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Zimbabwe opposition say ruling party militants prevent MDC from holding campaign rally

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: June 8, 2008

HARARE, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe's opposition had a successful day of campaigning
despite attempts by ruling party militants to thwart election activities,
party officials said Sunday.

President Robert Mugabe's supporters cordoned off the area where opposition
leaders were to speak in a Harare suburb, preventing the opposition from
going ahead with the rally, Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Nelson
Chamisa said.

However, two other gatherings went ahead as planned in Harare despite
militants threatening and intimidating supporters at the venue, Chamisa

"The people are so strong and so courageous. It was very successful," he

On Saturday, a court had struck down a police ban on opposition rallies.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces off against Mugabe in a presidential
runoff June 27. Tsvangirai won the most votes in the first round in March,
but not enough to avoid a runoff.
Tsvangirai, meanwhile, continued campaigning Sunday in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's
second main city, where he has been speaking to small groups of voters
around Bulawayo.

He also made a surprise visit at a small rally in Kwekwe, where he urged
supporters to go and vote, the party said in a statement.

"The people have already won. The coming election would only reaffirm this
victory," Tsvangirai said. "Zimbabweans would resoundingly defeat the regime
and begin a new life with hope of a better Zimbabwe."

However, the opposition said police attacked supporters in Bulawayo and
prevented them from putting up election campaign posters.

A team of four party members were putting up posters when they were
confronted by police and other security forces who told them that "it was
Mugabe's country and only Mugabe could put posters on street poles and the
MDC would not be allowed," the opposition said in a statement.

The team continued on to the railway station, but were followed by police in
riot gear and on bicycles, the party said. The police assaulted the MDC
members with baton sticks. One person suffered a broken leg and was admitted
to hospital.

Comment from the police was not immediately available.

Tsvangirai's spokesman, George Sibotshiwe, said Mugabe has turned Zimbabwe
into a police state.

"The regime is denying the people their fundamental rights in order to steal
the June 27 election and subvert the will of the Zimbabwean people through
widespread violence and killings, wanton arrests and by closing political
space for the MDC to campaign," he said.

Also Sunday, a court ordered police to release opposition lawmaker Eric
Matinenga, who was taken from his home Saturday and detained at a station
outside the capital. He was accused of fomenting violence, lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa said.

Matinenga, also detained on similar charges earlier in the week but released
because of a lack of evidence, is among scores of opposition activists
arrested in recent weeks. Matinenga, himself an attorney, has represented
opposition leaders in a string of high-profile court cases.

The opposition and rights groups cite a rise in violence and intimidation in
the run-up to the vote. Tsvangirai's party, blaming state agents, says at
least 60 of its supporters have been slain in the past two months.

Tsvangirai, who his party says has been the target of at least three
assassination attempts, left Zimbabwe after the March vote, but returned in
late May to campaign for the runoff.

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Zimbabwe court orders release of opposition MP


Sun 8 Jun 2008, 14:37 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's High Court on Sunday ordered police to release
an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) member of parliament, who
was arrested on Saturday for the second time in a week.

Eric Matinenga was initially arrested on June 1 on charges of inciting
public violence in his constituency, but was released on Thursday after a
magistrate dropped the charges and said he had been wrongly charged.

He was detained for a second time on Saturday morning.

Matinenga's arrests come amid accusations by the opposition that President
Robert Mugabe's government is trying to sabotage MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's campaign ahead of a June 27 run-off presidential election.

The second round vote follows a disputed March poll which showed Tsvangirai
beat Mugabe, but not by enough votes to avoid a run-off.

"The MDC welcomes the judgement as the only logical thing to do as Advocate
Matinenga is a fine son of Zimbabwe, whose quest for the freedom of the
people of Zimbabwe is unquestionable," the party said in a statement.

Six MDC lawmakers have been arrested for various offences since the March 29

The opposition, rights groups and opposition members accuse veteran leader
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party of trying to rig the election by intimidating
voters, undermining the MDC and thwarting its campaign efforts.

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Nearly 3,000 victims of political violence in Zimbabwe: doctors

Yahoo News

1 hour, 31 minutes ago

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe doctors have treated nearly 3,000 victims of
political violence over nearly two months, a medical association said
Sunday, three weeks before a tense presidential run-off.

"We have noticed with great concern the increase in politically motivated
violence to our fellow Zimbabweans," Specialist Doctors in Zimbabwe said in
a statement.

"Many victims, including children, are currently under our care with severe
injuries sustained over the past few weeks."

The association includes the Surgical Society of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
Anaesthetic Association, National Physicians of Zimbabwe and the Paediatric
Association of Zimbabwe.

A total of 2,900 victims had been recorded throughout the country, it said,
adding that some 200 among them had to be hospitalised.

"Sadly, a number have succumbed to these injuries," the group said.

Violence has mounted ahead of the June 27 run-off, when opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai will be seeking to defeat President Robert Mugabe, who has
ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change says around 60 of its
supporters have been killed by pro-Mugabe militias.

Mugabe blames the opposition for the increase in violence, but the United
Nations' chief representative in Zimbabwe has said the president's
supporters are to blame for the bulk of it.

Zimbabwe's government has also suspended all aid work ahead of the vote,
leading charities to warn of a possible humanitarian crisis in a nation with
the world's highest inflation rate and major food shortages.

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Lawyers flee Zimbabwe as Mugabe regime cracks down: activists

Yahoo News

by Sibongile Khumalo 19 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - Activists say Zimbabwe may be facing an exodus of human
rights lawyers like Makoni because of a crackdown by President Robert
Mugabe's regime.

Rights lawyer Andrew Makoni hopes he is safe now as he sits in his new
office here, but he remains shaken after packing up and leaving Zimbabwe
recently out of fears he would be killed for his work.

"My departure was so sudden I had to leave my family behind," said Makoni,
who has represented Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. "They will
be joining me once their visas are sorted."

The last couple months have been especially perilous, the activists said,
with Mugabe's 28-year reign over the country in jeopardy ahead of a June 27
presidential run-off.

Lawyers have been routinely threatened or arrested, testing even the most
hardened among them, they said.

"State institutions are being used to carry out atrocities against innocent
civilians and those defending them," said Beatrice Mthethwa, president of
the Zimbabwe Law Society.

Makoni represented Tsvangirai, who faces Mugabe in the upcoming vote, when
the opposition leader was beaten up and arrested in March last year. The
lawyer said working in Zimbabwe had become almost impossible.

"If you represent a political or human rights abuse case you are
automatically associated with the cause of your client and subjected to
intimidation and arrest," he said.

Makoni claimed he fled after security forces assigned to a police station
near his home in Harare hatched a plan to kill him.

"Areas outside Harare like Muthoko, Murewa and Guruve are notorious for
politically-motivated tortures, disappearances and killings, and lawyers are
often ambushed when they visit these areas," he said.

Last year, Makoni and his partner Alec Muchadehama made headlines when they
were detained after trying to obtain bail for members of the opposition

They were charged with obstruction of justice and later released on bail
following an uproar by rights lawyers and organisations.

In the last two weeks, four of Makoni's clients who were members of the
opposition party were mysteriously killed, he said.

He claimed the situation was so bad that the number of human rights lawyers
throughout the country had dropped to about 10.

Irene Petras, director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said only a
handful of the bravest lawyers were willing to take on the government.

"We are not letting the biased and volatile political climate undermine our
work," said Petras.

The Johannesburg-based Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) said
Makoni's flight was likely to be followed by others.

The organisation in recent months spearheaded a Durban court bid to prevent
a Chinese ship from offloading its cargo of arms intended for Zimbabwe.

SALC director Nicole Fritz said it is a deeply troubling sign of the
situation in Zimbabwe when the best and most courageous human rights lawyers
are targeted and forced to flee.

"South Africa and regional leaders need to put human rights monitors on the
ground now because the Zimbabwean authorities who refuse to relinquish power
cannot be trusted to secure the lives -- let alone the interests -- of their
citizens," said Fritz.

Lawyers in Zimbabwe say working conditions have been deteriorating for
several years, but the situation has worsened over the past couple months.

"These days being a lawyer means you are also an MDC member," Mthethwa of
the Zimbabwe Law Society said, referring to the Movement for Democratic
Change opposition party.

"Perpetrators often get off the hook as incidents of abuse go unreported.
Even if they are reported nothing much gets done about it."

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US dollar breaches Z$1bn mark

Business Report

June 8, 2008

The Zimbabwe dollar plunged through Z$1 billion to the US dollar on the
country's legal and illegal markets this week.

"The market is short and we are in free fall," Harare-based economist John
Robertson said on Friday. "It is likely that one US dollar will buy Z$2
billion or more by the end of June."

At Zimbabwe's official inter-bank rate on Friday, $1 bought Z$1.4 billion.
The Old Mutual implied rate, used as a guide by many businesses, valued the
US unit at Z$3 billion.

Zimbabwe has the worst inflation rate - 1 700 000 percent - and the fastest
shrinking peace-time economy. It is in its 10th successive year of

"The crisis is now unmanageable," said University of Zimbabwe economics
lecturer Anthony Hawkins. "Unless Zimbabwe stops printing money, it won't
get anywhere."

Brains Muchemwa, an analyst with Zimbabwe's Genesis Investment Bank, said
the exchange rate was likely to remain in decline "reflecting supply and
demand dynamics in the economy".

Central Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono reduced restrictions on
foreign currency trading on April 30 to ease shortages.

Ignatius Padya, a black market currency trader in Harare, said:
"Liberalisation has not changed the fact that foreign currency is in short
supply and is not available from the banks. Or the banks are not selling,
which is the same thing."

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Zimbabweans pay for goods in forex

Business Daily Africa, Nairobi
Written by Matirasa Muronda   
A man buys eggs; each costs six million Zimbabwe dollars, at a market in Harare. The country’s local currency has become so worthless it was trading at 1$ to Z$1.2 billion by last Thursday.

June 9, 2008: For long-suffering Zimbabweans, it never rains but pours. Stared at by an incredulous world following a rare political development, Zimbabweans find themselves faced with an even bigger crisis, that of having to deal with increasingly insurmountable economic challenges.

Already, the country is having to go for an unprecedented second round of voting, despite one candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change, claiming victory against incumbent president, Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF, albeit without the 50 per cent win required by the constitution.

Day-to-day existence for almost the entire population — save for a few super-rich and those well-connected to the ruling party top brass — has become a living nightmare, with prices of goods and services going up by the hour, and way out of reach of most Zimbabweans.

Zimbabweans no longer go for “window-shopping” with a view of coming back to make the purchase later, because prices rarely last for two days at the same level, a situation which has seen service providers now charging in US dollar or South African Rand.  

A private butchery, which now makes door-to-door deliveries because of the scarcity of good quality meat, has since advised its clients it will now be selling its products in South African Rand, arguing villagers are also demanding payment in forex — and rejecting Zimbabwean dollars because of its instability —  for their goats, sheep or cattle.

Low income
Both petrol and diesel are now being sold in US dollars — from $1.30 to $1.50 a litre — with such goods as motor vehicle parts/accessories, and such rare basic commodities as cooking oil, washing soap, tooth paste etc- also being charged in forex by traders, who are bringing them in from neighbouring South Africa, Botswana and Zambia because local industry has either completely stopped production of the commodities, or is producing too little to meet demand.
And not to be outdone are landlords in both low-income and high-density areas, who have since started demanding rent in foreign currency, to open a new chapter in the people’s suffering. Lombard Matsika tells a grim and touching story, of how life has become a living hell for himself and his family of three. “To say things are tough would be an understatement,” begins the 42-year-old, who works as a supervisor with a communications firm, in central Harare.

“I have a young family with two of my three children going to primary school, but the salary that I get is not even enough to feed the family for a single day.

“And to make matters worse, I have tried to get basic commodities like sugar and cooking oil, but you cannot get these in the supermarkets, but the black market where the cross-border traders are demanding payment in either Rand or US dollars. I live in Warren Park (a high-density township in Harare) and the landlord told me at the weekend that starting from June 1, I will have to pay rent in South African Rand and he has pegged it at R150 per room.

“I’m renting four rooms which means I need R600 every month, which I certainly cannot afford. I used to pay Z$2 billion per room, which was Z$8 billion per month, but because of the inflation, this money has been rendered worthless, and is only enough to buy just two litres of cooking oil, so says the landlord, hence this new demand for rent in forex.

And on top of that, I have to pay school fees for my children, and food because I am the only breadwinner in the family as my wife is not employed,” said Matsika, adding he was contemplating taking his family back to his rural home in Murehwa. Ennet Mujana rents two rooms in Dzivarasekwa, one of Harare’s low income residential suburbs, and she has also been informed that each of her rooms will be going for 100 Rand, starting from 1 June.

Enough is enough
“I’m a civil servant, and my salary is not even enough to pay for one room. I have tried to plead my case with the landlord, but his wife told me, to my face, that she is not the one who is making things unbearable for Zimbabweans. She told me I have to fork-out the money or vacate the premises. I also have to sell sweets, dried maize, and peanuts at work to raise more money or I will be thrown onto the streets. Life used to be tough, but this new development, where we have to pay for basics in foreign currency, has brought real terror into our lives. What do we do?” Mujana said.  

Lucky Soma says he was asked to pay US$200 for a house he rents in Park Town, Waterfalls, one of Harare’s low-density suburbs. “I used to pay in Zim dollars all along, but the landlord wants US$200. I have since taken him to the Rent Board, who are looking into the case and have advised me to continue paying the old rate in Zim dollars. This is murder, daylight robbery and unfair to some of us who have to go on the streets to buy the forex, whose rate continues to change each minute. Hopefully, the Rent Board will be able to intervene,” said Soma.  

Trevor Mberi, who rents out one of his two houses in Southerton, a middle density suburb in Harare, defended his decision to peg his rent in US dollars.

“Look, if I have to charge in Zim dollar, it means I have to change the amount every week because by the time month-end comes, the money is eroded by inflation. At least, if I charge in US dollars, no matter the inflation, I’m assured that I will get value from my property at the end of the day. I know things are tough, but I also have to survive and realise a return on my investment,” Mberi said.

The Central Statistical Office has failed to issue the rate of inflation,  which stood at 100,000 per cent in January but has been put at a staggering 1.7 million per cent by independent analysts.

The country’s local currency has become so worthless it was trading at 1US$ to Z$1.2 billion by  last Thursday, yet a day before it was trading at 1$US to Z$701,000. The development has seen  virtually everything go up on a daily basis, much to the frustration of ordinary Zimbabweans who are now looking forward to the presidential run-off “to one and for all get ourselves out of this hell-on-earth.” “Only a change of government will free us from this suffering.

We voted against the government and it never changed our lot, but even if Zanu-PF sends out its militias to beat us up, we will make sure come 27 June, we will vote for change, any change,  as enough is enough,” laments Jim Fero, an informal trader.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean police have been running commercials on national television over the past week,  warning landlords against charging clients in foreign currency.

But the warnings have not been taken seriously by the majority of Zimbabweans, who dismiss them as a campaign strategy by Zanu-PF ahead of the presidential run-off  between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, set for 27 June. So far, no one has been convicted of charging goods and services in forex, although a few individuals have faced charges of flouting exchange control regulations.

- NATION Correspondent

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Elliot Manyika tells Villagers to eliminate all “Sellouts”

(Left,A policeman stands next to the charred body of an MDC staffer burnt to death at the Zaka MDC offices by ZANU PF militia.)

Elliot Manyika,ZANU PF-Bindura., reportedly told villagers at Chinyauhwera Business Centre, south of Mutare City that ZANU PF party supporters should be on the lookout for “sellouts” and “traitors” who wanted to give back the country to Britain.

Addressing the gathering Manyika who is also a Minister in Mugabe’s government said,”You should be on the lookout for traitors,” Manyika said. “They are among us. We have enemies all around us”.

Hours after Manyika’s rally Zanu PF supporters and a group of men in army uniforms moved from homestead to homestead in Chigodora and Chitakatira villages attacking MDC activists and burning their homes.

Eleven MDC activists including three councillors in the villages were taken to hospital in Mutare after sustaining serious injuries. Some of the affected were only identified as Mwedzi and Mutsoto.

Three teachers at Matika Primary School were also forced to flee the school station after they were threatened by Zanu PF militia. The teachers participated in a voter education campaign during the run-up to the March 29 polls. They were confronted by Zanu PF activists led by a woman identified only as Mrs Mangirazi and accused them of misleading villagers to vote for the MDC.

Chigodora, Chitakatira and Matika villages are in Mutare South which was won by a Zanu PF ’s, Fred Kanzama.

Manyika said villagers should be on the lookout for MDC supporters and eliminate them because the MDC was being used by whites to “re-colonise” Zimbabwe.

“The whites found out that Tsvangirai is a willing tool and are using him to re-colonise the country. Now that we have our independence, we are forgetting what we went through during the armed colonial era and today some are saying we want Tsvangirai who wants to return the country to the whites.”

“Tsvangirai ran away during the liberation struggle and today the whites are using him to cause confusion in the country.”

Police were present at the gathering and heard the remarks.Six MDC lawmakers are behind bars after police say the incited violence,none of them have addressed any gathering.

Manyika’s utterances have raised concerns about Police bias.

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ZANU PF Militia Kill Minister ’s brother

By Tongai Gava-Special Projects Editor ⋅ ⋅ June 8, 2008
A brother to the Minister of Information was beaten to death by ZANU PF
militia,the state media has been keeping a tight lid on the story.

Sindisiwe Ndlovu, a younger brother to Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, was buried on
Sunday in Mberengwa.

He died on Wednesday after being assaulted by a group of twelve ZANU PF
militia over disagreements over payments for their services.

The twelve Militia usually immune from prosecution were rounded up on
Thursday and locked up at a police station in Mberengwa.

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Bill Watch 23 of 7th June 2008 [NGO Field Operations Suspension; Election Update]

BILL WATCH 23/2008
[7th June 2008]
Ministry orders suspension of PVO/NGO field operations
Mr Goche, acting in his capacity as Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, has issued a circular letter dated 4th June 2008, which although headed " To All Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs)/Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)", was only delivered to a number of organisations distributing humanitarian aid.  It reads as follows:  It has come to my attention that a number of NGOs involved in humanitarian operations are breaching the terms and conditions of their registration as enshrined in the Private Voluntary Organizations Act [Chapter 17:05], as well as the provisions of the Code of Procedures for the Registration and operations of Non Governmental Organizations in Zimbabwe (General Notice 99 of 2007).  As the Regulatory Authority, before proceeding with the provision of Section (10), Subsection ( c ), of the Private Voluntary Act [Chapter 17:05], I hereby instruct all PVOs/NGOs to suspend all field operation until further notice.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have taken the preliminary position that the letter is not legally valid, as the Private Voluntary Organisations Act does not empower the Minister to suspend an NGO's operations.  Also, section 10 of the Act, cited in the letter, empowers the PVO Board, not the Minister, to take action to de-register an NGO. But, whatever the legality of this instruction, it is a political reality.  Today's Herald went a step further in its headlines and stated [based on a statement by the Deputy Minister of Information] that "All NGOs have been ordered to apply for new registration permits as part of measures to clamp down on the incidences of civil society meddling in the country's politics ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off."  This is not in fact what Minister Goche's circular letter states, but for security reasons NGOs should seek clarification and legal advice and take due care.  
Election Update
A list of the 9231 Polling Stations has been published in the press, and the two major political parties given copies.  There have been a few changes since the March 29 poll, but no reduction in numbers of polling stations. 
Presidential Election and By-Election Calendar
16th May: The Election Period started [on the date that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] gazetted the date of the Presidential and By- Elections poll.
Media coverage rules as specified by the  ZEC Act and Regulations apply from this date
2nd June: Accreditation of international and local observers and journalists by ZEC commenced at the Harare and Bulawayo Polytechnics.  International observers who observed the last election do not need a new invitation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs [new observers do] but still need to be accredited.  Local observers need to apply for an invitation from the Minister of Justice before seeking accreditation.  The process of accreditation will continue until polling day.  [In fact, according to the Electoral Act observers are entitled to observe from the commencement of the election period on 16th May.]
4th June:  Checking of applications for postal votes by the Chief Election Officer commenced.  ZEC has made a statement that election agents and observers are invited to witness this process.  The checking will be done in Committee Room No. 6 at the Harare International Conference Centre [HICC] from 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday, until polling day..
17th June:  Closing date for applications for postal vote.  All applications must reach the Chief Elections Officer [by hand at the HICC or by registered post to PB 7782, Causeway] by noon on this day.
20th June:  Postal Ballot Boxes will be sealed.  This will be done at ward centres and election agents and observers are entitled to be present.
27th June:  Polling Day for Presidential Run-off Election and By-Elections
The Election period [and the duties and functions of observers] continues until the announcement of the results
Information from ZEC
National Multi-Party Liaison Committee meeting: The National Multi-Party Liaison Committee has condemned the violence that is taking place and at their meeting on 4th of June it was decided that a declaration condemning political violence would be drawn up and signed by the two main parties.  The provincial, constituency and local authority Multi-Party Liaison Committees are scheduled to commence their meetings next week.
Proposed Increase in Number of Polling Agents: ZEC has agreed that the number of candidates' election agents permitted inside each polling station should be increased from one to two per candidate.  This will require a gazetted SI amending the Electoral Regulations.
Training of election officials: Training of constituency election officers is continuing up to the 22nd June.
ZEC Committee on Media Monitoring:  ZEC has stated that it continues to monitor election coverage by the media.  [Section 16G of the ZEC Act obliges ZEC to carry out such monitoring to ensure that  parties, candidates, broadcasters print publishers and journalists observe the fair coverage provisions of the ZEC Act and regulations.  ZEC's post-election report to the President and Parliament must include a report on election coverage by the media.]
Election Candidates
Presidential Run-Off
·        ZANU PF Robert Mugabe
·        MDC Morgan Tsvangirai
·        Gwanda South: Orders Mlilo, ZANU-PF; Nephat Mdlongwa, MDC-T; Elizabeth Ndlovu, MDC.
·        Pelandaba-Mpopoma: Sikhanyiso Duke Ndlovu, ZANU-PF; Samuel Sandla Khumalo, MDC-T; Dhumani Gwetu, MDC; Chamunorwa Mahachi, ZDP; Samuel Mahlamvana Ndlovu, UPP; Leonard Nkala, PUMA; Job Sibanda, Ind; Fungai Mutukwa, Ind.
·       Redcliff: Sheunesu Muza, ZANU-PF; Aaron Chinhara, MDC-T; Tapera Sengweni, MDC-T; Gilmond Karigambe, MDC.
Update on Election Related Court Cases
Election Petitions: The Judge President has heard legal argument on preliminary points in 8 cases and has reserved judgement.
Case to bring Presidential election date forward: to be heard on 19th June
Case by disallowed Presidential candidates: Judgement is still awaited.
Challenge to Official/Police Involvement in Voting arrangements for disabled: date not yet set for hearing.
Arrests of Elected MP's and Senators
In the last few weeks at least 10 newly elected legislators have been arrested [some detained up to two weeks before bail].  All 10 are MDC legislators [as far as is known, there have been no arrests of ZANU-PF MPs.]  This raises concern, not only about the circumstances of their arrests and their treatment in police custody, but also emphasises the vulnerability of the MDC's 10-seat majority in the House of Assembly.  The arrests were on various charges, including serious offences, such as inciting public violence, punishable by long periods of imprisonment.  If an MP is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months or more, the MP loses his or her seat automatically.
No new Bills or Acts were gazetted this week
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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Zimbabwe is a police state: Anglican Archbishop


June 08, 2008, 16:45

Zimbabwe is a police state and the levels of intimidation show the crucial
importance of deploying large numbers of election monitors, said Archbishop
Thabo Makgoba on return from the country today.

"There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is a police state," he said in a statement
after making a pastoral visit to the Zimbabwe's Anglican bishops. "The
levels of intimidation I witnessed on a visit to Zimbabwe last week
underline the crucial importance of deploying large numbers of both
international and local election monitors...for the June 27 presidential
run-off," he said.

On a four-hour trip from Harare to Masvingo, the bishop passed nine police
roadblocks and was stopped at every one. Most visible were uniformed police
armed with rifles. Groups of men, women and young people were in the streets
chanting: "Mugabe, what should we do with the sell-outs, tell us."

He said he witnessed along the road to Masvingo derelict once-prosperous
farms, and queues of people stretching from shops. "Hyper-inflation, poverty
and hunger is their daily reality," he said. Makgoba apologised to the
Anglican bishops of Zimbabwe for the xenophobic attacks their compatriots in
South Africa suffered, and assured them of support and prayers. - Sapa

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 7th June 2008

The Mugabe regime's decision to stop aid organisations feeding the starving
has led the news bulletins. Passers-by showed great sympathy, especially
following Mugabe's cynical rhetoric at the world food conference in Rome.
Many stopped to discuss the situation and also signed our special petition
addressed to Mugabe's protector, President Mbeki: "Following the recent
attacks on Zimbabweans and other foreign nationals in South Africa we, the
undersigned, call on President Mbeki to take action to ensure the safety of
these endangered people and bring the perpetrators to justice.  We urge
President Mbeki to end his support of President Mugabe, allowing a
resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis and the return home of exiled Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwean blood is at your door."

As we only ran this petition for one day there are not the thousands of
signatures we normally collect but we want to give a copy to Archbishop
Desmond Tutu who on Monday 9th June is to visit St Martin in the Fields
church in nearby Trafalgar Square to speak at a service for peace, including
the blessing of three Zimbabwean sculptures.  We are hoping for a good
turnout of Vigil supporters in our t-shirts distributing our leaflets
explaining the situation in Zimbabwe.

On Thursday 12th June we are to present the petition proper to the South
African High Commission next door to St Martin in the Fields.  The Vigil
will be protesting there for two hours from 12 noon to 2 pm with blood-red
banners reading "Mbeki, Zimbabwean blood on your hands".

We intend asking the clergy at St Martin's, famous for its international
approach, to join us in a prayer Vigil on Saturday 21st June along with
Zimbabwean pastors and other ministers.

As you will know, Western governments are lost for a response to Mugabe's
moves. The new leader of the Liberal Democrats, the third largest party in
the UK, Nick Clegg, has called on governments to stop financial remittances
to Zimbabwe.  Obviously our supporters are disturbed at this (unworkable)
suggestion.  The diaspora knows that the money being sent back to Zimbabwe
is helping keep Mugabe in power but do not think that starving our relatives
is an answer. The Vigil is to seek a meeting with Kate Hoey of the all-party
parliamentary group on Zimbabwe to suggest other options for securing change
in Zimbabwe.

These include the action proposed in one of our petitions.  "A Petition to
European Union Governments. We record our dismay at the failure of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people
of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We urge the UK government and the
European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14
SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human
rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to
feed the starving in Zimbabwe". The money involved is quite substantial. The
UK alone is the world's largest foreign aid donor after the US: among SADC
countries it gave £75m to DRC, £61m to Zambia, £63m to Malawi, £56m to
Mozambique etc etc in 2006/2007.

If SADC allows Mugabe to steal the Presidential Run-off on 27th June we will
ask Ms Hoey  and others to  press for this action to be taken against SADC
and also launch a campaign to persuade FIFA to move the 2010 World Cup from
South Africa. To underline the crucial role that South Africa plays in the
Zimbabwe crisis we are seeking police permission to form a human chain from
Zimbabwe House to South Africa House on election day, when we are holding
another mock ballot outside the Zimbabwe Embassy.

The evening before, on Thursday 26th June, the Vigil will be taking part in
the annual service in support of Zimbabwean victims of torture organised by
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum. This year there will be even more
horrifying pictures on display.  See 'For Your Diary.'

Nelson Mandela is visiting London to mark his 90th birthday which is being
commemorated at a concert in Hyde Park on  the day of the Presidential
Run-off.  Some Vigil supporters will be going to Hyde Park with banners
reading "Speak out Mandela" and "What about Zimbabwe?"

We are having difficulty keeping one of our posters up to date. It reads
"Zimbabwe leads the World" then lists devastating statistics.  First on the
list is "Highest inflation". We have had to cross out the March elections
figure of 100,000% and change it to 2,000,000%!  Further down the list is a
statistic about documented torture cases - we have simply had to add "plus,
plus, plus" at the end.

For latest Vigil pictures check:

FOR THE RECORD:  155 signed the register.

·        Archbishop Desmond Tutu in London. Monday 9th June 6.30, St Martin
in the Fields, Trafalgar Square.  Archbishop Tutu will be at St Martin's to
speak at a short service for peace including the blessing of three
Zimbabwean sculptures by the room that has been named after him. St Martin's
write 'please come as this is a wonderful opportunity to meet Archbishop
Tutu and all are very welcome'.
·        Protest against the xenophobic violence in South Africa. Thursday
12th June 12 noon - 2 pm outside the South African High Commission,
Trafalgar Square. We will ask the High Commissioner to pass on our special
petition to President Mbeki.
·        Zimbabwe Association's Women's Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30
am - 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton
Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury
Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355
(open Tuesdays and Thursdays).
·        'The Twilight Rainbow'. Until Sunday 15th June. Theatre Under-Fire
(TUF) Productions' dance and music production "The Twilight Rainbow" at the
Warehouse Theatre, Dingwall Rd, CR0 2NF, Croydon, adjacent East Croydon
station. Check:, 020 8680 4060 for more
information and tickets or contact TUF Director, Peter Mutanda, on 07939 704
448. The performers are Zimbabwean refugees and asylum seekers.
·        Prayer Vigil.  Saturday 21st June from 3.30 - 5 30 pm outside the
Zimbabwe Embassy 429 Strand, London WC2. This will take place within the
normal Vigil which runs from 2 - 6 pm.
·        Next Glasgow Vigil. Saturday 21st June  2 - 6 pm.. Venue: Argyle
Street Precinct. For more information contact: Ancilla Chifamba, 07770 291
150, Patrick Dzimba, 07990 724 137 or Jonathan Chireka, 07504 724 471.
·        Service of Solidarity with Torture Survivors of Zimbabwe, Thursday
26th June 4 - 5.30 pm on UN International Day in Support of Victims of
Torture organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum supported by the
Vigil. Venue: St Paul's Church, Bedford Street, Covent Garden WC2E 9ED.  All
welcome to join the service and post-service procession to lay flowers on
the steps of the Zimbabwe Embassy.
·        Zimbabwe Vigil's mock Presidential Run-off. Friday 27th June 10
am - 4 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy.
·        Mandela 90th Birthday Concert. Friday 27th June, 4 pm in Hyde Park.
Vigil supporters to attend the event with banners reading "Speak out
 Mandela" and "What about Zimbabwe?"

Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Police ban MDC posters in Bulawayo


MDC Press Release: Sunday 8 June 2008, 1455hrs

Police and members of the Central Intelligence Organisation in Bulawayo have
attacked MDC supporters and banned them from putting up election campaign
posters for President Morgan Tsvangirai.

At 1200hrs, a team of four MDC members led by the MDC National Deputy
Spokesperson, Ms Thabita Khumalo, were putting up posters on electricity and
street line poles near Magnet House in Bulawayo, when they were confronted
by Central Intelligence Officers who told them that "it was Mugabe's country
and only Mugabe could put posters on street poles and the MDC would not be

The poster team then moved to the railway station to continue with their
work only to be followed by police officers in riot gear and on bicycles.
The police, after insisting that the country belongs to Mugabe and that the
MDC would not be allowed to put up posters, started assaulting the MDC
memebrs with baton sticks. One of the team members, Jerry Chiteshe suffered
a broken leg and he is at Gallen House Hospital.

MDC Presidential spokesman, George Sibotshiwe, pointed out that the Mugabe
regime has turned Zimbabwe into a militariased police state. "The regime is
denying the people their fundamental rights in order to steal the June 27
election and subvert the will of the Zimbabwean people through widespread
violence and killings, wanton arrests and by closing political space for the
MDC to campaign", Mr Sibotshiwe said.

"However, the time for change has arrived and the resolve of the people of
Zimbabwe to attain that change is as strong as ever", he added.

This entry was written by Sokwanele on Sunday, June 8th, 2008

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Zimbabwe Could Prosper If Crisis Resolved - Political Leaders


CAPE TOWN (AFP)--Zimbabwe has enviable resources and infrastructure for a
bright economic future after President Robert Mugabe's departure, despite
current woes, political and business leaders said Friday.

Addressing the 18th World Economic Forum on Africa, Zimbabwe's opposition
leaders and businesses said that once the country's political crisis is
resolved the economy holds endless opportunity.

"Our economy can be stronger than South Africa. We have the potential when
we get our legitimacy to become a global economy," Arthur
Mutambara, leader of a faction of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, told delegates.

Zimbabwe businessman Nigel Chanakira, chief executive of Kingdom Meikles
Africa, said business opportunities still existed in the southern African
nation despite an official inflation rate of more than 165,000 percent.

"The reality of the matter is that countries don't fall off the face of the
earth. People live in Zimbabwe, people conduct business and still try and
fashion a life out of that.

"In the midst of the chaos there are business opportunities. Services are
required, basics are needed. People can play a role from that perspective
amidst the unpredictable macro economic indicators.

"This is not time for an African renaissance, it is time for the African
reformation," he said.

He outlined a plan including talks with the West, a conference on land
reform, a donor conference and multilateral institutions engaging in
Zimbabwe to rebuild the economy.

"Talks with the West have to take place whether we like it or not. We are
entrenched and steeped in history...pointing fingers at one another just
doesn't cut it any more," he said.

"It takes the brave."

Simba Makoni, a former finance minister who ran for president in the first
round of elections in March, said the tourism, agriculture and manufacturing
sectors could all be revived relatively easily.

"You can literally switch on tourism once there is normalization...there is
no threat of fear. You can kickstart agriculture, there is still a core of
competent farmers."

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is facing a run-off election against
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in three weeks' time.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires

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Nothing Must Detract From Free Zim Elections - Govt

BuaNews (Tshwane)

8 June 2008
Posted to the web 8 June 2008


The South African government has called on all parties involved to
discontinue any action that may serve to detract from the objective of
having free and fair Presidential run-off elections in Zimbabwe.

In a statement issued by the Presidency on Friday, government expressed its
hope that the matter raised by United States of America Secretary of State,
Condoleeza Rice, bilaterally with the Zimbabwean authorities regarding the
plight of USA diplomats in the country, will be resolved as speedily as
possible at a bilateral level.

"The South African government is currently seized with the matter of the
facilitation between the relevant parties in Zimbabwe to ensure that the
Presidential run-off election takes place under optimal conditions that will
enable the will of the Zimbabwean people to be expressed," the statement

The election run-off date is set for 27 June following the initial
presidential balloting being inconclusive and marred by allegations of fraud
and vote rigging.

Both current President Robert Mugabe and Mr Tsvangirai fell short of gaining
a straight majority.

Early last week, President Thabo Mbeki urged the government and the people
of Zimbabwe to activate joint monitoring mechanisms as part of creating an
environment conducive to holding free and fair elections.

"President Mbeki appeals for calmness and proportionate use of language, the
better to manage tensions which are generally associated with election
campaigns in many parts of the world," the Presidency said.

The statement followed the detention of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was later released without being

Mr Tsvangirai was detained so that his vehicle particulars could be probed.

Upon being informed by the MDC of the arrest of its leader, President Mbeki
in his capacity as the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
facilitator immediately contacted the government of Zimbabwe to ascertain
the circumstances of the arrest.

A preliminary group of South African observers have been deployed in
Zimbabwe ahead of the run-off elections.

The numbers of observers to Zimbabwe have increased substantially and South
African Development Community (SADC) observers would also be in place by the
time the elections are held.

SADC observers will not only be observing the voting but intervening where
there are acts of violence in an attempt to disrupt a free and fair election

Following allegations of violence in Zimbabwe in the run up to the
elections, President Thabo Mbeki had dispatched senior South African retired
generals to assess the situation in the country and to report back to him.

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'Amazing' Grace heads a new movement

How some of Mugabe's men - and one woman - plot an end to democracy

As if the world of Zimbabwean politics wasn't sufficiently complex, into the
fray during this last week has stepped a new force which boasts the
intimidating title of the "Revolutionary Council."

It is composed of former freedom fighters and Mugabe hard-liners, its aim is
to shelve the current electoral process and reconsistute the old
Zanu-PF-dominated parliament, and its patron is none other than the nation's
First Shopper, Mrs. "Amazing" Grace Mugabe.

The Council, which is headed by veteran hard-case Chris Pasipamire, says its
main objective is to defend the so-called land reforms, under which the
white farmers of Zimbabwe were kicked off their land, to be replaced by
blacks, most of them top officials in Zanu-PF.

It is this policy, of course, which has led directly to our country's
progress from breadbasket of Southern Africa to basket-case, a factor which
only seems to urge on Mugabe and his economic experts.

Pasipamire loudly proclaims Grace Mugabe as his patron, although Grace
herself, who is 40 years younger than her husband, has so far not
acknowledged the title. She has been in Rome recently, supporting her
husband at the UN Food and Agriculture summit, and avoiding reporters by
sending her minions out to the shops to spend our money, instead of going

But only a few days ago she told a gathering of Zanu-PF people that her
husband would never - repeat never - hand over power to opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, even if the MDC won the run-off election due on June 27 -
a statement that might easily fall from the lips of the patron of the new
Revolutionary Council.

Might I at this point add a few words of comment following the hypocritical
and hysterical outburst that the western world greeted the incident
involving US and British diplomats last week?

It seems that the diplomats were stopped at a road block, harrassed, had
their mobiles snatched, were threatened with fiery death, and were held for
several hours before being released.

Believe me, ladies and gentlemen of the outraged European and American
press, if you were African, and an MDC supporter, that would have counted as
a good day.

Posted on Sunday, 08 June 2008 at 08:06

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Reflecting on Zimbabwe from Melbourne's uneasy comfort

The Age, Australia

Jo Chandler
June 9, 2008
AS I settle down to read the latest email from "Anne-Marie" the smell of
banana bread, not long out of the oven, warms the house. The heater is off,
the scene set by middle-class mortgaged necessity as fuel costs and interest
rates and greenhouse guilt nibble wearisomely at household comforts. Last
week's fruit becomes this week's playlunch, jumpers stay on indoors, the car
stays in the driveway.

A click of the mouse takes me into Anne-Marie's distant household. She's
Zimbabwean, a health worker, living in a district that was rich farming
country a decade ago, before the land invasions. This was the bread basket
of southern Africa. Now she bakes her own bread at night, she says - that's
if the power is on. In the shops "there is nothing on the shelves".

Her district was once a political stronghold for President Robert Mugabe,
but the slide into endemic poverty turned the vote against him in the March
29 poll, and for their ungrateful betrayal, the people pay a heavy price. A
campaign of retribution and intimidation in the form of brutal assaults is
conducted under what Anne-Marie dubs "Operation Where Did You Put Your

The political instability means she has been unable to get to the rural
hospital from which she works for weeks now, jeopardising the precarious
health of an untold number of people not just in this generation, but the
next. She stays in touch by phone. Her colleagues tell her things are calm,
though tense, through the day, but at night the beatings are savage, the
bloodied evidence coming to them each dawn.

Her letters are echoed in The Guardian newspaper, which observed that before
the re-vote for the presidency on June 27, "Mugabe's strategy now seems to
be to cripple the opposition by arresting its leaders and militarising his
former strongholds in the rural areas, where (Opposition leader) Morgan
Tsvangirai made major gains in March".

Food is the focus of Anne-Marie's days now. Sometimes the power is gone for
eight hours a day, for days in a row, with no notice of when it will fail.
It means she can store no perishable foods in her house.

Every three months or so, she and her cousin take his truck on a round trip
of almost 1000 kilometres to stock up on non-perishable foods from across
the border in South Africa. The Zimbabwean dollar fell to a new low late
last week, being quoted by traders at 1 billion against the US greenback.
Food of any kind is scarce in the Zimbabwe markets, and where it appears,
the clamour from desperate buyers pushes prices higher still. She says a
kilogram of chicken - if you find it - costs more than 5 billion Zimbabwean

"The honest truth is that there is a genocide happening in the rural areas,"
she writes. This, she says, is why last Thursday Mugabe's Government
announced a ban on non-government organisations providing food aid in the
countryside, accusing them of "political activity".

Anne-Marie is blunt: "The Government is afraid that if humanitarian
organisations get first-hand information and alerts the international
community, it will be in trouble." British and American diplomats who
attempted to travel into the countryside last week were bailed up by a mob
loyal to Mugabe, slashing their tyres, assaulting a driver, and threatening
to burn them in their cars. This is the visible, reported front.

Anne-Marie gives a glimpse of the unseen. The persecution is hitting church
groups doing what they can, despite Mugabe's espoused Catholicism. People
are anxious, stressed, and "dead scared", she says. "The countryside has now
become a no-go area for people in the towns because the urban people are
being accused of giving political orientation to rural folk."

I'd asked whether food was being used as a weapon, as is being increasingly
reported, and she'd responded wearily: "Food has always been used as a tool
in elections by the Government, with Opposition members being refused
(permission) to buy grain from the grain marketing outlets. Grain is only
sold to ruling party card holding members."

The politics of food became even more obscene with President Mugabe's
appearance at the United Nations emergency food summit in Rome last week. He
was snubbed at the official banquet (itself something of an obscenity, given
the context). But according to London's Telegraph newspaper, he did not do
without, having imported his own chefs and waiters to cater to him at his
luxury hotel, along with "crates" of African food.

I reread the letters, and the reports in the international papers. I wonder
at how we can be so intimately connected in the shrinking virtual world
village, to so easily reach each other's realities. At how we are
increasingly entwined by global markets, each riding the currents of
commodities trades and crop failures and fuel prices and changing weather,
though I'm paddling in the shallows and Anne-Marie's somewhere out at sea in
dark, wild, terrifying waters.

And yet at the political level, at a humanitarian level, the connections
seem increasingly fragile, fraught, and inadequate. The distance between
people seems to grow even as the world gets smaller. As the political elite
negotiated their way diplomatically, uncomfortably around President Mugabe
in Rome, as if politely ignoring some vile smell in the room, Anne-Marie's
concerns were with a rawer political reality. A relative, active with the
Opposition, has vanished. He's not answering his mobile. She worries and she
prays. "I must thank God who has sustained my family through these very
difficult times."

Jo Chandler is an Age senior writer.

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Two spies released after serving three years

June 8, 2008

Two spies released after serving three years

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Two Zimbabwean spies, jailed three years ago for being part of a
high profile spy ring involving a South African national, were released
Saturday after serving three year jail terms.

But their lawyer, Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha legal
practitioners, vows he will still pursue a pending High Court appeal against
both their sentences and convictions.

The two, banker Tendai Matambanadzo and Itai March, a former director in the
ruling Zanu-PF party, were arrested together with former
Ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo in December 2004 after
they were found to have been in breach of Zimbabwe’s controversial Official
Secrets Act.

Dzvairo was sentenced to a six year jail term while his two accomplices were
each slapped with five year jail sentences after they all pleaded guilty to
the charges at their first court appearance on December 24, 2004.

Hwacha confirmed two of his clients had since been released. He argues that
the three’s convictions were secured after police extracted pleas from the
accused men under duress.

“Their appeals are still pending,” he said, “The case should be taken to its
logical conclusion. It is still important to determine whether they were
indeed guilty.”

He says their convictions and the sentences were “unjustifiable” in light of
new evidence already filed with their court records and he intended to help
absolve them of the charges.

The three were charged following a scandal in which six members of the
ruling party were accused of being part of an espionage ring which provided
neighbouring South Africa with information on the party’s affairs.

The matter came to light, it was alleged, when Zimbabwe’s Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives arrested a South African spy in
the resort town of Victoria Falls in December 2004. It is alleged that under
questioning, he gave the names of alleged collaborators within Zanu-PF.

The other person allegedly connected to the affair, Zimbabwean diplomat
Erasmus Moyo, allegedly escaped while being moved from Geneva to Harare.

Flamboyant Harare businessman and former Zanu-PF legislator, Philip
Chiyangwa, was also caught in the net for allegedly receiving Z$10 000
dollars a month to pass on intelligence to South Africa. Chiyangwa was later
freed by the High Court, which ruled that there was insufficient evidence
against him.

Harare magistrate Peter Kumbawa, however, went on to convict Dzvairo and his
two accomplices on their own plea of guilty after a grueling 15-day trial,
ending on February 8, 2005.

Successive attempts to bring their appeals to the High Court have failed to
yield any fruit as the court has reportedly been unable to locate valuable
documents key to any ruling.

The last the matter was taken to court was in December last year when the
presiding judge, Justice Anne-Mary Gowora postponed the matter citing
bereavement in her family.

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