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

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MDC News Alert
Less than an hour ago MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested by police at his home in Harare in connection with the nationwide protests that begin today and are scheduled to last until Friday. Police also visited the home of MDC Secretary General Professor Welshman Ncube at 1.00am this morning in an attempt to arrest him.  Professor Ncube was not at home at the time.
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Email from Zim:

Have just done a reccee through central Harare ( 9am - 10am ) - many police on corners, some on horseback, but no army.  Many people just wandering around - almost a total shut down of business.  Avondale shut down except for IB cafe and Wimpy.  Zupco buses have an armed policeman on board.  One roadblock coming into town on 2nd street before North Avenue.
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      02 Jun 2003 08:03:48 GMT
      Tear gas fired at Zimbabwe protesters-witnesses


HARARE, June 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwean police fired tear gas and warning
shots at demonstrators in one Harare township on Monday, the first day of a
week of opposition protests against President Robert Mugabe, witnesses said.

They said protesters scattered following the police action in Highfield,
outside Harare. Several people were seen lying on the ground. Earlier on
Monday police detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai released
(Filed: 02/06/2003)

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Zimbabwean opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change, has been released after being arrested at
his home earlier today charged with planning an illegal demonstration.

The move comes at the beginning of a week of planned demonstrations and
strikes by the opposition, to protest against the government of President
Robert Mugabe.

The High Court had declared the demonstrations illegal at the weekend, but
Mr Tsvangirai remainded defiant, and had intended filing an appeal against
the ruling at the Supreme Court today.

Police road blocks have been set up on all main roads leading to the
capital, Harare. Despite this, many businesses appear to be closed as part
of the strike. Demonstrations organised by the opposition are thought to be
taking place later today.

The government has promised to crackdown hard on demonstrators. Sidney
Sekeramayi, the defence minister, talking on national television said: "Our
soil is very sacrosanct. We shall not allow it to be recolonized.". The
government claims that the MDC is funded by the British government. Pictures
of troops being deployed, and file footage of tear gas being used during
earlier demonstrations were shown.

Leaflets have been distributed in the streets by governement officials: "No
to mass action. No to British puppets. Let the workers go to work, let the
children go to school and let the banks and businesses remain open. Remain

Businesses who close for the strike have been told they will have their
operating licenses withdrawn.
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Business Day
Zimbabwe's banking chief steps down


HARARE - Zimbabwe's banking chief Leonard Tsumba  has stepped down amid
criticism of the central bank's handling of a crippling shortage of bank
notes, the state-run Sunday Mail said.
The paper said Tsumba, the governor of the Reserve Bank of  Zimbabwe for the
past 10 years, had gone on leave "with immediate effect pending retirement
on July 31".

No reason was given for Tsumba's decision to go on early leave,  but earlier
this week the Reserve Bank came under fire for the crippling shortages of
bank notes that have gripped the country.

Thousands of Zimbabweans have spent hours queueing outside banks only to
find their cash withdrawals strictly limited.

The Sunday Mail said the government would now be looking at ways  of
ensuring the Reserve Bank "plays a development role and not the  monetarist
role it has performed under... Dr Tsumba".

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      Profile: Morgan Tsvangirai

             By Joseph Winter
            BBC News Online

      Morgan Tsvangirai has risen from working in a mine to becoming one of
the most important political figures in Zimbabwe - even if his dreams of
becoming president remain elusive.

      He is a brave man - running the risk of arrest or assassination since
emerging several years ago as a credible challenger to President Robert

      He has already told his supporters that if anything happens to him,
they should carry on the struggle.

      As the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition, he has been called a traitor
on many occasions, been brutally assaulted and been charged with treason and

      He told a rally of his Movement for Democratic Change: "If Mugabe does
not go peacefully, he will be removed by force."


      The 50-year-old son of a bricklayer says this was not a threat of
armed rebellion but a warning of popular discontent.

      The charges were deemed unconstitutional but he does have a tendency
to open his mouth before considering the consequences.

             The IMF are devils

            Morgan Tsvangirai

      Just before elections in 2002, a mysterious video tape emerged, which
allegedly showed Mr Tsvangirai discussing how to assassinate Mr Mugabe with
a Canadian consultancy, Dickens and Madson.

      The head of the consultancy, Ari Ben-Menashe, used to work as a
lobbyist for the Zimbabwe Government and he calls Mr Tsvangirai "stupid" for
even speaking to him, let alone allegedly discussing killing the president.

      Mr Tsvangirai was charged yet again and this is still hanging over his

      Mr Mugabe snootily calls him an "ignoramus" because of his humble
background and lack of education.

      War veterans

      The catalyst for Mr Tsvangirai's transformation was his career in the
trade unions.

      After being plant foreman of the Bindura Nickel Mine for 10 years, he
climbed the unionist ladder until in 1988, he was elected secretary-general
of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

      As Zimbabwe's economy declined and workers' living standards
plummeted, the ZCTU took an increasingly political role.

      When Mr Mugabe tried to raise income tax to pay pensions for veterans
of the 1970s war of independence, a ZCTU-organised nationwide strike forced
him to back down.

      For his part in defeating Mr Mugabe and the war veterans, a group of
men burst into Mr Tsvangirai's office, hit him on the head with a metal bar
and attempted to throw him out of his 10th floor window.

      This was a foretaste of the war veterans' campaign of violence, which
has led to the deaths of over 100 MDC supporters in the past two years.


      Buoyed by its initial victory, the ZCTU held further strikes against
the government's "economic mismanagement".

      But Mr Mugabe stood firm and after intense debate, the ZCTU helped
establish the MDC in September 1999.

      Its nationwide structures were crucial in helping the young party
campaign for the June 2000 parliamentary elections, in which it won 57
seats - the best opposition showing in the country's history.

      Despite its foundations in the black working class, Mr Mugabe says the
MDC is a puppet of white farmers and the UK Government.

      And many white farmers do support, campaign for and help finance the

      The state machinery never tires of reminding voters that Mr Tsvangirai
did not participate in the guerrilla war against white minority rule.


      Mr Tsvangirai says that the farmers support the MDC's manifesto -
which includes redistributing land to blacks - and do not influence policy.

      But television pictures of white farmers queuing up to sign cheques
with the MDC leader looking on were a propaganda coup for Mr Mugabe and some
black critics of the president fear that "he who pays the piper calls the

      For the moment, Morgan Tsvangirai is the figurehead for all the
disparate groups opposed to Mr Mugabe: unemployed and low-wage blacks;
wealthy white farmers and industrialists and ethnic Ndebeles who remember
the government's murderous campaign against them in the early 1980s.

      As a former miner and unionist, his heart is social democratic.

      He used to blame many of Zimbabwe's economic woes on the IMF's
structural adjustment programme.

      "The IMF are devils," he once told the BBC's Focus on Africa - a
position which Mr Mugabe would agree with.

      Now, he is working closely with industrialists who argue that market
forces should be left to solve Zimbabwe's economic problems on their own,
without any government interference.

      But Morgan Tsvangirai can at least wait before tackling the
ideological contradictions within his party, as that generally only happens
in government.

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Zimbabwe protest to 'shake' government
Former Guardian newspaper correspondent in Zimbabwe Andrew Meldrum tells the BBC his views on the opposition protests called for this week.

The first thing that is beyond doubt is that the national strike, the stayaway from work, will be effective for the four-five days and will close the country down.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe has no intention of going quietly
The Movement for Democratic Change has already proved twice in the past two months that it has the force with the people to be able to make those strikes effective.

Getting people out on the streets when the police and the army are showing such overwhelming force is another question.

Some people are expecting a kind of overwhelming show of people. Let us say hundreds of thousands of people that would surround the seat of government and force a toppling of government - something like what happened to Milosevic in Yugoslavia.

I don't believe that is what is going to happen. I think it may be smaller groups of people in the various townships around Harare and maybe a small group in the city centre. But even that will be enough to shake the foundations of the government.

Can we take it for granted that the security authorities' response will be, shall we say, robust?

Very robust - and there are already tanks and armoured personnel carriers in the townships outside of Harare.

There are armed roadblocks ringing the city and in other major cities in Zimbabwe the police and the party itself has warned that it is going to deal forcefully with those and teach them a lesson. So, yes, I think there is a very real danger of a strong measure of force.

We have seen plenty of strikes before, we have seen plenty of demonstrations before as well, what sets this week apart?

Both of the national strikes that happened in the past couple of months rattled the government a great deal. This strike is going to do the same thing.

But also the public demonstrations are going to weaken the view of Mr Mugabe amongst his African allies, from South Africa to Nigeria.

They are going to see that the majority of the people are not only against the government, many people are willing to come out in a show of force against the government.

And that is going to weaken the perception of Mugabe.

He is already being pressed by fellow African leaders, by the Commonwealth as well as of course by the EU and Britain and the US.

This is going to weaken the perception of Mr Mugabe as a man of power.

So, Mr Tsvangirai is saying that the political landscape will never be the same again. You are effectively saying the same thing. A week from now what is that landscape going to be looking like?

I think it is going to be much more difficulty for Mr Mugabe to avoid having negotiations with the opposition party and it is going to be much more difficulty for him to say that a transition period leading to free and fair elections is out of the question.

It is certainly going to be impossible for Mr Mugabe to set preconditions for these negotiations. In other words time is running out for him.

He has an opportunity to negotiate his exit at this point but pretty soon I think that that he will lose control of even that.

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