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

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Comment from ZWNEWS, 16 February

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 across.

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 or hear.

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 countryside beyond.

Legislation: the Public Order and Security Bill and General Laws Amendment Bill make it illegal to mount a meaningful opposition election campaign.

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 Commission.

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 it back.

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.

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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: ) and in New Zealand (conatct Hugh Bomford: and hopefully will be easily available again soon. Until next week, with love, cathy.
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The Scotsman

Shortage of staple raises Zimbabwe famine fears

Jane Fields in Harare

A SHELF-STACKER in the OK Supermarket in Harare’s main shopping street
laughs grimly when asked where the mealie-meal is.

"That’s something to forget about," he answers, shaking his head. "It’s

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 customers.

A few streets away, in Strachan’s Tea Room near the parliament buildings, a
waiter says life at the moment is "terrible for poor people like me".

"There’s no cooking oil, no mealie-meal. Last week the people were fighting
at Mahommed’s for sugar," he says. "We have to pray to God to help us."

In rural areas, food shortages are worse. Independent news reports say at
least two people are dying of starvation a week. State radio reported
yesterday that in the Gokwe district people are living on a diet of wild
seeds, while children are going to school hungry.

Famine has been predicted since last year in Zimbabwe, once known as the
breadbasket of southern Africa. Invasions of white-owned farms and the
government’s land redistribution programme have severely disrupted
large-scale farming 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
yesterday that 60 per cent of the maize crop had wilted, and forecast a
"full-scale drought". The World Food Programme has appealed for $60 million
from international donors to feed the 558,000 rural Zimbabweans estimated to
be in 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 away.

Mindful that empty stomachs could lose him votes in his toughest political
battle in 21 years, Mr Mugabe is anxious to be seen to be feeding the
people. Top of state news bulletins earlier this week was the arrival of
4,280 tons of maize from South Africa. The government says it will import
200,000 tons from South Africa between now and May.

However, the latest report of the Famine Early Warning System network
suggests that even with these imports "stocks may not meet the demand".
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Melbourne Age

Head of EU observer team says he will stay on in Zimbabwe
HARARE, Feb 16 AFP|Published: Saturday February 16, 7:19 PM

The head of the EU election observer team to Zimbabwe, Pierre Schori, said
today he would remain in the country after Harare threatened to withdraw his

"I am staying here," Schori said in response to a reporter's question.

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
the opposition 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 Zimbabwe.

Schori said he has submitted a report to be discussed at the EU council of
foreign affairs ministers on Monday in Brussels.

"They will then decide upon the EU election observation mission in
Zimbabwe," he said.
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Daily News - Letters, Opinions

Observers, take note of this racist spite of disenfranchisement

2/16/02 2:35:22 PM (GMT +2)

Your editorial of 12 February summarising the Muzorewa era was wonderfully
pointed 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 independence.

Whites were gently weaned from their dependence on a political dispensation
controlled by the minority white population.

It is a documented fact that the late Samora Machel advised Robert Mugabe
and Zanu PF not to drive the white population off the land and out of the
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 people.

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. For the
moment, a political party, Zanu PF, holds the majority of the seats in
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 voters.

Not enough time has been given to the recipients in most cases, to appeal,
as directed by a ubiquitous (or should I say iniquitous?) registered letter.

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
polling commences.

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 way.

However much that particular despot is despised by civilised society, his
refusal to recognise his judges has delayed his ultimate fate.

We have not yet arrived at the feet of our respected judges those of an
independent mind, that is but a Supreme Court hearing might bring this
racist spite, this travesty of democracy to the attention of a watching

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.

Diana Mitchell

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Daily News - Leader Page

NGOs fame, fun and funds at people’s expense

2/16/02 2:42:17 PM (GMT +2)

By Chimurenga Dzimbahwe

ZIMBABWE’S fallout has proved beyond doubt that local civil society,
epitomised by ubiquitous human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs),
lacks the requisite political clout to challenge President Mugabe’s
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 sector.

It is not unreasonable to state that the very concept of NGOs is
antithetical to the organisational expression of a popular struggle for a
democratic and publicly accountable government in Zimbabwe.

For instance, NGOs have been conspicuous by their absence from many of the
political demonstrations that have been held since the beginning of the
Zimbabwean crisis.

It appears that civil society lacks the capability to engage in direct mass
action on the streets against the authorities.

The reason is people who end up working in NGOs are not willing to be
sacrificial lambs for the cause of basic freedoms.

Zimbabwe’s urban educated elite appears to have hijacked NGOs to such an
extent that they have lost currency and lack relevancy to broader society.

Despite the omnipresence of NGOs, nothing has significantly improved in the
realisation of people’s basic rights. If anything at all, things have
worsened for the majority of the people politically, economically and

Clearly, NGO operations, characterised by five-star hotel workshops,
meetings and conferences far removed from the people, will not effect
comprehensive revolutionary changes needed to improve the lives of the

Neither will it impact qualitatively on the style of governance.

Devoid of theory or ideology to guide them, NGOs see their primary function
as awareness raising and advocacy in which people are passive, ignorant
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
the people.

While all human rights are universal rights, they require local forms of
struggle for them to be attained.

In addition, while NGOs claim to be formed by activists as non-political and
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 repressive governance.

The emergence of electronic communication has further marginalised the
grassroots people.

Consequently, NGO work has been reduced to a dialogue among the local
urbanised elite and their international partners.

It is now apparent that Zimbabwean civil society is all about fame, fun and
funds at the expense of the people.

Organisations have been hijacked by do-gooders that lack the capacity to tap
into the people’s struggle for peace, justice, freedom and economic

Also, civil society has become the turf of a struggle between the powerful
elite, completely obsessed with the West.

Zimbabwean NGOs need to understand that the efficacy of donor-funded
interventions can only be possible if more focus is put on the local people
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,
underdevelopment and 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
Zimbabwe today.

Further, too much attention on Mugabe and the human rights abuses of his
administration has resulted in a failure to analyse and challenge the class
divisions, which determine the skewed distribution of resources in society.

Documentation of human rights abuses, although important in its own right,
has not been transformed to challenge the social and political relations in

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 perception.

Transparency, accountability and openness are judged according to
maintenance of financial books, workshops, and published documents that
often are left to gather dust on the shelves.

It is necessary for local NGOs and their international funders to understand
that only a radical approach will ensure the desired change in people’s
lives and livelihoods.

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
be resistance.

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.
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Daily News - Leader Page

Garfield Todd - another victim of xenophobia

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 war.

Today, the targets could be white citizens: tomorrow, it could be other
citizens. Such aberrations have a tendency to develop a domino syndrome.

The whole strategy is to reduce the number of voters who are perceived to be
anti-Mugabe, and thus enhance his chances of re-election.

It seems to be appreciated, somewhat fortunately, by Zanu PF that their
candidate has alienated so many citizens with his party’s policies that a
majority of the voters have little to persuade them to vote for him, even
after he has forced down their throats the land reform programme.

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 the
education system of her adopted country, at a mission school which is the
proud alma mater of many distinguished citizens of Zimbabwe.

The same xenophobia led the corrupt government of the former president of
Zambia, Frederick Chiluba, to attempt to deny citizenship to the former
president, Kenneth Kaunda.

Kaunda had fought for his country’s independence from the British and had
ruled the country for 27 years. Chiluba was so frightened of Kaunda’s
popularity he wanted to hound the man out of the country.

Fortunately, he did not succeed but the people paid him back for his
xenophobia last December, by giving his successor, Levy Mwanawasa, such a
paltry winning margin he can truly be called a “minority president”.

In the Ivory Coast, the same fate befell a former prime minister, Allasane
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 decisions.

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
beloved country.

That, in reality, is the truth.
Whether they are black, white, yellow or pink, they are Zimbabweans who are
genuinely sickened by the campaign of hate which Zanu PF has managed to
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 pardon them.

In fact, since they were underprivileged right from the beginning, the poor
people are the most furious with the government because independence has
meant so little for them.

It had promised them so much.
They had made so many sacrifices in the struggle, whether they were in the
rural areas or in the cities and towns. Everyone was involved in the
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 to.

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Daily News

5 village headmen allegedly abducted

2/16/02 2:20:46 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

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
B1800 truck.

He said the officer-in-charge of Mutoko police, Inspector Mbanga, had
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 from

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.

“I asked them to go and see for themselves,” he said. “I have not had any
feedback from them because they said they were going to Murehwa from there.”

Munhenzva said he himself was attacked by Zanu PF youths on Wednesday
evening at a filling station in Marondera. He was bruised on the right arm
and in the side.

The mob smashed the windscreen and side window of his car as he sped off.

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Daily News

Gwisai arrested

2/16/02 2:26:37 PM (GMT +2)

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
peaceful demonstration yesterday.

The demonstration, barred by the police, was to press President Mugabe to
accept the NCA’s draft constitution and to ensure a free and fair
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 to military
rule and We demand a new constitution now.

Led by Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, they marched from the corner of
George Silundika Avenue and First Street into Samora Machel Avenue,
distributing copies of the draft constitution.

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.
After failing to get into the building to deliver a copy of the draft
constitution to the minister, they marched along Leopold Takawira Street.

But the riot police descended on them at the junction of that road and
Nelson Mandela Avenue.
Several arrests were made and other demonstrators were beaten up by the
police as they moved in to disperse the protesters.

Later the demonstrators gathered at the corner of Leopold Takawira and Kwame
Nkrumah (formerly Union) Avenue and started chanting songs denouncing the
Lancaster House Constitution. They were rounded up by three truckloads of
riot policemen and more demonstrators were arrested.

Madhuku said despite the arrests his organisation would continue to press
for a new constitution.

“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We will have more and more of these
demonstrations until POSA and other draconian pieces of legislation are
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 Dynamos
Football Club secretary, are likely to be charged under the POSA which
prohibits demonstrations without police approval.

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Daily News

Government warned against arresting Tsvangirai

2/16/02 2:19:07 PM (GMT +2)

Staff Reporter

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 Mugabe.

Sikhala, who has been arrested, assaulted and harassed by State security
agents on many occasions, said MDC youths would defend their president
against what he described as “the evil machinations of Mugabe’s government”.

The youths vowed to mobilise all Zimbabweans to take part in an
unprecedented mass action and civil disobedience campaign.

Sikhala 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

Chamisa said: “We will definitely make this country ungovernable. Tsvangirai
is the 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 anything.

“We have the power to defend our president against intimidation and we will
not allow anyone to tamper with him,” said Sikhala.

He said he had suffered enough at the hands of Zanu PF and would not stop
now when the historic moment “is only a stone’s throw away”.

He said the faked assassination plot was designed to enable Mugabe to go
into the election unchallenged.

But Sikhala vowed: “That will never happen. The tide of change that has
gripped Zimbabweans is

“There is a time for everything and this is the time for Mugabe to go.” A
video film shown in Australia purportedly showed Tsvangirai plotting the
assassination of Mugabe.

It has since emerged that the company which made the film was actually
working for Zanu PF.

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Mugabe's election masterplan
BBC: Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 15:30 GMT
Zimbabwe riot police
Police check the identity of those attending opposition rallies

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 allowed.

There's no way that Mugabe will lose the election. And even if he does lose the vote, he won't give up power

Harare resident

More importantly, thousands of Zimbabweans trained to monitor elections will be banned from polling stations as they are deemed to work for anti-government organisations.

It seems that only civil servants - susceptible to government control - will be accredited.

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.

Click here 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.

Turned away

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.

President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe calls his opponents 'terrorists'

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.

MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai will face Mugabe in elections

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 and investment.

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.

Gloomy future

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.

Zimbabwean voters
Zimbabweans hope the poll will be free and fair

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 economic fortunes.

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 food imports.


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.

Harare riots in October 2000
Rises in the price of bread have already led to violence

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 cells.

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.

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Thousands left starving by Mugabe land grabs
By a Special Telegraph Correspondent
(Filed: 16/02/2002)

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.

For the first time since a devastating drought 10 years ago, Zimbabwe has
been forced to seek help from the World Food Programme, which estimates that
the country has a maize deficit of around 500,000 tons and more than 550,000
people need emergency supplies.

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 hours.

Other schools in the area have had to cancel afternoon sport because
children have begun fainting through lack of food. "In the surrounding area,
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 South Africa,"
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 issue.

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 circumstances we
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 from Empandeni
before the 2000 general election when Mr Mugabe's militant supporters
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

But as millions go hungry, Mr Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party has launched a
risky political strategy, rationing maize shipments only to those villages
and 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

At a recent campaign rally, a wizened, elderly tribal chief who had sat
through a long tirade from Mr Mugabe dared to stand up and ask him where the
food was coming from. "If you do not come here with food then we are not
interested in anything else you have to say," the tribal chief said.

Outside the Empandeni mission station there was a sign proudly recognising
the community for giving more blood donations than any other in south
Matabeleland in 1999.

With the threat of starvation and political violence hanging over the area,
there is a risk that in 2002 the area may see blood spilled less innocently.

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The Times

February 16, 2002

Zimbabwe threat to expel EU election observer
By Jan Raath in Harare and Sam Coates

THE European Union threatened to withdraw all its election monitors from
Zimbabwe yesterday after its delegation leader was threatened with
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, said.

Anna Lindh, the Swedish Foreign Minister, said that there would be serious
consequences if he was asked to leave the country, as it would “prove that
Zimbabwe did not want a free and fair election”.

“If he is expelled, it would probably result in sanctions,” Ms Lindh said.
These could 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
well, she added.

Mr Schori arrived in Harare at the weekend, but was denied accreditation to
lead the mission to observe the elections next month, which are likely to be
the biggest test yet for Mr Mugabe.

Basildon Peta, the Harare correspondent for London’s Independent newspaper,
meanwhile resigned from the Harare newspaper for which he worked. Elias
Rusike, the 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
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Daily News

Bennet in trouble

2/16/02 2:21:31 PM (GMT +2)

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 Morgan Tsvangirai.

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
the policemen, identify myself and proceed without being delayed. I did
that, but 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
happened?” said Bennet.

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From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 16 February

Regime a step closer to triggering sanctions

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."

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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
official said.

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 month.

Earlier Friday, Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh announced in Norway
that Schori's tourist visa had been revoked and he was to be thrown out of
the country.

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

Zimbabwean officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Zimbabwe has been wracked by political violence for the past two years that
opposition 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 Robert Mugabe's
22-year hold on power.

The opposition narrowly lost to Mugabe's party in parliamentary elections in
June 2000, a vote also marred by political violence.

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.

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ZIMBABWE: Political violence casts doubts on poll validity

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

HARARE, 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 meetings.

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 fair.

"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.

The 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.
But Chikwere 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.

Chikwere said 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.
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Zimbabwe, EU at Loggerheads Over Election Observer

Feb. 15
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 EU

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 election observer."

Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh had said Zimbabwe had withdrawn the visa
from Schori, who arrived last weekend.

The European Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Mugabe and his
inner circle over election monitoring and alleged human rights abuses. EU
foreign ministers, who have previously criticized seizures of white-owned
farms in 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
Motsuenyane said.

Zimbabwe gives EU observer midnight deadline to leave country

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 Saturday.

"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 everyone."

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 report."

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 election."

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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, ''Wanted...for Murder.''
       ''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.''
       At 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.
       Mugabe, seeking 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 emerge.
       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.
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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.
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