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Assassins Aim at Zimbabwe Opposition
New York Times
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press
The killing of scores of opposition party workers has turned
funerals, like that of Tonderai Ndira, in Harare, into political rallies.
There were rumors his name was on a hit list. For weeks he prudently hid out,
but his wife, Plaxedess, desperately pleaded with him to come home for a night.
He slipped back to his family on May 12.
The five killers pushed through the door soon after dawn, as Mr. Ndira, 30,
slept and his wife made porridge for their two children. He was wrenched from
his bed, roughed up and stuffed into the back seat of a double-cab Toyota
pickup. “They’re going to kill me,” he cried, Plaxedess said. As the children
watched from the door, two men sat on his back, a gag was shoved in his mouth
and his head was yanked upward, a technique of asphyxiation later presumed in a
physician’s post mortem to be the cause of death.
Zimbabwe will have a presidential runoff election on Friday, an epochal
choice between Robert
Mugabe, the 84-year-old liberation hero who has run the nation for nearly
three decades, and the opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai. But in the morbid and sinister weeks recently passed, the
balloting has been preceded by a calculated campaign of bloodletting meant to
intimidate the opposition and strip it of some of its most valuable foot
Even as hundreds of election observers from neighboring countries were
deployed across Zimbabwe in the past few days, the gruesome killings and
beatings of opposition figures have continued.
The body of the wife of Harare’s newly chosen mayor was found Wednesday, her
face so badly bashed in that even her own brother only recognized her by her
brown corduroy skirt and plaited hair. On Thursday, the bodies of four more
opposition activists turned up after they had been abducted by men shouting
ruling party slogans.
The strategic killing of activists and their families has deprived the
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, not only of its dead
stalwarts but also of hundreds of other essential workers who have fled while
reasonably supposing they will be next.
At least 85 activists and supporters of the party have been killed, according
to civic group tallies, including several operatives who, while little known
outside Zimbabwe, were mainstays within it. They were thorns in the side of the
government, frequently in and out of jail, bold enough to campaign in the no-go
areas where Mr. Mugabe’s party previously faced little competition.
“They’re targeting people who are unknown because cynically they know they
can get away with it,” said David Coltart, an opposition senator.
One such target was Better Chokururama, a 31-year-old activist with an
appetite for bravado and fisticuffs, nicknamed “Texas” for both the cowboy hats
he favored and the moniker of a torture camp from which he once escaped. He was
abducted on April 19, and his legs crushed by his captors with boulders.
He said in an interview afterward, as he lay with both legs in casts, that he
had told his captors “that beating people would not change anything because the
opposition had beaten the governing party, ZANU-PF, in the elections.”
“They laughed loudly,” he said, “then threw me out of the moving vehicle.”
Weeks later, he was snatched again, with two other opposition activists; the
three bodies were discovered separately and identified by family members.
But the violence has been aimed not only at campaigners but at voters as
well. So-called pungwe sessions, the Shona word for all-night vigils, have
become common in areas where people once loyal to President Mugabe dared vote
against him in the first round of voting on March 29. Villagers are rousted from
their homes and herded together. Suspected opposition supporters are then called
forward to be thrashed.
In Chaona, a village in Mashonaland Central Province, a man named Fredrick
said he was among 10 suspected opposition supporters tortured for five hours
under a tree. One man was caught while trying to escape. “They tied his genitals
with an elastic band and beat him until he passed out and died,” said Fredrick,
who asked that his last name not be used in order to protect himself. He said a
second man was killed after his tormentors dripped bubbles of burning plastic on
his naked body.
Prosper Mutema, 34, from Mtoko in Mashonaland East, said he was among dozens
captured on June 4, taken to a torture camp and beaten all night with sticks and
clubs called knobkerries. In the morning, he was ordered to hand over a cow as a
“repentance fee.” Lacking so costly an animal, he pleaded for a more modest
penitence, eventually winning his freedom with a bucket of maize meal and a
There have been dozens of killings, thousands of beatings and tens of
thousands of people displaced, civic groups, doctors and relief agencies say.
Though roadblocks seal off rural areas where most of the abuse is taking place,
there are so many surviving victims and witnesses that human rights workers and
journalists have been able to catalog much of the brutality. Pain is often
inflicted through hours-long pummeling of the soles of the feet and the flesh of
“When Mugabe declares himself the winner, the world must know what he has
done,” said the opposition’s director of elections, Ian Makone, who has gone
underground and travels only at night. Two of his chief aides have been killed;
several others have scattered into exile.
Mr. Mugabe, on the other hand, is campaigning boldly. A vigorous
octogenarian, his life span is already more than double the national average in
this destitute country, where inflation has gone so berserk that a loaf of bread
now costs $30 billion Zimbabwean dollars.
Mr. Mugabe openly portrays the election in the terminology of warfare, a
battle to preserve sovereignty against puppets put up by the British, the
nation’s onetime colonial masters who in his view want to reclaim the land for
white domination. Either he will win, he insists, or he will keep power by
“We are not going to give up our country for a mere X on a ballot,” he said
in a speech last week. “How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?”
The opposition claims that Mr. Tsvangirai won a majority in the earlier round
of voting, and that the government manipulated the count to force a runoff and
ready its violent response.
Whatever the actual count, hard-liners in the governing party agreed on a
“war-like/military style strategy” to recapture votes that had drifted astray
and win a second ballot, according to the minutes of one of their meetings
obtained from a ZANU-PF official.
“This is not going to be an election,” said one senior ZANU-PF official,
speaking on condition of anonymity because the plans are secret. “The election
happened in March. This is going to be a war. We are going all out to win this,
using all state resources at our disposal.”
Army officers were sent to every province to direct the strategy, which
eventually employed soldiers, intelligence agents, policemen and paramilitary
groups known as war veterans and youth brigades called the green bombers, the
senior official said. Ward by ward voting results dictated the campaign’s
geography. In the Zaka district of Masvingo, once a reliable ZANU-PF stronghold,
Mr. Tsvangirai won in March, and the opposition party also took three of four
seats in Parliament and the Senate seat. Reprisals began within weeks.
Names of the opposition’s poll workers had been published in the newspaper as
required by law, and these workers seem to have been systematically identified
for nighttime beatings. Hundreds of them have since fled, leaving their polling
stations vulnerable to ballot stuffing on Friday, said the constituency’s
senator-elect, Misheck Marava. He said his wife and children were savagely
beaten with chains and whips.
Then, on June 4 at 4:15 a.m., 13 men led by soldiers attacked the local
opposition office at Jerera Growth Point, where some of those displaced by
violence had sought a haven. At least two men were killed. The office was set
afire with gasoline.
As one of survivor of the blaze, Isaac Mbanje, lay with maddening pain in a
Harare hospital, skin peeling from his raw wounds and fluids seeping through the
bandages on his charred hands, he described his ordeal.
One of the assailants ordered him: “Lie down! Keep quiet!” Then shots were
fired from an AK-47. “One of the guys who was shot fell on my body,” Mr. Mbanje
said. Then the attackers set both the dead and living alight.
Tichanzi Gandanga, the opposition’s director of elections in Harare, said he
was abducted April 23 by men who blindfolded and gagged him and then thrust him
into a truck. As the vehicle raced into the countryside, he was badly beaten and
stripped before being dumped onto the road, where he was beaten and kicked and
then, as he hovered near unconsciousness, run over.
The men attacking him were armed and could have shot him, Mr. Gandanga said.
He is not sure why they left him alive, or even if they meant to.
“We had an election machinery with some important foot soldiers,” Mr.
Gandanga said. “These soldiers were identified and eliminated.”
Opposition leaders assumed the carnage would stop once election observers
arrived to monitor the vote. But that has hardly proved true.
Emmanuel Chiroto, 41, was elected to represent his ward in Harare. Fearful of
attacks on his family, he sent his wife, Abigail, 27, and son, Ashley, 4, to
stay with her mother outside the city. But on Sunday, fellow city councilors
chose him as Harare’s mayor, and his proud wife came home the next day to
celebrate, he said.
Soon after she arrived, he was called away because a ward chairman had been
beaten up. While Mr. Chiroto was away, two truckloads of men firebombed his home
and abducted his wife and child. Opposition party officials hurriedly contacted
Tanki Mothae, a Lesotho native who is a key manager of the election monitors
from the Southern African Development Community.
“The house was completely destroyed inside,” Mr. Mothae said in an interview.
“The furniture, everything, was burned to ashes.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Chiroto’s little boy was dropped off at a police station.
Wednesday, his wife’s battered body was found in a Harare morgue.
Mr. Chiroto still has not had the heart to tell Ashley that his mother is
dead, he said. The boy told his father he had sat on his blindfolded mother’s
lap as she was held captive and then he was left behind as soldiers took her
“We need to go get Mommy,” the 4-year-old has told his father over and over.
“We have to go! She’s in the bush. Let’s go to Mommy!”
Death toll rises in Robert Mugabe's reign of terror before election
Last Updated: 7:16PM BST 21/06/2008
Charity Matyaka was lying in bed recovering from an operation when the
militia came for her husband Francis, a popular headmaster.
A torture victim is given treatment for his burns in a
hospital in Harare, Zimababwe. He was set on fire by suspected Zanu PF
Unable to move, she was forced to watch as they dragged him from the cottage
and disappeared into the darkness.
His dismembered body was not discovered until two weeks later - another
victim of the reign of terror unleashed by President Robert Mugabe before this
week's planned election runoff.
At least 85 people are now known to have died in the violence that followed
the first, indecisive round of voting in March. Almost all of them fell to the
machetes, guns and clubs of militiamen allied to the ruling Zanu PF party.
Like Mr Matyaka, the victims were all suspected of supporting the opposition
Movement for Democrat Change and its presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai.
"My husband's crime was that he showed sympathy to the MDC," said Mrs
Matyaka, 34. As she related the story of her husband's death, Mrs Matyaka's
voice was firm. But there was no doubting the pain that shot through her words.
Her husband had not only been killed but savagely mutilated. His genitals
were cut off and his skin was badly burnt. He had also been shot in the back of
"They abducted and killed him as I watched," she told The Sunday
Telegraph. "He wailed but they kept beating him without talking. Then they
drove away in a Mitsubishi truck."
When his body was found by herdsmen, partially clothed and mauled by hyenas,
it sent a shudder of anguish through the normally tranquil district of Mutoko,
80 miles east of the capital Harare.
At the now-deserted school, The Sunday Telegraph found little sign of
the appalling violence wracking the country or the horrible fate of Mr Matyaka.
The only children there had come to mourn their beloved head teacher, who was
described by a colleague as always "ready to help".
Echoing the chilling pattern of militia attacks, Mr Matyaka already knew he
was in trouble. "A few weeks before his abduction, Francis was called in by Zanu
PF," said Mrs Matyaka. "They quizzed him and made him explain why several of his
teachers had fled the school. We knew something terrible was coming."
But for all her forebodings, the widow did not expect so fatal, or violent, a
denouement. "He told me to take care of the children if anything happened to
him, but it never crossed my mind he could be killed just like that," she said.
Even death has not stopped the persecution. Colleagues are too frightened to
visit the Matyaka household and the dead man's parents were scared off going to
his funeral at Warren Hills Cemetary in Harare.
However, Mr Mugabe appears determined to fight to the end. On Friday he
scornfully dismissed the reports of attacks by Zanu PF as "damn lies" and
instead shifted the blame for the violence onto the MDC.
"They have been saying their supporters are beaten up by our soldiers," he
said at an election rally in the MDC heartland of Bulawayo in southwest
Zimbabwe. "They say this so that they can later say the elections were not free
and fair. Which is a damn lie."
Most of the violence has been concentrated in the north of the country,
particularly in areas that were once seen as solid Zanu PF territory, but which
swung towards the MDC in the first round of voting. In the Mashonaland
provinces, where the MDC increased its vote by more than 30 per cent from the
2005 elections, the repression has been brutal.
Sokwanele, a non-governmental organisation has compiled details of more than
1,300 political attacks ranging from the wanton destruction of property to
vicious murders. The map of terror it has produced vividly shows how government
thugs have tried to bring their old heartlands back into line.
Using techniques chillingly reminiscent of those employed to quell
backsliders during the liberation war, militiamen have beaten their victims to a
pulp. Others had their limbs hacked off or were burnt alive. One brutal
technique, known as falanga, is an updated version of the bastinado: beatings
administered across the buttocks or soles of the feet so hard that victims are
scarred for life and sometimes unable to sit or walk again.
But there are signs that even Mr Mugabe's old allies are sickening at the
scale of the violence, with the president of Angola begging Mr Mugabe to
"embrace a spirit of tolerance".
For MDC supporters, such outside support could be crucial. All the signs
suggest Zanu PF's terrifying campaign is speeding up as election day draws near.
Amnesty International said that 12 bodies were discovered on Thursday.
Earlier in the week four young men were murdered in Chitungwiza township near
Harare and their bodies dumped by the roadside. More shockingly still, the wife
of the mayor of Harare was dragged away from her four-year-old son and beaten to
But Mrs Matyaka remains determined to press for change. "I will continue to
teach at this school and fend for our children," she said. "They must live in a
new Zimbabwe that their father gave his blood for."
Mugabe rejects opposition violence claims: state media
Jun 21, 4:08 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's veteran leader Robert Mugabe
has said opposition
claims of violence ahead of next week's presidential
run-off election are
aimed at tarring the crunch vote, state media reported
"They have been saying their supporters are being beaten up
soldiers," the Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as telling an election
in the second city Bulawayo on Friday.
"They say this so that
they can later say the elections were not free and
fair. Which is a damn
lie!" the 84-year-old president said.
The opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has said some 70 of its
supporters have been killed
in a campaign of intimidation ahead of Friday's
Morgan Tsvangirai, has been detained five times as he has sought
campaign, and MDC number two Tendai Biti has been charged with subversion
and faces the death penalty.
A court has ordered Biti held in jail
until at least July 7 -- well beyond
the run-off date.
police chief has said the opposition was the "main culprit"
violence in the country and pledged to employ "all
necessary force" ahead of
Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's 1980 independence from
Britain, was beaten
in the March 29 first-round vote by Tsvangirai, who --
according to official
figures -- did not garner an absolute
He has vowed to keep the opposition from power in his lifetime
to fight to keep it from happening.
Zimbabwe police are ordered not to block MDC
Monsters and Critics
Jun 21, 2008, 14:34 GMT
Johannesburg/Harare - A High
Court judge in Zimbabwe ordered police Saturday
not to block a rally planned
in Harare Sunday by the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
The ruling by Justice Joseph Musakwa overrules a decision by
the police to
ban the rally, to be addressed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
Friday's presidential run-off election.
'The judge has
ordered the police not to interfere with the intended rally,'
Muchadehama, the MDC lawyer.
In the first round of the vote in March,
Tsvangirai beat President Robert
Mugabe but failed to garner the absolute
Luke Tamborinyoka, MDC director of information, was cautious
High Court ruling.
'This is good news but it must be
remembered that in the past the courts
have granted us permission to hold
rallies but Zanu PF militia has blocked
us,' he said.
been detained by police five times while campaigning while a
number of MDC
leaders are either on the run or in jails.
The run-up to the second round
has been marred by violence. The opposition
claims that that the Zanu PF
militia and army have killed about 70 of its
supporters and displacing more
than 30 000 people.
Mugabe's tactics ensure there is 'no possibility of fair
National Post, Canada
Campaign of terror
Getty Images Zimbabweans in
Bulawayo voice their support for the Movement for Democratic Change, despite 70
of their colleagues having been killed in the past two
In nightly torture camps in the bush, victims are whipped with coils of
barbed wire, steel chains and fan belts torn from tractors or beaten with iron
bars, while others, forced to sign their names to possible death lists, are made
The terrified survivors spend the night singing and chanting songs praising
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's President, and his ruling Zimbabwean African National
Unity-Patriotic Front party.
Elsewhere gangs of "war veterans" and members of ZANU-PF's youth militia
firebomb the homes of local leaders of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Children and old women have been trapped in the fires and burned to death, or
mutilated and dismembered when they try to escape and thrown back into the
On Monday, a day after her husband was elected as the MDC mayor of Harare,
Abigail Chiroto, 27, was kidnapped with her four-year-old son by a band of
uniformed men who invaded her home and set it on fire. The boy was released
unharmed, but Ms. Chiroto's body was found in a mortuary so badly pulverized it
was almost unrecognizable.
The campaign of intimidation and punishment under way in Zimbabwe since an
indecisive first round of voting in presidential elections in March is reaching
a brutal crescendo.
A decade of political and civil opposition to Mr. Mugabe's 28-year reign is
culminating in the threat of civil war. There is a growing assumption that if
Friday's run-off election goes ahead, Southern Africa's troubles may just be
In the last two months, 70 MDC supporters have been murdered, thousands of
people have been beaten or tortured, and at least 25,000 others have fled their
homes in terror.
Many of Zimbabwe's impoverished hospitals have run out of plaster bandages
used for mending the broken bones of victims of political violence. Human rights
activists say the attacks on opposition groups remind them of the 1982-85
massacres by Mr. Mugabe's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, which murdered
more than 20,000 people and crushed all resistance to his government in
In the Lupane district of Matabeleland, villagers were recently forced to
attend a rally where ZANU-PF officials told them only a war veteran could be
president. They were warned soldiers will watch them vote and for every vote for
the MDC "one person will be shot dead," execution-style, near the polling
"The violence has shifted qualitatively," says a report by the church-based
Solidarity Peace Trust in Cape Town, South Africa.
"Zimbabwe is sinking fast into the conditions of a civil war, propelled
largely by the increasing reliance on violence by the ruling party to stay in
The MDC leadership has been decimated in key regions of Zimbabwe, it adds.
Supporters have been beaten, maimed, killed and displaced, and those who remain
are living under siege in a structured campaign of intimidation.
"The central obstacle to a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe is Robert Mugabe
and those elements in his security and political structures for whom a political
alternative is unthinkable," said Brian Raftopoulos, the trust's research
"The MDC is now in the same position as the country's liberation movements
were in the late 1960s, when all peaceful avenues of political expression were
cut off and they resorted to armed struggle."
Less than a week before the vote, concerns about a bloodbath are growing.
"If current conditions are maintained, there is no possibility of a credible,
free and fair poll," says a report from Human Rights Watch.
"Time has nearly run out for the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the African Union (AU) to make the necessary political interventions
to end the violence and ensure a free and fair vote."
In neighbouring Zambia, the country's Roman Catholic bishops have issued an
urgent pastoral statement appealing for international intervention.
"Zimbabwe is on the brink of total economic collapse and political
destruction and we consider it our duty to raise our voices in solidarity with
the suffering people of this sister country and our region," they said.
"The suffering of Zimbabweans is intolerable and beyond any political
Yesterday, leaders of the European Union threatened to increase sanctions on
Zimbabwe if there is not an immediate end to the violence. There were also
conflicting reports that Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, may be considering
pulling out of the election.
A headline in the South African newspaper Beeld summed it all up:
"Election--No. It's a hostage drama."
Mr. Mugabe, for his part, was as intransigent as ever. "The MDC will never be
allowed to rule this country -- never, ever," he told an audience of businessmen
in Harare. "Only God who appointed me will remove me."
As the horror of Zimbabwe spirals into chaos, African leaders who have been
reluctant to publicly criticize one of their continent's revolutionary heroes
are suddenly turning on Mr. Mugabe.
On Thursday, Raila Odinga, the Kenyan Prime Minister, described him as a
dictator and an embarrassment to Africa.
"It would be best for the international community to insist for Mugabe to
step down and send an international peacekeeping force," he said.
"Zimbabwe is an eyesore on the African continent …an example of how not to do
Earlier in the week, several retired African presidents and other notables,
including Ghana's Jerry Rawlings, Joacquim Chissano of Mozambique, Graca Machel,
wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, and former UN
secretaries-general Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros Ghali, signed a petition
calling on Mr. Mugabe to ensure free and fair elections.
Even Thabo Mbeki, the South African President, who just three months ago
insisted there was no crisis in Zimbabwe, has begun to back off from
unconditional support for Mr. Mugabe, expressing "serious concern" over the
On Wednesday Mr. Mbeki canceled a long-planed trip to Sudan and spent his
66th birthday flying to Zimbabwe to beg Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Tsvangirai to
postpone the run-off election and join a transitional government of national
The appeal collapsed when Mr. Mugabe refused even to meet Mr. Tsvangirai.
Mr. Mbeki, who was appointed last year by the SADC to mediate between
Zimbabwe's political blocs, has come under increasing criticism for pursuing
"quiet diplomacy" while Mr. Mugabe has blithely gone about literally crushing
A lame-duck president, who has long preferred backroom negotiations to public
confrontation and who, as an exiled member of the African National Congress in
the 1980s relied heavily on support from Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Mbeki has insisted
Zimbabwe needs to solve its economic meltdown and political crisis through
dialogue and negotiation.
"We will continue to insist that the people of Zimbabwe must have the
possibility freely to choose their leaders and government and refuse to
participate in projects based on the notion that we have a right to bring about
'regime change' in Zimbabwe," he said last week in a speech in South Africa's
"Reform and change can only be done through a process of collective action by
the MDC and ZANU-PF," said Chris Maroleng, a researcher with the Pretoria-based
Institute for Security Studies.
"An electoral solution produces negative outcomes. It enhances the
adversarial nature of politics in Zimbabwe.
"The whole run-off scenario to me is a bad idea," he added.
"Unless we see attempts at mediation, we're in for a very difficult
While Mr. Mbeki's supporters claim his "quiet diplomacy" was responsible for
the relative transparency that led to the MDC's breakthrough in the March
elections, critics are scathing over his refusal to attack Mr. Mugabe
"By appeasing Mugabe and endorsing every fundamentally flawed election in
Zimbabwe, you are complicit in the tyranny that has befallen that country,"
Helen Zille, leader of South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance said this
Mr. Tsvangirai flatly demands Mr. Mbeki step down as a mediator. He accuses
him of being partisan, seeking to divide the MDC, blocking UN discussions of
Zimbabwe and helping Mr. Mugabe to acquire weapons.
"Your role as mediator is neither appropriate nor effective," he said in a
recent letter to the South African President.
"When you started mediating, Zimbabwe still had a functioning economy,
millions of our citizens had not fled to other countries and tens of thousands
had not yet died from impoverishment and disease. In fact, since the March 29
election, Zimbabwe has plunged into horrendous violence, while you have been
mediating. With respect, if we continue like this, there will be no country
The arrival of election observers from the Pan-African Parliament and SADC
has done nothing to restrain Zimbabwe's violence.
On Thursday, Amnesty International said 12 people were killed in pre-poll
The growing death toll has increased calls to abandon the vote, but it has
also renewed the determination of Mr. Mugabe's opponents to defeat him.
"Every trick in the book is being pulled by authorities in Zimbabwe to ensure
that they win the run-off," said Nicole Fritz, director of the Southern Africa
"My sense though is that insisting that the run-off be abandoned now might be
a disservice to the MDC and the democratic forces in Zimbabwe.
"The elections of March 29 were conducted in circumstances that certainly
were not conducive to a free and fair election. Yet, we still saw the choice of
the people registered.
"I think now, more than ever, that their votes will count on June 27."
Saturday 22nd June 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
of fear has descended over Zimbabwe as we count down the last few
before the second Presidential election. Our streets and towns are
with police, army and youth brigade members. Our shops are empty of
basic foodstuffs; filling stations still have no diesel or petrol; water
electricity supplies are scarce; queues at banks and cash machines are
immense and prices increase at least once every day. The trauma of living
like this has been compounded a hundred fold as now each day brings news of
terror, torture, kidnapping, burning and murder. The reports are of barbaric
behaviour and extreme cruelty and they are coming from all over the country.
The perpetrators move in groups; sometimes they come in the day but more
often it is at night.
A report released this week by the Zimbabwe
Association of Doctors for Human
Rights contains details of some of the
victims of violence seen in the last
month: men and women with broken arms
and legs, fingers and toes, soft
tissue damage to face, feet and buttocks;
burns, lacerations and bruising.
One patient the doctors described had been:
" beaten extensively on the
shoulders, back, buttocks and thighs, was also
struck in the face and
suffered a leak of vitreous humour (the transparent
behind the lens of the eye) resulting in
Alongside the fear of physical violence is the rhetoric from
whose words are now being quoted around the world. In the last
few days Zanu
PF leader Mr Mugabe has said on four different
"We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war for
"We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X. How can a
ballpoint fight with a gun?"
"The MDC will never be allowed to rule this
country - never ever."
"Only God, who appointed me, will remove me, not the
MDC, not the British."
Its hard to know what the MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has been saying as
he's been detained by police five times, his
rallies have been cancelled,
his vehicle has been impounded and his
secretary general is in police
custody charged with treason. To further
silence the MDC leader, and in
obvious violation of electoral laws, the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
said that they wouldn't air campaign
adverts from the opposition party.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
defended the ZBC's stance saying that
international coverage favoured the
MDC and never reported Zanu PF's
As silenced as Zimbabweans
are, hope has come at last from our neighbours
who have begun to speak out.
This week Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard
Membe said: "There is every
sign that these elections will never be free nor
fair," adding that he and
the foreign ministers of Swaziland and Angola
would write to their
presidents "so that they do something urgently so that
we can save
And now, beaten, bloodied, scared and in a state of mourning,
we go to the
polls again. We don't need the rallies and the speeches to know
vote on the 27th of June.
Until next time, thanks for reading,
South African mediators in Zimbabwe ahead of tense election
Fanuel Jongwe 1 hour, 8 minutes ago
HARARE (AFP) - A South African
mediation team was in Zimbabwe on Saturday as
part of efforts to resolve the
country's political crisis amid mounting
violence ahead of next week's
presidential run-off election.
The visit comes with South African
President Thabo Mbeki reportedly seeking
to have the June 27 run-off
cancelled in favour of talks on forming a
"They are part of the facilitation team, so they have gone
there in the
context of the facilitation process," said Mbeki spokesman
Ratshitanga, referring to local government minister Sydney Mufamadi
adviser Mojanku Gumbi.
Facilitation is an official term for the
14-nation Southern African
Development Community's (SADC) mediation efforts
for Zimbabwe's political
Ratshitanga refused to comment on
reports of Mbeki seeking to shelve the
election as well as any further
details of the mediation.
The South African team arrived late Friday,
said Ratshitanga, who was unsure
how long they would remain in the
SADC has appointed Mbeki mediator for Zimbabwe, and he travelled
earlier this week, holding separate talks with President Robert Mugabe
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
South African media have
reported that he sought to arrange a first-ever
meeting between the two men,
where they would discuss the possibility of
shelving the run-off in favour
of a national unity government.
"He has warned that the run-off might
exacerbate the situation," The Star
newspaper quoted an unnamed official as
According to the paper, Tsvangirai told Mbeki he was prepared to
Zimbabwean president, but Mugabe was resistant to talks with his
Violence has mounted ahead of Zimbabwe's election,
with the opposition
claiming some 70 of its supporters have been killed in a
intimidation since the first round of the vote on March
Zimbabwe's largest trade union federation, which has routinely
Mugabe's regime, warned on Saturday it "will not accept an
outcome from a
"Dozens of people have been murdered
in politically motivated violence," the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
said in a statement.
"Thousands of people have been threatened with
death, beaten, tortured, and
harassed for expressing support for the
Mugabe has threatened to arrest opposition leaders over the
the UN has said his supporters were to blame for the bulk
The 84-year-old leader has remained defiant in the face of
conditions before the vote, dismissing opposition claims of
state media Saturday as a ploy aimed at casting the election as
"They have been saying their supporters are being beaten up by
soldiers," the Herald newspaper quoted Mugabe as telling an election
in the second city Bulawayo on Friday.
"They say this so that
they can later say the elections were not free and
fair. Which is a damn
The opposition was however handed a courtroom victory on Saturday,
judge overturned a police ban on its main election rally to be held
Police had not given a reason for barring the Sunday
rally, said Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition spokesman Nelson
In what the opposition describes as harassment, Tsvangirai has
five times while seeking to campaign, while party number two
Tendai Biti has
been charged with subversion and faces the death
A court has ordered Biti held in jail until at least July 7 --
the run-off date.
The opposition has showed signs of
division on whether to press ahead with
the campaign amid the violence, and
Chamisa has said a meeting is set for
Sunday to discuss the way
Other MDC officials have dismissed talk of pulling out of the
race -- a move
that would likely hand victory to Mugabe.
Security Council was also to resume talks Monday on the political
and would meet on the outcome of UN troubleshooter Haile
mediation mission to Harare, diplomats said.
Menkerios, UN assistant
secretary general for political affairs, met with
Mbeki in Pretoria on
Friday following his visit to Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the
first round of the vote, but with an official
vote total just short of an
Rice says U.S. to put Zimbabwe on U.N. agenda
1 hour, 29
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Violence and intimidation threaten
presidential election and the United States intends to
bring the matter
before the U.N. Security Council next week, U.S. Secretary
Condoleezza Rice said in a radio interview on
"This is a very serious matter and the United States does
intend to put it
on the agenda of the Security Council next week," Rice told
Radio's Weekend Edition.
The southern African country
will hold a run-off presidential election on
June 27 between veteran
President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
results showed Tsvangirai won a first round in March,
but did not secure
enough votes for an outright victory.
The opposition party, Western
nations and human rights groups accuse
Mugabe's supporters of waging a
campaign of intimidation ahead of the vote.
Mugabe rejects the
Echoing comments she made at the United Nations on Thursday,
Rice said the
elections would not be unbiased.
"When you have the
president of Zimbabwe saying that he'll never accept an
outcome in which the
other side wins, or when you have the so-called war
people and accusing opposition leaders of treason,
it's kind of hard to see
how that's going to be a free and fair election,"
United States, which is this month's president of the Security Council,
accused Mugabe of turning Zimbabwe into a failed state that threatens
residents and the stability of southern Africa.
When asked whether she
thought the United Nations was prepared to go beyond
passing a resolution on
Zimbabwe, Rice said, "We believe that unless the
Security Council acts, it
stands to lose credibility."
Earlier this week, diplomats said the
council was unlikely to take any
action next week due to opposition from
South Africa, Russia and China.
US govt keeps sharp eye on Zimbabwe run-off
June 21, 2008,
Manelisi Dubase, Washington
The US government says it will go
ahead with its preparation for the June 27
Zimbabwean presidential run-off
election, irrespective of the MDC's threat
to withdraw. Yesterday the MDC
announced that it was considering pulling out
of the run-off.
Department spokesperson Sean McCormack says Secretary of State
Rice has been engaging African diplomats, including her South
counterpart Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, on the Zimbabwean crisis. The
ministers are both attending the UN Security Council meetings in New
McCormack says there is an understanding on both sides about
of the situation.
Meanhwile, European Union leaders
added their voice by threatening
additional sanctions against President
Robert Mugabe and his top officials,
if violence continues unabated. At the
moment, more than 100 Zimbabwean
officials, including Mugabe, are banned
from entering European countries.
North MDC MP arrested
By Investigations Unit ⋅ © zimbabwemetro.com ⋅ June 21,
2008 ⋅ Email This
Post ⋅ Post a comment
North., was arrested yesterday, police accuse him
of having had an axe in
Patrick Sibanda was arrested yesterday after his driver
whose name is also
Patrick got arrested. They are being charged with
carrying a dangerous
weapon. Their vehicle was also impounded.
Binga 9 MDC supporters have since been arrested for various offences and
still in jail. They are supposed to go to court today but the court has
delayed by Mugabe ’s visit to the area. The whole police force have
called up to listen to what he has to say.
Yesterday all the white
residents of Binga we rounded up and taken to the
army barracks for re
education. One of the residents (who does not want to
be named) who has been
in Binga since before the lake was built was very
badly shaken after the
experience. Him and his wife are in their mid 70″s
were told that if they
accommodate any MDC members in their lodge again -
they would lose the lodge
and more. The lodge was used for a meeting between
support and the campaign
leaders on Monday night. The lodge had been block
booked over the election
period as base. They have now cancelled the booking
as they are too scared
to take the risk.
Meanwhile Harare MDC Chairman,Sen.Morgan
Femai,MDC-Chikomo., had his
hardware shop in Mbare looted and destroyed by
The government crackdown on MDC officials is escalating,as
of Saturday 10
MDC House of Assembly and Senate elects have been
They are :
Also locked up is Eric
Matinenga,MDC-Buhera West., and yesterday Shuwa
Mudiwa,MDC-Mutare West., was
MDC Senator for Bulilima-Mangwe,Sen.Tapela
Norman Mpofu,MDC-Bulilima East.,
Early this month police also arrested Heya Shoko.,Bikita West. Ian
Kay,MDC-Marondera Central., and Amos Chibaya,MDC-Mkoba.,were
This week police arrested Senator for Kariba, Sen.John
Patrick Sibanda,MDC-Binga North.,Takalani Prince
Police have issued warrants of arrest for Elton
Mangoma, MDC-Makoni North.,
Mathias Mathew Mlambo MDC-Chipinge
Eliah Jembere,MDC-Epworth.,Pearson Mungofa, MDC-Highfield and
Nyunde,MDC- Bindura South.
The move is seen as a ploy by
ZANU PF to reverse its loss of parliament
after its court challenges were
No senior members from ZANU PF have been arrested despite
in the violence that has claimed to date 88 MDC
They are making the MDC more
popular, Even ZANU-PF supporters now are going
to give sympathetic vote…
This is just too much… If ZANU-PF continue to
brutalise opponents peolp may
never want to be associated with it again ,
what ever the election
results.God has suddenly became the electorate in
dingai | June 21, 2008, 6:19 am
Scarface, is this your
Arresting so many elected officials is democracy?
that what Mugabe claims he gave Zimbabwe? 30 years under the oppression
madman, a madman who can’t let younger leaders rule? Why has he not
successors? Do the youth have no chance?
You are delusioned. Your
venomous hatred for MDC has blinded you. Open your
eyes and see whar’s going
on. The CIO can’t possibly be payingyou enough
Come June 28th, if the
election is another Zanu fraud .. I hope the people
have prepared the
courage and tools to rise up in revolt and get rid of the
main evil lunatic
Posted by Jonah A | June 21, 2008, 8:13
Zanu-PF thinks they are so smart and that Zimbabweans are stupid.
not giving the Zimbabwean people enough credit Bob - you can beat us
force people to wear your t-shirts and chant your slogans but we will
who is laughing on 27 June - as one Councillor said today “suport
but VOTE MDC”
Posted by Babwebird | June 21, 2008, 8:42 am
Trapped in a Harare nightmare
Saturday 21 June
Less than one week before Zimbabwe's presidential runoff election,
opposition members from the Movement for Democratic Change are being
violently targeted by ruling-party militias. (Report: A. Duval Smith and E.
HARARE - The building's foundation is the only thing left;
vanished into smoke. The remains belong to a municipal
councillor of the
Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare.
Absent during the
fire, his grandmother describes the horrific scene waiting
for her when she
"When I came and I saw that that little
person of mine was lying like this,
he was lying like this with his hand
along to the door and all the matungu
(intestines) were out and I started
crying and crying and crying. And I
didn't know that my mrora (daughter in
law) was burnt also."
The woman continues: "She (the daughter-in-law) was
pregnant. While still
burning she told me 'they kicked me mama.' They kicked
her in the stomach."
Her sister-in-law told her the little she knows
about the culprits: "She
said they came... five men. They said get in the
house. Where is Brian?
Where is the councillor who contested for the MDC? We
said, 'we don't know.
He went there'. And they said 'get in the house'. And
then my sister-in-law
said they went inside and they threw fire inside and
they closed the door."
Singed with third-degree burns, the councillor's
wife did not survive the
attack. He was able to escape through the backdoor
just before the attackers
arrived. The elderly woman has not received news
from him since.
This story is not uncommon in Harare. At least six
deputies, senators and
councilmen elected from MDC's ranks on March 29 have
disappeared or gone
into hiding. The families of the party's members have
been the target of
attacks. The wife of the new mayor of Harare was beaten
to death in front of
her four-year-old son.
These victims can be
added to at least 70 other assassinated MDC members,
and 25,000 citizens in
rural areas who have been displaced by militias to
stop them from going to
their respective voting stations for Friday's
Angola urges end to Zimbabwe poll violence
By Nelson Banya
Sat Jun 21, 10:35 AM ET
HARARE (Reuters) - Angola's veteran leader has
added his weight to appeals
to Zimbabwe's government to end the political
violence and intimidation that
is threatening the legitimacy of its June 27
presidential run-off election.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, an
old ally of Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe, sent a message urging him to
"embrace a spirit of tolerance,"
Angola's state-run ANGOP news agency said
late on Friday.
But, despite signs of growing African discontent over
bloodshed that has
escalated since Zimbabwe's March 29 general election,
Mugabe vowed never to
hand over power to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change whose
leader Morgan Tsvangirai is his rival in the
Branding the MDC a puppet of the West, the 84-year-old Mugabe
Bulawayo on Friday: "The British and Americans want to play God. They
given themselves a role which is not their own, of installing and
governments. They want to do the same here but we say to them they
The MDC says at least 70 of its members have been killed
since that vote,
and Tsvangirai is considering pulling out of the June 27
poll, a spokesman
"President Jose Eduardo dos Santos urged
Zimbabwe's leader to embrace a
spirit of tolerance and respect for democratic
norms while at the same time
appealing for an end to all acts of intimidation
and violence occurring in
that country," ANGOP said.
African nations, the United States and former colonial power
said they do not believe next week's run-off will be free
The new appeal to Mugabe carried particular weight coming
from dos Santos,
65, who like the Zimbabwean leader, is a former
Nearly 30 years in power in his former
Portuguese-ruled territory, dos
Santos has himself been at odds with the
West, refusing to bow to demands
that he make his government more transparent
The 14-nation Southern Africa Development Community is
sending 380 monitors
to Zimbabwe for the vote. Zimbabwe has refused to admit
and ignored Britain's request that international rights
officials be allowed
into the nation.
Mugabe's government has also
slashed the number of Zimbabwean observers who
will be on hand for the
election, according to the Zimbabwe Elections
Support Network, which had
nearly 9,000 observers for the March election.
"We only got invitations
for 500 observers," Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, the
national director of ZESN,
"A DAMN LIE"
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the March vote
but fell short of the outright
majority needed to avoid a second round,
according to official results.
The MDC leader has been detained five
times during his campaign and MDC
Secretary-General Tendai Biti remains in
custody facing a treason charge and
other offenses. Biti is accused of
leaking results of the March elections
He faces a death
sentence if convicted.
Tsvangirai is to address a rally in Harare on
Sunday after a court on
Saturday overturned a police ban on the event. "The
High Court has granted
the MDC permission to go ahead with the rally
tomorrow," MDC spokesman
Nelson Chamisa said.
Mugabe is fighting to
cling onto power in the country he has ruled since
independence from Britain
in 1980. Once prosperous, its economy is now
ruined and millions have fled
the political and economic crisis to
Bulawayo speech, he denied security forces were using brutal tactics
"They (the MDC) have been saying their supporters are
being beaten up by our
soldiers. They say this so that they can later say the
elections were not
free and fair, which is a damn lie," the state-controlled
quoted him as saying.
(Writing by Paul Simao; Editing
by Richard Balmforth)
UN Official Meets S. African Leader Over
Sunday, 22 June 2008, 6:18 am
Press Release: United
Senior UN political official meets South African leader
after visit to
20 June 2008 - Senior United Nations political
aide Haile Menkerios met with
South African President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria
today, following a five-day
visit to neighbouring Zimbabwe, which has been
beset by deadly political
violence since the first round of the presidential
election on 29 March.
Mr. Menkerios, the Assistant Secretary-General for
Political Affairs, was
dispatched to Zimbabwe by Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon in an attempt to
reduce political tensions ahead of the run-off round
of the presidential
election set for 27 June.
"It appears that he
will remain in the area for some additional days," UN
Montas told journalists in New York.
During his visit to Zimbabwe, Mr.
Menkerios met with President Robert Mugabe
and Morgan Tsvangirai of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), the two men who will face
each other in next week's run-off. He also
held talks with the Foreign
Minister, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,
church leaders and civil society
groups, including human rights
Mr. Ban and other top UN
officials have called for an immediate end to the
that the ongoing violence threatens the credibility
of the upcoming
The current political crisis is also compounding an already deep
economic and humanitarian crisis, in a country where as many as 4
people are in need of help.
The Security Council will meet on
Zimbabwe on Monday, when it will be
briefed by the UN's top political
official, Under-Secretary-General B. Lynn
have failed to feed the nation - Mugabe
June 21, 2008
MASVINGO - President Robert Mugabe has openly admitted that his
has failed to provide food for millions of starving people, but
should not be the reason why people should vote against him on
Addressing party supporters in Mwenezi at Sarahuru business
said his government had, indeed, failed to provide food to the
people but hinted that the situation would soon improve. " We have
as a government to feed the nation because we had not secured enough
feed the people", said Mugabe.
"I know some of you are very
angry because of hunger but let me assure you
that the government through the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has since imported
over 5 000 tonnes of Maize from
South Africa to feed the people".
"We have tried our level best as a
government to address all the economic
challenges that you are facing but the
only problem is that most of the
companies in the country are foreign
"Now that we have identified the problem we are going to make
sure that our
own people run crucial companies so that our people
Mugabe, who faces his stiffest challenge from MDC leader Morgan
on Friday June 27, took his campaign trail to Masvingo province
addressed three rallies yesterday.
He first flew to Sarahuru
Business Centre in the morning and later addressed
two rallies at Nyika
Growth Point in Bikita before addressing his last rally
in the evening in
About 10 people have so far died in politically motivated violence
The rallies were attended by SADC observers many of whom
over the failure by the government to allow the opposition
freely during the run up to the presidential election
An observer from Botswana who refused to be named said: " The
fact that the
opposition MDC is not holding rallies confirms that the
opposition has been
barred from doing so".
"We are going to include
this in our reports and it is very worrying".
Bunge Backs Tough Stand On Zimbabwe
The Citizen (Dar es
21 June 2008
Posted to the web 21 June 2008
Dar es Salaam
A parliamentary committee yesterday endorsed the
Government's tough stance
on Zimbabwe, saying it fully supports the official
sentiments of the members
of the Southern African Development Community
The chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs,
and Defence, Mr Wilson Masilingi, said they agreed with the
denunciation of the state-sponsored violence just a week before the
run-off pitting President Robert Mugabe against MDC candidate
The statement issued by the MP for Muleba at
the National Assembly in Dodoma
was in response to Foreign Affairs and
International Co-operation minister
Bernard Membe's warning in Dar es Salaam
on Thursday that Tanzania was
appalled by President Mugabe's style, which
threatened to plunge the country
Nominated MP Anna
Abdullah said that while the Government's statement was
positive, it had,
however, taken too long for it to denounce the breakdown
of law and order and
condemn the rampant human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Speaking to The
Citizen, Mr Masilingi and Ms Abdullah said that "even though
Zimbabwe is a
sovereign state, Tanzania has a historical stake and can,
therefore, not keep
quiet as that country spirals into anarchy".
Earlier, in her contribution
to the Budget debate, Ms Abdullah said: "It's
good that the Government has
issued a condemnation of Zimbabwe even though
this should have come earlier.
Tanzania, as the current chair of the African
Union, must be in the forefront
in condemning what is going on in Zimbabwe."
Later, she told The Citizen
that President Mugabe deserved to be condemned
by his fellow African leaders
for trying to cling to power by force.
"Our country supported Zimbabwe's
struggle for independence but it was not
so that he could become the
President for life," she said.
Zimbabwe, she added, was neither a
chieftainship nor a kingdom.
"Democracy and the rule of law must be
respected," she said, denouncing
recent reports that quoted Mr Mugabe and his
wife, Grace, threatening not to
hand over power should he be defeated in
Mr Masilingi said he had been shocked by a report of the
committee, which confirmed gross human rights abuses and
against the people of Zimbabwe and election
"We share the Government's concern and urge the relevant organs
of the Sadc
member countries follow closely all that is happening in
The MP said President Mugabe must cooperate with fellow
regional leaders to
make sure the re-run election was free and
"It is in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe as well as the
have peaceful and democratic elections," Mr Masilingi
In an indication that gone are the days when Zimbabwe took
support for granted, Foreign minister Membe on Thursday cast doubt
possibility of a free and fair election on June 27.
journalists in Dar es Salaam: "I want to tell you what I told fellow
African Development Community (Sadc) members. We have got evidence
elections will not be free and fair."
He added: "Zimbabwe has been our
great friend. We have stood by them since
the Lancaster agreement on land
issues in 1980, but on governance issues, we
have started to differ with the
Last week, President Mugabe vowed to "go to war" to
prevent the Movement for
Democratic Change from taking power - as the race
for the presidency entered
its final phase.
"We are prepared to fight
for our country and to go to war for it," he told
a rally of cheering
West African team leaves to monitor
LAGOS, June 21 (AFP)
A 30-member observer team from the ECOWAS west African regional
left for Harare to monitor Zimbabwe's presidential run-off due next
statement said on Saturday.
"Six members of staff of the
ECOWAS Commission will support the delegation,
which includes eminent persons
from the region," the Economic Community of
West African States (ECOWAS) said
in a statement.
It said the team, led by Nigeria's former military ruler
Yakubu Gowon would
monitor Friday's poll in Harare and other provinces
pitting veteran ruler
Robert Mugabe against opposition leader Morgan
ECOWAS chief Mohamed Ibn Chambas said it was the first time
that the bloc
would oversee elections outside the region and described the
move as a
gesture of solidarity the people of Zimbabwe.
On March 29,
Tsvangirai beat Mugabe in the first round of the presidential
election officials said he fell short of an outright majority
and must face
Mugabe in the run-off next Friday.
The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change has accused the government of
unleashing a campaign of intimidation
and violence ahead of the election.
Mugabe meanwhile has vowed to keep
the opposition from power in his lifetime
and pledged to fight to keep it
from happening, sparking concern worldwide
and calls for intervention by
African leaders and regional groups.
Brown condemns Zimbabwe violence, calls for UN probe
Jun 21, 11:49 AM ET
LONDON (AFP) - Prime Minister Gordon Brown on
pre-election violence in Zimbabwe, calling for a thorough
probe to be carried out into alleged human rights
"I condemn those orchestrating the latest horrific
escalation of violence,"
Brown said in a statement issued by his office
before he headed to Saudi
Arabia for a summit on the oil
"They must immediately end the violence, allow local and
monitors complete access and co-operate with the UN to allow a
investigation of the human rights abuses."
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said that some 70 of
have been killed since the first round of the presidential
They, human rights groups and Western powers have also said
presidential run-off between MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
Robert Mugabe has already been tainted by violence.
on Saturday dismissed the claims in state media, saying they were a
cast the June 27 vote as unfair. Zimbabwe's police chief has also
MDC was the "main culprit" behind the violence.
Britain was the colonial
power in the former Rhodesia until 1980. Mugabe
frequently accuses London of
stirring up unrest and backing the MDC
Zimbabwe Labor Group Warns It Won't Accept `Flawed' Vote
HARARE (AFP)--Zimbabwe's largest trade union
federation warned Saturday it "
will not accept an outcome from a flawed
election," in a statement ahead of
this week's presidential
"We hereby resolve that we will not accept an outcome from a
and that the government immediately disband bases and
manned by youth militia," the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions said in a
statement issued following a meeting.
federation has routinely criticized President Robert Mugabe's regime.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
Zimbabwe opposition chief says
'no one has right' to cancel run-off
JOHANNESBURG, June 21 (AFP)
Zimbabwe opposition chief Morgan
Tsvangirai on Saturday said "no one has the
right to cancel an election",
amid suggestions next week's run-off could be
shelved for unity government
"Legally, no one has the right to cancel an election," Tsvangirai
said in a
message to supporters received here.
"But as we know, the
regime is trying to make the situation on the ground so
terrible that they
hope the runoff election -- an election they will lose --
He added, referring to the date when he faces President
Robert Mugabe in the
run-off election: "It is not the decision of the regime
or the international
community to silence the people of Zimbabwe on 27
Tsvangirai urged supporters to vote despite pre-poll violence,
fellow Zimbabweans, are we brave enough to cast our ballots
again? I believe
your answer is yes."
A South African mediation team
was in Zimbabwe on Saturday as part of
efforts to resolve the country's
political crisis amid mounting violence.
The visit comes with South
African President Thabo Mbeki reportedly seeking
to have the run-off
cancelled in favour of talks on forming a national unity
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
showed signs of
division on whether to press ahead with the campaign amid
the violence, and
a party spokesman has said a meeting is set for Sunday to
discuss the way
Other MDC officials have dismissed talk of
pulling out of the race -- a move
that would likely hand victory to
The MDC's main pre-election rally was also set to go ahead in the
Sunday after a court overturned a police decision to bar it.
New breed of tobacco farmers come to terms with
Confused farmers see only one way out
ZIMBABWE'S new breed of
farmers created by Robert Mugabe's chaotic and
violent seizures of farmers
from whites are a bitter lot. Those who ventured
into tobacco cultivation are
angry with the government.
Saturday 21 June 2008, by Bruce
Since the auction floors opened up some weeks ago hundreds of
turned the Tobacco Sales Floor along Willowvale Road in the
suburb of Southerton of Harare their home.
A good number of
farmers have been waiting ever since their tobacco went
under the hammer to
get their pay cheques and return home. Most of them are
Angela thinks they are "very rude"
I spent some time with
the farmers and they had no kind words for the Mugabe
Marimo is from Chinhoyi and says she had no idea that selling their
would take that long, and was anxious about the safety of her
home especially during the current violent election campaigns.
"I don't think I will be growing tobacco again," she tells me
wincing from the pain of the smoke stinging her eyes. "I had no
idea it would
be such a hassle. I am worried about my children back home.
They are all
alone. The oldest is just in Form 4. Can you believe that we
came here with
just two pairs of clothes?"
As first-time tobacco growers, she said she
had come unprepared for a long
stay in Harare and admit their stay has been a
nightmare. At as early as 5am
Angela and scores of others wake up to boil
water for their husbands and
make breakfast for him in aluminium tins picked
up in a bin in the
For a bath they are just content
with only two or three handfuls of water on
his face, under the
Breakfast is roast sweet potatoes cooked overnight using
the fire with which
they warmed themselves during the night to save firewood,
"On Thursday last week names for the cheques that
were ready were read out.
My name was not there," Angela continues. "Nobody
has told us what is going
on. They are very rude. They snap at us and tell us
'go back home, your
money is coming'. Some are lucky. They got part
When males leave for the auction floor to wait for their
payments and sell
their tobacco, women take turns to stay on guard and take a
behind the tobacco floors.
"If you are on guard you have to
make sure when you see a man approaching
you whistle so that the other women
bathing cover themselves up," Tarisayi
Chirondza joins in.
"At first I
was ashamed to take a bath in the open but now I am used to it
realise there is no other way."
After bathing the women take "stroll"
into the high-density suburbs nearby
to look for firewood.
exorbitant prizes for food.
By the time they return, it's time to prepare
lunch for their husbands.
Behind the Tobacco Sales Floor along Eltham Road
where most of the farmers
have set up temporary shelter, there are no
lavatories and farmers and their
families resort to the bush after
With no water supply in the area, there are fears that a disease
imminent, especially in the absence of the proper toilet
To add to the growing population at the Tobacco Sales Floor
during the day
are the many cross-border traders and informal food vendors
who have set up
mini-markets there to take advantage of the huge captive
This year's market better than last year's?
By June 6,
Zimbabwe had earned US$44 million from both contract and auction
sales at all three floors since the tobacco selling season begun
over a month
Meanwhile, tobacco deliveries continue to rise with the latest
the TIMB showing that 21,8 million kilogrammes have been sold at
floors since the beginning of the selling season.
compares favourably with 24,5 million kg that were sold at an average
of US$2,19 during the corresponding period last year. The 21,8 million
which were sold at an average price of US$3,13 earned the country
million against US$53,8 million earned for the same period
A total of 13,2 million kg worth US$40,6 million were sold
while 8,5 million kg worth US$27,9 million were sold under
A total of 74 672 kg of burley has been sold at an
average price of US$1,64
realising US$122 145 so far. This compares with 52
213 kg that were sold at
an average price of US$1,69 realising US$88 290
during the same period last
No profits just a high
However, farmers recently tore up their tobacco crop in protest
auction floors as state price controls to combat hyperinflation
to wipe out their profits.
"The price is useless, we would
rather keep my tobacco and sell to buyers
from Malawi or Zambia," they
Some farmers tore up their bales and flicked tobacco leaves across
as other ripped off tags placed on their bales by the auctioneers
showed prices as low as one dollar (0.64 euros) per kilogramme (2.2
At the time of protests authorities had kept the official
exchange rate at
30,000 Zimbabwe dollars for one US dollar since September
last year but on
the thriving black market one US dollar can be exchanged for
around a 100
million Zimbabwe dollars.
After weeks of being subjected
to inhuman living conditions, tobacco farmers
will get a chance of going back
to their villages as the country's three
tobacco sales floors will close
temporarily on Tuesday next week to pave way
for the June 27 Presidential
TIMB acting chief executive, Dr Andrew Matibiri said in a
Wednesday that the resolution was taken by the TIMB board at its
held on Thursday last week.
"The board resolved to temporarily
close all tobacco sales on Tuesday June
24, 2008 and re-open them on Monday
30th June 2008. "This decision was taken
to enable tobacco growers to get
their payments and travel back to their
farms and homes in time for the
Presidential run-off election," Dr Matibiri
The Netherlands supports Zimbabwean
human rights lawyers
Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
20 Jun 2008 | Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen is deeply
concerned about the
Mugabe government’s campaign of intimidation and
violence in the run up to
the second round of presidential elections in
Zimbabwe on 27 June.
Mr Verhagen expressed his concerns to Zimbabwean
human rights activist
Arnold Tsunga whom he met today at the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs for an
exchange of views regarding the upcoming
Arnold Tsunga left commercial law practice more than ten years
establish Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights. Since then, ZLHR has
into a professional guild for human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe. Over
2007-2010 period, the Dutch embassy in Zimbabwe will contribute €1.3
to ZLHR from the Netherlands’ Human Rights Fund. Tsunga is now
the Africa Regional Programme at the International Commission of
international network whose activities include promoting human
In the run up to the elections, many human rights lawyers have
by the campaign of violence. A number have been arrested over
the past few
weeks. ‘The violence unleashed by the Zimbabwean regime is
of a free, fair and peaceful second round very bleak
indeed,’ said Mr
Verhagen. He urged the international community, and
neighbouring countries, not to close their eyes to
these persistent, blatant
violations of human rights.
praised the work of organisations such as the International
Jurists and Tsunga’s own Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights,
which play an
important role in documenting human rights violations and
That work is more important than ever at this moment,
The Netherlands has contributed €1.6 million from the Human
Rights Fund to
civil society organisations in Zimbabwe, and the embassy in
close contact with them. These organisations and other
defenders also receive Dutch support through cofinancing
the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.
A Nation of 'Sheep in Wolves Skin'
Shungu, on June 21 2008 11:37
In a country where
it is now punishable to support the
opposition political party, many
Zimbabweans opt to keep mum, and vow to
face the country's dictator Robert
Mugabe in the voting booth next week on
the 27th June.
People no longer make political statements or utterances in
ZANU PF state security agents, youth militia and uniformed
forces who are
currently on a rampage murdering and torturing citizens.
survey around one of the main opposition party, MDC
strongholds- the capital
Harare, many have resorted to 'hide' from the ZANU
PF terror through
'identifying' themselves with the ruling party.
situation, which has caused a lot of independent
journalists to go
underground, this article is mainly based on remarks and
comments passed by
Harare residents in his (reporter's) presence.
A number of
people now have ZANU PF regalia, especially
T-shirts. Many of them say they
wear them so as to conduct their day to day
activities without any
harassment from the notorious youth militia.
bumped into one neighbour- a Disk Jockey (DJ)
wearing a ZANU PF
Without even greeting each other, the DJ quickly
defended why he
had the T-shirt on.
"I am doing it for
safety's sake. The ruling party youths are
after me in our area. They gave
me this T-shirt, and even come home looking
are going to beat-up people in night clubs tonight
(Friday). Don't ever go
drinking tonight. It's best if you stay at home."
"Only if they knew I am not interested in their party and voting
Mugabe," he said.
Mugabe has reportedly refused to succumb to
recent pressure from
South African president Thabo Mbeki, among other
African and Western leaders
to stop violence and shelve the presidential
The aging leader reportedly refused to meet
negotiations whilst insisting he will stay in power until
'he finishes his
mission'- of distributing land and other resources to
Many touts in the city can be seen putting on
ZANU PF regalia on
a daily basis.
One hinted this makes
his life much more easier and safer.
"The political situation
in this country has become very tense,
whereby it is very risky to be
aligned to the opposition."
"Anywhere, we shall meet on 27
June. That is when the truth will
be known," he said.
Regional support for Mugabe is fast fading with many leaders
will be difficult to endorse the election if Mugabe wins.
Almost each and very commuter bus and kombi has stickers and or
Mugabe on it. Even the drivers also wear ZANU PF T-shirts.
Friday, the ruling party youth militia went around the suburb
of Warren Park
'informing' residents there would be a rally the following
day (Saturday 22
June) in the same area.
One resident said the group
instructed businesses to close by
11am on Saturday, and every resident will
be required to attend the rally-
which is rumored to be addressed by Mugabe
and other top party chefs.
"They said they are going to come
here again tomorrow morning
and will go door by door driving people out- to
the rally venue."
"We have been discussing this with my
family, and for safety
reasons, we have to go there."
"There is nothing we can do. If we don't attend, we might be
like what is happening to others. We have to fake it," he said.
Mugabe is facing a great challenge of staying in office as the
take place in a country dogged by economic problems caused by his
government's weak policies and not excluding violence.
SADC worried about handling of Zimbabwe's run-off
Afrique en ligne
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Employ ers Group
expressed concern at 27 June elections in Zimbabwe, saying it was
and concerned at the manner the elections were being
The SADC group said the situation had worsened the economic and
conditions in Zimbabwe, to the extent that the entire SADC region was
threatened, if the situation persisted.
"We are perturbed at the
manner with which SADC political leaders
conveniently reneged on their
responsibilities and did not attempt to nip
the festering problem of
Zimbabwe in the bud, thus allowing it to
deteriorate to the point where a
win -win situation appears impossible," a
statement released by the SADC
Employers G r oup stated.
The group called on the SADC political
leadership to ensure the conditions
set out for free and fair elections were
upheld, saying the violence that
had characterised the period leading to the
run-off called for condemnation,
swift and decisive intervention by
"We believe it is not too late for SADC political leaders to live
their responsibilities and save this country from the current chaos,
has led to the collapse of law and order and of the entire
"Each day the situation is allowed to continue adds to many
to rebuild the country.
"Indications are that the June
re-run of the presidential elections will not
lead to peace nor restore an
atmosphere that will be conducive to the
restoration of peace and economic
"Such a situation cannot be allowed in view of the many social
ills the SADC
region has to contend with: poverty, unemployment, hunger,
require a concerted effort from all countries in our
region," the statement
Lusaka - 20/06/2008
PAP observer condemns violence
June 2008 06:28
HARARE - The Pan African Parliament (PAP) observer
mission in Zimbabwe
to monitor next week's presidential run-off has
described the current
political environment as, "regrettable and
Head of the mission and Swaziland Member of Parliament,
Khumalo, told journalists on June 18 that the forthcoming election
different from the March 29 polls, which were held in a peaceful and
"The violence is very worrying and we have
utterances from politicians
which are very unfortunate. The war utterances
do not add value to the
electoral process in this country. Since we arrived
here we have been
responding to concerns from parties and we have
investigated some of them,"
The mission met a man who
was no longer living at his home as a result
of the ongoing political
violence and showed them a grave of his wife who
was killed in the
"It is regrettable that violence has resurfaced and now
our task is
going to be very difficult. We now have to observe as well as
the issues of violence," Khumalo said.
The MDC, led by
Morgan Tsvangirai, has claimed that over 60 supporters
of the party have
been killed since the March elections and thousands
in the rural areas. They blame the government for
World attention is again shifting to Zimbabwe ahead of the vote on
Zanu (PF) presidential candidate, Robert Mugabe, has announced that
the country will never be ruled by the MDC. He accused them of being used by
Britain and the United States to effect regime change. He threatened "war"
to ensure that he remained in power regardless of the outcome of the
Judge who took on Mugabe happy with humble NZ job
SOUTH - Sunday News | Sunday, 22 June 2008
A HEROIC judge,
whose fight against injustice cost him his fortune and
nearly his life in
his homeland, is handing out free legal advice to needy
Former Zimbabwe High Court judge Ben Paradza was forced to
flee his country
after being convicted of conspiring against the Robert
Ben was smuggled out in early 2006 after being convicted
of corruption for
not ruling in favour of the oppressive government
including the overturning
of a decision to evict 54 white Zimbabwean farmers
from their land.
He was forced to leave his wife and three children
behind as friends
smuggled him across the border into South Africa, narrowly
before an arrest warrant was issued by police to border
Ben, 50, went into hiding for five months before eventually flying
Zealand after being guaranteed refugee status.
sympathisers came to me after I was convicted and told me they (the
government) were going to kill me and it was very risky for me to
Some friends of mine took me and drove me across the border," he
"Once I was in South Africa, I was helped by human rights lawyers
a temporary residence pass but I didn't feel safe there.
spent most of my time indoors and hiding. There were too many of Mugabe's
people roaming around and gaining information. It was a very scary time. I
was living in fear.
"Eventually, I was linked up with New Zealand by
the United Nations and was
told I could come and live here with my
Once in New Zealand, Ben was reunited with wife Olga, 45, and
Takutzwa, 23, Kuda, 20 and Fadzai, 15.
"While I was in South
Africa I had very little contact with my family. I
could only contact them
through other people because it was too risky. The
calls could have been
traced and they would have been tortured for my
Despite having been one of the highest ranking Zimbabwe judges, Ben
to study for a New Zealand law degree to be admitted to the bar
He is now working for a community law centre in Porirua, where he
dedicating his life to helping Kiwis with his expert legal knowledge as
"I'm very comfortable helping people. It's
something that gives me joy and
satisfaction to know that I am helping the
"A lot of people would say that it is a long way to go from
being a judge
but I don't see it like that," Ben said.
"I just feel
like a normal person, a lawyer who is here to make a difference
and help as
many people as I can
"New Zealand has been a real place of healing for
me. With all the crisis
that I've been through, you really need a place to
heal and this country has
really provided that for me and my
Ben said New Zealand had been a welcome change after feeling the
of the oppressive Mugabe regime, which has been criticised by the
Nations for its horrific abuse of human rights.
is a great example of how democracy should be. The government
is not going
about killing and committing crimes," he said.
"There is a silent
genocide going on in Zimbabwe. There are horrendous
examples of killing and
violence every day. By comparison, New Zealand is a
And with the final round of elections taking place in Zimbabwe
Ben warned Mugabe would hold on to power at all costs.
believe he will lose the election very badly but he will announce his own
results. He will rig the elections," Ben said.
"There is no democracy
in Zimbabwe. Mugabe is just there to plunder his own
people and as we speak,
people are dying.
"If only the international community could assist
Zimbabwe in fighting to
get their country back.
international community moves in full force now, Zimbabwe will
be ruled by Mugabe's regime."
Despite his new-found love of New Zealand,
Paradza says he hopes one day to
be able to return to his
"If I was to go back to Zimbabwe right now, I would be a dead
man," he said.
"I want to go back home one day.
"I still have
family there and I want to talk and laugh with them. I think
that one day,
when Mugabe is gone, I will be able to return.
"While my conviction will
make it difficult, I know that a democratic
government will be able to see
that it is just a political conviction."
Robert Mugabe Wins Zimbabwe's Got
Robert Mugabe has won Zimbabwe's Got
Talent after controversially banning everyone else from entering the
Mr Mugabe also presented the show, acted
as the three judges, as well as perform with two spoons and a
Robert Mugabe also won Zimbabwe Idol in
January this year, Zimbabwe's Most Smartest Model in May and Big Bob Brother
earlier this month.
Ratings for the government controlled show
were 100%, a survey discovered that viewer satisfaction was