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Zimbabwe's Reign of Terror

New York Times


Published: June 5, 2008
In his cynical and bloody bid to hang on to power, Zimbabwe's president,
Robert Mugabe, has bet on the indifference of his neighbors and the rest of
the world. So far, shamefully, he has been right.

On Tuesday, three-and-a-half weeks before a runoff presidential election,
Mr. Mugabe's henchmen detained Morgan Tsvangirai, the popular opposition
leader and likely winner of the first round, for nine hours. That is only
the latest outrage.

International aid agencies reported this week that they had been ordered to
stop distributing food to hundreds of thousands of hungry Zimbabweans, at
least until the June 27 vote. Officials working for Mr. Mugabe claimed that
the aid groups were backing the opposition, but it is clear that the
government wants to further intimidate voters while reducing the number of
possible outside witnesses to its campaign of terror.

At least 50 people have been killed since March, when the first round of
voting took place, and thousands have been beaten, driven from their homes
or both. Still, the international community, and African leaders in
particular, have done nothing more than wring their hands.

The spectacle of Mr. Mugabe attending a United Nations food conference in
Rome this week as if he was just another world leader was especially
shameful. Mr. Mugabe used the conference to blame the West - again - for his
country's implosion.

The truth is that it is his own destructive 30-year rule that destroyed
commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe, frightened away foreign investment,
pushed inflation to more than 100,000 percent and made millions of people
dependent on foreign assistance.

Mr. Mugabe was not invited to a ceremonial leaders' dinner in Rome, and some
officials, including from the United States and Britain, refused to meet
with him. That may have assuaged some consciences. But it clearly had no
effect at all on Mr. Mugabe, who is a master at feeding racial resentments.
That is why African leaders urgently need to use all of their clout to halt
the reign of terror and ensure that Zimbabwe's elections are as free and as
fair as possible.

They need to demand freedom for Mr. Tsvangirai and others to campaign. They
need to send high-level envoys to warn Mr. Mugabe, his generals and other
cronies that they will pay a high, personal price - including frozen foreign
bank accounts and denied visas - if these abuses continue. (Mr. Mugabe is
unlikely to listen, but the rest may be more willing to recalculate their
loyalties.) And they need to blanket Zimbabwe with election monitors.

South Africa's president, Thabo Mbeki, has the most potential influence. But
Mr. Mbeki has abdicated his responsibility, so other African leaders must
take charge.

Until now, the United States has chosen a comparatively low-key role, rather
than feeding Mr. Mugabe's anti-Western rants. The time for low-key is past.
Washington should use its presidency of the United Nations Security Council
this month to rally international condemnation of Mr. Mugabe and forge a
plan that might have a chance of averting disaster in Zimbabwe.

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From Terror to Hunger

Washington Post

Robert Mugabe turns from beating the people of Zimbabwe to starving them.
Thursday, June 5, 2008; Page A18

IT'S BECOMING clear that there's nothing that Robert Mugabe will not do to
prevent the people of Zimbabwe from voting him out of the presidency -- and
very little that Zimbabwe's African neighbors or the United Nations will do
to stop him. The two phenomena are related: The more foreign governments
have dithered over Mr. Mugabe's violent repression since the March 29
election, the more blatant and brutal his actions have become.

The announcement of the presidential election result was delayed for more
than a month while the president's thugs rampaged through the countryside,
beating and torturing people suspected of supporting the opposition.
Authorities finally announced that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had
defeated Mr. Mugabe but had fallen short of a 50 percent majority. They
scheduled a runoff for June 27.

Since that announcement, the violence has escalated. The opposition Movement
for Democratic Change says that more than 50 of its members have been
murdered, including key activists who were abducted from their homes and
later found dead. Yesterday, Mr. Tsvangirai was arrested and held for
several hours before being charged with a spurious public order offense.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mugabe has returned to one of his favorite weapons: hunger.
According to a report in the New York Times, Mr. Mugabe's regime last week
ordered a number of nonprofit groups working in Zimbabwe to suspend their
operations until after the runoff vote. These include CARE, which feeds more
than 100,000 people in schools, orphanages and nursing homes; and Save the
Children, which said that it was unable to serve 60,000 children to whom it
was providing food, counseling and education. A U.N. official said that, in
all, millions of people had lost assistance.

The United Nations, which ought to be intervening to rescue Zimbabwe's
people, instead allowed Mr. Mugabe to cynically mock his victims. This week
the 84-year-old strongman used the occasion of a U.N. food conference to
skirt a European Union travel ban, check into a luxury hotel in Rome and
deliver a speech in which he accused the international aid groups of using
food to undermine the government -- a monstrous lie.

Zimbabwe's neighbors, beginning with South Africa, could stop this
humanitarian tragedy. Shamefully, they have failed to do so, largely because
lame-duck South African President Thabo Mbeki has dedicated himself to
protecting Mr. Mugabe. Consequently, Mr. Mbeki will share the responsibility
for the atrocities being committed in full view of the world -- the murders
and beatings, the blocking of food for orphaned children. Like Mr. Mugabe
himself, Mr. Mbeki deserves to be condemned and shunned by the democratic

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MDC fears more bloodshed in Mugabe's 'war zone'

ABC Australia

Posted 5 hours 24 minutes ago
Updated 5 hours 12 minutes ago

After several hours in custody overnight, Zimbabwe's Opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was released from detention this morning.

The longtime activist and politician was stopped along with his security
detail and other party officials over accusations that he had addressed a
rally without authorisation.

While he has been released without charge there are mounting concerns about
the intimidation of political activists campaigning against President Robert
Mugabe in the run-off election scheduled for the end of the month.

Mr Tsvangirai has described his eight-hour detention and the heavy
questioning by police as "the usual harassment".

But as Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) prepares for the
run-off election, the incident has political activists worried.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa says the arrests are part of a deliberate

"We are not scared at all. The issue is that we want to campaign, we demand
to campaign and so no amount of detention or any amount of, any attempts to
force the leader of the Opposition into some kind of fear is going to help
their situation," he said.

"We are obviously very upset at the moment."

Senior MDC party members were stopped by police at a roadblock just outside

Their arrest came shortly after a campaign rally where Mr Tsvangirai accused
President Mugabe of trying to turn Zimbabwe into a war zone.

Police said the gathering was unauthorised but Mr Tsvangirai's spokesman,
George Sibotshiwe, says the detention was illegal.

"We won the election on the 29th of March and we're going to win it on the
27th of June," he said.

"If Robert Mugabe is so popular then he has no reason to intimidate the
leadership of the Opposition, let alone intimidate the masses that are
willing to attend our rallies."

Mugabe under fire
Western governments have described the detentions as "disturbing" and
"completely unacceptable".

Those same governments are in the firing line with President Mugabe telling
the UN's Food Summit in Rome, the West is trying to bring about illegal
regime change in Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwean Government has now ordered charities to stop work, banning at
least one international aid group from operating in the country for
allegedly campaigning for the opposition.

Tiseke Kasambala, from Human Rights Watch, says the Government as used food
as an electoral bargaining chip.

"It seems increasingly likely that these suspensions are tied in with the
Government's attempts to take control of food distribution in the rural
areas and to use food as a political weapon," he said.

With the presidential run-off just weeks away, MDC party member and
opposition justice spokesperson David Coultart has told ABC NewsRadio
tensions are running high.

"The MDC has suffered the death, the murder of some 40 activists in the last
three weeks," he said.

"We've had well over 25,000 supporters displaced from their homes. We've had
homes burned down, we've had young activists abducted and found brutally
murdered. "

Mr Coultart says there seems to be a "fairly systematic campaign" to arrest
leading opposition figures, culminating in the arrest of Mr Tsvangirai.

"This is a very troublesome development," he said.

"What we need urgently is the deployment of international observers into the
country because we believe that if there are international observers, Robert
Mugabe may get on to better behaviour."

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Harare diary: Jingles ring hollow

00:49 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 01:49 UK

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe adresses a speech during three-day summit on food security at UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome on June 3,

Esther (not her real name), 28, a professional living and working in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, is writing a regular diary on the challenges of leading a normal life.

Zimbabwe is suffering from an acute economic crisis. The country has the world's highest rate of annual inflation and just one in five has an official job.

I watched excerpts of President Robert Mugabe's speech at the United Nations food summit in Rome.

We all know he hates 'Britain and its allies' with a passion, but I really did not expect him to launch such an attack at a forum called to discuss soaring food prices.

It was a bit embarrassing to watch to be honest.

But then again what could he do? It is his first such public appearance since losing parliamentary, council, senatorial and presidential elections.

He had to save face somehow, and that was his way of doing it.

Back home, college students at a certain teachers' college have been asked to bring their own food supplies to stock up the institution's kitchen.

Campaign poster of Robert Mugabe
Campaign jingles are back, but only for Zanu-PF

I saw a list from a student sent to their guardian - specific quantities of maize meal, sugar, salt and cooking oil, all of which are almost exclusively available on the black market.

One does not hear people talking politics that much in public these days, I guess we have all seen the pictures of victims of violence from the rural areas, and no-one wants to end up like that.

No ordinary person that is - broadcasting your political views has once again become the preserve of activists.

Campaign jingles are back on air, only this time Zanu-PF ones only.

Rumour has it the government has declared that no opposition MDC campaign material will be broadcast in state media - print or electronic.

I am not sure where people heard this, but it certainly seems true.

The jingles I have heard on radio are all for the ruling party and I have seen a number of Mugabe's posters in the state newspaper, but none of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

For the 29 March election, I remember marvelling at the fact that state media were broadcasting MDC material.

Maybe they think that had a lot to do with the opposition victory.

The atmosphere is different from last time - there is no excitement.

Maybe it is just that we are not talking about how we are going to vote.

Or maybe it is because the official inflation rate has hit 165,000 and we can all feel it.

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US calls on SA to avert a Zimbabwe tragedy


June 05, 2008, 08:15

Manelisi Dubase
The US government says it is about time that South Africa used its political
leverage to avert what Washington calls an unfolding tragedy in neighbouring

The US media has widely reported on the detention of opposition leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai. The Bush Administration was particularly disturbed by the
fact that Tsvangirai was detained while he was campaigning. The State
Department says the administration has done what it could under the
circumstances, but it needs partners to succeed.

State Department Spokesperson, Sean McCormack says: "The reality is that
this government and the leadership of South Africa is uniquely positioned to
go to president Robert Mugabe and the leadership there to encourage some to
change their behavior. That isn't to say South Africa is alone in having
leverage with Zimbabwe but they are in a unique position."

The State Department also described the suspension of the activities of aid
groups that are feeding thousands of poor Zimbabweans as disturbing. One of
those, Care International, is accused of meddling in Zimbabwean politics.
But the group denies the allegations.

The World Food Organisation says some four million Zimbabweans, a third of
the population, will need food aid this year. That country's inflation is
believed to be above 1 million%.

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Zimbabwe introduces 24-hour roadblock ahead of presidential run-off

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 05:59
BULAWAYO - Police in Zimbabwe have introduced 24-hour roadblocks ahead
of the June 27 presidential run-off election pitting President Robert Mugabe
against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The roadblocks are mounted on all major roads leading into the
country's towns and cities.
The police check vehicles and vet passengers, in what is believed to
be an exercise to net opposition politics activists, following numerous
arrests in recent weeks of MDC supporters.
Joshua Mhambi, who was part of Simba Makoni presidential bid team,
said there was something fishy about the roadblocks.
"They are nothing but a witch hunting affair because they have
realised that people that ZANU-PF deem a threat or nuisance to their stay in
power travel at odd hours to avoid being abducted.
"As a matter of fact, Dumiso Dabengwa (Makoni supporter, former
military commander of ZIPRA and cabinet minister) was stopped on his way
from Lupane to Bulawayo at these roadblocks.
"They asked him to report to their command centre and he simply told
them that anyone looking for him knows where to find him," said Mhambi.
Lupane is situated some 200 kilometres north of Zimbabwe's second
largest city, Bulawayo, on the highway to Victoria Falls.
Dabengwa confirmed to CAJ News on Wednesday that he was stopped by the
police at one of the roadblocks on the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo highway.
"I was stopped by policeman at a roadblock and they asked me
unnecessary questions like where I was coming from," said the former ZIPRA
intelligence chief.
"We are just being extra cautious about people's security because
there is a lot of criminal activities that happen at night," said
Mandlenkosi Moyo the police spokesman.
"Yes these are trying times in Zimbabwe but we do not use it as an
excuse. We are just being a vigilant police force," he added.
Closes sources within the security service revealed that the setting
up of roadblocks were meant to sniff out suspected foreigners, mainly whites
from the European Union (EU), foreign journalists and other individuals
viewed to be anti-president Mugabe and Zanu (PF).
Most roadblocks are being mounted by both soldiers and police, who
will be heavily armed in the case of any eventuality.
"In the just ended March 29 harmonised elections, we discovered that
foreign journalists sneaked into the country posing as tourists, and this
time around, we will sniff them out," said one lieutenant in Hwange's 12th
Infantry Battalion--CAJ News.

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Operation market closedown

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:03
NORTON - Zanu (PF) has launched a terror campaign code named
'Operation Misika Ngaivharwe' (Operation Market Closedown) in which vendors
at all market stalls here have to first prove allegiance to Zanu (PF).
Only Zanu (PF) members will be allowed to operate market stalls in the
The Zimbabwean heard that the operation is aimed at flushing out
'enemies' or MDC supporters from the area.  It was launched on May 20, with
Zanu (PF) thugs let loose on an unsuspecting electorate. The operation is
mainly targeted at those selling basic commodities such as bread and cooking
oil. The Zimbabwean heard that the operation has spread to Katanga Shopping.
On May 21, the militia reportedly shut down all market stalls demanding
proof from the vendors that they were Zanu (PF) supporters.
On May 22, the youth militia and a few war veterans announced that
they would be vetting all vendors.
"Conditions set to permit traders into the market place included
affiliation with the ruling party Zanu (PF).  The whole exercise is aimed at
identifying all MDC supporters who did not attend Zanu (PF) meetings before
and after elections," a representative from Zimbabwe Peace Project said.
A local Zanu (PF) councillor who lost the March 29 poll is reported to
have stated that it was unacceptable for MDC supporters to continue using
Zanu (PF) market stalls.

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Propaganda - just downright lies

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:02
HARARE - Robert Mugabe's embattled regime is stepping up a propaganda
offensive with a barrage of highly creative stories in the State media and
downright lies ahead of the crunch June 27 presidential election run-off.
The papers are desperate to convince people that if they are hungry it
is not because the seizures of commercial farms have dealt a devastating
blow to food production, it's because of sanctions, which in truth are
nothing more than a travel ban on Mugabe and his cronies.
They claim that the State-sponsored political violence is all the
fault of the MDC, even though it is the MDC's supporters who end up dead or
in hospital.
But the core of the propaganda is to portray the June 27 presidential
election run off as a "titanic fight" to maintain Zimbabwe's independence in
the face of British attempts to recolonise it.
One State newspaper calls the election a "do or die tussle" between
Mugabe and Great Britain, never mind that the opinion polls show that most
people are more worried about inflation, food shortages and unemployment.
Everywhere there are reminders of the liberation war. Music videos,
popular for their suggestive dancing, have been replaced by "war songs" and
grainy film of the struggle for independence.
The prime time slot on ZTV is now dominated by Zanu (PF) propaganda
programmes such as Dzimbahwe, Ndangariro Dzehondo, Chimurenga Music and
Melting Pot, programmes aimed at whipping up nationalist indignation. Its as
if the MDC does not exist.
Chimurenga Music is a musical on State TV that is currently being
dominated by Hosiah Chipanga's hero-worshipping song, Gushungo, which
absolves Mugabe for vandalizing Zimbabwe's economy, blaming instead his
"VaMugabe vane munyama, Kupiwa mhosva isiri yavo, Mapurazi mashanu
mashanu, wakanga watumwa nani? Mabarwe kupiwa wotengesa, wakanga watumwa
nani?" sings Chipanga in the song extolling the virtues of the embattled
Other programmes typically feature known sycophantic pro-Zanu (PF)
panelists such as media analyst Tafataona Mahoso, Claude Mararike who
teaches sociology at the University of Zimbabwe, Vimbai Chivaura, who
lectures English and Sheunesu Mupepereki of the Department of Soil Science
at the UZ.
Once in a while, MDC panellists are invited but their contributions
are repeatedly  interrupted by the moderator.
On the other hand, State papers are conjuring up conspiracy theories
and claim that if Mugabe wins the run off, Britain is planning to use its
bases in Botswana from which its army can invade Zimbabwe.
"The MDC has requested British military intervention if it loses the
election and many right-thinking Zimbabweans are worried to the bone," the
Sunday Mail says, claiming that Mugabe is, of course, more than up to the
task of leading the fight, even at 84.
"He has since independence turned the people of Zimbabwe into an anvil
upon which British imperial perfidy has painfully knocked its head in
repeated failures," the paper declares.

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Steal an ID - steal a vote

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:02
MVUMA - The villagers of Mvuma have just experienced electioneering
Robert Mugabe-style, with at least two houses burnt to cinder by marauding
youth militia and war veterans and several MDC activists threatened with
The trauma of being invaded by a violent, marauding militia is stamped
on the faces of those who did not run from the Zimbabwean leader's special
brand of political intimidation.
They sit listlessly on the dusty ground, staring at the few cracked
plates and burnt mattresses that remain in front of their charred huts.
"I threw a birthday party here and they came for me saying I was
celebrating the MDC's victory in elections," said CM, the son of a former
Zanu (PF) in the area, who declined to have his name published. "They burnt
my home and then tried to burn me alive.  Now I have nothing."
CM was sitting in his house when the youths struck last Sunday
"I know they were Zanu," he says, referring to the pro-Mugabe party.
"I saw their T-shirts and hats."
He ran to the bush and watched as they poured three gallons of petrol
and paraffin over the thatched hut he has lived in for years.
But the most important thing CM lost - as did most of the villagers -
was his ID card, making it impossible for him to vote in the June 27
presidential election run off.
It is a frequent ploy of Zanu (PF) thugs.
"In the run-up to the election, IDs are deliberately stolen," says
Jacob Mafume of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a human rights organisation in
Harare. "In Zimbabwe, to steal an ID is to steal a vote."
such intimidation is not new in this part of Midlands: in the 1980s
20,000 died at the hands of Mugabe thugs. It worked then and it has worked
again. Although most people are too frightened to talk about their political
affiliation - the goal of the pro-Mugabe militias - the village was believed
to sympathise with the MDC.
Before the attack 2,600 people lived here, most of whom would have
voted MDC.
Now, there are a handful of brave ones left, the rest are cowering in
an empty school down the dirt road, plastered with posters of Robert
Mugabe's face.
"War veterans were commanding the militias," says Almon Moyo, a local
grassroots MDC district official. "One of them pointed out the houses where
the strongest opposition leaders lived."
The destruction of CM's home happened quickly. The people heard the
militias before they saw them: crashing through the bush, chanting and
singing Zanu (PF) songs.
By the time they saw them, wearing caps and T-shirts emblazoned with
Mugabe's face and raised fists, it was too late. The attackers were carrying
whips and small axes.
The villagers who could run did so, quickly, into the bushes and hid,
holding their children. The old or sick or handicapped were left behind to
fend for themselves: a mentally ill man was hit with an axe, an older woman
had her skull gashed. Another man was tortured for three hours for not
producing an ID card.
The militias, according to witnesses, were mainly composed of "Green
Bombers", the Zanu (PF) youth wing, who are training in 150 camps throughout
the country.
desperate teenagers who have been promised jobs if Mugabe wins, they
are schooled in Zanu (PF) propaganda and the techniques of how
to intimidate and torture opponents.
Witnesses say nearly 100 militia men who came out of the bushes in two
groups. As they descended on the village, they began to smash and burn
everything in their path.
The police say there had been a "clash" in the village. Five youths
were later picked up in connection with the burnings, but all were MDC youth
members who claimed they were nowhere in the area. They were later released
on bail.
"After the police picked them up, they came here and accused the
villagers of burning down their own people," said Michael, a local MDC
official. "How could we burn our own?"
the MDC, to many of these farmers and menial workers, signalled a
change, a release from the oppression of life under Robert Mugabe which
offered them virtually nothing.
Maggie Moyo does not know why the militias came, "other than to kill",
but she still raises her arm in the open-hand MDC victory sign and tries to
They burned my ID card and my birth certificate,"  she says,"so how
can I vote? But I still love the MDC. If we don't have them in the
government, how will my children ever work? Without them, all they will do
is herd donkeys."
According to human rights group, Zimbabwe Peace Project, the violence
in Mvuma was sparked by a Zanu (PF) meeting held in the area on May 25 where
war veterans called for "the  flushing out of enemy infiltrators."

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Regime hell-bent on stealing elections, says COSATU

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:07
The Congress of South African Trade Unions has condemned the arrest of
Arthur Mutambara, leader of a faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), on a charge of writing a derogatory article about President Robert
"The mere fact that 'writing a derogatory article' about your
electoral opponent is defined as a chargeable offence, together with the
charging of the editor of The Standard, in which the article appeared, with
'publishing falsehoods', prove how far from free and fair the environment
is," said a statement from the Congress.
"The federation repeats its view that what is happening in Zimbabwe is
a brutal onslaught from a regime that is hell-bent on stealing the
elections, clinging to power and imposing its will through violence.
Mugabe's 'government' has been illegal since its term of office expired at
the end of March when the people voted and COSATU again calls on the
governments of Africa to refuse to recognise this illegal despot."

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Election staff undeterred by run-off threats

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:55
Head of teaching union says threat of violence won't dissuade members
from serving as polling officers.
BULAWAYO - A teachers' union has vowed to play an active role in the
upcoming presidential run-off, despite continued assaults on its members by
ZANU (PF) supporters.
Enock Paradzai, an official with the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe, PTUZ, representing about 13,000 teachers, said that members would
not be deterred from acting as polling officers in the second round, in
spite of the crackdown against them since the March 29 elections.
The union representative - who is currently fighting for a salary
increase for teachers - also said it was important that the organisation's
members vote in the June 27 election if democracy was to triumph.
ZANU (PF) accused teachers - who were the main polling officers during
the elections - of having fiddled the results and of encouraging villagers
to vote for the MDC.
Robert Mugabe's loyalists have also accused teachers of informing
rural people that the hardships they are suffering are a direct result of
ZANU (PF)'s flawed economic policies.
s a result, members of the profession appear to have been high on the
hit list of ruling party activists in rural areas.The union says that
countrywide political violence has claimed the lives of a number of its
members and thousands across the country have failed to report for work,
fearing attacks.
Paradzai said the union's members were in defiant mood.
"We are still hunted down, but even if the harassment continues, this
will not stop us from participating as polling officers," he said.
But, he said, if the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, ZEC, sends those
teachers who volunteer to be polling officers to serve in faraway districts
where they are not registered to vote, they should not go.
"We are telling our members that if they are deployed [to serve as
polling officers] outside the constituencies where they are registered, they
must opt out and remain where they will be able to vote [in the run-off],"
he said.
"Every vote counts. We cannot allow this to continue unabated. Voting
is more important than the allowances teachers will get from the voting
exercise," continued Paradzai.
While Zimbabwe's education sector was once celebrated for the high
standards that gave the country one of the best literacy rates in the world,
in recent years it has been hit by a massive skills flight, as teachers
leave in droves to seek work in neighbouring countries.
Previous increases in teachers' salaries have been followed by massive
price hikes, rendering them useless. Poverty in the profession has led to
some teachers trying to augment their salaries by selling items, such as
sweets to their pupils, drawing complaints from parents, who accuse the
teachers of neglecting their core duty to provide education.
PTUZ says the country's volatile political landscape has also affected
the traditional mid-year public examinations, which offer candidates the
opportunity to sit for their papers early rather than wait until the end of
the year.
although the education authorities are yet to announce the dates for
the June examinations, Paradzai said that if teachers in rural areas
continued to be hunted down by government supporters, the exams were
unlikely to be held this year.
"It is totally unbearable. Even if the dates are set, where will the
teachers come from, as they are fleeing the rural areas?" he said.
This week, one secondary-school headmaster - who is one of many
professionals turned into a pauper by the economic meltdown - joined hordes
of people who walk to work in the face of prohibitive transport costs. -

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Human rights and ongoing abuses in Zimbabwe and South Africa

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:59
BY Edwin T Kamanda
This paper seeks to shed light on some of the major pronunciations as
contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with special emphasis
on the significance of the legislation to the ongoing abuses in Zimbabwe and
South Africa.
The touchstone for human rights development policy, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the General Assembly of
the United Nations on 10 December 1948, opens thus: "It is essential, if a
man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion
against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the
Therefore, the ongoing torture and oppression of innocent Zimbabweans
is grossly unjust. Both governments of Zimbabwe and South Africa are obliged
by national and international law to ensure that human rights are protected
by the rule of law. The protection of human rights in Zimbabwe and South
Africa will effectively prevent the ongoing crises from spilling into
political chaos.
In article 7, the rule of law is defined as equality before the law,
including, 'without any discrimination', equal protection of the law. The
implication is that no one is above or exempt from the law. The general
public, political parties, ethnic groups, the government- all must see
themselves as equally subject to the law if they break it. The ongoing
violence being perpetrated by political gangs in Zimbabwe does not augur
well with article 7. The rule of law dictates that the state should use its
formidable powers according to the law and in an accountable way. No one may
break the law with impunity or impurity. As George Orwell has ruled in
Animal Farm, 'No-one is more equal than others'
Article 5 agitates for everyone's right to liberty and security of
person, "No one shall be subjected to torture, to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment" The cruel torture and inhuman treatment
of immigrants in South Africa and villagers in Zimbabwe is a case in point
as it is in serious breach of the Declaration.
Article 19 unequivocally states that everyone has the right to freedom
of opinion and expression. The rights include freedom to hold opinions
without interference and to seek, receive and input information and ideas
through any media and regardless of frontiers. In Zimbabwe, the government
should allow individuals and political parties to express their opinions
freely. State censorship of independent media and the incarceration of
journalists, civic and political leaders is a serious breach of Article 19.
In Article 20 it is categorically spelt that, " everyone has the right
to freedom of peaceful assembly and association and no one may be compelled
to belong to an association". Political parties in Zimbabwe should be
allowed to prosecute their campaigns freely in a peaceful and democratic
environment. Zimbabwean citizens must not be forced to join any political
party and must not be punished for aligning themselves with any political
However, respect for human rights and equal rights of all persons
starts not from law, but from personal, moral and professional values. The
most employed principle behind human rights is the 'respect for persons'. As
a moral principle, 'respect for persons' is derived from Kant's moral
principle of the categorical imperative. One of the best-known formulations
of Kant's principles is:
"Act in such a way that you always treat humanity in your own person
or in the person of any other, never simply as a means but always at the
same time as an end". We are all endowed with reason and conscience and
should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. To start with,
Zimbabweans need to develop a spirit of brotherhood/sisterhood towards one
another and South Africans need to develop a spirit of
brotherhood/sisterhood with the rest of Africa.
Edwin T. Kamanda MDC Secretary for Stoke and Crewe in the UK

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Tsvangirai mobbed by his supporters on tour

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:06
Business came to a stop in the high-density suburbs of the city this
week, as MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai made a surprise visit.
Tsvangirai told those he met to go and vote to "finish off" Robert
Mugabe and Zanu (PF), whom he accused of destroying the country.
Also on the 'meet the people' tour was MDC Vice-President Thokozani
Khupe, Chairman Lovemore Moyo and all newly elected MPs and senators from
the province.
He began his visit in Makokoba at the main vegetable market, before
moving to Mzilikazi suburb, where he mingled with residents outside
MacDonald Hall. He then went on to Entumbane bus terminus, and Luveve,
Magwegwe, Pelandaba, Nkulumane, Enganwini and Nketa suburbs.
At Nkulumane Shopping Mall, Tsvangirai was mobbed by a large crowd
chanting "President".
We need a new Zimbabwe. We will vote for change and you should know
that Bulawayo will vote for you, President Tsvangirai," said a vendor who
had abandoned her vegetable table to greet Tsvangirai.
Thokozani Khuphe said the tours would continue nationwide.
"Since we are being stopped from addressing rallies, this is the best
we can do," said Khuphe.
The MDC was barred by police from holding rallies in Victoria Falls
and Hwange over the weekend.

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No justification for this mess - Tsvangirai

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:54
Zimbabwe's president-in-waiting Morgan Tsvangirai has ruled out any
prospects of a blanket amnesty for suspected perpetrators of post election
In a self-styled state of the nation address to MDC parliamentarians,
councillors and the civil society, Tsvangirai said his government would not
release any suspects detained over the post-poll violence, which has killed
50 so far and left another 20,000 internally displaced.
"The violence that is taking place must stop," Tsvangirai said. "There
will be no tolerance or amnesty for those who torture or injure or kill
other citizens. Zimbabweans who are attacking other Zimbabweans must cease
and desist now."
Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was now an "unmitigated embarrassment to the
African continent".
"The state of our nation is actually beyond embarrassment, it is
tragic - the world's highest inflation, 80 percent unemployment, education
that has plummeted from the best in the Africa to one of the worst and a
health care system that has dire shortages of doctors, nurses, medicine,
beds and blankets," Tsvangirai said.  "The State of our Nation today is a
State of Despair."
Tsvangirai said there could be no justification for the mess in the
country, which was regarded as a post-colonial role model in the first few
years after independence from Britain in 1980.
"We are a rich country with natural resources. We have the resources
to attract foreign investors," said Tsvangirai
He said he was launching a Restore Hope Campaign that will launch what
he termed a "Third Republic".
"The Third Republic is the next generation of African leaders
underpinned by the values of love, tolerance, rule of law and
constitutionalism," Tsvangirai said. "The Third Republic is a
post-liberation transformation - a consolidation and entrenchment of
democratic values and institutions. The Third Republic is the New Zimbabwe."
Tsvangirai promised an MDC government would urgently promote national
healing, restore the people's freedoms, dignity and basic services, and
restore Zimbabwe to the family of nations.
He faces Robert Mugabe is presidential election run off on June 27
after falling short of an outright majority that could have enabled him to
form the next government.
Tsvangirai said if elected to power, his priority would be on turning
around the economy. He said his government would halt and reverse the
country's shrinking economic output, address hyperinflation, and
rehabilitate the industrial base to create jobs and expand the tax base.

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Soaring healthcare costs prove fatal

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:56
Sick left to die because they can't afford spiralling cost of medical
'Zimbabwe has been turned into a dying nation'
HARARE - the hardships of day-to-day life in Zimbabwe's capital, along
with the difficulties associated with being a single mother of two, are
wearing heavily on Rutendo Ndoro, 39.
Her blood pressure stood at 182/110, requiring immediate medical
attention. However, before she could even have the simple check at the
clinic, she was asked to pay an exorbitant fee that amounted to almost all
her savings.
Ndoro is self-employed, which means she does anything that comes her
way - whether buying and selling goods in the market or cross-border
At the clinic, the nurse told her that uncontrolled hypertension, or
high blood pressure - commonly referred to as "the silent killer" because
there are usually no symptoms - could result in organ damage, heart disease,
stroke, heart attack and even death.
Ndoro thought of her two children, aged five and seven, and how life
would be for them if she died. Since her divorce, she had been their sole
Ndoro's situation, according health workers, is common throughout the
country, where poor living conditions are leaving people susceptible to
illness, particularly stress-related conditions such as hypertension.
When more than 80 per cent of the population survives on less than one
US dollar a day, the soaring cost of medical care means the sick are
struggling to pay for treatment.
For Zimbabweans, the economic crunch is affecting every facet of life.
Since Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono introduced a series of new bearer
cheques in large denominations recently, the prices of basic commodities and
transport costs have gone up by more than 200 per cent and continue to rise
every week.
The economy has shrunk to 1950s levels - unemployment is estimated at
more than 85 per cent, and hunger is chronic in many areas.
The cost of medicine doubles or trebles every week. Medical officials
have announced that they have only a few weeks' supply left of lifesaving
antiretroviral drugs for the 20,000 AIDS patients who receive them as part
of a government health programme.
Tens of thousands of other victims of the HIV virus are dying quietly
in their homes without any access to drugs.
Although statistics show about 4,000 people die of AIDS every week
nationwide, these are mainly people who pass away while in hospitals, and
the deaths of those in remote areas go unrecorded.
"We are overwhelmed these days," said an undertaker. "Some of the
people dying are dying not because their time is up and also not because
their illnesses are not easily treatable, but because of high costs of drugs
and health care generally.
"They are dying at home without treatment. People are dying from
stress-related illnesses. It is so sad that Zimbabwe has been turned into a
dying nation." - IWPR

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Flea market operators fear racist attack

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:08
FLea market operators says their businesses face collapse because of a
wave of xenophobic attacks in neighbouring South Africa.
perators say they can no longer travel to the country to restock their
goods for fear of being caught up in the anti-immigrant violence.
Margaret Dlomo, a 43-year-old widow, has been able to feed and send
her three children to school through flea market trade in Bulawayo.
Dlomo buys children's toys, cellphones, clothes and shoes in South
Africa for resale at Bulawayo's biggest flea market, Unity Village.
"I used to travel to South Africa every month end," said Dlomo. "I
cannot take the risk to travel to that country. I might lose my life and the
goods I would have bought and I have no option but to close my flea market
stand as I cannot restock."
With Zimbabwe's unemployment rate estimated at 80 per cent, many
Zimbabweans survive on cross-border trade.
Ishmael Moyo, another trader said: "Clients had paid and are on my
back for their goods that I have failed to deliver for the past two weeks as
I cannot risk travelling to South Africa," said 35-year-old Moyo, who
imports computer accessories.
Clemence Marufu, the Chairman of Cross Border Traders Forum of
Zimbabwe (CBTFZ) said xenophobic attacks in South Africa had had an impact.
"The crisis in the country and in South Africa will see flea market
trade totally collapsing this time. According to our survey, there are now
many empty flea market stands because of failure to restock and many are
going to follow suit," warned Marufu.

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Journalists warn of more media repression

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:08
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has said it is
afraid there will be more repression of the media ahead of the June 27
election, after attacks on media workers and the arrest of three South
African men accused of transporting broadcasting equipment.
"We condemn these attacks and President Mugabe should understand that
media will find a way to report on events in the country and that the
restrictions should be dropped," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ
Africa Office.
The three South Africans, Bennet Hassen Sono, Resemate Chauke and
Simon Maodi, were arrested in a village close to Bulawayo. The
broadcasting equipment labeled 'Sky News' included satellite dishes,
transmitters, telephone handsets, audio and videotapes, laptops, computers
and discs.
According to sources, the men said they did not know the content of
the boxes and were told to carry the equipment from Bulawayo to South
They are accused of contravening provisions of the Post and
Telecommunications Act for "being in possession of equipment believed to be
used for broadcasting without a licence" and contravening a Section of the
Immigration Act.
The police also arrested a Zimbabwean, Craig Edy, over allegations of
having stored the equipment in his factory.

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Women of Zimbabwe detained after saying Mugabe lost elections

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:53
WOZASolidarity can now confirm that the 14 WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe
Arise) members arrested in Harare on Wednesday were brought to court on
Friday charged with activity likely to cause public disorder. Founder member
Jenni Williams was also charged with causing disaffection among the police
and publishing false information. They were granted bail by the magistrate,
but the state appealed and they have been remanded in custody until June
6th.  We understand they are being held at Harare Remand Prison.
WOZA is determined to neutralize fear as a weapon.  They were the
first to take to the streets after the March 29 election, calling on the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to release the result of the presidential
election forthwith. On May 5 several hundred WOZA members staged a Mothers
day protest against politically motivated violence. 11 WOZA and MOZA (Men of
Zimbabwe Arise) members were arrested and 59 were injured, either by police
baton sticks or by a police vehicle which drove into the crowd. On May 19 a
follow up demonstration in Harare was cancelled at the last moment for
security reasons.

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SA xenophobia affects cross-border traders

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:53
A wave of xenophobic attacks in neighbouring South Africa has impacted
negatively on cross-border trade business in Zimbabwe. Flea market operators
say their businesses are facing total collapse as they can't travel to South
Africa to restock their goods for fear of being caught up in the
anti-immigrant violence.

Margaret Dlomo, a 43 year old widow, has been able to feed and send
her three children to school through flea market trade business in Bulawayo.
Dlomo buys different goods such as children's toys, cellphones, clothes and
shoes from South Africa for resale at Bulawayo's biggest flea market, Unity
Village. After the anti-immigrant attacks broke out, Dlomo says she has not
been able to travel to South Africa to restock her goods for resale.

"I cannot take the risk to travel to that country. I might lose my
life and the goods I would have bought and I have no option but to close my
flea market stand as I cannot restock," a distraught Dlomo said.

South Africa remains a destination of choice for many Africans fleeing
poverty and lack of unemployment in their countries. It is estimated that
over two to three million Zimbabweans have been driven to South Africa by
the unprecedented economic decline.  Most Zimbabweans remaining in the
country survive on cross border trade business. Clemence Marufu, the
chairman of Cross Border Traders Forum of  Zimbabwe (CBTFZ) said xenophobic
attacks in South Africa have impacted negatively on cross border trade
business. "Businesses of our members have been dealt a severe blow since the
xenophobic attacks broke out as they cannot travel to buy goods from that
country for resale in Zimbabwe. According to our survey, there are now many
empty flea market stands because of failure to restock and many are going to
follow suit," Marufu noted. Zimbabwe, once one of Africa's thriving
economies, is on the verge of total collapse. Analysts say Zimbabwe's
economic meltdown began in 2000 when Mugabe led former freedom fighters in
the seizure of white owned commercial farms for redistribution to landless
blacks. Agriculture was Zimbabwe's backbone of the economy. However after
the chaotic and violent seizure of white farms, production and agricultural
exports plummeted to low levels resulting in the country facing yearly food
shortage.       Callisto Jokonya, the president of the Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said, "Business people face a high risk if they
travel to that country to purchase goods for restocking or to either conduct
business. Business people have started counting the costs of the xenophobic

Most of Zimbabwe's industries and businesses have recorded a slide in
production output owing to the harsh economic climate mirrored by high
inflation which is officially standing at over 300 000 percent. The
government has compounded the situation by maintaining a tight lid on

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Let conscience be my guide

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 07:04
'If we rigged the elections I could not live with my conscience.' So
spoke Robert Mugabe on the day of the elections, March 29. One might comment
that he seems to have had little difficulty living with his conscience since
that date while vigorously engineering the result he wants in the run-off in
late June. However the question of conscience remains a pivotal issue in a
society like ours where people trample on their conscience with ease. How
else can you explain the way soldiers and police 'bash' ordinary citizens
who try to exercise the choice they won in the bitter struggle of the 1970s?
Conscience competes in modern society generally with what we call
personal autonomy. In fact it has, in the words of a commentator in the
Tablet, a British Catholic weekly, 'been almost completely eclipsed by
belief' in this autonomy. In other words, people do not dig very far within
themselves to discover what is right and what is wrong. They get stuck at
the point of asking 'what is good for me now.' They do not consider what the
implications of this action will be for them in the future or what effects
they will have on their family, leave alone their country. So we choose
short-term solutions, which bring instant gratification but which in the
long term bring dire consequences.
There is a scene in the play about Sir Thomas More, Chancellor of
England, who goes to the scaffold because of his conscience in the reign of
King Henry VIII. The prosecutor in his trial is shown trying to bully a
witness into perjury; making him swear he had seen Sir Thomas do something
that he clearly had not done. The witness resists for some time but then
gives in to the pressure and the enticements and the prosecutor says,
'there, that wasn't too difficult was it? It will be easier next time.' And
it is easier next time. Once we begin to quieten our conscience and ignore
it it becomes habitual. We have people in our country who have so suppressed
their conscience that they act as though they do not have one at all.
 WHat our troubled time (since say 2000) has bequeathed to us is a
quietened collective conscience, where corruption, cruelty and greed have
taken over from personal responsibility for moral decisions. To return to
the Tablet commentator, 'the question we never quite answer, week after
week, is how do we, as human beings and members of society, reach moral
decisions.' It is a question for us today in Zimbabwe. Until we can answer
it with some confidence we are likely to continue, no matter who is in
government, with unease.

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Who is indigenous?

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:55
I was intrigued by the implications of a report in the Herald of
December 20 last:
Chinese steel giant snaps up 67pc stake in Zimasco A Chinese company,
Sinosteel Corporation, has acquired 67% stake in Zimbabwe's leading
ferrochrome producer and exporter Zimasco Holdings for an undisclosed
amount, becoming the majority shareholder.  The deal is yet another show of
foreign investors' confidence in the country's economy despite the current
challenges and misconceptions about the Government's indigenisation policy.
Now who has misconceptions about the then government's indigenisation
I thought indigenisation' meant 'making indigenous' and 'indigenous',
according to my dictionary: 'aboriginal, local, national, native' - but not
here in Zimbabwe, it seems.
That wasn't an isolated example. The Herald reported on March 18:
IDC repays US$2,8m to Chinese Eximbank THE Industrial Development
Corporation has so far managed to repay about US$2,8 million of the US$17,9
million owed to the Chinese Eximbank. The loan was used to fund construction
of the SinoZimbabwe Cement Plant in 1997. . . . . . . .
IDC holds a 35% stake in the Cement Company with the other 65% stake
belonging to the Chinese Building and Material Company.
We have here plenty of disciples of the man who said 'when I use a
word, it means precisely what I want it to mean, no more and no less.' If
they want indigenous to include those well-known Zimbabwean commercial
farmers Mbingu wa Mutharika and Mengistu Haile Mariam they do, but not my
impeccably Shona old friend Nhamo, also a Zimbabwean commercial farmer.
Maybe Nhamo (not his real name, for obvious reasons) didn't qualify because
he bought his farm instead of waiting for ZANU (PF) to give him one. Maybe
he didn't have a party card. I don't know, but he was so busy farming he
might not have had time to attend to trivialities like that.
At one time I was amused to hear a Ghanaian business man called
'indigenous', but it isn't so funny when farm workers, with their wives,
children and grandchildren are driven from the farms where they were born
because they are 'foreign'.
Naybe in the last case, the deciding factor was not where they were
born, not the colour of their skin, but the colour of their money and of
their party card.  The Ghanaian presumably had a nice fat bank account and,
since he had friends in ZANU (PF), he might have had the required card. A
farm worker, on the other hand, can't afford a bank account and nobody
thought of selling him a party card until people were being expelled from
their houses and beaten to a pulp for not having those funny bits of paper.
And can companies be indigenous, even if they are based on another
continent (as long as it isn't Europe or north America) and their owners
don't have black skins (as long as they aren't white)?
Or is 'indigenisation' just the assertion of a local chef's right to
give the people's assets to any foreign patron he likes? Was agreeing to the
Rudd Concession an example of Lobengula's indigenisation policy?

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We are Zanu mafia - attackers tell driver

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 05 June 2008 06:45

Why did "car-jackers" burn the truck they were supposed to steal?

Zimbabwean police are keeping a lid on the investigations of the
torching of 60,000 copies of the Africa Day edition of The Zimbabwean on
Sunday by armed gunmen, but investigations have confirmed that the attack
was politically motivated.
Information that has come to light indicates that the operation was
carried out by the counter intelligence division of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) headed by Lt Col Hokoyo.
"We are the Mafia of Zanu (PF)," one of the gunmen who appeared to be
directing the operation told Kancheta.
Nothing has been communicated to The Zimbabwean (Pvt) Ltd on the
extent or status of the investigations so far by the police. The company
reported the case on May 25 to the Mashava Police Station at 07:30hrs under
crime register number 35/05/2008.
It is now two weeks since eight heavily armed gunmen hijacked a truck
carrying 60,000 copies of our sister newspaper and burnt the truck and its
contents before assaulting the driver Christmas Ramabulana and his assistant
Tapfumaneyi Kancheta.
Police in Mashava declined to comment on the police investigations
saying they would not be providing any official comment.
Efforts to obtain comment from national police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena were also futile.
According to the crime register, police have conveniently recorded the
case as "car jacking" and classified the gunmen as "armed robbers."
It remains unclear why a case, which has been classified jointly under
armed robbery and car jacking is being handled by the CID Law and Order
division in Masvingo.
The investigating officer is Detective Assistant Inspector Nyoni.
The crime register says: "On his way on arrival (sic) at Ngundu
Business Centre some armed robbers approached them and hijacked the truck
from Ngundu Business Centre to Madamombe area which falls under Mashava
police area of policing. Upon arrival at this area the car-jackers burnt the
vehicle with all the property inside the vehicle which included the
following important documents:-
i) Passport Zimbabwean for Kancheta Tapfumaneyi.
ii) Three registration books for LDVs Panelvan and the invoice," says
the register.
It is unclear why the so-called car-jackers burnt the truck they were
supposed to steal.
Preliminary investigations by The Zimbabwean have revealed that the
truck was hijacked in circumstances that are clearly politically motivated.
The actual coordinates of  the place where the truck was finally burnt are
S20o02'22,2" - E30o14'02'0".
While it was not immediately possible to ascertain the actual members
who carried out the attack, our source said the operation could have been
spearheaded by one or any of a special counter intelligence team typically
assigned for such operations. This team comprises Major Kembo, Captain
Chitimbe, Warrant Officer or Sergeant Major Magwati, and Staff Sergeant
Makwande and has also been linked to the recent murder of MDC activists.
These teams usually carry out these operations on government-issue
Toyota Hilux or Hindra vehicles, and change number plates regularly to avoid
Press freedom groups around the world this week began sending appeals
to the Zimbabwean authorities calling for expedient and thorough
investigations into the burning of the newspapers and the assault of
They further noted that the lack of, or reluctance in dealing with
this matter would set a dangerous precedent for the survival of the
privately owned media in Zimbabwe.
"We fear that the regime of Robert Mugabe will increase its
intimidation of and attacks on media as we come closer to the presidential
run-off election," said Gabriel Baglo, director of the Africa Office of the
International Federation of Journalists.

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Cousin Kembo's return to Zim

Mail and Guardian

Tsungayi Hatitye: COMMENT

05 June 2008 06:00

      It is 4am on May 20 and I hear exuberant knocking on my door. My
landlord does not like loud knocking. It is also winter in Harare and I'm
not amused at the prospect of leaving the warmth of my blankets at such a
nowhere hour. But who would knock so early in the morning? It could be some
sort of emergency! I panic a bit; the adrenaline pumps and jump-starts me
out of bed.

      "Who's there?" I demand.

      "Your cousin Kembo," says a flat, unconvincing voice.

      "The only cousin Kembo I know left Zim three years ago for South
Africa and never bothered to write or phone," I say with great irritation.

      "C'mon open the door, what's with you man! I run away from
beatings all the way from Jo'burg and now you want me to get mugged on your

      The voice is definitely familiar. I reluctantly open the door. I
know I am supposed to be happy at the return of the prodigal cousin, but I
am not amused. How can someone just go like that and just come back like
this? Expecting to be received with open arms.

      As soon as the door swings open he leaps at me to give me a
hearty hug. He seems relieved rather than happy to see me. I do not hug him
back; I remain stiff in soldier-on-parade position. "What brings you here?"
I ask coldly.

      "Don't you watch the news man? They're beating up Zimbos in
Jo'burg. I escaped being burned only by a whisker. Man, they burned my shack
in Alexandra. Everything I fucking own was in there; passport, work permit,
everything, man!" He starts to weep, but I remain unaffected.

      "Oh, I thought it happened on the news."

      "How can you say something so insensitive, Tsungi?"

      "Good for you, never forget where you come from. You were
beginning to think you were one of them South Africans. You don't write home
and you don't even bother to fix your own country's problems. If three
million of you had come back to vote we wouldn't be facing all this shit
we're facing; reruns, recounts and shit."

      He sits on the bed in my one-room lodging and starts to weep and
shake uncontrollably. I can see he is trying to control himself, but he's
not succeeding.

      Something in me finally snaps. I find myself hugging him. A
stone is growing in my throat. "Bloody Saskos, how can they do this to us?
We stood by them and made sacrifices for them during apartheid. They've got
short memories, don't they?"

      "They say we're stealing their jobs, their cars, their money,"
he says, sniffling.

      "Methinks it's just baseless xenophobia and tribal hatred. I
hear Shanganis and Vendas of South African origin are also getting this
shit. What an irony! Tomorrow happens to be World Day for Cultural
Diversity, Dialogue and Development."

      I sit down and think. People get the kind of government they
deserve and we've allowed Zimbabwe to be run by incompetents and
kleptomaniacs. Why don't we stay home and fix our problems? What would I do
if I wake tomorrow and find myself competing for jobs and housing with three
million South Africans who've decided to jump the border into Zim? I guess
I'll have ill feelings towards them. But to burn, loot, rape, beat up and
kill is something else.

      I take another look at my cousin. I feel a sort of sympathy
mixed with repugnance for him. For three years he did not even write a
letter or send me rands when I was almost starving. He did not bother to
come back and vote on March 29. Now he wants to share my one-room lodging
and my single bed for an indefinite time. I don't like it, but what can I
do? The spirit of ubuntu says we're supposed to help each other.

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