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

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Independent (UK)

Zimbabwe counts the cost after a week of strikes and savagery
By Karen MacGregor in Harare
08 June 2003

Zimbabweans will return to work tomorrow after a week of strikes and
violently repressed attempts at protests. But the country's daily
suffering - including shortages of food, fuel, electricity, cash and even
blood - is expected to bring a rapid return of tension.

A five-day strike called last week by the Movement for Democratic Change was
successful, but its attempt to bring people out on the streets "in your
millions" was violently repressed by the security forces and their notorious
militia allies, known as the "Green Bombers".

The MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was held on Friday for the second time
in a week, accused of calling for the unconstitutional removal of the
79-year-old President, Robert Mugabe. He appeared in court yesterday, but
will remain in custody until the hearing resumes tomorrow.

A doctor who belongs to an underground network that treats activists who are
assaulted - many doctors have been threatened for this work - said he had
treated more than 60 victims of political violence last week. Over half were
women, and most were beaten by soldiers at night.

Their injuries, he said, followed the "typical soldier pattern - lots of
soft tissue damage, whip cuts to the buttocks and backs of legs, and broken
arms and hands as people try to fend off blows".

Solomon Chirimerime, a 31-year-old MDC activist, was in a private clinic,
hidden from further harm, with wounds to the chest and elbow and a long,
deep cut to a jaw so swollen that he could barely speak. He was spraying the
slogan Zvakwana (Enough!) on a fence one night last week when a gang of
Green Bombers appeared, beat him and left him for dead on the side of the

Mr Mugabe showed last week that his Zanu-PF regime can still control
Zimbabwe by force. The protests were contained with teargas, water cannons,
rifle butts and gunfire, while MDC leaders and activists were beaten and
arrested en masse, cutting off the party's head at a key time. The number
held had reached over 800 late on Friday, according to the independent Daily

Despite his arrest, Mr Tsvangirai still managed to flex the muscle of his
support base - the private sector, unions and urban Zimbabweans - by
freezing the economy, even if he failed to get people to march. Last week
emphasised the country's political stalemate and could push the two sides
into talks.

"The options are limited," said Prof Brian Raftopolous, chair of the Crisis
in Zimbabwe Committee. "The MDC will be looking to see how early talks can
begin, and so will Zanu-PF in future. This week made clear that the status
quo is unsustainable."
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Papers predict Zimbabwe endgame
Saturday's front pages

The Independent believes the endgame has begun for Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe.

Guardian reporter Rory Carroll agrees the regime appears to be unravelling, because he says it is running out of money to fund repression.

Carroll learnt very quickly the choice of paper you read in Zimbabwe could earn you a beating.

He was covering opposition protests in the capital, Harare, when he was surrounded by seven militants loyal to the president.

They thought it was the Daily News, an outspoken critic of Mugabe, and one of the gang raised a stick.

They let him go when they realised it was a different paper, the Zimbabwe Independent, although that too is critical of the government.

Sentencing row

The Times highlights comments by the Lord Chief Justice, suggesting that politicians no longer trust judges to impose the right sentences on criminals.

Speaking to an audience at the prison service college in Rugby, Lord Woolf is reported to have said that too many political initiatives had led to overcrowding in prisons.

Inmates had now stopped going to court for their appeals because they were worried that their cells would be allocated to someone else while they were gone, he said.

Passport 'chaos'

The Daily Mail reports that more rigorous passport checks are to be brought in at British airports to stop terrorist suspects slipping through.

The paper predicts long queues will result and the headline calls the policy "a passport to chaos."

Beach breach

The victory over the paparazzi by the DJ, Sara Cox, is a significant development in the eyes of the media commentator, Roy Greenslade.

Cox won damages from the People after the High Court ruled pictures of her on a private beach infringed her human rights.

Writing in the Guardian, he says other celebrities will now be encouraged to try the courts rather than the Press Complaints Commission.

Turn to the Daily Mirror, though, and the appetite for pictures of famous people on beaches is undiminished.

Page one and three have photos of the singer Rachel Stevens sunbathing - apparently taken by somebody hiding in nearby shrubbery.

Becks 'honour'

The Sun, looking ahead to the Queen's Birthday Honours List this month, says the England football captain, David Beckham, will get an OBE.

The back page suggests that could stand for Order of the Big Earner - saying he's being offered £32m to sign for Barcelona.

The Sun hails Beckham as a role model for a generation, and is appalled at the prospect of losing him to Spain.

It tells his manager at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson, he has a clear duty to the nation: Save our Becks.

Note of discord

A number of the papers report dismay in the Dorset village of Stoke Abbott, where until recently the church bell has been rung 100 times each day at seven in the morning.

That was too early for holiday cottage owners, who persuaded the parish council to give people a lie-in and ring the bell 45 minutes later.

Now the traditionalists in the village are up in arms.

One authority points out the bell used to be rung even earlier - at 5am.

The original cause of all the disharmony appears to be a succinct and sleep-deprived comment in a holiday cottage guest book: "Would you please ring Quasimodo's neck!"

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Sent: Saturday, June 07, 2003 3:56 PM
Subject: Baptism of Fire

Dear Family and Friends,
I'm not really sure where to start in relating the events of the last week in Zimbabwe. By only giving the facts and figures, numbers and statistics, this letter becomes just another horror story from Africa but for the people of Zimbabwe it has been the week from hell. The week began and ended with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai being arrested.  He joins hundreds of others who have been arrested this week, from ordinary men and women to Mayors and Members of Parliament. Hundreds of people were beaten by very nervous police, army and state agents, at least two were killed and we have felt very much like a country at war this week. Harare and Bulawayo have been completely shut down, shops, banks and businesses closed. There have been airforce helicopter gunships, tear gas, water cannons and literally thousands of state agents and militants deployed in and around our towns and cities to stop any people attempting to march for democracy.  There have been reports of horrific barbarity, of a new born baby being tear gassed, of university students having their doors kicked down before being beaten, of a hospital being raided by armed police to stop victims of violence from talking to the press. One man, abducted from his home by state agents, was whipped, kicked, rolled in sewage, beaten again and then left to die. When his friend took him to a clinic, the nurses refused to treat him, saying they were only allowed to treat police and prison officials; the 33 year old man died before an ambulance arrived.
Mid week President Mugabe said that it was "sad" that his security officials had to use force to silence civilians and their "British sponsored opposition party." Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, admitted that the government had bussed in over 2000 youths into Harare to help stop any mass demonstrations before they started. These youths were camped out at the Zanu PF headquarters, and even in residential areas where they were deposited in deserted car parks. On the two days when calls were made for marches, there were reports of groups of 10-15 youths, accompanied by army or police, on every street corner.
Throughout the week our government have stated ad nauseum that the shut down and mass action has been a monumental flop but with each pronouncement they have added a threat. Mini-Bus drivers were ordered to get their vehicles onto the roads or have their permits taken away. Company owners and directors, from bankers to shop keepers, were warned to open up or have their operating licences withdrawn. In Marondera police cruised around with loud hailers ordering businesses to open and people to go to work.
Even though the official week of mass action has come to an end, we all know that it has really just begun because nothing has changed whatsoever. There is still no fuel, no food and no money and no amount of force meted out by our government can change that. The government of Zimbabwe may have squashed people's attempts to demonstrate, but they have not quenched the rapidly swelling tide of discontent and anger among ordinary people. The state and security officials have over reacted to such an extent this week that now the people can see quite clearly just exactly how scared the leaders of Zimbabwe are of their own people. Our opposition MP's and activists have had a baptism of fire this week and yet they have not fought back but have remained dignified, proud and determined to rebuild Zimbabwe into the great country that it is. After 40 months of mayhem, the events in Zimbabwe this week have again shown the world that land and race are not the issues here but only the survival of a political party and their leader.  Until next week, with love, cathy. Copyright cathy buckle, 7th June 2003. 
 "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears" are available in UK, Europe, America and Canada from ; in New Zealand and Australia from and in Africa from and
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ABC Australia

Govt should be doing more in Zimbabwe: Opp
The federal Opposition has accused the Government of failing to act strongly
enough to stop the growing problems in strife-torn Zimbabwe.

Troubles in Zimbabwe are continuing to flare, with Opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai arrested for treason on Friday.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says the arrest of Mr Tsvangirai is

But ALP Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd says the Government's response
is so passive to Zimbabwe, that it flies in the face of its rhetoric on

"It seems that the Howard Government where Mr Howard himself is chairman of
the Commonwealth there is one standard of human rights when it comes to Iraq
and an entirely different standard of human rights when it comes to
Zimbabwe," he said.

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Mugabe accuses Britain and US

By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused Britain
and the United States of instigating a protest drive to topple his
government, as police held main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on a new
treason charge.

Police arrested Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), on Friday after a week of opposition-led protests against Mugabe,
whom critics blame for Zimbabwe's economic decay, food and fuel shortages,
and political turmoil.

On Saturday Mugabe said former colonial power Britain and the United States
were behind the protests and hinted his government would retaliate.

"The actions are blatantly illegal in that they are aimed at an
unconstitutional removal of the country's head of state," he told mourners
at the state funeral of the widow of late Zimbabwean nationalist Joshua

"I hope...the British and the United States embassies realise that as they
sponsor the MDC and instigate it, they are doing so in order to achieve an
illegal objective...and I warn their instigation cannot be tolerated forever
by my government."

Tsvangirai's lawyer Innocent Chagonda told reporters the MDC leader's court
hearing had been postponed from Saturday to Monday, when he is also due to
appear in the High Court for a trial on separate, earlier treason charges of
plotting to kill Mugabe in 2001.

State lawyer Stephen Musona said Saturday's hearing was delayed because the
court was not equipped to record the proceedings, a measure requested by the

State television said police were still looking for MDC Secretary General
Welshman Ncube in connection with the same charges.

Tsvangirai has launched a legal challenge to Mugabe's victory in 2002 polls
both the opposition and several Western countries decried as fraudulent.


Chagonda said Tsvangirai was still being detained and had denied state's
charges that he urged his supporters to oust the 79-year-old Mugabe, in
power since independence from Britain in 1980.

State security forces clamped down on the demonstrations, which faltered
towards the end of the week in the face of tear gas, alleged beatings and
gangs of pro-government youths roving the streets.

Analysts said Tsvangirai's arrest could herald a government swoop on
opposition leaders, but that this might not stem a rising tide of public
anger at a crisis many blame on government mismanagement. Before his arrest
on Friday the opposition leader told journalists the MDC was planning
further protests.

"Mugabe's hand has been somewhat strengthened by his emphatic crushing of
this week's protests but he is not a winner because the suffering of the
people will drive them into more action," said constitutional lawyer and
political commentator Lovemore Madhuku.

Mugabe denies mismanaging the country and charges the economy has been
sabotaged by his local and political opponents in retaliation for his
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution among landless blacks.
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         Zimbabwe Oppo Treason Hearing Postponed to Monday
            Sat June 7, 2003 07:46 AM ET
            By Stella Mapenzauswa
            HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
was held in police custody on Saturday after a court hearing for a newly
recorded treason charge was postponed until Monday, his lawyers said.

            Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
was arrested on Friday after a week of protests against President Robert

            Zimbabwe has been hit by economic decay, food and fuel
shortages, and political turmoil.

            Lawyers told reporters outside Harare magistrates court that the
MDC leader's court hearing had been postponed until Monday, when he is also
due to appear in the High Court for a trial relating to separate treason
charges alleging that he plotted to assassinate Mugabe in 2001.

            "As of now Mr. Tsvangirai is being taken back to the police
station. He is still in the hands of police. They are entitled at law to
hold him up to 48 hours before bringing him to court and the 48 hours is not
yet expired," said Tsvangirai lawyer Innocent Chagonda.

            State lawyers did not say whether Tsvangirai would be held over
the weekend, and it was not clear what would happen to the MDC leader
between the expiry of the 48-hour period on Sunday evening, and the
scheduled Monday court hearing.

            State lawyer Stephen Musona said Saturday's hearing had been
postponed because the court was not suitably equipped to record proceedings,
a measure requested by the defense.

            Tsvangirai accuses Mugabe of being an illegitimate and
increasingly incompetent leader who has ruined the economy, and has launched
a legal challenge to Mugabe's 2002 election in polls widely decried as

            Chagonda said the state's charges alleged that Tsvangirai urged
MDC supporters to take to the streets to oust Mugabe's government, and added
that the MDC leader had denied the allegations.

            "They have made bold allegations, unsubstantiated by any facts.
No quotation has been quoted, attributable to the accused, urging the people
to take to the streets for the purposes of removing the government,"
Chagonda said.

            He added that the defense would apply to the court for
Tsvangirai's release at the next hearing, but said he had heard bail would
be opposed by the state.

            On Friday, 79-year-old Mugabe dismissed what he described as
Tsvangirai's threat of street protests to run him out of office as "stupid
and naive."

            State security forces clamped down on the demonstrations, which
faltered toward the end of the week in the face of tear gas, alleged
beatings and gangs of pro-government youths roving the streets.

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Sky News


An opposition activist in the country who featured in a Sky News report
feels he is now in danger of being targeted by Mugabe's government.
Topper Whitehead and his wife filmed what they said was a Mugabe supporter
attacking them in their car.

The footage shows a man pouring fuel over a moving van and threatening to
set it alight unless the video camera is handed over.

He was finally dislodged from the vehicle after a frantic 20-minute drive
around the streets of Harare.

Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has said anti-government demonstrations
aimed at his removal are illegal and will not be tolerated.

He also accused British and US diplomats in Zimbabwe of encouraging this
week's opposition protests.

The country's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been held in police
custody awaiting a hearing on Monday on a treason charge.

If found guilty, Tsvangirai could face the death sentence.

Police said the move was part of a widespread crackdown on the
anti-government protests.

A spokesman said: "We picked him up in connection with the many statements
he has been making since the presidential elections."

Tsvangirai already faces treason charges in connection with an alleged plot
to kill President Mugabe.

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Zimbabwean president stresses national unity


      Xinhuanet 2003-06-07 01:42:13

        HARARE, June 7 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
said here Saturday that every inch of Zimbabwe belonged to indigenous
Zimbabweans who must be in full and unconditional charge of their resources
and destiny.

        "We agreed that all its resources, principally land, should be owned
and controlled by its indigenous owners," Mugabe said. "We also agreed that
national unity was vital to consolidating our sovereignty and territorial
integrity, and to achieving harmony and peace for development."

        He said Zimbabwe was not for sale and Zimbabweans would not
entertain any compromise of their sovereignty.

        "On this we are firm and steadfast and refuse to entertain any
compromise. That is why we went to war and why so much blood was spilt," he

        He said that this week's mass actions planned by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were a dismal flop and blatantly
illegal in that the MDC was aimed at an unconstitutional removal of the
country's head of state.
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Lawyers for Zimbabwe Opposition Leader to Contest Treason Charge
Peta Thornycroft
07 Jun 2003, 13:28 UTC

Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is charged with treason,
was taken to court by police on Saturday, but his case was postponed until
Monday. Mr. Tsvangirai's lawyers said they were going to demand that the
treason charge be thrown out of court for lack of evidence.

Harare's magistrates court was surrounded by riot police early Saturday,
ahead of Mr. Tsvangirai's arrival. But before formal charges could be
lodged, his defense team said the case could not proceed because the
courtroom had no tape recording equipment.

The result is that Mr. Tsvangirai is to spend the weekend in a police cell,
to appear again in court on Monday. He was arrested on Friday shortly after
addressing journalists and diplomats at the end of five days of protests and
a national strike called by the Movement for Democratic Change that he

Police say Mr. Tsvangirai has completed a statement, denying the treason
charge. Lawyers said Saturday the charge against him is without foundation,
as the state has produced no quotes to prove that Mr. Tsvangirai called for
the overthrow of President Robert Mugabe.

The state insists that he did this, in May, at two public rallies he held in
Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, and in Mutare, on the border with

Mr. Tsvangirai is no stranger to prison. He has been arrested several times
over the last 14 years, and there have been several attempts on his life.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe has reacted strongly to the strike that
virtually paralyzed Zimbabwe's industry and shut down many commercial
enterprises. He told villagers in rural Zimbabwe that there would be
"retribution" in the coming weeks against businesses, which closed down, and
against schools, which failed to open.

At a state funeral on Saturday, Mr. Mugabe accused British and United States
diplomats stationed in Zimbabwe of assisting the opposition's protests.

He said the two countries were acting, in his words, "illegally on our soil.
I warn that their instigations cannot be tolerated forever by my

Mr. Tsvangirai heads the first political party to seriously challenge Mr.
Mugabe's 23-year rule, and he has accused it of being a puppet of the

After police and the army cracked down on demonstrators last Monday, Mr.
Mugabe said action against protesters was regrettable but necessary to
maintain peace and security.

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Observer  Editorial
It's time for Mr Mugabe to go

Thursday, June 05, 2003

PEOPLE who actively supported the southern African struggles against
institutionalised racism and white minority rule are likely to be deeply
hurt, ashamed even, by the antics of Mr Robert Mugabe, the president of

Jamaicans, and West Indians in general, would be counted among these people.
Race and history would have made people of this region empathetic with the
peoples not only of Zimbabwe but all of southern Africa, including South
Africa, Namibia, Angola and Mozambique.

But as we have explained before, there developed a qualitative difference in
our perception of Jamaica's involvement in the Zimbabwean struggle and the
country's final move to independence.

At the 1979 Commonwealth Summit, Michael Manley, then the Jamaican prime
minister, was one of those who pressed Britain's Margaret Thatcher into
accepting a Zimbabwean independence, leading to the end of the 'bush war'
and Mr Mugabe's eventual ascension to power. Bob Marley, the Jamaican reggae
singer, whose revolutionary music was inspirational in resisting white rule,
was specially invited to perform at Zimbabwe's independence celebrations. It
was to be among Marley's last major performances before his death, and
served to further cement the Jamaica/Zimbabwe relationship beyond what
happens at the formal state level.

Zimbabwe began its independence with much promise, not withstanding a few
lop-sided arrangements to appease the old order. But we had all assumed that
Robert Mugabe stood on a higher moral plane. History and circumstance had
ordained it so.

As it has turned out Mr Mugabe, the bush war hero, has feet of clay. But
worse, he has become that much caricatured leader in the post-colonial
period. He represents a political process encased in venality, while the
society crumbles around him.

Mr Mugabe has attempted to mask his final, and absolute, corruption by
playing to the legitimate issue of landlessness among the country's black ma
jority population. It is a fact that a handful of white farmers controls
over 90 per cent of the country's best land, the spoils of colonial
conquest. It is beyond debate that reform is necessary.

But in Mr Mugabe's hands the land issue is chimera. It is not a genuine
attempt of a modern, tolerant and democratic society to come to grips with a
real problem. Rather, Robert Mugabe has found a theme which he can milk
linguistically for the perpetuation of his own power.

He in the process, declared a willingness to trample the rights of his
people and undermine institutions, most of which survive as mere facades.

Mr Mugabe does more. He marches on his people's future and on our own
dreams. He diminishes Zimbabwe as well as those who also felt that the
struggle was also theirs. He weakens the Diaspora.

Mr Patterson, our own prime minister, should rally his Caribbean Community
counterparts for our region to publicly tell Mr Mugabe that he has become
not only a liability to his own people, but a public embarrassment. They
must advise him that it is time to go.

Except for the views expressed in the columns above, the articles published
on this page do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the
Jamaica Observer.
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The Washington Times

Paper chase on Zimbabwe

Published June 6, 2003

    Zimbabwe has been the subject of much handwringing and commiseration. During the Group of Eight meeting this week, leaders of the world's richest nations, eager not to discuss the vulnerabilities in the global economy, focused, for a moment, on Zimbabwe, declaring their concern over "reports of further violence by the authorities in Zimbabwe against their own people."
    The State Department, meanwhile, has released similar-sounding communiques. On Monday, after strikes and protests launched by Zimbabweans were brutally broken up by security forces and renegade militias, the State Department condemned "government's heavy-handed intimidation and suppression." It also said it was "very concerned about reports of mistreatment of leaders" of the opposition.
    Sadly, Zimbabwe's leader-by-fraud Robert Mugabe accurately interpreted the G8's and America's concern and condemnations as little more than rhetorical flourishes. As Zimbabwe's hospitals have reportedly filled up with badly beaten strikers and protesters, the United States and the rest of the international community have failed to act. The country's lead opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been tossed in prison and charged with treason, for no other apparent reason than calling on his countrymen to protest Mr. Mugabe's illegitimate rule.
    South Africa, the region's power broker, has limited itself to calling on Mr. Mugabe to open talks with opposition members, but has failed to hold Mr. Mugabe in any way accountable. While Mr. Mugabe goes on shopping sprees to South Africa, enjoying the fruits of stability and democracy, the people of Zimbabwe suffer Mr. Mugabe's rule, unable to find or afford food. Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe is now wracked with food shortages and hunger. Due to the soaring unemployment and inflation, which has hit 265 percent, many people who were once middle class can't pay for food.
    At the barest minimum, the United States and the European Union, which have carefully tailored sanctions against Mr. Mugabe and his cronies, must mobilize their considerable clout to press South Africa and other African governments to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on high-ranking government officials. But even that will almost surely be insufficient. It is sadly ever more clear that only military intervention by responsible African governments will end the murderous and destructive regime of Robert Mugabe.

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