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Zimbabwe police arrest opposition lawmaker: state media

Yahoo News

Thursday June 19, 07:02 PM

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe police have arrested one newly elected opposition
lawmaker and placed six others on a wanted list, state media said Thursday,
amid signs of a crackdown ahead of next week's presidential election.

Shuwa Mudiwa, who won his seat for the Movement for Democratic Change IN
March elections, was arrested on Wednesday for the alleged kidnapping of a
13-year-old girl earlier this month, the Herald newspaper reported.

"He was arrested this afternoon in Harare and is still in custody. He will
appear in court soon," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told the government

The six other newly-elected MPs are wanted on accusations of murder, public
violence and malicious damage to property.

Meanwhile, 11 suspected MDC activists, aged between 22 and 43 years, were
arrested in the northern town of Chinhoyi on Wednesday for allegedly
removing and defacing President Robert Mugabe's campaign posters, the paper

The MDC has warned of a crackdown ahead of the vote, with its number two
leader Tendai Biti facing a treason charge and being held in prison.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces Mugabe in the June 27
run-off, has been detained five times as he has sought to campaign.

Mugabe blames the opposition for mounting violence before the election and
has threatened to arrest the MDC leadership. The UN has said that the
president's supporters were to blame for the bulk of the violence.

Tsvangirai has said 66 MDC supporters have been killed in the lead up to the
vote in a campaign of intimidation.

Mugabe's ruling party lost its parliamentary majority for the first time
since independence in 1980 in the March 29 first round poll.

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Another MDC activist murdered

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 19 June 2008 06:20

 As political violence escalates in full view of election observers

 Sofia Chingozho (65), a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
activist, today died from injuries sustained during politically motivated
violence in Buhera North on June 8.

Chingozho was attending a funeral in her rural home with some
relatives when a group of gun-wielding youth descended on the homestead and
picked out those members of the family who had come from Harare. The youth
picked out five people; three of Chingozho's children and an uncle whom they
started beating.

The five were made to dig holes in the dry ground with their bare
hands so that they could spit in them and vow never to vote for MDC again.
According to the uncle, whose name we withheld for security reasons, all
this harassment happened whiles they were being beaten with sticks in the
back by the. All five sustained injuries and Chingozho had to be taken to
hospital where she was admitted until the time of her death.

Two of her children and the uncle are back at work in Harare, while
her daughter, Sarah Chingozho who is a teacher at a local school, is still
recovering from home.

With more than 2000 people having been beaten by the state sponsored
violence and the death toll still rising, the impending runoff election is
bad news for the people of Zimbabwe. The level of violence is increasing
both in scale and intensity and there is little evidence that the presence
of election observers is abating the situation. The presence of foreign
observers has failed to restore confidence in the Zimbabwean electorate
since the violence is being done in their full glare.

Restoration of Human Rights is concerned with the recent statements of
Robert Mugabe where he literally threatened war on opposition if the people
of Zimbabwe vote Morgan Tsvangirai into power next week on 27 June. It is an
apparent attack on the very principles of democracy and compromises the
ability of the electorate to vote freely.

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Zimbabwe TV drops opposition ads

Thursday, 19 June 2008 04:17 UK
A television camera records an MDC press conference in April in Harare, Zimbabwe
The move means ZBC will carry no more MDC campaign advertisements

Zimbabwe's public broadcaster ZBC has said it will no longer carry campaign adverts from the opposition party ahead of next week's presidential election.

The Movement for Democratic Change said it would appeal against the decision.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa defended the move saying international coverage favoured the MDC and never reported the ruling Zanu-PF's position.

Earlier, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern over the political violence in Zimbabwe.

Adding his voice to growing international concern, he said the violence in Zimbabwe could undermine the outcome of the 27 June run-off vote.

"Violence, intimidation and the arrest of opposition leaders are not conducive to credible elections," he told the UN General Assembly in New York.

Mbeki talks

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is due to chair an informal UN Security Council meeting on Zimbabwe later on Thursday, in an attempt to maintain international political pressure.

It is of utmost importance that the violence is stopped immediately
Ban Ki-Moon

Meanwhile, South African President Thabo Mbeki has continued his efforts to mediate between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai.

He held separate talks with both presidential candidates as pressure mounted on Mr Mugabe to curtail political violence ahead of the poll, but released no statement on the talks.

The MDC has criticised Mr Mbeki's policy of so-called quiet diplomacy for failing to hold Mr Mugabe to account.

Official results show Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won the first round of the presidential election in March but not with enough votes for a clear victory.

UN official Halie Menkerios, right, greets Robert Mugabe in Harare, 17 June 2008
Haile Menkerios (R) discussed the political stand-off with Mr Mugabe

A senior UN official, Haile Menkerios, has met President Mugabe to discuss the political stand-off and what the UN says is the increased suffering of an already vulnerable population.

The UN is prepared to pay to fund election monitors to oversee the run-off vote.

South Africa is opposed to the Security Council having too much involvement, the BBC's Laura Trevelyan reports from the UN.

Pretoria argues that it is not for the council to resolve disputed elections.

Growing urgency

Earlier, an African poll observer warned that he would not endorse the vote if current levels of violence continued.

Movement for Democratic Change members allegedly beaten by Mugabe supporters with sticks, May 2008
Thousands of opposition supporters have been beaten or worse

Marwick Khumalo, head of the Pan-African Parliamentary observers, told the BBC his team had received horrendous reports of attacks and that the political environment was not conducive to a free poll.

But with the vote just days away, there is a growing sense of urgency with political violence beginning to spread from the countryside to the towns, says the BBC's Peter Biles in Johannesburg.

Mr Mugabe has been waging a fierce campaign to extend his 28-year rule since Mr Tsvangirai failed to win enough votes to score an outright victory in March's disputed first round.

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called for an international peacekeeping force to be deployed in Zimbabwe to ensure a free and fair vote.

"It is time for the leaders of Africa to say to President Mugabe that the people of Zimbabwe deserve a free and fair election," he said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he has spoken to the leader of South Africa's governing African National Congress, Jacob Zuma, about the possibility of deploying 1,000 election observers from the ANC.

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Wife of Harare mayor found dead after kidnap as Robert Mugabe's desperate campaign claims another victim

Mail on Sunday

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:20 AM on 19th June 2008

The blindfolded body of Harare's mayor has been found just hours after she
was kidnapped with her four-year-old son by armed men connected to Robert

Abigail Chiroto, 27, is the most high profile victim whose life has been
claimed by Robert Mugabe's desperate campaign of terror to cling to power in

Ms Chiroto was kidnapped by armed men who then petrol bombed the house she
shared with her husband, Emmanuel Chiroto, who was recently elected mayor of
Harare and a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

The cause of death has not yet been revealed.

The discovery of her body close to the couple's house north of Harare came
as South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, arrived for talks with President
Robert Mugabe.

He has been criticised for failing to publicly attack the Zimbabwe president
amid the numerous reports of atrocities carried out by his henchmen in the
run-up to the second round of the presidential election on Friday next week.

The death of Mrs Chiroto follows at least 60 political murders which have
been recorded since the presidential election's first round in March.

Thugs employed by Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF movement are suspected of carrying out
the vast majority of the attacks.

Mr Chiroto,43, has spoken out over his wife's murder.

'I knew when I heard that a woman's body had been found that it was her.

'But I had to wait till my brother went to identify her at the Parirenyatwa
Hospital mortuary this morning. Of course it was her. The blindfold is still

The couple's four-year-old son, Ashley, was released unharmed late last

Mrs Chiroto's death mirrors others investigated by the observer mission from
the Pan-African Parliament, whose leader, Marwick Khumalo, said yesterday
that 'certain elements are indicating that there will be war'.

He described one particularly grisly death involving the wife of a local
opposition leader, apparently at the hands of Mugabe's supporters.

Mr Khumalo said his observers had seen the grave of a woman "who was chopped

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U.S. won't punish Giesecke & Devrient over Zimbabwe aid, source says

Los Angeles Times

The German firm, which is an important contractor for the U.S. government,
provides key support to the brutal regime of Robert Mugabe.
By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 19, 2008
WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials will not take any action against a German firm
that is providing key support to Zimbabwe's brutal regime and is also an
important contractor to the American government, a Western diplomat said.

The firm, Giesecke & Devrient, is printing trillions of Zimbabwe dollars
that the government of President Robert Mugabe is using to try to prop up
the country's collapsing economy, but also to pay off supporters and
suppress its political opposition.

U.S. officials have regularly denounced the regime, which Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice has called an "outpost of tyranny," and have been weighing
new ways to bring pressure on it. But according to the Western diplomat,
U.S. officials have decided against sanctioning the firm because of its role
in supplying secure identification documents and bank notes.

"The issue has been raised within the State Department and other agencies
but there was a decision not to do anything," the diplomat said. "This
company is important to the U.S. government."

John Rankin, a spokesman for the Treasury Department, which is the lead
agency on issues of economic sanctions, said the department does not discuss
sanctions it is considering.

Another U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing
internal deliberations, said American officials have engaged in
"brainstorming" on how to increase pressure on Mugabe's regime, but are not
considering any penalties that would apply to Giesecke & Devrient.

The United States and other world powers have been pressing Mugabe, who has
been accused of holding power through fraud and intimidation, to allow fair
elections. But with a presidential runoff election scheduled June 27,
international human rights observers say the regime continues to use
widespread violence to try to ensure its victory.

Giesecke & Devrient, a Munich-based firm with revenue of about $2 billion a
year, is the world's second-largest printer of bank notes, with offices in
53 countries. The company's office in Dulles, Va., supplies the federal
government under a contract worth $381,200.

In Zimbabwe, the firm provides bank notes for half the nation's currency.
With the country's inflation at 2,000,000%, the regime keeps its presses
running constantly at its plants outside Harare, the capital.

Some experts contend that the mass printing has destroyed food markets, made
ordinary business investment impossible, and contributed to hunger and
disease in the economically devastated country.

At the same time, the currency was used to provide bonuses to the army and
to some unions in an attempt to ensure their loyalty to the government.

Officials at Giesecke & Devrient's U.S. office didn't respond to a request
for comment. Though the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel also
has complained about the Zimbabwe regime, German officials have said they
have no grounds on which to impose sanctions on the company.

The United States has had a minimal economic relationship with Zimbabwe,
which means that it has little leverage with the government. Because the
firm is based in the territory of an important American ally, any decision
to pressure or sanction it would be diplomatically sensitive, and would
require discussions with German officials.

In addition, economic sanctions can harm Zimbabwe citizens as well as the

U.S. officials have applied sanctions aimed at Mugabe and more than 100
members of Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF. The sanctions limit travel and freeze
assets under U.S. control, and bar U.S. firms from doing business with them.
U.S. officials have not imposed broader economic sanctions, which could
prohibit U.S. firms from doing business with Zimbabwean firms.

A Times staff writer in Mozambique contributed to this report.

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We have a duty to protect Zimbabwe

The Spectator

Peter Oborne
Wednesday, 18th June 2008

Robert Mugabe is murdering, starving and brutalising his people in the
run-up to the presidential elections next week, says Peter Oborne. We should
act now to prevent civil war and ethnic cleansing

Ten years ago the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan set out a new
international doctrine. Annan declared that the world was looking forward to
what he called 'a new century of human rights'.

For the United Nations, declared Annan, this meant an entirely new way of
doing things. 'No government,' he declared, 'has the right to hide behind
national sovereignty in order to violate the human rights or fundamental
freedoms of its peoples.

'Whether a person belongs to the minority or the majority, that person's
human rights and fundamental freedoms are sacred.'

This statement was revolutionary. Inter-national relations, since the Peace
of Westphalia in 1648, have been conducted on the basis of formal respect
for national boundaries. Annan, responding to globalisation and prompted
perhaps by Tony Blair, was asserting that these borders should no longer be
immune and that intervention was always appropriate when governments waged
warfare against their own citizens.

Kofi Annan expressed the spirit of the age, or so it seemed. Humanitarian
intervention was the great fin de siècle theme. In Kosovo and East Timor
this doctrine was used to justify cross-border excursions to confront brutal
actions by repressive regimes. Even where more self-interested motives were
at work, as in Iraq, it was still used as the overriding vindication for

But there are now overwhelming signs that the 'responsibility to protect',
as Kofi Annan's doctrine has come to be known within the United Nations, has
ceased to apply. Within the past few months there have been two terrible
cases which cry out for exactly the kind of action for which Annan called so

The first of these is Burma, where the military junta has failed to come to
the aid of its own people in the wake of natural catastrophe, and refused
the help of outsiders as well. This murderous stance has been greeted with
quite remarkable equanimity by the international community, including the
once trigger-happy Bush administration. It is estimated that tens of
thousands of Burmese have died as a result, victims of their own government.

The second case is Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe's thugs have been permitted
to act with total impunity ever since Morgan Tsvangirai's election triumph
in late March. Large parts of Eastern Zimbabwe, in particular Mashonaland
(though the violence is now spreading), now recall Darfur when the genocide
began five years ago. There are the same burning and empty villages, the
same climate of fear, while the language of genocide is being explicitly
used by ministers.

Large bands of state-sponsored militias, paid and protected by the Zanu-PF
regime, move without hindrance from area to area, killing, burning and
torturing as they go. As with the Janjaweed in Sudan, Mugabe's so-called
'green bombers' are licensed to target all political opposition to the
government, however tangential. In Darfur there was an ethnic or racial
basis to the killing, whereas in Zimbabwe Mugabe (at this stage) is
exclusively targeting members of the opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change. Ministers refer to the MDC opposition as 'vermin' or
'cockroaches', and publicly contemplate their eradication.

Mugabe is not simply using violence as a method of control. International
aid agencies have been cleaned out of Zimbabwe as well. This is partly so
that there will be as few witnesses as possible to the carnage, and partly
to prevent food and other forms of humanitarian assistance reaching MDC
supporters. Zanu-PF cards are now required to acquire the national diet of
mealie meal in many areas: those who do not possess this kind of
identification now face starvation.

Mugabe has become the figurehead for a military junta, many of whom have
blood on their hands from the genocide carried out in Matabeleland in the
early 1980s, where 20,000 died. The election defeat last March posed Zanu-PF
with by far the largest crisis since the Matabeleland killings, and they are
responding in exactly the same way.

Thus far the death toll is hard to compute. Official records speak of 70
deaths, which is horrible enough, but the true figure is certainly far more
than that. There are reports now of bodies being shoved down mineshafts, as
they were in the early Eighties. Others are placed by the police in
aluminium coffins and dropped into lakes and rivers.

Thousands of people have disappeared, no one knows where. Tens of thousands
of Zimbabweans have been forced out of their homes, while hundreds of
thousands have fled the country in search of jobs, food, or for their own
protection. Mainly these exiles end up in South Africa, where their presence
gives rise to resentment and has recently fanned into violence and is
starting to threaten the stability and prosperity of the region.

Meanwhile Robert Mugabe has ignored the result of the elections last March.
The victorious MDC MPs, who theoretically enjoy a majority in parliament,
have not been sworn in. Indeed many of them are in hiding or detained facing
trumped-up charges. There is no legal government. Robert Mugabe has
explicitly rejected democracy, declaring at a funeral last Sunday he is not
prepared to cede control on account of anything so insubstantial as a ballot

This posture creates a problem for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. Ever since its inception nearly ten years ago, the MDC has
consistently stood for non-violence. It has refused to take to the bush or
to resort to the guerrilla campaigns favoured by traditional African
liberation movements. Like the monks in conflict with the Burmese junta, the
MDC's struggle has been moral, democratic, firmly based in civil society and
based on Mahatma Gandhi's teachings about non-violence.

These principles - never controversial within the ranks of the MDC - have
been breaking down here and there over the past few weeks, though only in
the face of the most grotesque provocation. Reports are beginning to trickle
through of pockets of MDC resistance to the Zanu-PF militias, and reprisals

Mugabe's statement that he will not accept any election result bar victory
effectively gives the opposition the choice of mute surrender or armed
resistance. My feeling is that Robert Mugabe, and some of his allies, would
welcome the latter path. It would give them the excuse they need for
launching a full-scale campaign of bloodshed, completing the unfinished
business of the early 1980s, and establishing a one-party state. That is why
many observers now fear that Zimbabwe will soon start to move towards the
horror of civil war and ethnic cleansing.

And yet the United Nations has reacted with insouciance, taking Mugabe's
side rather than the terrorised opposition's. Amazing to report, when the
Security Council met last Thursday the word 'Zimbabwe' did not even appear
on the formal agenda. The problem was discussed, at the request of the
United Kingdom, but only under the general rubric 'other matters'. This
omission was very important: Zimbabwe standing alone on the agenda would
have opened up the issue to formal discussion and - who knows? - action!

But even this very limited acknowledgement that some kind of problem existed
was severely constrained. The United Nations will not accept that there is a
political problem. This means that all discussion within the Security
Council last Thursday, say diplomatic sources, was limited to a brief and
abstract survey of 'humanitarian' issues.

These exceptionally narrow parameters render discussion meaningless. The
humanitarian problem faced by Zimbabwe has been deliberately brought about
by the Mugabe regime, above all through the use of food deprivation as a
weapon to punish political opponents. The Security Council was unable to
acknowledge this, however, let alone contemplate the reign of terror which
has now extended into the towns. Meanwhile the United Nations continues to
fete Robert Mugabe as head of state, most recently when he and his large
entourage visited the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation summit in Rome.

With the United Nations washing its hands of the situation, a great deal of
responsibility falls on regional groups. But these are all but useless. The
Southern African Development Community, for example, is supposed to be
ensuring free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. In practice, its so-called
independent election observers have in most cases taken no interest in
recording Mugabe's reign of terror.

This should be regarded as no surprise at all, since the election observers
were chosen by Mugabe and include representatives from sympathetic and
equally repressive regimes like Libya and Sudan. Head of the observer
mission for the elections on 29 March was the foreign minister of Angola, a
one-party state where elections have not been held for more than 15 years.
The Economic Community of West African States is no better. It has appointed
General Gowon who seized power in Nigeria from a coalition government to
head its mission monitoring the Zimbabwean election.

So Robert Mugabe has international sanction for his barbarism. The Chinese
government - shortly to bask in the warm glow of the 2008 Olympics - is at
liberty to supply AK-47s and rocket launchers and munitions to Zimbabwe. The
Munich-based company Giesecke & Devrient continues to supply, unhindered,
truckloads of large denomination banknotes. This enables Mugabe to bribe his
army, police force and irregular militias but only accelerates the total
collapse of the economy. Charles Davy, potential father-in-law to Prince
Harry, continues to maintain a close business relationship with very serious
members of the Zanu-PF regime without censure.

Some individuals have been prepared to speak out. Levy Patrick Mwanawasa,
president of Zambia, has bravely broken with the cult of omerta which has
overcome so many African and international rulers. Botswana received Morgan
Tsvangirai with the full military honours appropriate to a national leader
when he fled across the border in the early hours of the morning in fear for
his life just after the March election. No praise is too high for the US
ambassador in Harare, James McGee, who has made a series of provocative
visits to rural Mashonaland, witnessing for himself the atrocity sites, and
braving dangerous confrontations with Zanu thugs. Gordon Brown and the
foreign secretary David Miliband have both been assiduous.

Zimbabwe is a perfect test case for the new United Nations doctrine of
'responsibility to protect'. There should be peacekeepers, international
monitors, a roar of urgent condemnation. The United Nations, led by its
feeble Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has made its choice. It has gone down
the path of collaboration with Robert Mugabe's illegal government as it
launches war on its own people. It is important to try and understand why it
has decided to hide behind national sovereignty. It has become conventional
to single out the legacy of the Iraq invasion as the main reason for the
failure of the international community to engage in the dark places of the
world like Darfur, Burma and Zimbabwe. There is some truth in this. But
other factors are at work.

Mugabe has allies who need him to succeed. Russia and South Africa are on
his side. So is China, and scores of other states which fear the ballot box.
That Chinese gun shipment, say Mugabe's spokesman, has arrived, and its
effects are already being felt. The latest reports from Mashonaland state
the rampaging militias are no longer equipped only with iron bars. They have
brand new AK-47s, and are ready to use them. These well-armed militias, and
their commanders, are fully protected from the consequences of their actions
by the United Nations Security Council. The case of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe
may come to be seen as a terrible portent of the looming new world order,
and Kofi Annan's prediction of 'a new century of human rights' possess a
grotesque meaning he could hardly have dreamt of at the time.

Peter Oborne is political columnist of the Daily Mail.

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Mbeki in Bulawayo amid election fears


    June 19 2008 at 06:53AM

By Hans Pienaar and Xolani Mbanjwa

The continued detention of Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and one of its representatives in
regional mediation, topped the agenda during President Thabo Mbeki's meeting
with President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday.

Also discussed was a possible meeting between Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai, the frontrunner in the presidential election, of which the
second round is to be held on June 27, sources said.

Confirmation of the agenda could not be obtained on Wednesday from
Mbeki's spokesperson, Mukoni Ratshitanga.

Mbeki on Tuesday cancelled a visit to Sudan, flying instead to
Zimbabwe where Mugabe was campaigning to increase his 43 percent share of
the vote in the March 29 first round, held concurrently with local,
parliamentary and senate elections.

Biti was on Wednesday brought to court in leg irons, but the hearing
was abandoned because a power failure prevented recording machines from
working. He was expected to be charged with treason - which could earn him
the death penalty - and other counts at another hearing set for on Thursday,
his lawyer said.

Mbeki arrived first at a Bulawayo hotel on Wednesday, followed by
Mugabe. Earlier, Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said the visit
was part of the "Southern African Development Community-mandated
facilitation process in Zimbabwe to assist the people of Zimbabwe in dealing
with their current political situation".

The meeting came as ANC president Jacob Zuma said he was greatly
worried by the detention of the opposition's leadership. "We'd be lucky if
we had free and fair elections in's what the people of
Zimbabwe want, and they should be given that opportunity."

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on June
19, 2008

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Mbeki mum on talks with Mugabe


June 19, 2008, 06:15

No statement has been issued on talks between President Thabo Mbeki and his
Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe. Mbeki met Mugabe in Bulawayo last
night amid growing signs of international impatience with the Zimbabwean
leader over a violent run-off election crisis.

Mugabe faces a presidential election run-off on June 27 against Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai. During his visit
yesterday, Mbeki also met with Tsvangirai. Yesterday, the World Council of
Churches (WCC) called for United Nations (UN) action to put an end to
"atrocities" committed by the Zimbabwe authorities ahead of June 27 run-off
presidential elections.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, WCC General-Secretary
Samuel Kobia of Kenya said his organisation was "dismayed at news of the
brutality meted out by police and other government forces" in Zimbabwe.
Kobia said the WCC, which groups Protestant and Orthodox churches
representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, "calls
for an end to atrocities in Zimbabwe".

"Harassment, beatings, arrests and ransacking of property have already
extended into the churches as well as agencies of civil society," the WCC
letter declared. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean, public broadcaster, ZBC, has
announced that it will no longer carry campaign adverts from the opposition
MDC ahead of next week's presidential run-off election.

The MDC says it will appeal against the decision in court, but Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa says international media coverage of the campaign
always favours the opposition and never reports the position of the ruling
Zanu-PF. - additional reporting by Reuters

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ANC sends Zim observers

Article By:
Thu, 19 Jun 2008 07:56
The African National Congress will send 29 observers as part of the
400-strong Sadc observer mission to the Zimbabwean run-off elections, the
party said on Wednesday.

"The ANC's contribution to this mission includes 14 Members of Parliament
and 15 others," said spokesperson Jessie Duarte.

"The ANC remains committed to contributing in whatever way it can, within
the ambit of multilateral institutions like Sadc, towards a successful and
credible run-off election," she said.


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Zuma doubtful about free Zim poll


    June 18 2008 at 04:25PM

ANC President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday he did not think Zimbabwe's
forthcoming presidential election would be free, a party spokesperson

Asked whether the run-off poll would be fair, Zuma reportedly said: "I
don't think so. I think we'll be lucky if we have a free election."

African National Congress spokesperson Steyn Speed said Zuma made the
remarks at Leadership magazine's "Tomorrow's Leaders" convention in

Zuma has already stated that the ANC is "alarmed and anxious" about
reports of violence emanating from Zimbabwe.

"If these are accurate, the violence surely puts enormous strain on
the preparations for the presidential election run-off that should be held
towards the end of this month," he said in a speech prepared for delivery in

President Thabo Mbeki travelled to Zimbabwe's Bulawayo on Wednesday
for talks with Robert Mugabe who is hoping to be returned as president
during the June 27 election run off.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa did not have details of
the meeting by mid-afternoon and Mbeki's spokesperson was not immediately

Earlier, Mamoepa said Mbeki's visit was part of the "Southern African
Development Community-mandated facilitation process in Zimbabwe to assist
the people of Zimbabwe in dealing with their current political situation". -

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Doing it right

The Sowetan

19 June 2008
Sowetan says:

For all its problems and spectacular bungles, the ANC is at least getting
one thing right.

Its increasingly tough stance against the dictatorial Robert Mugabe and his
Zanu-PF cronies is a welcome break from Thabo Mbeki's ineffectual
lovey-dovey approach.

Despite his legendary mistakes, ANC president Jacob Zuma should be commended
for increasingly speaking out against MAD BOB.

As Zuma and the world say, prospects for a free and fair election in
Zimbabwe are nil.

Let us hope Mbeki will be able to talk sense to the obstinate Mugabe during
his latest mission - even at this late hour.

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Secretary of State to Chair Security Council Meeting on Zimbabwe


By Peter Clottey
Washington, D.C.
19 June 2008

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will chair a meeting of the UN
Security Council today on the crisis in Zimbabwe. Some Zimbabweans have
reportedly welcomed the meeting, eight days ahead of a widely criticized
presidential election run-off, hoping it would put pressure on incumbent
President Robert Mugabe to end a wave of violence. The Security Council
meeting comes after a UN special envoy met with President Mugabe on Tuesday
to find ways of ending violence and ensure a free and fair vote. Sydney
Masamvu is a Zimbabwean with the International Crisis Group in South Africa.
From Pretoria, he tells VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey that
the meeting would put pressure on the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to be proactive in the Zimbabwe situation.

"I think it is a very important gathering. The very fact that it is informal
is neither here nor there. But that the very fact that it brings to the fore
of the key players on the international stage the crisis in Zimbabwe, and
coming a week before the election is actually a very important gathering.
And it will highlight the relevant actors from the African continent and
from the west, the situation in Zimbabwe, and try to put into perspective
and build an international consensus on the way forward regarding Zimbabwe,"
Masamvu pointed out.

He said many Zimbabweans are looking for a positive outcome to today's UN
meeting in New York.

"It is a very important development coming against the background of the
deteriorating political situation in Zimbabwe in the run up to the election.
And I think Secretary Rice should actually spell out the concerns of the US
government, as well as the need for international actors not to work at
cross-purpose in order to resolve this deepening crisis in Zimbabwe," he

Masamvu said the prestige of having the US Secretary of State chairing a
meeting the over Zimbabwe would add clout to its outcome and put more
pressure on the Harare government.

"I think in so far as those involved in the gathering would be forthright to
each other, the bottom line is to actually appreciate the gravity of the
situation in Zimbabwe. And I think the very fact that is happening at the UN
level that alone is very important and also given that the UN envoy is in
Zimbabwe also on the ground actually shows that the spotlight is on Zimbabwe
as we head for this decisive run-off. But it is actually important that it
will put pressure not only on the Zimbabwe government, but also on the need
for regional leaders, especially SADC and other African continent heads, to
step up to the plate and try really to have an active and robust engagement
to resolve the crisis," Masamvu noted.

Masamvu said it was unlikely Zimbabwe's neighbor South Africa would alter
its "quiet diplomacy" policies toward Harare.

"Given the history of South Africa and the way it has taken its quiet way to
deal with Zimbabwe issue, I don't expect much of a deviation from the South
African line, except to say that they would still argue that they are having
a hands off approach to the Zimbabwe issue and the UN should defer to the
region, which is actually grappling with the issue. So, really given the
South African approach to protect Zimbabwe at any international turn, I don't
expect (South Africa's) Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to really
take a proactive and robust line to make any meaningful disclosures, which
may actually deviate from President Mbeki's quiet diplomacy policy," Masamvu
pointed out.

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MDC meets un envoy

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 19 June 2008 06:35

Wednesday 18 June 2008

President Morgan Tsvangirai and other leaders of the MDC met with the
United Nations envoy, Mr. Haile Menkerios, in Harare today, Wednesday 18
June 2008. In this meeting, the MDC and Mr. Menkarios discussed the
electoral environment in general and, in particular, the banning of MDC
rallies, the refusal by the Mugabe regime to grant MDC access to all state
media, the continuous arrest and harassment of MDC leadership. The MDC also
provide Mr. Menkerios with a detailed document on the violence the regime
has unleashed on the people of Zimbabwe.

The security of MDC polling agents was also discussed, in light of the
fact that the regime has warned activists that if they agree to be polling
agents, they will be killed. The MDC also expressed grave concern about
Mugabe's threats to go to war, his dissemination of hate speech along tribal
and racial lines and his overt attempt to polarise Zimbabwean society.
Discussions addressed the need for a Government of National Healing to
be formed
by the MDC. The MDC reiterateMDC meets UN envoy

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Mugabe Vows to Hold Power

Wall Street Journal
June 19, 2008; Page A15

Harare, Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe, the increasingly belligerent and unstable 84-year-old Zimbabwean president, has a warning for those who might vote for Morgan Tsvangirai in next week's presidential runoff: "We fought for this country, and a lot of blood was shed," he told the state-controlled Herald newspaper here. "We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X. How can a ballpoint [pen] fight with a gun?"

[Mugabe Vows to Hold Power]
Ismael Roldan

Still, Zimbabwe's dictator is using every means at his disposal to assure that all the Xs go by his name. The surge of violence and voter intimidation in urban and rural areas is clearly being orchestrated by Mugabe's army. Torture camps, where people are "educated" on how to vote, are widely reported.

Yet many informed observers believe that Mugabe's thugs have not done enough to ensure victory on June 27. Mr. Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was the projected winner of a March 29 presidential election, but was denied the number of votes needed for an outright victory by ballot rigging.

The MDC might bring desperately needed change, as conditions in Zimbabwe are appalling. Inflation is running at a staggering three million percent annualized. Price controls mean there is little food in the shops, as input costs are far higher than possible sales revenues, although if you're paying with foreign currency food is available. Staple food items are distributed as a political weapon, and there is little fuel to transport produce privately.

Yet with starvation already killing untold numbers, the Mugabe regime has – incredibly – banned aid agencies from distributing aid and food. According to the United Nations, this puts at least two million Zimbabweans at greater risk of starvation, homelessness and disease.

According to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, "In recent weeks, under Robert Mugabe's increasingly desperate and criminal regime, Zimbabwe has seen 53 killings, 2,000 beatings and the displacement of 30,000 people and the arrests of opposition leaders." But according to residents here – such as Arthur Banda, 33, a trained electrician who's not had a salaried job in 30 months and trades his services for food – this is an underestimate. He says the death toll in recent weeks is well over 100, and climbing: "In the rural areas people just disappear."

When I visited here in 2005, most people thought Mugabe would be dead or at least out of power by now; locals speculated that a coup might be staged by Gen. Vitalis Zvinavashe, who was trained by North Korea's fifth brigade and oversaw much of the Matabele slaughter in the 1980s. Yet few talk of a coup today.

Conspiracy theories abound. Mr. Banda echoes some within the MDC when he claims that "Mugabe is no longer in charge." A group of generals may be controlling the violence with the aim of keeping him in power as their puppet. Says Mr. Banda: "Having killed 20,000 in Matabeleland in the 1980s, stolen farms in Zimbabwe, and diamonds in Congo [during a war Mugabe supported at significant cost to Zimbabweans], as well as the thousands displaced, hundreds raped and scores killed in the recent past, these generals fear losing control and facing charges of crimes against humanity."

Others say the generals want Mugabe as a puppet to placate neighboring governments. These governments still admire him as his country's first postcolonial leader, but have started to lose patience. Botswana and Zambia even made a rare complaint last week about the bogus treason charge thrown at Tendai Biti, the deputy leader of the MDC.

The U.N. has an envoy in Zimbabwe to demand a free and fair election, but locals want him to call for a U.N. peacekeeping force to be sent. Such a move will never happen unless supported by at least one Southern African country. And that will not happen while Mugabe remains president.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tsvangirai has been arrested several times in the past week, Mr. Biti is in jail, and their staff cannot campaign properly. The wounds – busted faces, broken legs and arms, burns from cigarettes and petrol, among many others – to the brave MDC supporters attempting to campaign are sickening to see. Few observers will be able to monitor the election – none from the European Union, the U.S. or any other nations likely to challenge the Mugabe regime. Independent journalists are generally harassed, beaten up or thrown out of the country.

The MDC has behaved admirably in the face of awful provocation, and party officials still cling to the hope that they can win the election. I see no such future. The MDC may win the June 27 vote, but they will not take power. Military intervention is required for that to happen. For while the U.S. and the UK make the right noises – and think creatively about sanctions against the regime – neither they nor the U.N. can do anything substantive without local African support.

South Africa has proven craven in this regard – President Thabo Mbeki made an unscheduled visit yesterday, but no one expects any action. The only hope lies with Botswana and Zambia, whose leaders have at least some backbone. They need to act and act soon, because Mugabe's generals will not budge unless forced. As Mugabe told the Herald newspaper recently, he would rather "die fighting" than be "ruled by an MDC government that is keen to sell the country's birthright."

It is time neighboring nations supported U.N. peacekeeping action in Zimbabwe. If they don't, the U.S. and the UK should reassess future investment, aid and trade to the entire region.

Mr. Bate is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of "Tyranny and Disease: The Destruction of Health Care in Zimbabwe," published by Africa Fighting Malaria

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Analysis: Mugabe, a dictator cornered

By Nathaniel Hatirebwi Masikati
Harare Tribune Contributor
Wednesday, June 18, 2008 22:27
History is replete with numerous examples of what happens to the
mighty when they are confronted with the mightier. Several adages have been
coined to describe and warn of consequences of such an eventuality yet time
and again people perceived to be of normal to above average IQ are caught up
in the pitfalls.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe who has been lavishly described as “the most
intelligent African President” or “an academic icon,” would under any
circumstance be expected to have heeded the lessons from history that led to
powerful people ending up victims of their subjects.

But no, Mugabe behaves as if he is some kind of immortal who cannot be
faulted and shall not be criticised by anyone, anywhere and of whatever
persuasion. His political history is littered with allegations of opponent
extermination, violent manipulation and reckless disregard of generally
accepted liberties of others unless they converge with his liberty.

In short Mugabe is renowned as a political master of shrewd tactics to
entrench his power and authority disguised as championing for the liberties
of the oppressed.

That was the case in Zimbabwe at least until the emergence of Morgan
Tsvangirai on the main political scene in the country.

Backed by disgruntled workers and deprived peasants Tsvangirai has
caused Mugabe numerous political nightmares and attempts to contain him have
thus far failed to yield the desired outcome for Mugabe.

 Tsvangirai appears to be immune to Mugabe’s every known tactic and
emerges stronger from each and every event planned to neutralise him
socially, economically and politically.

This resilience on his part has now set a stage where he is pitied
against Mugabe in a contest for the highest public office in the country in
a Presidential poll runoff planned for 27 June 2008.

The Presidential poll runoff is widely believed to be a sham as it is
widely held that in the initial election Tsvangirai outpolled Mugabe by an
absolute majority percentage required of him to be declared duly elected
president of Zimbabwe but for political gerrymandering by the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Security Chiefs in the country, motivated
by Mugabe in person he was credited with a 47.8% victory margin that was
2.2% shy of the absolute majority required in terms of the country’s
electoral laws for one to be declared President elect of the country.

Be that as it may, Tsvangirai who has vehemently protested this
seemingly obvious electoral fraud has accepted to contest Mugabe in the
runoff poll that is mired in violent political thuggery perpetrated by Zanu
PF militia coordinated and led by senior Army, Police, Prisons and Central
Intelligence Organisation officers.

For a while after Mugabe had broken the hearts of the electorate by
causing a 5 week delay in announcement of the initial Presidential election
outcome it appeared Mugabe was on course to be elected President by default.

Thereafter when ZEC announced a result many believed was cooked up at
the behest of Mugabe and the Security Commanders who have without excerption
declared that they are members of the Zanu PF Party that is sponsoring
Mugabe’s Presidential candidacy and Tsvangirai rejected the results and
justification for the runoff, there was jubilation in Zanu PF and gloom and
despair throughout the country given that Mugabe who had only mustered 43%
of the popular vote was heading for the Presidency by default despite his

The despair and despondency in the majority rekindled the
invincibility belief in Zanu PF militia and the Security Commanders helped
by providing armed escort for them to violently abuse the electorate and
intimidate Mugabe opponents from even thinking a repeat visit to the polling
station in the unlikely event Tsvangirai chose to enter the runoff
Presidential poll.

There was total belief in the Security Ministries leadership that the
orgy of violent retributive onslaught would not only intimidate the
electorate against Mugabe but its leadership would cower from the runoff and
bingo Mugabe will be left uncontested and declared President. Tsvangirai’s 6
weeks absence on a diplomatic offensive to garner international support
against the unprocedural conclusion of the initial Presidential election was
ceased upon by the military campaign strategists to reinforce their message
that they will go to war if Mugabe was not re-elected and their elected
leaders would be rendered helpless.

But the resilient Tsvangirai is never known to be a quitter and he
returned to the country after exposing and neutralising a planned
assassination attempt against him spearheaded by militant sympathisers of
Zanu PF and securing guarantees from the international community for his
well being. The euphoria about Mugabe being declared President fizzled out
into nothing and Dr Simba Makoni a Zanu PF Presidential candidate decoy was
roped in together with Emerson Mnangagwa, Patrick Chinamasa and Bright
Matonga to join the Military campaign Mugabe had initiated and give it some
form of Civilian outlook and direction.

By then the violent campaign had spread out of the control of Mugabe
and confusion and chaos reigned supreme. Mugabe whose age and attendant
health issues are an extreme liability to his bid for Presidency wants Dr
Makoni to pay him back for the many years he has devoted to his political
nurturing and grooming by scuttling the runoff he is absolutely sure he will
lose dismally if allowed to proceed as planned on 27 June 2008.

Even at this late hour Mugabe remains convinced that Makoni can pull
something out of the bag and cause the abandonment of the runoff and its
replacement with negotiations for a Government of National Unity he leads.
But as the election date draws closer and there is no sign that Tsvangirai’s
support has been decimated by the violent campaign and instead its swelling
despite the violence Mugabe has become increasingly worried.

Zanu PF as a party is conspicuous by its silence on the Mugabe
campaign. Instead it is the Police, Army and ZEC spokespersons that are
hogging the limelight. Mugabe the despot has been abandoned by his Party
structures and left in the open to dry. Vociferous supporters in the once
awesome War Veterans Association and the Dependable Youth and Women’s
Leagues of Zanu PF are watching violent campaign events in muted silence.
Meanwhile Tsvangirai’s campaign is on the role. Each attempt to stop or
hinder his campaign evolves into an unexpected publicity stunt for

The refusal of permission for the Tsvangirai to stage rallies for his
MDC supporters results in Court cases the Police lose like Mugabe has
already lost part 1 of the presidential election. The impounding of
Tsvangirai’s campaign vehicles unveils a novel campaign bus idea and the
impounded car is reported as being abused by the Police and Mugabe
campaigners dealing the campaign further unwanted negative blows.

A public show of confidence on his grip on power by attending the UN
Food Summit in Rome results in negative publicity about Mugabe championing a
food provision campaign at a time he is suspending international food aid to
supporters of Tsvangirai and he is embarrassingly denied invitation to the
opening dinner. This was after wife Grace had made the daft disclosure that
her despotic husband will not accept defeat with grace on 27 June and will
only make way from the Presidency to a Zanu PF challenger yet there is none
in his Party with the nerve to challenge for that.

This was in direct contrast to the declaration by Mugabe’s current
Chief Election strategist, Emerson Mnangagwa that in the “unlikely” event
Mugabe lost the   runoff as he did the 1st round he will accept the result
something Mugabe is yet to confirm. Mugabe’s newly found campaign
spokesperson meanwhile is yapping on and on about the need for MDC to attend
to the removal of nonexistent sanctions against the country and demanding
that the Ruling Party in waiting be held accountable for the drafting of
ZIDERA, a USA Legislation aimed at coercing Mugabe’s junta to uphold Human
Rights to qualify for USA aid and support.

Chinamasa failed to get himself elected on the same mantra and it is
surprising how he thinks such mantra will help Mugabe. He also ignores that
the Zimbabwe government to which he was Justice Minister has in place
counter sanctions against the USA and the EU that it strictly enforces but
none of the affected governments has ever requested that Mugabe lifts those
sanctions. How has the political domain that was exclusively pro Mugabe been
turned around to be such a dangerous political minefield for Mugabe and his
hitherto dominant Zanu PF Party? Simple analysis will show that it is
because Mugabe has overstayed his welcome in both the Government and Zanu
PF. What goes around comes around as the adage goes.

Secondly Mugabe has lost touch of reality due to old age and an
overdose of power. He destroyed the electorate’s homes, vandalised them and
neglected their protests with disdain. He has waged Price Wars printed money
and declared that sanctions are useless as he has trade links with the East
that have replaced traditional partners in the West. He has selectively
applied laws in favour of his supporters and rewarded them with powerful
positions in the Civil Service and Parastatals and Local Authorities. Mugabe
has allowed his cronies to get away with serious economic crimes yet he has
pursued a zero tolerance on petty political crimes by his opponents. Mugabe
has failed to translate the successful land acquisition into agricultural
productivity from the farms and the country is hungry. His explanation that
sanctions are to blame for the poor productivity of the farmlands does not
wash because the electorate knows they were not allocated the land and they
cannot use it because it is owned by well placed Mugabe cronies who are
holding onto it speculatively.

Mugabe’s economic empowerment promises are difficult to sell in this
election given his record of vindictive expropriations of projects conceived
and run by his perceived or real enemies. Banks, Asset Management companies,
Mines, PF ZAPU properties, MDC supporter urban dwellings, White owned
commercial farms and anything worth expropriation has in the past been
menacingly taken over by Mugabe and his Zanu PF junta.

Many prominent businessmen are virtually exiled from Zimbabwe at a
time when unemployment is above 80% and the electorate does not and will
never understand why if Mugabe is the Economic Empowerment champion he
claims he will be if re-elected.

Every Zimbabwean in and outside the country has been turned into a
multi billionaire yet very few seem contended with their monetary fortunes
which they cannot translate into consumables that improve quality of life.
Mugabe and his campaign team do not answer why billionaires would go hungry
in their country by alleging sanctions are the cause.

The people he wants to support his presidential application are not
concerned about the cause of their economic predicament but rather its
solution. For Mugabe to say Tsvangirai and his MDC must cause the lifting of
the sanctions causing the problem is admission that he has no solution for
the problem causing the suffering of the people he intends to lead to

Worse it is an admission that there is among Zimbabweans someone
capable of remedying the problem but he will not be allowed to do so as a
leader but is welcome to do so in support of Mugabe so that he gets the

The electorate has decided that this kind of self serving political
chicanery will not be tolerated and if Mugabe’s Look East, Print money,
Expropriate land, companies and mines and use military force, violence and
selective law application will not deliver respite on economic hardships
they face then it is time to try the alternative offered by Tsvangirai and
his MDC.

Mugabe and his campaign team can kill as many of us as he wishes,
expropriate as many of our projects as he wants, deny us as much access to
information as he likes, destroy our homes and properties at will, reject
our choice of leadership as he likes and remain in office by force but all
that will not change our distaste for his leadership and the hardships it
has brought upon us.

For 28 years we have agonised on finding a leader who would not talk
about our empowerment and prosperity but would also guarantee it peacefully
and 27 June 2008 presents us the greatest opportunity to do something about
our plight and we will.

Thanks to Mugabe’s flawed campaign strategy we now know with absolute
certainty that only in Tsvangirai and the MDC at present lies our key to
unlocking the cause of our suffering and we shall mandate him to unlock it
not as Mugabe’s Deputy or Prime Minister but as President with freedom to
act in our interest and be held accountable for his actions should he fail
us as Mugabe has done.

That is the principled stand that we will make about our leadership
current and in future and we will place any leader who does not take heed of
our wishes in the corner we have driven Mugabe into.

Cornered despots cannot talk us into GNU’s or Junta regimes. They must
abide by our wishes and make way for whoever we have chosen as their
replacement. Anything short of that will not be acceptable and we will never
rest until we have achieved their submission. ★-- Harare Tribune News

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IFJ Fears Imminent Raid On Journalists' Union Ahead of Upcoming Presidential Elections

International Federation of Journalists (Brussels)

18 June 2008
Posted to the web 19 June 2008

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) says that local media and
reporters in Zimbabwe are facing official intimidation in the countdown to
the country's Presidential election next week and it fears an imminent raid
on the offices of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.

The threats to the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) - the only
independent national body covering journalists in all sectors of media and
an IFJ affiliate - emerged today shortly after a report from an
international media mission to the country last week confirmed that
political violence in the country and intimidation of journalists and media
staff were casting a shadow over the run-up to the election.

"We are deeply concerned that three foreign media staff are in detention and
that media support groups have come under official pressure," said Aidan
White, IFJ General Secretary. "Now we fear that the ZUJ is in the firing
line. It is important that the international community warns the government
of Robert Mugabe to keep its hands off media and allow journalists to report

Details of the mission from June 8 to 13 made up of the IFJ, the Southern
Africa Editors' Forum, the Southern Africa Journalists Association, the
Media Institute of Southern Africa and the Network of African Freedom of
Expression Organisations (NAFEO) can be found here:

The mission members say the harassment, arrests and threats against human
rights defenders, including media and human rights lawyers, is growing.
Economic challenges for media combined with the arrests, threats and
harassment means some printed publications are barely surviving, while the
state media is under the severe control of the party in power and is used as
an exclusive campaign tool.

A simple media monitoring of the content of the state owned newspapers and
broadcast news bulletins over the period of the mission displayed biased
reporting embedded in hate-speech with the state media contributing to the
heightening of political tensions.

"The situation facing media could not be more dangerous," said White. "It's
important to focus all our efforts in ensuring that journalists are allowed
to work without further intimidation."

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 122 countries worldwide.


For further information, contact the IFJ Africa Office, tel: +221 33 842 01
43; or the IFJ, International Press Center, Residence Palace 155, Rue de la
Loi - Bloc C, B-1040 Brussels, Belgium, tel: +322 235 2200 / 2207, fax: +322
235 2219, e-mail:, Internet: +

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South Africa: Grant temporary status to all Zimbabweans

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Date: 19 Jun 2008

(Johannesburg, June 19, 2008) - The South African government should
recognize that political repression and economic deprivation have forced
Zimbabweans to flee their country and immediately stop deporting them, Human
Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch called on
the government to grant Zimbabweans in South Africa temporary status and
work rights.

The 119-page report, 'Neighbors in Need: Zimbabweans Seeking Refuge in South
Africa,' examines South Africa's decision to treat Zimbabweans merely as
voluntary economic migrants and its failure to respond effectively to stop
the human rights abuses and economic deprivation in Zimbabwe that cause
their flight and to address their needs in South Africa. Human Rights Watch
spoke to almost 100 Zimbabweans in South Africa about their plight.

'South Africa faces a stark choice: it can break international law by
deporting asylum seekers and ignore the harsh reality faced by hundreds of
thousands of other Zimbabweans on its territory, or it can grant them
temporary status and the right to work,' said Gerry Simpson, author of the
report and refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch. 'Without fail,
Zimbabweans in South Africa spoke of the utter desperation they felt back
home. Most said they had no option but to turn to their South African
neighbors for help to survive, yet Pretoria's response is to call them
economic migrants and deport hundreds of thousands.'

The recent arrival in South Africa of Zimbabweans fleeing political violence
is only the latest wave of forced migration that includes tens of thousands
of refugees who escaped mass forced evictions in 2005. Hundreds of thousands
more left to escape economic deprivation and systematic violation of core
social and economic rights caused by President Robert Mugabe's destruction
of the Zimbabwean economy during the past three years.

Human Rights Watch's 'Neighbors in Need' presents the accounts of refugees
in South Africa whose lives were ruined by the Zimbabwean government's
politically motivated campaign of mass forced evictions in 2005, when it
bulldozed the homes of 700,000 people and destroyed their livelihoods.
Possibly tens of thousands of these people in South Africa have yet to be
recognized as refugees.

Because of South Africa's dysfunctional asylum system, many asylum seekers'
claims are not examined adequately and others are not able to lodge their
claims at all. Because its deportation practices are also arbitrary and
haphazard, many of the tens of thousands of Zimbabweans registered as asylum
seekers in South Africa are at risk of refoulement, the forcible return to
persecution in Zimbabwe, a fundamental breach of international refugee law.
As a party to the refugee convention, South Africa is bound by the principle
of non-refoulement, and may not send people back to face persecution.

'The surest way for the government to end its violation of international
refugee law is to end the deportation of all Zimbabweans, including those
fleeing the current violence,' said Simpson. 'South Africa should adopt a
comprehensive policy that temporarily grants them the right to remain and

The report says that regularizing the status of Zimbabweans would also help
to protect them against exploitation and violence in South Africa. Providing
temporary status would also unburden South Africa's asylum system, now
clogged with thousands of Zimbabwean claims. Work authorization would
encourage Zimbabweans to fend for themselves and support their desperate
families at home. Ensuring that Zimbabweans earn the minimum wage would also
help South Africans to compete fairly with Zimbabwean for jobs, thus
lessening the resentments that ignite xenophobic violence.

'Neighbors in Need' also presents the individual stories of Zimbabweans
driven out of their country by the appalling conditions caused by Mugabe's
destructive economic policies. Zimbabwe has the world's highest rate of
inflation (100,000 percent); 83 percent of its people live in poverty, 80
percent are unemployed, and 4.1 million depend on food assistance, which
Mugabe's operatives withhold or manipulate for political gain. Life
expectancy for women fell from 56 years in 1978 to 34 today; 66 percent of
the 350,000 Zimbabweans in need of lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs cannot access

Most Zimbabweans enter and remain in South Africa without documents and
therefore have no right to work and only limited rights and access to help
such as health care. Many, such as people living with HIV/AIDS, children,
and the elderly, are particularly vulnerable and often face serious
obstacles in finding urgently needed assistance.

'Zimbabweans arrive in South Africa destitute and vulnerable and so they
remain,' said Simpson. 'They live in constant fear that the police will
arrest and deport them, that employers will exploit them, and that people on
the street will attack them.'

Human Rights Watch said that by temporarily granting status to Zimbabweans,
the South African government will send a clear message to its citizens that
those attacking foreigners will be held accountable and that foreigners
should not be seen as easy targets.

Human Rights Watch also urges South Africa to recognize that the
Zimbabweans' presence underlines a failure of foreign policy - the failure
to use South Africa's leverage to effectively address the brutal human
rights violations and failed economic policies that have caused their
flight - and calls on South Africa to end its failed and discredited 'quiet
diplomacy' approach toward Mugabe.

'The South African government needs a more effective strategy to promote
human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe itself,' said Simpson. 'This is
not an alternative to regularizing the status of Zimbabweans in South
Africa. It should simultaneously address the cause of forced displacement in
Zimbabwe while attending to the needs of its Zimbabwean neighbors in South

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The Lighter Side


Article By:
Wed, 18 Jun 2008 10:17
In a top-secret memo leaked to the media this morning, the CIA has issued a
stern warning to would-be assassins not to target Zimbabwean despot Robert
Mugabe. Describing Mugabe as "sniper-proof", the memo explained that
head-and-chest shots would have no effect on the 84-year-old Mugabe, as he
has neither a brain nor a heart.

On the contrary, said the memo, any direct hits on his head or chest would
"only get the varmint riled up".

Mugabe's personal physicians have maintained a strict policy of not speaking
to the media, but it is understood that the elderly tyrant adheres to a
stringent diet of omelets made from human stem cells harvested from babies'
spinal columns, honey stolen from honey-badgers, and Red Bull energy drinks
hijacked off trucks at the Beit Bridge border crossing.

They have also historically refused to comment on persistent rumours that
both Mugabe's brain and heart atrophied in the late 1990s and were
surgically removed in a Cape Town clinic in 2001, along with a malignant
testicle found growing in his larynx that had, according to surgeons, been
causing him to "talk complete bollocks for years".

However, the CIA memo has all but confirmed the rumours, adding that snipers
who attempted either a head-or-heart-shot should be prepared for "a puff of
flannel, some cobwebs flapping around the exit wound, and a faint smell of

The memo went on to say that "conventional termination procedures" would
have to be reassessed to "mesh with Mugabe's specific physiological and
supernatural attributes", and that "more esoteric methods" would have to be

These included driving a wooden stake through his chest, shooting him at
full moon with a silver bullet, exposing him to sunlight, luring him into an
active volcano, sucking him into the void of space through an airlock, or
feeding him pet treats manufactures in China.

For more from SA's best satirical website,, please click

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