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

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Breaking News - Midnight 4th June 2003

News just received that 40 MDC youth members were arrested at their base on
the outskirts of Bulawayo. Suspected to been amongst those arrested are
George Moyo, the organising secretary and the owner of the house. The group
were pounced on by police and army in two army trucks and it is unclear
whether they have been taken.

For more information, please call Hot lines 091 408 026 /  091 274 664 / 091
294 951 / 023 514 895

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Zvakwana Newsletter #30 - Police scuttle around the sinking ship

June 04, 2003


The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open asking hand held out and waiting.
Choose - for we meet by one or the other.
~ Carl Sandburg

Breaking news . . .

Round 2!
Friday June 6 for big march. See press and refer to local MDC structures for details.

One of our subscribers, called Mike, said he was looking forward to the next Zvakwana newsletter in the hope for positive news and a clearer plan of action for the next two days of the week of action.

The answer lies with YOU. People are worried that the stayaway is losing momentum. It is not the stayaway that is losing momentum, it is YOU who is losing momentum. The stayaway works as a collaboration between ordinary Zimbabwean consumers and business/store owners. If both these parties engage then the stayaway is a complete success. It has been noted that business owners are slowly re-opening their doors, sometimes (not always) because they have been intimidated by the zanu police force. The stayaway will remain in force so long as YOU do not go out and drink coffee, eat in cafes, buy groceries in established supermarkets and stores. Shops without customers are a stark reminder that people power can be triumphant.

The pressure must continue
Remember that in high density areas running battles continue to occur between pro-democracy activists and the repressive state authorities. Brave Zimbabweans have, throughout this week, taken on the might of the illegitimate regime. Just this morning, a group of Zvakwana activists mobilised in Tafara in a localised action to stretch the regime's resources.

We have just heard that the MDC hopes to encourage more people to come out on to the street in our collective fight for freedom on Friday, June 6th.

If you have decided that you are unable to put yourself forward for active participation in marches or demonstrations, then by all means commit to an extended engagement in the stayaway.

It is the very least you can do.

Democracy is when you're not closed for being open.
Vlada Bulatovitch

Principles, people, diversity and stayaways - send us your views

Many Zimbabweans have emailed us to complain about certain businesses remaining open during the ongoing stayaway. These messages have outnumbered the few that have asked whether it is fair to impose our beliefs on others. If we do, then are we no better than the zanu pf thugs, is the question that is asked? Of course it is quite apparent that naming and shaming as well as marking premises with a C (for collaborator) is very much different from the brutal horror that zanu pf is responsible for. How many times do we get slapped in the face before we say: zvakwana! Let us know your views on creatively dealing with both violent zanu pf policies and, those Zimbabweans who continue to sit on the wire. Write to


Some shop owners under the gun
It is important for us to reflect and appreciate the variety of different views and situations that exist in our communities. Zvakwana acknowledges that there has been much pressure put on shop and business owners by the zanu police force to open their doors during this week of action. At Fife Avenue Shopping Centre Lucullus is being pressured by the police to serve customers. Close by the Lucullus entrance Zvakwana activists witnessed a group of approximately 8 riot police lurking under the trees. At Super Athientis workers within the store commented that the police were roaming around the shopping centre maintaining a threatening presence. Meanwhile in Avondale Santana jeeps circled the car park and one was parked in front of the Wimpy (see picture) ensuring compliance with mugabe's orders. The Italian Bakery was pretending to be closed. They had pulled their blinds down and had their chairs stacked on the veranda but inside there were people sipping coffee.

Where are YOU in all of this?
We must acknowledge that it is no laughing matter to be a shop owner or a business operator faced with intimidating zanu police. Whenever we see a particular sector of our community facing extreme difficulty we must come to their aid. In this case what it means is that "we", all the individuals out there must have enough solidarity and resolve not to go out buying goods during the stayaway period. Zvakwana realises that this is easier for some to do more than others. Some of us do not have a fridge to keep things cold for example. All the time it is clearly evident that it is easier for the authorities to target a few people and intimidate them very successfully. Avondale Shopping Centre is a good example. However if the majority do not go out and make use of open stores then there will be no opportunity for specific victimisation.

If you are drinking coffee in the Italian Bakery, buying tomatoes in Lucullus, eating in the News Café - then please reconsider the impact of your actions. Zvakwana urges all Zimbabweans to desist from supporting businesses that remain open during this week of action.

State concedes no law prohibits stayaways

The illegitimate government of Zimbabwe today admitted that there was no law that forbids any citizen from organising or participating in a stay away. This admission was made by the Attorney-General's office in the treason trial in which the state is seeking an order from High Court Judge Paddington Garwe to alter the bail conditions of Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Welshman Ncube to include a condition which bars them from saying anything which the state considers could lead to public disorder.

Overheard in a TM Supermarket in Borrowdale, Friday 30th May

Young male till operator (when asked if he was going to be at work during the Week of Action):
"I won't be here, it is time to support my fellow countrymen".

Borrowdale "madam" in designer tracksuit waiting to pay for her groceries:
"Oh, I can't believe it's another stayaway! Where will I go to shop".


zanu republic police run amok at the Avenues Clinic
Close to lunchtime today (4th June) Zvakwana activists witnessed riot police intimidating and slapping Zimbabweans in the car park of the Avenues Clinic. There was heavy police presence not only in the hospital premises but also in the streets surrounding the hospital. Inside were many assaulted activists from all different walks of life. Injustice does not discriminate.


zanu pf's reaction an indication of their panic
These violent actions, of zanu pf organized gangs of soldiers, policemen and vigilante groups are retributive actions by a government that uses brutal force in response to any expression of constitutional guaranteed rights by Zimbabweans. Contrary to government propaganda, the success of the mass action in the last two days, has created panic among government circles. They intimidated people, send armoured tanks into township, intimidated shop owners and business people forcing them to open, issued threats and ultimatums to commuter omnibus operators and presented "business as usual" propaganda on radio and TV, but could not break the spirit of the people on the first two days. While the volume of people in the city increased today compared to yesterday, most shops were closed and those who opened were already closed by the beginning of the afternoon. Clearly, the regime has lost the battle of minds and souls of the people.


Change demands action and sacrifice
The tree of freedom and democracy is watered by blood, tears and sweat. Change demands the need to stand up as individuals and organisations to shout loud and clear that it is enough. We have lost everything and it is high time we went on the battlefield to recover and reclaim all that we have lost. The struggle is a long, arduous odyssey. Within political parties and civic organisations, we need leaders and their people to come out and say it is enough in action. It is the "grumbling in our bedrooms" type of protests that cannot change anything in this country and that gives the lie that everything is alright. It is the same scenario among the oppressed that made Dr Martin Luther King Jnr make this world-famous speech: "It is not the violence of a few that scares me, but the silence of the majority." What an apt description of the situation here.
Clifford Mazodze is a poet and political activist - Daily News

And on the same subject . . .
Please can you air my views. I was in Unity Square on Monday looking for the march. I was not pleased that I did not have all the correct information to lead me to the right place but I thought that Unity Square might be the right position. There were just a few people there. Now, what I am not happy about is the absence of our civic leaders - those people who are always organising public meetings on this thing and that thing, the media and the like. Where was the constitutional reform lobby? Or the Crisis in Zimbabwe lobby - do they think that they just speak of the crisis in workshops or over there in London? Then what of our religious organisations - especially our church leaders who should more than ever before leading their congregations in unity over violence and lawlessness. There is too much talking by so-called civil society.
Zvakwana subscriber

Mount Pleasant - a target for violence
A key player in the incidents at Mount Pleasant shopping centre was Chikando Marango who works at the Mount Pleasant Municipality. He is a zanu(pf) official in the area and was present on Monday identifying to the zanu(pf) thugs those who were MDC members or who did not attend zanu(pf) functions. He appeared to be in charge of the thugs and was present when my worker was assaulted by these men. He was hit with burning logs and booted feet and had his cap stolen. Marango is well known in the area for being a corrupt official allocating pieces of land to family and cronies. The thugs at Mount Pleasant shopping centre got totally out of hand and started robbing people of their clothes, money and even bicycles and then started looting from the Shell garage. The riot police were called in and had to fire tear gas to bring them under control and they were then taken away in buses.
From a Zvakwana subscriber

A time to auction or a time to activate?
Perhaps you could write to TWA (Tim Wotton Auctioneers) asking if it is totally necessary to have house and car sales this week, selling amongst other things, 'painted ostrich eggs' and 'good ceramics' when over 500 people have been arrested and many more others shot and wounded . . . including a pregnant woman. Email Tim Wotton:
From a Zvakwana subscriber


Pictured above is another marked Collaborator - the Creamy Inn: fast food outlets are seldom supportive of stayaways.

Private Boarding School raided by war vets in Norton
Lilfordia School, a private primary boarding school situated in a farming area just outside of Harare, was raided by war veterans at 1.30pm today. This gang of approximately twenty state sponsored thugs is led by a woman, comrade yondo, the local leader of the war vets and zanu pf representative. She claims that since the school was closed they are MDC supporters. She has declared the school a government school now. The school's ground staff and labour force are currently being held by the war vets who have forced them into the parking lot to chant zanu pf slogans.

Resources for non-violent intervention
There are literally hundreds of different forms of non-violent resistance and struggle, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Gene Sharp, one of the leading scholars on non-violent direct action has developed a list of 198 forms of non-violent action, which he divided into three categories: non-violent protest and persuasion (the mildest), non-cooperation, and non-violent intervention (the strongest). Non-violent protest and persuasion includes symbolic actions such as marches or parades, picketing, teach-ins, or vigils--any action which voices peaceful opposition to a policy or a law. The intent is to persuade others to change their attitude toward that policy and to join the non-violent struggle to overturn or correct the policy or law.
Read more on this matter

African Americans Letter to Robert Mugabe Condemns Political Repression
Progressive leaders among leading African American organisations, trade unions, church and advocacy groups today (June 4th) released an open letter to Zimbabwean President, robert mugabe, to oppose the political repression underway in that Zimbabwe. Read the letter

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            Zimbabwe's hospitals flooded with injured people
            June 05, 2003, 07:30

            Hospitals in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, are reported to be
flooded with injured people who allege that security personnel attacked

            This comes as a week-long strike called by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) enters its fourth day. Earlier,
President Robert Mugabe said he regretted that the police and army had
crushed the demonstrations but added that it was a necessary move.

            Tudor Makunike, a doctor at one of the hospitals in Harare,
described the state of affairs as being volatile as there are many
complications in dealing with the scores of injured people.

            Meanwhile, the MDC has lashed out at Mugabe over what it says is
the heavy-handed manner in which his security forces are trying to stop the
countrywide protests.

            Tendai Bithi, of the MDC, says scores of businesses will remain
closed despite attempts by police and the army to force owners to open their
doors. Bithi was released last night after spending three days in police
detention. He says the protests might continue next week.

            Mugabe has said that he will not submit to opposition demands to
step down. He said the MDC's push to topple him was doomed to failure.
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Zimbabwe police arrest 300 in attempt to break strike in Zimbabwe
First death from protests reported

HARARE, Zimbabwe, June 4 - Authorities attempted to break a three-day
nationwide general strike by arresting 300 people, including opposition
lawmakers, and a rights group said police raided a hospital emergency room
Wednesday and took away people they had beaten earlier.
       The opposition Movement for Democratic Change reported the first
death in the protests that are trying to force President Robert Mugabe to
step down as leader of the country he has led since it gained independence
23 years ago from Britain.
       Security forces have reacted swiftly to crush street demonstrations,
using rubber clubs, rifle butts, water cannon, tear gas and warning shots
with live ammunition to disperse crowds.
       An opposition statement said Tichaona Kaguru died Wednesday at the
main government hospital in Harare from injuries inflicted by soldiers and
police after he was taken from an opposition official's home Monday.
       Kaguru was beaten and then dumped on the outskirts of Harare, where
he was found and taken to the hospital, according to opposition officials.
The police had no comment, and hospital officials would not discuss the case
with the media.
       The opposition blames Mugabe for sinking the country into political
and economic ruin. There are shortages of food, medicine, fuel, and
currency, and annual inflation is at 269 percent. Widespread starvation has
been avoided only with international aid.
       Many stores, businesses and factories across the country remained
closed Wednesday, despite government threats against businesses supporting
the opposition-led strike. But security forces again prevented massive
street protests against Mugabe.
       The independent Human Rights Forum, a grouping of independent rights
and civic groups, said police and intelligence agents raided the emergency
room at a private Harare hospital and took away several people being treated
for injuries from beatings by police and troops.
       Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he had no further information
on police actions since he reported that 300 people were arrested during the
first two days of protests. Those arrested included opposition lawmakers who
tried to lead street protests, the opposition said.
       Some shops reopened in Harare, the capital, while about 60 percent of
Bulawayo, the second city, was closed. That was an improvement from a 90
percent shutdown the day before.
       ''More people have trickled in to work today but I still think the
message has got through to Mugabe. Who is running the country and who has
the support of the country if it can be brought to a standstill so
emphatically?'' said Roy Tafira, who runs a large real estate firm here.
       As part of a government crackdown on opposition-aligned businesses,
teams from the country's security agencies are investigating firms for
allegedly locking out workers in support of the anti-government strike,
state television reported.
       It said the government would withdraw trading licenses and the work
permits of foreign managers and employees of companies that stopped work.
       Labor Minister Ignatius Chombo warned before the strike began that
businesses found to have supported it would be seized and handed over to
''patriotic Zimbabweans.''
       Harare economist John Robertson said the strike was unlikely to have
a severe effect on what he said was already a ''dysfunctional'' economy.
Unemployment is running at 70 percent.
       Agriculture, the biggest sector of the economy, has ground to a
virtual standstill since Mugabe's controversial land reform program was
completed last year.
       The majority of white-owned commercial farmland was seized,
ostensibly for redistribution to landless blacks. Many of the prime farms,
however, have gone to Mugabe confidantes. Most of the farms given over to
blacks have been divided into tiny subplots.
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Financial Times

      Businesses reopen in Zimbabwe as strike falters
      By Tony Hawkins in Harare
      Published: June 5 2003 5:00 | Last Updated: June 5 2003 5:00

      The national strike called by Zimbabwe's opposition groups appeared to
weaken yesterday as more shops, banks and schools re-opened after two days
during which the country's main cities were paralysed.

      One business organisation estimated that 30-40 per cent of companies
had yesterday opened for at least part of the day, though many closed early
to enable their employees to find transport home. There was a noticeable
increase in the level of traffic on roads in Harare, the capital, including
public transport.
      However, one businessman warned against concluding that the strike was
collapsing, saying his employees had said protest action would be "stepped
up" ahead of the weekend.

      The mass stayaway had been called by the Movement for Democratic
Change as part of a week-long "final push", starting on Monday, to force
President Robert Mugabe, 79, to step down.

      Last night the MDC accused the security forces of using "brutal force"
to crush its peaceful protests. It said more than 150 people had been
admitted to Harare's main private hospital overnight on Tuesday, with
injuries received when they were beaten up by the police and youth militias.
Riot and plainclothes police yesterday searched the clinic.

      On Monday and Tuesday even the government admitted the strike was
80-90 per cent effective in Harare and Bulawayo, the country's second
largest city. However, it blamed fuel shortages which prevented workers from
getting to work, and "lock-outs" by employers who are routinely accused of
supporting the MDC.

      "The role of employers has been very dubious and very devious," said
Nathan Shamuyarira, senior spokesman for the ruling Zanu-PF party, while
Samuel Mumbengegwi, industry minister, said foreigners were "given work
permits to work, not to close".

      Opposition spokesmen have accused the government of forcing employers
to open their offices by threatening to withdraw business licences. But both
Jimmy Sanders, president of the Zimbabwe National Chambers of Commerce, and
Anthony Mandiwanza, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries,
said they had not heard of any businesses being forced to open.

      The Harare high court meanwhile reserved judgment until today on a
government attempt to tighten bail conditions on Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC
leader who is on trial for treason. This would prevent him from making
"inflammatory statements" or inciting people to take part in "illegal

      The MDC also yesterday reported the second fatality of the mass action
campaign. It said Tichaona Kaguru, a party activist, had died in hospital
from injuries he sustained on Monday night when he and an MDC councillor
were "assaulted and tortured". State media had earlier reported that an
activist of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party had been stabbed and stoned to death
by 50 MDC supporters.

      The government has hit back over Tuesday's final statement by the
Group of Eight summit in Evian, which expressed concern about "reports of
further violence by the authorities in Zimbabwe against their own people".

      Stan Mudenge, foreign minister, summoned foreign diplomats yesterday
to tell them: "If allowed to succeed, it [mass action] will lead to anarchy
and chaos in the country. No government worth its name can ever tolerate
such a situation."

      But the MDC countered that the success of its mass action campaign had
"created panic" in the government.
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Male rape in Zimbabwe

By Geoff Hill

Men as young as 15 are being raped at youth-training centres across Zimbabwe
in what the opposition claims is a concerted effort by the government of
President Robert Mugabe to crush dissent.

Out of 52 male torture victims I interviewed, 38 claim to have been raped or
forced to engage in gay sex with other victims. One man, who refused to take
part in an orgy, had his eardrums punctured with a screwdriver.

The men accuse the police, army, militia and Mugabe's dreaded Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) of widespread sexual assaults, which they
say are part of a nationwide terrorisation of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

British gay campaigner, Peter Tatchell, who tried to arrest Mugabe in Paris
in February on charges of human rights abuses, says the Zimbabwe government
is guilty of "outrageous hypocrisy and homophobia".

"Although the Mugabe regime is viciously anti-gay," Tatchell said, "many
members of the police, army, CIO and youth militia are homosexual sadists.
They are raping men as a way of terrorising political opponents and
satisfying their own violent, perverted sexual fantasies.

"What is happening in Zimbabwe echoes the use of male rape as a weapon of
war by the Serb forces in Bosnia. The aim is to ritually humiliate and
demoralise opponents of the regime. It shows how low Mugabe's thugs are now
prepared to stoop."

In January this year, Patrick Ndhlovu (20), who worked as a political
assistant to an MDC MP, was questioned by the CIO at a camp in the south of
the country. His head was forced into a bucket of water during the

"They kept asking me to recite the local MDC membership list which has
thousands of people on it. But, as soon as I tried to say some names, they
would drown me again.

"Finally, they threw me into a corner and said they were going to dinner,
but that if I was hungry I should drink more water."

Late that night, one CIO officer returned with two men from the youth
militia who are loyal to President Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party.

"They removed all my clothing, then one of the militia put on a condom and
raped me. It was very painful and I screamed and this seemed to excite him

"I was crying and there was a lot of blood. Then the second militia man did
the same thing and I saw to my side that the CIO man had removed his
trousers to his ankles and was masturbating but he never raped me.

"While the second youth was raping me he told the CIO man that he could feel
a lot of blood.

"The man replied: 'Just enjoy now this night. If he is injured, the MDC will
send him for treatment in England.'

"When it was over, they put me in handcuffs and chains and left me without
my clothes.

"I stayed in the room for four days and I could not go to the toilet because
I was in so much pain. Finally some other militia came and undid my chains
and told me to put on my clothes and leave."

Patrick fled across the border to South Africa and now shares a room in
Johannesburg with four other victims.

Gay sex is illegal in Zimbabwe and President Mugabe is notoriously
homophobic. He has denounced lesbians and gay men as "worse than pigs and
dogs", declaring they have no rights and should leave the country.

From January 2000 to February 2003, 260 opponents of the Mugabe regime were
murdered and 3,409 tortured, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO

The MDC secretary for International Affairs, Mrs Sekai Holland, is aware
that male rape is becoming a common method of abuse.

"This is not casual sex," she said from her home in Harare. "It is a
concerted campaign to terrorise our members. Even one of our MPs was raped
by 10 men and we are trying to counsel him to go public about the attack."

Mrs Holland said that the rapes were having a debilitating effect. "It
breaks the person's resolve and takes them out of circulation for a long

More than two million black Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa and a
local support group believes that as many as 2,000 are crossing the border
every day.

A doctor in Johannesburg, who asked not to be named in case publicity
deterred future victims from seeking his help, is providing free medical
treatment to 14 of the exiles.

"In their culture, rape is worse than death and all my patients are being
treated for depression and mental trauma," he said. "They show injuries
consistent with violent sodomy and, in one case, the penetration was done
with a police truncheon. In my 35 years as a doctor, I have never seen such

In the case of Colin (19), a former bank teller, who was detained near the
capital city of Harare, the militia urinated into his mouth after which he
was forced to perform oral sex on four of their leaders.

Another victim, who would give his name only as Peter, was arrested by
police and youth militia near the southern city of Bulawayo when he failed
to produce a membership card for the ruling ZANU-PF party.

"There were about 10 of us who had been picked up for the same reason, one
boy as young as 15," he recalled. "At the youth training camp, we were all
stripped and forced to masturbate in front of the militia leaders and then
made to have sex with each other.

Then myself and three of the other men were raped by the militia. Finally,
some men arrived wearing police uniforms and they beat us with whips before
we were released. They told us that anyone who was not a member of the
ruling party did not count as a human being in Zimbabwe."

According to Peter Tatchell, "Rape by state agents is a crime against
humanity under international law. The International Criminal Court should
indict the perpetrators. They cannot be allowed to commit these crimes with

Geoff Hill is a journalist based in Johannesburg. His book, The Battle For
Zimbabwe (New Holland Publishers), will be released in August.
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Police beat patients in Harare

Andrew Meldrum
Thursday June 5, 2003
The Guardian

Zimbabwean police raided a private Harare hospital yesterday, the third day
of a week-long national strike, beating and arresting several patients,
according to doctors.
Ten police accompanied by youths from the ruling Zanu-PF party stormed into
the Avenues Clinic, Harare's largest private hospital, and assaulted many of
the 150 people seeking treatment for their injuries sustained in
anti-government protests. Police herded several patients into a van.

Many of the patients were being treated for gunshot wounds and other
injuries received at peaceful public protests against President Robert
Mugabe's regime.

The police surrounded the hospital and ordered away injured people coming in
for treatment, said health workers.

Government hospitals have refused to treat anyone suspected of being hurt in
the demonstrations.

The strike called by Zimbabwe's main opposition kept most banks, businesses
and factories shut for a third day despite official threats to punish
companies that failed to open.

Police maintained tight security in the capital while state radio reported
that the government was auditing which businesses were closed and would
begin procedures to remove their licences.

Although the strike has succeeded in closing down virtually all businesses,
the heavy security prevented massive street protests.
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Government hits back at Zimbabwe strikers, protesters

Thursday, Jun 05, 2003,Page 6
Most stores and offices in the Zimbabwean capital remained closed yesterday,
despite government threats against businesses supporting a strike led by the

The general strike, now in its third day, has succeeded in shutting down
much of Zimbabwe's already crippled economy, but security forces prevented
efforts to organize massive street protests against President Robert Mugabe.

The opposition said it hoped the strike and weeklong protest would be a
"final push" to force the unpopular and increasingly repressive Mugabe to
step down after 23 years in office.

As part of a government crackdown on opposition-aligned businesses, state
television reported that teams from the country's security agencies have
begun investigating firms for allegedly locking out workers in support of
the anti-government strike.

The government will withdraw trading licenses and the work permits of
foreign managers and employees of companies that stopped work during strikes
and protests it has declared illegal, the television reported.

Foreigners "were given work permits to work, not to close," Commerce
Minister Samuel Mbengegwi said.

Meanwhile, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told state television that at
least 300 opposition officials, activists and supporters have been arrested
since the protest action began Monday.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was among those arrested but was later

Security forces reacted swiftly to crush the street demonstrations, using
rubber clubs, rifle butts, water cannon, tear gas and warning shots with
live ammunition to disperse crowds.

Rather than risk confrontation with government troops and police, many
Zimbabweans stayed home. The general strike halted commerce in major cities,
putting more pressure on a national economy near collapse.

The opposition blames Mugabe for sinking the country into political and
economic ruin. There are shortages of food, medicine, fuel, and currency.
Annual inflation is at 269 percent. Widespread starvation has been avoided
only with international aid.

Economic hardship has added to the growing dissent in a country where
ordinary people struggle to survive while the ruling elite enjoy lavish
lifestyles and frequent travel abroad.

Agriculture, the biggest sector of the economy, has ground to a virtual
standstill since Mugabe's controversial land reforms were completed last
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This item was posted on a message board and I have no idea who wrote it.  B


Genocide is a scary word. It is something that the mind shies away from,
something that people are afraid to contemplate even in the abstract,
because it is so horrific that we will not believe it. And it is perhaps for
this reason that the genocide of Jews in WWII was carried out for so long
before it was fully comprehended, and why the Interahamwe managed to kill
800 000 Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 before the international community reacted.
The truth is that at least the latter could have been prevented, and that
all the indicators were there for the international community to see what
was happening. But they did not react, partly because they just could not
believe that it was happening, or could happen.

When reports of killings and mass human rights violations reach the
international community, the first response is always cautious. The first
demand is for verification, whilst the second is usually conservative
under-reaction. The machinery for dealing with mass human rights violations
is inherently conservative, and this inevitably produces a significant time
lag in responding to such situations. There seems to be a reluctance to
accept that people can really be slaughtering one another without
provocation and that civilians are being subjected to a steady and
relentless elimination process.

But the sad truth is that people are indeed capable of mass slaughter, and
hence it is all the more necessary to be ready to respond quickly where the
indicators are present in order to prevent excessive deaths. And Zimbabwe,
recently assessed as one of the most oppressive states in the world, seems
primed for just such a situation. This may seem a ridiculous claim when
there have been comparatively few deaths so far from the conflict of the
past three years, but, as will be seen below, it is less the deaths to date
than the insidious pattern of organised violence and torture that leads to
the concern about a potential genocide.


The crime of genocide is defined in international law in the Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. The Genocide Convention was
adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948. The
Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. More than 130 nations have
ratified the Genocide Convention and over 70 nations have made provisions
for the punishment of genocide in domestic criminal law. The text of Article
II of the Genocide Convention was included as a crime in Article 6 of the
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Zimbabwe is a
signatory to this Convention.

There are two salient articles in the Convention:

Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following
acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
racial or religious group, as such:

Killing members of the group;
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Article III: The following acts shall be punishable:

Conspiracy to commit genocide;
Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
Attempt to commit genocide;
Complicity in genocide.

The following are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to
destroy a group's existence:

Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing

Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members
of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or
coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.

Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group
includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group's
physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical

Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation
of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation
or expulsion into deserts.

Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion,
prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended
to prevent procreation.

Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by through
fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other
methods of
coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as
persons under the age of 14 years.

As can be seen, acts of genocide need not kill or cause the death of members
of a group: torture, political rape, displacement, deprivation, and various
other actions, short of killing, also are included in the definition.
Furthermore, it is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even before killing
starts, and to aid or abet genocide. The criminal acts described in the
Convention include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to
commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.

Stages in genocide

Genocide clearly is not a spontaneous occurrence, and the killing of masses
of people, or the harming of large numbers, must take place over time and
involve planning. There are usually a series of stages in the development of
a genocide or politicide, and there is compelling evidence that many of
these stages have already taken place in contemporary Zimbabwe.

The following is taken from the 8 stages in genocide identified by Genocide
Watch, and then applied to the Zimbabwe situation. As will be seen later,
Genocide Watch themselves argue that stage 6 has been reached in Zimbabwe.

1. Classification

Classification is a normal human process, and all societies make
classifications about their composition. This is generally not problematic,
but can become very dangerous when a society is racially or ethnically
divided, and is very serious when these divisions have resulted in racial or
ethnic clashes and conflict in the past.

Zimbabwe has two major ethnic divisions - Shona and Ndebele - and a number
of racial divisions. These divisions have played a major part in the
violence of previous decades, and, in the past three years, there has been
increasing recourse by the Mugabe regime to attribute the problems in
Zimbabwe to racial and ethnic problems. It is important here to note that
the violence in the 1980s would easily conform to the definition of
genocide, and of course the fundamental basis for the Liberation War of the
1970s was the racist policies of the illegal Smith regime. Currently, there
has been a continuous emphasis by the Mugabe regime on the role that whites
and their followers - who tend to be all who do not support Zanu PF - are
playing in destabilising the country.

2. Symbolization

Essentially, here we are talking about stereotyping of people and groups of
people, and the processes aimed at dividing up societies that are always
composed of diverse groups into "in" and "out" groups. In Zimbabwe, this has
occurred in the past with the Ndebele being vilified in the 1980s[1], and
today has revolved around the framing of the Zimbabwe crisis as due to the
recalcitrant white commercial farmers, and the support of the whites and
their international allies for the MDC. There are endless statements along
these lines[2].

The key organising issue has been the so-called land problem and its use in
dealing with the matter of maintaining political power in the hands of Zanu
PF. The land issue, despite the government having failed to produce any
significant land reform in nearly 20 years of power, is used by the Mugabe
regime to symbolically aim the problems of the nation at the whites, their
international allies, and those whom the whites support. The acceptance of
white support by any Zimbabwean group or political party becomes the basis
for including them as enemies, with the blunt references to the Liberation
War of the 1970s. There is a very simple metonymic process: problems of
whatever kind are due to white, colonial powers, oppressors, enemies, white
sympathisers, etc. The contrasting pole of this construct is inordinately
simple: Zanu PF are the liberators, good, etc, and you can know Zanu PF from
the others simply by which colour they are or which party card they carry.
This stereotyping is extraordinarily effective because it links the past to
the present in a very straightforward manner, and uses race as the
organising device.

3. Dehumanization

This can take many forms and does not need to conform to the crude approach
of the Nazis to the Jews. It is essentially building upon the stereotyping
process by attributing the problems in the society to the "out" group,
focusing hate and dislike against this group, and encouraging actions
against this group.

In Zimbabwe, there has been and continues to be a basic undercurrent of
racial and ethnic hate. This has escalated in the past three years, and, as
indicated above, takes the form mostly of stereotyping whites as exploiting
and racist, with all black "out" groups portrayed as willing dupes of the
whites. The rhetoric revolves around a plot to return the nation to colonial
domination, with frequent references to slavery and the like. In common with
the Nazi rhetoric, the "out" groups are seen to be involved in a plot to
overthrow the nation or maintain economic and political power over the "in"

Here the power of the press and media in escalating polarisation and
dehumanisation is crucial. The Mugabe regime has enormous control of the
press and the media, and especially the radio which is the primary source of
information for most rural Zimbabweans. The outpourings of invective, hate
speech, and blunt misinformation are very significant in developing the
attitudes of Zimbabweans, and here the vilification of the MDC is crucial.

An additionally relevant fact for the development of dehumanisation has been
the partisan attitude of the Zimbabwe Republic Police. Since the beginning
of the farm invasions there has been a deplorable tendency for the police to
refuse to take action in many situations of violence and degradation on the
grounds that the matter was "political". This has had the effect of removing
protection from many groups in Zimbabwe, and encouraging an attitude that
the violence was deserved or condoned. Here the partisan statements of the
Commissioner of Police, Augustine Chihuri, are especially sinister[3].

4. Organization

As Genocide Watch points out, genocide is always organized, usually by the
state. Special army units or militias are often trained and armed, and plans
are made for genocidal killings. These plans may not aim primarily at
killing, and, as was seen from the definitions above, genocide can include
campaigns of systematic torture, displacement of groups, and deprivation of
food and resources. There is good evidence for all of these latter forms of
genocide being perpetrated in Zimbabwe, a fact which does not appear to have
been properly understood by much of the international community, and is
particularly misunderstood, possibly deliberately, by most African
governments. This is amply demonstrated by the outrageous reports of African
states on the various elections that have taken place over the past three

In the past three years, there has been a proliferation of militia groups in
Zimbabwe. The first onslaught, after the Constitutional Referendum in
February 2000, was spearheaded by so-called "war veterans", but very
evidently assisted by military and CIO personnel[4]. This was facilitated by
the apparent passivity of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in the face of
blatant criminal acts being perpetrated on commercial farmers, commercial
farm workers, and finally on ordinary citizens. The violence, which was
extreme and revolved mainly around torture[5], was never formally repudiated
by the political leaders of Zimbabwe.

The next phase in the use of the militia has revolved around "youth militia"
, the so-called "green bombers". The initial intakes, as was openly admitted
by the regime, were composed of the young men who had been associated with
the "war veteran" militia. This was clearly a reward for loyalty, but, from
the perspective of preventing genocide, unfortunately involved further
training of young men who had already been involved in violence and human
rights violations.

As the reports of all human rights observer groups show, an alarmingly high
proportion of the human rights violations documented have been perpetrated
by the youth militia, whilst the pattern of torture seen clearly supports
the notion that torture techniques are being taught[6]. The youth militia,
when deployed, followed a very clear pattern in the development of tolerance
to the presence of youth militia. They re-established the bases seen in the
Parliamentary Elections, went on a strong recruiting drive - mostly using
compulsion - of the local youth, and then employed an in-service training
programme with these youths. Much of this training again resulted in the
local youths becoming involved in violence and torture.

The last phase to date has seen the increasing involvement of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police in torture and harassment of "out" groups. This has followed
massive staff changes in the police ranks, with all new appointments being
based on a "loyalty" basis. Subsequently, the reports of observers show a
marked increase in the number of cases in which the police, and especially
the ordinary uniformed branch, have perpetrated torture. This was
dramatically seen in Buhera, where the endless press reports and statements
of the MDC arguing that a pogrom was taking place, were amply supported by
the cases seen by human rights groups[7].

Significantly, the army is not frequently mentioned in human rights reports,
but, given the massively effective use of the militia in winning elections,
they have not been needed to date. Here it should not be forgotten that the
bald statement of political support for the Mugabe regime given by the
defence chiefs in 2001 has never been repudiated. However, it is important
here to note that the Zimbabwe National Army is mentioned in many other
reports as benefiting from the favours of the regime[8].

Finally, the use by the regime of statutes of impunity adds to the problem
in a very significant manner, and this has drawn frequent comment from local
and international observers[9]. Impunity, both formal and practical, is
additionally supported by the subversion of the judical process[10].

5. Polarization

Here the process requires that groups are driven apart, and the press and
media are particularly important in forcing and maintaining the

In Zimbabwe, the government-controlled press, television and radio now
operate in a flagrant manner with all pretence at impartiality gone. Any
cursory examination will show this to be so, but anecdote is more than
adequately supported by the reporting of independent press monitoring
groups. Additionally, virtually all foreign press people have been expelled,
a relatively large number of local journalists have been tortured,
assaulted, falsely charged and imprisoned, harassed, and threatened with
removal of their licences. Increasingly, all independent voices are becoming
self-censoring. Even independent monitoring organisations have come under
attack, with the arrest in August of the Medical Director of the Amani Trust
for allegedly making a "false statement" about political rape being a good
illustration of the attempt by the regime to silence all critical voices.

The wide spread use of hate speech and racist commentary continues unabated.
The interesting aspect to the attempt to force polarisation is the pairing
of "white interest" with "MDC dupes", and, whilst this might seem an
improbable pairing for use in building towards genocide, it is easily
reinforced through the current violence. Only loyalty to Zanu PF counts, and
if a person is unable to demonstrate active support for Zanu PF - a party
card or attendance at party-approved meetings- then the presumption is that
he or she is MDC. Being MDC implies being a dupe of the whites, and
membership in the "out" group is assured. This can be avoided, and the final
defence is of course a conversion to Zanu PF, which will obviously involve
some form of loyalty test. This loyalty test is now being applied to the
distribution of drought relief, where many independent reports show that
those who are not able to demonstrate allegiance to Zanu PF are excluded
from food relief[11].

The polarisation has made a slow and steady process over the past three
years, and it now permeates all aspects of Zimbabwean life. Most
significantly it now revolves around the access to food, but this is merely
another aspect of the process in which all people in Zimbabwe must make
active and open declaration for Zanu PF in order not to be a target of some
form of discrimination.

6. Preparation

It is at this point that Zimbabwe is currently argued to be by Genocide
Watch. Here the "out" group is visibly distinguished by the perpetrators. It
is the final point at which preventive action can be taken by the
international community. As Genocide Watch comments:

At this stage, a Genocide Alert must be called. If the political will of the
U.S., NATO, and the U.N. Security Council can be mobilized, armed
international intervention should be prepared,
or heavy assistance to the victim group in preparing for its self-defense.
Otherwise, at least humanitarian assistance should beorganized by the U.N.
and private relief groups for the
inevitable tide of refugees.

Whilst there are no signs of concentration camps, there is quite obvious
"sealing up" of rural districts, quite transparently creating "no go" areas.
This seems likely to split the towns from the country, severing family ties,
and ensuring that rural districts will remain uniformly supporters of Zanu
PF. Here it is instructive to consider the Appendices, especially Appendices
2 and 3. The information in these two reports shows different aspects of the

The two final stages, Extermination(7) and Denia(8), do not need to be
described in any detail here, and in any event are stages when the
international community has no preventive options left.

The point of studying genocide, and, more importantly, of actively
monitoring potential situations in which genocide may occur, is to prevent
its occurrence. It is for this reason that continuous reports of gross human
rights violations from a country attract the attention of organisations
monitoring for signs of potential genocide. Genocide Watch, for example, has
three levels of Alerts. A Genocide or Politicide Watch is declared when
early warning signs indicate the danger of genocide or political mass
killing. A Genocide or Politicide Warning is called when genocide or
politicide is imminent, often indicated by massacres. A Genocide Emergency
is declared when genocide is actually underway.

The brink of genocide

If we consider the stages above, Zimbabwe appears to be primed for
massacres, and Genocide Watch (from whom this information was obtained)
considers that Zimbabwe has already reached the stage of preparation (see
below). As indicated above, independent information gathering and a number
of indicators point strongly towards preparations for an ethnic cleansing
operation. The Mugabe regime has already proved that it is capable of such
an action through the Matabeleland massacre in the 1980's, where thousands
were slaughtered, and this episode in Zimbabwe's history would strongly
conform to the definition of genocide.

The campaign of vilifying the opposition has been running since they were
first formed in 1999. Zanu PF, basically a revolutionary party at heart, is
playing the card of colonialism to full effect. Their revolutionary rhetoric
appeals to the downtrodden, and consequently, at least amongst the security
forces, there is something of a feeling that they are doing something
unfortunate but necessary.

This feeling is being carefully nurtured. The lawlessness over the past few
years has forced people to become accustomed to violence, another important
precursor to genocide. Once people are resigned to the occurrence of
violence, the gradual escalation of such to include elimination of enemies
can be carried out with minimal comment. State-sanctioned human rights
violations have been steadily increasing over the last three years, and
torture and beatings at the hands of police (or army) no longer provoke
comment in most sectors of society [12]. At the same time, fear of reprisal
forces people to accept more and more extreme situations without comment.

The greatest concern must be over the role of the newly formed youth
militia, known popularly as the "green bombers". These young men undergo a
rigorous training and political orientation programme under the auspices of
national service. The trainers are generally drawn from the Zimbabwe Defence
Forces or the War Veterans Association - whilst the youths are not fully
trained soldiers, they receive basic military training and discipline is
strongly enforced. Combined with a distinctly skewed version of recent
history that is determinedly taught them throughout the training process,
these young party stalwarts have been turned into a potential instrument of

There are five main training camps, through which some 9,000 militia have
passed in the last ten months. It appears that the intake is being
increased, however, with the aim of training greater numbers of the
militia[13]. Furthermore, the government is currently establishing a series
of at least two base camps in each district, at which the newly trained
militia are being established. These bases, generally in old army bases,
missions, or resettled farms with sufficient infrastructure, are ideal for
carrying out operations on a nationwide scale.

General Mike Nyambuya recently headed a strong military delegation to China,
where he reportedly secured an assortment of weapons for distribution to the
"green bombers". The first consignment of old WWII rifles has apparently
been received, and more are set to arrive in the next couple of months. The
indications from within the ZDF are that the green bombers will be sent in
to a number of opposition hotspots to exterminate a significant fraction of
the population, before the ZNA is deployed in the area to "stabilise" the
situation. This will significantly reduce the voting population in the
areas, and the extreme terror of the survivors will ensure a safe win in the
event of electoral reruns. Binga is one area that has been singled out for
this treatment, and a number of truckloads of "green bombers" have been seen
moving into the area, armed and dressed as the police support unit.

Many areas of the country are effectively "no-go" areas. People from Mount
Darwin who have been working in the city for the last three months are not
being allowed back into their home areas for fear of information getting in
or out, and in most areas there are roadblocks manned by war veterans about
ten kilometres off the main roads. It is becoming increasingly hard for
anyone to enter these areas, even food distribution programmes, resulting in
isolated pockets of immobile populations. Light aircraft flights are being
carefully monitored, and casual over flight of most abandoned farming areas
or communal areas are now being strongly discouraged.

Furthermore, ex-military and CIO members are infiltrating much of the local
government structure. The Electoral Supervisory Committee (ESC), Prison
Service, Department of National Parks and Wildlife, GMB, NOCZim, and the
Public Service Commission have all been seconded with ZNA officers. Officers
are also in the process of secondment to key parastatals (ZESA, Air
Zimbabwe, NRZ) to keep an eye on senior management who are suspected of
opposition sympathies. There is reportedly a plan to replace wavering
District Administrators with ex Political Commissars from the military, and
all tribal chiefs, in addition to a massive pay rise this year, have also
been assigned two military "bodyguards". This massive militarisation of
government structure is aimed at creating an unquestioningly loyal
infrastructure that will readily respond to the questionable orders
filtering from the top.

In order to obtain complete power, a regime needs to eliminate all the
potential for an organised resistance. The approach of the Mugabe regime has
been another of the rash of new bills passed by the government. The PVO
(Private Voluntary Organisations Act) requires that all non-governmental
organisations register with a ministry in order to be allowed to operate.
The regime has the right of veto in such situations, and therefore is
effectively able to ban any organisation that it deems awkward. Already a
number of civic groups have been threatened and declared illegal, included
the noted human rights organisation Amani Trust. The attack upon the Amani
Trust has been particularly sustained, and the organisation has been
variously accused of funding the MDC, planning the overthrow of the
government, providing logistical support for militia actions by the MDC, and
a plethora of other minor offences in the eyes of the government. These
threats to NGOs and the threatened closures have sent a ripple through civic
society, reinforcing the message that Zanu PF has been sending the
population - shut up or be shut down.

In February 2002, Genocide Watch issued a Politicide Watch for Zimbabwe,
arguing that there had been significant development of the first six stages
outlined above:

Classification: the population is ethnically classified and ZANU-PF has
become an ethnic party.

Symbolization: Possession of ZANU-PF party membership cards is mandatory to
avoid beatings by the Shona militias.

Dehumanization: President Mugabe refers to his opposition as "weeds," and
has called on ZANU-PF to "go and uproot the weeds from your garden." In

Vice President Msika declared, "Whites are not human beings."

Organization: the ZANU-PF Youth Brigades are militias being systematically
trained and armed, taught Shona songs, and organized like the militias that
participated in the 1982-1983 genocidal massacres.

Polarization: President Mugabe regularly appeals to race and ethnicity, and
refers to his opponents as "traitors" and "terrorists." Police have begun to
arrest moderate leaders, including church leaders.

Preparation: President Mugabe's latest moves to shut off Zimbabwe from
monitoring by human rights groups, election monitors, and the press, and his
new laws to criminalize anyone who criticizes him, are ominous signs that he
is planning at least massive election fraud. Enemy lists have been compiled
by the state and party intelligence services, a sign that political and
possibly ethnic violence and terror are being planned that President Mugabe
wants to hide from outside scrutiny. Movement of a largely Shona Zimbabwe Army
brigade into Matabeleland, and mob attacks on opposition party offices are
ominous harbingers of potential mass violence.

Based on their analysis, Genocide Watch declared the following in February

Genocide Watch declares a Politicide Watch for Zimbabwe. We call on
governments to protest not only President Mugabe's new restrictions on
civil liberties, but also to demand, in the strongest terms, that ZANU-PF
dismantle and disarm its Youth Brigade militias, and that the Zimbabwe Army
brigade be withdrawn from Matabeleland. President Mugabe must be put on
notice that if political or genocidal massacres are committed by these
militias or by elements of the Zimbabwe armed forces, he will be held
personally responsible. Zimbabwe's leaders should be notified that if such massacres
occur, the U.S. and EU will support armed intervention by a UN-authorized
regional force, and President Mugabe and those who might perpetrate the
crimes would be subject to prosecution.

The situation has deteriorated considerably since February 2002, and it is
imperative that the international community now take notice of this appeal.
Had the international community taken notice of the signs and prepared
themselves for the eventuality, the 1994 slaughter of over 800 000 people in
Rwanda could have been prevented. It is always difficult to believe that
genocide is about to happen or even to believe that it is going on, since it
is such an inhumanly monstrous thing to do. But we must take cognisance of
the fact that it does indeed happen (with frightening frequency), and it is
necessary at all costs to try and prevent it from happening.

Perhaps the final word should be left to those who would attempt genocide.
As former Speaker of Parliament, Didymus Mutasa, has put it:

"We would be better off with only six million people, with our own people
who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people".

Adolf Hitler could not have put it better!
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