Comment from ZWNEWS, 16
Is that it?
Is that it? Nearly two years ago President Mugabe began
guerrilla operations against his own people. When that didn’t work he launched a
wider war that sought to excise every bloom of democracy, prosperity and hope
from Zimbabwe. Africa didn’t like this; the wider world liked it far less. And
the result of their indignation, of hundreds of meetings, thousands of briefings
and article, millions of words? A thin smear of observers, selected at Mugabe’s
behest, and, less than a month before the elections, yet to be spread across
Zimbabwe’s 400,000 square kilometres. Is that it?
The West has had two years to take action. Beguiled by the
soothing yet ultimately empty words of African leaders it has chosen to do
nothing. Now the EU and the UK find themselves, through their own fault, in a
hopeless position. All they can offer the suffering millions in Zimbabwe are a
hundred or so EC observers, many of whom are unlikely even to be accredited.
That’s one for every 4,000 square kilometres and one for every 40,000 voters.
And to keep that pitifully tiny force in country the EC now has to be nice to
Mugabe –no sanctions, no threats, no criticisms. Implicit in this stance is the
belief that the elections might yet be free and fair. That is an absurd point of
view and here are 10 reasons why:
Intimidation: for 20 years there was no opposition in Zimbabwe.
As soon as one arose Mugabe sought to destroy it through physical violence.
Every day for the last two years someone somewhere has taken a beating, or a
bullet, for being an MDC supporter. Children, schoolteachers, pregnant women –
none have been exempt. Even as you read this article Zanu PF thugs are touring
the townships and rural areas, telling the electorate that Zanu PF will know how
they vote and subjecting them to violence and humiliation to get the point
State prosecution: the military, the police, the intelligence
services serve the interests of Zanu PF, not the interests of Zimbabwe. Not only
is there no protection for the MDC against government violence, it is the
police, the army and the war veterans who dish out government violence, along
with their noxious new allies the youth brigades. Supporting the MDC, even
reading the Daily News, have become arrestable offences. The machinery of state
is geared to a Mugabe victory.
Propaganda: the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Company has spewed out a
foul brew of racist, neo-Maoist, paranoid filth for years on both television and
radio. It is wholly the voice of Zanu PF. Mugabe closed down and forbade other
radio stations. This is all the broadcast media that most voters will ever see
Rallies: the MDC have had countless rallies disrupted, banned,
cancelled or attacked by Zanu PF, by war veterans and by the police. The only
threats to Zanu PF rallies are apathy and boredom.
Registration: Zanu PF has physically removed tens of thousands
of farm workers from their homes. They are now refugees in their own country.
This dislocation makes it impossible for them to register and vote. A new
citizenship law has disenfranchised much of the remaining white population.
Draconian demands for identification have disenfranchised tens of thousands of
younger voters. Mugabe has done all he can to ensure that those who will not
vote for him cannot vote at all.
Access: this election will be won or lost in Mashonaland.
Mugabe and his thugs have made it utterly impossible for the MDC to campaign
there. This is like the British Labour party being forbidden to campaign south
of the Watford Gap. As in 2000 it will prove impossible ‘for technical reasons’
for observers to get far from the towns and villages in Mashonaland into the
Legislation: the Public Order and Security Bill and General
Laws Amendment Bill make it illegal to mount a meaningful opposition election
Supervisions: the mechanics of the election, including the
distribution and management of ballot boxes and the compilation of returns will
be in the hands of an Election Supervisory Commission staffed by Zanu PF
supporters, war veterans, and military officers. Close supervision of ballot
boxes by others is now illegal. The final count will be in the hands of this
Press accreditation: new press laws will make it almost
impossible for the international press, indeed any non-Zanu PF press, to get
access to the rural areas where the election will be lost and won.
Money: Mugabe has shamelessly plundered Zimbabwe’s increasingly
meagre resources to fund his campaign and bribe his followers. By contrast he
has made it impossible and illegal for the MDC to raise substantial sums. Mugabe
travels to his rallies in a fleet of helicopters, Tsvangirai in a battered 4WD.
When he is allowed to travel and hold a rally.
For two years Mugabe has twisted every institution, corrupted
public servants and parliament, beaten and murdered his opponents to hang onto
power. What we know, but the EU fails to grasp, is that for he and his henchmen
there is no shame in this, no guilt in murder and manipulation. They have broken
apart democracy like children smashing a complicated toy they have no use for.
To them politics is a means to personal enrichment and personal security –
service, answerability, honour, all are alien concepts. They will con the EU,
browbeat the SADC observers, claim victory then go on their way rejoicing
through a dark and broken land.
No one can believe that elections in Zimbabwe can be free and
fair. Only the likes of President Mbeki can bring themselves to make such an
absurd claim. Mugabe has tilted the playing field grotesquely in his favour and
if no favourable result is forthcoming despite that – he will stuff and rig. But
might a few weeks or relative tranquillity persuade our friends from the EU to
suspend judgement? Might some local details take attention from the bigger
picture? Observers will see long lines of Zimbabweans waiting in the sun to
vote, they will swap jokes with affable Zanu PF officials, they will eat
sandwiches and drink Castle beer alongside peaceful polling stations. Let us
hope that the broader canvas that stretches into every dark corner of our
country is visible to them. This is a not a normal election. The last two years
have been grimly abnormal – years of blood and intimidation and manipulation in
which people have been killed and beaten and have lost all they have ever owned.
Mugabe stole this election long ago – it only remains to be seen if Morgan
Tsvangirai, and the people of Zimbabwe can, through an overwhelming vote, snatch
Our handful of observers (and we can all note with relief that
a delegation from Iran is on the way) may make the elections a fraction cleaner.
We should applaud their efforts however few they are, however late. But free and
fair elections? Impossible. Having let Zimbabwe sink so far the outside world
could at least acknowledge that.
Dear Family and Friends,
There are 20 days until Presidential elections are
held in Zimbabwe and they just cannot go fast enough now. This week some
election observers began arriving in the country but our Minister of Foreign
Affairs has refused to accredit any who come from Sweden, Finland, The
Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and the UK. This pettiness is insulting in the
extreme for all of these countries, their people and governments who have, over
the last 2 decades, poured hundreds of millions of foreign money into our
country. Up until 2 years ago, when land invasions began, the people of these 6
countries were building schools, hospitals, clinics and dams here. They were
donating drugs, caring for Aids victims and looking after street children. They
were sinking boreholes and setting up irrigation schemes, constructing bridges
and giving us their expertise in the form of doctors, nurses and teachers. For
two decades we took their money with both hands, now our government uses those
same hands to slap them in the face and tell them they are not welcome to
observe our elections. We are ashamed and these sentiments are not
representative of the people of Zimbabwe, only of our leaders.
This week I would like to tell you about some of
the things that have not been in the news. It has not rained for a month and the
little squares of maize that have been planted are dying, their leaves curled
and browning, their cobs not filling. In my home town this week there has been
no maize at all of any description. There has also been no sugar, cooking oil or
milk all week and by Friday most brands of milk powder were also out of stock,
as are most cereals and there are fast dwindling supplies of potatoes,
margarine, many vegetables and chicken. Stock feed for cattle and dog food is
like gold and there has been no chicken feed for over a fortnight. In a
neighbouring town there is unmilled maize at the central grain depot but the
queues are long and when you get to the front, you have to pay up to Z$200 in
"handling fees", otherwise known as bribes, to the men who work there before you
are allowed to buy 20kgs of grain. In a country which needs 5000 tonnes of maize
a day, some people are going to make an awful lot of money in the weeks and
months ahead. More tragic though is the fact that Zimbabwe currently has the
capacity to transport (via road & rail) much less than half the required
amount and hunger is inevitable. In my home town this week we have had
unexplained daily electricity cuts of between 1 and 3 hours. This week a mob of
government youths stoned the Marondera offices of the opposition MDC. They broke
all the windows and were brawling in the street but fled when riot police
arrived and began firing rubber bullets. On farms near Marondera and in many
other parts of the country gangs of youths have been causing havoc. Farm
workers were beaten on the soles of their feet for reading the Daily News,
others were forced to each give Z$10 donations to war veterans who say they are
hungry. Road blocks manned by youngsters are repeatedly being set up and then
dismantled when police arrive. All the public transport mini-buses in Marondera
have been pasted with posters of President Mugabe, the owners of the vehicles
warned that they either display the posters or risk damage to their buses. One
minibus has a large sheet of clear plastic where his back windscreen was
and another has starburst cracks all over his rear window. The situation is
totally out of control and the mayhem is being caused by youngsters, often under
20 who are unemployed and whose young minds have been totally corrupted. We are
told that there may be as many as 2 or 3 hundred election observers in the
country within the next 20 days - their task will be almost impossible as we
could do with that number in my home town and surrounding area alone. And still
the EU does nothing except threaten and bluster, each new statement offering yet
another deadline accompanied by " if ".
To close on a personal note and answer many
enquiries: I am busy trying to find another publisher to put African Tears back
in print. It has been out of stock in Zimbabwe for a couple of months and is not
available in America anymore either. There are still copies available in England
(contact David Collins: email@example.com ) and in
New Zealand (conatct Hugh Bomford: firstname.lastname@example.org) and hopefully
will be easily available again soon. Until next week, with love, cathy. http://africantears.netfirms.com
Shortage of staple raises Zimbabwe famine fears
Fields in Harare
A SHELF-STACKER in the OK Supermarket in Harare’s
main shopping street
laughs grimly when asked where the mealie-meal
"That’s something to forget about," he answers, shaking his head.
Zimbabweans, caught in the cross-fire of a bloody
election campaign, are
hungry. Shops in central Harare have not had
deliveries of mealie-meal for
days. Mealie-meal, or maize meal, is used to
make sadza, the staple food in
"Maybe next week" there will
be mealie-meal, the guard outside Mahommed
Mussa’s wholesalers tells
A few streets away, in Strachan’s Tea Room near the parliament
waiter says life at the moment is "terrible for poor people like
"There’s no cooking oil, no mealie-meal. Last week the people were
at Mahommed’s for sugar," he says. "We have to pray to God to help
In rural areas, food shortages are worse. Independent news reports
least two people are dying of starvation a week. State radio
yesterday that in the Gokwe district people are living on a diet of
seeds, while children are going to school hungry.
Famine has been
predicted since last year in Zimbabwe, once known as the
southern Africa. Invasions of white-owned farms and the
redistribution programme have severely disrupted
operations. Farmers’ unions predict that, given the
reduced acreage of crops,
only 800,000 tonnes of maize will be reaped. That
figure falls far short of
the 2.4 million tonnes required to feed the
Poor rains in
January have worsened the situation. The Herald newspaper said
60 per cent of the maize crop had wilted, and forecast a
drought". The World Food Programme has appealed for $60 million
international donors to feed the 558,000 rural Zimbabweans estimated to
need of immediate aid.
Both the ruling ZANU-PF party and the opposition
Movement for Democratic
Change are using the food issue to drum up support
for their candidates in
the presidential elections just over three weeks
Mindful that empty stomachs could lose him votes in his toughest
battle in 21 years, Mr Mugabe is anxious to be seen to be feeding
people. Top of state news bulletins earlier this week was the arrival
4,280 tons of maize from South Africa. The government says it will
200,000 tons from South Africa between now and May.
the latest report of the Famine Early Warning System network
even with these imports "stocks may not meet the demand".
Head of EU observer team says he will stay on in
HARARE, Feb 16 AFP|Published: Saturday February 16, 7:19
The head of the EU election observer team to Zimbabwe, Pierre
today he would remain in the country after Harare threatened to
"I am staying here," Schori said in response to a
Schori, Sweden's UN ambassador who acknowledged that
he had been visited by
Zimbabwean immigration officials to "discuss" his
visa, said he has a
six-month double-entry valid visa.
He has been
denied accreditation since he arrived in Zimbabwe last weekend
because he is
from one of the six countries that authorities have barred
from observing the
upcoming presidential elections for allegedly supporting
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
expected to pose the stiffest challenge yet
to President Robert Mugabe's
22-year rule in the March 9-10 polls.
EU observers from Britain, Denmark,
Finland, Germany, the Netherlands and
Sweden have been banned from
Schori said he has submitted a report to be discussed at the EU
foreign affairs ministers on Monday in Brussels.
then decide upon the EU election observation mission in
Daily News - Letters, Opinions
Observers, take note of this racist spite
2/16/02 2:35:22 PM (GMT +2)
editorial of 12 February summarising the Muzorewa era was wonderfully
and wholly accurate.
It would be a fine thing if the testimonies
to history as they emerge could
be as fair.
Some might include the
important detail (in another of your analyses
perhaps?) of the service that
the Muzorewa/Smith brief pre-independence
transitional government (1978/9)
rendered for the stability of Zimbabwe in
the first months of
Whites were gently weaned from their dependence on a
controlled by the minority white population.
is a documented fact that the late Samora Machel advised Robert Mugabe
Zanu PF not to drive the white population off the land and out of
country, whatever the wrongs of the past.
He warned that without
the firm foundation of a working economy, based on
strong agricultural and
mining (and growing industrial) productivity, it
would not be possible, at
first, to deliver the full fruits of freedom to
the majority of the
Those whites who stayed after independence paid their taxes,
obeyed the law
and gave of their best, having ceded their first loyalty
(formerly to the
Crown in many cases) to the new nation of Zimbabwe. In case
it has been
forgotten, a political party is not the same thing as a country.
moment, a political party, Zanu PF, holds the majority of the seats
Parliament and rules.
But that can change. The country remains
sovereign and independent and if
democracy prevails if it is not disturbed
never mind destroyed by a change
of ruling party.
But I digress. This
was not intended as a history review or a voter
education treatise. It is a
whistle-blowing for democracy. The attempt, this
month, by the Registrar
General’s Office, diligent and misdirected as ever,
to ignore the law and
effectively disenfranchise hundreds of loyal white
citizens and permanent
residents should be resisted. Unsurprisingly, the
descendants of black
(migrant) settlers are few and far between in the
queues forcibly formed up
in the constituency Registrar’s offices.
According to electoral law,
persons permanently resident in Zimbabwe since
1985 are legally entitled to
vote. Many of the hundreds, if not thousands,
recently notified of their
disenfranchisement hold documents proving their
status as registered
Not enough time has been given to the recipients in most cases,
as directed by a ubiquitous (or should I say iniquitous?)
In any case, the law states that your name may not be
removed between the
period of the closing of the voter registration exercise
and the date that
Appeals, you can bet your bottom
dollar, will not succeed until after
polling days. This latest political game
played by the ruling Zanu PF is so
transparently an illegal re-registration
of voters and time-buying mechanism
for the ruling Zanu PF party given that
the registered letters arrive on a
Friday and give little or no time to the
recipients to appeal (election
observers kindly note) that disenfranchised
voters can be forgiven if they
assume we are going the Milosevic
However much that particular despot is despised by civilised
refusal to recognise his judges has delayed his ultimate
We have not yet arrived at the feet of our respected judges those
independent mind, that is but a Supreme Court hearing might bring
racist spite, this travesty of democracy to the attention of a
Zimbabweans deserve better, Tobaiwa Mudede. They wish
for no more than their
legal right to choose a political party which they
will empower and entrust
to restore us all to the prosperous, non-racial,
peaceful and just society
which was promised back in 1980, at
the dawn of
our sovereign independent state of Zimbabwe.
Daily News - Leader Page
NGOs fame, fun and funds at people’s
2/16/02 2:42:17 PM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE’S fallout has proved beyond doubt that local civil
epitomised by ubiquitous human rights non-governmental organisations
lacks the requisite political clout to challenge President
increasingly totalitarian rule.
Civil society’s capacity to
build popular support for democratic
people-centred change has been blown out
of proportion by outside donors,
who continue to pour funds into this
It is not unreasonable to state that the very concept of NGOs
antithetical to the organisational expression of a popular struggle for
democratic and publicly accountable government in Zimbabwe.
instance, NGOs have been conspicuous by their absence from many of
political demonstrations that have been held since the beginning of
It appears that civil society lacks the
capability to engage in direct mass
action on the streets against the
The reason is people who end up working in NGOs are not
willing to be
sacrificial lambs for the cause of basic
Zimbabwe’s urban educated elite appears to have hijacked NGOs
to such an
extent that they have lost currency and lack relevancy to broader
Despite the omnipresence of NGOs, nothing has significantly
improved in the
realisation of people’s basic rights. If anything at all,
worsened for the majority of the people politically, economically
Clearly, NGO operations, characterised by five-star
meetings and conferences far removed from the people, will
comprehensive revolutionary changes needed to improve the lives of
Neither will it impact qualitatively on the style of
Devoid of theory or ideology to guide them, NGOs see their
as awareness raising and advocacy in which people are
subjects or victims incapable of struggling for their
rights, and end up
mirroring the status quo.
Little to no consultation
is carried out with broader society.
In effect, local NGOs largely depend
on harping neo-liberal concepts of
democracy and human rights that have no
root whatsoever in the realities of
While all human rights
are universal rights, they require local forms of
struggle for them to be
In addition, while NGOs claim to be formed by activists as
non-partisan organisations, they are usually formed outside
the social group
that they are advocating for.
As a result, they
function without any constituency, accountable only to
themselves and the
foreign financial supporters.
The operational tools and ideologies
employed by local NGOs are merely
borrowed from an international system that
supports an oppressive world
order, and has nurtured the current repressive
regime of Mugabe.
The absence of concrete ideology, mobilisation and
campaign strategies has
transformed civil society into a mere reactionary
force that lacks solid
indigenous support in the fight against Mugabe’s
The emergence of electronic communication has
further marginalised the
Consequently, NGO work has
been reduced to a dialogue among the local
urbanised elite and their
It is now apparent that Zimbabwean civil society
is all about fame, fun and
funds at the expense of the
Organisations have been hijacked by do-gooders that lack the
capacity to tap
into the people’s struggle for peace, justice, freedom and
Also, civil society has become the turf of a
struggle between the powerful
elite, completely obsessed with the
Zimbabwean NGOs need to understand that the efficacy of
interventions can only be possible if more focus is put on the
rather than international donor funders.
In this respect,
the building of a long-standing democracy in Zimbabwe
cannot be separated
from the real conditions of abject poverty,
marginalisation that affect the majority of the people.
The current human
rights focus of many of the organisations in civil society
has tended to turn
a blind eye to the economic disparities that exist in
Further, too much attention on Mugabe and the human rights abuses
administration has resulted in a failure to analyse and challenge the
divisions, which determine the skewed distribution of resources in
Documentation of human rights abuses, although important in its
has not been transformed to challenge the social and political
In addition, NGOs are perceived as vehicles of
personal enrichment and
advancement. The tendency of NGOs to be
self-appointed and unaccountable has
been the source of this
Transparency, accountability and openness are judged
maintenance of financial books, workshops, and published
often are left to gather dust on the shelves.
necessary for local NGOs and their international funders to understand
only a radical approach will ensure the desired change in people’s
Freedom is about power contests, and can never be attained
on a silver
It has to be fought for, and NGOs should be
prepared to go in forefront of
the firing line.
As it is, the
generality of Zimbabweans are still unaffected by the actions
of local civil
society, but wherever there is oppression, there is bound to
Plainly, there is need for an alternative model of NGOs that
is sensitive to
the needs of the people.
This alternative model needs
to be informed by indigenous knowledge systems,
local constraints and the
people’s popular desire for basic human rights.
Daily News - Leader Page
Garfield Todd - another victim of
2/16/02 2:41:35 PM (GMT +2)
IN denying Garfield
Todd and other white citizens the vote, the government
is displaying the same
sickening xenophobia that has plunged many African
countries into civil
Today, the targets could be white citizens: tomorrow, it could be
citizens. Such aberrations have a tendency to develop a domino
The whole strategy is to reduce the number of voters who are
perceived to be
anti-Mugabe, and thus enhance his chances of
It seems to be appreciated, somewhat fortunately, by Zanu PF
candidate has alienated so many citizens with his party’s policies
majority of the voters have little to persuade them to vote for him,
after he has forced down their throats the land reform
But there is something particularly callous in denying the
vote to a
93-year-old former prime minister, whose late wife gave so much to
education system of her adopted country, at a mission school which is
proud alma mater of many distinguished citizens of Zimbabwe.
same xenophobia led the corrupt government of the former president of
Frederick Chiluba, to attempt to deny citizenship to the former
Kaunda had fought for his country’s independence from the
British and had
ruled the country for 27 years. Chiluba was so frightened of
popularity he wanted to hound the man out of the
Fortunately, he did not succeed but the people paid him back for
xenophobia last December, by giving his successor, Levy Mwanawasa, such
paltry winning margin he can truly be called a “minority
In the Ivory Coast, the same fate befell a former prime
Ouattara, who threatened to beat all comers in an
election, until his
opponents decided his parentage disqualified him from
standing as a
In all these instances of acute xenophobia,
the governments will find
excuses for odious behaviour. Since they hold the
reins of power, they can
churn out any number of reasons for their
But all reasonable people know that deep down what they are
frightened of is
The Great Unknown. The Nazis were haunted by this same fear
and we know what
it led them to do.
It is useful to speculate on what
possesses such people to hound a
93-year-old former prime minister who cannot
conceivably harm them in any
way, except the probability that there are
citizens who hold him in such
high esteem they share his disillusionment with
what has been done to their
That, in reality, is the
Whether they are black, white, yellow or pink, they are Zimbabweans
genuinely sickened by the campaign of hate which Zanu PF has managed
infuse into the land reform programme.
If there had been
spectacular progress in the advancement of the indigenous
people, enough for
them to give the government the benefit of the doubt,
there would not be this
vast discontent among them.
But it is the overall performance of the
government that makes it difficult
for even the most docile black person to
In fact, since they were underprivileged right from the
beginning, the poor
people are the most furious with the government because
meant so little for them.
It had promised them so
They had made so many sacrifices in the struggle, whether they were in
rural areas or in the cities and towns. Everyone was involved in
struggle, whether or not they took up a gun.
Today, after being
bludgeoned by their own children who are now raping women
old enough to be
their mothers, they are being asked to forget all that and
pretend that the
last 22 years have been beautiful.
They will not be ashamed to vote the
same way that Garfield Todd would have
voted- if he had been allowed
5 village headmen allegedly abducted
2/16/02 2:20:46 PM
Five village headmen accused of
supporting the MDC were abducted by Zanu PF
supporters in the Hoyuyu
resettlement area in Mutoko this week.
Derick Muzira, the MDC
provincial vice-chairman for Mashonaland East,
yesterday said two of the
headmen, Goliath Katsande and Charles Edward, were
abducted from a bus at
Corner Store on Wednesday.
He said: “The headmen were ordered off a bus
coming from Harare by a group
of Zanu PF supporters.”
Muzira said Tafa
Shekede, Mark Tafa and a headman known as Mavhunga, were
abducted from their
homes on Thursday by Zanu PF supporters in a white Mazda
He said the officer-in-charge of Mutoko police, Inspector Mbanga,
promised to investigate.
Contacted for comment, Mbanga, said: “We are
investigating, but they are not
headmen as such. They are ordinary villagers.
We will give the police
spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena,
all the information when
our investigations are complete and you can get it
Bvudzijena has not commented on any police investigations
to The Daily News.
In Marondera on Thursday, a police officer who
declined to give his name
said a Zanu PF mob attacked the MDC offices in
Birmingham Road but was
dispersed with teargas, after which two Zanu PF and
five MDC supporters were
Didimas Munhenzva, the MDC
provincial secretary for Mashonaland East, said:
“The irony of it is that
these people stoned our offices but the police
arrested our people who were
attacked while on the premises.”
Munhenzva said he was with two election
observers when he received a
telephone call about the attack.
them to go and see for themselves,” he said. “I have not had any
from them because they said they were going to Murehwa from
Munhenzva said he himself was attacked by Zanu PF youths on
evening at a filling station in Marondera. He was bruised on the
and in the side.
The mob smashed the windscreen and side
window of his car as he sped off.
2/16/02 2:26:37 PM (GMT
By Columbus Mavhunga
AT least 15 National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) members, including
Munyaradzi Gwisai, the MDC MP for
Highfield, were severely beaten up by
armed riot police as they marched
through the streets of Harare in a
The demonstration, barred by the police, was to press
President Mugabe to
accept the NCA’s draft constitution and to ensure a free
presidential election next month.
The police had argued that
the demonstration would contravene the draconian
Public Order and Security
Act (POSA), prompting the NCA to file an urgent
application with the High
Court to interdict the police argument.
But the Judge President, Justice
Paddington Garwe, saw no urgency in the
application and did not pass a ruling
on the matter.
Protesters numbering more than 300 were carrying placards
reading: No to
POSA, Zvinavashe represents no one, Free and fair election, No
rule and We demand a new constitution now.
Led by Lovemore
Madhuku, the NCA chairman, they marched from the corner of
Avenue and First Street into Samora Machel Avenue,
distributing copies of the
At Corner House, where the offices of Patrick
Chinamasa, the Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, are
located, they were confronted
by more than 25 armed riot policemen.
failing to get into the building to deliver a copy of the draft
to the minister, they marched along Leopold Takawira Street.
But the riot
police descended on them at the junction of that road and
Several arrests were made and other demonstrators were beaten up by
police as they moved in to disperse the protesters.
demonstrators gathered at the corner of Leopold Takawira and Kwame
(formerly Union) Avenue and started chanting songs denouncing the
House Constitution. They were rounded up by three truckloads of
policemen and more demonstrators were arrested.
Madhuku said despite the
arrests his organisation would continue to press
for a new
“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We will have more
and more of these
demonstrations until POSA and other draconian pieces of
abolished. We are really determined. Police arrests and
beatings will not
stop the process.”
The NCA’s lawyer, Alec
Muchadehama, said he was trying to secure the release
of all those detained
by the police. Those arrested, including Raymond
Majongwe, the former
Football Club secretary, are likely to be charged under the POSA
prohibits demonstrations without police approval.
Government warned against arresting Tsvangirai
2:19:07 PM (GMT +2)
MDC youths, led by Job
Sikhala, the MP for St Mary’s, and Nelson Chamisa,
the MDC’s national youth
chairman, on Thursday night warned the government
not to arrest their leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, on trumped-up charges of
plotting to assassinate President
Sikhala, who has been arrested, assaulted and harassed by
agents on many occasions, said MDC youths would defend their
against what he described as “the evil machinations of Mugabe’s
The youths vowed to mobilise all Zimbabweans to take part in
unprecedented mass action and civil disobedience campaign.
said: “Why on earth would somebody want to kill a 78-year-old man?
As a mass
movement, if our president is harassed unnecessarily we will
launch a massive
protest. We will ask the people to chart their own
said: “We will definitely make this country ungovernable. Tsvangirai
icon of good governance in this country.
“In his absence, there is no
hope. Mugabe is trying to deprive our
generation of a bright future through
unscrupulous and Stone Age tactics
that he used against Ndabaningi Sithole
and other opposition politicians.”
He said claims that Tsvangirai plotted
to kill Mugabe could only be believed
by those prepared to believe
“We have the power to defend our president against intimidation
and we will
not allow anyone to tamper with him,” said Sikhala.
said he had suffered enough at the hands of Zanu PF and would not stop
when the historic moment “is only a stone’s throw away”.
He said the
faked assassination plot was designed to enable Mugabe to go
But Sikhala vowed: “That will never happen. The
tide of change that has
gripped Zimbabweans is
is a time for everything and this is the time for Mugabe to go.” A
shown in Australia purportedly showed Tsvangirai plotting the
It has since emerged that the company which made the film was
working for Zanu PF.
BBC: Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 15:30 GMT
Police check the identity of those attending
Robert Mugabe is pulling out all the stops to ensure that he wins the
presidential elections on 9-10 March.
An electoral law was pushed through parliament which will effectively deny
the vote to hundreds of thousands of young people without jobs, who are
invariably opposition supporters.
Only after intense international pressure were foreign election observers
There's no way that Mugabe will lose the election. And even
if he does lose the vote, he won't give up power
More importantly, thousands of Zimbabweans trained to monitor elections will
be banned from polling stations as they are deemed to work for anti-government
It seems that only civil servants - susceptible to government control - will
A new security law makes it a crime to criticise the president and yet
another bill was finally passed by parliament - in spite of fierce criticism -
which will stop independent journalists from writing stories which do not meet
with official approval.
Several government sympathisers have been named as judges, in the hope that
legal challenges to such laws, or possibly future election appeals, by the
opposition will be doomed to failure.
to find out more about the controversial bills
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has been vilified as a
"terrorist organisation" and officials warn of a US-style "war against terror".
The low-level campaign of intimidation against MDC activists, especially in
rural areas, is continuing - as is the confiscation of land belonging to white
farmers who are accused of supporting the opposition.
Newly-trained militias are mounting roadblocks throughout the country. Anyone
without a Zanu-PF membership card is told to purchase one at an inflated price
or is beaten up.
A combination of the self-styled "war veterans" and the police has prevented
opposition rallies from going ahead.
When the police decide to allow an MDC meeting to go ahead, they check the
identity papers of those attending and turn away those without valid documents.
Mugabe calls his opponents
The 77-year-old Mr Mugabe and his advisors are laying, one-by-one, the
foundation stones of a very high wall around State House.
Some Zimbabweans who want change, buoyed by the MDC's strong showing in the
June 2000 parliamentary elections, are losing hope.
"There's no way that Mugabe will lose the election," says one long-suffering
Harare resident. "And even if he does lose the vote, he won't give up power."
The Financial Gazette newspaper has reported that Mr Mugabe is building
underground bunkers at State House in case the elections descend into civil war.
Tsvangirai will face Mugabe in
The 57 opposition members of parliament are unable to block the controversial
legislation, however much they huff and puff.
During the debate on the media bill, there was some dissent on the Zanu-PF
benches but after some minor concessions were made, they were whipped into line.
Meanwhile, the economy continues to suffocate in the absence of foreign aid
Workers are being laid off by the day and with inflation officially running
at over 100%, bread and even the staple food, maize-meal, are becoming luxuries.
A multi-screen, state-of-the-art cinema complex on the outskirts of Harare
has had to close down because it can no longer get the foreign currency to
import films from Hollywood.
Some lucky people, mainly with good connections, are benefiting from the
distribution of farmland, so that even if they do not have a job, they can at
least grow their own maize.
Zimbabweans hope the poll will be free and
The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, was
taken to court for warning that if Mr Mugabe does not step down, he would be
removed from power by force. The charges were dropped but this could well be an
accurate prediction for Zimbabwe's future.
With Mr Mugabe at the helm, there is no prospect of a reversal of Zimbabwe's
The biggest challenge is to earn some foreign currency in order to pay for
essentials such as oil and electricity, not to mention computers, vehicles and
International investors and donors are the fastest way of getting hard
currency into the country but both groups will continue to steer well clear of
Harare if Mr Mugabe rigs his way to victory.
"Frightening," is how one Zimbabwean describes the prospect of another six
years of Mr Mugabe's rule.
Last December, a group of civic organisations attempted to stage a "mass
protest" at the new electoral laws but it fizzled out when a meagre 50
protestors turned up.
Rises in the price of bread have already led to
Riot police flooded Harare city centre and potential demonstrators knew that
they were risking lungfuls of tear-gas, rubber truncheons and a night in the
Political analyst Brian Raftopolous recently told the BBC that he believed
that a rigged election would be unlikely to lead to massive street protests,
toppling Mr Mugabe.
He said that Zimbabwe still had a "strong state".
Soldiers have been used to quell rioting in recent years and the army
commander recently said the military would not accept an opposition victory.
But as Zimbabweans become more hungry, they will also become more angry.
If they feel that they have no chance of changing the government through
elections, there will come a point when they feel violence is the only answer.
Just as black nationalists, led by Mr Mugabe, felt in the 1970s with regard
to Ian Smith's white minority government.
No matter how strong the state, if it does not enjoy popular support, its
hold on power ultimately crumbles.
As Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic, Romania's Nicolae Ceausescu and Ivory Coast's
Robert Guei can testify.
Thousands left starving by Mugabe land grabs
By a Special
FOR the first time in
more than 100 years the vast stone edifice of St
Francis Xavier Catholic
Church, deep in the bush of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe's
most arid region, can no
longer offer sanctuary to pilgrims.
"We have nothing left, no food,
nothing," Fr Thomas Tshabalala said from the
cool of Empandeni mission
station's cloistered corridors.
"If people arrive we have nothing for
them. Starvation is the main problem
for all the people from this community
and many are on the point of dying."
The people of Matabeleland have
often suffered food shortages but, in most
years, the fertile areas of
Zimbabwe have grown more than enough maize to
tide them over. The country
often did even better and exported food to the
rest of southern Africa.The
invasion of white-owned farms by militant
supporters of President Mugabe and
their wholesale seizure by his government
has ended all this.
first time since a devastating drought 10 years ago, Zimbabwe has
to seek help from the World Food Programme, which estimates that
has a maize deficit of around 500,000 tons and more than 550,000
St Francis Xavier, Zimbabwe's oldest Catholic church,
towers like a beacon
in the bush, and can be reached only by a dusty, rutted
track reaching 18
miles from the nearest tarred road. Before he began his
career, Mr Mugabe
taught at Empandeni mission school in the 1950s, and it
still attracts 1,100
immaculately turned-out pupils, who trudge for miles
through the bush to
receive an education begun by the first Jesuit
missionaries in 1887.
But the mission's brick-built bakery, powered by
rusty, riveted boilers, has
been forced to cut production. The mission's farm
manager said the water in
the nearby reservoir was a fraction of what was
needed to stop maize fields
from turning into arid wastelands. "Our livestock
is dying and so will we
soon," the manager said.
At a nearby hamlet
Anton, a toothless shepherd, sat outside two shops where
the shelves were
empty. "We are hungry, we are hungry," he lamented, seeking
solace in a
plastic container of strong African beer.
Back at Empandeni, some of the
schoolchildren, wearing green, starched
uniforms, sat in puddles of shade
yesterday singing harmonies to while away
the scorching midday
Other schools in the area have had to cancel afternoon sport
children have begun fainting through lack of food. "In the
I would say that 90 per cent of families have been left by
at least one
family member going to look for work or money in Botswana or
Fr Thomas said.
"They have nothing to keep them here
and they know that if they stay they
will die." In the run-up to next month's
presidential election, Fr Thomas's
beloved Church is all too aware that,
under famine conditions, food has
become a sensitive political
Catholic aid agencies have agreed to pay for food to be
distributed but Mr
Mugabe's regime has attacked them for being "lackeys of
the white" and
"agents of MI6".
Despite being educated by the Jesuits
and spending years as a teacher in
mission schools, Mr Mugabe has fallen out
with the Church. This week, the
Jesuits accused the president of acting as
brutally as Hitler.
"We do not have enough food for everyone and in those
cannot deliver food where we would have to say 'yes' to some
people and 'no'
to others," Fr Thomas said. His predecessor fled for his life
before the 2000 general election when Mr Mugabe's militant
stormed the church.
They accused him of supporting the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change
after he pinned up posters advising
local people on election procedure.
"So far they have left me alone but
it is only a matter of time," the priest
The scale of the food
crisis in Zimbabwe can be seen all over the country.
At the Grain Marketing
Board depot in the second city, Bulawayo, where the
socialist planners of Mr
Mugabe's government try to control the meagre flow
of maize meal, hundreds of
woman have begun a daily picket.
They sit hour after hour, day after day,
hoping to somehow glean a bag of
maize from the lorries that now deliver only
a fraction of the city's daily
One local black farmer
said he had been advised not to send a lorry to pick
up a supply of
stock-feed maize from the plant because of the danger of a
as millions go hungry, Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party has launched a
political strategy, rationing maize shipments only to those villages
headmen who promise to vote for him in the election.
"This a high-risk
strategy because in a time of hunger do you really want to
be seen to be
denying food to some and giving it to others?" one observer
recent campaign rally, a wizened, elderly tribal chief who had sat
long tirade from Mr Mugabe dared to stand up and ask him where the
coming from. "If you do not come here with food then we are not
anything else you have to say," the tribal chief said.
Empandeni mission station there was a sign proudly recognising
for giving more blood donations than any other in south
With the threat of starvation and political violence hanging over
there is a risk that in 2002 the area may see blood spilled less
February 16, 2002
Zimbabwe threat to expel EU
By Jan Raath in Harare and Sam Coates
European Union threatened to withdraw all its election monitors from
yesterday after its delegation leader was threatened
Pierre Schori, the Swedish Ambassador to the United
Nations who is leading
the group monitoring next month’s elections, was told
that his visa will be
terminated if he continued to make political statements
after being admitted
as a tourist.
“His visa has not been revoked, but
what happened is that our immigration
officers went to warn Mr Schori to
comply with the conditions of his tourist
visa, which he got when he came
into the country,” John Nkomo, Zimbabwe’s
Minister of Home Affairs,
Anna Lindh, the Swedish Foreign Minister, said that there would be
consequences if he was asked to leave the country, as it would “prove
Zimbabwe did not want a free and fair election”.
“If he is
expelled, it would probably result in sanctions,” Ms Lindh said.
include stopping foreign aid, freezing the assets of President
Mugabe and his
20 closest supporters and refusing to allow them to visit
Europe. If Mr
Schori went, the other observers would also probably go as
Mr Schori arrived in Harare at the weekend, but was denied
lead the mission to observe the elections next month, which
are likely to be
the biggest test yet for Mr Mugabe.
the Harare correspondent for London’s Independent newspaper,
resigned from the Harare newspaper for which he worked. Elias
chief executive of the Financial Gazette, said Peta had left
because of the
possible “contagion” effect an allegedly fabricated report
that he wrote
would have on the paper.
Peta arrived in South Africa yesterday where he
said he had feared for his
Bennet in trouble
2/16/02 2:21:31 PM (GMT
From Brian Mangwende in Mutare
ROY Bennet, the MP for
Chimanimani, is in trouble with the police after he
allegedly sped off from a
roadblock, insisting he was late for an MDC
presidential election rally at
Sakubva Stadium, Mutare, two weeks ago.
Mutare police had mounted
roadblocks around the city in a bid to frustrate
an MDC rally addressed by
The rally attracted about 15 000 people. At the
Christmas Pass roadblock,
Bennet was in a long queue stretching for at least
2km. Yesterday, Bennet
said: “I had been in that queue for about 30 minutes
before I approached the
policemen as it was hardly moving.
As an MP,
one of the privileges I have at a roadblock is that I can approach
policemen, identify myself and proceed without being delayed. I did
they told me to return to the end of the queue. I explained the
reason for my
rush, but they would not listen. I then sped off.”
Bennet said two
policemen, in a Mazda 323, gave chase but their radiator
overheated as the
car went up the steep gradient of the Christmas Pass and
it stalled and
stopped. “Had it not been for that, who knows what could have
Daily Telegraph (UK), 16 February
Regime a step closer to
Harare/London - President Mugabe’s regime stepped
closer to triggering the imposition of "targeted" sanctions yesterday when it
revoked the visa of the leader of the European Union observers sent to cover
Zimbabwe's presidential election due on March 9 and 10. The move came after
Basildon Peta, the Harare correspondent of The Independent, fled the country in
fear of his life. He has been subjected to vitriolic abuse in the official media
following his detention under a repressive security law and the publication of
reports in newspapers, including The Telegraph, questioning his account of his
arrest. A story in one edition of The Times on Tuesday which said he
"fabricated" an account of a night in jail was seized on by the state press. Mr
Peta accused The Times of putting his life in danger.
Mr Mugabe's regime has refused to recognise Pierre
Schori, Sweden's ambassador to the United Nations, as leader of the EU team.
When he arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday, he was granted a 14-day tourist visa. But
he met officials from the immigration department yesterday and was told that
this visa was being withdrawn and he would have to leave. He was accused of
making "political statements" incompatible with his official status as a
tourist. In a later meeting, the government conceded that he could stay until
early next week. John Nkomo, the home affairs minister, then denied that his
visa was being withdrawn. "Our immigration officers went to warn Mr Schori to
comply with the conditions of his tourist visa which he got when he came into
the country," he said. The Foreign Office believes that Mr Mugabe is engaged in
time-wasting and brinkmanship and one source said Mr Schori could decide to
leave anyway. Anna Lindh, the Swedish foreign minister, said that if he does,
the entire team of 27 observers could follow. Mrs Lindh said this would "prove
that Zimbabwe does not want a free and fair election". She added: "I think the
most likely thing is that he [Mr Schori] will be expelled, that the observers
leave and that sanctions will be imposed."
Visa Of Zimbabwe Observer Revoked
Saturday February 16,
2002 3:50 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - The Zimbabwean government told
Europe's top election
observer here Friday it planned to throw him out of the
country, a European
The threat came during a weeklong
standoff between Pierre Schori, Sweden's
ambassador to the United Nations,
and the government, which refused to
accredit him as head of the European
Union's 150-member mission to observe
presidential elections next
Earlier Friday, Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh announced in
that Schori's tourist visa had been revoked and he was to be thrown
Such a move would ``prove that Zimbabwe does not
want a free and fair
election,'' she said.
Schori was evidently warned
his public statements on the accreditation issue
were political and violated
behavior expected from foreigners on tourist
officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Zimbabwe has been
wracked by political violence for the past two years that
supporters, human rights activists and many international
officials blame on
the ruling party.
Zimbabwe has said it would not accredit Schori, other
Swedish observers or
representatives from Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany
and the Netherlands.
It accuses those countries of bias toward the
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, the biggest challenge to President
22-year hold on power.
The opposition narrowly lost to
Mugabe's party in parliamentary elections in
June 2000, a vote also marred by
Schori headed the EU observer delegation to those
polls. He said the vote
was not free and fair.
Speaking to a news
conference in Oslo, Norway, Lindh said that if Schori
were forced to leave,
the remaining election observers probably would be
withdrawn and sanctions
would likely be imposed.
Those sanctions could include cutting off
foreign aid, freezing the assets
of Mugabe and his 20 closest allies and
refusing to allow them to visit
Europe, Lindh said.
ZIMBABWE: Political violence casts doubts on poll validity
does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
15 February (IRIN) - Hatcliffe Extension, a squatter camp 25 km northeast of
Harare, is just like so many other poor locations in Zimbabwe, and Tichaona
Katsamudengu was fairly typical of one of its residents. But in a country
polarised by politics, anonymity has become a luxury.
On 28 January, a
Mazda car pulled up alongside the 24-year old Katsamudengu as he walked from
Hatcliffe clinic to his home. The people in the car demanded that Katsamudengu
tell them the names of all officials of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in the area, and when the opposition party was planning to hold
When Katsamudengu could not provide the information, the men
got out of the car and assaulted him. "They beat him up and then forced him to
swallow a herbal mixture which caused him severe diarrhoea. Katsamudengu
eventually died on February 4 at the Avenues clinic in Harare," said Francis
Lovemore, head of the clinical department at Amani Trust, a Harare-based
non-governmental organisation that has led research into political violence and
torture in Zimbabwe
Walter Chikwere, a resident of Hatcliffe extension
went to school with Katsamudengu. "His murder has shocked us, fear rules this
place now," he told IRIN.
With just three weeks to go before Zimbabwe's
watershed presidential election, rising political violence and killings have
induced a deep sense of insecurity. Incumbent President Robert Mugabe faces
opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the make-or-break poll. For the
77-year-old Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, it
represents his toughest political contest yet, in which his reputation, legacy,
and perhaps the future of his party is on the line.
However, the climate
of intimidation casts doubt on whether the 9-10 March ballot can be free and
"We are now living in fear," Tarcey Zimbiti, the acting director
of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) told IRIN. "Everyone,
including myself, we all do not feel secure anymore. You can never be sure what
will happen to you tomorrow," Zimbiti said.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights
Non-Governmental Organisation Forum (ZHRF), blaming most of the violence on
ruling ZANU-PF militants out to ensure Mugabe is re-elected in March, said last
week that political violence had intensified across the country. The ZHRF, an
umbrella body of nine of the largest human rights and democracy advocacy groups
in the country, said 16 people, most of them opposition supporters, were killed
in political violence in January alone, setting a new monthly record.
MDC says more than 100 of its supporters have been killed to date in political
violence since February 2000 when the government lost a national referendum on a
new constitution for the country.
The arrival of advance teams of
election observers - including those from the European Union which has
threatened sanctions if the election is not free and fair - has so far had
little effect. Both state controlled and independent media report fresh cases of
bloodshed every day.
But despite the apparent evidence, police spokesman
Wayne Bvudzijena told IRIN that according to his records political violence was
actually down. He added that a new Public Order and Security Act - condemned by
critics as draconian - gave the police all the power they needed to guarantee
the safety of Zimbabweans in the run-up to the elections.
said neither the police - widely seen as partisan - nor the new public order law
has given him and his family in Hatfield any better sense of security. "It seems
nobody cares about us poor people. To tell the truth everyone feels so
vulnerable. Even now I am afraid to talk because I really do not know who you
are or what you want this information for," he told IRIN.
he and many of his neighbours had bought ZANU-PF party cards as a safety measure
to avoid meeting the same fate as Katsamudengu. He also attends party rallies to
avoid being marked out as an opposition supporter. "This is our only safety," he
said waving a brand new ZANU-PF membership card.
Zimbabwe, EU at Loggerheads Over Election
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe and the
European Union were at loggerheads on
Saturday after Harare's refusal to
accept the Swedish head of an EU observer
mission for next month's
presidential election left it open to threatened
Regional power South Africa, which is concerned about
economic crisis and
political instability in its northern neighbor, urged the
Europeans not to
press the point and said its own election monitors would be
on the ground on
The tussle between Harare and Brussels over
the accreditation of Swedish
diplomat Pierre Schori has raised fears among
President Robert Mugabe's
opponents over how thoroughly the March 9-10 poll
will be monitored
following a sometimes violent campaign beset by
recriminations about dirty
Zimbabwe denied Swedish accusations
on Friday that it had revoked Schori's
visa. But it still barred him from
monitoring the poll, in which Mugabe is
seen facing the stiffest challenge to
his 22-year rule.
"His visa has not been revoked but what happened is
that our immigration
officers went to warn Mr. Schori to comply with the
conditions of his
tourist visa which he got when he came into the country,"
said Minister of
Home Affairs John Nkomo.
"Mr. Schori misrepresented
himself by saying he was a tourist and we gave
him a 14-day tourist
visa...That visa does not allow him to engage in
politics or to pose as an
Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh had said Zimbabwe
had withdrawn the visa
from Schori, who arrived last weekend.
European Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Mugabe and his
circle over election monitoring and alleged human rights abuses. EU
ministers, who have previously criticized seizures of white-owned
Zimbabwe, are likely to discuss the issue on Monday.
But South Africa
urged the EU to accept the rejection of Schori so it could
keep the rest of
its team there.
"They shouldn't fight a battle on the issue of a leader
or not a leader. The
issue is quite simple: Are they going to be able to put
in observers to
observe?" South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad
said on Friday.
The head of South Africa's monitoring team said late on
Friday that his team
would be at work on Saturday.
"As from tomorrow,
the whole contingent of 13 observers currently in
Zimbabwe will be deployed
throughout the country. We will ensure that all of
us conduct our work in an
impartial, objective and constructive way," Samuel
|Zimbabwe gives EU observer midnight deadline to
Zimbabwe is giving Europe's top election observer a midnight deadline to
leave the country.
The government has refused to recognize Pierre Schori, Sweden's ambassador to
the United Nations, as head of the 150-member European observer mission.
Earlier, Mr Schori told reporters he had no intentions of leaving Zimbabwe
immediately before his visa was modified.
Immigration authorities visited Mr Schori at the Spanish ambassador's
residence and shortened that visa by a week, meaning he must leave Zimbabwe if
an agreement isn't reached.
The EU officials have threatened to withdraw all its observers and impose
sanctions against Zimbabwe if Mr Schori is thrown out of the country.
Mr Schori's spokesman, Stefan Amer, declined to comment, but said the
European Union would issue a statement later.
Zimbabwe has said it would not accredit Mr Schori, other Swedish observers or
representatives from Britain, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands.
It accuses those countries of bias toward the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, which poses the biggest challenge to President Robert
Mugabe's 22-year hold on power in the March presidential elections.
Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo said Schori's visa gave him the right to
sightsee and tour the country but not to "engage in other issues, including
making political statements," according to the state-run Herald newspaper
"We take serious exception to Mr Schori's continued political utterances. He
is obviously trying to cheat his way into being recognized as an accredited
observer," he said. "We have laws in Zimbabwe which must be observed by
Mr Schori said the EU General Affairs Committee was scheduled to discuss a
report he submitted on the situation in Belgium: "They will then decide upon the
EU observer mission in Zimbabwe. They will take a decision based on that
Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh said in Norway that if Mr Schori was
thrown out, it would "prove that Zimbabwe does not want a free and fair
Story filed: 15:27 Saturday 16th February 2002
Zimbabwe exiles in Britain urge end to Mugabe rule
LONDON, Feb. 16 — Several hundred exiled Zimbabweans demonstrated outside their embassy in central London on Saturday, accusing President Robert Mugabe of mass murder and urging his defeat in elections just three weeks away .
''Our country has been robbed from us. Our leader is killing our people. It is
up to us to stand up for our rights and force him out,'' demonstration organiser
Washington Ali told the crowd of about 300 Zimbabweans, both black and white.
The crowd sang freedom songs in front of banners reading, ''Wake up
world, Zimbabwe is dying,'' and a poster of Mugabe above a list of 94 names of
opposition supporters killed in the past two years with the simple slogan,
''Mugabe could not win a free and fair
election,'' exiled opposition activist Taurayi Chamboko told Reuters. ''If he
wins there is going to be chaos. There will be an uprising.''
least 100 supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have
been killed in two years of political violence accompanying the state-sponsored
invasion of hundreds of white-owned commercial farms.
to extend his 22-year grip on power in the former Rhodesia, and his ruling
ZANU-PF party have justified the land grab as a belated righting of the wrongs
of a century of British colonial misrule.
But the backbone of the
agrarian-based economy has snapped in the process with inflation at 112 percent
and rising, unemployment conservatively put at more than 60 percent and
widespread famine predicted.
The international community has tried
ineffectually several times to rein in Mugabe but each time he has made vague
promises and immediately broken them.
He has outlawed criticism of
his rule, imposed major restrictions on foreign reporters and thrown up serious
barriers to international election observers. At the same time the violent land
grab continues unabated.
The European Union has threatened targeted
sanctions against Mugabe and his inner circle, but most observers see any action
now as too little, far too late.
The 54-nation Commonwealth discussed
sanctions last month but settled instead for a mild verbal rebuke, given that
even Mugabe's neighbours could not agree a course of action despite their
economic suffering because of the Zimbabwe crisis.
Zimbabwe is likely
to be on the agenda for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane
just days before the elections on March 9 and 10, but little is expected to
British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, who made citizens
arrests on Mugabe in London in October 1999 and in Brussels in March 2001, told
Saturday's demonstration the Australian government should arrest Mugabe for
murder at the Brisbane meeting.
Tatchell told Reuters he would not be
attempting a third citizen's arrest because he had been barred from entering
Australia on the grounds he was a threat to civil law and order.
Zimbabwe opposition says convoy hit by militants
HARARE, Feb. 16 — Zimbabwe's main opposition said a convoy of its top officials was attacked by militants from President Robert Mugabe's ruling party on Saturday on its way to a campaign rally.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Learnmore Jongwe told Reuters
that dozens of youths from the governing ZANU-PF had failed to block the convoy
of five vehicles but had smashed the windows of four trucks with clubs and
stones and injured some MDC supporters.
Jongwe said senior officials
in the convoy, including MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube and three members
of parliament, were not injured in the attack which occurred around 1:30 pm
(1130 GMT) in Binga district, northwestern Zimbabwe.
''If they had
not been speeding many people would have been hurt,'' Jongwe said.
Police said they had not yet received a report from the MDC, but a spokesman
said they would still investigate the issue.
The MDC says more than
100 of its supporters have been killed in political violence in the past two
years, which many blame largely on President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
ZANU-PF denies the charges or that it is trying to win Mugabe, who
will 78 next week, another six years in office through political violence.
Zimbabwe holds presidential polls on March 9-10.