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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

MDC News Up-Date
We have just received a report that the MDC members who were arrested in Masvingo yesterday, who include the member of parliament for Masvingo Central, Silas Mangono, are being denied food while being detained. Further details on this issue can be obtained from their lawyer, a Mr. Matutu who can be reached on 263 11 767 380. You can also contact the Mayor of Masvingo, Engineer Chaimiti on 263 91 258 837
In Gweru, 35 people were arrested. More details on these arrests can be obtained from the lawyer representing those in detention, Reginald Chidawanyika, who can be reached on 263 11 211 371
In Kwekwe, 15 people were arrested yesterday. These include Willard Somerai, a member of the youth national executive, and Absalom Machiso, an MDC youth organiser.
Still in Kwekwe, today Police Chief Superintendent Masuka, the officer commanding Kwekwe, has been leading the police and Zanu PF youths in evicting and harrassing MDC supporters. Shadrick Tobaiwa, Edmore Marongwe and Anna Charuka have been evicted from their homes for supporting the MDC. Masuka has declared that all MDC supporters will be removed from Kwekwe. Some shops have been forced to open, and ZANU PF militia is running about beating up people suspected to be MDC
MDC Information and Publicity Department
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Stay at home - do not venture into town - the Zanu Thugs are about
ZANU PF planned to disrupt the peaceful demonstrations by having their hired ( at state expanse ) thugs wear MDC "T" shirts.
This ploy was exposed when the MDC were informed of the printing by ZANU of the T shirts - see advertisements and press statements.

Because mugabe has no answers to the problems that he has inflicted on Zimbabwe he resorts to violence to retain power for his illegitimate regime.

As the ploy for the militia and hired thugs to wear MDC regalia to cause violence and discredit MDC was exposed they are now resorting to have gangs of hired thugs roam the streets of Harare in groups of vehicles ( which the Police have obviously been told NOT to harass ) and inflict "Street Justice" on anyone they deem to be pro-democracy.

This man was a member of such a group and tried to set my vehicle alight by splashing diesel over the vehicle and setting it alight. He also tried to stab my wife with a military type bayonet.

He was a member of a gang of about 15 to 20 that had obviously been given police clearance - because the police did nothing - to inflict their street violence on people who were involved in peaceful demonstrations - their constitutional right.

He turned his wrath on me because  was filming him and his gang inflicting their violence on an innocent person in Meikles Hotel at mid-day yesterday.

I have a filmed record of the event identifying this man and his gang and the inaction of the Police. ( copied and in a safe place for the day of reckoning - SOON )
from R W  { Topper }  Whitehead
"let it never be asked of any of us - what did we do when we knew another was oppressed"
Nelson Mandela
"all that is necessary for EVIL to prevail is for GOOD people to do NOTHING"
Edmund Burk
"Cowardice asks, is it safe? Expediency asks, is it politic? Vanity asks,
is it popular? But conscience asks, IS IT RIGHT? There comes a time when
one must take the position that it is neither safe, nor politic, nor
popular------BUT one must do it because conscience says it is RIGHT!" 
The time is ALWAYS right to do what is Right
Martin Luther King
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Star

Jackboot force seen in Zimbabwe protests

      June 03 2003 at 03:35AM

By Basildon Peta and Reuters

Harare - Beatings and arrests may not have dampened the opposition's resolve
to drive out President Robert Mugabe - but it does not bode well for a
negotiated settlement of the Zimbabwean crisis.

Mugabe's government used unprecedented force on Monday to quell street
protests aimed at forcing him to resign.

But the opposition still claimed victory after the entire country came to a

      'We are humbled by the strength and resilience of our people'
Zimbabweans overwhelmingly rejected appeals by the government to report for
work on the first day of week-long protests, dubbed "the final push for

On Sunday, government helicopters dropped leaflets around the major cities
and towns calling on Zimbabweans to ignore the protests called by the
Movement for Democratic Change.

But along the streets of many cities and towns, the leaflets lay untouched.
Businesses in most urban centres were shut as very few workers reported for

"We are humbled by the strength and resilience of our people in the face of
this naked brutality," said MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested on Monday and charged with
contempt of court for defying a High Court interdict obtained by the
government to call off the protests. He was later released. He also appeared
in court on Monday for his treason trial arising from an alleged plot to
kill Mugabe.

      'If this can't convince Mugabe that he is no longer wanted, then what
Six MDC parliamentarians, the executive mayor of Bulawayo and more than 50
other opposition supporters were arrested.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said 154 people were arrested across
the country.

Police stopped 6 000 University of Zimbabwe students from marching into
Harare. They then stormed the campus, forced some students to lie on the
grass and pavements, and beat them with rubber whips. They also fired
teargas into residential dormitories, engulfing much of the campus in black

In the city centre, a Reuters photographer saw police forcing about 50
people, some of them women, to lie on the street while they beat them with
batons and homemade whips.

Police also stormed beerhalls and marketplaces in the townships and beat
people for failing to go to work, witnesses said.

One march was broken up in Bulawayo by riot police who beat three opposition
supporters, injuring them, before dragging them into a police truck, said
democratic rights activist Jenni Williams.

Many Harare citizens said that while they had been thwarted from taking to
the streets by the excessive use of force, they were still happy that the
entire country had shut down.

"If this can't convince Mugabe that he is no longer wanted, then what will?"
asked one engineer.

Witnesses said heavily armed riot police beat protesters and fired teargas
and warning shots to stop marches in Harare and its surrounding townships.

The Avenues Clinic confirmed it had admitted one man who was shot and badly
wounded in a leg in the Highfield township. The MDC said the police had
directly shot at several protesters, injuring many.

"Their strategy is to ensure that the street protests don't take off at
all," said one witness.

"They are achieving that by firing teargas at any small group of people
trying to assemble and then firing shots at them."

In Harare, "green bombers" - militant youth brigades of Mugabe's ruling
party - ran amok and assaulted any white people they came across.

A white activist, Topper Whitehead, said he survived death by a whisker
after he repelled "green bombers" armed with knives and sped off in his

Riot police and soldiers continued patrolling most towns and cities on
Monday night.

The protests mark the MDC's latest attempt to tighten the screws on Mugabe,
whom they accuse of driving Zimbabwe's economy to collapse with record
inflation and unemployment, and shortages of food, fuel and foreign

But the police successfully applied for an interdict to stop the protests,
arguing that the actions were "meant to topple a constitutionally elected

Tsvangirai, who in March last year lost a presidential election widely
dismissed as fraudulent, urged his supporters to defy the court order and go
on strike.

Government ministers have vowed to crush the protests.

"Our soil is very sacrosanct. We shall not allow it to be recolonised,"
Defence Minister Sidney Sekeramayi told the state broadcaster. He accused
the British and American governments of financing the protests.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe faces G8 criticism
Zimbabwean riot police clear the streets of Harare
Riot police have been deployed throughout Zimbabwe this week

The leaders of the world's top industrialised countries are expected to condemn the situation in Zimbabwe at the end of their summit on Tuesday.

British officials at the G8 summit in France say a statement will berate the government of President Robert Mugabe for the latest crackdown on the opposition.

On Monday police fired tear gas and shots to disperse demonstrators across Zimbabwe, on the first day of a week of protests organised by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The mass action is designed to drive Mr Mugabe from power.

The authorities have declared the protests illegal and warned that anyone taking part in them will "face the full wrath of the law".


British officials at the G8 summit in the French town of Evian say the statement on Zimbabwe is important because it will maintain pressure on Mr Mugabe.

There will be a call for other southern African countries to increase their efforts to make the Zimbabwean president ease his grip on the country.
Injured man at a hospital in Harare
Eight million need food aid
Shortages of petrol, bread, sugar
Inflation over 200%
Opposition complains of persecution
They reject last year's elections

In London, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw appealed to the Harare government to allow people to demonstrate.

"Many Zimbabweans have chosen this week to express their legitimate concerns about the crisis facing their country," Mr Straw said in a statement issued on Monday.

At least one person was shot during Monday's disturbances. The French news agency AFP said police rounded up protesters and beat them with batons.

Earlier on Monday, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was charged with contempt of court after being arrested at his home.

Mr Tsvangirai was picked up at his house and held at a police station in Harare for several hours before being charged and released.

The MDC says its activists, including several MPs, have been arrested in Masvingo and Victoria Falls, as well as Harare and Bulawayo.

Other opposition leaders are reported to have gone into hiding.


The High Court in Zimbabwe banned the protests after police filed an application saying they would undermine law and order and challenge the country's constitutional democracy.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai

In a statement issued on Monday, the MDC said economic life in Zimbabwe had been brought to a "total standstill" and called on people to continue with the strikes and protests throughout the week.

It said Mr Mugabe's government was responsible for "hunger, inflation of 300%, chronic shortages of fuel, chronic shortage of energy, an unemployment rate of well over 70%".

President Mugabe, in power since the country gained independence from Britain in 1980, blames the crisis on opponents of his seizures of land from the white minority for redistribution among landless blacks.

Zimbabwe is under sanctions from the European Union, the United States and the Commonwealth over alleged vote-rigging by the ruling party in last year's presidential elections.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Business Day

Fear grips Harare


HARARE - Zimbabwean riot police forcibly cleared the streets of the capital
Harare on Monday, the first day of an opposition-led strike to  protest at
the policies of the government of President Robert Mugabe, as ruling party
militias ran amok and fear gripped the city.
Police fired teargas in one of Harare's main streets and forced dozens of
people to lie flat on the pavement, kicking them and beating them with
batons and whips, an AFP reporter witnessed.

On the steps of a five-star hotel in the city centre, militant members of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union -Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF) brutally assaulted an unnamed person.

They then attacked cars belonging to whites, including one belonging to an
AFP reporter, and another belonging to Topper Whitehead, an official from
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to film the assault.

Whitehead later told AFP that two militants had jumped onto the back of his
car and tried to stab him through the rear window with a bayonet. He managed
to shake off the pair.

The Zimbabwe government had earlier promised peace and security for
citizens, and reported it was safe for people to travel into Harare city
centre on the day the opposition had called for protests against Mugabe's

Early on Monday the streets were calm, but tensions were high in  the
capital by early afternoon, as scores of heavily armed riot police packed
the city centre and armoured cars patrolled the central business district.

Bands of youth militia, products of the government-run national youth
service, patrolled the streets dressed in military fatigues.

Pedestrians hurried out of the city centre.

"We're actually warning people not to go out of the hotel," a worker at the
hotel where the attack took place, told AFP.

There were also reports of unrest in some of the capital's high density

At least one person was shot in the leg, allegedly by police, in  Highfield,
the low income suburb where Mugabe hails from, when police tried to break up
a group of people preparing to march into the centre of the capital.

The MDC had called for a week of democracy marches and strikes in protest
against the government, which they blame for Zimbabwe's deepening economic
and social hardships.

On Monday MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and charged with defying
a court order obtained by the government to bar the mass action. The
opposition leader had vowed to lead the protests.

The stayaway shut down most shops and businesses in the capital on Monday,
and factories were also closed.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe: A tattered economy
By Jeremy Scott-Joynt
BBC News Online business reporter

Zimbabweans run from riot police and tear gas
Riot police broke up Monday's demonstrations
Zimbabwe's economy came to a near-standstill on Monday as businesses shut down in sympathy with opposition calls to demonstrate against the government of President Robert Mugabe.

Not, some observers might say, that it makes much difference.

After four years of land seizures and dubious economics, a country which was once southern Africa's breadbasket is widely seen as a basket case by almost everyone except the Mugabe government itself, with its gross domestic product down 27% on the late 1990s.

A net exporter throughout most of its 23 years of independence, seven million of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are now believed to be at serious risk of famine.

Empty fields

The government's position is that this is the fault of the drought conditions which have gripped the region.

Certainly the drought has hit the whole of southern Africa hard.

But an alternative explanation can be found in agricultural production figures.

Almost all white-owned land - admittedly about two-thirds of all the country's good arable land - has now been seized, ostensibly for redistribution to black farmers.

Black farm workers' houses burnt out by so-called 'war veterans'
Black farm workers suffered from the land seizures too
But now the black farmers say they have been left without chemicals or equipment despite promises, leading to a collapse in production.

Cash crops too are failing, with the tobacco harvest down to an expected 120 million kg this year from more than 200 million in 2001.

And hundreds of thousands of hectares are being given to Libya and China in exchange for the fuel imports which keep the economy barely afloat.

Others go to government and military figures, who critics say are spending the gains from Zimbabwe's involvement in looting the Democratic Republic of Congo on property in Harare.

But then so is everyone else, since with inflation at 269% - and set to reach 500%, the pessimists say, by the end of the year - property is just about the only sure store of value.


The fuel situation is another symptom of crisis. Fuel prices have gone up 600% since February to 450 Zimbabwean dollars for petrol and Z$200 for diesel.

Zimbabweans queue outside a bank ahead of the strike
Banknotes, like food and fuel, are in short supply
Mile-long queues are the result, and a further burden on hard-pressed businesses already under pressure by the combination of rampant inflation, an unrealistic exchange rate and government price controls which have worsened shortages instead of easing them.

The Zimbabwe dollar is officially set at an exchange rate of Z$55 to the US dollar - a rate at which a tube of toothpaste can cost more than US$20. That's if you can get any, of course: foreign currency is in short supply, and has been for years.

Exporters, though, can get Z$800 to the US dollar, after the government changed the rules to try to stop them from going under.

The reason? The unofficial rate - the parallel market price, as it is known - is between Z$1,500 and Z$2,000, and that is the price exporters have to pay for their inputs.

Banking on change

Few people can think about that, because even the one in three people who actually have a job have little to buy with their huge stacks of banknotes; the shelves of shops are often bare even of essentials.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is now printing banknotes on a three-shift basis, and according to the state media, its governor, Leonard Tsumba, has just stepped down.

According to the government, this is all the fault of the British and of black Zimbabweans in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who are acting as their "slaves".

Monday's strikes are all part of the same effort at subversion, according to Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.

But the MDC, and the thousands of people backing its call for the national strike, seem to think otherwise.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sunday Times (SA)

Harare at a standstill

Tuesday June 03, 2003 10:33 - (SA)

HARARE - Most of the capital of Zimbabwe was calm on Tuesday with virtually
all businesses shut at the start of the second day of anti-government
protests called by the opposition.

Banks, shops and food courts remained closed as a few workers trickled into
the city centre. Gates at many industrial plants were locked.

In low-income suburbs long queues of people waited for transport to their
work places. Only a few, mainly state-run buses were operating.

The government of President Robert Mugabe has warned business owners who
fail to open Tuesday that they risk losing their operating licences.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which called for five
days of work stoppage and peaceful street protests to force Mugabe to the
negotiating table, expressed satisfaction at the way the first day of the
mass action had progressed, despite the security forces arresting several of
its leaders and supporters.

The MDC said it "would like to congratulate all Zimbabweans for their
victory over tyranny and dictatorship... through their unity and courage
which has seen business come to a total standstill throughout the country".

"This is a clear and unambiguous message to the Mugabe regime that the
people of Zimbabwe have had enough suffering at the hands of the
illegitimate regime," said MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, Ncube, six lawmakers and more than 120 MDC
supporters were arrested on Monday for defying a High Court order banning
the mass action.

Scores of people, including university students were barred from marching in
the streets and assaulted by security forces.

The state-run Herald newspaper reported that at least one person was stoned
to death by what it described as "rogue opposition youths" in the capital's
oldest township of Mbare.

Meanwhile, the High Court in Harare is expected to give its verdict on
Tuesday on the government's application to tighten bail conditions for the
MDC leader and two other high-ranking officials of the opposition party, all
on trial for treason.

The government wants Tsvangirai, Ncube and shadow agriculture minister
Renson Gasela to be barred form making inflammatory statements or inciting
violence for the remainder of their treason trial.

Tsvangirai and the two other MDC officials are accused of plotting to
assassinate Mugabe ahead of last year's presidential elections. They have
denied the charge, which carries a maximum death penalty.
Back to the Top
Back to Index