The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index


"Mercenaries" accuse police of torture
Sat 28 August, 2004 18:38

By Eric Onstad

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Two South African men accused of plotting to
overthrow the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea say they have been
stripped, beaten and threatened with electrical shocks during six months
detention in Zimbabwe.

Harry Carlse and Lourens Horn, two of some 85 men in Africa who have been
accused of plotting a coup d'etat, said at a press conference on their
arrival in Johannesburg they expected to face charges at home under South
Africa's anti-mercenary laws.

The case has gained growing notoriety with the arrest in South Africa of the
wealthy son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and the
conviction of a former British special forces officer in Zimbabwe, who is
accused of being coup leader.

A Zimbabwe court on Friday convicted former British special forces officer
Simon Mann of attempting to possess dangerous weapons, but acquitted most of
the 69 other men including Carlse and Horn, held in Harare's Chikurubi
maximum security prison.

"I was stripped naked and beaten with a stick... I slept in leg irons for a
week and a half," the 40-year-old Carlse said.

He said he lost 14 kg (30.86 lb) in weight because of the abysmal prison
conditions at Chikurubi.

"There was physical torture as well as mental torture...They said if we
refused to make a statement they would give us electric shocks," said Horn,

The two men said all inmates at the prison were mistreated.

"All the prisoners are underfed...there's a lot of disease there due to
malnutrition," Carlse said.

The beatings and abuse lasted for around three weeks until they were able to
see lawyers, but living conditions remained terrible, they said.

"You would go without (running) water for two weeks so you couldn't flush
the toilet for two weeks," Horn said, adding they survived on a diet of
porridge and cabbage.


They declined to answer questions about how they were recruited for a
mission which their lawyers have said was to guard mining installations in
the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mann and the South Africans were arrested in March when the accused
ringleader met a plane carrying dozens of men and military equipment in
Harare. Zimbabwean and Equatorial Guinea officials said it was a step in a
plot to overthrow Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.

Equatorial Guinea is trying 14 other foreign men it accuses of being an
advance party for those detained in Zimbabwe.

South Africa's FBI-style Scorpions unit plans to charge all the men arrested
in Zimbabwe when they return, the men's lawyer said. Carlse and Horn agreed
to meet the Scorpions on Monday.

"We also know for a fact the rest of the guys being detained in Chikurubi
will also stand trial in South Africa for contravening the Foreign Military
Assistance Act," lawyer Alwyn Griebenow told reporters.

The act is part of the South African government's efforts to discourage
companies and individuals on its soil from planning, recruiting or gathering
equipment for mercenary activities.

Most of the other men pleaded guilty last month to lesser charges of
violating Zimbabwe's immigration and civil aviation laws. Carlse and Horn
had no other charges since they entered Zimbabwe legally to meet the plane
with Mann.

Sentencing is due on September 10 for the other men, including Mann, who is
the scion of a wealthy British brewing family and former pupil at Britain's
elite Eton school.

"I think Simon is having a tough time...his wife is pregnant and due next
month," Carlse said.

Mann faces up to 10 years in prison for his conviction, but Griebenow said
he should not receive the full term since it was merely an attempt to buy

Friday's verdict came just days after South African police arrested Mann's
acquaintance Mark Thatcher on suspicion of involvement in financing the
suspected plot. Thatcher denies the accusations and is under house arrest at
home in Cape Town.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

A Challenge

The headline in today's Chronicle is "MDC are Cowards". The Financial
Gazette said, "MDC drops a bombshell". Just what did we do to earn such

What we did on Tuesday this week was to say that now that Zimbabwe has
signed the protocols covering democratic elections in the SADC region and
that Mugabe himself was the one signing for Zimbabwe in front of his
colleagues - we now want that agreement implemented BEFORE we will
participate in any future elections. That sounds reasonable? The protocols
state the obvious - that a democratic process must, by definition, provide
for the basic human freedoms. That is freedom of association and speech and
equality before the law.

However even a casual reading of the protocols shows how far short of this
simple definition Zimbabwe falls and how much work has to be done to bring
our system into line with the now accepted norms. So the MDC has, with
immediate effect, suspended participation in any future electoral process in
Zimbabwe. This was done with the full support of our civil society partners
in the "Broad Alliance" and after extensive consultation within our
structures. In one incident on Sunday a group of 20 traditional leaders in
the Seki constituency (the subject of a bi-election) advised the MDC to stay
out of the process because it was so flawed.

In addition to this decision we took the decision to terminate our
participation in the charade that is called the Harare City Council. When 85
per cent of the people in Harare (our largest city with two million
inhabitants) voted for a MDC Council and Mayor in 2002, this posed a huge
challenge to Zanu PF. After a brief honeymoon, which did not even last six
months, the Mayor was suspended on spurious grounds and in the past two
years only 3 Council meetings have been held. A troika of the Minister of
Local Government, an acting Mayor (an MDC councilor who cannot read or write
but now defected to Zanu PF for a bribe), and the new unconstitutional
"Governor" of Harare has effectively usurped the role of the democratically
elected Council.

We have stated clearly that the Minister must now either re-instate the
democratically elected Council and allow them the space to operate or hold
fresh elections - and that any new elections must be held under the SADC
norms. The Residents Associations in Harare have decided, in support of the
MDC position, to promote a rates boycott in the city and this could cripple
the "troika's" ability to run the city financially.

No doubt we will see the emergence of new opposition parties - sponsored by
the CIO and that these will condemn the position of the MDC. No doubt also
the action will be labeled "a western plot" by the spin-doctors of Zanu PF.
The Chronicle headline shows how the State controlled media will handle this
to the public.

As part of the background given to us in the National Executive of the MDC
was a fascinating and detailed account by Welshman Ncube on the informal
talks which have been going on as the Zimbabwe leg of the South African
policy of quiet diplomacy. It is clear that it has been this secret process
which has keep regional leaders and perhaps others in the wider sphere on
the sidelines, thinking that something may come out of the process. It
certainly had the full backing of South Africa and Thabo Mbeki was carefully
briefed on a regular basis as to what was going on.

For obvious reasons I cannot detail the content of that briefing here - but
can say that I was stunned by the breadth of the talks and the detailed work
that had gone into the talks over the past year or more. However, what was
equally shocking was the almost complete failure by the Zanu side to come
forward with any positive proposals of their own and also the failure to
exhibit any sign of a commitment to real democracy. In the light of this MDC
broke off these talks in July this year and it is now further raising the
stakes in advance of the March 2005 general elections.

There are signs that the major western powers are also tightening their
positions and this is being translated into political pressure on leading
regional states to bring Mugabe to heel on this critical issue. MDC is quite
confident that in the event that a level playing field is created here and
the elections next year held under "free and fair" conditions that we will
win those elections by a wide margin. That is what makes the Chronicle
leader so laughable - it is not the MDC that are cowards, it is Zanu PF -
because they dare not take the steps required to bring the electoral process
here into line with the agreement they have just signed.

In every sense - it is now over to the SADC leadership to ensure that this
reluctant creature called Zanu PF is driven towards the cattle dip. What
survives the dip, we are quite happy to live with, but a lot of fat ticks
will not survive the process and that is what they are terrified of.

An early indication of their intentions will be what they do with the new
legislation that is scheduled to be debated in the next sitting of
Parliament - the last in fact before the March 2005 general elections. One
new act in its draft form (I nearly said "daft") sets out how the State now
wishes to make it a crime to support good governance and give humanitarian
aid! It will seek to impose controls over the Church as well as the hundreds
of organisations that work amongst Aids victims, feed the hungry and clothe
the poor. It also seeks to close off the remaining space occupied by those
NGO's who support human and political rights.

If Zanu PF goes ahead with this new draconian, fascist style legislation it
will send a clear signal to the rest of the world that they do not have the
slightest intention of fulfilling their new obligations under the SADC
protocols. I trust regional leaders will then know what to do next!
Certainly, South Africa has to rethink its position.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 27th August 2004
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2004 5:35 PM
Subject: Lost their reason for being

Dear Family and Friends,
This week Zimbabwe's opposition made a monumental decision. Their
Executive announced that the MDC would not be taking part in any more
elections, at any level, in Zimbabwe. In a carefully worded statement the
opposition talked about "suspending participation" until "political space
had been opened up and a legal, institutional and administrative framework
had been established." In simple English I suppose the MDC's statement
means "we aren't going to play this game any more until you stick to the

Most Zimbabweans don't know what the rules are anymore when it comes to
elections because the government have changed them so many times since
they lost the constitutional referendum in 2000. Speaking in a televised
address to the nation after that defeat in 2000 President Mugabe said the
result was "unfortunate" and four and a half years later I find myself
reading his words with disbelief. He said: "The world now knows Zimbabwe
as that country where opposing views can file so singly and so peacefully
to and from the booth without incident. I have every confidence that the
forthcoming general elections will be just as orderly, peaceful and

It is hard to believe what has happened since President Mugabe made that
speech 54 months ago. The daily independent press has gone - closed down
by the government. The constitution has been changed allowing the state to
seize private property. Private radio and television stations have gone -
banned by the government. Thousands of born and bred Zimbabweans have been
made stateless and stripped of their right to vote. Legislation now exists
making it a criminal offence to criticise the President, a criminal
offence to hold a political meeting without police permission, even a
criminal offence to sell maize to anyone other than the state.  When
parliament re-opens in October, it is likely that it will even be made a
criminal offence to operate a charity in Zimbabwe.

At each and every election since 2000, Zimbabwe has turned into a bloodied
battle field. Belonging to the opposition has been a literally life and
death decision. Carrying an MDC membership card, wearing their T shirt or
being openly involved in their party in any way has incited the wrath of
government and its supporters.  People have been beaten, burned, stoned,
tortured, raped, maimed and murdered. People's homes have been torched by
petrol bombs, looted by mobs and had every window, door and roofing sheet

At every election in the past four and half years the Zimbabwe government
have changed the rules. They have changed constituency boundaries at the
last minute, reduced the number of polling stations in congested areas and
increased them in remote areas, changed static polling stations into
mobile ones and denied the opposition their right to inspect the voters
roll. Obviously the MDC had no choice but to finally stop giving
legitimacy to Zimbabwe's elections. We don't know what lies ahead but for
now the overwhelming feeling is one of immense relief that the bully boys
who are already hanging around on our street corners have lost their
reason for being. Until next week, love cathy Copyright cathy buckle 28
August 2004
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available outside Africa  from: ; ;
Australia and New Zealand: ;  Africa:
Back to the Top
Back to Index


Having just read an article where Josiah Hungwe is said to have made a
frantic but futile attempt to block Zvobgo's ascendancy to the heroes' acre,
I would like to ask; is it a national heroes acre or Mugabe's acre? The
reason for this is  that Hungwe is said to have hinted that Zvobgo was
opposed to some of Mugabe's policies and therefore should not be buried at
the national shrine. Josiah, are you aware that you are just nothing in
insofar as the politics of ZANU PF, more especially, Masvingo, is concerned?
Do you remember that you are just a puppet imposed on the  Masvingo  people
to try and frustrate as well as neutralize a man who spent all his life for
the good of Zimbabwe, Eddison Zvobgo?

May you rest in peace, Eddison Jonas Mudadirwa Zvobgo, our national pride, a
man of principle, a  sharp-minded lawyer, a traditionalist and a national
leader who knew right from wrong, a man who was prepared to and could
compromise on anything as long as it wasn't a matter of principle. Zororai
murugare  Shumba, Chimwaura, vakuru vesango!

M. Chamboko
New Zealand
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Mirror (UK)

LORD'S, TODAY, 10.45

      Mike Walters

      GRAEME HICK makes his encore on the big stage today, but for English
cricket's great enigma it could be the final flicker of an old flame.

      At 38, and more than three years since his last England appearance,
Hick has a great future behind him.

      In a repeat of last year's C&G Trophy final against Gloucestershire at
Lord's, Worcestershire will pin their hopes on the batting colossus who has
equalled W G Grace's record of 126 first-class centuries.

      But Hick, figurehead of a dynasty of unfulfilled batting talent
including Mark Ramprakash and John Crawley, has now moved on from great
white hope to old stager.

      For most of a decade in which he was dropped nine times under four
different England captains, county plunderer Hick's indifferent Test record
was more difficult to solve than a Rubik's cube.

      Among his generation, nobody inspired greater loyalty among his
admirers...or generated more bar-stool arguments among partisan factions who
regarded him as either a flat-track bully or the scapegoat for English
cricket's ailments.

      These days, however, a good day at the office is no longer measured
purely by the hundred, but also by the safety of his parents in Zimbabwe,
where England - unbelievably - are still committed to playing a one-day
series in November.

      Before violent land seizures reached their bloody crescendo, Hick's
mother and father sold their tobacco farm and moved to the relative safety
of Harare's suburbs.

      But they have still been affected by food, fuel and water shortages,
and Hick now plays with one eye on his family's well being. He said: "My mum
and dad still live in Zimbabwe. They get on with whatever problems they
face, whether it's a lack of water for 10 days or no bread.

      "They'll drive to the local bowls club if there is no water for a
shower - they've got round any number of problems. It is tough for them."

      But while Hick monitors events in southern Africa anxiously, his
appetite for big scores remains undiminished.

      Today, there is the small matter of atoning for a fourth-ball duck in
last year's seven-wicket defeat in the cup final.

      Hick - who averaged a modest 31.32 in 65 Tests - added: "You might
laugh at this, but sometimes I start thinking about scoring my next hundred
the night before. Some days I'll tell my wife Jackie that I'm feeling right,
she'll say good luck and I know that unless I play a silly shot, I'm going
to get a hundred."

      Worcester reinforced their billing as underdogs when captain Ben Smith
resigned just two weeks ago following dressing-room unrest and 40-year-old
wicketkeeper Steve 'Bumpy' Rhodes will see out the last month of his
first-class career in charge.

      Rhodes follows Jack Russell into retirement at the end of the season
after Gloucestershire's former England gloveman was forced to quit two
months ago because of a back injury.

      Scarred by last year's one-sided final, Rhodes said: "We owe it to our
supporters to put in a decent performance.

      "That was a very sour day for me because not only did we lose, but I
pulled a rib muscle while batting and I was unable to keep wicket."

      Gloucestershire, who won seven one-day crowns under New Zealand coach
John Bracewell's tutelage, have carried on in much the same vein despite his
departure to take over the Kiwis' national side.

      But they were hit by a setback last night when it was revealed
overseas signing Nathan Bracken, the Australian left-arm pace bowler, would
not arrive in time to make his debut in the Lord's showpiece.

      Opponents of counties who sign non-English players on short-term
contracts will be quietly satisfied that Bracken, will not be able to make
his debut in the domestic game's blue riband cup final.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Mail & Guardian (UK), 26 August

Fight for the higher office

Godwin Gandu

Life after President Robert Mugabe is a thought that has been avoided for
more than two decades, but the old man will not be seeking re-election in
2008. Meanwhile, three camps have emerged within Zanu PF in the run-up to
the party's congress in December where Mugabe's successor will be decided.
Zanu PF heavyweights are building alliances that have drawn in the police,
army and war veterans. The intellectual wing - the "young turks" - includes
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and has led a "propaganda war on
unrepentant Western countries". The group has seen support from National
Security Minister Nicholas Goche, Minister without Portfolio Elliot Manyika,
Mashonaland West leader Philip Chiyangwa and Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri. The group does not have a leader but Moyo's profile as the public
face of the anti-colonial onslaught has upped his appeal with the party rank
and file. He has also been spending money at grassroots level. The only
other persons with strong grassroots support are Goche and Manyika.

Another area of leverage has been Moyo's control over the public media,
allowing the group a powerful tool to influence political discourse. Coupled
to this, Goche's hold over intelligence means they are privy to the
happenings in Mugabe's innermost circle. Chiyangwa, a recent convert to the
young turks camp, has been in and out of prison on charges of contempt of
court and obstruction of justice, but Moyo's press has come to his defence,
allowing him to fight the Mashonaland West corner for the group. Made was
stripped of the land reform portfolio in the last Cabinet reshuffle, but is
a close friend of Moyo's and continues to receive positive press. Although
the young turks repeatedly opposed the extension of Chihuri's tenure, he has
endeared himself to them through his heavy-handed approach to journalists.
Moyo's tendency to rubbish party stalwarts in the media is, however, seen as
reckless and as creating enemies within the party that could cost his camp

The second camp - consisting of die-hard comrades who fought the liberation
war from Mgagao in Tanzania to Zambia and Mozambique - is regarded as the
real Zanu PF wing and is well respected by Mugabe. Its members have their
tentacles running into the heart and soul of the party and can direct events
within the army and intelligence as well as appeal to the party's old guard.
The camp has no leader and operates through consensus between Defence
Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, retired army supremo General Solomon Mujuru,
Intelligence Chief Happyton Bonyongwe, retired prisons chief Major General
Paradzayi Zimondi, army commander Constantine Chiwenga, Higher Education
Minister Herbert Murerwa, retired youth and gender minister Brigadier
Ambrose Mutinhiri, Harare Governor Witness Mangwende and, the little known
but effective, Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde.
This group, largely of the Zezuru Shona tribe, has the respect of senior
leadership in Zanu PF's Ndebele Matebeleland provinces, such as Land Reform
Minister John Nkomo, Vice President Joseph Msika and former intelligence
boss Dumiso Dabengwa.

It successfully countered Emmerson Mnangagwa's 2000 bid for the post of
chairperson and helped install Nkomo by consulting with the late Zanu PF
Masvingo province political godfather Eddison Zvobgo. This camp continues to
have links with the Zvobgo faction. A leading light in this camp is Mugabe
confidante Sekeramayi. The group, though lacking the charisma of the young
turks, is known to have decided the political fate of an individual over a
braai or glass of whisky. They are not as rooted in key districts such as
West and Central Mashonaland, Midlands and Manicaland, but command respect
among influential players in these provinces. The young turks are well aware
that any ill-spirited campaign against this group would be suicidal.

The third camp has a leader in Parliament Speaker Mnangagwa, who hails from
the Midlands province. Three months ago he was awarded an honorary doctorate
by the Midlands State University, amid speculation that it had been
engineered by Zanu PF leaders to revive his political aspirations. That
Mnangagwa is unpopular stands uncontested largely because of his role in the
Matabeleland massacres in the early Eighties. The United Nations has
implicated him in Democratic Republic of Congo mineral deals and he is being
probed on charges of corruption and financial irregularities in Zanu PF
companies and gold dealings on mines in his Midlands province. The public
media has been serialising the Zanu PF probe into the affairs of its
companies, headed by Mnangagwa. His fortunes also took a knock with the
death of his spiritual father, former vice president Simon Muzenda.
Prominent businessmen, including Chiyangwa now with the young turks, have
also deserted him. Mnangagwa can, however, rely on the support of the war
veterans led by Jabulani Sibanda. And he could be thrown a lifeline by
Mugabe, who allegedly preferres him as the succession candidate. Analysts
say Mugabe, shrewd as he is, could cut a deal for Mnangagwa with provincial
leaders. As the three camps battle it out, other influential leaders have
seemingly stayed out of the fray. These include former finance minister
Simba Makoni and Zanu PF national chairperson John Nkomo. The Zanu PF
Congress in four months time will be anything but boring.

Back to the Top
Back to Index