Africa Zimbabwe Opposition Leaders Attacked Peta
Thornycroft Harare 02 Jul 2004, 17:12 UTC
president of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan
Tsvangirai, and several leading party members were attacked Friday at a
meeting of about 400 provincial leaders north of Harare, but
escaped unharmed. Several party officials were wounded and taken to a
hospital. An account of the attack in the village of Mvurwi, 100
kilometers northwest of Harare, was given by Mr. Tsvangirai's personal
assistant, William Bango. He said it occurred during a meeting of elected
provincial leaders who gathered in an enclosed area behind a garage owned by
an MDC member.
He said six pickup trucks and two trucks filled
with ruling Zanu PF supporters arrived at the meeting as Mr. Tsvangirai
finished addressing party officials, and as plain clothes policemen left the
Mr. Bango said the militants blocked the only exit from the
meeting area and started a fight with stones and makeshift weapons. He said
the Zanu PF supporters were chased away and Mr. Tsvangirai was then able to
get into his vehicle and leave town.
Mr. Bango said he did not
know how many people had been injured but that he saw the driver of an MDC
national executive member, whose name was not immediately available, covered
in blood, and that a woman carrying a baby was wounded.
returning to Harare, Morgan Tsvangirai said ruling Zanu PF militia continue
to roam Zimbabwe attacking opposition supporters without being restrained by
The opposition leader was last attacked in February,
and is now traveling with bodyguards and his aides say he is under
constant surveillance by state security agents.
Was Mugabe EVER the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe? This extract from the
UK Parliament House of Commons debate on Zimbabwe yesterday 1 July 2004 is
very revealing. ..................................
Winterton (Con) .................. Zimbabwe is only one of the United
Kingdom's overseas problems, but Britain has a unique and unprecedented
responsibility. It was this Parliament, under a Conservative Government, that
granted Zimbabwe independence and brought Robert Mugabe to power. I remind
the House that a United Kingdom Government promised, to outlaw all
intimidation during the 1980 election; but then—again, I am deeply ashamed of
this—the Government and their representatives proceeded to ignore hundreds of
affidavits testifying to the sustained intimidation that finally ensured Mr.
Mugabe's outright victory.
Despite the recommendations of the acting
governor, Christopher Soames—who suggested to the Foreign Secretary at the
time that certain areas should be taken out of the election because of the
levels of intimidation—the Foreign Secretary refused to allow the exclusion
of those areas. As a result, Robert Mugabe came to power.
Bellingham : That was Peter Carrington.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: Yes, it
was Lord Carrington. I know what happened for a fact, because the chief
executive of Cheshire county council, Sir John Boynton, was returning officer
for the election in Zimbabwe. Many representatives of the Cheshire
constabulary were also there to monitor the election, and ensure that it was
free and fair. The views that they expressed on their return to this country
suggested that in many areas it was far from free and fair.
The England and Wales Cricket Board came under fire
again last night after it was revealed that it had agreed to England playing
an extra one-day international against Zimbabwe in October.
that England would play five matches was announced by Ehsan Mani, the ICC's
president, during its executive board meeting at Lord's. "The ECB announced
yesterday at our board meeting that they will be going and will be prepared
to play more matches than originally agreed," Mani said. "They
were originally playing four and now say they may play five. It's
The ECB immediately came under fire, but Tim Lamb,
the outgoing chief executive, denied accusations that this was a concession
to the Zimbabwe board.
"It's not an extra match, it's the
reinstatement of the original fifth match," he said. He explained that the
original itinerary had been for two Tests and five ODIs, but that this had
been trimmed as it was felt to be to onerous on the players. "In the time
frame available it was too heavy a workload," he added. "Now that the reason
for the reduction has gone away - no Test matches - space has been freed up
for us to reinstate the fifth match.
"If the reason for reducing
from five to four was because of the political process they might have a
legitimate argument. But it wasn't. We shouldn't see the reinstatement of an
originally agreed match as in some way endorsement of the Zimbabwean
But Mike Soper, chairman of the First Class Forum, was
unimpressed, and was especially angry that David Morgan, the ECB chairman,
had told the ICC about the extra match seemingly without clearing it with the
board's management committee. "I am alarmed to hear this apparent
confirmation," Soper said. "I am urgently contacting my colleagues on the
management committee. As far as I knew no decision was being taken until the
next board meeting. He is talking out of turn."
Soper, who has
been a vocal critic of the way the ECB has been run of late, is expected to
oppose Morgan when he stands for re-election in the autumn.
have to go to Zimbabwe than we should minimise our presence there," Soper
continued. "The cancellation of the Tests was a godsend. Now all we have to
do is stay in South Africa and fly in and out. We shouldn't be giving any
succour to Zimbabwe's regime."
And Richard Bevan, the players'
representative, was also not convinced. "I know it's getting closer to
October but the Zimbabwe issue is far from sorted," he said. "We still need
to finalise a number of issues."
Villagers resettled at Lot 10 in
Jopembe block of Beitbridge under the A1 resettlement model have vowed to
defy a High Court order to vacate the farm over which Home Affairs minister,
Kembo Mohadi claims ownership. Last month Justice Maphios Cheda, sitting in
Bulawayo, ordered the eviction of the 48 settlers, who also claim ownership
to the farm. The villagers, who were allocated land on the sprawling farm in
2000, told the Daily Mirror recently that they would not leave the farm
despite the interim High Court order. "We will not accept a situation where a
person uses his or her ministerial influence to displace 48 families. We were
properly allocated land at the farm and he, Mohadi, is fully aware of the
situation," said one of the affected settlers. The settlers accused Mohadi of
using his ministerial post to grab the 3 000 hectare plot which has got vast
citrus fruits left by the farm's previous owner, one Wheeler. The settlers,
who have since sought political intervention from the Zimbabwe National War
Veterans' Association (ZNWVA) and the ruling party, also accused the minister
of circumventing government's one man one farm policy by registering farms in
Contacted for comment, Mohadi said he was not
aware that the settlers on the farm were defying the court for them to vacate
it. "I am not aware of any defiance of a court order and my lawyers have not
advised me of such a situation. I will check on that," said Mohadi. Mohadi
rears cattle on the farm. The minister, alongside the late provincial
governor for Matabeleland South, Steven Nkomo and the then district
administrator for Beitbridge, one Mbedzi, were also the first people to be
allocated land at Bea Range but the minister reportedly swapped the land with
one Pickson Mudawu under unclear circumstances. In July last year, settlers
illegally occupying Induba farm in Bubi, owned by businessman and publisher,
Ibbo Mandaza, and a consortium of other businesspersons defied a high court
eviction order that was served to them by Bulawayo deputy sheriff on July 3.
During the aborted eviction, the war veterans and the settlers impounded a
truck belonging to the deputy sheriff and severely assaulted the farm's
workers before looting property in full view of police details from the
nearby Inyathi police. Mandaza says he has already lost millions of dollars
worth of property at the farm. Mohadi's lawyer, Mthombeni, Mukwesha and
Associates recently told a weekly paper that he was "already working with the
deputy sheriff because we have also obtained an eviction order."
Zimbabwe listening to the radio, or watching television in the evenings, all
you see or hear is Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the state controlled
media. Unless you have access to short wave radio or can afford
satellite TV, which few people can, you only get one side of the story, and
that is the government's.
Combine that with the way the
independent press has been silenced and you realise the government is only
telling the people what it wants them to hear.
There really is
not a voice for opposition or criticism in the country.
"Sometimes they just completely invent stories," said
Andrew Moyse, who runs the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, an independent
organisation based in the capital Harare.
"During the run-up to
the presidential election they claimed for weeks that there were anthrax
attacks against ruling party officials and they were all utterly
"In fact it ceases to become journalism, it's just
fiction writing - propaganda fiction writing."
monitors the news content of the private and government-controlled
One of the workers said that the presenters of the news
programmes hardly believe in what they are saying.
tell you there is no choice as a journalist as there is just nowhere to work
and times are hard - so in the end they just take their salary and lie," he
There are many state-controlled papers, but few independent
What used to be the biggest selling daily in the
country - The Daily News - was closed down last year along with the Daily
News on Sunday, under the government's controversial Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act.
editor William Saidi believes the main aim of the act was to destroy his
"The Daily News had overtaken the government's newspaper
The Herald in circulation and was accused of influencing the elections in
2002, so as some form of punishment the government decided they would ban the
"There are people who come up to me in the street and
ask: 'When is our paper coming back' - there is a now huge gap in
information," he added.
This gap makes life very difficult for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which cannot get its message out
to the people.
State media does not report its viewpoint or its
criticism of the government.
"Freedom of expression is limited
to a few weekly newspapers read by a tiny fraction of the population with
perhaps circulation of 200,000," says John Robertson an independent economist
based in the capital Harare.
"The government knows that it has the
votes wrapped up because it can get to them with radio and television and it
has absolutely prohibited any form of opposition in that
Parliamentary elections are to be held next March - and
unless changes are made soon, the media will be a weapon in the hands of the
The BBC is banned from reporting inside Zimbabwe.
Alastair Leithead is now back in South Africa after his clandestine