Sunday, 3 February, 2002, 17:47 GMT
Mugabe opponent enters fray
Tsvangirai urged supporters to brave election
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has launched
his presidential election campaign with a call to oust President Robert Mugabe
and return the country to the rule of law.
Mr Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was
greeted with thunderous cheers at his first rally since entering the race, in
the eastern border town of Mutare.
Police had set up roadblocks outside the town and
conducted document checks on MDC supporters on their way to the rally. Some were
There is anarchy in our country, it will be finished on
11 March if you choose me
The rally came as international election observers prepared to enter
Zimbabwe, amid optimism that Mr Mugabe would meet a European Union deadline for
allowing its representatives into the country.
The EU has promised to impose sanctions on leading officials of the ruling
Zanu-PF party on Wednesday if the Sunday deadline is not met.
Mr Tsvangirai warned his supporters that Zanu-PF would try to rig the
election and called on them to turn out in large numbers.
"There is anarchy in our country," he said. "It will be
finished on 11 March if you choose me."
Mugabe launched his campaign on
At the same time, he warned against a campaign of revenge on Zanu-PF if he
was elected and pledged to set up a government of national unity.
"We ask you to brave Zanu-PF's campaign of violence," he said.
Mr Tsvangirai also promised more orderly land reform than exists under Mr
Mugabe's controversial redistribution programme.
"We want a land reform programme that benefits the whole country, that
recognises that farming is a commercial venture and not just about pieces of
land for peasants," he said.
Rise in violence
Mr Mugabe launched his campaign on Saturday, for what are likely to be the
most fiercely contested elections since the country's independence in 1980.
Human rights groups have reported a sharp increase in political violence in
Domestic and international critics say a raft of recent legislation curbing
civil liberties - including a stringent new media bill passed during the week -
is indicative of President Mugabe's determination to stay in power whatever the
From The Sunday Times (UK), 3 February
Mugabe lets in poll observers to fend off
Hundreds of international election observers were yesterday preparing
to move into Zimbabwe as President Robert Mugabe tried to avert European Union
sanctions that could start this week. Faced with the prospect of a ban on travel
to Europe and the freezing of bank accounts there, the ruling Zanu PF elite
appeared to be doing the minimum required to meet international demands ahead of
the presidential elections scheduled for March 9. At least six EU observers are
expected to be accredited tomorrow, when South Africa will send a further 41.
The Southern African Development Community and the Commonwealth are also ready
to send hundreds of observers for an election widely expected to be far from
free and fair. "We believe Zanu officials are seriously worried about having
their assets frozen," said an official of Zimbabweís opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in Johannesburg yesterday. "The EU has put forward
benchmarks for the election, and we believe in them." A European commission
spokesman in Brussels said there was optimism that Mugabe would allow both
observers and journalists to report on the elections, and that the president
would withdraw his Zanu militias and quell violence.
In a surprising announcement yesterday, the government newspaper, The
Herald, said a draconian new media bill passed last week "may take quite some
time before it becomes law, if at all". Zimbabweís information minister,
Jonathan Moyo, attacked negative comments made by Jack Straw, Britainís foreign
secretary, about the billís purpose, and accused him of "megaphone diplomacy"
and having an "open mouth and a shut mind". There are few signs, however, that
many foreign journalists will be allowed into Zimbabwe, and Mugabe himself has
kicked off his campaign in a cloud of anti-colonial rhetoric. "We are in a war
to defend our rights and the interests of our people," he told a Zanu rally near
Harare on Friday. "Whatever (Tony) Blair tries to do, we will not back down. You
can count on us to fight. Down with MDC, down with Britain."
The European commission has promised that if its observers are impeded
in any way, sanctions will be approved on Wednesday. Visa bans would be imposed
on Mugabe and 19 of his party cronies, preventing all travel to the EU and
blocking access to any assets there. The commission spokesman said no names had
been released, because those concerned were thought likely to move their funds
out of targeted bank accounts to avoid the sanctions. The Treasury has
investigated Zimbabwean accounts held in British banks. The MDC is concerned,
however, that the European commission may allow the elections to go
unchallenged, even if gross violations are seen. Farmers in the Marondera, Mtoko
and Karoi areas claim workers have been forced to vote for Zanu at secret
polling stations opened more than a month early. "Itís not just about how many
journalists and observers get to Harare," countered the commission spokesman.
"Free and fair means complying with international norms." A third sanction to be
taken by the EU would ban all exports of arms and material "likely to be used in
repression" to Zimbabwe. Britain put the policy into effect two years ago.
However, Foreign Office sources confirmed they were worried that some EU
countries saw Britainís stance on Zimbabwe as a trading opportunity, and
criticised Austria for selling armoured personnel carriers to the Mugabe
From The Sunday Times (SA), 3 February
Moyo accused of taking money from Ford Foundation, Wits
University and Mbeki's brother's company
Johannesburg - Jonathan Moyo, the man who this week pushed through
Zimbabwe's draconian media law, is accused of absconding with millions of rands.
Moyo, who is Robert Mugabe's minister of information, is alleged to have used
some of the money to buy a luxury home in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. He also owes
R100 000 to the TV production company Endemol in South Africa, headed by
President Thabo Mbeki's brother, Moeletsi. Mbeki said yesterday his company
wanted its money. "One of the things we are considering is to come together with
the other people he owes money to and to attach Moyo's Johannesburg house and
sell it to get our money," he said. Moyo is also facing legal action from the
University of the Witwatersrand for allegedly absconding with part of a
R100-million research grant. And he is being sued by the US aid agency the Ford
Foundation over an alleged illegal transfer of R1-million from its Kenyan office
to a trust in South Africa. Money from the trust, Talunoza, was allegedly used
to buy the Saxonwold house, on Englewold Drive.
The Sunday Times tried twice yesterday to get comment from Moyo on the
missing millions. Both times he said: "I do not speak to the apartheid press,"
and slammed down the phone. Moyo was condemned internationally on Thursday when
he bulldozed through Parliament a set of tough new laws aimed at muzzling the
press ahead of next month's presidential elections. The man who has made it law
for journalists to abide by a set of apartheid-styled rules now finds himself on
the wrong side of the law in South Africa, with allegations of fraud,
misappropriation of funds and bad debts hanging over his head. Endemol advanced
Moyo money to pay for the airfares of a group of Americans who were to help him
produce a documentary on Pan-Africanism, called Generations. Endemol's managing
director, Chantal Sturkenboom, said the programme never materialised and Moyo,
who gave the company a written undertaking to repay the money, had not done so
Meanwhile, Wits University has consulted lawyers about a claim against
Moyo, who received money for a research project, "The Future of the African
Elite", while a visiting lecturer at the institution in 1998. It was allegedly
never completed. Moyo resigned from the university to take up his ministerial
position in Zimbabwe. Wits registrar Derek Swenner said the money related to
unaccounted-for expenditure incurred by Moyo while he was supposed to be
conducting research for the university in East Africa. "He told the university
that he was conducting research, but instead we found out that he was in
Zimbabwe running Robert Mugabe's election campaign. When we asked Mr Moyo to
explain how the money was spent, he chose to resign. The case is unresolved and
currently with lawyers." And in Nairobi, Kenya, Moyo is being sued over
R1-million in donor funds allegedly illegally transferred to a trust in South
Africa. Moyo is one of five people being sued by the US aid agency. The Ford
Foundation's New York vice-president of communications, Alex Wilde, confirmed on
Friday that court documents before the Nairobi High Court say that Moyo
illegally transferred $88 000 to the trust account in South Africa. He was
programme officer for the foundation in Nairobi at the time. "We can confirm
that the court documents state the money was transferred into a trust called
Talunoza in South Africa." Wilde said a property in Saxonwold was owned by the
same Talunoza Trust.
From The Sunday Times (SA), 3 February
Ministerís kids get expensive educations
Zimbabwe's ministers, who stand accused of plundering their country's
wealth, are spending fortunes on educating their children abroad. Some ministers
have reportedly paid more than double their annual salaries on tuition and
residence fees for children enrolled at Harvard University in the US. Education
Minister Aeneas Chigwedere had a child, Pride, at Harvard. Harvard fees for
tuition and accommodation start at about Z2.3-million (R482 000) a year.
Zimbabwean ministers earn an estimated Z977 000 (R190 000) a year. The average
Zimbabwean cannot afford to send children abroad for an education. The minimum
wage for domestic workers in Zimbabwe is Z2 500 (R532) a month and factory
workers earn between Z3 200 (R670) and Z7 000 (R1 460) a month. Smart sanctions,
which would prevent Zimbabwe's ruling elite from travelling in Europe, may force
their children out of foreign schools and universities. The sanctions, if
imposed, will at the very least stop parents visiting their children
The Minister in the Vice-President's Office, Tsungirirai Hungwe, has a
child, Mutsai Mutambanengwe, who studied at Rhodes University in South Africa.
Tuition and residence fees for a bachelor degree start at R15 000 (Z71 000) a
year. Finance Minister Simba Makoni's child, Tonderai, was at the University of
Cape Town in South Africa. Tuition, residence and meals cost in the region of
R32 000 (Z152 000) a year. Dumiso Dabengwa, Zanu PF's secretary for security
affairs, has a child, Nombulelo, studying at UCT at present. Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa has a child at a college in Michigan, US. Ministers Sydney
Sekeramayi (Defence), Stan Mudenge (Foreign Affairs), Simbarashe Mumbengegwi
(Higher Education and Technology), Herbert Murerwa (Industry and Technology),
Shuvai Mahofa (Youth, Gender and Employment) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (Speaker)
all have or had children at finishing schools or universities in Britain. Mines
and Energy Minister Edward Chindori-Chininga and the provincial governor of the
Midlands, Cephas Msipa, enrolled their children at US schools. Rural Resources
and Water Development Minister Joyce Mujuru's offspring were in Switzerland and
Britain while Health and Child Welfare Deputy Minister David Parirenyatwa had a
son at Durham University in Britain.
Free and fair questions remain
Cape Town - While the South African government waits for feedback from a
team it has sent to Zimbabwe to assess whether free and fair elections are
possible in that country, a senior local cleric has shied away from pronouncing
directly on the issue.
He also says the violence plaguing South Africa's northern neighbour has
deteriorated to a point where both those for and against the ruling Zanu-PF are
involved, including the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Speaking on SABC's Newsmaker programme on Sunday, Presiding Bishop of the
Methodist Church in Southern Africa, Mvume Dandala, said it was crucial the
March 9 and 10 elections were free and fair.
But he side-stepped replying directly to a question on whether he thought
this would be the case.
"From what the churches [in Zimbabwe] have told me, there's hardly an
"It is crucial that the election be made to be free and fair," he said.
Dandala, who is also president of the South African Council of Churches,
recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe, where he was briefed
by church leaders on the run-up to the elections.
Concern among clergy
He admitted the current situation was creating a lot of concern among the
clergy that the election would not be free and fair.
"That is why the churches ... wrote a letter to the government of that
country ... they felt there was a potential [the elections] would not be free
"Among other things, the concern at the level of violence there is
Dandala said it appeared, based on what he was told by people in Zimbabwe,
that all "political players" in that country were involved in the violence,
including the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
"But ... the churches did say quite clearly that even though all the people
are involved in this violence, there is no doubt in their minds that Zanu-PF and
those who are in power at the moment seem to be more involved."
"But it would be a mistake for anyone to think that the situation in
Zimbabwe is one-sided.
"I can say with confidence, from what I was told, it has deteriorated to a
point where everybody is involved in this violence."
Asked what he thought needed to be done to secure a free and fair election,
Dandala said churches in Zimbabwe had been talking to both the government and
the MDC on this issue.
Need for effective monitoring
One of the key points the churches were stressing was the need for
effective monitoring of the elections, and that this should involve "bodies that
can be trusted by the people".
It was important the monitoring was not perceived to be one-sided, because
then the outcome of the poll would not be accepted.
"Unquestionably, all the people we met in Zimbabwe - both those for and
against the government - are concerned at what they see as foreign intervention
that might undermine the value of their vote."
He said there was concern among Zimbabwe's opposition voters that a vote
against President Robert Mugabe might be perceived "as a British vote".
Asked if he thought the Southern African Development Community was capable
of playing an observer role and passing a credible, objective assessment of the
poll, Dandala said: "If SADC ensures that, in the teams they send, they do not
just send government representatives ... this would carry a lot of merit."
However, there was disappointment among some church leaders in Zimbabwe
over some of the positions SADC had adopted.
"It's a very delicate situation that has to be handled in an incredibly
wise way," Dandala said.
On Friday last week, South African Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz
Pahad said South Africa was working hard with other African countries to ensure
free and fair elections.
He said a task team, led by a senior minister, had been sent to Zimbabwe to
study the political climate on the ground and to make recommendations, which
would be submitted on Monday.
From The New York Times, 2 February
New laws make mark on Zimbabwe
Johannesburg - The first casualties of a raft of new laws tightening
the grip of President Robert Mugabe before March elections lay this week in a
hospital in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. The two men - one left with a fractured
spine, the other with swollen testicles - were beaten in clashes with the police
over the weekend when they tried to hold a rally without official permission.
Even as they recuperated, Zimbabwe's Parliament passed a new law on Thursday
restricting the news media, a measure that some within the governing party said
they succeeded in moderating. But by today there was no doubt that the media law
and two others passed in recent weeks - on top of months of violent and
sometimes deadly intimidation of political opponents - have dramatically tilted
the political landscape in Mr. Mugabe's favor and hobbled his challengers. Under
the new laws, citizens can no longer hold public meetings without giving the
police four days notice. Local journalists must now be licensed by a government
commission to work. Campaign workers can be arrested for handing out flyers. And
the authorities can ban demonstrations for up to three months. Zimbabwe's state
news agency reported that two other men were charged under the new laws this
week for "having used abusive language on the person of the president," a crime
that now carries a jail sentence of up to one year.
David Coltart, a senior opposition lawmaker, said he was still
confident that citizens would turn out in March to vote against Mr. Mugabe, who
has run the country for 22 years. With the economy collapsing and intimidation
and violence flaring, this once prosperous nation is desperate for change, he
said. But he acknowledged that the crowds at opposition rallies have been
dwindling lately. Last month, one man was killed and more than a dozen were
injured when government militants clashed with opposition party supporters at a
rally in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city. Nowadays, Mr. Coltart said,
he can no longer urge his constituents to attend public meetings. "I don't want
blood on my hands," he said today. "People come to me and say, `It's not that we
don't support you. It's just that we want to stay alive.' " Government officials
dismissed such complaints, as they dismissed criticism from the West over the
new media and security laws. Today President Mugabe hit the campaign trail,
greeting thousands of cheering supporters while his aides hailed passage of the
media law as the end of the drumbeat of "daily lies from Zimbabwe's detractors."
Mr. Mugabe's backers said the opposition was to blame for much of the violence,
and they accused white critics of trying to stop Mr. Mugabe from undoing the
legacy of colonialism and redistributing land from the white minority to the
black majority. Officials deride the black members of the opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change, as puppets of the British, the country's formal
colonial ruler, and of the white farmers and white businessmen who finance the
Today, with the news media freshly under tighter government control,
Mr. Mugabe's party used a full-page advertisement to depict Morgan Tsvangirai,
the opposition party leader, as a waiter offering up the entire country in a
teacup to the British prime minister, Tony Blair. Government officials did not
return phone calls today, but Jonathan Moyo, the minister of information,
vigorously defended the media law, though he questioned the need for news media
at all. "Thomas Jefferson said it was better to have newspapers without
government," he told CNN in Harare. "He was very, very wrong. It is far better
to have government without newspapers." In The Herald, the state-controlled
daily newspaper, he said the media law was needed to defend the country against
what he described as lies peddled by foreign journalists and local reporters who
back the opposition. The government's willingness to remove contested clauses
proves that officials are responsive to the concerns of the people, he added.
Some in the independent news media seemed to agree. "I'm not as worried as I was
two weeks ago," said Trevor Ncube, the publisher of two private newspapers, The
Standard and The Independent. "The concessions that have been won are pretty
significant. We can continue to operate." The law will not prevent foreign
reporters from working altogether in Zimbabwe, as had been suggested in earlier
drafts. It will not allow the minister of information to seize equipment from
news organizations without a search warrant. And it does not require journalists
to be licensed until the end of the year - well after the presidential election
- after which they will have to seek new accreditation from the
Officials at the State Department acknowledged that the final media law
was better than earlier drafts, but said it still curtailed civil liberties.
"It's still problematic, as are the other pieces of legislation that still
seriously hamper a free and fair electoral process," Walter H. Kansteiner, the
assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said in an interview from
Washington. Officials in the European Union and the United States have vowed to
consider imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe - restricting the foreign travel
and freezing the foreign assets of Mr. Mugabe and his deputies. "The message to
the political elite is that these next six weeks will determine the rest of your
life, the fate of your country and your personal fate," a Western diplomat said.
Officials at the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists vowed to fight the bill, saying
it was designed to muzzle the lively and often critical coverage in the
country's private newspapers. "We are still totally against it," said Sydney
Masamvu, a spokesman for the union. And Mr. Coltart, who is a senior member of
the opposition, was equally unequivocal in his assessment. "We have all the
trappings of a fascist state," he said today. "They cloak their human rights
abuses in legislation. They use laws as a cover for acts that in democratic
countries would be criminal."
From ZWNEWS: Shortly after President' Mugabe's opening campaign rally in
Mutawatawa yesterday, an opposition MDC campaign and constituency meeting in
Bulawayo was halted before it began. Police had been given four days notice of
the meeting in the Bulawayo South constituency, as required by the new Public
Order and Security Act. However, when constituents turned up at the Church of
the Ascension hall in Bulawayo, they were met with a contingent of armed police,
who stopped the meeting from taking place. Those who had attended then tried to
move to the church itself, to hold a short prayer meeting to which the police
were invited. That too resulted in threats of violence from the police. A local
member of the MDC was arrested on charges of taking photographs, but was later
released when no photographs could be found. A police spokesman later cited
spurious bureaucratic rules for the banning of the meeting, saying that notice
of the gathering should have been given to the provincial police rather than to
the Hillside police station, which is about two minutes walk away from the
church hall. Since the enactment of the Public Order law, opposition meetings
and rallies have, almost without exception, been halted - often with severe
violence, and often with police collusion with the perpetrators.
From The Daily Telegraph, (UK), 2 February
EU sanctions won't stop Grace's shopping trips
If the European Union carries out its threat to impose personal
sanctions on Zimbabwe's elite, President Mugabe's allies will suffer more than
him. Travel bans could be imposed on Mr Mugabe and his ministers, and their
overseas assets might be frozen, if Zimbabwe fails by tomorrow to admit EU
observers for the election. Yet Mr Mugabe is fully prepared to take the heat.
Until 1999, he made three or four private trips to London each year, usually
staying in Claridges or the Hilton and shopping at Harrods. Grace Mugabe, 40
years her husband's junior, became famous for her shopping exploits. But Peter
Tatchell, the homosexual rights activist, brought this to an end when he
ambushed Mr Mugabe in November 1999 and attempted a citizen's arrest. The
president has pointedly failed to visit Britain since. Now, he has even stopped
his trips to Paris.
In Mr Mugabe's fevered mind, EU criticism of his excesses means that it
has joined what he sees as Britain's global conspiracy designed to topple his
regime and thwart the seizure of land from white farmers. So Mr Mugabe has
chosen to shun the developed world. He now holidays in Malaysia and loses no
opportunity to hob-nob with fellow African leaders at a bewildering array of
regional summits. Moreover, while Mr Mugabe's government is riddled with
corruption, few of the known cases can be linked to the president. Mr Mugabe has
consistently turned a blind eye to the corrupt activities of his ministers and
his relatives, so they are the people who would fear the consequences of EU
Ed Royce, chairman of the US House of Representatives Africa committee,
gave warning two weeks ago that Zimbabwe's ministers were moving their assets
into an obscure array of overseas accounts before the March 9-10 election. Last
week, Jersey became the first offshore financial centre to urge its members to
steer clear of funds deposited by Zimbabwe's elite. A list issued by the Jersey
Financial Services Commission named Mr Mugabe, his wife and 23 ministers and
associates. The list was woefully out of date and tracing the assets held by Mr
Mugabe's associates could prove an impossible task. Easier to trace are people.
At least seven ministers have children who live in Britain or America. If they
are forced to return home, or their parents are barred from visiting them, EU
sanctions will hit home. But on all counts Mr Mugabe seems impervious to
Blair's cabinet 'full of gays'
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe threatened to punish gay
groups at a weekend campaign rally for his re-election, saying Britain was angry
at him for his stance against homosexuality.
Mugabe said British Prime Minister Tony Blair should "expose" his cabinet
as full of gays before criticising Zimbabwe, according to the official ZIANA
"I have people who are married in my cabinet. He has homosexuals and they
make John marry Joseph and let Mary get married to Rosemary," Mugabe told
thousands of people at a rally in the rural district of Wedza on Saturday.
"We are saying they do not know biology because even dogs and pigs know
biology. We can form clubs, but we will never have homosexual clubs. In fact, we
will punish them," he said.
Attacks on Britain are staples of Mugabe's speeches, especially as the
former colonial power has moved toward imposing sanctions on his regime over his
increasingly autocratic rule ahead of the March 9-10 presidential election.
Mugabe forced through parliament tough new security and press laws last
month, even as the opposition and rights groups accused pro-government militants
of stepping up attacks on people who oppose him.
The 77-year-old president, who has ruled since independence in 1980, is
struggling for his political survival against a tough challenge from former
labour leader Morgan Tsvangirai. - Sapa-AFP
Zimbabwe police block roads to opposition
MUTARE, Zimbabwe, Feb. 3 ó
Zimbabwe police mounted roadblocks on Sunday as opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai prepared to launch his presidential election campaign, seen as the
biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's 22-year rule.
police blocked the road to a stadium in Mutare, about 300 km (186 miles) east of
Harare, where Tsvangirai was due to address his first Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) election rally five weeks before the March 9-10 vote.
Cars and buses snaked more than two
kilometres to the stadium as armed policemen searched vehicles, insisting that
MDC supporters produce identity documents before allowing them into the stadium.
Those without were turned away.
Tsvangirai is seen as the biggest threat to Mugabe's re-election as president as
Zimbabwe sinks into a crisis blamed largely on economic mismanagement and a
controversial policy of seizing white-owned farms that has stunted the crucial
United States and the European Union have threatened sanctions against Mugabe
and his inner circle if he fails to ensure the election is fair.
Zimbabwe has recently pushed through
parliament a raft of legislation that opponents say sets the stage for a
dictatorship. The latest, last Thursday, was a tough media bill that critics say
will stifle debate in the run-up to the poll.
There was no confirmation in Harare of
a report in the Johannesburg-based Independent on Sunday newspaper that Mugabe
had bowed to international pressure and had decided not to sign the bill into
Mugabe remained defiant in the face of renewed international pressure. The
European Union has threatened to impose sanctions if Zimbabwe failed to admit EU
poll observers by February 3.
Mugabe once again took up his attack on Britain, saying he'd choose war rather
than allow the former colonial ruler to dictate to Zimbabwe.
''We can never give up Zimbabwe to a
(Prime Minister Tony) Blair of Britain. We will wage another war if Britain
wants to enslave us again,'' Mugabe said in a campaign speech.
''This country does not belong to the
Blairs, the Smiths and the Van der Merwes,'' he told about 20,000 people outside
the capital Harare, referring to Zimbabwe's last white ruler Ian Smith and a
common South African Afrikaans surname.
Zimbabwe has indicated that it will allow EU election observers in the country,
but has made clear the team should not include British citizens. Britain has
been the strongest international critic of Mugabe's rule.
Mugabe again portrayed Tsvangirai as a
black puppet of British and local white interests.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo told
the U.S. television network CNN on Friday that the military would not tolerate
an opposition election victory.
says nearly 100 of its supporters have died in political violence since early
2000 when government-backed militants began the often violent seizure of
Mugabe vowed on
Saturday that land seizures would continue, calling the policy ''the last
there will be land for Zimbabweans and no-one else,'' he said
Five Youths From Opposition Arrested in Zimbabwe
Xinhuanet 2002-02-03 01:25:35
HARARE, February 3
(Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe's police said here on
Sunday that they had arrested
five youths who were harassing
motorists passing through the Rusike-Musvovi
road in Chiredzi
district in Masvingo province.
spokesman Inspector Tarwireyi Tirivavi said in a
statement that the five
were part of a group of 17 youths, which
had converged on the road on Friday
to harass motorists passing
through the area.
He said police
had also arrested Mabvuku Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) chairman
Oscar Pemhiwa whom they had been
looking for in connection with various acts
of political violence.
He is expected to appear in court soon. In Masvingo, police
arrested an MDC youth who allegedly went around tearing down
Robert Mugabe's campaign posters.
Dear Family and Friends,
Thank you for your letters of concern this
morning asking me if I am alright as my letter is a day late. I am fine,
thank you, but our lives are upside down and awfully chaotic at the moment as
some friends are temporarily displaced from their neighbourhoods, have to leave
their homes for a little while and are living out of boxes, bags and suitcases
as the temperature rises, the political rallies and demands increase and the
elections get closer. Some of us living in places which are relatively safe are
ready to double up, open our doors and spread mattresses on the floor. Having
been through this myself in June 2000 I know how this feels and the agony it
causes as you try and decide what is important - your home and belongings or
your safety. There is chaos as suitcases and belongings litter every conceivable
surface, telephones ring incessantly and shared use of the email to let
relations know that parents and children are safe.
The stage is set. The
Presidential candidates are nominated. The laws are now all passed - our hands
are tied, voices silenced and movements curtailed. There are now 36 days to go
until the elections and on Thursday the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Bill was pushed through Parliament. This piece of legislation, along
with others in the past couple of months now make it illegal to: go on strike;
hold a public gathering without permission; move around without identification;
display election posters; educate voters; criticise the President, government or
uniformed officials; make reports which may cause alarm and despondency and much
This weekend the government officially began their campaign to retain
the Presidency. The rallies have started and before the guest speakers arrive,
youths go in to prepare the groundwork. For people who have never lived in
Africa let me explain how election campaigns work here. It starts door to door
but not with badges, smiles and kisses for the baby. Here campaigning is done
with demands: show your party card, give us money, food, a cow to slaughter,
milk, firewood, eggs, chicken. Saying please is not the done thing, refusing the
demands is not an option. Across the country people are being forced to give
whatever is demanded of them and then ordered to attend the rally or face the
consequences. Door to door in the rural villages, peasants are being ordered to
give a cash donation and a cup of maize each. Door to door on the farms cattle
are being demanded, slaughtered and used to feed people attending rallies.
Owners are ordered to give wood for cooking fires, milk, eggs and meat. They are
ordered to provide transport with which to take people to rallies or "lend"
their vehicles to the youths. Across the country we are counting down the days,
doing whatever we can to help each other and praying for safety, sanity and
democracy. Until next week, sorry for such a pathetic letter. Love from a
temporarily chaotic cathy.http://africantears.netfirms.com