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

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Times of India

Zimbabwe police raid filmmaker's house

AFP [ SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2002  5:21:55 PM ]

HARARE: Zimbabwean police Sunday searched the home of a documentary
filmmaker, whose son is an opposition activist, looking for "subversive
films and material," according to their warrant.

The police seized 10 videotapes, including the Harrison Ford movie "Air
Force One," as well as several publicly available reports from the Media
Monitoring Project, a local watchdog.

Other tapes taken from the home and office of filmmaker Edwina Spicer
included recordings of the evening news and a film on the arts in Zimbabwe.

The warrant said police were searching for "security forces uniforms,
subversive films and material, and arms of war."

The search lasted almost two hours.

Spicer's 17-year-old son Tawanda is Harare deputy youth secretary for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

He faces charges of attempted murder, kidnapping and assault in a case that
the MDC has dismissed as government harassment of its members.

Both the opposition and the media have come under increasing pressure in the
runup to the March 9-10 presidential election, when Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe is struggling for political survival against MDC leader Morgan

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'SA not final judge on polls'

Cape Town - South Africa did not see itself as the final judge as to whether
the March 9 and 10 presidential elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair,
Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Sunday.

Speaking on the SABC's newsmaker programme, she said South Africa started
from the premise that "we all have a responsibility to making those
elections free and fair".

"Therefore we cannot sit and hold our hands and say on the day we stand in
judgement and say the results were free or not free."

The South African approach - and that of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) - was to field a big contingent of observers who would work
closely with the electoral commission in Zimbabwe to make sure the elections
"do become free and fair".

"That is our approach. We don't see ourselves as just final judges of
whether the results are free and fair... but we see ourselves as part of
ensuring that indeed those elections are a success, they are credible, they
are legitimate."

Dlamini-Zuma said she was not aware of any restrictions placed on the South
African and SADC observer missions going to Zimbabwe.

On the ground as soon as possible

"We have received invitations from the President of Zimbabwe to send
observers, and we are preparing to send the observers as soon as possible.

"We don't want to send them at the last minute. We want them to be on the
ground as soon as possible."

Regarding the possibility of European Union sanctions against Zimbabwe
because of restrictions on observers, she said this would be unfortunate.

"I think we should all be spending our energies to assist that country to
have a free and fair election... to assist the people of Zimbabwe to speak
through their vote who they want as their leader of that country.

"I think it would be unfortunate if the EU decided to bring sanctions at
this point in time, instead of working with the rest of us in trying to
ensure those elections are free and fair."

But, if Zimbabwe's elections in March turned out not to be free and fair,
"we will cross that bridge when we come to it".

"If things come to that, we will then decide what we do, but for now our
energies are concentrated on making that election free and fair," she said.
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In this MDC update:

Press Statement by MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai on the day of his
official nomination as MDC Presidential candidate.

Press Statement by MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai on the day of his
official nomination as MDC Presidential candidate.
31 January 2002

The die is now cast. The people have to make a choice between true freedom
and a new prosperous economic order on one hand, and lawlessness and
economic collapse on the other.

My nomination as presidential candidate in this election, represents a move
towards a new beginning for a country that is fast sliding into chaos and
anarchy. This nomination is another bold step by the people towards the
completion of the change they set on to achieve some three years ago.

This election is being fought under extremely terrible conditions that do
not resemble anything that nears a free and fair election. It is sad that
the future of the country appears set to be sacrificed on the alter of
short-term political expediency through a sustained campaign of violence and

For our party, we reiterate our call for non-violence in this election
campaign. We urge our youths to continue to exercise restraint and not to
answer violence through violence. We trust that the ruling party leadership
will apart from talking the message of peace, go an extra mile to translate
that message into concrete action where the party stops its supporters from
carrying on with the violent campaigns and also ensures that law enforcement
agents arrest and prosecute, without regard to party affiliation, all those
individuals who continue to commit political crimes.

This election is not about President Mugabe or Morgan Tsvangirai. It is
about the future of the people and the future of the country.

The people want national healing. They yearn for a return to peace and
peaceful co-existence of all Zimbabweans. They want the economy to be turned
around. They want government intervention in  matters of health, the HIV
pandemic, education and particularly the funding of tertiary students. They
want the looming food shortages which have seen 3 million Zimbabweans
registering for food aid and nearly 600 000 people living on the brink of
starvation addressed. They want a productive, orderly and gainful land
resettlement. Last but not least, the people cherish and look forward to the
advent of a new constitution for our country.

The MDC has worked out answers and programmes to these issues. We have
committed ourselves to a vision, plan and programme of action to take this
country forward.

The MDC pledges to create a strong state, not for the purpose of brutalizing
and demeaning the people but for purposes of ensuring the delivery of
results on key issues like joblessness, food shortages, HIV/AIDS and other
salient problems that worry Zimbabweans today.

We are a nation in transition. This transition is caught between those
Zimbabweans who are yearning for change and those who, for some reason,
prefer the status quo. Let me point out that MDC has no plans to travel on
the path of retribution. Our priority is not to seek vengeance but to ensure
national healing and the turning around of the economy so that our country
can begin to work again. It is my hope that all patriots and Zimbabweans of
genuine good will support our efforts in this direction.

Finally, we welcome the strong statement issued by the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group yesterday. We trust that President Mugabe will not
take this statement as an anti-Zimbabwe campaign but as a legitimate
reminder that he has an obligation not only to live by his undertakings to
SADC, the Commonwealth and to other international bodies with whom he has
had dealings, but also as a reminder that he should uphold Zimbabwe’s
constitution which he took an oath to defend.

I thank you.
Morgan Tsvangirai
Harare, 31 January 2002
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MDC Opposed Access to Information Bill and still opposes new Act
7 February 2002

Owing to some misrepresentations by the government and the state media, on
the position of the MDC with regard to the recently passed pieces of
legislation, which misrepresentations are now unfortunately being innocently
replayed on various forums by different leaders, the MDC finds it necessary
to restate its position on this issue.

The MDC vigorously opposed all the three Acts in question during
parliamentary debates – the General Laws Amendment, the Public Order and
Security and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Bills. We
remain opposed to the laws.

On numerous occasions, we called for division of the house and voted against
the bills. For the record, the MDC voted against every one of these pieces
of legislation including the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act. As regards the Access to Information Act, parliament had an oral vote
in which opposition legislators voted against the bill.

We find this Act objectionable and completely undesirable in a democratic
society. The Act seeks to establish a Media Commission controlled by the
Minister of Information. We have objected and still object to this. We
believe that if there is need for a media commission, this has to be a
commission of peers, where the journalists will regulate their own

We have also made the point that the minister has been given too much power
particularly with regard to the power to deregister media organizations and
fine journalists. This power is open to abuse and undesirable. There are
many other clauses we find objectionable in the Act.

The General Laws Amendment Act prevents churches and civil society groups
from monitoring the election and being present at the counting of the
ballots. It also prevents these groups from effectively conducting voter
education. The Act criminalizes distribution of fliers into people’s homes
and the sticking of posters on people’s properties without their consent.
This Act is aimed at paralysing the MDC campaign we rely solely on fliers to
distribute our message, whereas, Zanu PF has an unfair advantage and a
monopoly on radio, television and public owned press.

 The Public Order and Security Act is objectionable for several reasons. It
gives direct power to regulate our meetings to the police. We have to notify
the police of our meetings four days in advance. Like we rightly suspected,
this law is being applied selectively. While Zanu PF meetings have not been
interfered with, the police have for instance, in the past weekend alone
used Section 24 of this Act to disrupt 11 of our meetings. In Bulawayo,  the
police banned the MDC presidential campaign rally scheduled for Hillside on
Friday night. On Saturday they banned another one earmarked for Makokoba. In
Manicaland province, the police did every thing possible to deter people
from attending president Tsvangirai’s rally in Mutare.

Welshman Ncube
Secretary General
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EU observer head arrives in Zimbabwe, rally barred

HARARE, Feb. 10 — The Swedish head of a European Union observer team for
Zimbabwe's March 9-10 presidential election landed in the African country on
Sunday, saying he expected to carry out his work despite Harare's

       President Robert Mugabe, facing the biggest challenge to his 22 years
in power at next month's election, has allowed EU officials to monitor the
poll but objected to representatives from six EU states, including Sweden
and former colonial ruler Britain.
       Former Swedish government minister Pierre Schori told reporters on
arrival at Harare's international airport that he hoped to start his mission
''as soon as possible'' and would seek general discussions with Mugabe's
government over the polls.
       ''I'm here to take charge of the EU observer mission. I take it for
granted I will get accredited,'' said Schori who led another EU observer
mission to Zimbabwe's last parliamentary elections in 2000. ''Given my
experience last time, I think the EU thought it was a good idea to repeat
       The EU said on Friday Schori would go to Zimbabwe in defiance of an
invitation from Mugabe's government for observers from only nine of the 15
EU countries, excluding Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Britain, Germany and the
       The EU has threatened to freeze the assets of Mugabe's family and
inner circle and bar them from travel unless Harare allowed the deployment
of EU observers to oversee the poll.
       It has also said it would ban exports of arms and other equipment
that could be used for internal repression if its monitors were hampered.
       The EU expects to have an initial 20 to 30 observers in the country
within a week, out of about 160 expected to be in place for the March
elections, Schori said.
       ''We have a few here already (and) we will be operational as of now,
I think. It's a very important contribution to the general support to
Zimbabwe,'' Schori said.

       Schori's arrival coincided with police banning a planned political
rally by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), headed by
former labour union leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
       ''Police in Gokwe...have cancelled an MDC rally scheduled The rally was cancelled despite the fact that police had
earlier in the week given permission for the rally to go ahead,'' MDC
spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said in a statement.
       Jongwe said supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party had set fire to a
truck used by MDC and attacked its supporters.
       Police were unavailable for comment.
       Jongwe said 67 MDC rallies had either been disrupted or cancelled
since the enactment of the new Public Order and Security Act last month,
which critics say aims to stifle opposition ahead of the election.
       Some 200 ZANU-PF supporters had also beat up residents and destroyed
property in Harare's black township of Kuwadzana, after accusing them of
supporting the opposition, Jongwe said.
       Tsvangirai told supporters in Zimbabwe's central city of Gweru on
Saturday that elements close to ZANU-PF as well as some police officials had
deliberately targeted Mugabe's opponents ahead of the polls.
       The MDC says that more than 100 of its supporters have been killed
during a violent two-year campaign which began with the invasion of
white-owned farms in February 2000.
       Mugabe accuses the MDC of being a front for local whites and
international opponents led by Britain, who he says want to unseat him in
retaliation for the often violent seizure of white-owned farms.
       (Harare newsroom: +263 4 369 111-7, fax: +369 118))
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Zimbabwe opposition members attacked ahead of election rally

HARARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 10 — A ruling party mob attacked a group of opposition supporters who were preparing for an election rally in central Zimbabwe, setting their vehicle on fire, the opposition said Sunday.

Police later forced the cancellation of the rally, which was scheduled to take place Sunday, out of fear that it was likely to degenerate into disorder, said Learnmore Jongwe, a spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change.
       Nine opposition members had arrived Saturday night to prepare for the rally in Gokwe, 200 miles west of the capital, Harare. They were attacked by a mob of supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party and fled into the brush, leaving their truck behind, Jongwe said. When they later returned, they found it had been burned.
       Police officials could not be reached for comment.
       For two years, Zimbabwe has been gripped by political violence as the increasingly unpopular President Robert Mugabe, 77, seeks to extend his 21-year control of the government.
       White-owned farms have been seized, thousands of farm laborers have been chased from their homes and the independent media and judiciary have come under repeated attack from the government.
       Violence has intensified ahead of elections scheduled for March 9-10, when Mugabe will face a stiff challenge from opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, a former trade unionist. Human rights groups say the chances of a free and fair election are remote.
       Recently the government passed laws giving the authorities sweeping powers of search, seizure and arrest, with 20-year jail terms for anyone inciting Mugabe's overthrow.
       ''To date we have had 67 rallies canceled either by the police or by ZANU-PF violence since the (laws were) passed three weeks ago,'' said Jongwe. ''We will contest this election under the most severe circumstances but we have been stretched to the limit.''
       (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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Melbourne Age

CARICOM to take common position on Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth
GEORGETOWN, Feb 10 AFP|Published: Monday February 11, 8:28 AM

The 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has agreed to take a common
position on Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)
scheduled for early March in Australia.

"The Caribbean region will caucus and we will discuss this matter and at
that time we may have additional information and hopefully that will guide
in taking a position at that time," Guyana's President Bharrat Jagdeo said

He said that decision was taken by CARICOM leaders at their just-concluded
mid-term meeting in Belize where they were briefed by Barbados on the
political, land distribution and human rights situation in Barbados.

Britain, Barbados, Australia, Canada, Botswana, Malaysia, Bangladesh and
Nigeria make up the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) that is
keeping a close eye on Zimbabwe.

In his fight for political survival, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has
been accused of supporting the takeover of white farmlands, suppressing
media freedom and criticisms of government, and turning a blind eye to
politically motivated killings.

The Guyanese leader said CARICOM's assessment would also consider
"additional information about the electoral process" in Zimbabwe's general
elections scheduled for March 9 to 10. The meeting of Commonwealth leaders
will be held in Queensland, Australia, from March 2 to 5.

The poll is to be observed by the Commonwealth grouping of Britain and its
53 former colonies, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and
the European Union (EU).

If the elections are certified as unfair and human rights abuses continue,
Zimbabwe could be suspended from the Commonwealth and face tough sanctions
from the EU.

Mugabe, 77, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the country gained independence
from Britain in 1980, faces a strong challenge from former trade unionist
Morgan Tsvangirai, who now leads the Movement for Democratic Change.

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Mbeki says Zimbabwe violence will not prevent free vote
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 10 AFP|Published: Monday February 11, 7:59 AM

South African President Thabo Mbeki said today that despite violence in neighbouring Zimbabwe, the country's March election would still produce a free and fair vote.

"I do not believe that you have a predetermined outcome to the Zimbabwe elections," Mbeki told South African public television channel SABC.

"I do not believe that the Zimbabwean population has been intimidated, whatever the direction, to such an extent that they will not be able, if we get the conditions right between now and election day, to take a decision which is truly their decision," he added.

Both Zimbabwe's opposition and the country's media have come under increasing pressure in the run-up to the March 9-10 presidential election, where President Robert Mugabe is struggling for political survival against former union leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

In the run-up to the election, 67 opposition rallies have either been cancelled by police or disrupted by members of the governing ZANU-PF party with at least 16 people killed in political violence since December 24, according to an AFP tally.

Mbeki said that South African observers would be going to Zimbabwe to monitor the elections "to make sure that the climate exists for the holding of a free and fair election."

Moreover, the observers would guarantee that all sides accepted the results of the elections whatever the outcome, he pointed out.

He also drew examples from his own country's recent past which he said proved that fair elections could go ahead even though violence persisted.

"South Africans forget that in this country, during the months of March and April 1994, 1,000 people died in connection with the election.

And yet we were able to vote, and everybody, including international observers, said the elections were free and fair"

"I am quite certain that the contestants in those presidential elections will accept the outcome of the elections," the president said.

"That is precisely why it is critically important that the elections are seen by the Zimbabwean people as having been free and fair, because if they are not then of course people will contest the result."

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