The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

ALERT - Zimbabwean opposition and civic leaders tortured

----- Original Message -----
From: violet@swradioafrica.com
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2007 8:01 PM
Subject: ALERT - Zimbabwean opposition and civic leaders tortured

Friends and Colleagues:
Here is the latest on the arrested Zimbabwe opposition and civic leaders. An opposition official told the BBC's Radio 4 this morning that†opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai had been beaten unconscious by police. It's reported he was taken to hospital and cannot walk and has swollen eyes.†† Violet.
Below is an update from the†CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE COALITION - MONDAY††

Alert

Zimbabweís detention diary

The Catalyst team notes with dismay the wanton assault of the Save Zimbabwe leadership in police detention on the night of 11 March 2007.

Morgan Tsvangirai is reported to have passed out three times and sustained a swollen head and body, with difficulty in talking and seeing. Lovemore Madhuku has a fractured arm and was plastered at Parirenyatwa Hospital at 0400 hours.

Nelson Chamisa, Mike Davies and Elton Mangoma are reported to be at the infamous Goromonzi torture center where they have also been seriously tortured. Arthur Mutambara and Tendai Bitiís locations have not been ascertained.19 of the detainees are at Harare Central Police Station whilst the rest of the leadership and activists are dotted around the greater Harare police stations in Southerton, Rhodesview, Warren Park, Highlands and Chitungwiza.

Meanwhile, in Glen View 3, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and well-wishers are in sorrow mourning the death of Gift Tandare who was murdered by police on Sunday 11 March. He has left behind his wife and three children, all in primary school.

There is a press conference in Harare this morning the Catalyst shall deliver alerts every four hours.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Police 'assaulted opposition party leader in cells' after arrest at Zimbabwe rally

The Scotsman

JANE FIELDS IN HARARE
ZIMBABWEAN opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was severely assaulted, it
was claimed yesterday, after he was arrested along with scores of supporters
as they tried to hold a prayer rally in an impoverished township in Harare.

The arrests sparked a series of cat-and-mouse battles between youths and
police in the Highfield suburb, during which one man was shot dead.

Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was
detained around midday as he attempted to negotiate with police for
permission to attend the rally in Highfield, a party official said.

The event was organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a grouping of
churches and civic groups keen to see an end to Zimbabwe's worsening crisis.

By calling the event a prayer rally, the organisers had hoped to circumvent
a ban on political gatherings imposed by president Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF
government.

But riot police were out in force in southern Harare from early yesterday.
They sealed off all roads leading to Highfield, which Mr Mugabe, 83,
considers his home suburb. Police lorries and Land Rovers were seen
patrolling nearby.

When Mr Tsvangirai arrived with other officials and clergy to try to
negotiate a way through the barriers with police, they were arrested.

The opposition leader was "severely assaulted" by police in cells, Professor
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, the MDC's secretary for international relations,
said.

And he added: "The lawyers we sent to him were also severely assaulted."

Prof Mukonoweshuro said he was concerned about Mr Tsvangirai's fate. "I am
very concerned because of the level of police brutality. They were going to
attend a meeting that was organised by a group of churches. This was not a
political rally," he said.

It was also reported that Arthur Mutambara, the head of a smaller MDC
faction, was arrested, along with Lovemore Madhuku, of the National
Constitutional Assembly, Mike Davies, of the Combined Harare Residents
Association, and scores of officials.

There were unconfirmed reports that police later attacked Highfield
residents.

"Police are moving into people's residential houses and beating up the young
men," Prof Mukonoweshuro said.

However, a police spokesman said that one man was shot and killed when 200
opposition party "thugs" attacked about 20 police officers, three of whom
were taken to hospital.

He added that Mr Tsvangirai and the other top party officials were arrested
as they "instigated people to come out and commit acts of violence".

A spokesman for Mr Mutambara said his arrest "would only serve to strengthen
our resolve in the demand for a new democratic dispensation".

"We will not be deterred by Zanu-PF machinations of stripping the people of
their inalienable rights," said Welshman Ncube.

Despite its links with Mr Mugabe, Highfield has been a hotbed of opposition
support since the MDC was formed in 1999. The Zanu-PF government is coming
under increasing threat from dissatisfied Zimbabweans.

ECONOMIC CRISIS
TENSION is rising in Zimbabwe, where worsening living conditions are giving
the opposition new courage to confront Robert Mugabe's autocratic rule.

This week, the annual inflation rate surged to 1,729.9 per cent, a new
record for the once-prosperous country.

Meanwhile the government admitted at the weekend that it was facing a maize
deficit, saying it would harvest only 600,000 tonnes of the staple crop this
year, just one-third of its needs.

Mr Mugabe refuses to acknowledge that his chaotic programme of land seizures
has precipitated the drop in agricultural yields, blaming drought instead.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Free Tsvangirai, US urges

news.com.au

From correspondents in Washington

March 12, 2007 09:43am

Article from: Agence France-Presse
Font size: + -

Send this article: Print Email

THE United States called today for the immediate release of Zimbabwean
opposition leaders detained after riot police thwarted a planned mass
protest against President Robert Mugabe's government.

"The United States government condemns the brutal and unwarranted actions of
the government of Zimbabwe March 11 in attacking its citizens peacefully
gathered to exercise their legitimate democratic rights at a prayer meeting
in the Harare suburb of Highfield," State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said.

The US embassy reported that one person was killed, "a number" were injured
and 100 people were arrested, including Zimbabwe's main opposition leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr McCormack said.

"Police have refused to inform lawyers of the whereabouts of those arrested,
including Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara; and Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional
Assembly," he said.

"We hold President Robert Mugabe and the government of Zimbabwe accountable
for the government's actions today and for the safety and wellbeing of those
in custody," he said.

"We call for the immediate release of those detained and for the provision
of medical treatment for those injured," Mr McCormack said.

Mr Tsvangirai was one of dozens of MDC officials and activists detained in
the Highfields area after they tried to defy a ban on protests in the
capital.

The police also confirmed they had shot dead an MDC activist whom they
claimed had ignored warning shots as he threatened a group of officers.

The fatal shooting and arrests further inflamed opinion among opponents of
83-year-old Mr Mugabe as he voiced ambitions for another term in office.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New Zealand condemns Zimbabwe opposition arrests

The Raw Story

dpa German Press Agency
††††† Published: Monday March 12, 2007

Wellington- New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark
condemned the arrest of Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
as "disgraceful" on Monday.
"It confirms everything we know about Zimbabwe as in effect a
dictatorship," she told her weekly news conference, predicting that
Prime Minister Robert Mugabe would face enormous international
criticism for the act.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters issued a statement
saying the arrest of Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic
Change colleagues was another sign of the desperation of the Mugabe
regime.

"The situation in Zimbabwe is appalling," Peters said. "Many
Zimbabweans cannot feed themselves in a country that was once the
food basket of Africa.

"Mugabe's regime, through its mismanagement, is responsible for
this tragedy, and its answer to legitimate and understandable
political protest continues to be violent repression.

"It is time for Robert Mugabe to act in the interests of all
Zimbabweans. It is quite clear that while he maintains his current
course the disaster he has imposed on his country will only deepen,"
Peters said.

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Shortages spawn burgeoning blackmarket in Zimbabwe

Yahoo News

by Fanuel Jongwe

HARARE (AFP) - A few yards past the "No Fuel" sign posted outside the gas
station in downtown Harare, a furtive-looking teenager frantically mimed the
shape of a jerrycan to passing motorists.

"It's a means of livelihood for us," said the 19-year-old, who only gave his
name as Norman, after swiftly pocketing a wad of dollar bills in exchange
for a precious few litres of fuel.
"We get arrested and still come back. There are no jobs so this is the only
means of survival for us."

Zimbabweans may be reeling from acute shortage in the shops of basic
commodities including foodstuffs such as cooking oil, milk and sugar as well
as fuel, laundry soap and foreign currency.

But for those who can still afford it, a thriving black market means that
they do not necessarily have to go without.

The official price for petrol or diesel is 350 Zimbabwe dollars (1.4 US
dollars, about one euro) a litre but Norman and his friends sell at up to
8,000 dollars, enabling desperate motorists to avoid the interminable queues
at the few stations that still have gas in their pumps.

Similar mark-ups for basic goods can also be seen in "open air supermarkets"
which have sprung up the fringes of the capital where one is certain to find
most of the goods unavailable in the stores.

In the largest of these new markets, an old bus depot on the road linking
Harare to Johannesburg has been transformed into a bazaar where cross-border
traders returning from South Africa try to hawk their merchandise.

Scores of vendors milled around the open space or sat behind makeshift
stalls on upturned buckets or piles of bricks, exhorting potential customers
to come and choose from an array of scarce commodities on sale at nearly 10
times the official price.

"These are just a few samples," said Paul Zhemi pointing to bars of soap and
bottles of cooking oil.

"But we have got as many cartons of cooking oil or soap as you want. We even
supply some of the leading supermarkets."

Meanwhile, Taurai Kativhu, a manager with a supermarket in Harare's upmarket
Avenues area, cannot remember when his store last received deliveries of
sugar or cooking oil from local suppliers.

Rows of tinned vegetables have taken up a section normally reserved for
sugar while a shelf where cooking oil used to be stocked has been allotted
to food for pets and poultry.

"It must be more than a year since we got cooking oil deliveries from local
manufacturers and sugar, about three months," said Kativhu. "When we get
supplies they are snapped up within minutes."

Zimbabwe's economy has been on downward spiral in the last six years,
characterised by runaway inflation and perennial shortages of basic
commodities.

Its annual rate of inflation, already the highest in the world, hit 1,593
percent in January while analysts project it will end the year at 4,000
percent.

To make matters worse, the monthly average bill for urban households shot up
by 49.5 percent in February to 686,115 Zimbabwe dollars for a family of six,
according to the main consumer watchdog.

Analysts have described the failing economy as the "invisible opposition"
posing the greatest threat to veteran President Robert Mugabe after a
government crackdown on political rivals.

"The economy is the invisible force putting pressure on government at the
moment in the absence of real political opposition," said University of
Zimbabwe political science professor Eldred Masunungure.

Observers say shortages have partly been due to the government setting
prices of basic commodities which producers say are not viable.

Many bakeries halted production of loaves of bread last month, saying the
government price did not cover their cost. They did however continue baking
cakes and buns whose prices are not determined by the authorities.

"A lot of goods are not on the shelves because manufacturers don't have the
liberty to adjust prices," Mara Hativagone, president of the Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce told AFP.

"The manufacturers don't find any economic sense in selling at a loss so
they just stop producing."

Companies are also battling to secure scarce foreign currency to import
machinery or spares for their plants, she said.

The United States dollar is pegged at 250 dollars at the official rate while
fetching 7,500 dollars on the black market, and importers often turn to the
blackmarket when they fail to secure foreign currency from banks.

"Anybody who goes into business wants the business to be viable and to be
able to make profit," Best Doro, an economist with a leading finance group
said.

"If manufacturers are not allowed to charge prices that enable them to
remain viable the result is shortages which fuel the black market.

"You can control or put other mechanisms in place, but without addressing
the pricing issue the shortages will persist."

The government imposed price controls nearly four years to stem out a
flourishing black market of scarce commodities.

Several business people including two leading bakers were recently detained
for breaching the price ceiling and released after several days after paying
fines or depositing bail.

The state plans to pass a new National Incomes and Pricing Commission act to
facilitate to appointment of a body to monitor and control prices and
salaries and crack down on black marketeers.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bob's $40m bail-out

Mail and Guardian

†††††

††††† John Grobler | Windhoek

††††† 11 March 2007 11:59

††††††††††† Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has bought himself a few more
months' financial wiggle room after Namibia granted him soft loans worth
US$40-million last week.

††††††††††† During Mugabe's four-day state visit to Namibia, the Namibian
government announced that its power utility, Nampower, was to loan between
$30- and $40-million to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) to
rehabilitate its Hwange thermal power station and national power grid.

††††††††††† In return for the loan, Namibia is to receive between 40MW and
150MW of electricity from Zimbabwe per month from January next year. This
would act as a possible substitute for the estimated 40% of its electricity
supplies currently imported from South Africa's Eskom, officials said at the
signing of the electricity agreement.

††††††††††† But critics questioned Zimbabwe's costing of the rehabilitation
project and how the cash-strapped Harare regime would use the money,
pointing out that Zimbabwe has been defaulting on similar loans for years.

††††††††††† Zesa, which also imports about 40% of its requirements from
Eskom, owes the South African power utility an estimated R2,4-billion in
unpaid electricity imports.

††††††††††† Last year, Zimbabwe borrowed $6-million from China for a similar
Hwange upgrade and still owes the European Investment Bank for a ?12-million
loan issued in 1999 for rehabilitating parts of its electricity grid.

††††††††††† Prior to Mugabe's visit, Mines and Energy Minister Errki
Nghimtina, a key ally of former Namibian president Sam Nujoma, had warned in
Parliament that "South Africa could cut us off anytime", seemingly laying
the political groundwork for the loan.

††††††††††† The visit, Mugabe's third since President Hifikepunye Pohamba
took over from Nujoma in 2005, also saw Namibia and Zimbabwe conclude a
double-taxation agreement that was apparently aimed at the growing number of
Zimbabwean economic immigrants employed in Namibia.

††††††††††† Mugabe also announced during the visit that oil deliveries "on
very favourable terms" from Equatorial Guinea had commenced recently, adding
that Zimbabwe would only have to pay for the oil every three months.

††††††††††† In 2004, the Mugabe government arrested a multinational group of
coup plotters heading to Equatorial Guinea to overthrow the regime of
Teodoro Obiang Nguema. The group, headed by Simon Mann, had stopped in
Zimbabwe to purchase weapons. Mann still remains in prison in Zimbabwe and
is currently fighting the Equatorial Guinean government's attempts to have
him extradited.

††††††††††† Namibia's nascent diamond cutting industry also appeared to have
offered some financial hope to the Zimbabwean strongman. Last month, Mugabe
nationalised the Marange diamond mines after concerns over illegally mined
diamonds entering the legal market were raised by international watchdog
bodies.

††††††††††† In an apparent response, officials from Lev Leviev Diamond (LLD)
travelled to Harare for a high-level meeting the weekend before Mugabe's
Namibian visit, during which he also visited LLD's plant in Windhoek.

††††††††††† Addressing the local business chamber -- where the private
sector was noticeably absent -- Mugabe suggested that the regional diamond
producers club together to form their own diamond marketing monopoly.

††††††††††† "What will the world do? They will have to get married without
earrings," a laughing Mugabe said as his audience nervously sniggered.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe's middle-class moonlighters

From The Sunday Times (SA), 11 March

Sunday Times Foreign Desk

Once he used to spend more than nine hours on the job, getting to work
before 8am and diligently working till 5pm. But these days, Stanley
Kambarami, 45, only puts in a full day at the office when he has to attend
the monthly management meeting. Yet Kambarami, a systems administrator with
a leading printing and publishing firm, does not spend his days in idleness.
For the past two years, the father of one has spent his working days in what
he considers to be a far more productive way - trying desperately to survive
Zimbabwe's dramatic economic downturn. Instead of plugging away at the job
he was once so proud of, he now spends his days in long, winding queues
buying basic commodities to stock the illegal tuck shop his wife, Betty,
runs from the back of their house in Mabelreign, one of Harare's
middle-income suburbs. "I am forced to indulge in degrading and menial jobs
because things are tight," he says.

When he started at his job in 1995, Kambarami earned Z28000, more than
enough for the sort of lifestyle that included taking his wife out for
dinner and having a regular drink at the Harare Sports Club after work.
Today, his salary is not enough to cover his monthly electricity and water
bills and fuel for his one-ton bakkie - let alone food or his daughter's
annual private school fees of Z1.8-million. The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe
says a family of five now needs 686115 (R4567) for a basket of basic
commodities, up from 458986 (R3060) just a month ago. Kambarami cannot
afford to lose his meagre salary by spending too much time away from work,
but he sees no other option - especially as he is convinced his bosses spend
much of their own time concentrating on their farms. "This is the only way
to survive," he says. "I can't eat my degree. Most people survive by hook or
crook."

Another tactic he is being forced to employ more often is bribing
supermarket managers to ensure he has supplies for the tuck shop. "That's
how you have to survive in this economy. You scratch my back, I scratch your
back," he says. His part-time activities do not mean that the Kambaramis -
who also travel to South Africa and Botswana once a month to buy supplies -
are better off than most Zimbabweans. For the family, milk, margarine and
jam are considered luxuries, and a square meal is rare. Shampoo, sanitary
towels and nail polish have long disappeared from their home. Education,
too, is becoming a luxury. After being informed by his daughter's school
that it would have to raise its fees by Z1-million this year, Kambarami is
now preparing to move Mellissa, 13, to a state school. "I chose the school
because it offers the best education. I didn't think things would get this
bad," he says.

When all their efforts to survive aren't enough, the Kambaramis borrow
heavily from relatives and friends to stock up. Once their fridge was
auctioned off after they failed to pay back a small loan. "We are used to
[ summonses]," says Betty. "In this economy, you rob Peter to pay Paul." It
is not only the Kambaramis who are battling to survive, of course. Their
neighbour, Lucy Gore, left her job as a primary school teacher to become a
full-time foreign currency dealer in the flourishing black market to make
ends meet. As a result, Gore has been arrested and appeared in court for
illegally trading in foreign currency more times than she can count. But
jail is a small price to pay for being able to keep her head above water,
says the mother of two. "This way at least I can afford to put food on the
table."

Back to the Top
Back to Index