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

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PVO 38/69

SPCA Member Centres:
Beitbridge - Bulawayo - Chegutu - Chinhoyi - Chiredzi - Gweru - Harare - Hwange - Kadoma - Kwekwe - Marondera - Mashava - Masvingo - Mutare - Zvishavane

30 MAY 2003
Busier than ever - but the team remains determined and positive.  Sadly, a rather disturbing development during the more recent rescues has been a lack of co-operation from the ZRP.  Meryl has assessed that because most of the rescues at present involve farms which have been taken over by MPs, 'chefs' and other senior party officials, there is a decided reluctance on the part of the police to get involved.
Herewith are details of some of the cases dealt with by Meryl and her team during April and May (usually without police escort).
The ZNSPCA were tipped off about dogs that had been abandoned on a farm in the Ruwa area after the owner had left the country.  The team found 3 black Labradors in very poor and malnourished condition despite a worker claiming that he was 'looking after them'.  The female which had badly deformed legs (a birth defect) was removed and euthanased as she would have been difficult to rehome.  The two males are being cared for and will be rehomed.
A call was received from a farmer's wife from the Mazoe area.  The family were evicted from their farm in September last year but the farmer had continued farming by going to the farm daily.  A few weeks ago, the farmer suddenly found himself barricaded in by the resident war vet and he was held hostage for several hours.  He was finally released and told never to return.  The farmer's wife asked Meryl if she could uplift their Siamese cat and have him euthanased as they would have to leave the country.
Meryl and the new ZNSPCA vet assistant, Erick Samva, went to the farm in the morning in order to avoid the war vet who is usually only present in the afternoon.  One of the workers opened the gate and the team found that the homestead was deserted apart from a few remaining looted goods on the lawn and a truck full of looted timber which had been abandoned as the truck would not start.  The other workers on the farm told the team that they had all lost their jobs since the farmer had been evicted and they did not know where to go.
Meryl found a beautiful long-haired Siamese lying on the verandah - painfully thin but purring loudly and obviously pleased to see her.  As the owners had requested he be PTS, they decided to save him the trauma of taking him from his life-long home, the long trip and noise and smells of the kennels.  In Meryl's own words "we drove a short distance and parked in the shade of some gum trees.  I held him in my arms as Erick slipped the needle into the vein in his leg - he was still purring as his head slumped on my arm".
The team were alerted to the situation on another farm in Ruwa.  'Settlers' had occupied part of the farm, but not the house.  The owners, a young couple, had decided to relocate to South Africa but had assured everyone that they were taking their dogs with them.  ZNSPCA were tipped off that the dogs had been abandoned.  The team checked the farm house and found the house was occupied by an unemployed person who had brought in 5 dogs of his own.  The team removed a very ill Scottie female with a severe respiratory infection.  She has since been treated, spayed and rehomed.  The vet found that her ovaries were also badly infected and said that she must have been feeling very poorly for several weeks.  The vet said he had known 'Tok-tok' since she was a puppy and was shattered that she had been left behind.  The present occupant insisted that the owners would be returning for their other dogs.  ZNSPCA will continue to monitor the situation.
In a most disturbing case, the ZNSPCA received a call from another farmer's wife concerning 30+ cats which had been left behind on a farm in the Concession area.  The couple had been evicted from their farm in January but the wife was concerned about all the cats which had been left 'up in the barns'.  She reported that the cats were her husband's 'hobby' and that all were tame.  She asked that the cats be uplifted to Harare SPCA and she would chose which ones to keep and the rest to be PTS.  She later changed her mind and said they could all 'go'.  The team found the gate to the premises locked but after much hooting one of the resident war vet's workers let them in.
The team again decided to save the cats unnecessary trauma and euthanase them in situ.  A message had been left that the war vet wanted to keep the cats, but the team found that many of the animals were sick with 'snuffles', all were unsterilised and there were the usual signs of weakness and poor development resulting from interbreeding.  The worker called the cats and 'Whiskas' were dished out liberally for them - they were all very hungry.  It was found that none of animals were tame with each one spitting, scratching and biting - the exercise proved to be quite stressful for the cats - and the team.  They sprayed euthanaise into the cats' mouths to sedate them slightly.  They managed to PTS 20 animals on the first visit but had to give up around 4.00pm when light started to fade and the cats became more difficult to catch.
The team returned four days later and euthanased another 19 cats - another long battle - finishing at 4.30pm.  The last few cats had hidden in the large pipes stacked at the back of the barn.  The team had to dismantle the pipes one at a time in order to get them out. 
Probably the most disturbing aspect of this case was when  two workers described to Meryl and Erick how they used to dispose of unwanted litters - they would put their boots on, roll the kittens up in a piece of plastic and then jump and trample on them.  They stated they had being disposing of kittens in this manner for the past five years.  All in a very unpleasant task for the team, but they have at least put an end to any more of this horrific suffering.
Last week the team were called to the Centenary area to uplift a female pony.  The family had been evicted 3 months previously and despite all efforts, could not get back onto the farm.  They were also concerned as water had been cut off to 'Milly'.  This time Support Unit were present, as the family were removing their belongings at the same time.  The 'settlers' had been advised that the family would be coming to remove their possessions so they had felled a huge tree across the road to try and prevent access.  Meryl managed to drive the pick-up and horse-box around the tree.  The team found Milly and despite concerns that she might be difficult to load, she was so hungry she followed Meryl (walking backwards holding a dish of cubes) straight into the hose-box.
We are very pleased to report that after nearly two years of trying to improve the living conditions of the baboons at the University of Zimbabwe, Meryl finally negotiated with the Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Science for the release of the 3 remaining healthy baboons which were being kept in concrete and metal cages at the University.  A mature female who was captured as a juvenile in the Kariba area and two juveniles who were born at the University - 'Tiggy', a female, and 'Jimmy, a male, were released into a large grassy enclosure at the Lion and Cheetah Park complete with a tree, platform, logs and hanging tyres - none of which the youngsters had ever seen before, including sunshine.  Meryl said they were trembling with excitement and anxiety but once they had retreated upwards and started eating fresh oranges, they soon settled down.  There is still an elderly adult male at the University, but the Dean is reluctant to release the baboon as he has not been well for some time.  Meryl will continue to monitor his welfare.
On the same note, in the midst of the rescues, the ZNSPCA have made regular visits to the Blair Research and Government Analyst Laboratories in Harare to monitor the welfare of their animals i.e. rats, mice, guinea-pigs, rabbits and hamsters.  The conditions they found on their earlier visits were appalling but Meryl reports that there has been a huge improvement.  They will continue to monitor the situation and work with the staff to maintain the best standards for the care of the animals.
Disappointingly we have learned that National Parks have now obtained a third Leopard (male) to replace the female that died in Abuja and the female that died, inexplicably, whilst in the custody of National Parks, who maintain that she was ill when they received her.  The reports Meryl has received about the male are that he is very stressed and has several facial abrasions from trying to escape.
Whilst engaged on farm rescues, the team came across a sad case of an elderly female 'hoarder'.  The team have removed many of the animals - some have been euthanased and some have been rehomed.  Conditions have improved greatly with support from ZNSPCA who will continue to work with the owner.
Meryl left for a farm in Mtorashanga early this morning in response to a plea from a family who were being evicted.  They were taking their pets but asked the team to uplift 2 pet Duiker, 30 Geese and several tame Guinea Fowl.
Following another tip off, the ZNSPCA has uncovered a dog-fighting ring in Arcadia, a suburb of Harare.  The names of the perpetrators have been established.  Staffies and Pit Bulls were being used.  Investigations continue and prosecutions will follow.
The large male cheetah which we reported on earlier last year who was caught in a snare in the Marula area has now been released in the Limpopo area.  He has been fitted with a radio collar supplied by ZNSPCA courtesy of AfriCat and will be monitored by Viv Wilson whose initial report said that the cheetah was doing very well and was hunting.
Another encouraging achievement is that agreement has been reached with Cotco (Cotton Company) that they will place water troughs for donkeys at all Cotco Depots throughout the country.
All indications are that mass stayaways and protest marches will commence in most urban areas next week.  We have launched appeals to members of the public to ensure the safety of their pets during any unrest and to make sure that they also have adequate supplies of pet food.  Security companies and livestock-owners have been requested to take necessary measures to ensure that all animals are fed and watered every day.
We will remain in close liaison with the NSPCA in South Africa during the days ahead, in the event of further crisis.
Best Regards

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Dear Family and Friends,
For over three years the only question in every Zimbabwean home has been: How long can this go on ? There have been a score of different occasions when we didn't think that things could get much worse. Like when the government said they would seize 5 million hectares of farm land, increased that to 11 million hectares and actually carried it out, giving the best farms to government ministers and security officials.  Then we thought it was bad when we ran out of maize meal, then bread and oil, then sugar and flour and then petrol and diesel. Then came the long electricity cuts, the collapsing infrastructure, the closure of hundreds of companies and the massive brain drain from the country. Then the end of internal Air Zimbabwe flights, first to tourist destinations and this week even between Harare and Bulawayo as aviation fuel ran out. Through it all has been the violence, rapes, murders and horrific torture of people in police custody. This week though, as I tipped three weeks worth of garbage out onto my back lawn and burned it because refuse collection is no longer operational in Marondera as there is no fuel for the trucks, I knew that we had finally reached the very bottom of the barrel. The reason is that now, 40 months after the political mayhem began, the country has literally run out of money.
There are big queues everywhere you look now, the short ones are for non existent food and fuel but the really long ones are outside banks and building societies where many hundreds of people are trying to draw out money. There are no big bank notes left in Zimbabwe's banks, it started in the capital city and over the week it has spread to all the little towns. Many companies can't pay their full wages, employees can't cash their salary cheques and it is complete and utter chaos at every turn. Big companies are paying out multi million dollar wage bills in 20, 50 and 100 bank notes and people are leaving banks with boxes stuffed with small bills. Big bank notes have become so sought after that the joke in our town this week  is that you can buy 500 dollar notes on the black market for 700 dollars.
It's like being in a horror movie or a slap stick comedy just doing something simple like going shopping in Marondera this week. The person at the supermarket till in front of me had 47 thousand dollars worth of groceries and was paying the bill with huge blocks of 50 and 20 dollar notes. The teller could barely cope with counting all these mountains of small bills and on his lap he had a cardboard box to put the money into as it wouldn't all fit into his till. He told me he needed a new box for every third customer and the managers office looked a lot like a warehouse.
Amazingly though, there is an incredible feeling in the air this week. A mixture of excitement, anticipation and relief is palpable in the country as we all know that at last the time has come for action. The opposition, trade unions and civic society have united and called for a week of well organised and peaceful protests, street marches and demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Mugabe. The opposition are calling this the Final Push and most people believe that this is now the beginning of the end. We all fear blood shed and violence. People have been advised to stock up on food and be prepared for all eventualities. It's a very frightening time and exacerbated by news that both the police and army have been put on high alert and all security personnel have been called back from leave. Zimbabweans are determined though, enough is finally enough. Every day this week there have been calls for prayer and many hundreds have gathered daily to pray for courage, for peace and for an end to a madness which has not ever been about land redistribution but about a political party's survival. Wherever you are in the world, please join us in praying for an end to Zimbabwe's madness in the coming weeks. Until next week, with love, cathy.
"African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in the UK, Europe, Canada and America from: ; in Australia and New Zealand from and in Africa from and
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Mugabe faces revolt in city of desperate and dishonest

On the eve of a week of protest Our Special Correspondent in Harare reports
from a country facing collapse of a dictatorship

Sunday June 1, 2003
The Observer

Tomorrow is D-Day for Zimbabwe - the beginning of 'the final push',
organised by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). It is to
be a week of marches and strikes intended to unseat President Robert Mugabe
after 23 years in power and to reverse what was widely seen as his
fraudulent electoral victory in March last year.
Although they are trying to keep routes and details secret until the last
minute, opposition organisers talk of marching on his residence, State
House, and demanding that he make a 'national statement of surrender'. After
more than a year of fruitless attempts at brokering an 'exit package' for
the besieged Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, is now taking
the country on a more volatile route, albeit reluctantly. 'We cannot allow
Mugabe to destroy the country while we watch,' he said.

All last week the opposition-supporting press has been carrying full-page
ads announcing the action. Stencilled signs have appeared on Harare's walls
and curbs: 'Zvakwana!', they read. 'Enough!' The Government has replied by
warning marchers that their action, which it called 'a British-sponsored
plan to subvert a democratically elected government', is 'tantamount to a
coup', which will be put down ruthlessly. ZTV, a mouthpiece of Mugabe's
ruling Zanu PF party, said that 'security agents have been put on high
alert' and all police leave cancelled. A party spokesman appeared to relish
the coming confrontation: 'The time has come for a showdown with the MDC.
Their activities can no longer be tolerated.'

Businesses who heed the opposition call to close their doors for the week
are also threatened. 'They close the shop on Monday,' promised a senior
Minister. 'They close the shop for good.' And so the battle lines are drawn.

Mugabe jetted back into Harare on Friday morning to face the gathering
storm. He was fresh from the victory rituals of Nigeria's President Olesegun
Obasanjo, whose own election was also criticised as irregular. Obasanjo's
role as one of a troika of Commonwealth interlocutors trying to persuade
Mugabe to stand down voluntarily is now compromised. Last week the two men
cosied up on a sofa and held hands for the cameras.

Mugabe returned to a city beset with severe shortages of many foods,
intermittent electricity and water, in a country with 70 per cent
unemployment, hyperinflation and an approaching famine. From the tinted
windows of his bulletproof Mercedes he would have seen the feral children
sniffing glue and begging on street corners; the drivers camping out in fuel
queues that extend for miles outside empty petrol stations. And in the faces
of the threadbare populace he would know that few support him.
Notwithstanding various attempts to rig the vote here in the last elections,
Harare was a clean sweep for the opposition.

There is little doubt that this country is in the terminal stages of
kleptocratic freefall. A tiny, corrupt elite (by no means all black) -
called the Kompressor Class here for the model of Mercedes they tend to
favour - are the sole beneficiaries of what is now the world's
fastest-shrinking economy. But bad as conditions are for the povo, the
people, are they desperate enough to risk dying on the streets to bring
change? This is the challenge faced by the opposition.

The paradox is that as one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, with a
robust infrastructure and a large middle class, Zimbabwe is taking longer to
destroy. Even those middle classes, however - especially those on fixed
incomes - are now laid low, sinking into an impoverished gentility.

Take the swimming pool, that ubiquitous symbol of social status in a hot
climate: there are far fewer of them now. Pool-cleaning chemicals are either
unavailable or so expensive that many middle-class families have given up.

One company does a brisk business converting swimming pools into ornamental
fishponds. They put in potted reeds and lilies, some hydroponic weed cover
and garnish it all with fish. Mains water is so erratic that many people do
a regular run, filling buckets from the pond to top up the lavatory

For the diehard gin and tonic set, worse news: tonic has been unavailable
for weeks. And power cuts play havoc with First World style.

'What did Africa use for light before candles?' goes one joke.

Other startling signs of middle-class demise: white men walking. And women;
pensioners with frugal shopping bags and well-dressed black office workers
too. Not strolling a few blocks but yomping miles in a widely spaced city
not designed for the long-distance pedestrian.

In recent months the government has more or less abdicated from any debate
on how to turn around the vanishing economy. Its Ministers - memorably
dismissed by a defecting (woman) MP as 'Mugabe's wives' - appear to have no
higher horizon than sheer survival. There is already talk of future trials
and purges in a post-Mugabe era.

A curious atmosphere grips this city - life is on hold. There is a samizdat
solidarity as everyone waits for the revolution. On the veranda of the
Italian Bakery, overlooking the car park of the Avondale shopping centre,
the talk is of little else.

'Good time to buy property', says one white ex-farmer optimistically, wiping
his cappuccino foam moustache with the back of a ruddy forearm. 'You know,
darkest just before dawn and all that...' Harare is full of them,
dispossessed white farmers stomping around the shopping centres in shorts
and desert boots; squatting in spare bedrooms and on friends' sofas; waking
up of habit at 5am, with no lands left to inspect. Their farms, in great
part, unproductive, desolate, looted.

Long, muted lines of people wait in front of the banks. It is the end of the
month and they are desperate to cash their salary cheques. But there is no
more money. With inflation running at 269 per cent and counting, your money
halves in value every four months or so, and so you need more of it, but the
banks have run out of notes. I may well have scored one of the last big
deals when I cashed a personal cheque for 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars.

A ransom, you might suppose, in a country where the minimum wage is still a
tenth of that. But at the local black market rate, which even government
Ministries use, (not to mention the British High Commission, which charges
at black market rates for passport services) my cheque is actually worth
around £30.

When I finally reached the teller she told me they had long since run out of
$500 notes (the largest bill here - worth about 20p) and paid me out in
hundreds - great bricks bound with elastic bands.

It is not yet the wheelbarrows of the Weimar Republic, but still it takes a
bulging briefcase and a borrowed shopping bag to haul away my stash of £30.
After that she has exhausted her supplies, and shuts her window. The 75
others disperse, disappointed.

So who is left in this godforsaken place on the eve of a revolution that may
never come? Mostly, it's the desperate and the dishonest. The crooks -
quick-buck bottom feeders circling a fin de siècle regime - come in various
models: ruling party gatekeepers, currency dealers, petrol hoarders,
Congolese diamond dealers, South African 'entrepreneurs', Nigerian
'traders', Balkan 'biznismen', Middle Eastern middlemen, Libyans being paid
for oil by asset stripping what is left of the economy.

The desperate are drawn from the ranks of the old, the infirm, the unworking
class. Then there are the wild cards; the religious, and the politically

Many - no one knows how many - have fled, millions probably. The brain drain
is dramatic. And with 92 per cent literacy, Zimbabwe had some of the
best-trained brains in Africa. More than fertile soils or a smattering of
gold, they were the country's biggest asset, its leadership cadre. And the
irony is that these exiled Zimbabweans - most of whom number among Mugabe's
greatest foes - are inadvertently keeping him afloat. Through the multiplier
of the black market, their hard currency remittances support thousands of
people back home, deferring the country's continuously imminent collapse.

Tomorrow will show whether Zimbabweans are ready yet to rise up in
sufficient numbers against the architect of their woes.
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Mugabe's 'cleansing' of Zimbabwe squad

Andrew Meldrum
Sunday June 1, 2003
The Observer

The political repression in Zimbabwe reaches into its cricket team. The
squad who play the second Test against England in Durham this week has been
purged of players critical of President Robert Mugabe and many of the
officials who run the sport have close ties to the Zanu-PF regime.
Extensive inquiries by The Observer have revealed that:

· The Zimbabwe Test squad has been politically vetted and gagged to ensure
that no player criticises Mugabe;

· Leading officials of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) are avid supporters
of the Mugabe government and have helped to 'cleanse' the team politically;

· The ZCU's claims to be 'an apolitical organisation' - which were repeated
by the England and Wales Cricket Board chief executive Tim Lamb when he
justified England going ahead with this series against Zimbabwe - are a sham

The ZCU decided to rid the team of dissident, anti-Mugabe players earlier
this year after Andy Flower and Henry Olonga wore black armbands during a
World Cup match to 'mourn the death of democracy' in their homeland.

Flower, Zimbabwe's best batsman and at the top of his game, left the team in
disgust at the political manipulation. Olonga received harsher treatment,
being forced off the team bus, receiving death threats and being followed by
state security agents. A vicious campaign in the state press has excoriated
Olonga, but he is widely regarded as a hero in Harare's townships and even
the rural areas where Mugabe's support is strongest.

In addition to Flower and Olonga, Alistair Campbell and Guy Whittall,
experienced players widely regarded as concerned about Mugabe and his
repressive policies, and who have complained about the 'politicisation' of
the ZCU, are no longer part of the team. Two of the team's backroom staff,
trainer Malcolm Jarvis and coach Kevin Curran, were also sacked in another
sign of the ZCU's determination to ensure that the team would not embarrass
Mugabe again.

'More than any other sport in Zimbabwe, cricket has become the flag-bearer
of the Mugabe regime,' said a former national team member. 'I feel sorry for
the young players because they don't know any better. It is tragic that,
just as the growth of township cricket is bringing more black players into
the game, the politicisation of the team has brought the sport into
disrepute. As soon as democracy is restored, the cricket union must be

Peter Tatchell, a leader of the Stop The Tour group who plan to stage
protests at this week's match, said: 'This is probably the first time a
British sports body has agreed to play against a politically vetted team.'

Only four of the Zimbabwe cricketers who played in the World Cup in February
remain in a squad that has been shaped by a group of ZCU officials whose
links with the Mugabe regime have been exposed.

Osvias Bvute, a ZCU board member who is in effect the organisation's
'political commissar', has played a key role. He was put there by Zanu-PF
and is charged with ensuring 'political loyalty' to Mugabe. He personally
threw Olonga off the team bus after his armband protest and also ordered him
to stop wearing Zimbabwe cricket kit.

A recent player with the team who has seen Bvute at work said: 'He
constantly tells team members that he has been to [information minister]
Jonathan Moyo's office and been talking to him about cricket issues. If
that's not being involved in politics in Zimbabwe today, nothing is.'

Bvute also headed off moves to remove Mugabe as the ZCU's patron. At a key
meeting at which the subject was raised, he said that anyone who valued
their continuing good health would not raise such an issue, according to
cricket board sources. Asked what he meant, he replied: 'Well, you know,
things can happen.'

Two other powerful Mugabe advocates within the ZCU are Ahmed Ebrahim and his
son Macsood, known as Max. Ahmed, a retired judge who is the ZCU's
vice-chairman, instigated the task force that led to the team being
'cleaned', while Max, the convener of selectors for the Zimbabwe team, does
much of the work to ensure political obedience. ZCU chairman Peter Chingoka,
who proposed renewing Mugabe's tenure as its figurehead, is another.

Two other board officials who are travelling with the tourists, team manager
Babu Meman and ZCU managing director Vince Hogg, help the regime by refusing
to let players comment on political issues. Heath Streak, the team's
captain, is thought to toe the government's line because he does not want to
lose his family's farm. It was was on a list of properties to be seized and
was later taken off the list.

·Andrew Meldrum reported on Zimbabwe for The Observer and The Guardian until
two weeks ago, when he was expelled by the Mugabe regime.
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ABC Australia

Last Update: Sunday, June 1, 2003. 6:04am (AEST)
Security raised ahead of MDC protest
Soldiers are patrolling the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare, as
opposition activists prepare to stage nationwide demonstrations.

Security forces are on alert amid fears of violence.

Troops armed with rifles have been deployed in Harare's high-density

Residents have been urged to return to their homes.

Security has been increased in preparation for planned protests by the
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is urging his supporters to rise up and defy
the Government.

Mr Tsvangirai says the Opposition is starting its final push to force
President Robert Mugabe from office.

But the Government is warning that it will not tolerate unrest.

The Zimbabwean military says it will use force to put an end to any violent

War veterans loyal to Mr Mugabe say the Opposition will suffer casualties if
it attempts to overthrow the President.

Court ban

Zimbabwe's High Court has barred the MDC from staging the protests.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) says in an interim order the
court has "barred the opposition from organising or staging a mass action
intended to remove a legitimately elected president and government".

Police chief Augustine Chihuri had filed an urgent application asking that
the MDC and Mr Tsvangirai be stopped from "organising, urging, suggesting or
setting up demonstrations" through the week.

The ZBC reports the ruling had been greeted with "relief" by many

It is not immediately clear how the opposition would react to the ruling,
but it is likely to appeal.

MDC lawyer Innocent Chagonda says he is unaware of the ruling, but argues it
could be "irregular".

The state-run bus company ZUPCO had also filed an application in the High
Court calling for the protests to be banned.

At least one ZUPCO bus was torched in an MDC-organised strike in March.
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Zimbabwe: Police get order calling off protests
Saturday, May 31, 2003 Posted: 8:29 PM EDT (0029 GMT)

HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwe's police got a high court interdict
on Saturday ordering opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to call off street
protests next week or face arrest.

The order was issued by High Court Judge Ben Hlatshwayo after the police
filed an urgent application in which they claimed the planned protests would
undermine law and order and challenged the country's constitutional

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on Friday it would
press ahead next week with protests against President Robert Mugabe and
warned that militant government supporters could turn the demonstrations

Chief Inspector Andrew Phiri confirmed police had got a provisional order
from the court outlawing the protests.

"It is declared that the respondents (MDC and Tsvangirai) have acted
unlawfully in calling for demonstrations intended to oust a legitimately
elected president.

"Accordingly it is ordered that the respondents be indicted from organizing,
urging or suggesting, or setting up the demonstrations intended to remove
the lawfully elected president and government," the order said.

The order gave the MDC the right to argue its own case.

MDC legislator and lawyer David Coltart complained that they had received
the order only at the time police served it but they intended to appeal
against it on Sunday.

"The MDC is not organizing violent protests, but peaceful protests,"
Tsvangirai spokesman William Bango said.

Earlier, thousands of people jammed supermarkets and banks around Zimbabwe
to stock up for the protests designed to drive President Robert Mugabe from

The MDC is demanding Mugabe's resignation, accusing him of mismanaging the
economy. Mugabe, 79, denies the charge.

The government has put its security forces on full alert, deployed troops in
some restive townships and set up roadblocks.

"The time has come for a showdown with the MDC. They must be confronted and
taught a lesson," the ruling ZANU-PF party's chief spokesman, Nathan
Shamuyarira, said.

Zimbabwe is in a severe economic crisis, with record inflation and
unemployment, and shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, blames the crisis
on opponents of his seizures of land from the tiny white minority for
redistribution among landless blacks.
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Sunday Times (SA)

MDC stakes all on mass revolt

Zimbabwe on the brink of change - or greater tyranny
Sunday Times Foreign Desk

The Movement for Democratic Change's decision to confront President Robert
Mugabe's regime with mass action in the streets tomorrow will have
far-reaching consequences for Zimbabwe.

For the MDC, the expected week-long campaign aimed at forcing Mugabe to
resign will be a make-or-break move. For Mugabe, the protest will be a
critical test of his ability to survive.

The MDC has threatened to bring thousands of people into the streets to
tackle the government head on.

It said the "final push" would include marches to symbols of Mugabe's power,
such as the Monomutapa Building, where his offices are, and State House,
where he lives.

Announcing the date of the street demonstration at a rally in Harare last
Sunday, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said a critical mass of people was
needed to dismantle Mugabe's dictatorship.

"We want to embark on democracy marches in every town and every workplace,"
he said.

"We must be prepared to be arrested. We must be prepared to make a mark to
ensure that we will never again be oppressed."

However, the government has warned that it will crush the demonstrations.
Mugabe said security agents would deal with "mischief-makers".

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces have issued a statement threatening to attack
the MDC, and war veterans have said they will pulverise the opposition

The outcome of the protests will either leave Zimbabwe close to sea change
or as a reinforced bastion of tyranny.

In recent years, various dictatorships have collapsed or stumbled when
confronted by civil disobedience.

Often seen as firmly entrenched and impregnable, some of these despotic
regimes have proved unable to withstand popular anger.

To succeed, the MDC needs to have planned carefully. Its action tomorrow
must be based on a realistic assessment of the situation and the
capabilities of the populace to confront Mugabe.

The MDC will have to assess the likely reaction of government. It has to
determine how to withstand, counteract or avoid possible increased
repression without submitting.

The MDC needs to warn people of expected repression so that they will know
the risks of participation. Tsvangirai, at least, has already done this.

Zimbabweans supporting the MDC mass action must not limit their objective to
merely ousting Mugabe because they run the risk of producing another tyrant.

It is a common pattern for opposition parties simply to react to the
initiatives of the dictatorship. That is why they are always on the
defensive, seeking to maintain limited liberties or bastions of freedom, at
best slowing the advance of the dictatorial controls or causing certain
problems for the regime's new policies.

Tsvangirai should know that if one wishes to accomplish something, it is
always wise to plan how to do it.

The more important the objective, or grim the consequences of failure, the
more critical planning becomes.

Sustained, concerted action is required to remove Mugabe's dictatorship. But
there is no evidence that the MDC has managed to mobilise and get people
geared up for action.

It seems the opposition is relying largely on discontent without
mobilisation. That could be terribly harmful to the MDC's future.

The MDC also has to deal with the pitfalls of the mass action, which may
have disastrous consequences.

One of these is violence. Understandably, people may be tempted to use force
when reacting to the excesses of the Mugabe regime.

Angry victims of repression sometimes confront dictators with whatever means
they can muster, despite the odds being stacked against them.

The MDC has to guard against this kind of approach.

It must know that a violent campaign will suit Mugabe and trigger brutal
repression that might leave the people beaten and more helpless.

Whatever the merits and demerits of the violence option, however, one point
is clear. No matter how long or short the campaign might be, a harsh
reaction, including the possibility of military repression, is inevitable.

The MDC must adopt a strategy that will not be counterproductive in the long

Demonstrations are fine but only if they are well organised and focused.

Although it is doubtful that Zimbabweans have reached a stage where they
want to risk their lives to remove Mugabe, the increase of pressure on the
regime is a step in the right direction.

Domestic and international pressure must go together. The population has
been too weak to challenge Mugabe's dictatorial powers alone.

On the other hand, international pressures can only work if there is enough
internal pressure and an organised resistance movement backing it up.

International measures against Mugabe have failed because domestic pressure
has been limited and ineffective.

Whatever the repercussions of the mass action , one thing is now clear: the
protests will change the course of events in Zimbabwe.

It remains anybody's guess whether the change will be for the better or the
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Washington Times

Taking to the streets in Zimbabwe

    Having been robbed of their vote in the last election, Zimbabweans are
gearing up to vote with their feet. From Monday to Friday, they are expected
to protest en masse the theft of democracy and the catastrophic rule of
Robert Mugabe. They won't be alone. The country's "war veterans" (i.e.
former revolutionary thugs) have warned "the consequences of any mass action
will be grave," adding, "we will coordinate with the state agents to fight
you off." And the Zimbabwe military has forebodingly said that it will
"bring to bear its full force" upon any protests that turn violent. This has
the makings of bloody confrontation.
    The Bush administration and other countries are viewing this potential
with unease. "The Zimbabwe government reacted to a mostly peaceful stayaway
[or strike] last March with violent repression, including numerous severe
beatings of stayaway participants and sympathizers. We strongly urge the
government of Zimbabwe to respect the right of the citizenry to protest
peacefully and not to follow through on threats to suppress the protests,"
said the State Department in a statement Wednesday. The statement also urged
protesters to maintain peace and order. If the State Department could solve
international matters as well as it releases meaningless, precatory
advisories, the world would be a better place.
    African governments are also worried, but on a path of ineffectivenesss.
During a visit to Zimbabwe earlier this month, the presidents of South
Africa, Nigeria and Malawi urged Mr. Mugabe, whose "term" ends in 2008, to
open talks with the country's main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change, whose widely popular leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, called on
people to protest on Thursday. But this restrained African effort to mediate
a solution obviously will be insufficient, given the severity of the
situation in Zimbabwe.
    Once a hero to many Africans for his role in defeating the white
government of what was then Rhodesia, Mr. Mugabe has now become the
oppressor of blacks and whites. He has brought Zimbabwe -until recently a
breadbasket to southern Africa - hunger, hyper-inflation, joblessness and
despair, due in large part to his racially motivated confiscation of
white-owned farms. Zimbabweans are beginning to die from malnutrition, and
about 8 million are dependent on food aid. Blood transfusions are now among
the many scarce commodities. Inflation is currently at 269 percent.
    The crisis in the country has wide repercussions. Zimbabwe is another
domino of instability in a continent wracked with conflict. Its problems are
causing food shortages and refugee problems in neighboring countries.
    Other leaders in the region are ineffectively seeking African-born
solutions to the continent's problems. Led by South African President Thabo
Mbeki, they have crafted a framework for establishing stability, called the
African Peace and Security Council, but only five of 53 states have ratified
the measures to establish the institution. Industrialized nations should
back this fledgling initiative, but African leaders must bolster their
willingness to hold despots accountable.
    Mr. Mugabe should not be allowed to punish his people with his own
destructive policies, while he enjoys the fruits of South Africa's
stability. Until the government of South Africa and others strengthen their
will to pressure dictators in defense of disenfranchised people, Africa
won't gain its footing.
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The Crunch.

It has been three years in the making. The final push, is what it is being called here, or as the MDC said today, a march for democracy.

After many delays caused by attempts to persuade the regime led by Robert Mugabe to see common sense and accept the inevitable by agreeing to negotiate its way out of the present impasse, the MDC has now decided the enough is enough! We are taking to the streets on Monday the 2nd of June. The demonstrations will be backed by a weeklong strike, which will be observed by all who do not hold down jobs in sectors deemed as an essential service.

The atmosphere in the country is difficult to describe but there can be no doubt in anyone's mind that this is the finale to the current scene being enacted out on the Zimbabwe stage. There is also no going back - for either side, this will be a struggle to the end - whatever that is going to be. This is not another stay away from work - it's a direct challenge to the authority and power of the Mugabe regime by the people.

The dangers are plenty - if the Zimbabwe regime decides to make a last stand there will be casualties. If these escalate then the situation could get out of control and it will be difficult to negotiate our way back to some semblance of order and stability. It could have been different - if the South African government had used its overwhelming influence and economic power in the region to force Mugabe to talk, but they have simply not been willing to do so. It could have been different if the west had stepped in with some form of force and said that a "road map back to legitimacy must be followed", but that was never even a possibility. So we are left to our own devices.

What are we up against? There are about 45 000 men in the Army, 25 000 regular Policemen and another 7 000 paramilitary Police. There are also several thousand men in the Airforce - only a handful of operational aircraft but a fairly large number of armed vehicles of one description or another. The so called "war veterans" have threatened to take action - but the majority of these no longer support the government of the day and those that do are a rather pathetic gaggle of old men numbering about 5 000, of which about 1 000 are probably able to operate effectively. Nevertheless, this is one of the better armies in Africa and if they stand with Mugabe and accept the role they are being asked to play, then the people who go onto the streets on Monday morning will be confronted with more than tear gas.

But lets not forget, these 100 000 men and women in the armed forces are also Zimbabweans. It is their brothers and sisters who will be out there and their own mothers and fathers who are saying that enough is enough. The current shambles affects them as much as anyone else. I estimate inflation (annualized) in May at 450 per cent, bread is selling for $550 a loaf, beef for $3000 a kilo, maize meal for $300 a kilogram and prices of other staples have trebled in the past few weeks. Liquid fuels are simply not available, informal sector prices are anything from $1200 to $1500 a litre. ZESA is load shedding and this is creating chaos in the already strained productive sectors. Now there is insufficient cash in the system to run the economy. With prices rising by over 50 per cent in a month, the volume of cash being used is now beyond the ability of the Reserve Bank. They stated this week that they were considering issuing a $1000 bill, but this will cost them as much to print as it is worth and they need billions in new bank notes every day.

After claiming that the current maize crop was 1,4 million tonnes and that wheat stocks were adequate, we are running out of both. National Foods closed its mills last week and other smaller mills close this week, no bread. Quietly the government has started to admit it has a food problem. A state of emergency was declared in Matabeleland South on Friday and the WFP has been asked to continue with its program.

So, finally we set out on an adventure that we have tried hard to avoid, avoid, not because we are timid or fearful, but because we wanted to be able to control a process of transition back to democracy which was legal, peaceful and democratic.

On Monday Morgan issued what I regard as one of the most important policy statements that he has made recently. In this he rejected the proposal that we set up a transitional authority to guide the country back to democracy. We no longer have the time for such an experiment and in any event, external forces that were trying to engineer continued ZANU PF domination of the process, were manipulating the proposal. What the MDC has stated is that it now simply wants Mugabe to resign, for the government to put in place acting President as prescribed in the constitution and then new elections for President in 90 days. The detail can be negotiated, but that is now the MDC "road map" back to democratic rule.

In reality we have no alternative - Mugabe will not go voluntarily, we cannot go on like this, to do so would be to accept that Zimbabwe become the "North Korea" of southern Africa; unable to feed itself, a delinquent state that exists by blackmail and intimidation.

There are signs of hope - we see subtle signs of change in the attitude of many Policemen. Cartons of hard currency are being flown out of Harare airport on a regular basis - sure evidence that those closest to the regime are themselves insecure. Lets not forget that Mugabe had an escape plan for both the June 2000 and the March 2002 elections. He has one now; he is looking very tense and insecure and increasingly aged. The pressure on him must be immense.

Morgan asked us all to pray for the country and its leadership this week - to devote Sunday to prayer and to then support an all out effort to force the ruling elite to accept that there was no other way out, except across the negotiating table. For Zanu PF this is not surrender, it is simply giving way to history and acknowledging their own inability to find solutions to the crisis we all face. For the rest of us, this could be the dawn.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 29th May 2003.
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