Times of India
Zimbabwe police raid filmmaker's house
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
The police seized 10 videotapes, including the Harrison Ford
Force One," as well as several publicly available reports from the
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.
17-year-old son Tawanda is Harare deputy youth secretary for the
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
'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,
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
"Therefore we cannot sit and hold our hands and say on the day we
judgement and say the results were free or not free."
South African approach - and that of the Southern African
Community (SADC) - was to field a big contingent of observers who
closely with the electoral commission in Zimbabwe to make sure the
"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
said she was not aware of any restrictions placed on the South
SADC observer missions going to Zimbabwe.
On the ground as soon as
"We have received invitations from the President of Zimbabwe to
observers, and we are preparing to send the observers as soon as
"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
"If things come to that, we will then decide what we do, but for now
energies are concentrated on making that election free and fair," she
In this MDC update:
Press Statement by MDC President, Morgan
Tsvangirai on the day of his
official nomination as MDC Presidential
Press Statement by MDC President, Morgan Tsvangirai on the day of
official nomination as MDC Presidential candidate.
The die is now cast. The people have to make a choice between true
and a new prosperous economic order on one hand, and lawlessness
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
The people want national healing. They yearn for a return to
peaceful co-existence of all Zimbabweans. They want the economy to
around. They want government intervention in matters of health,
pandemic, education and particularly the funding of tertiary
want the looming food shortages which have seen 3 million
registering for food aid and nearly 600 000 people living on the
starvation addressed. They want a productive, orderly and gainful
resettlement. Last but not least, the people cherish and look forward to
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
MDC pledges to create a strong state, not for the purpose of brutalizing
demeaning the people but for purposes of ensuring the delivery of
key issues like joblessness, food shortages, HIV/AIDS and other
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
constitution which he took an oath to defend.
Harare, 31 January 2002
MDC Opposed Access to Information Bill and still opposes new Act
Owing to some misrepresentations by the government and the state
the position of the MDC with regard to the recently passed pieces
legislation, which misrepresentations are now unfortunately being
replayed on various forums by different leaders, the MDC finds it
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
On numerous occasions, we called for division of the house and
the bills. For the record, the MDC voted against every one of
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
We find this Act objectionable and completely undesirable in a
society. The Act seeks to establish a Media Commission controlled
Minister of Information. We have objected and still object to this.
believe that if there is need for a media commission, this has to be
commission of peers, where the journalists will regulate their
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
The General Laws Amendment Act prevents churches and civil society
from monitoring the election and being present at the counting of
ballots. It also prevents these groups from effectively conducting
education. The Act criminalizes distribution of fliers into people’s
and the sticking of posters on people’s properties without their
This Act is aimed at paralysing the MDC campaign we rely solely on
distribute our message, whereas, Zanu PF has an unfair advantage
monopoly on radio, television and public owned press.
Public Order and Security Act is objectionable for several reasons. It
direct power to regulate our meetings to the police. We have to notify
police of our meetings four days in advance. Like we rightly suspected,
law is being applied selectively. While Zanu PF meetings have not
interfered with, the police have for instance, in the past weekend
used Section 24 of this Act to disrupt 11 of our meetings. In
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
from attending president Tsvangirai’s rally in
EU observer head arrives in Zimbabwe, rally
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
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
Harare's international airport that he hoped to start his mission
as possible'' and would seek general discussions with Mugabe's
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
mission to Zimbabwe's last parliamentary elections in 2000. ''Given
experience last time, I think the EU thought it was a good idea to
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
be used for internal repression if its monitors were hampered.
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
''We have a few here already (and) we will be operational as of
I think. It's a very important contribution to the general support
Zimbabwe,'' Schori said.
OPPOSITION RALLY BANNED
arrival coincided with police banning a planned political
rally by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), headed by
union leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
''Police in Gokwe...have cancelled an
MDC rally scheduled
for...today. The rally was cancelled despite the fact
that police had
earlier in the week given permission for the rally to go
spokesman Learnmore Jongwe said in a statement.
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
Jongwe said 67 MDC rallies had either been disrupted or
since the enactment of the new Public Order and Security Act last
which critics say aims to stifle opposition ahead of the
Some 200 ZANU-PF supporters had also beat up residents and
property in Harare's black township of Kuwadzana, after accusing
supporting the opposition, Jongwe said.
supporters in Zimbabwe's central city of Gweru on
Saturday that elements
close to ZANU-PF as well as some police officials had
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
opponents led by Britain, who he says want to unseat him in
the often violent seizure of white-owned farms.
(Harare newsroom: +263
4 369 111-7, fax: +369 118))
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
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.)
CARICOM to take common position on Zimbabwe to the
GEORGETOWN, Feb 10 AFP|Published: Monday February 11, 8:28
The 15-nation Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has agreed to take
position on Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
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
meeting in Belize where they were briefed by Barbados on the
distribution and human rights situation in Barbados.
Australia, Canada, Botswana, Malaysia, Bangladesh and
Nigeria make up the
Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) that is
keeping a close eye on
In his fight for political survival, Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe has
been accused of supporting the takeover of white farmlands,
media freedom and criticisms of government, and turning a blind
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).
the elections are certified as unfair and human rights abuses
Zimbabwe could be suspended from the Commonwealth and face tough
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
Mbeki says Zimbabwe violence will not prevent free
JOHANNESBURG, Feb 10 AFP|Published: Monday February 11, 7:59
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
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."