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

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International Information Programs
Washington File

Washington File
05 June 2003

Text: U.S. Sternly Rebukes Zimbabwe's Brutality Toward Protesting Citizens

(Dept. of State urges action by international community and African
states) (520)

"The Government of Zimbabwe has responded to peaceful attempts at
public protest this week with an ongoing wave of intolerance and
brutality," Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker said in a statement issued
by the State Department June 5.

Detailing a list of actions against the citizenry, including arrests,
beatings and denial of access to legal aid and families, Reeker urged
"political forces, including the ruling ZANU-PF party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to enter into unconditional
dialogue on an urgent basis to address the political and economic
crisis afflicting the nation."

He called on the international community to continue to press for
political reform in Zimbabwe, and asked that African states in
particular exert "concerted and sustained action" to "achieve
political change and economic recovery in Zimbabwe."

Following is the text of the Reeker statement:

(begin text)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATEOffice of the Spokesman
June 5, 2003
Zimbabwe: Crackdown on Opposition

The United States strongly condemns the Zimbabwean government's
suppression of its citizens' efforts to protest peacefully their
country's economic collapse and human rights abuses. As it did in
March, the Government of Zimbabwe has responded to peaceful attempts
at public protest this week with an ongoing wave of intolerance and
brutality. While the opposition's calls for a work stoppage succeeded
in closing most shops and businesses, its efforts to organize peaceful
marches were broken up with tear gas and beatings.

Throughout the week, once-apolitical police and army services have
arrested hundreds of opposition supporters, often detaining them in
squalid conditions without charge. Among those arrested have been
several members of parliament and the mayor of Zimbabwe's
second-largest city, Bulawayo. Many of those detained are being denied
access to lawyers, families, medical care, and even food. The leader
of the opposition was also briefly detained on June 2.

Dozens of Zimbabweans have sought medical treatment for injuries
suffered from beatings by security agents, including war veterans and
youth brigades integrated into police and army forces. One opposition
supporter was seized from a private home along with an elected Harare
Councilor, and was beaten to death. Security forces raided a private
clinic where 30 to 40 opposition supporters were seeking treatment.
Numerous patients were interrogated in the clinic. Two people were
abducted from near the clinic, and their condition and whereabouts
remain unknown.

The United States calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to allow
peaceful protest, cease human rights abuses, reverse its disastrous
economic policies, and restore the rule of law.

We strongly urge political forces, including the ruling ZANU-PF party
and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, to enter into
unconditional dialogue on an urgent basis to address the political and
economic crisis afflicting the nation.

The international community must continue to defend human rights and
political reform in Zimbabwe. Concerted and sustained action by
African states, in particular, is vital to achieving political change
and economic recovery in Zimbabwe.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:
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Mugabe thugs search hospital for victims
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
(Filed: 06/06/2003)

In his upstairs hospital room, Gladmore Matika heard the noise of Zimbabwe's security forces rampaging through the building.

"I was worried they would come for me, but they left me alone," said the 20-year-old who hopes to travel to Britain soon, take A-levels and train as a doctor.

The soldiers raided the hospital looking for those they had injured during a week of violence and to try to stop journalists from photographing their handiwork.

An alleged victim of beatings by Mugabe's security forces

Zimbabwe's Association of Doctors for Human Rights said yesterday: "At least one injured patient was forcibly abducted by uniformed police from a hospital casualty waiting area in Harare, without receiving medical attention."

On Monday, hours before the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's week-long strike against the brutal dictatorship of Robert Mugabe began, eight soldiers dragged Mr Matika from his bed at home and systematically beat him.

"The soldiers, in camouflage, picked me up, shouted that I wanted to remove Mugabe, and then pushed their rifle butts into one side of my body," he said.

When the thugs had finished he had two broken ribs, a broken arm, extensive injuries inside his mouth, and deep bruising. His three brothers escaped attack by hiding in wardrobes in the middle-class family's home in the Highfields township, close to the city centre.

The soldiers flung Mr Matika and the family's gardener into an army truck filled with more than 100 other groaning youths, and took them to the Machipisa police station on the outskirts of the city.

"They made us sing the Zanu PF song," Mr Matika said. "But I don't know it. I couldn't sit because I was in too much pain and they only let me lie down after I collapsed."

Twelve hours later his parents found him, paid an "admission of guilt" fee of 75 pence, and took him to hospital. "I do not know why they came for me. I am not anything in the MDC,' Mr Matika said.

Four days later he can barely move, surrounded by his family, including his mother, Jane, 48, sporting a swollen face from when she begged the soldiers to spare her son.

A doctor, who worked in casualty this week, said about 80 injured people were treated in the first three days.

"This week we have seen worse soft tissue injuries than ever before," he added. "The beatings must have been very vicious. We have also seen many orthopaedic injuries."

Tendai Biti, a member of parliament and leading Harare lawyer, was released on £2.50 bail on Wednesday night after being picked up at a demonstration on Monday.

Like all opposition MPs, Mr Biti is a veteran of Harare's filthy police cells. "I was arrested with five others," he said yesterday. "We were the only ones out of 97 people I saw in those terrible cells who had not been beaten up. Many were limping and whimpering in pain.

"None of them will lay charges against the police. They are so relieved to be out of that place that they don't want to go to the trouble."

The arrests continued yesterday, with scores of people being picked up throughout the country. On Wednesday, Tichaona Kaguru, an official of the MDC in Harare, died after allegedly being abducted and tortured by members of the security forces.

Mr Biti said the MDC had gained a great deal of experience from this week's mass action. "He added: We also now know for certain that the state has to rely on fascism and violence to stay in power. That is all they have got."

Mr Biti will be at a demonstration in African Unity Square today. "There will be more arrests, more beatings," he said wearily.

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The Star

      Mugabe, MDC still talking, Leon told
      June 6, 2003

      By Jeremy Michaels

      President Thabo Mbeki has shrugged off opposition charges that the
government's quiet-diplomacy strategy has failed to influence Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe.

      Instead he remains optimistic about a negotiated solution.

      "The Zimbabweans are talking to one another, they are negotiating, and
I'm quite certain that out of that process will come an agreement that will
take the country forward," Mbeki told the National Assembly yesterday.

      He was responding to a question by Democratic Alliance leader Tony
Leon, who accused the SA government of "open approval" of Mugabe's
repression, which contradicted the principles of the African Union and

      Leon charged that, given South Africa's failure to condemn the
Zimbabwean government's crackdown this week on the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, quiet diplomacy was becoming a "policy of silence or even
open approval" of Mugabe's tactics.

      The South African government had "so far maintained a complete silence
on the arrest of (MDC leader) Morgan Tsvangirai", Leon said. It was
"impossible to have any form of dialogue when opposition supporters (in
Zimbabwe) are being killed and beaten", he added. - Political Bureau

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The Star

      Today dubbed D-Day for Mugabe
      June 6, 2003

      By Basildon Peta

      Zimbabwe's defiant main opposition party has called on its supporters
to take to the streets in their millions on the final day of its successful
anti-government protests.

      The Movement for Democratic Change said in advertisements in the
privately owned Daily News that Zimbabweans had to regard today, the last
day of its protests as "D-Day" for President Robert Mugabe's embattled

      "This is the moment you have been waiting for. Tomorrow, Friday June 6
2003 is D-Day," said the MDC of the final day of a five-day campaign that
paralysed the country.

      Business people and individuals interviewed from Zimbabwe confirmed
that the country had largely remained shut across all major cities on the
fourth day of the strike yesterday.

      They said the international banks in Harare - Standard Chartered and
Barclays - had opened, mainly because of threats by Mugabe's government to
seize companies that failed to open and expel expatriate workers. The two
banks are said to employ international experts in their management.
      Eyewitnesses in Harare said the police and the army were still
maintaining a heavy presence, with helicopters hovering over the capital for
most of yesterday morning.

      The Byo Crisis Information Centre said the manager of Trust Bank,
Tegere Muzenda, had been arrested on charges of not opening for business.

      On Tuesday, three Lobel's Biscuits employees were arrested for not
beginning production. They were taken to a police station, where they were
reportedly intimidated.

      The factory opened yesterday, and just before lunchtime, police and
army units arrived, cordoned it off and filmed the staff at work.

      The MDC advert added: "Rise up in your millions to demonstrate
publicly your utmost disapproval of this violent dictatorship.

      "Since the start of this phase of the mass action on Monday, the rogue
regime has actively robbed you of your democratic and constitutional right
to express yourselves peacefully against murder, rape, starvation, disease,
violence and general misrule."

      The MDC's call will inevitably cause more violent repression of
dissent. - Independent Foreign Service
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            Zimbabwe strikes fuel deal with Libyan oil company
            June 06, 2003, 06:45

            The Zimbabwean government has successfully negotiated a deal
with a Libyan oil company to provide fuel to the southern African country.
According to reports, the agreement will see the resumption of fuel supplies
to Zimbabwe from Libya by the end of June.

            Libya previously supplied Zimbabwe with 70% of its fuel
requirements. The fuel deal signed with Libya last year was supposed to see
Zimbabwe receiving fuel in return for exports of tobacco, beef and sugar.
However, Zimbabwe was reported to be unable to keep its side of the deal.

            Zimbabwe has been experiencing chronic fuel shortages for the
past three years now and the industry there has been severely affected by
the shortages, while Zimbabwe's national airline has been forced to refuel
its passenger jets in neighbouring countries.
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Natal Witness

Buthelezi: SA 'cosy' with tyrants

South Africa's foreign policy should be directed to furthering democracy
rather than cosying up to pariah states, Home Affairs Minister Mangosuthu
Buthelezi said on Thursday.

He was speaking at a lunch hosted by the Australian-Southern Africa Business
Council in Canberra.

His remarks come as South Africa finds itself under pressure to take a
tougher stand on strife-torn Zimbabwe.

"I have expressed my concern about many aspects of our foreign policy that I
would like to see being more directed in support of the cause of worldwide
progress, democracy and development, rather than cosying up to failing
regimes, dictators and tyrants," Buthelezi said.

However he is confident about South Africa's future "because I not only see
the glass as being half full, but indeed I think that it is three quarters

Speaking at another function, he said that while he does not subscribe to
"some aspects" of SA's Aids policy, he is confident that "eventually the
light of reason will shine on them".

"HIV/Aids is decimating our population and will exact an unprecedented toll
of lives unless present policies are changed," he said.
Publish Date: 6 June 2003
Source: SAPA
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Ici Cemac, Cameroon 

Dr Fomunyoh :" Africa's problems it's a lack of visionary leadership"

[ London - Royaume-Uni ] ( 6/06/2003) BBC

Discussion with NDI's Senior Associate for Africa Christopher Fomunyoh and George Shire a Zimbabwean academic close to Zanu PF on BBC'c Newshour.According to Dr Fomunyoh:"Four decades after colonial rule ended, we cannot blame all of Africa's problems today on the legacy of colonial rule. It's a question of bad governance and it's a lack of visionary leadership. I'm indeed saddened to have President Mugabe view this solely as a question of "I" and "me." What about the people? What about the country that the leaders of Africa have pledged to serve?"

Owen Bennett Jones (Newshour): This is Owen Bennett Jones with Newshour. President Mugabe's supporters say he's a man who's stayed true to his anti-colonialist ideals. His critics say he's a leader that's plunged his country into poverty. Well, for years now, Britain has led the diplomatic campaign against Mr. Mugabe, but now the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria, and Malawi are highly involved; they're in Zimbabwe, talking to the President about Zimbabwe's political future. Well, after the talks today, the Nigerian president said he'd come to initiate a process, but that the people of Zimbabwe must be the ones to decide their own future.

(pre-recorded) President Olusegun Obansanjo: What we have come to try to do is to get negotiations resumed. Because we know that once you are able to get negotiation resumed, the follow-up political issues, the economic issues, social issues that are bedaubing Zimbabwe today will be addressed. Only the people of Zimbabwe themselves, that will be the architects of their own fortune and political coming-together.

Jones: The three African presidents also spoke to Mr. Mugabe's main opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, and afterwards he was asked about his legal challenge to President Mugabe's rule: Would the opposition drop that challenge if there were a meeting between representatives of the Movement for Democratic Change and President Mugabe's Zanu PF?

(pre-recorded) Morgan Tsvangirai: Well, there is substantial progress, an unimpeded progress, to the resolution of the crisis; the court case moves it farther away, because there will be no sort of dispute. So, we have [emphasized] to the three leaders that it is not an issue to stop people from talking. Because dialogue is important, it is the progress on the dialogue that will determine the fate of the court case.

Jones: But it sounds like it may not be as easy as that; there could be what diplomats call a sequencing problem. President Mugabe has not ruled out some sort of compromise with the opposition, but he has said that first the challenge to his presidency must be withdrawn.

(pre-recorded) President Robert Mugabe: I am president of the country. I have legitimacy, from the election and from the process that's sworn me as president of the country. The MDC has said, "We don't recognize you." Does the MDC now say they recognize me? That's the issue. And, uh, if they do, well, that means the action in the court has got to be withdrawn and we start talking, and we can move ahead.

Jones: Well, the controversy surrounding Mr. [Robert] Mugabe [President of Zimbabwe] raises this question: Are the economic problems in countries like Zimbabwe the result of poor leadership or the outcome of broader factors such as the enduring legacy of colonialism? Or, indeed, a little of both? Well, to discuss that, I am joined now by George Shire, a Zimbabwean academic close to Zanu PF and Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, who's a Senior Associate for Africa of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Washington.

Dr. Formunyoh, welcome. To you, what's your view? Is it, is it leadership, or history?

Chris Fomunyoh: I believe it's leadership, because, um, colonial rule obviously was a terrible moment in African history and in human history as a whole. But, four decades after colonial rule ended, we cannot blame all of Africa's problems today on the legacy of colonial rule. It's a question of bad governance and it's a lack of visionary leadership. I'm indeed saddened to have President Mugabe view this solely as a question of "I" and "me." What about the people? What about the country that the leaders of Africa have pledged to serve?

Jones: George Shire, what do you think? Leadership?

George Shire: Well, uh, first of all, that, uh, I think we need to, as a matter of record, say that for the, between the 23 years of Mugabe's presidency, two-thirds of that time, Robert Mugabe was everybody's best customer indeed. Went and received all sorts of international accolades for the way in which he led Zimbabwe. The crisis in Zimbabwe begins at that moment in which the land distribution program begins to emerge in earnest because it touches on the interest of modern national commercial farmers and the international community, and so on. Now, everybody can see that. The other thing to say is that, you know, what is happening in Zimbabwe now is uh, comes out of a facilitator's framework which is, produced a five-point plan: One, much of the acknowledgement is spent on two political parties in Zimbabwe and to do so requires Morgan Tsvangirai on the one hand, and Robert Mugabe on the other. To recognize themselves, each other, as leaders of political institutions. So this is not about Robert Mugabe personally, it's to do with the respect of political institutions in the country.

Jones: Let me just put your first point to Dr. Formunyoh, though: That, when President Mugabe addressed the colonial legacy, if you like, the land question, then the problems began, which suggests that it is not just leadership, there are broader issues at stake.

Fomunyoh: Obviously there are broader issues at stake. But, you know, part of leadership is the ability to be able to address the issues that you are confronted once you are elected into public office. Leaders do not choose their problems in advance, they, however, are tested; the mettle of leadership is tested in the way in which they address these problems. Obviously, land reform is the number one issue in Zimbabwe. And my sense is that every Zimbabwean, black or white, ruling party or opposition party, agrees on the need to undertake serious land reform. The problem is, the question then is, how do you get there? Is land reform synonymous with one individual sticking to power at all costs? And here we have President Mugabe, who served his country well in the past, and I agree with that, who led a liberation movement, and who is going to be remembered, most likely, not for what he did to liberate Zimbabwe, but for the way in which he has brought the country down because of the electoral dispute.

Shire: But, Robert Mugabe will be remembered for having delivered, at last, the land question, which has dominated Zimbabwean politics for the last hundred years. Which is still pivotal to understand ideologically how the region works. So, he'll become a symbol of that. Robert Mugabe has not been working in isolation as an individual, he's been working with others. And if you look at successes, they far outweigh the minuses. He's not an angel, but he certainly is not the devil.

Jones: Let me put it like this, Doctor: Can you give examples where, in your view, better African leaders have led to better results?

Fomunyoh: Absolutely! I mean, fortunately, in the last ten years as we've seen democratization take root, as we've seen the end of apartheid in South Africa, leaders have begun to emerge on the continent that have proven the fact that despite Africa's problems, and I admit, there are problems, that genuine regional leadership can make a difference. President Mandela comes to mind, but there are other Heads-of-state, that probably don't meet the stature of Mandela because of his particular unique experience; but President Diouf of Senegal, President Konare in Mali, even Jerry Rawlings in Ghana, Chissano in Mozambique, leaders who have known when to be effective, but also when to be able to pass the mantle of leadership to a new, younger generation. And I think that really underscores the fact that leadership matters.

Shire: We would not have had the peaceful settlement with Mozambique without the involvement of Zimbabwean troops at the success, with, and through the leadership of Robert Mugabe. You would not have had the orchestration of the arms struggle to the last conclusion of the defeat of apartheid, without to the involvement of the front line setting, the critical involvement of Robert Mugabe. You would not have had the stability of what is now called South Africa Republic community, as a regional institution, without the pivotal role played Robert Mugabe, who has been a chair of G7, who has chaired the African Union positively, who has won accolades from African Union leadership themselves, and so the idea- Part of the difficulty here is that a lot of people blindly have conflated Robert Mugabe as an individual and the problems of Zimbabwe. And they have tried to mask their own involvement in this question, and that's the problem.

Jones: A quick response, Doctor?

Fomunyoh: Precisely, George, I think you put your finger on the fundamental issue, for Mr. Mugabe and his supporters. Is he prepared, at this point, to stake all that he may have accomplished through the history Zimbabwe and the whole southern African region—and I give you that because it is a matter of public record—is he then prepared to stake all of this, just by holding onto power, how is he going to be remembered-

(Shire's voice can be heard in the background)

Shire (interrupting): I'm, I'm sorry, that is not the case. Robert Mugabe has been saying, since nigh to the year 2000, this is the last term of his office. And he also has been saying that the Lancaster House Constitution, which is a British creature, is not acceptable to any Zimbabwean. That is what people are talking about now, is how to manage the future. That seems to be a fairly responsible thing to do.

Jones: Okay, guys, we've run out of time, we'll ask you back another time, but thanks very much debating that with us today. That was George Shire and Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh.

May 5, 2003

@ 2003 BBC

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Business Day

MDC urges 'millions' to defy Mugabe

HARARE The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) urged Zimbabweans yesterday
to defy a government crackdown and take to the streets today in their
"This is the moment you have been waiting for," the opposition MDC said on
the second-last day of a five-day strike called to unseat longtime President
Robert Mugabe. "Don't be afraid," it told supporters. "No force is stronger
than you. Victory is in sight."

Yesterday's street protests failed to take off as security forces descended
on protesters, opposition supporters and bystanders with tear gas, dogs,
batons and live ammunition.

The fresh call to action came as supporters of the ruling Zanu (PF) abducted
Tapera Macheka, MDC chairman for Mashonaland central, from his home and took
him to their offices in Bindura. Macheka said he was beaten up then
assaulted with an axe. Sapa-AFP and Dumisani Muleya

Jun 06 2003 07:35:04:000AM  Business Day 1st Edition
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Zimbabwe opposition takes to the streets

By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition is vowing to take to the
streets today to cap a week of protests against President Robert Mugabe but
a strike in banks and businesses has faltered in the wake of a tough
government response.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which called this week's protests
in a "final push" to force the 79-year-old leader to step down, urged party
supporters to turn out for anti-government marches despite the threat of
police crackdown.

"Rise up in your millions to demonstrate publicly your utmost disapproval of
this violent dictatorship. Now the time has come for you to defend
yourself," the party said in notices printed in local newspapers on

After hundreds of arrests in street protests this week however, one
independent newspaper questioned MDC strategy.

Mugabe said on Wednesday the opposition strikes had failed and defended his
government's use of force to crush street demonstrations in several cities
on Monday.

"It is sad when we are forced as (a) government to have to use tear gas
against our own youth who are being misled," Mugabe told South African

The MDC says Mugabe -- in power since independence from Britain in 1980 --
has grossly mismanaged Zimbabwe's economy and has become increasingly

Opposition party leader Morgan Tsvangirai has also challenged Mugabe's
victory in 2002 presidential elections, which both the opposition and
several Western countries say were fraught with poll irregularities.


The United States condemned what it called the suppression of efforts to
protest peacefully against the country's "economic collapse and human rights

U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker said Washington urged Mugabe's
ruling ZANU-PF party and the MDC to begin talks urgently to address the
political and economic crisis.

"The international community must continue to defend human rights and
political reform in Zimbabwe," Reeker said in a statement. "Concerted and
sustained action by African states, in particular, is vital to achieving
political change and economic recovery in Zimbabwe."

In the capital Harare, a number of shops, banks and factories opened on
Thursday following a government threat to punish businesses heeding the
opposition's strike call.

While MDC leaders declared they had successfully boosted pressure on Mugabe,
the privately owned Daily News, which the government calls an opposition
mouthpiece, asked stark questions about the party's strategy.

"Having called upon Zimbabweans to make the sacrifices that they made this
week, with many arrested or beaten up...we ask...Tsvangirai: what next now?"
the paper said.

"The opposition party must rapidly get its act together and come up with an
imaginative and focused plan that can save Zimbabwe now."
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Zimbabwe braces for bloody battle
06/06/2003 08:15  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe braced for bloody confrontation on Friday after the
opposition renewed calls for supporters to march to demand President Robert
Mugabe step down, and the government vowed to crush the protests.

The government said a court order banning anti-government demonstrations was
still in force and further protests would be stopped, state television

It said leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change faced contempt of
court charges and would be imprisoned if protests went ahead on Friday.

The opposition should instead take an "exemplary" stand and call off the
protests, the television reported.

Reinforcements of police and troops have been deployed across the country. A
military helicopter, fitted with launcher pods used to fire teargas, swooped
over the capital, Harare, on Thursday.

Witnesses in the eastern Harare township of Mabvuku said troops broke up
gatherings of people there late on Thursday, suspecting them of organising
protests for Friday, and fired live ammunition into the air.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

'Rise up'

A national strike shut down much of the troubled southern African country's
economy this week although government forces have brutally cut down planned
street demonstrations.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change has described Friday as the
"D-Day" of this declared weeklong protest.

"You have been harassed, abused, tortured and brutalised. Your leaders have
been abducted and arrested. Rise up in your millions to demonstrate publicly
your utmost disapproval of this violent dictatorship," the opposition said
in advertisements and fliers calling for mass marches on Friday.

The party said it would not be deterred by the violent crackdown by riot and
police under orders to crush all signs of protest. It called on Zimbabweans
to gather in central squares and downtown districts across the country on
Friday to force Mugabe from office after 23 years in power.

"Don't be afraid," the notices exhorted. "Victory is in sight."

Security forces using rifle butts, volleys of live fire, teargas and water
cannons have so far prevented any large scale street demonstrations.

Independent human rights monitors said scores of people were injured as
police and troops patrolled impoverished township suburbs and, along with
ruling party vigilantes, assaulted suspected opponents, often raiding their
homes at night.

Police and security agents also raided a private hospital on Wednesday where
victims of police and army assaults were being treated.

Independent monitors said most new victims of violence were injured in a
wave of government retribution against the protests.

"In most situations, groups of vigilantes beating up people stormed into the
victims' houses at night, dragged people out of bed and beat them up.

"Two of the middle aged women victims that I spoke to were beaten while they
were of them in front of her is husband and kids," said one
monitor, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals.

'Intimidating behavior' at hospitals

He said victims now spoke of "hatred of a regime that is literally driving
the people to levels where real conflict is possible".

A doctors' group, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, said
in a statement on Thursday it was worried by the heavy presence and
"intimidating behavior" of security forces in hospitals.

The group said that there were cases of injured patients being refused
access to emergency facilities and at least one being seized by police
before receiving medical attention.

"Access to treatment is a fundamental human right regardless of political
affiliation," the doctors' group said.

Police say at least 300 people have been arrested during protests, including
opposition lawmakers and officials.

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 most factories in the heavy industry districts
across the country remained closed on Thursday despite government threats
against businesses supporting the strike.

The government said it would withdraw trading licenses of companies that
stopped work.

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 poor blacks have
been divided into small subplots. - Sapa-AP
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Cape Times

      MDC calls for people to 'rise up'
      June 6, 2003

      Hararae: The arrests and alleged beatings of Zimbabwean opposition
party supporters continued yesterday as the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) announced today was "D-Day" for its supporters to "rise up" against
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF government.

      An MDC official said scores of party sympathisers and activists had
been beaten in the suburb of Highfield here late on Wednesday. In Bulawayo,
the party said about 40 activists were arrested. Police put the figure at

      The claim by the opposition party came on the fourth day of mass
action, including job stayaways and democracy marches.

      In private press advertisements, the MDC urged people to defy
government warnings and take to the streets in their millions today for what
it promised would be the "D-Day" of its week-long protests.

      "This is the moment you have been waiting for. Tomorrow, Friday June
6, 2003 is D-Day," the MDC said on the penultimate day of protests, dubbed
the "final push".

      In a full-page advertisement, it called on supporters not to be
intimidated. "Don't be afraid. No force is stronger than you. Victory is in

      Pearson Mungofa, the MDC representative for Highfield, said Zanu-PF
supporters wearing army uniforms had carried out the assaults on Wednesday

      A police statement said 10 suspected MDC activists had been arrested
in the Harare suburb of Budiriro "for organising and inciting public

      One person was seriously injured at Victoria Falls when a bus was
stoned on Wednesday night in a "politically motivated attack", police said.

      In calling the protests, the MDC said it hoped they would oust Mugabe
or at least compel him to discuss the country's economic, political and
social problems with the opposition.

      Street marches failed to take off on Monday because security forces
descended on the would-be protesters with teargas, dogs, batons and live

      Yesterday's fresh call to action came as most businesses remained
closed, with less than half the shops open in central Harare.

      But police and the army maintained a heavy presence. Military
helicopters hovered over the capital for most of the morning.

      Mugabe has said his security forces acted in the interests of peace
and stability. "It is sad when we are forced as a government to use teargas
against our own youth who are being misled, but we have to do it in the
interests of peace and security," he told SABC television news.

      In Bulawayo, an AFP correspondent estimated that one shop in four and
almost all banks were open yesterday. Many banks were reportedly ordered to
open by the police, although some did not have cash to give to clients.

      The high court last weekend declared the MDC mass action illegal and
warned that demonstrators would face "the full wrath of the law".

      Meanwhile, civil rights groups have condemned the violence.

      The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said it was "disgusted with the level
of harassment, intimidation and brutality".

      The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights also issued a
statement condemning the violence.

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