategies, nine days before the presidential run-off, which pits Mugabe
against favourite candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC next week, sources
claimed the use of the chemicals had so far not come to light as doctors “have
only been content with treating the injuries instead of investigating the causes
of their extent, particularly the peeling of the outer skin, blistering,
ulceration and cell death in skin tissues”.
Sources in Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and
Mashonaland East identified widely used herbicide Paraquat as the agent being
used. Paraquat is a highly toxic herbicide which medical experts say can be
fatal if it enters the bloodstream or when swallowed by accident even in small
measures. According to the findings of our research, the presence of scratches,
cuts, and sores substantially increases fatality risks.
The sources said Zanu-PF militias, led by war
veterans and armed state security agents, had been administering this kind of
punishment on victims of violence since the retribution started after Mugabe’s
loss to Tsvangirai in the presidential election held on March 29.
The sources said Paraquat, described as a
quick-acting, non-selective herbicide, which destroys green plant tissue on
contact and, by translocation within the plant, was widely used in the farming
areas to kill any green weeds in preparing land for planting.
“When they beat up perceived MDC supporters they then
proceed to pour cold water laced with Paraquat on the injuries. Apart from
increasing the pain, this inflames the injuries and prolongs the healing
process,” said a government source, familiar with operations of the militia,
speaking strictly on condition he is not named due to the sensitive nature of
“If you carefully look at the injuries sustained by
some of the opposition victims, especially those sustained in the buttocks
through beating, you can see that they are unusual and not consistent with
beating. Bones in buttocks are left exposed and grisly. The herbicide eats
through the tissues, hence the horrific sight of the injuries.”
He said there were MDC supporters in the hospitals
that have been brought in with life-threatening injuries consistent with the
application of Paraquat.
“I witnessed two incidents in Chiweshe last week,” he
Research revealed that Paraquat is generally used as
a quaternary ammonium herbicide. It is dangerously poisonous to humans if
swallowed. Paraquat was first produced for commercial purposes in 1961 and is
today among the most commonly used herbicides.
Paraquat has, however, been banned in 13 countries
including Sweden, Norway, Finland, and the UK. Its use is highly restricted in
the United States due to its acute oral toxicity and ill-health associated with
its operations particularly on the farms and plantations. It is, however, widely
used in developing countries, including Zimbabwe.
The European Union approved the use of Paraquat in
2004. Sweden, supported by Denmark, Austria, and Finland, brought the European
Union commission to court to challenge the approval. In July, 2007, the court
annulled the directive authorising the use of Paraquat as an active plant
Experts say even a single swig of Paraquat,
immediately spat out, can cause death as a result of fibrous tissue developing
in the lungs leading to asphyxiation. Long term exposures to paraquat would most
likely cause lung and eye damage.
Statistics show that 93 percent of fatalities from
Paraquat poisoning worldwide are cases of intentional self-administration; that
is suicides. The pesticide is regarded as a major suicide agent in Third World
Paraquat is such a widely used suicide agent in Third
World countries due to its widespread availability, low toxic dose - two
teaspoons being enough to kill - and relative cheapness. There are campaigns to
control or even ban Paraquat outright globally, and there are moves to restrict
its availability by requiring user education and the locking up of Paraquat
“There is a chemical war against supporters of the
MDC which no-one has been aware of,” another government insider said.
Douglas Gwatidzo, the spokesman for the Zimbabwe
Doctors for Human Rights, said while his organization has not been alerted on
the use of the Paraquat on victims of political violence, the medical fraternity
was baffled by the gravity of the injuries and length of time they were taking
to heal despite the fact that some of the wounds were not burns.
“We have been wondering why they are taking so long
to heal,” said Gwatidzo when approached by The Zimbabwe Times. “We are now going
to take samples to toxicology to find out why. I will not be surprised if
herbicides are detected because most of the victims claim that water was poured
on them after they were beaten. I will be informing my colleagues to check this
According to Gwatidzo, doctors were presently
attending to more than 5 000 victims of political violence hospitalized in
private hospitals in Harare.
David Parirenyatwa, the minister for Health and Child
Welfare was not available for comment.
The MDC claims over 70 of its supporters have been
killed while 25 000 have been displaced by the Zanu-PF campaign of retribution
A Zimbabwean toxicologist based in the United States
confirmed the severely toxic nature of Paraquat on humans. He says at least
three levels of toxicity to humans can be defined; these being acute (or
immediate effects), chronic toxicity (long-term effects) and reproductive
toxicity (effects on unborn children or children subsequently born to previously
At the worst, acute toxicity due to exposure to
Paraquat can lead to death by respiratory failure. Over the long term, Paraquat
affects the Lungs and liver and can also lead to kidney failure. “These are but
just a selection of a whole range of effects that can be seen as a result of
toxic exposure to Paraquat,” he said.
“Reproductively, the levels of Paraquat to which the
victims are reportedly being exposed to, coupled by the route of such exposure,
which increases access to the blood stream can lead to increased fetal deaths,
as well as to incomplete development of fetuses.”
“The particular fetal abnormality that doctors can
expect to see long term is incomplete bone development in children born to
parents exposed to high doses of Paraquat.”
Zimbabwe's voters told: choose Mugabe or you face a
Chris McGreal reports from the centre
of the country, where violence and intimidation are increasing ahead of the
- Chris McGreal
- The Guardian,
- Wednesday June 18 2008
Teachers who were beaten for supporting
the opposition after the first round of elections hide their faces for fear of
being targeted again. Photograph: Robin Hammond
The soldiers and ruling party militiamen herded the
people of Rusape to an open field at the back of the local sports club and made
their point crystal clear.
"Your vote is your bullet," a soldier told the
Everyone knew what he meant.
"They are saying we will die if we don't vote for
Robert Mugabe, that there will be war if we don't vote for Robert Mugabe," said
a wary young woman holding a small child. Mugabe says it too in speeches across
the land ahead of next week's run-off presidential election against the man who
beat him in the first round, Morgan Tsvangirai.
But the woman was not waiting around to discuss that.
Darkness had fallen in Rusape, a small town in bloodied Manicaland, and she grew
alarmed as she realised she might not make it home before the unofficial curfew
put in place by the ruling party militia.
Already the Mitsubishi pick-up trucks filled with
young men carrying sticks, spears and knives were out on the streets preparing
to move door-to-door, beating, and sometimes killing, anyone associated with the
"They hunt the opposition. They said they ate human
liver and drank urine during the war and so they were prepared for war again,"
said the young woman.
The militiamen found Farai Gamba, a ward organiser
for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), at the weekend and shot
him dead. The Rusape chairman of a group of Zimbabwean independent election
monitors disappeared on Saturday night and his whereabouts are not known. Many
others have been tortured at the local militia base.
The de facto curfew is in place because the ruling
Zanu-PF does not want witnesses to the terror that engulfs Zimbabwe at night,
and increasingly during the day, as the party seeks to avoid a repeat of three
months ago, when Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe, albeit without an outright majority
to secure an outright win.
A campaign that began with the tested tactic of
beatings has evolved into a full-blown military strategy of abductions and
murders of opposition MDC activists and supporters. More than 100 have been
killed and 200 have disappeared. Thousands more have been beaten so badly they
will bear the scars for life. A number of rapes have also been reported,
including of three women who had wooden poles thrust into their vaginas. But it
is not clear at this stage if the attacks are a deliberate part of the terror
Often the corpses are hidden, but occasionally the
killers like to display their handiwork as a warning. Chokuse Muphango was
murdered in Buhera South last week. His killers put his body on the back of a
truck and drove it through town announcing: "We have killed the dog."
MDC members of parliament, mayors and councillors
have been burned out of their homes and terrorised into fleeing. Hundreds of
opposition activists are in jail on trumped up charges of inciting violence
after being tortured and dumped at police stations.
Tens of thousands of known opposition supporters have
been forced from their homes or had their identity cards destroyed so they
cannot vote. The government is also laying the ground for extensive rigging by
purging the election process of independent officials, such as teachers, and
putting state workers and soldiers in their place.
Anyone who might stand in the way is pursued.
Independent Zimbabwean groups that monitor the polls, campaign for human rights
or assist the injured have been driven underground after their offices were
raided and leaders arrested. Foreign aid workers have been banned from rural
areas so they cannot witness the violence and intimidation.
Mugabe has said time and again he regards the
upcoming vote not as an election but as a continuation of the liberation
struggle against western imperialism and its "puppet", Tsvangirai. "This country
shall not again come under the rule and control of the white man, direct or
indirect. We are masters of our destiny. Equally, anyone who seeks to undermine
our land reform programme, itself the bedrock of our politics from time
immemorial, seeks and gets war. On these two interrelated matters we are very
clear. We are prepared to go to war," Mugabe told an election rally at the
The strategy to fight back with violence was agreed
by Mugabe's security cabinet, the Joint Operations Command, of senior military
and party officials shortly after Zanu-PF was shocked to lose the first round of
The campaign targeted provinces such as Manicaland,
Mashonaland and the Midlands where support for the ruling party was
traditionally strong but swung significantly to the opposition as the economy
continued to implode under the weight of hyperinflation, mass unemployment and
widespread food shortages.
Zanu-PF realised it had no prospect of reversing the
economic decline. Since the first election, inflation has surged to 1.6m% and
the Zimbabwe dollar has fallen from Z$50m to the pound to Z$8bn to the pound. A
teacher typically earns Z$40bn a month. A litre of cooking oil costs
So the ruling party is quashing the opposition's
ability to organise on the ground by driving out local MDC activists and then
terrorising ordinary voters. The MDC fears that it may be working.
The young woman clutching her child in Rusape
certainly got the message. "We are scared. We are not going to vote. We just
want to live. Some people are saying they will vote Zanu-PF," she
The MDC's national election director, Ian Makone, was
forced into hiding more than a month ago. He will meet only after dark - "I work
at night. I never go out during the day" - and at an empty house.
Since Makone went underground his campaign manager,
Ken Nyeve, and security guard, Godfrey Kauzani, have been abducted and murdered
along with Better Chokururama, the driver for Makone's wife, Theresa, who is an
opposition MP. "Better's body was found first. They found the other two four
days later. They were stabbed with knives and screwdrivers. Their eyes were
gouged out and their faces burned ... There's a pattern. They torture you. They
make you really, really feel the pain before you die," said Makone.
"They were looking for me. We hadn't told anyone
where I went in to hiding, not even our staff. Maybe if we had told them they
could have survived after telling."
Chokururama had already spent several weeks in
hospital after a severe beating after the first election. "After the election it
was clear their strategy was one of retribution. They made up their minds they
were giving in to this violence and started to position themselves in key
constituencies," said Makone. "Every day there are things that happen that I
say, 'what the hell are we doing?' I meet people who say, 'people are dying,
people are suffering, is it worth doing this?'"
In Manicaland, where the vote swung substantially
away from Zanu-PF to deliver an MDC victory, the strategy is overseen by the air
force chief, Perence Shiri, who strikes terror into the population as the man
who led the Fifth Brigade as it killed about 20,000 people during the
Matabeleland massacres in the 1980s.
Among those who have fled rural areas of the province
to the main town of Mutare are five MDC members of parliament who dare not move
around their constituencies or even sleep in their homes. They include Lynette
Karenyi, the MP for Chimanimani West. "They have put Zanu-PF bases in each and
every ward of my constituencies where they are taking people and beating them,"
Karenyi said the pro-Mugabe rallies in her
constituency are being led by Shiri and the Matabeleland governor, Tinaye
Chigudu. "Shiri and Chigudu held a meeting where they ordered people to beat MDC
supporters. Afterwards the mob went to beat people and loot houses," she said.
"They also told the voters to say they don't know how to read and write when
they vote and they need help to vote for Robert Mugabe. People are now afraid
that if they don't ask for help Zanu-PF will know they voted for the
Another of the opposition MPs who fled to Mutare is
Prosper Mutseyami. "They came to my rural home looking for me in the middle of
the night three times," he said. "They're picking off all my party workers.
There's 28 in police custody charged with inciting violence. They include the
ward chairperson, three councillors, the organising secretary." He said they
were targeting election agents so polling stations would not be monitored and to
discourage political activity.
"I'm being denied permission to hold rallies on the
grounds that there's no police manpower. The funny part is Zanu-PF are holding
rallies daily in my constituency."
Mutseyami says the forced Zanu-PF meetings are often
led by a Major General Bandama. "He threatens people. They say the last time you
voted you voted wrongly. If you don't vote Robert Mugabe we will bring a war,"
An MDC district organiser in Makoni, who did not wish
to be named, said that militiamen beat her children to force her to unlock her
bedroom door during a late-night raid on her home. The activist, clearly still
shocked by the ordeal, said she was forced into a vehicle, ordered to strip and
repeatedly assaulted over the following hours. "They beat me and shouted: You
are a bitch. They left me at a police station. They took a bullet and threw it
at me. They said: kiss that bullet. They meant I was going to die," she said.
The police threw the woman into a cell after charging her with public
Zanu-PF has also targeted human rights lawyers,
forcing them in to hiding or exile. Chris Ndlovu has defied the threats to
represent opposition supporters hauled before the courts in Mutare. "The numbers
are staggering. In some small places there are more than 100 people in prison.
They are even arresting schoolchildren under 14. I have one case of a man of 94
years accused of public violence. In 16 years as a lawyer I have never witnessed
this. It's unprecedented," he said.
"We have the military in rural areas and they target
MDC supporters. They abduct them at night and take them to their bases where
they claim to be 'reorienting' them but where they are just torturing people.
When they are done they dump them at the police station where the police have no
choice but to find an excuse to charge them. So the victim is accused of being
the perpetrator of the violence."
The militia has made a particular point of targeting
teachers, who have traditionally acted as neutral election officials. Some
schools have been left so denuded of staff they now barely function.
Felistance Sithole lives in Rusape but dares not
return to teach at a school in nearby Makoni South after she was threatened
because she was a polling officer in the first election. "I won't do it again.
I'm afraid. Most of us are afraid," she said.
That is what Zanu-PF intended. In place of teachers
and other unreliable elements, next week's election will be overseen by party
functionaries, soldiers and civil servants who owe their jobs to
Makone says the violence will have an impact. "We're
going to lose some of the rural votes. My estimate is we can afford to lose
200,000 votes in rural areas but we need to make it up in urban votes. We are
going door to door in urban areas and begging for votes. We are holding secret
meetings at night in people's houses, telling people this is their
Makone calculates that at least half a million
potential MDC supporters did not vote in Zimbabwe's two main cities, Harare and
Bulawayo, in the first round of elections and that they could tip the balance
firmly in Tsvangirai's favour.
Zanu-PF seems to have recognised the same thing and
is now targeting Harare's townships. In recent days, the ruling party's militia
has hit Epworth, a township on Harare's eastern flank where Zanu-PF has
established five bases and what is euphemistically called an "information
centre" where MDC supporters are persuaded to see the error of their ways.
In Hatfield township, the militia burned down an MDC
councillor's house. He wasn't at home. His wife and seven-year-old son died in
War of terror
Wednesday June 18 2008
Mugabe said on Sunday that much blood had been shed for Zimbabwe's
independence, and that he would not surrender control of it for a mere cross
on the ballot paper. True to his word, he has spilled more blood to ensure
that he stays in charge. All dictators are familiar with the calculation he
is making. Will the terror he has unleashed overcome the hatred of his rule,
or the desperation of his people? As the Guardian's Chris McGreal reports
today, a campaign that began seven weeks ago with beatings has turned into a
pogrom in which opposition activists have been abducted, tortured, murdered
Ian Makone, the national election director for the
Movement for Democratic
Change, is in hiding and works only by night. To
find out where he was, they
abducted his campaign manager Ken Nyeve,
security guard Godfrey Kauzani and
his wife's driver Better Chokururama and
tortured them with knives and
screwdrivers. When their bodies were
recovered, their eyes were gouged out
and their faces burned. If the
terrorised people of Rusape in Manicaland
still do not get Zanu-PF's
message, they are herded into an open field at
the back of the local sports
centre and told by a soldier: "Your vote is
The MDC has
paid dearly for its victory in the first round of elections on
More than 100 of their party have been killed, and 200 have
Hundreds more have been beaten so badly that they are scarred
Women have been violated with long poles and tens of thousands
their homes or had their ID cards destroyed. Without these they
vote. Teachers traditionally act as independent officials in
they are now so terrified they are being replaced by less
officials, such as soldiers. The campaign devised by
cabinet, the Joint Operations Command (JOC), has a
specific objective. It is
to quash the MDC's capacity to organise on the
ground in those provinces -
such as Manicaland, Mashonaland and the
Midlands - which deserted the ruling
party in the first round.
The MDC's national officials fare little
better. Its leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, has been repeatedly arrested. His
number two, Tendai Biti, the
MDC's general secretary, is locked up in one
the country's worst prisons. He
faces a charge of treason, which carries the
death penalty, on the basis of
a document that is a crude forgery. Either
violence wins the second round
or, if Mr Mugabe is still not sure a few days
before the election, it allows
him to cancel it. There is not a scintilla of
doubt that the violence is
planned by the state and enacted by police,
soldiers and party militants.
But Mr Mugabe still claims, as he did
yesterday, that if it does not stop,
Morgan Tsvangirai will be held
There are 150 election observers from the South African
Community already in the country. They have not yet been seen by
the MDC in
the outlying provinces where the murders are taking place. If
travel, they are accompanied by Zanu-PF officials, so the prospect
meeting any of the victims of the violence is slim. The UN special
Haile Menkerios is also in Harare and 350 other monitors paid for by
are expected. Thus far they have been silent, leaving the JOC free to
terrorise, confident that their actions will not be witnessed. Some have
raised their voices: the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the retired Archbishop
Desmond Tutu and the former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. The obscenity
of events in Zimbabwe does not simply lie in their brutality or scale. It
lies in the fact they are taking place under the noses of southern Africa,
whose governments behave as if they are powerless to stop them. The MDC has
little option but to endure Zanu-PF's blows, and the opposition think that
whatever the result, it will be a transformational moment. But there are at
least 11 more days of this terror to
18 08, 00:57am (about 6 hours ago)
What can one really say
--- Well. F*cking sociopathic bastards - for a start.
I did not imagine that Zanu-PF would go this far in terrorizing their
Jun 18 08, 01:09am (about 5
Many a true word is spoken in jest -- if things go belly up
for Mr Ebagum
and Cronies. If any of them turn up at Dover port or Terminal
will our wonderful government allow them to stay, because
returning them to
Zimbabwe for justice might be agin the 'Yumin Rites act'.
I keep banging on
about this, but this is a serious question! If the
situation in that sad
country becomes worse and descends into civil war.
Will we see more refugees
and asylum seekers, if hey can, heading for
If Mr Mugabwe has a 'Death Wish' like Hitler did at the end of
brought Germany to destruction. Will we see Zanu-Pf Cronies leaving
country with whatever looted spoils they can carry. I doubt very much if
Labour has the 'cojones' to return any alleged criminals from Zanu-Pf to
returned to Zimbawe for trial. There will be too many 'Yumin Rites'
only too willing to bamboozle matters in the hope of releiving Mr
pals of their loot.
08, 01:24am (about 5 hours ago)
ZANU-PF is socialist party, and is
modeled on the Eastern European
Communist Parties, it even maintains a
politburo. Strangely, the Guardian
never draws attention to its
What is really sad, is that having ignored all the murders
destruction of democracy in Zimbabwe, the left is suddenly worried
mess that allowing a left-wing dictatorship to stay in power for
does. I say you should continue to support him, think of him as in
vanguard of the "green' movement. When he came into power the life
expectancy was 60 in 1990 and now it is 37; infant mortality has increased
from 53 to 90 per 1000 (in the 'Palestinian' occupied territories the
figures are 78 years and 20).
Mugabe is a fearless leader and has
made sure that Zimbabwe is not
contributing to the world over-population
problems. Well done comrade!
Still, make sure you blame the US or UK
Jun 18 08, 01:45am (about 5 hours
So does torture work then or doesn't it?
Jun 18 08, 02:16am (about 4 hours ago)
ZANU-PF is a
socialist party, and is modeled on the Eastern European
it even maintains a politburo. Strangely, the Guardian
never draws attention
to its Socialism.
The reason for this IMO is that
The Guardian is only doing the job the
establishment set it up to do. Which
is to pretend to be a counter point to
fascism while in reality it is one of
its greatest proponents.
Please remember Zimbabwe might not have oil
but it does have vast Gold
Platinum and precious stone reserves worth
trillions, and a mainly useless
non productive population , in need of
establishment culling. All the time
the powers that be are still getting
their over large cut.of Zimbabwe's
resources a Mugabe type figure can go on
murdering his own people to his
black hearts contempt. The establishment
will make their move one day, just
like they are currently doing in the
middle east. It is only a matter of
time. Dieing of AIDS and starving
Africans will be one of the last reasons
for them making their move, but it
will most certainly be the excuse, when
and only when it is far too late to
save most of the people.
Jun 18 08, 03:17am
(about 3 hours ago)
OK, Mugabe is a senile tyrant obsessed with the
wrongs of colonialism...
But why this British obsession with the guy
who overturned the most racist
colonial system in Africa?
the white farmers who composed 2% of the population, but still
keep 97% of the best land for over a decade after 'independence'
of good contacts in the UK and US medi..... but please could we
have a bit
more coverage of, say, the millions - MILLIONS - dying in Central
Jun 18 08, 03:24am (about 3
Have the Mugabe apologists shown up yet? I wonder what
excuses they have
for the violence this despicable man and his goons have
Jun 18 08, 05:03am (about 1 hour
Surely violent suppression of democracy, including brutal murder
innocents is something that needs to be brought to world attention? I
believe some of the initial comments on here which seem to apologise
this evil regime.
Jun 18 08, 06:01am (26
Has Mandela said anything yet in regard to this?
As a Palestinian I'm proud to have Mandela on our side but where is he
it comes to the Mugabe terror?
And terror is the best way to describe
what Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe.
Cheer terror everyone should try to put an
end to instead of getting
distracted by the Israeli lobby and their attempt
to make it look as if
criticism of it is the worst thing happening in the
Africa has been shamelessly ignored and taken for granted by a
world with a very narrow definition of what terrorism is and where
The obsession with groups like Hamas and Hezbollah the West has
indicative of the irrationial set of priorities they've created as a
of how they're always taking into consideration every American
What Mugabe is doing is classic terror. It cannot get any purer
To torture the victims as they try to escape in plain view of the
The very first definition of terrorism describes it as a tool of
party against its own country.
If Kosovo was worth it then
Zimbabwe is ten times more so.
Pre-election observers confirm "horrendous" violence
Monsters and Critics
Jun 17, 2008, 19:38 GMT
Harare - The Pan-African
Parliament observer mission, one of only two
official observer groups in
Zimbabwe before the June 27 run- off
presidential election, Tuesday
confirmed that government supporters had
hacked off the hands and feet of a
woman and then firebombed her house.
'Our team has been to her graveside.
She was chopped,' said Marwick Khumalo,
the head of the observer group. 'The
man (her husband, Patson Chipiro) is
living in fear.'
night, Haile Menkerios, the United Nations assistant- secretary
political affairs sent by UN secretary-general Ban-Ki Moon to assess the
political climate, spent two hours with President Robert Mugabe, according
to diplomatic sources said.
No details were released after the
PAP has doubled the number of its observers to 40 since the
elections on March 29, which set up the run-off between long-
President Robert Mugabe, who has vowed to hang on to power at all
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
A team from the
mission travelled to Mhondoro, 150 km south of Harare where,
confirmed press reports, the 45-year-old woman, Dadirai
Chipiro, had her
hands and feet hacked off, was then thrown, still alive,
into her house,
where ZANU(PF) youths then hurled a petrol bomb inside and
The PAP team said it was just one of 'so many horrendous stories' it
confirmed after only two days in the field.
'That was not the
only incident,' Khumalo said. He compared it to the
first round of voting in March.
'It is really regrettable that this time
around, violence has resurfaced.
Now violence is at the top of the agenda of
this electoral process,' he
Sources in the mission said the PAP
vehicle was stopped at a roadblock
manned by ZANU(PF) youths a few
kilometres from the burnt- out home, but
managed to pass
Khumalo condemned remarks in the last week by Mugabe warning
would 'go to war' if he lost to Tsvangirai, leader of the
'That is unfortunate, it is
regrettable,' he said. 'Beating the drums of war
is not acceptable in any
situation, because you know the capacity that
violence has in upsetting
Mugabe meets UN envoy as govt reduces
by Wayne Mafaro Wednesday 18 June
HARARE - A top United Nations (UN) envoy met President
Robert Mugabe on
Tuesday as the Zimbabwean leader's government announced it
only a small fraction of the 50 000 local observers who
applied to observe
the country's run-off presidential election nine days
Diplomatic sources said UN assistant secretary general for
Haile Menkerios discussed with Mugabe "the technical
requirements of the
June 27 election and how the UN could assist towards a
free and fair vote".
It was not immediately clear whether Menkerios, who
arrived in Harare on
Monday and remains in the Zimbabwean capital until
Friday, would also meet
opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai starts as favourite to win the June 27 run-off
poll that is being
held because the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party
leader defeated Mugabe in the first round election on
March 29 but fell
short of the margin required to takeover the
But political violence has marked campaigning for the run-off
charges by the MDC that Mugabe has unleashed state security
ruling ZANU PF party militias to wage violence against the
supporters and structures in an attempt to regain the
upper hand in the
The opposition party says that at
least 66 of its members have been killed
in political violence over the past
two months while several thousands more
had been displaced from their
The Southern African Development Community, Pan African Parliament
African Union have all indicated they would increase observers to
run-off poll, while the United States and Britain on Monday urged
accept international monitors to help stem political violence and
free and fair poll.
But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
told journalists that Harare would
severely cut back on local observers,
saying only 10 000 out of the 50 000
who had applied would be accredited to
observe the election.
Local observers who have an intimate knowledge of
the local political
terrain are crucial to ensuring a free and fair contest
as they often work
as the eyes and ears of foreign observers who usually are
too few to cover
the whole country.
"We have 50 000 applicants and
these would be scaled down to 10 000," said
He did not say
what criteria the government would use to select observers
but said those
applicants who were aligned to the MDC would not be
government accuses nearly all the civic groups that observe elections,
particular the country's largest independent election observer group, the
Zimbabwe election Support Network (ZESN), of links to the
Meanwhile, the Pan African Parliament observer team has expressed
the high levels of political violence, which it said were not
the holding of free and fair elections.
"We have heard
horrendous stories and seen unpleasant pictures (of political
have seen gravesites and have confirmed deaths and murders
with the police,"
team leader Marwick Khumalo told journalists in Harare.
Khumalo did not
blame anyone for the political violence, saying such details
contained in the final report of the mission. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe Elections 2008 : Mapping Terror in
Sokwanele - Enough is Enough -
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE
Mapping Terror in
Sokwanele : 18 June 2008
Each icon represents a
single case of violence; the pin colours identify the perpetrator groups
involved in the incident. Over 1,000 cases of political violence and
intimidation, carried out after the March 29th elections, are represented on
They came to our home at 8.00pm and took us to their base and beat us
throughout the night. They kept us without anything to eat for the next day then
they gave us a final beating at the end of the second day and let us go. There
were youths and war vets. (Victim testimony)
On March 29th
2008 Zimbabweans went to the polls and changed history. For the first time since
Independence in 1980, the Zanu PF party lost its majority in parliament and
Robert Mugabe lost the Presidential vote. The Zanu PF regime immediately
embarked on a campaign of violence and reprisal attacks against an unarmed
peaceful civilian population. Images of brutalised people accompanied by video
testimony from the victims has been viewed around the world instilling horror in
all those who have seen it.
Sokwanele has mapped a sample of the cases based on recorded first hand
testimony from victims, and the interactive map so far bears witness to over
1,000 confirmed experiences of terror and intimidation. The map can be viewed on
our website at this url:
We have to stress that this map reflects only a sample of the cases of
violence in Zimbabwe. The experiences here represent those people who have found
a way out of the areas where they were being persecuted to find assistance, or
it reflects those who have managed to find someone that they have been able to
report their experience to. Their stories, on this map, come from a variety of
sources who have carefully recorded their testimony: we thank those people for
sharing their records with us towards the development of this map.
It is a sad truth that there are many more Zimbabweans who have NOT found a
way to testify to what has happened to them, so their experiences are not
represented on this map. We ask when you explore the mapped information - and
read the data and reports and watch the video testimony provided alongside the
map - that you keep in mind the many people whose voices are still unheard.
On Monday this week (and a short ten days before the
Presidential run-off election) the international media carried reports that
Robert Mugabe has been publically threatening to arrest the MDC leadership.
Referring to the political violence at a rally in Kadoma on Monday, Robert
Mugabe said "There is now a pattern across the country that has to stop". He
Sooner rather than later we are going to accuse the MDC and the
party leadership of being liable and responsible for those crimes of violence
[...] We are telling them we will arrest you in broad daylight [...]
Zimbabwean supporters of both political parties know that
blaming the MDC party for the violence is simply not true. The violence has been
so extensive that the whole country has been drawn into it and everyone knows
who the perpetrators are and who the victims are. We also all know that the root
cause for the violence is because an unpopular party is in the final stages of
losing power through a skewed democratic process.
In addition to the undeniable grassroots reality of all our experiences,
there have also been a range of reports written by independant organisations
clearly pointing out that the first-hand testimony of victims has over and over
again placed responsibility for the acts of violence against them in the hands
of people allied to the ruling elite or carrying out instructions issued by
those currently steering Zanu PF through the electoral process. The media too
has provided extensive coverage of a violent rampage against a civilian
This fact is supported by the testimony used in the construction of the
Sokwanele violence map as well. Using the information provided in witness
testimony, we have colour-coded the map icons to represent the perpetrator
groups involved in the crimes committed against them.
The colour wash of icons across the map clearly shows that the violence is
state-orchestrated. The shades of green represent perpetrators allied to the
Zanu PF party, the blues reflect cases where the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
have been involved, and the red icons highlight violent acts carried out by the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).
The interactive map allows viewers to focus on acts of violence by location,
showing which perpetrator groups were most active by area. The sample we have
mapped so far shows that Harare, for example, has a strong army involvement in
the violence, whereas the violence in Mashonaland East province appears to have
been dominated by the Zanu PF youth militia. One explanation could be that the
Zanu PF party is forced to use state instruments in MDC strongholds, while they
can resort to youth militia and supporters in the Zanu PF strongholds.
We have provided links to reports offering more comprehensive analysis and
interpretation alongside the map as well.
Post-election violence or pre-election violence?
This map is as much about post-election violence following the March
29th elections as it is about establishing the pre-election context for the
forthcoming Presidential run-off ballot due to be held very soon on the 27th
The link between political violence and the Zanu PF regime's struggle for
power is indisputable. To this end we have tied the location data provided in
victim testimonies to Zimbabwean electoral constituencies.
Each icon opens up to provide a snapshot of information about the case: which
constituency and province it occured in, which perpetrator group (or groups) was
complicit in the political violence and - very broadly - what happened (assault
with a weapon, intimidation, displacement etc).
The information bubble also provides a short summary of the results from the
March 29th elections, based on the constituency within which the act of violence
was carried out, and it provides a link to provincial maps which contextualise
each constituency in relation to others in the province.
In addition to this the data has been analysed to highlight the ten
consitituencies most affected by violence based on the sample we have
mapped. At the time of writing this article, the ten constituencies most
affected from our sample of 1300 cases are:
- Muzarabani North
- Hurungwe North
- Mutoko East
- Mudzi North
- Mt Darwin North
- Mutoko North
- Muzarabani South
- Mudzi West
(This list will automatically adjust and update to reflect the changing story
as we add more cases to the map).
An analysis section accompanies the map. This section gives a synthesised
overview of the testimony data and re-presents it in simple pie chart format.
The pie charts summarise the cases represented in our sample by the numbers of
cases per province, by perpetrator groups involved in the violence, and by the
different criminal acts of violence carried out against the victims (e.g.
assault with a weapon, strangulation etc).
The Sokwanele map of terror currently represents a sample of more than 1,000
cases of violence but we plan to keep adding more cases to the map as time goes
on. The charts and summarised information will all be updated accordingly.
Please visit the map to see the information it contains, but keep coming back as
we update and add more.
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makes U-turn on food distribution
June 18, 2008
HARARE-The government has apparently made a sudden U-turn
over the banning
of humanitarian relief agencies, claiming it has instead
operations of certain organisations to facilitate investigations
political interferences by unnamed non- governmental
There are concerns the government is directing its venom
at civil society
and other non-governmental organisations in desperate
attempts to avert an
embarrassing second defeat of President Robert
For the past two weeks, state security agents have closed down
organisations and other NGOs, arresting scores of officials in
much to the chagrin of the opposition and the international
including the United States of America and
Mugabe, who squares up with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the
winner of the
first round of polling on June 27, accuses civil society
non-governmental organisations of using food to campaign
for his rival.
However, after a barrage of condemnation over his banning
of the operations
of relief organisations, which have been feeding millions
Zimbabweans, the government says the suspension of the field
work was not
tantamount to banning or de-registration of the
The Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service,
Social Welfare Mr Sidney Mhishi, wrote on June 13 to all NGOs
clarify the order. In the letter, Mhishi claimed the suspension of
operations did not imply banning or deregistration of
This latest communiqué from the government contradicts the position
by Deputy Minister of Information Bright Matonga, as carried in the
government mouthpiece The Herald of June 7, to the effect that government
had, indeed, suspended the licenses of all NGOs and would require them to
re-apply for re-registration.
The National Association of
Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO) said
while it welcomed the
clarification by the Ministry of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare
as a positive step, there was need for government
to show tangible
commitment to ensuring a positive operating environment for
Fambai Ndirandi, the spokesman for NANGO, told The Zimbabwe
government should substantiate its clarification to NGOs by
disruption of NGO activities and the raids by security
operatives, as well
as ensuring space for all organisations to carry out
their duties in a
non-partisan manner and in line with international
Mhishi's letter defines field
operations as activities that imply movement
by NGO personnel into
communities in order to mobilise, organise or bring
together large numbers
It went further to explain that "the suspension does not imply
operations at Head Offices, Regional and District Offices are not
except field operations".
However, a number of
organisations including the NANGO regional office in
Gweru, have been forced
to close down their offices by the Zimbabwe Republic
Police, acting on the
basis of the suspension letter.
"It is important to note that the
clarification gives positive recognition
of the threats that a blanket
suspension would have on constituencies such
as children receiving
supplementary feeding and People Living With HIV/AIDS
whose very lives are
put at risk by the stoppage of Home Based Care and
According to the clarification, the suspension was
initiated so as to allow
"for fair and transparent investigations" into
allegations that NGOs
involved in humanitarian operations were breaching the
terms and conditions
of their registration by engaging in political
By implication, the suspension would therefore last until the
investigations have been completed, said Mhishi.
it was the first time that a formal investigation into the
activities of the NGO sector had ever been initiated. However, the
did not go further to give clarification as to which organisations
under investigation or names of the investigators.
"Further, it is not clear whether criminal charges would be
such NGOs. It is NANGO's hope that the said investigations
expeditiously and urgently completed to allow the uninterrupted
of all NGO field operations including those of a civic
Addressing a rally in Silobela on June 15, Mugabe, said the
suspended NGO for allegedly using food handouts as a weapon
to effect regime
change by urging aid recipients to vote for the MDC and not
Mugabe further claimed: "Some NGOs collected people's national
cards and did not bring them back, disenfranchising these
Ndirandi said NANGO found Mugabe's claims baseless.
Zanu-PF government's intolerance and suspicion of Non-Governmental
Organisations is not a new phenomenon," he said. "President Mugabe is on
record as having publicly labelled the NGO sector as hatcheries of political
opposition and conduits of foreign interference in Zimbabwe's national
affairs, a position which has been hardened over the years.
reiterates that the NGO sector has meticulously endeavoured to remain
non-partisan and to adhere to international humanitarian standards and
"Further NANGO does not regard the said investigations
into NGO operations
to be sufficient grounds to jeopardise the humanitarian
needs of millions of
Zimbabweans who are being supported by NGO "field
operations" or as a basis
for the continued victimisation of civil society
activists, human rights
defenders, aid workers, election monitors or other
personnel linked to the
"An appeal contesting the closure
of an organisation in Gweru on the basis
of the suspension circular has been
lodged at the Bulawayo High Court."
Half of Zim's population faces food
by Hendricks Chizhanje and Norest Muzvaba Wednesday
18 June 2008
JOHANNESBURG - More than five million
Zimbabweans or about half the southern
African country's 12 million
population will face food shortages by early
next year, United Nations (UN)
food security agencies said on Tuesday.
The Food and Agriculture
Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme
(WFP) said in a report that
they expected the number of food insecure
Zimbabweans to rise to two million
as early as July or September this year.
The UN agencies - tasked by
President Robert Mugabe last month to asses
Zimbabwe's food security
situation - said the figure of hungry people would
rise progressively to
about 5.1 million by early 2009, to compound problems
for a country that is
also in the grip of unprecedented political and
"The Mission (Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission)
estimates that 2.04
million people in rural and urban areas will be food
insecure between July
and September 2008, rising to 3.8 million people
between October and peaking
to about 5.1 million at the height of the hungry
season between January and
March 2009," said the report.
agencies said Zimbabwe - once a regional breadbasket - suffered a
decline in farm production in 2008 season owing to an economic
has caused shortages of fuel, seeds, fertilizers and other key
Maize production this year is estimated at 575 000 tonnes, which
percent lower than the 2007 figure of 800 000 tonnes. Zimbabwe
about 2.080 million tones of cereals per year including 1.875
for direct human consumption.
"The resulting cereal
import requirement is estimated at 1.232 million
tonnes, of which the maize
deficit accounts for about one million tones,"
the UN report
The FAO/WFP report comes two weeks after Mugabe suspended all work
agencies that he accused of using aid distribution to campaign for
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of a run-off presidential election
later this month - a charge aid groups deny.
The European Union and
the United States have criticised the ban on aid
groups that they say has
cut off support to more than two million
Zimbabweans who received life
sustaining support from aid agencies on daily
secretary-general for political affairs Haile Menkerios, who
Zimbabwe on Monday, was expected to raise the issue of the ban
Mugabe announced last month that his government had paid for
600 000 tonnes
of maize from South Africa but relief agencies including the
FAO and WFP
says this is far inadequate and donors should step in to assist
cash-strapped Harare government import more food.
Zimbabwe's food crisis directly on Mugabe's haphazard
fast-track land reform
exercise that displaced established white commercial
farmers and replaced
them with either incompetent or inadequately funded
Food production plunged by about 60 percent as a result while
agriculture because of the often violent farm seizures also hit
Zimbabwe's once impressive manufacturing sector that had depended on a
robust farming sector for orders and inputs.
Most of Zimbabwe's
companies have since the beginning of farm seizures in
2000 either closed
completely or scaled down operations to below 30 percent
of capacity, in a
country where unemployment is more than 80 percent. -
briefs Salamao on violence
June 18, 2008
HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic
presidential candidate, met the SADC executive secretary on
Monday to sound
him out on President Robert Mugabe's implicit threats of a
coup should he
lose the presidential election run-off scheduled for June
The Zimbabwe Times can reveal that Tsvangirai met SADC executive
Tomaz Salamao at the MDC leader's Strathaven residence on Monday
for a full briefing on the political violence currently engulfing
country, Mugabe's recent threats to stage a coup if he loses the
election and the blatant failure by the Mugabe government to
regional election standards for freedom and fairness.
Zimbabwe Times established that Tsvangirai engaged the SADC executive
secretary to explore ways through which SADC could help resolve the crisis
in Zimbabwe and pave way for a free and fair presidential election run
Tsvangirai met Salamao as the UN assistant secretary general for
affairs, Haile Menkerios, arrived in Zimbabwe Monday evening.
President Mugabe at State House on Tuesday on the escalating
Tsvangirai's spokesman George Sibotshiwe on
Tuesday confirmed that the MDC
leader met Salamao and said the talks with
the SADC executive secretary
centred on how Mugabe and Tsvangirai could
continue with dialogue and
resolve the crisis, thereby creating an
environment for free and fair
elections in line with the SADC principles and
guidelines on elections.
Sibotshiwe said the talks centred mainly on
Mugabe's grim warning, delivered
at the graveside of a former army official
that he would take up arms if he
lost the June presidential election
"Yes they met at the president's residence on Monday and it was
update on elections and on the violence, 11 days before the poll,"
Sibotshiwe told The Zimbabwe Times. "Salamao was also briefed on the advance
coup announced by Mugabe. He has announced a pre-emptive coup. In fact
Mugabe has already staged a coup."
Mugabe, speaking at the burial of
a former general, Amoth Chingombe, in
Harare last weekend said: "We shall
never, never accept anything that smells
of the MDC. Anyone who tries to
undermine our land reform we will challenge.
We are prepared to fight for
our country or to go to war if we lose it - as
happened to our
He repeated the coup threats at a Youth and Students
Convention in Harare
Friday where he said: "We need to respond to the
British and their agents.
Do we elect to surrender? The ex-freedom fighters
have said they will not
countenance regime change through the ballot. The
ballot will never take
precedence over the bullet. The war veterans have
said they will go back to
the trenches. I will also support that
Tsvangirai, who won the original presidential election on
March 29 with 47
percent against Mugabe's 43 percent of the vote, squares
off with the
octogenarian incumbent on June 27. Tsvangirai is widely to win
concerns that violence and fear could influence some rural
Zimbabwe is battling its worst political
and economic crisis in decades,
with unemployment estimated at 85 percent,
soaring hyperinflation now over
1, 7 million percent, and acute power, fuel
and foreign exchange shortages.
Tsvangirai and Western countries blame
Mugabe for the crisis, while accusing
him of rigging recent polls, including
his 2002 re-election as president.
On his part, Mugabe accuses Britain,
Zimbabwe's former colonial power, of
undermining Zimbabwe as retribution for
his land redistribution policy,
which entailed seizing white-owned farms to
allocate to landless blacks.
Coming collision: Zimbabwe is headed for even greater catastrophe
June 18, 2008
Zimbabwe's presidential elections,
set for June 27, are speeding toward a
Robert G. Mugabe, 84, lost the first round in March to opposition
Morgan Tsvangerai. Mr. Mugabe didn't accept that the challenger had
claiming improbably that he had not achieved the 50-percent-plus-one
necessary for victory, even though Mr. Tsvangerai's party won the
parliamentary elections. A candidate from Mr. Mugabe's own ZANU-PF party
also ran to draw votes from Mr. Tsvangerai.
Now, as the runoff
between the top two draws near, Mr. Mugabe has turned up
the heat on his
suffering people to obtain the results he wants, to prolong
his 28-year rule
of the former Rhodesia. He has instructed the country's
army to work for his
victory. His supporters and security forces are
interfering with Mr.
Tsvangerai's campaign, and Mr. Mugabe has said he won't
let his opponent
take power if he were to win.
In the meantime, the disaster that Mr.
Mugabe's rule has wreaked on the
economy has not only put an estimated
one-fourth of the country at risk of
starvation, but also propelled floods
of citizens to flee into neighboring
Their quest for
food, shelter and jobs, in competition with poor South
immigrants from other countries, has led to disorder, rioting
which South Africa has found difficult to control.
leaders have stood by mute and impotent. Some have tried
responsibility on the back of South African President Thabo Mbeki,
declined to act. South Africa could start by closing its border with
Zimbabwe, although it is questionable that Mr. Mugabe would take
Other leaders such as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and
Minister Gordon Brown want to send a U.N. human rights
election observers to Zimbabwe -- truly pointless
Given that Mr. Mugabe has stated that he won't accept the
unless he wins, and that the situation in Zimbabwe has
catastrophic in its impact on the southern African
region, drastic measures
Just as Tanzania used its
military in 1979 to get rid of Ugandan despot Idi
Amin, the countries of
southern Africa would be justified in taking decisive
military action to get
rid of Mr. Mugabe. It is hard to imagine that
Zimbabweans would resist them,
particularly if they moved in fast, quickly
held free and internationally
supervised elections and then got out.
First published on June 18, 2008
at 12:00 am
Trial of opposition faction leader Mutambara fails to
by Tendai Maronga and Wayne Mafaro Wednesday 18 June
HARARE - The trial of the leader of a small faction of
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party failed
to take off
yesterday because the prosecutor handling the matter was not
Magistrate Morgan Nemadire postponed to July 10 the trial of
Mutambara who is facing charges of publishing falsehoods and contempt
court arising from an opinion article he wrote for the Standard newspaper
Mutambara accused President Robert Mugabe in the article
of running down
Zimbabwe's economy and charged that state security forces
human rights abuses.
The Standard's editor, Davison
Maruziva, was last month arrested over the
same article but is out on bail
and is facing trial together with Mutambara.
"It is evidently unfair for
the state to set trial dates for accused persons
and then fail appear in
court . . . an accused person is entitled to a fair
trial within a
reasonable time," said Nemadire, who relaxed bail conditions
Media freedom watchdogs have said the charging of Mutambara
and Maruziva is
part of crackdown by the government on the media and other
dissension ahead of a run-off presidential election on June 27
pitting President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
On May 23, a South African truck ferrying 60 000 copies of
The Zimbabwean on
Sunday, an independent newspaper critical of Mugabe's
rule, was torched by
suspected state security agents who brandished AK 47
rifles in just one
example of the immense difficulties Zimbabwean
journalists face ahead of the
presidential run-off poll.
government recently imposed heavy duty on all foreign newspapers
the country including The Zimbabwean, which is published in London
Meanwhile Mutambara's lawyer accused the state
of breaching Southern African
Development Community (SADC) guidelines on
freedom of expression and freedom
of the media, adding she wanted her
client's case referred to a regional
The lawyer, Beatrice
Mutetwa, said: "We will be challenging the basis of
remand in line with the
SADC guidelines. We want the matter referred to the
SADC Tribunal to see if
Zimbabwe is not breaching SADC guidelines on freedom
of expression and
freedom of the media." - ZimOnline
Is Zimbabwe living up to
SADC's electoral code?
JOHANNESBURG , 18
June 2008 (IRIN) -
The degree of freedom and fairness in
Zimbabwe's presidential election on 27 June will be judged according to a
10-point guideline enshrined in the Principles for Conducting Democratic
Elections of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
using the SADC checklist of democratic principles, has asked analysts to
ascertain how Zimbabwe is measuring up to its obligations as a member of the
14-member regional organisation.
The treaty establishing SADC, signed in
1992 in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, states: "The Protocol on Politics, Defence
and Security Cooperation provides that SADC shall 'Promote the development of
democratic institutions and practices within the territories of State Parties
and encourage the observance of universal human rights as provided for in the
Charter and Conventions of the Organization of African Unity (African Union) and
the United Nations.'"
According to the treaty, "SADC member states shall
adhere to the following principles in the conduct of democratic
1. Full participation of the citizens in the political
is no doubt that there is little, if any, participation of citizens in the
election process because of the political violence in that country [Zimbabwe],"
Khabele Matlosa, research director of the Electoral Institute of Southern
Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) promoting credible elections and
democratic practices in Africa, told IRIN.
• 29 March ZANU-PF loses control of
parliament for the first time since independence in 1980
• A SADC observer
team acknowledges concerns with the pre-eelection climate, but pronounces the
• ZANU-PF militants launch "Operation Mavhoterapapi" (Who did you
vote for?) - driving perceived opposition supporters from their
homes. Voters can only cast their ballots where they are
"We know for a fact that most
of the violence unleashed is by government militias and thousands of people have
been displaced, and plus or minus 60 people killed. There is a climate of fear
and people are afraid of any type of participation because of the violence.
Citizens' participation is at its lowest ebb ever."
Joseph Kurebwa, head
of the University of Zimbabwe's politics and administration department, told
IRIN: "The nature of politics in Zimbabwe is that anyone is free to be a member
of any political party of their choice, and also to not participate in politics
if they so wish.
"The 'political violence' since 29 March is a result of
differences between people, and these people are using the opportunity to settle
old scores. There are very few incidents which would pass as political
violence," he maintained.
Kurebwa offered to stand as a candidate for
ZANU-PF in the recent parliamentary elections, but was not selected by the party
at its primaries.
2. Freedom of association
"Freedom of association is allowed by the constitution, and political
parties are formed and allowed to contest elections," said Matlosa, who observed
the 29 March election.
4 June - Government suspends operations of all
NGOs, claiming they are fronts for foreign powers.
5 May - More than 50
supporters of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), are beateb bt police in the second
city, Bulawayo, as they march to protest political violence.
25 April - Some
400 people seeking refuges from alleged state-sponsored violence are arrested at
MDC headquarters in
"In practice they [opposition parties and civil
society organisations] are restricted heavily by state actions; the government
gives with one hand and takes away with the other. It is not just political
parties, but also NGOs. The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network and the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights play a very important role, but are not allowed
political space," he commented.
Kurebwa said, "There is freedom of
association; people of different political affiliations have been acting
together with each other at various levels."
3. Political tolerance
"There is no political tolerance; the society is so polarised. The ruling
party [ZANU-PF] does not tolerate political opposition; they [the government]
see the opposition as part of a conspiracy unleashed by the West," Matlosa said.
15 June - President Robert Mugabe says:
"Anyone who seeks to undermine our land
reform programme, itself the bedrock of our politics from time immemorial, seeks
and gets war"
6 June - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Louise Arbour, condemns killings of opposition activists and harassment of human
"The level of political tolerance is very low ... [Zimbabwe's] security
chiefs made it very clear publicly [before the 29 March election] that they
would not accept any result that did not favour the incumbent [President Robert
Mugabe]. This is the highest level of political intolerance," Matlosa commented.
In contrast Kurebwa maintained that "The ruling party accepts that
people should have as many different viewpoints as possible. The government has
not restricted this in any way."
4. Regular intervals for elections as
provided for by the respective National Constitutions
held regularly, although in a sense the 29 March election was a snap election.
The ruling party called elections without consulting the opposition parties or
President Thabo Mbeki [appointed by SADC to mediate between the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party and ZANU-PF]", Matlosa said.
excel on that score," Kurebwa noted.
5. Equal opportunity for all
political parties to access state media
"No, there is
no equal opportunity for all political parties to access the state media,"
Matlosa said. "The state media are monopolised by ZANU-PF and opposition parties
have to rely on private media. In the 29 March elections, once SADC deployed
observers in Zimbabwe, it was only then that the opposition was given
opportunities on state media's radio and television services."
• The government controls all domestic
radio and television stations
• Print journalists from the private media have
been harassed and arrested for what they have written
• State media offered
space to the opposition in the run-up to the March poll. That space has since
said, "The Broadcast Services Act and other pieces of legislation have given the
opposition parties ample opportunity to air their views through media owned by
6. Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be
"Zimbabwe's election laws provide for that, but in practice it is a
different story. The present environment is so poisoned in the country that even
for the leader of the opposition [Morgan Tsvangirai] - who has been arrested
four or five times - it is extremely difficult for him to even campaign,"
Matlosa pointed out.
14 June - MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
detained fore the third time over the course of the week
13 June - MDC
secretary-general Tendai Biti is arrested on treason and electoral law
"Legally, the voting age is 18 years old and people
over 18 can also stand for parliament," Kurebwa said.
commit offences, or the police believe there are grounds to suspect that someone
is about to commit an offence, they can be arrested. This does not interfere
with the voter or someone standing as a candidate," Kurebwa
7. Independence of judiciary and impartiality of the
"Not at all. The judiciary is hugely politicised and is under
the constant influence of ZANU-PF, and the same applies to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission," Matlosa said.
• ZEC is heavily criticised for the delay
in releasing the election results, especially the presidential poll
Repeated warnings over its incapacity to organise four elections on the same
day, and the state of voter readyness
"The final appointment of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission officers is by the president, and it is not
independent or autonomous. Other government departments are running aspects of
the elections and registration of voters - the accreditation of observers is
done by the Ministry of Justice for example," he noted.
IRIN: "In the recent history of the country, treason charges have been levelled
against Tsvangirai for a plot to assassinate Mugabe. The judiciary exonerated
"By and large the judiciary is independent, as is ZEC.
The ZEC has remained steadfast in executing its duties according to the law. It
has not subjected itself to the will of political parties," Kurebwa said.
8. Voter education
"Voters are supposed to be informed and
normally this is carried out by political parties and civil society, but in
Zimbabwe this is the reserve of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Other
organisations are barred from doing it, because government accuses them of being
opposition supporters," Matlosa told IRIN.
"Voter education is the
responsibility of ZEC by law," Kurebwa said. "I can categorically say that the
commission has excelled in informing people of political rights and the
candidates participating in the elections."
9. Acceptance and respect of
election results by political parties proclaimed to have been free and fair by
the competent National Electoral Authorities in accordance with the law of the
"Problems with election processes [such as complaints made by the
opposition after the 2002 elections] are not resolved, and these problems are
being compounded - and the run-off elections will see more complaints that are
not resolved," Matlosa said.
Kurebwa noted that "In 2000 and 2002 the
opposition MDC went to the courts, but by and large various political parties
have been happy with the outcome of the elections."
10. Challenge of the
election results as provided for by the law of the land
relates to the previous provision," Matlosa said. "The electoral law provides
for a timeframe [for complaints to be resolved], which is hardly ever observed."
"If one looks at the harmonised elections," Kurebwa commented, "the
results of each polling station were posted outside of the polling station, and
that gave everyone an opportunity to look at the results. The results were above
board and in compliance with the law."
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Magistrate defies order to release
By Our Correspondent
RUSAPE – A regional magistrate has defied a High
Court order to release incarcerated top lawyer Eric Matinenga.
Matinenga, who was recently elected to Parliament representing the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was arrested on charges of inciting public
Herbert Mandeya, a regional magistrate in Harare,
presided over Matinenga’s case after all magistrates in Rusape had recused
themselves for various reasons.
Matinenga was arrested a day after he had been
cleared of any wrongdoing by a senior magistrate in Mutare on charges that he
was involved in public violence that had flared up in his
Matinenga was re-arrested on the same charges on
which he had been acquitted by magistrate Hlekani Mwayera in Mutare.
After his second arrest his lawyers petitioned the
High Court and Justice Chitakunye ordered his immediate release. But Mandeya,
sitting in Rusape declined to obey the High Court order, saying the allegations
were the same but the charges were different.
Matinenga was taken to court after languishing in
police cells for almost a week.
The State, led by Tawanda Zvakare of the Attorney
General’s office, said Matinenga was facing the same allegations but the charge
had been altered to that of inciting public violence instead of involvement in
The State alleges the MP-elect incited public
violence in Buhera West on May 28 and 31.
According to Trust Maanda, one of his lawyers, the
court established that Matinenga was in Harare on May 28 representing a client
at the regional courts. The client is James Mushore, the former NMB executive
who faces allegations of committing financial crimes.
But the court said Matinenga had a case to answer on
the second count.
He was granted bail with very stringent measures but
Zvakare of the AG’s office lodged an appeal, which meant Matinenga would remain
incarcerated pending the noting of the appeal.
Maanda said the State has up to seven days to file
the appeal meaning Matinenga will remain in custody all that time.
“All this is in violation of a High Court order
granted by Justice Chitakunye,” Maanda, a human rights lawyer, said. “We are
lodging an immediate appeal at the High Court. All along they are holding him
Maanda said by refusing to release him under very
stringent measures, it was clear the State was determined, at all costs, to
ensure Matinenga continues to be incarcerated.
The magistrate had ordered Matinenga to surrender
title deeds of one of his immovable properties, deposit ZW$500 billion cash and
to report everyday between 6am and 6pm at the nearest police station.
“Effectively it was meant to immobilize him but the
State insisted that in spite of these very stringent conditions he must be
denied bail,” said Maanda. “The State is so determined to have him
Meanwhile, MDC lawyers have filed an urgent court
application at the High Court seeking the unconditional release of MDC secretary
general Tendai Biti from police custody.
The lawyers filed court papers calling for the
immediate release of Biti who was arrested at the Harare International Airport
last Thursday as he returned home ahead of the June 27 presidential election
The MDC lawyers are seeking a declaration of his
continued detention as unlawful and for his immediate release.
On Monday, the police were supposed to bring Biti to
court but they failed to do so and instead searched his house.
Zimbabwe on the verge of cyber war?
June 18, 2008
By The Zimbabwe
GOOGLE has reported that malicious software was found on
the MDC web site
www.mdc.co.zw last week
on June 9.
A visit to the web site when searched for through Google using
"Movement for democratic change", will result in the visitor being
by a warning sign which essentially discourages visitors from
A detailed analytical report from Google states
that the MDC web site is
currently listed by Google as being a suspicious
site which may harm one's
computer should they proceed to enter this site.
This message is tagged onto
web sites that the Google and other internet
search engines would have
analysed and found to contain dangerous software
or so-called viruses. Such
viruses can be installed onto a web site by third
parties, in order to
discredit the site in question.
with regard to the MDC web site follows two attacks which
shut down the web
site of Zimbabwe's state-run newspaper organization, The
Herald, in recent
weeks. The attack on the MDC web site although leaving the
running, however seems intent on achieving the same effects that
shutting down of The Herald by apparent hackers, had.
Google, the infection reported to currently afflict the MDC web
includes two Trojan(s), and one scripting exploit. Successful infection
target machine will result in 15 new processes being run on the target
computer. This can render a computer non-functional. Google also reports
that of the 63 pages that make up the MDC web site, only one page is
infected by the said viruses and script.
The malicious software that
was used to infect the MDC web site is hosted on
two domains, including
killpp.cn (a China based web site) and nihao112.com.
The fact that Google
notes that the MDC web site has not acted as an
intermediary (at least in
the last 90 days) acting in the further
dissemination of malicious software
(on the internet) suggests that this
software was not introduced to the web
site by the MDC themselves, in some
malicious plan to wage cyber
This point also suggests that the MDC server account has not
hijacked, at least not by a knowledgeable enough hacker, to
havoc in cyberspace. Nonetheless, the infection of the MDC web
cause some headaches for unwary computer owners who may force
their way into
the site unaware of, or ignoring the warning from Google.
Until the MDC
resolves this current issue, it would be unwise for users to
visit the site.
Although computer hackers can be tenacious when they
decide to go after a
particular web site, there are ways of mounting an
effective defense. A good
start in the case of the MDC would be to host
their site outside Zimbabwe,
with established host companies who will have
adequate security systems
built into their servers. In addition, such a move
would take the MDC's web
operations further away from the prying hands of
the state operations and
their rogue supporters, who in this case may very
well be the Chinese.
The Chinese have been known to supply the Robert
Mugabe regime with training
and equipment to enhance their surveillance
operations. It would not be
far-fetched to surmise that the Chinese could be
assisting the Mugabe regime
in sabotaging the MDC web site. Recent reports
have indicated that the
Mugabe regime is now moving to target communication
systems that may give
advantage to the opposition by allowing for the free
flow of unfiltered
information to the electorate.
There are now
reports of an "Operation Dzikisai Madishi", which is aimed at
Zimbabwean citizenry to take down satellite dishes which now dot
of Zimbabwe. Many people have resorted to satellite television
supplement the poor programming and circumvent the propaganda
constantly spewed out by the state's own media cooperation, the
People are thus able to access programming from BBC and South Africa's
among other channels, through their privately owned satellite dishes.
recent report also suggests that the Zimbabwean government may also have
embarked on an effort to confiscate radios from citizens, especially rural
peasants, in its effort to control information and communications. Phone
calls to Zimbabwe of late, have also often left me wondering how many people
were actually engaged in the conversations intended only for those that I
would have called.
Rights Groups Appeal for World Intervention in Crisis
Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
17 June 2008
Posted to the
web 17 June 2008
Zimbabwean civil society activists
visiting Kenya appealed to Africa and the
rest of the world to pressure
President Robert Mugabe to end the people's
suffering in the southern
The world should demand that Mugabe allows humanitarian
distribute food aid in the country that is facing mass
starvation and gross
human rights violations, the activists
They said Mugabe has set up structures of violence, comprising
the army and militias to coerce people especially in rural
areas to vote for
him in the presidential run-off on June 27.
activists were from Bulawayo Agenda, the Media Institute of Southern
Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter, Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, Youth for
Democracy, Zimbabwe Peace Trust, the Zimbabwean newspaper 'The Independent'
and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
said that Mugabe has stopped all volunteer organisations
in the country from
working and his government was giving food aid only to
Gordon Moyo, executive director of Bulawayo Agenda, said,
"What brings us
here today are the current developments in our country. We
would like Mugabe
to respect the laws of the country, to respect the
principles of running
elections as quantified in the Southern African
Development Community (SADC)
Africa should demand for
free and fair elections, which are unlikely if the
current state violence
and violation of human rights continues.
"We are going around Africa
attending the AU summit; we are lobbying the
leadership in SADC and in the
continent as a whole to protect Zimbabwe. The
AU has a moral obligation to
protect the people who are harmless and
defenceless," Moyo said.
Mugabe declared himself a winner the run-off, Africa should condemn him
bar him from travelling outside Zimbabwe, Moyo said.
The activists said
some 4 million Zimbabweans are in desperate need of food.
Chikowore, a journalist detained for 17 days in deplorable conditions,
there was a serious assault on media freedom and appealed to African
to demand freedom of the Press in Zimbabwe.
African and world leaders
should hold Mugabe accountable for the
"slow-motion genocide" he is
committing, said Maureen Kademaunga of the
Project-Zimbabwe. Mugabe is using young people to inflict
people and destroy property.
Many people have lost their documents and
are unlikely to vote,
Kademanunga,who was recently detained for holding a
Silas Gweshe, an MDC parliamentary candidate who lost in
the March 29
elections, said the houses of four councillors who supported
him were burnt
down. He lost all personal property and is on the run.
exposes Mugabe's predicament
June 18, 2008
A REPRESENTATIVE of one of President Robert Mugabe's few
allies in southern African has spilled the beans on how the
government went around the SADC and African Union (AU) member
begging bowel in hand, to ask for funds to finance next week's
presidential election re-run.
Angola's permanent secretary
for Foreign Affairs, Manuel Gomes dos Santos,
told the South African weekly
newspaper the Mail and Guardian how President
Mugabe's most trusted
lieutenant, Emmerson Mnangangwa, was dispatched to the
nation to beg for assistance to help finance the
Gomes said while the whole world was made to believe that
the Angolan capital Luanda in April to persuade Mugabe's
close ally and
friend President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the president of
Angola, to allow
a Chinese ship to dock in the port of Luanda to offload
arms destined for
Zimbabwe, his mission was, in fact, to explain the
problems and seek assistance.
Gomes said Zimbabwe
currently lacked the means to run next week's election
unavailability of the required funds.
"They were looking for money from
all African Union members to run the
second elections," he said. "That's why
they came to see us, they came to
ask for money."
Angola is the chair
of the organ on politics, security and defence
cooperation of the SADC. It
has been an outspoken supporter of Mugabe and
his government. And it was no
surprise, therefore that a SADC observer
mission dispatched to Zimbabwe to
observe the March 29 election, gave the
largely flawed election a clean
The mission was led by Angola's minister of sport, Jose
Ironically, while the Angolan official made this revelation,
Mugabe's government has turned down financial and logistical
the United Nations to help it finance the election re-run.
Just last month,
UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon offered to help Zimbabwe
upcoming elections. His suggestions where flatly rejected by
Mugabe who said
that his government had the capacity to organise
Gomes also said in the same report that his government
formation of a government of national unity in Zimbabwe as the
only way to
resolve the political and economic problems that the country
stance is hardly surprising, given Angola's support for Mugabe
prospect of a lifeline being extended to Mugabe by the
Gomes said the Angolan president believes that "through dialogue a
government of national unity must be formed" but after the second-round
presidential election on June 27.
The main proponent of the GNU in
Zimbabwe, Dr Simba Makoni, a presidential
election candidate who emerged
with only eight percent of the vote on March
29, currently has campaigned
for the scrapping of the forthcoming election
altogether to be replaced by a
process of negotiation leading to a
government of national
Makoni's own critics point out that if it wasn't for his
emergence as a presidential candidate, there would have been no
re-run in the first place.
Letter to U.N. envoy from Reporters Without
Jun 2008 23:43 GMT
By Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders
yesterday wrote to United Nations Assistant
Menkerios asking him to take account of the current
climate of fear for the
independent media in Zimbabwe when he arrives in
Harare for talks with the
government next week. Here is the text of the
Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs
New York NY
Paris, 13 June 2008
Dear Mr. Menkerios
In view of
your intention to visit Harare from 16 to 20 June, ahead of the
presidential election run-off, Reporters Without Borders would like
you about the government's serious press freedom violations and the
of fear reigning among journalists and human rights activists.
election campaign and first round of the presidential election on 29
were disastrous for press freedom. Eighteen journalists and media
were arrested. The climate has worsened since then, especially in
weeks, with the authorities now using independence war veterans as a
supplementary force for the security services. Our organisation is very
concerned that the decisive second round will be the occasion for a further
escalation in the repression.
The campaign of intimidation and
harassment of journalists has been stepped
up in the approach to the second
round. Each week, our organisation and
local press freedom NGOs have
registered cases of journalists being arrested
arbitrarily or placed in
custody for no reason, which is reinforcing the
climate of fear and
self-censorship. There have also been police raids on
news media and
independent organisations, and journalists have been unfairly
Journalists have not been the only victims of this
campaign. The Zimbabwean
authorities have violated their commitments by
stepping up physical attacks
and arrests involving the opposition, including
its leaders, preventing the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which was
ahead in the first round,
from campaigning freely.
activists have also been targeted. Abel Chikomo, for example,
the head of
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHF) and a member of the Media
Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ), was arrested during a police swoop on
office in the western town of Binga on 7 June. Thirteen other
arrested at the same time for holding an unauthorised public
were released without charge four days later.
Christian Alliance news
director Pius Wakatama and nine other members of
were arrested in a raid carried out on an ecumenical
centre in Harare on 9
June by members of a military security unit and the
Department. Wakatama, a journalist who used to work
for The Standard, an
independent weekly, and the Daily News, was finally
released on the evening
of the same day without being charged.
The authorities carried out a
radical screening of journalists authorised to
cover the elections, in
violation of international conventions signed by
Zimbabwe, while the foreign
media and their local employees are kept under
resulting in arrests and heavy sentences. Bernet
Hasani Sono, Resemate Boy
Chauke and Simon Maodi were stopped by police on
23 May as they were
transporting equipment belonging to the British TV
station Sky News and were
given six-month prison sentences on 2 June for
"unauthorised possession of
TV broadcast equipment."
The government has also stepped up its
restrictions on news entering the
country from abroad. A tax of 40 per cent
of the total cost per kilogram was
imposed on imported print media a week
ago with the aim limiting the
circulation of foreign newspapers and
magazines, and publications produced
by Zimbabwean journalists in
Zimbabwe's privately-owned press has been stifled and reduced to a
of closely-watched publications, while journalists employed by the
media are punished if they do not contribute to government propaganda.
state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) fired seven
and news editors without explanation on 3 June. Internal sources
new editor in chief, an independence war veteran, accused them of
much air time to the main opposition party, the MDC.
behaviour of the government and its allies is making it very likely that
election results will be completely fraudulent. We think it is important
that you should remind President Robert Mugabe that his government is guilty
of repeated violations of the treaties and conventions that it
In 2004, for example, Zimbabwe agreed to comply with the Southern
Development Community's "Principles and Rules Governing Democratic
Elections," which require member states to guarantee "total access to
national and international media" during elections. Zimbabwe's legislation,
which is among the most repressive in the world towards the media, has
flagrantly violated this principle for years.
We hope that our
information and proposal will be of use to your in your
Zimbabwe: House of Lords
|17th Jun 2008 23:10
House of Lords
Tuesday 17 June 2008
Baroness D'Souza: asked Her Majesty’s Government:
discussions they held with the United Nations Secretary-General about Zimbabwe,
other than the humanitarian issues already debated in the United Nations
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord
Malloch-Brown) : My Lords, in recent days both the Prime Minister and
the Foreign Secretary have spoken to the UN Secretary-General about Zimbabwe. In
addition to discussing the humanitarian situation, they spoke of the need to
deploy international observers in sufficient numbers to deter continuing
state-sponsored violence and intimidation ahead of the 27 June election, the
current visit of the UN envoy to Zimbabwe, and other support the UN could
provide at this critical time.
Baroness D'Souza: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his
Answer. I take this opportunity to thank him for his obvious concern for
Zimbabwe and, indeed, for his regular briefings. Mugabe has said that he would
rather go to war than allow Morgan Tsvangirai to take office, so the future is
likely to get even uglier. Does the Minister agree that now is the time for the
UN to call some kind of summit of the leaders of neighbouring countries and
donor nations, and possibly also of Commonwealth countries, to pre-empt a civil
war in that country?
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Baroness is quite
correct to say that the situation in the coming weeks looks appalling. We still
hope that democracy will prevail on 27 June and that the likely very large lead
that the Opposition enjoy in the polls will be enough to overcome whatever
intimidation and violence is put their way. However, the noble Baroness is
correct: we cannot count on that. We are therefore pressing heavily for not just
the UN but the AU and SADC to be active.
Just yesterday, the AU, which has often been criticised in this House for not
being sufficiently forthcoming on Zimbabwe, put out a statement calling for free
and fair elections and announced that it was sending 70 observers. Therefore, by
the end of this week, we expect there to be 350 international observers in the
country, with more arriving next week.
Lord Howell of Guildford: My Lords, the hope for democracy
on 27 June is of course very slim, with Mugabe, his team and his military men
arresting and beating up opposition leaders. However, can the Minister expand on
the very interesting and constructive idea put forward by the noble Baroness,
Lady D’Souza? Has not the time come for more vigorous action and perhaps a
resolution at the UN? Is there not also a need to work with the Commonwealth, as
she suggested, with SADC leaders, and with the chairman of SADC, the President
of Zambia, in organising a really forceful message to the Zimbabwean people and
the Zimbabwean junta, which seems to be running the election, that their time
has come? Is there not currently a need for more vigour in this whole operation?
I should like to hear more from the Minister on that approach.
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, first, as we speak, a UN
envoy, who was accepted by the Government after some delay, is in the country.
He will return to New York and we are pressing for him to give a Security
Council briefing in public so that his views of the situation will be
disseminated as widely as possible. Secondly, as I pointed out, the AU is
sending in a delegation and has backed it with a strong statement. It will be
led by a former president, whose party stepped down in Sierra Leone after it
lost an election, and therefore he knows, and can convey the reality of, that
situation. Equally, we should understand that, even now, there are only just
sufficient votes in the UN Security Council to ensure a debate on the issue.
Several powerful countries are still resisting action in the council. We must
press for it through all available means but not assume that we yet have a
united international community on this point.
Lord Taylor of Blackburn: My Lords, does my noble friend
agree that you can build all kinds of resolutions in the United Nations and the
Commonwealth but that the country that will have the greatest effect is South
Africa? We should talk sincerely and firmly to South Africa and ask the South
Africans whether they realise what harm they are doing to themselves and their
colleagues by not bringing pressure to bear in the way that they should.
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, my noble friend is right:
South Africa has a pivotal influence on the situation, but I regret that it is
one of the countries in the Security Council that is still resisting action.
However, on the other side, South African public opinion has been inflamed by
reports of the violence coming out of Zimbabwe and the country has faced its own
difficulties in relation to Zimbabwean immigrants. Increasingly, we are seeing
politicians and civil society take the lead in South Africa in an attempt to
block arms shipments, to protest against what is happening and possibly to send
trade union and civil society observers directly to oversee the elections.
Therefore, I think that the people of South Africa are on the right side.
Lord Avebury: My Lords, was it decided in the Security
Council last Thursday that only humanitarian and not political issues should be
discussed? How does the Security Council manage to disentangle humanitarian from
political issues when there are massive internal displacements, armed action by
ZANU-PF thugs and prevention of the feeding of starving people, including
170,000 orphans, who have been deprived of UNICEF aid? How can you disentangle
political from humanitarian issues?
Lord Malloch-Brown: My Lords, the noble Lord is quite right;
it beats me. I do not know how you can disentangle the two. I think that it is
holding on to a fig leaf to prevent a full discussion of the horrific situation
in Zimbabwe in front of the council that calls a spade a spade and says that
there is a political breakdown in the country. We will continue in the forum
allowed to us in the council and elsewhere to insist that where the presidential
candidate of the Opposition has already been arrested four times since his
return, where his number two remains in jail on treason charges since his
return, where almost 60 people have died, tens of thousands have been displaced
and several thousand injured and temporarily imprisoned, the conditions are not
in place for free and fair elections. President Mugabe needs to understand that
elections held on those terms will not be recognised anywhere around the world,
least of all in Zimbabwe, as free, fair and
African officials in Zimbabwe should help stop
intimidation of lawyers
Jun 2008 23:46 GMT
By a Correspondent
LONDON - The
International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute [IBAHRI]
on the Southern African Development Community, the African Union
United Nations to publicly condemn the recent escalation of
harassment of lawyers and human rights defenders in
in Zimbabwe have reported that it is increasingly dangerous to
clients who are either human rights activists or in opposition to
Several prominent human rights lawyers have been threatened
attacked in recent days and some have abandoned their legal
gone into hiding as a consequence of threats and
The IBAHRI recently drew attention to human rights lawyers
Andrew Makoni and
Harrison Nkomo who fled Zimbabwe for South Africa last
week after receiving
information they were on a list of lawyers targeted fo
The IBAHRI reaffirms its condemnation of the systematic
targeting of lawyers
and human rights defenders in Zimbabwe and urges the
to hold accountable those carrying out the abuses.
The intimidation of
lawyers, who are lawfully representing their clients,
violates Article 14 of
the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, and Article 7 of
the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Zimbabwe is a member of the United Nations and is thus obliged to
the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers to 'ensure that lawyers
. . .
are able to perform all of their professional functions without
intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference.' Furthermore,
the 1981 Legal Practitioners Act of Zimbabwe provides that 'legal
practitioners are entitled to represent their clients without fear of being
harassed and intimidated by the authorities.'
Mark Ellis, Executive
Director of the International Bar Association said,
'The Southern African
Development Community, the African Union and the
United Nations should use
their influence to prevail on Robert Mugabe's
regime to stop intimidating
lawyers and human rights defenders.' He added.
'The rule of law is a
pre-condition of democratic elections and without it
presidential elections will not be free and fair.'
Catholic Charities Worried As Thousands Face Death
Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
17 June 2008
Posted to the
web 17 June 2008
Zimbabwe is on the brink of an avoidable
humanitarian crisis that could cost
the lives of hundreds of thousands of
innocent people, said international
and regional leaders of the Catholic
The president of Caritas Internationalis, Cardinal Oscar
Archbishop Buti Tlhagale of the Southern African Catholic
said in a joint statement Friday that Zimbabwe's
suspension of international
aid activities and spiralling political violence
meant millions of people
Caritas members directly
feed over a million people in Zimbabwe, and their
projects help over three
million people. Caritas targets the most
vulnerable, women, children and the
sick. The network of Catholic charities
has suspended those projects
following the ban due to increasing levels of
Church leaders urged the international community, especially South
to press the government of Zimbabwe to reverse the inhumane
international aid efforts and prevent the violent repression
They called the situation shocking and disastrous and urged the
to listen to all the religious leaders and faith-based
"That food is being denied to people facing starvation is
a grave evil. The
government of Zimbabwe must also ensure that aid workers
are able to work in
a secure environment without threats of violence. The
scale of the current
political violence and threats is unacceptable," said
"Restrictions on humanitarian workers and increasing
hamper the Church in carrying out its mission to provide
care and assistance
to those most in need."
stated that the situation in Zimbabwe no longer allowed
for quiet diplomacy.
"Quiet Diplomacy is not feeding the people, but
allowing the current
structures to threaten the very survival of the
Both Church leaders supported the latest Zimbabwean bishops'
called "for an immediate cessation of violence and all
statements and actions." The statement asked for independent
observers, "throughout the country, particularly the rural
threats an admission of pending defeat
June 18, 2008
THE Zimbabwean official media has been bombarding anyone who
cares to listen
and read that a vote for and a Morgan Tsvangirai victory in
the June 27
presidential poll would be treated by the 84 year-old geriatric
Mugabe as a declaration of war that would result in the
mobilization of the
dwindling war veteran community to go back to the bush
to fight for the
"reclamation of the country from the British".
Mugabe and his hangers-on conveniently forget to mention or realize is
they do not have the support of the ordinary man and woman in the
which they depended for their survival and ultimate victory in
drawn out liberation war of the 1970s that culminated in the
ushering in of
independence in April 1980. They also expediently forget that
they no longer
have the physical wherewithal demanded for such an enormous
Simply put, age has caught up with them, not to mention the
state of health
of the majority of those people who would form the top
echelons of the
Whereas in the 1970s, they were able to ride on the wave
of the "winds of
change" that were sweeping through Africa and support from
a polarised world
divided along ideological differences for the material
waging a war, it is totally clear that they would have
difficulties to find
any such backers today. Such a move would finish Mugabe
off as even his
supposed friends such as China, Iran who are only after
uranium deposits would not want to have anything to do with
him. A take of
arms to fight against a democratically elected MDC government
would seal his
fate and undo what remains of his reputation and legacy
Zimbabwean people and indeed, the world over.
also be within their rights to question the liberation war
credentials of a
host of the hangers-on who are clinging on the faint hope
and illusion of a
Mugabe victory on June 27 in the vain hope of sustaining
their positions on the grave train. It is plain for everyone
to see that
some of the people who masquerade as war veterans are way too
young to have
participated in the war and of those who participated, they
are just the
same as they were. They will be canon fodder to the people who
considerable humility, patience and restraint in the face of
provocation by these supposed liberators, who have done little for
common man on the street and countryside, except to beget them more
The return to war statements by Mugabe and part of his
should be read as an admission that they have had
intelligence oversight by
professional people on the ground that they are
starring defeat of the
highest magnitude come June 27 in their eyes. It
would have been made clear
to Mugabe, Constantine Chiwenga and all those
directing the atrocities ever
seen in the country that in spite of the
violence, the people have already
decided that they want the back of Mugabe
as of yesterday.
Pre-election intelligence, as is the norm in Zimbabwe,
devoid of any sexing
up, would have been availed to Mugabe which would have
rightly told him what
the people think of him and his leadership. This would
have been the basis
on which Menard Muzariri the CIO Deputy Director started
of going back to war should they lose on June 27 when
addressing the meeting
in Mt Darwin together with his protégé, deputy
minister Saviour Kasukuwere,
a former operative in the
Witness how, their language suddenly moved up, a gear and
instead of pouting
their oft repeated rhetoric about imaginary white farmers
being seen and
waiting in the shadows to reclaim back their land, they upped
the ante and
started talking about going back to wage a war to protect their
and independence that they won through the barrel of the
The fear and spectre of an impending defeat against MDC President
Tsvangirai galvanised Mugabe and company to deploy war veterans who
still serving in the armed forces in the areas that they operated in the
1970s liberation war in the vain hope that they will frighten people into
compliance when they start talking of going back to the bush. It was also
premised on the fact that the mere sight of some of these soldiers-cum-war
veterans who were quite feared and revered in the same vein would drive home
the message that indeed a Mugabe defeat would lead to the start of another
The deployment of these men and women was also meant to instil
fear into the
rural populace as these people were at the heart of some of
atrocities ever seen during the war and it does not come as a
therefore to see the greasily photographs of victims and accounts
being burnt in houses. The "comrades" employed these methods in
the 1970s to
drive their message home that they would not brook any form of
What Mugabe and his lot appear to have conveniently forgotten to
that age is an important determinant in any warfare. How in all
he think that at 84, he can wield as much influence and
authority in any
future terrorist grouping as he did in the
How in all earnest, does he think that the patriotic Zimbabwean
and security services are going to blindly follow his "battle
cry" and fight
against the ordinary Zimbabweans, with whom they share so
much suffering, in
common? It will only be the usual suspects, such as
Joseph Chinotimba and
Jabulani Sibanda, amongst others that are going to
take heed of his command
as they stand to lose their ill gotten wealth in a
New Zimbabwe. There would
not be any brooking of corruption, a crest wave
that these liberators have
ridden to amass so incredible wealth that they
use to sustain their opulent
No war veteran worth his/her
name is going to make a fool of themselves by
following ill advised and ill
thought-out plans of going back to the bush to
fight a democratically
elected government. They are intelligent enough to
realize that even Thabo
Mbeki would not be able to save them from the wrath
of Zimbabweans and the
world that frowns on terrorism.
June 27 is going to bring to a crushing
halt the illusions that these
liberators turned oppressors are going to
realize that they are an isolated
and dying breed whose eventually passage,
instead of being mourned, is going
to be greeted by reverberations of
happiness and joy throughout the length
and breadth of Zimbabwe and
Zimbabweans will rejoice in their ignominy at the polls and as
goes in Zimbabwe nowadays, no amount of torture, violence and
going to sidetrack them from accomplishing their greatest
1980 - kicking out of office a tired and clueless leadership
that is holding
the nation to ransom simply because they fought the war that
independence and not freedom.
The basic problem that
Zimbabweans have with Mugabe that Mbeki and his ilk,
are patently oblivious
to, is that he has overstayed his welcome. Mugabe and
the people that
surround him appear to have an uncanny ability to misread
the mood of the
Zimbabwean people and have misconstrued their amiable nature
Our placid nature has been violated by a greedy bunch of
nationalists whose greediness has become so ingrained that they can
beyond their own welfare, much to the detriment and suffering of the
the population. They have elevated greedy and economic ruin to
before witnessed by mankind in Africa in a country not at war.
given a whole new meaning to black on black oppression that even
of Idi Amin, Sani Abacha, Kamuzu Banda and Mobutu Seseko would
proud of and marvelled at.
Mugabe's desperation has plumbed
new moral depths as evidenced by his use of
vulnerable children and youths
to commit heinous crimes against their own
relatives. His quest for staying
in power has seen him in a flash; transform
unemployed youths who roam the
countryside and urban areas in search of
opportunities, into unrecognized killers and drug
addicts who do not
hesitate to turn the guns against their relatives and
Zimbabweans go to the polls on June 27, knowing that the
threats to return
to the bush by a vulnerable OAP are nothing but the last
kicks of a dying
horse. They know that his efficient intelligence machinery
has told him that
there is no escape from the jaws of defeat that is
starring at him.
They know that they have previously weathered untold
suffering, killings and
torture from Ian Douglas Smith to reclaim their
independence and are in the
same mood to weather these dastardly acts and
punishment at the hands of
Robert Gabriel Mugabe to reclaim their freedom
Zimbabweans know that Ian Douglas Smith destroyed their
institutions such as chieftainships to sustain his illegal
regime, just as
in the same way Robert Gabriel Mugabe is reverting to these
measures in his desperate bid to remain relevant in a New
Zimbabweans painfully remember the role played by Smith's
chiefs such as
Jeremiah Chirau, just as they are seeing that role being
by Mugabe's Chief Fortune Charumbira, a supposedly
educated 46 year-old
university graduate who is assumed to be able to
distinguish between good
So much for university
Zimbabweans know that their New Zimbabwe project and its
need air time on television nor acres of advertising
space in newspapers to
drive the freedom message to them, as they can smell
the long delayed
freedom in the air.
The then Rhodesian Broadcasting
Corporation and the Rhodesian Herald spoke
of terrorists in the 1970s and
today, they have reprised the same roles for
this dictatorship that appears
to have a penchant of adopting anything that
UDI Rhodesia stood for in its
vain quest to deny us our freedoms. They speak
of the people at the
forefront of fighting for our freedom as terrorists and
stooges, just as
they spoke of those of yesteryear who are now in the
driving seat of the
wagons of the state. Talk of role reversal!
Zimbabweans know that just
like it is in their nature to work hard; freedoms
require sacrifices and
lots of hard work to attain.
Push Mugabe toward the exit in Zimbabwe
By MATT SCHOFIELD
The Kansas City
Tue, Jun. 17, 2008 10:15 PM
In the past week, Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe's hyperviolent thugs have
burned to death the wives of two
opposition leaders. In the first case, they
also burned the opposition
leader's 6-year-old son. In the second case, the
woman was first
That's right: The president's men are hacking off hands and feet,
burning people alive.
This information comes from The Times of
London, which has a reporter in
Mhondoro, where the second murder took place
and who gave this report:
"The men who pulled up in three white pickup
trucks were looking for Patson
Chipiro, head of the Zimbabwean opposition
party in Mhondoro district. His
wife, Dadirai, told them he was in Harare
but would be back later in the
day, and the men departed.
later they were back. They grabbed Mrs Chipiro and chopped off one
hands and both her feet. Then they threw her into her hut, locked the
and threw a petrol bomb through the window."
It is a horrifying
development, but is it surprising? Every week, the news
coming out of
Zimbabwe is worse. So much so that this is, sadly, no longer
But the situation there has intensified lately. Opposition
Tsvangirai has been detained, time and again, while trying to
the June 27 "runoff election" that Mugabe will clearly
Make no mistake, Tsvangirai is a brave man, and one who obviously
there's something worth saving in his native land.
it's not a stretch to say he clearly believes there's something
for in Zimbabwe, because to deny that his life should be
considered to be in
grave danger every day he remains there looks to be
ignoring the facts on
On Thursday, the second-ranking member of his opposition
party, Tendai Biti,
returned to Zimbabwe from self-imposed exile, only to be
arrested at the
The word from there is that he will
be charged with treason, for which he
can be executed.
The crime? He
demanded democracy in the allegedly democratic state.
To believe that, in
nine days, we'll see anything but a sham of an election
in Zimbabwe is, of
course, foolish. Mugabe is now threatening voters with
both violence and
starvation, should they fail to back him.
The tragedy in this is that,
had he stepped down gracefully in the early to
mid-1990s, after more than a
decade in charge of Zimbabwe post-British rule,
he would have spent his
retirement being feted around the world as a leader
with vision, as one of
the shining lights of sub-Saharan Africa.
Zimbabwe looked like a
multiracial model. The economy was strong, and
growing, on the back of a
vibrant agriculture sector. The future looked very
bright for the then
"Emerald of Africa," the "Breadbasket of Africa."
But he didn't, and
since the late 1990s, Zimbabwe has declined under him -
in recent years,
Its current horrific state, to a point where the wives of the
burned alive, cannot be tolerated.
Clearly, it is
Zimbabwe, not a U.S. territory, and it's clearly not a U.S.
issue alone. But
it's time to put some bite into our condemnation of this
It's past time. We, the industrialized and industrializing
direct, and harsh, talks with Mugabe, pushing him towards the
the election is accurate, buy him out of office, and Zimbabwe
Matt Schofield is the deputy national editor
of The Kansas City Star. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No more doubt about Mugabe's mental
New Vision, Uganda
Tuesday, 17th June, 2008
PERSPECTIVE OF A UGANDAN IN CANADA -
ZIMBABWE'S President Robert Mugabe has gone stark raving mad!
If there was
any doubt about the sanity of the former
all that changed last week. At the funeral
of a former freedom fighter,
Mugabe made it clear that the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) will
never rule Zimbabwe-even if it wins a landslide
Mugabe vowing never to allow Zimbabwe to be ruled by what he
"lackeys", promised to personally return to the bush to wage war
on a new
MDC government. He is reported to have said, "We are prepared to
our country and to go to war if we lose it the same way our
Then on Monday, just in case his captive audience
missed the point, Mugabe
went further to explain why he would not be
relinquishing power soon. He is
reported byThe Zimbabwe Herald to have said,
"We shed a lot of blood for
this country. We are not going to give up our
country for a mere 'X' on a
ballot. How can a ballpoint pen fight with a
gun?" Okay, at least we now
know what is in store for poor
But Mugabe conveniently forgot to mention the fact that the
MDC is popular
because ordinary Zimbabweans are clamouring for change.
change was precisely why the costly liberation war was
fought in the first
place against Ian Smith's Unilateral Declaration of
Independence. In his
deluded self, Mugabe cannot see that he has run the
once vibrant country to
the ground through the corrupt practices of his
appointed lackeys such that
the voices of ordinary citizens no longer count.
Mind you, the same citizens
he claims to represent!
But, hey, why
blame Mugabe when there are enough blames to go around?
Several factors have
colluded to allow Mugabe to luxuriate in the
hallucination of being king of
all Zimbabwe. Foremost, ineffectual
neighbours have wrung their hands while
Zimbabwe burns. To date, only tiny
Botswana has lodged a formal protest over
the ongoing actions of the
Zimbabwean authorities against members of the
opposition MDC. It is like a
mosquito telling an elephant to
The rest of the member states of the Southern Africa Development
(SADC) have kept their collective heads in the sand in case they
asked, "What are you staring at?" South Africa's President Thabo
mildly referred to the political turmoil in Zimbabwe as "an internal
for Zimbabwe to resolve".
It should be remembered that Mbeki
stood up for Mugabe in 2005 when the US
described Zimbabwe as "an outpost of
tyranny" and designated it alongside
Cuba and North Korea. Mbeki dismissed
that label as "an exaggeration".
Secondly, timid leaders elsewhere on the
continent are afraid of pointing
the speck in Mugabe's eyes while ignoring
the log in their own eyes.
Tyranny, as it turns out, is something best left
out of polite
conversations. 'MYOB'-mind your own business is the mantra
adopted by all.
And so Zimbabwe convulses while everyone assumes the role of
onlooker at a
roadside car-wreck, shaking head at the big mess and
breathlessly waiting to
see if there are survivors.
lackadaisical attitude of developed nations has also
Zimbabwe's torturous journey under Mugabe.
There was a time when western
nations seemed determined to change the status
quo, to shake Mugabe out of
the tree. But by talking about Mugabe while
doing nothing about him, allowed
Mugabe to grow stronger, even more
powerful. Along the way, the world became
preoccupied with other urgent
The western economy was
tanking in major world arenas, and the perennial war
on terror seemed to go
from bad to worse. Somehow, an African dictator
squeezing the last blood
from his people did not register on the Richter
scale of world political
problems that needed urgent action.
Uselessly half-hearted plans of
actions were hatched (mostly by Britain) but
never went anywhere. Mugabe
continued to hold his nose at the world, and do
whatever he felt like doing.
It did not help that Mugabe could justifiably
point to the catastrophic US
election that ushered George Bush into power in
2000, and the more recent
Russia's mafia-like coronation of new president
Dmitri Medvedev as examples
of failures of western democracies.
If a superpower like the US can screw up
big time while electing its
president, what about Zimbabwe, a neophyte to
Fourthly, the biggest boost to Mugabe's power madness was the
themselves. Like many African cousins across the big beautiful
Zimbabweans once considered their leader as god-sent, spending
worshipping him than asking whether he really was doing anything
Whereas Europeans and Americans tend to give their
leaders short honeymoons
before asking the tough questions, Africans linger
a while, worshipping
their leaders ad nauseam.
Whatever the leader
does, however petty or inconsequential, is treated as
big news. And, over
time, that kind of adulation transforms into chronic
addiction as leaders
crave quick fixes like addicts demanding shots in the
arm. It becomes normal
for the leader to stay afloat, buoyed by a false
sense of popularity even as
citizens applaud (and curse) him for staying
So, now we have
Robert Mugabe, a former freedom fighter who is amok like a
runaway train, a
Frankenstein monster that is part created by his former
and part by his people. And nobody knows how to stop him.
Short of his
heart-string giving out on him (as happened with Nigeria's Sani
is slated to stay there a while-madness, stolen elections and