Zvakwana Newsletter #28 - Change
Street activists were out trying their best today despite the zanu republic
police force’s violence and intimidation. Spirits are high and people are
determined to show the world their determination to fight for democracy. The
picture above shows a small part of a march by pro-democracy supporters in
Harare city centre.
The people must press on for the
next four days with a complete stayaway from work. Local demonstrations and
actions are now necessary to keep the police pre-occupied. People must all
remain resolute. The end is in sight. Victories against this dictatorship must
continue to multiply, and that can only happen if we remain courageous and with
a unity of purpose. Every one of us has an obligation for a better tomorrow for
our children. We must fight to remove hunger. We must fight to remove
corruption. We must fight to remove violence.
We urge businesses
to remain closed and to allow their employees to participate in localised
demonstrations and actions for change.
THE WEEK OF ACTION CONTINUES
Let us list some of Zvakwana’s initial successes:
- Our brave students at the
University of Zimbabwe, unarmed and exercising their democratic right to
demonstrate faced hundreds of riot police who fired tear gas to make the
students retreat. The students picked up some of the tiger and hurled it back at
the unsuspecting police who then had to run for cover themselves. Police
reinforcements were called in with dogs and the infamous Israeli water canon.
See pictures on our website at www.zvakwana.org.
Students fighting back
- Our thoughts and hearts are with
the thousands of activists who have been cordoned off in high density areas
where the Zanu Army is beating and harassing peace loving Zimbabweans.
- In the centre of town a large
group of brave supporters for democratic change marched near Unity Square. The
police (and their militia mafia in civilian clothes) cracked down on them using
excessive force they fired live bullets into the air.
- The stayaway has been 100%
successful. Businesses and shops closed down in agreement that democracy will
only be achieved through collective action.
Morgan Tsvangirai detained on Monday morning
President was taken to Harare Central police station this morning and charged
with contempt of court. He was released to attend his treason trial. Moves were
made by the state to amend his bail conditions to obtain an order to bar him
from issuing inflammatory statements. George Bizos, his defence in the trial,
objected and asked for a postponement. The Attorney General’s office wanted to
argue the matter right away. Bizos then met the Judge in his chambers
immediately and he relented and the postponement was granted until tomorrow.
Tsvangirai then marched from the High Court along Samora Machel Avenue, past
Parliament, and was joined by others. They headed in the direction of Nelson
Mandela Ave to Africa Unity Square. Harvest House, the MDC HQ, was surrounded by
Welshman Ncube’s staff beaten by police
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. Instead the police applied their thuggery to Welshman’s domestic and
security staff. They were made to lie on the grass and were beaten with hose
zanu pf has to engage youth militia because the police are no
longer on their side
Zvakwana witnessed a massing of hundreds of
youth militia at zanu pf headquarters in their shaking shaking building on
Rotten Row in Harare. From mugabe’s headquarters the militia then dispersed in
smaller groups using unmarked cars. They proceeded to the city centre were they
unleashed violence on unsuspecting passers-by.
Harare city centre becomes a "no-go area" as zanu youth militia go
on the rampage
It is advisable that all Zimbabweans avoid Harare
city centre during this week of action. zanu pf militia are randomly picking
targets off the street. It is unsafe to move about. Stay home. Stay
State House sealed off; mugabe is shaking in his
7th Street, and all other roads leading past
mugabe’s soon to be empty big house were sealed off today by riot
Zanu pf army thugs go door to door beating people in high
Today, being the first day of a concerted week of
action for change, we witnessed the army betraying the people of Zimbabwe.
Instead of upholding good professional standards they have turned into an enemy
of the people. In Glen View, Highfields and Kuwadzana we have had reports that
these thugs are moving around beating and intimidating. This is a sincere
warning: thugs, your time will come. Things are on the move.
MP for Highfield is shot and injured and other MDC members
Members of the army and police have opened fire on
peaceful demonstrators in the Highfields district of Harare. The MDC MP for
Highfield Mungofa was one of the injured. Harare East MP Tendai Biti has been
arrested. MDC MP Edwin Mushoriwa was brutally attacked by the police and is
currently being treated in hospital for the injuries he
Bulawayo’s MDC Mayor, Mr. Japhet
Ndabeni – Ncube, was detained at Central Police Station. In Victoria Falls three
people are missing after being picked up by the police in the town today. They
are Ephraim Sithole, Siandebe and Nkululeko Nyoni, the younger brother of the
MDC Member of Parliament for Hwange East.
moyo leaves his diarrhoea streaming in the streets of
The pathetic professor and the cabinet of clowns are
running so scared that they just threw thousands of leaflets on the ground in
the early hours of Monday morning. Zvakwana saw some groups of people laughing
and shaking their heads at zanu pf’s stupid propaganda. For example zanu pf
- Let the workers go to work – BUT
we have 70% unemployment. Where once we could find jobs, now we cannot. And, by
the way there is no petrol for the few employed to get to work.
- Let the children go to school -
BUT their teachers are paid a pittance and then transferred for demonstrating
for a living wage.
- Let the banks remain open – BUT
the banks are even closing early themselves because there is no cash and no
- Let businesses remain open – BUT
there is no trade in an economy that has been looted by violent chefs.
Moyo, however, is right about two
things: rambai makashinga! Yes we are strong and we will overcome our troubles.
And, we are certainly enough – enough of zanu pf.
aiding and abetting the mugabe regime
People have been informing
us that policemen have been riding shotgun on the roof of Zupco
zanu pf open fire during Harare city centre
As you can see by this picture, zanu pf are becoming
increasingly brutal and unashamed of their inability to adhere to the rule of
law. They fired live ammunition in order to stop democracy activists from
Do you recognise this thug?
See full size photographs on
zanu militia cling to the back
of citizen’s vehicle moving around in Harare city centre
A man and
wife travelling near Meikles Hotel were today jumped by zanu pf militia. The
militia climbed onto the back of their truck and proceeded to pull off the
petrol cap while threatening to set fire to their vehicle. One of the assailants
had a long knife (bayonet) as a weapon. After travelling around for many
kilometres he was finally thrown off the vehicle. Here is the face of the
perpetrator. We are asking you all to send us the names and identities of anyone
harming peace loving Zimbabweans.
Bulawayo launches name and shame campaign
Bulawayo Zvakwana activists are moving around the streets making a mark on the
walls of zanu pf thugs. We’re watching you.
companies and businesses that stayed open during the first day are listed on
Zvakwana activists have been looking
to see which businesses remained open during the call for mass action and a
nation-wide stayaway. We have gathered information from as far afield as Beit
Bridge and Victoria Falls. Please check the list on the Zvakwana web site and
boycott these businesses. We would like to congratulate Savanna Wood Factory who
has resisted pressure and threats by the authorities to re-open. We have had
information from most cities and towns that the army and the police are moving
around forcing people to re-open their shops and businesses. In Harare Kwikspar
at Rhodesville was closed early in the morning but is open now. Rhodesville
police came and ordered them to open. Nothing else is open at Rhodesville Shops
Avondale Wimpy and the Italian Bakery in Harare do not support the
Will you continue to support these businesses? Let your
money do the talking. While the Italian Bakery stays open and people sip their
cups of coffee just some few kilometres away hundreds of your fellow
country(wo)men in the high density suburbs are being beaten for actively
supporting democratic change. BOYCOTT THESE
Litter with CHANGE - and idea from a subscriber – take
And what about some financial contribution for the ever
hungry guys in State House? If people would make it a habit to get rid of their
useless and worthless coins by dropping them out of their car windows every time
they pass along State House on whatever road, the place would slowly get
littered with CHANGE. Apart from the symbolic gesture, it could even attract
beggars and street kids . . .
Remain committed –
change demands action
Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough is Enough!
US Condemns Use of Force in Zimbabwe
03 Jun 2003, 01:31 UTC
The United States Monday
condemned the use of force against opposition-led
demonstrations in Zimbabwe,
and urged that country's neighbors to join in
pressing the government of
President Robert Mugabe for reforms and respect
for human rights.
State Department condemned what it termed "heavy-handed intimidation
suppression" of the protests in Zimbabwe, and expressed concern about
temporary detention of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the
mistreatment of other jailed members of his party, the Movement
A spokeswoman here attributed the
demonstrations and work stoppages under
way in Zimbabwe to widespread
frustration over the Mugabe government's
"ruinous" economic policies and
human rights abuses, and called on
authorities in Harare to respect peaceful
protests and restore the rule of
She said it is important that
Zimbabwe's African neighbors also take a
strong stand in defending human
rights and reform there. She said without a
"more forthright" African role,
political change and economic recovery in
Zimbabwe will be difficult.
Chingoka refutes report that team vetted to avoid
LONDON: Zimbabwe cricket chairman Peter Chingoka on
Monday said it was a
slur to suggest that his team had been politically
vetted to make sure none
of his players did nothing to upset President Robert
Chingoka was responding to a report in the Observer newspaper
that the squad
had been "cleansed" so that players wouldn't follow the
examples of Andy
Flower and Henry Olonga at the World Cup.
stars wore black armbands to represent the "death of democracy"
Mugabe's regime, stating that opposition leaders were repeatedly
half the population - some 6.7 million - faced starvation.
and Olonga have retired from international cricket but fast
said he had to flee the country to get away from Mugabe's
Chingoka, chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, refuted the
and said the squad was based on ability and potential.
"It is both
insulting and inaccurate to suggest that this Zimbabwe squad has
politically vetted, as has been suggested throughout the tour by
groups and now by the Observer newspaper,'' he said.
"I denied this slur
when we arrived in the UK on the 1st of May and have
stated on many occasions
since that the squads selection is based on the
identification of young
talent and future cricketing potential.
"The ZCU would prefer not to
dignify these unpleasant claims with a public
response of this nature. "But
as the same misinformation continues to be
circulated it is important to set
the record straight, for the benefit of
the team and the many thousands of
fans who have followed this tour as
genuine cricket lovers,'' said Chingoka,
whose team lost the first test at
Lord's by an innings at 92 runs and starts
the second at Durham on Thursday.
"ZCU selectors were solely responsible
for the makeup of this squad. It was
chosen without political intervention.
Zimbabwe cricket is in a transitional
stage and the basis for selection was
the identification of talent and
potential for the future, as has been the
case with several other
international teams since the end of the World Cup.
"The only player not in
the squad who we believe would have merited inclusion
is Andy Flower, a
world class performer,'' Chingoka said.
players who have criticized the team should look at their own
over an extended period of time as the real reason they were
Tsvangirai closes in on Mugabe
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, detained ahead
anti-government protests yesterday, is a fiery trade unionist who poses
first serious threat to President Robert Mugabe's 23-year grip on
Tsvangirai, who is the head of the Movement for Democratic
considered by his supporters and some Western governments as
immediate hope to end a spiral of economic decline coupled
But analysts say the former union leader
is woolly on policy and lacks
the experience to rebuild what was once a
showcase African economy.
His judgment has also been questioned in
the wake of a videotape
controversy that led to his current trial on treason
charges for an alleged
plot to assassinate Mugabe.
recorded video purported to show him discussing Mugabe's
security consultants in Canada ahead of the 2002
presidential election. But
Tsvangirai says he was framed and his comments
taken out of
Tsvangirai was briefly detained yesterday as his
supporters launched a
series of mass protests dubbed the "final push" to oust
Mugabe from power.
Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of stealing the 2002
and says the veteran African leader is the main
impediment to the economy's
"Please (Mugabe) why don't
you go now? Because if you remain in power
this economy will never recover.
And if you wait too long to go, it will get
too dark to find your way out,"
Tsvangirai said in the run-up to the
working-class background could scarcely be more different
from his rival's
Seventy-nine-year-old Mugabe led the dominant
military force of the
Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) in the long war
against white rule.
He boasts a string of university degrees.
Tsvangirai, 51, is self-taught beyond a basic high school education.
of a bricklayer worked in a rural mine to support his family and cut
political teeth in the labour movement while working as a mine
In 1988, he became full-time secretary general of the
Congress of Trade Unions. Under his leadership, the federation broke
with Mugabe's Zanu-PF, a
1997, Tsvangirai led a series of strikes against tax
increases and twice
forced Mugabe to withdraw announced hikes. With labour
helped to found the MDC in 1999.
In February 2000, the movement
showed its strength by engineering
Mugabe's first poll defeat - the rejection
in a national referendum of
proposed constitutional changes that would
further have entrenched his
In June of that
year, despite killings and police intimidation, the
MDC stunned the ruling
party by winning 57 of the 120 seats at stake in a
Tsvangirai captivated the public with powerful speeches,
analysts say he is weak on policy and detail.
During a tour of European capitals after the MDC was born,
grasp of policy did not impress. Some doubts still remain,
analysts say, but
Tsvangirai has worked hard to build relations with
"He has grasped that Zimbabwe needs to
co-operate, he's talked about a
more transparent land programme, repairing
relations with foreign donors and
fighting corruption," said Ross Herbert of
the South African Institute of
general view is that anyone would be better than the present
Tsvangirai says he would set up a land commission to
land reform programme - seizure of white-owned farms for
landless blacks without compensation - and correct
"mistakes". But analysts
say whites should not expect a return to the status
quo if Tsvangirai was in
Mugabe has accused his rival of
being a pawn of white farmers and
Western governments, who oppose the
Tsvangirai says land redistribution has mostly benefited
cronies, and exacerbated food shortages threatening nearly half
country's 13 million people.
Tsvangirai has long defied
attempts by Mugabe's regime to sideline
picked up at his house yesterday morning.
The MDC has blamed the
government for the southern African country's
crippling economic problems.
Inflation is running at 269% and shortages of
food, fuel and bank notes are
causing intense hardships for Zimbabweans.
Tsvangirai took on
Mugabe at polls in March last year. He lost them,
but the MDC has challenged
their legitimacy, saying they were marred by
In February 2002, Tsvangirai was accused of "treason"
plotting to eliminate Mugabe.
The charges against
him were based on the testimony of a former
Israeli secret service agent,
said to be "friendly" to Mugabe.
Yesterday, the opposition leader
was escorted by police to his
on-going treason trial, where he and two other
MDC officials face the death
penalty if found guilty.
leader in 1988 was elected secretary general of what later
militant Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
His persistent defiance
of government policies has seen him previously
detained by the authorities,
first in 1989 when he warned of "rising state
repression" over a university
closure after campus clashes.
Three years later, he was arrested
for ignoring a ban on public
protests against economic reforms and new
legislation limiting union powers.
In 1997, Tsvangirai narrowly
escaped death when aggressors burst into
his office and tried to hurl him
from a 10th-floor window, according to his
He was also arrested several times ahead of last year's election, when
became the most serious threat to Mugabe in the latter's then 22 years
Tsvangirai's power to mobilise the masses became
apparent when, in
1997 and 1998, he spearheaded a drive to launch a series of
against the government. The job stoppages brought the entire
country to a
On a tide of popular support, he formed
the MDC at the end of 1999.
In less than a year, the MDC proved to
be the first serious challenge
to Mugabe's regime, but the government accused
it of being a tool of the
country's white minority and former colonial power
During general elections in June 2000, the MDC took almost
seats in parliament, in spite of a violent
campaign in which about 30 of its supporters were killed.
Tsvangirai played no part in the war of liberation from the white
1972 to 1979 - a point regularly played against him by Mugabe's
African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF).
nevertheless a staunch member and official of Zanu-PF in
A member of the Shona ethnic majority who neither
smokes nor drinks,
Tsvangirai is married and a father. - Sapa-AFP &
NATIONAL NEWS Tuesday 3 ,
115 arrested in police clampdown on
6/3/2003 5:54:16 AM (GMT +2)
AT least 115 people were arrested yesterday as
swooped on demonstrators and officials of the opposition
Democratic Change (MDC) in a move to crush anti-government
protests that are
expected to end on Friday.
Morgan Tsvangirai was briefly detained by the police
in the morning, while
party legislators Tendai Biti, Job Sikhala, Milton
Gwetu and Silas Mangono
were also arrested.
Also arrested yesterday were senior
opposition party officials
throughout the provinces, including the MDC
chairman for Bulawayo, Abraham
Mdlongwa, party national executive member
Joubert Mudzumure and Bulawayo
Executive Mayor Japhet
MDC officials said the whereabouts of
chairman Timothy Mubhawu and three other activists in
Victoria Falls were
unknown last night after they were picked up by the
Edwin Mushoriwa, the Member of Parliament for
reportedly in critical condition after being assaulted by
agents in Harare.
Several other protesters
are also said to have been injured.
Police details using
teargas prevented demonstrators from
marching into city centres in Harare,
Bulawayo and Mutare. Most of industry
and commerce remained closed yesterday
because of the mass action, aimed at
pressing the government to resolve the
country's economic and political
secretary-general Welshman Ncube said of yesterday's
protests: "The MDC would
like to congratulate all Zimbabweans for their
stand against tyranny. Today's
victory has been achieved against the
background of a fully unleashed State
machinery that included the shooting
with live ammunition at a crowd of
The situation remained tense in most
urban areas, where heavily
armed security agents kept
The police also mounted roadblocks at roads leading
centres, where they searched vehicles purportedly for
In Glen View and Highfield, security agents fired
ammunition into the air and released teargas to disperse people who
gathered for the march. Similar incidents were reported in
high-density suburbs, forcing many people back into their
Paul Madzore, the MP for Glen View, said about 15 000
from Harare suburbs such as Budiriro, Glen View, Glen Norah and
abandoned their march into the city when they encountered and were
by State security agents in Southerton, three kilometres from the
centre. Madzore said the protesters had planned to converge at
Africa Unity Square.
In Chitungwiza, residents
said the police had ordered them to be
indoors by 6pm, while heavy army
tankers patrolled Makoni shopping centre as
well Tichagarika shopping centre
in Glen View.
Pishayi Muchauraya, the MDC's Manicaland
said 78 people had been arrested in Mutare while 25
people who were part of
a group of protesters were arrested as they marched
through the city centre.
About 2 000 protesters were
dispersed by the police in Northend
suburb in Bulawayo, according to reports
from Zimbabwe's second city.
The protesters later regrouped
in the Bulawayo city centre but
were again dispersed and several of them
arrested. In Kadoma, Kwekwe and
Chitungwiza, several people were assaulted
Wayne Bvudzijena, the police spokesman, was not
Meanwhile, University of Zimbabwe
(UZ) students clashed with
riot police and heavily armed soldiers when they
attempted to march into the
city centre. About 5 000 students intending to
march to State House were
stopped by teargas-throwing riot police along
Churchill Avenue gate into the
Teargas was also
fired on students from a helicopter hovering
above the campus. The students
threw stones at the police in a bid to break
''We met as a students' body and agreed at a
general meeting to
march into town to press for the immediate resignation of
in solidarity with the MDC's call for final push,'' said UZ
Executive Council treasuer Tatenda Mungure.
MDC defiant in the face of massive government
6/3/2003 5:54:54 AM (GMT +2)
PLANNED mass demonstrations by the opposition Movement for Democratic
(MDC) to force President Robert Mugabe to relinquish power appeared
been blocked by the massive deployment of army troops and police by
The security forces were backed by heavy
armour as they patrolled
urban areas in a massive show of military muscle.
MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and several of his top officials were arrested
later released as the government intensified the crackdown on
party. The Daily News' managing editor ABEL MUTSAKANI spoke to
gauge the party's mood and its possible next course of action
in the face of
an uncompromising and iron-fisted reaction by the
QUESTION: Zimbabwe has virtually
come to a halt because of the mass
action called by the MDC, but the popular
demonstrations that you promised
are not there. Why?
ANSWER: I am
sure you will notice that the demonstrations are not
there because of the
State's reaction to those demonstrations. The State has
resorted to foul
means to prevent the demonstrations, foul means in terms of
the use of
heavily armed soldiers and police against unarmed and
I think we have seen in the past few hours
the heaviest ever
deployment of soldiers and police in residential areas. It
natural that given the violent nature of the repression people
Nevertheless, I must congratulate Zimbabweans for heeding the
call to mass
action by staying at home. That in itself must send a signal to
Q: But you have staged these mass stayaways
before and nothing much
appears to have been achieved. The question is: is
staying at home in
protest the kind of action that is going to force
President Robert Mugabe to
either resign or agree to talks as you are
A: I want to say that one would have wished there was a
environment for people to express themselves, but in the absence of
environment in which people can be able to hold demonstrations, then
are the likely consequences (the stayaways).
the MDC should have anticipated that the government would
react in this
manner. One would say you should have mobilised your
supporters to carry out
demonstrations even in the face of repression or are
people not yet ready for
direct confrontation with the government?
A: I think you are
underestimating the degree of anger amongst the
people. I believe that in all
our consultations, the outcry from the people
was that they did not want
stayaways. The feedback was very clear: that
people wanted demonstrations.
But clearly many people must have
underestimated the extent to which the
State was prepared to use repression
to suppress the masses.
Is it the people or rather their leaders such as yourself who
State's likely reaction to the protests?
A: You cannot blame the
leadership. Look, the leadership can only do
so much, but If the people are
afraid to take the risks to gain their
freedom, what do you expect the
leadership to do?
Q: If the State is saying it is not going to stop
at anything to crush
popular discontent, so what next? How are you going to
be able to force
Mugabe either to retire or to agree to
A: Let me tell you one thing, I think people are
over-simplistic. People are looking at just one action and they expect
produce change immediately. In other words, people are looking at
that are taking place as part of the whole struggle as events that
on their own, deliver change. But I want to caution people with such
simplistic view of the situation in this country that what we are engaged
is a long struggle.
It is going to be protracted. What is
happening now are just events
aimed at building the necessary confidence.
There are so many events that
are going to take place in building a
successful struggle. Any struggle or
process of democratic resistance is a
very protracted process and along the
way there are going to be
Q: If the demonstrations today (yesterday) are
part of a long process,
then how exactly is this process supposed to unfold?
What were the
demonstrations supposed to achieve?
demonstrations were supposed to develop in a manner that they
build confidence in the people. But more critically, we wanted to
people's readiness to take this kind of action, which is why we
said on the
first day people should come out and demonstrate and on the
people were expected to demonstrate in their own localities.
point is that you need to gauge the extent of the people's
sacrifice for their freedom. And we hope that by the end of
the week, we
would have given a sufficient knock-on effect on the regime to
come to the
Q: And if Mugabe and ZANU PF simply ignore your
action and refuse to
A: Then more action will be
organised by the MDC.
Q: But others would say by engaging in street
demonstrations you are
actually blocking dialogue?
A: No, we are
not. We have always been consistent that dialogue is the
only viable option
to resolve the crisis in this country, which is why this
action is meant to
put internal pressure on this regime to realise that the
crisis cannot be
postponed and that it needs to be resolved through dialogue
as a matter of
urgency. We need an immediate solution, but it can only be
between the two parties.
Q: You were arrested by the police this
morning and several other MDC
leaders and activists were also arrested. What
are the MDC's options if the
government engages in retribution against the
A: More repression is not going to deter us. They (the
have repressed us before and there have been worse reprisals
before, but it
is not going to deter the people from their march for
Q: And how about the economy? Surely this action by the
MDC can only
help inflict more damage on an economy that is already on its
A: Well, there is really no economy to talk about. What economy
one be talking about when the country's banks cannot even give you your
Has mass action come too late?
5:56:03 AM (GMT +2)
By Precious Shumba Staff
FOR Regina Rice, the mass action called by Zimbabwe's
opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has come
late and could be too little because, she says, the country and
livelihood have already collapsed.
Just like most
Zimbabweans, Rice - a 23-year-old vegetable vendor in
suburb - was yesterday left counting the costs of the mass
began throughout the country yesterday.
Rice says the country's
sinking economy might have been saved had the
MDC, formed three years ago,
launched its protests then because, she says,
this could have forced the
government to act.
As she anxiously waited for customers at her
meagre stall yesterday,
she made no secret of the fact that the protests had
hit her business too.
By mid-day, she counted her paltry earnings
for the day - a mere $1
000 compared to $20 000 which she normally makes in
the teeming suburb.
"This is a collapse of my livelihood," she said
"I usually order vegetables worth about $14 000, which
earn me $20 000
on a good day, but all this is gone because the country is
"I am not against the mass action, but l think the MDC
done it long back. Maybe this would have resolved some of our
Rice said she desperately needed money to
feed and educate her
six-year-old son Owen, but all she could see now were
tough times ahead for
her and her child.
Zimbabwe, where absolute poverty affects 80 percent
of the population and
unemployment runs at an unprecedented 70-plus percent,
many must also have
been wondering aloud whether anything good would come
out of the week-long
Rice, like many of the poorest of the poor, are
soldiering daily just
to have one meal a day. A few others have not been so
lucky and have
succumbed to hunger, a result of severe food shortages caused
by a drought
and the government's seizure of productive farms.
Those Zimbabweans who count themselves better off - their numbers
dwindling by the day because of hyper-inflation - have to brave long
in search of fuel, their own money which is no longer available from
and many other necessities which have disappeared into the secretive
expensive black market.
As the protests rolled out
yesterday, there was no sign that the
shortages would ease any time
There were also signs that those who defend the status quo
about to give up. One Daily News newspaper vendor said militants of
ruling ZANU PF party rampaging through the capital Harare early
impounded her newspapers and tore them before telling her to go
"selling a paper that incites public disorder".
said although she backed the mass action, she still needed to look
two school-going children.
As the protests unfolded - most people
stayed at home for fear of
being attacked by the militants and security
forces who threatened dire
action against anyone caught demonstrating in the
streets - schoolchildren
were caught up in the disturbances. Some schools
A pupil at Prince Edward School
said he felt demoralised by the fact
that he would miss vital classes after
the school broke off earlier than
"I am not
sure if I will come to school tomorrow," he said, preferring
not to be named.
"We saw police running after people and we are afraid it
might be dangerous
for us if we come to school."
Business ground to a halt as the
protests kicked off. Factories in
Harare, Bulawayo and most major towns were
shut as business heeded the
Harare's normally teeming
business and industrial area was deserted,
resembling a quiet Sunday
afternoon when most people usually stay away from
the city's hustle and
bustle. Some workers who had ventured to walk to work
because of the lack of
transport could be seen heading back home after
finding factories and
For Rice and her two children, the week ahead
could be a long one, not
particularly helped by the cold wintry days and
nights now bearing down on
State applies for tightening of Tsvangirai's bail
6/3/2003 5:56:57 AM (GMT +2)
THE High Court is today expected to hear an application
State, which is seeking to tighten bail conditions for opposition
for Democratic Change (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai, who is on
Tsvangirai is jointly charged with MDC
Ncube and secretary for agriculture Renson Gasela
with plotting to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe in the run-up to last
The three have denied the
The presiding judge, Justice Paddington Garwe, yesterday
treason trial to today after the defence team, led by Advocate
of South Africa, asked for time to prepare a response to the
The treason trial has been running since
Deputy Attorney General Bharat Patel, who is leading the
said he would file the bail alteration application
"We are applying to alter the conditions of bail. They (the
have asked for time to prepare, so it will be heard tomorrow
said Bharat. He, however, would not indicate what changes he
would seek to
make to the existing conditions.
already surrendered his passport as part of his bail
But Bizos said the State wanted the MDC leader to stop making
inflammatory statements that were likely to "cause public disorder or
The application comes in the wake of
statements by Tsvangirai and
several senior MDC officials urging members of
the public to take to the
streets in protest against Mugabe's rule. The
anti-government protests are
supposed to last a week.
of protesters yesterday engaged in running battles with
around the country as they responded to calls to demonstrate
government. In Harare, demonstrators attempted to march
into the city centre
from several suburbs but were blocked by members of the
Tsvangirai, Ncube and Gasela are being accused of
Canadian consultancy firm, Dickens & Madson, to assist them
Mugabe and overthrow his government ahead of last year's
Details of the alleged plot were revealed
last year by Ari
Ben-Menashe, the head of Dickens & Madison.
The defence team insists that the trio was framed and have dismissed
as an international fraudster.
Meanwhile, the police yesterday
charged Tsvangirai with contempt of
court after the opposition leader defied
a High Court order compelling him
to call off demonstrations which began
The provisional order, granted by Justice Ben Hlatshwayo
night, instructed Tsvangirai and the MDC to cancel their
The MDC, however, ignored the order yesterday,
arguing that it was
defective and illegal.
Tsvangirai's lawyer, said the police had charged
Tsvangirai although Ncube,
who had also been ordered to report to the
police, was not
Chagonda said MDC lawyers were now challenging the
Hlatshwayo's order in the courts.
"They have charged
him (Tsvangirai) with contempt, but they said they
will phone me when they
are ready to take him to court," he told The Daily
News. "However, they later
indicated that they no longer needed Ncube to
report to the police. We are
now challenging the validity of the court
order, but you can only get more
details on that from Mordecai Mahlangu
because he is handling the
Mahlangu could not be reached for comment yesterday.
ZANU PF supporters destroy newspapers
6/3/2003 5:57:53 AM (GMT +2)
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) lost more than $375 000 in
yesterday when ruling ZANU PF supporters seized and destroyed copies
flagship newspaper, The Daily News, around the country.
circulation manager John Marira said initial reports indicated
that more than
2 500 copies were torn and burnt in Harare. He said he
expected to receive
more reports of similar incidents.
Vendors for the newspaper said
ruling party youths confiscated and
burnt copies of The Daily News they had
for sale to members of the public in
the morning, as Zimbabweans readied
themselves for anti-government protests
called by the Movement for Democratic
The mass action, which involves street marches, is
aimed at pressing
President Robert Mugabe to resolve Zimbabwe's political and
or step down.
Martin Neshamba, a 35-year-old
vendor, said about 70 ZANU PF youths
descended on him in downtown Harare as
he prepared to put copies of The
Daily News on the newsstand.
lost all the 300 copies that had been allocated to me," he said.
Another vendor, Timothy Timothy, said soldiers confiscated 50 copies
yesterday's issue at the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and
He said the three soldiers barred him
from selling The Daily News.
"They asked me what newspaper I was
selling and I said The Daily News.
One of them said 'no, you cannot sell it
here, this paper is actually
fanning the protests'," Timothy said.
In Kwekwe, the ruling party youths are reported to have destroyed 121
of the newspaper.
Vendors of The Daily News in Harare said soldiers
and police officers
patrolling the streets of the capital city just watched
as the ZANU PF
youths tore and burnt copies of yesterday's issue of the
The vendors said members of the uniformed forces who
incidents accused the newspaper of aiding the MDC-organised
and encouraging members of the public to participate in the
The anti-government protests, which began yesterday
fighting running battles with the uniformed forces, are
supposed to last a
They have been dubbed as the "final
push" against Mugabe, whom the MDC
accuses of fraudulently winning
re-election in last year's presidential
Mugabe has denied
The people's loud and clear
6/3/2003 9:37:08 AM (GMT +2)
surprisingly, the besieged government yesterday kept its promise
to get tough
with mass protests called by the opposition Movement for
(MDC) by deploying thousands of army troops and police
across the nation in a
huge show of force.
It then rounded up leading figures of the MDC
in a dawn "decapitation"
swoop against would-be ringleaders of the
But the stunning shutdown of the entire nation, with the
Harare eerily deserted and resembling a ghost town, dramatically
graphically underlined who now calls the shots in the power stakes
The overwhelming response of Zimbabweans to stay
put at home after
dire threats from the government that it would crush the
that, while the administration had possibly won this phase of
the battle, it
had significantly lost the war.
shutdown dramatised in no uncertain terms - even to the
praise-singers who have to work overtime for their lunch - that
will no longer be cowed and that people power is now on
This sort of people's response anywhere else in
the world would have
automatically led to an immediate resignation of the
government, which would
have been aware of an embarrassing loss of popular
But in Zimbabwe, the government still believes that it can
over an increasingly disenchanted population by the force of
The question that many in the land are asking is simple: how
the guns keep the uneasy peace?
The answer is equally
simple: not for much longer, judging by the
lessons of history.
But perhaps peace-loving - many would say docile - Zimbabweans needed
through this painful phase of history to make them learn that freedom
precious it must never again be subjected to the whims of
That life without true freedom is but an
empty shell and that the cost
of regaining your freedom could be very high
As the booming sounds of military planes repeatedly broke
uneasy calm yesterday, it would not have been lost on many
lived through the terror years of the white minority
government that the
country had come full circle in many ways.
The same strong-arm tactics used against black nationalist guerrillas
1970s were now being employed once more and the country itself was
under international sanctions for rebelling against all civilised
The siege mood of then Rhodesia had come back once more,
only that in
Zimbabwe many more of the black majority no longer had any means
survival, in addition to their daily tribulations of searching
hard-to-find fuel and foreign currency, jobs and medicines, among
essentials which have gone underground into the black market - the
only working market.
That any government in the brave
and digital 21st century could
attempt to run a country through a black
market is really instructive of how
things have fallen apart.
Despite all this and the dark clouds which menacingly hang over
there is no denying the fact that the country is at the
frenetically searching for a formula that could restore the land
people to their former glory and prosperity.
Wherever one goes in
the land these days - from the gloomy slums of
Harare's Mbare to Bulawayo's
Makokoba, and from Sakubva township in Mutare
to Chinotimba township in
Victoria Falls - the sweet and unmistakable smell
of true freedom is
All signals point to one certainty: freedom is coming
Dictators are weapons of mass
6/3/2003 9:38:01 AM (GMT
By Tanonoka J Whande
curriculum vitae can now be commendably written even
by a grade seven pupil.
This party worked harder than any other to bring us
conditions. My compatriots, it's only fair that you stand up
and applaud our
dear leader Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF for unselfishly
bringing to us
vice, blackmail and corruption.
Who, except the gallant ZANU
PF, could have had the courage to
bring to us chaos, tribalism, lies, false
arrests, greed, factionalism,
police brutality, intimidation and violence?
And which other
non-governmental organisation can afford to employ and parade
an array of
stooges, professional liars and paranoid propagandists such as
Moyo, Ibbo Mandaza, Tafataona Mahoso and others we have right in and
the President's Office?
ZANU PF is a
non-governmental organisation yet it has outdone
the whole government when it
comes to service delivery. No organisation has
reached or touched the people
in the manner or depth that this party has.
Yet it survives on public funds
not on popular donations. Because there is
deliberately no distinction
between the party and the government - the two
are practically one and the
same - the party uses government property and
has access to public
No wonder people such as the ones we just mentioned
other in throwing a couple of bucketsful of lies to the yokels
to bed every day. Are they the party faithful? It appears quite
a number of
people have faith in ZANU PF in spite of its record. Is it for
the money or
is it faith? Among other explanations, my dictionary explains
faith as a
firm belief in something for which there is no proof. l take great
to this because l have always believed that faith is solid and
proven beliefs. l have always viewed faith as something that is
itself. But in the end, l had to admit that to ignore evidence is
one of the
characteristics of faith. l had been reluctant to accept this
because l was
looking at faith from a religious point of view. l did not want
to weaken my
faith nor did l want my faith to be a fantasy of
l do not know about other religions, but in
faith is nurtured by a proven belief: Jesus lived, died and
still lives. But
when l transferred the word faith to the ardent votaries of
ZANU PF, l
discovered why multitudes of academics, professionals and even
have faith, obviously blind, in ZANU PF.
men and women worship and have faith in this violent
party and its aged,
incapable lame-duck leader simply because they are all
able and willing to
ignore prohibitory, accusing and damning evidence
against ZANU PF. That is
the only way they can maintain their faith in it.
If followers did not ignore
evidence, there wouldn't be any party faithful
in ZANU PF; for no one really
needs to belong to this vigilante group. Our
President sees and knows the
evidence against himself and his party but
Because dictatorships can only thrive in a society in
people ignore evidence or are forced to. This provides a false
calm while the masses are simmering underneath. Surprisingly,
believe the false atmosphere they created and will not tolerate
attempts to wake the people up. Dictators are hazardous to our
it is everyone's duty to remove a dictator wherever the
dictator may be.
Zimbabwe made a lot of noise about the
invasion of Iraq. hey
tried to label it a political and a legal issue, but
Bruce Wharton, a United
States Embassy spokesman, rightly pointed out it was
neither but that it was
a security issue.
Whether the war
in Iraq uncovered the weapons of mass
destruction or not is irrelevant to my
argument, but l have yet to come
across a tyrant who does not have mass
graves of his people in his country.
As far as l am concerned, the heart of
the matter is that every tyrant is a
weapon of mass destruction so the
removal of dictators is every citizen's
imperative. Whether we call it a
regime change or anything else, it still
demands that dictators, like aching
teeth, be removed. They no longer have a
place in today's
Russia, France, Britain, and the US all have nuclear
hydrogen weapons and bombs. They all have weapons of mass destruction but
long as these weapons are there somewhere under lock and key, they do
destroy anyone. But when you get a tyrant who is prepared to kill his
people like Saddam Hussein did and other tyrants have done, then these
are themselves weapons of mass destruction.
have long memories. Iraqis disappeared or were hanged for
making or laughing
at jokes about Saddam. Here we have someone who
legislated that pointing at
his car is a criminal offence. We are the
wronged ones but we continue to be
lied to, to be arrested for nothing,
beaten up, raped or maimed. But we have
to forget all this as well as our
are expected to forget and just forgive because Thabo Mbeki
Obasanjo came to tea and said so. It's not going to work that
to the mind go far deeper than whip cuts and starvation. Our
Are Zimbabweans willing to pardon people who committed
continue to commit these atrocities? We, the people, hold the answer,
Obasanjo or Mbeki. We do not ignore evidence; we have faith in ourselves
we are real.
Zimbabwe, get ready to
Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Zvishavane-based
Business, government head for showdown
6/3/2003 9:35:30 AM (GMT +2)
By MacDonald Dzirutwe Business
BUSINESSES in major cities countrywide ground to a halt
workers heeded calls for mass protests called by the opposition
Democratic Change (MDC), a development which analysts said would
the total collapse of Zimbabwe's already tottering
The analysts spoke as major businesses, especially in the
Harare and in the second city Bulawayo, failed to open for
yesterday in response to the call for protests by the MDC and other
organisations which want to force President Robert Mugabe to step down
allow fresh elections.
But the latest work stoppage is much
likely to infuriate Mugabe's
government, more so after threats by hawkish
Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo that the State would withdraw
licences of companies which
fail to open for business this week.
Although it was difficult to start counting the losses from the mass
economic commentators said if the business shutdowns lasted a week,
would spell doom for an economy battling to claw back from four
years of recession.
The analysts said billions of dollars in
production were at stake if
business did not move speedily to open their
operations, a situation which
was unlikely though.
with operations in Harare's industrial areas of Msasa,
Southerton, Graniteside and the city centre were closed the
yesterday while 90 percent of the industry in Bulawayo did
Bulawayo economist Erich Bloch said the few exports
which the country
had been making were threatened by production stoppages,
already critical shortages of foreign currency.
"The mass action is going to have serious repercussions on the country
economy which is already languishing in the doldrums," Bloch told
"A halt to industrial production means a
reduction in exports and that
will result in the reduction of the much needed
foreign currency inflows."
Zimbabwe's economy, already more than
halfway deep in the quicksand,
has taken a battering from work stoppages
following successful stayaways
called by the MDC in March and the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Union in April
As of yesterday,
Zimbabwe's industry and commerce appeared to have
ignored Chombo's threat to
withdraw their operating licences if they did not
Consultant economist John Robertson said apart from the
company closures, the latest action would widen the rift between
and the government over policies that need to be pursued to rescue
The government has long accused industry of
working with the
opposition to topple it from power, a charge industry
"We are seeing a situation where companies have gone on to
even after the threats by the government," Robertson
"The rift between business and the government will continue
and I don't think this is good for the negotiating
Security Minister Nicholas Goche last week appeared on
television to shore up confidence to restive Zimbabweans by
the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe had committed to open
banks during the
week-long mass action.
But a snap survey of
central Harare showed that with the exception of
Barclays Bank Zimbabwe
Limited, which briefly opened its two branches in
First Street, and the
Metropolitan Bank, all banks remained shut yesterday.
Bulawayo indicated that more than 90 percent of Bulawayo'
s industries closed
down except for banks and other financial institutions
which were forced to
operate by State security agents.
Bank workers were said to have
operated under heavy surveillance by
the Criminal Investigations Department
operatives who were reportedly
deployed by the government on Friday to make
sure they reported for duty.
The bank closures left many people
unable to access money which they
have failed to get in the past two weeks as
a result of a crunch shortage of
Bank executives who
spoke to this newspaper this week said most
financial institutions had taken
a business decision not to open shop.
"This has got nothing to do
with politics. It is purely a business
decision and workers should think
about their personal safety first," a
banking executive told The Business
Daily on condition of anonymity.
Bloch said efforts to improve the
country's battered image as a safe
destination for foreign investors and
tourists had suffered another blow as
a result of the mass action, which saw
sporadic incidences of violence
have since February 2000 fled from the country in
protest against its rapid
descent into anarchy, while tourist arrivals have
plummeted because tourists
from key source markets view Zimbabwe as an
"The already ailing economy will also be dealt a blow since tourists
stay away fearing for their lives," Bloch said.
The analysts said
with Zimbabwe's economy in an advanced state of
decline, the week-long
shutdown by companies would only worsen the plight of
Industry has been blighted by deepening foreign currency and fuel
which have forced some companies to retrench staff to
Zimbabwe's economic crisis is dramatised by
now at a record high of 269,2 percent, swelling
unemployment of more than 70
percent and mass poverty of more than 80 percent
of the population of 13
A government is judged by how it treats
6/3/2003 9:38:53 AM (GMT +2)
Mahatma Gandhi, that famous Indian non-violence prophet,
years ago that a nation may be judged by how it treats its
animals. He could
have gone further. A government can be judged by how it
treats its people.
And this would define the government's character, its
ideals and, most
importantly, why that government thinks it deserves to be in
The Zimbabwean government has taken a lot of punches over
the past few
years from diverse sources and with it, in turn, wondering what
is all about, seeing that it is doing a splendid job. But judging
it has treated the very people it claims to be working strenuously
their existence, even the animal haters would fare better seeing
many are ready to shed tears for a canine that has been poisoned
repeatedly tipping the neighbour's trash can.
In the past
few years, Zimbabwe has been turned into a police state,
this has been the ruling party's elixir as it saw the
country sliding toward
being a protest state.
All things being fair, and by the manner
with which events here have
taken a radical twist, each day in this country
would be one that is laden
with protests and demonstrations against this
regime for crimes ranging from
the deliberate starving of political opponents
to physically abusing elected
Members of Parliament belonging to the
And this itself would be graphically made manifest by
protests that the opposition has called for. Interestingly, this
is not the
first time that such a call has been made, but whether it will be
the same scale as the 1998 food riots, for example, is another
failure would not, however, represent the failure of the
garner the support of the general populace to oust this regime,
the people's own awareness of what
taking to the streets would mean.
Not many are willing to be martyrs to this
Perhaps as a classical example of how politicians always
fail to deal
with pressing issues, preferring instead to be reactive by
things to go wrong, this government has failed to find a panacea
has engendered the muted militancy that has taken a few daredevils
throttle into the streets, but has instead sought to deal with the
Cause and effect, ZANU PF chooses to deal with effect, literally
cart before the horse!
In efforts to understand the
philosophy that drives the ruling party's
thinking, it would offer invaluable
insight to take a look at how it has
dealt with other tragedies that have
occurred in the country since
From the bus
disasters to the very recent train accident and to the
economy itself, be
sure that the ruling party knew who was responsible. Each
strikes, is it not curious that the government always finds
ready fall guys
and not itself to blame? Can such a government expect to be
respected by its
One thing the ruling party has never got to really
understand is that
respect is very much like wages - you earn it. And there
is a lot of work
one has to put into it. There must then be something
inherently wrong with
somebody who always attributes his failings to
everybody else but himself.
From the age-old traditions of
Africans, disrespect does not merely
manifest itself in people cursing you,
but in fact by also being lied to. A
liar hardly respects anybody, and that
includes himself. You live a lie for
so long, put on a mask for decades and
you end up forgetting how you look
like. That has been the story of ZANU
Is it not an affront to things African that the ruling party
to be respected when it has failed to accord the people here the
respect it demands?
If Socrates lived today, I would have
asked him: can one be a bad
leader of his people but be a good father to his
children? Are leaders
beyond reproach? What would convince a leader that his
people have changed
their minds and no longer want him in that important
position? What does it
mean to a people under a democracy when incarceration
looms high for anybody
who jeers at the President?
That a head
of state ought to be respected is beyond debate, but when
disapproval of his policies is criminalised, can you then go
on claiming to
belong to the free world considering that in the free world,
all citizens can
have a go at the presidency? What happened to free
If a president is elevated to a state where he is considered a
some god, then what that practically means is that though he
incontinent, imbecilic, dodders, he would still preside over
the lives of
millions until those who came before him call him to their
Criminalising his lampooning in the first place would mean that the
is forever popular, which is utter nonsense for even the world's
presidents had one time to exit office after that
And though they were popular, they surely
would not have rode that
wave till eternity. That perhaps is why kosher
democracies limit the
But this being Africa,
the land of men whose greatness has nothing to
do with the benevolence of
Santa Claus, one would expect still such wicked
men to have their faces all
over the place.
Any attempt by the ordinary man to forget the
source of his suffering
becomes a futile attempt seeing that the man you are
trying not to remember
would still stare at you in every office you enter and
the money you carry
for your daily bread!
What would scare a lot
of people here would probably be the very
thought that the government does
not respect you, goes on to beat the living
daylights out of you in some
so-called re-education exercise so that you may
get an idea of where your
loyalties should lie.
That is a government for the people for you,
never mind the glaring
In a country where
unemployment seems to be racing real hard to catch
up with the rate of
inflation, it would be extremely difficult in normal
circumstances for a head
of state to stand up, hold his head up high and
claim he is the best thing
that ever happened to the country.
The complacency with which the
ruling party has dealt with the people'
s swelling emotions is nothing but
foolhardy, for nobody anywhere would play
with people's emotions like that,
not even in matters of the heart. What
then about matters of the
Marko Phiri is a freelance writer