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Mugabe rival has surgery after beating

The Times
March 13, 2007

Jen Redshaw in Harare
The leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party needed hospital treatment for
severe head injuries after police beat him following his arrest at a prayer
rally on Sunday, his party said.

Morgan Tsvangirai required surgery to his wounds at Parirenyatwa Hospital in
Harare early yesterday, said an official from his Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC).

The MDC leader was arrested in the impoverished township of Highfields where
he had gone to attend a prayer rally. Dozens of opposition officials, rights
activists and churchmen were also detained.

Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, a party spokesman, said that Mr Tsvangirai's wife,
Susan, had been allowed to take her husband food yesterday after he was
returned to police cells.

Mrs Tsvangirai was traumatised by the sight of her husband's injuries,
Professor Mukonoweshuro said. "It was fortunate that she went to see him
with other party members and not with her children."
The former trade unionist had a "very deep wound" to his head, Professor
Mukonoweshuro said. "He can hardly eat and hardly talk. In fact it was an
attempted murder." Mr Tsvangirai had fainted three times while police were
beating him, he said.

Police seized the opposition leaders as they tried to negotiate for
permission to hold a prayer rally in Highfields. All political meetings have
been banned in and around the capital as threats to President Mugabe's
27-year hold on power mount.

The Opposition blames Mr Mugabe for plunging this once-prosperous and
peaceful country into a rapidly worsening economic and political crisis. The
ageing ruler further angered opponents this week when it emerged he was
seeking to postpone the end of his Presidential term from next year to 2010.

The Save Zimbabwe Campaign, which called Sunday's rally, had hoped to
circumvent the ban by scheduling prayers after every speaker. Police said
that they had arrested the opposition leader and his colleagues because they
were "inciting people to engage in violent activities".

Other opposition officials detained on Sunday were also reported to have
been severely assaulted. Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly, had his hand broken and was also taken for hospital

There were fears for the safety of Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesman, and
Mike Davies, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association.
They were reported to have been transferred to a police torture centre in
Goromonzi, 20 miles from Harare.

There was no information on the whereabouts of a second opposition leader,
Arthur Mutambara, who was arrested with Mr Tsvangirai. Mr Mutambara heads a
faction of the MDC that broke away from Mr Tsvangirai in late 2005 after an
argument over whether the party should participate in polls for a new

Tensions were high in central Harare yesterday. Armed riot police patrolled
the main shopping area, apparently fearing unrest.

Violence erupted in Highfields late on Sunday, rippling through at least two
other suburbs. Police shot one man dead. Police said that he was part of a
gang that had stoned a shopping centre patrol. He has been named as Gift
Tandare, a married father of three.

Three police officers were also reported injured after they were overpowered
by youths who stoned and kicked them. Police said that the youths had used
children as shields.

A pregnant woman was reported to have miscarried after youths attacked a bus
ferrying mourners home from a funeral at Granville Cemetery. The youths
stopped the bus and frisked the passengers, stealing their mobile phones,
the state-owned Herald said.

Tempers have reached boiling point among Zimbabwe's urban working class,
inflamed by a cocktail of soaring prices, shortages of basics such as
cooking oil and the staple mealie-meal, and increasing state repression.
Unemployment is running at more than 70 per cent, leaving a generation of
educated twentysome-things frustrated and angry.

- 12 independent political parties that have ceased to contest elections in
Zimbabwe since 2000

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URGENT MESSAGE – London demo on Wednesday









Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai beaten, hurt in custody-lawyer

Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:41AM GMT

HARARE, March 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was severely assaulted in detention and had to be taken to
hospital for treatment following his arrest on Sunday over a banned prayer
rally, his lawyer said. "He was in bad shape, he was swollen very badly. He
was bandaged on the head. You couldn't distinguish between the head and the
face and he could not see properly," Innocent Chagonda, an attorney, told
Reuters after visiting a Harare police station where Tsvangirai was being

Chagonda said he had not spoken to Tsvangirai, who heads the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), because police had denied lawyers access to the
dozens of opposition and civic leaders arrested in the crackdown on
anti-government forces.

"I managed to see him from about 10 metres inside the police holding fence
at Borrowdale Police Station. They were being paraded," he said.

"Police confirmed they had taken him to hospital last night, which explains
the reason he was bandaged," Chagonda added.

A spokesman for National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a political pressure
group, said its chairman, Lovemore Madhuku, suffered a broken arm and a bad
head wound after being taken into police custody.

"I saw him at Parirenyatwa Hospital (in Harare) this morning, and his arm is
now in a plaster and the head wound is quite bad," NCA spokesman Ernest
Mudzengi said.

The organisers of the prayer rally, which was stopped by the police because
it violated a three-month government ban on such protests, said Tsvangirai
fainted three times after being beaten while Madhuku passed out and was
rushed to hospital.

The welfare of Arthur Mutambara, who heads a breakaway faction of the MDC
and was among those arrested on Sunday, was unclear, his lawyer Harrison
Nkomo said.

The arrests of the opposition leaders, which were condemned by the United
States government, came amid rising tensions in Zimbabwe over a deepening
economic crisis and President Robert Mugabe's rule.

Zimbawe, once one of Africa's most prosperous countries, is struggling with
inflation over 1,700 percent, sky-high unemployment and chronic shortages of
food, fuel and foreign currency.

Mugabe, in power since the country won independence from Britain in 1980,
was quoted by a state-run newspaper on Monday as saying he would run again
for president if his ruling ZANU-PF party nominated him.

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LATEST UPDATE: Save Zimbabwe Campaign press statement

Details are still coming in and we are trying to verify information as it comes in. It's reported opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is  STILL in police custody - Reports coming in say he has been badly beaten...   Violet

 Below is an update from the SAVE ZIMBABWE CAMPAIGN  organisers of Sunday's prayer meeting.


Proverbs 29 v 2 “ When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked are in power, the people mourn.’’
In a typical fascist behavior and reminiscent of Rhodesian political thuggery, the Zimbabwean police thoroughly assaulted leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Convention while in custody contrary to the provisions of the law and international statutes governing the treatment of detainees.
In addition to the killing of Gift Tandare, a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activist by the regime’s murderous police in Highfields on 11 March 2007, reports received this morning indicate that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) President Morgan Tsvangirai, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Chairman Lovemore Madhuku, Nelson Chamisa, the  Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana , Mike Davis the Chairperson of the Combined Harare  Residents Association (CHRA) and Elton Mangoma the MDC deputy treasurer were tortured in custody.
There are disturbing reports that Professor Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the MDC pro-senate group is missing and his condition could not be ascertained amid these wanton attacks against the leadership of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. The same status surrounds Tendai Biti, the secretary general of the anti-senate MDC who was arrested together with Mutambara.
Save Zimbabwe Campaign, comprising labour unions, students, churches, youths, women’s organizations and political parties had organized the prayer meeting for Zimbabweans to meditate on the social, economic and political problems afflicting the country.
Among the Save Zimbabwe Campaign leaders arrested were, Nelson Chamisa, Job Sikhala, Morgan Changamire, Grace Kwinje, Willas Madzimure, Alois Dzvairo, Madock Chivasa and Mike Davies. Also arrested were Gladys Hlatywayo, Manex Mawuya, Rashid Mahiya and several students from the University of Zimbabwe.
The Save Zimbabwe Campaign is utterly shocked at the heavy-handed manner in which police quashed what was meant to be a peaceful prayer session. We are further shocked by the brazen assault of Save Zimbabwe Campaign leaders, including MDC leader Tsvangirai. Harrison Nkomo, a human rights lawyer was also brutally assaulted on top of being denied access to give legal assistance to the arrested activists.
As the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, we view yesterday’s events as yet another testimony to a deepening national crisis. The death of Tandare, arrests and torture of Save Zimbabwe Campaign activists open yet another sad chapter in the country’s unfolding history. It is unfortunate that precious lives continue to be lost for the furtherance of selfish political interests.
Lawyers of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign who visited the detainees report that Tsvangirai fainted three times after severe beatings by the police while Madhuku passed out and was rushed to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare for urgent medical attention early this morning.
In Highfields, the police last night were assaulting ordinary citizens in the suburb for allegedly supporting opposition politicians and the organizers of the rally. It is reported that several people were injured during the melee instigated by the State.
In the interests of peace and national development, we call upon the Minister of Home Affairs to unconditionally release all the political detainees. Our position on the development of Zimbabwe remains that we need a new democratic constitution leading to free and fair elections in 2008. Shedding blood of innocent Zimbabweans is retrogressive and inimical to the virtues of the liberation struggle.
As the nation mourns another lost life, the people of Zimbabwe and the international community are urged to continue rallying behind the cause for a democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. The death of Tandare and yesterday’s arrests will take the people’s agenda forward. Our just, legitimate and peaceful struggle will not cease until a new, free, prosperous and democratic dispensation unfolds in Zimbabwe.
Save Zimbabwe Information Center
Issued on 12 March 2006

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Zimbabwe opposition and civic leaders tortured in detention


By Violet Gonda
12 March 2007
Shocking reports emerged Monday saying several opposition and civic leaders who where arrested on Sunday were tortured in police custody. The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, who have been monitoring the arrests and trying to send food into the prisons for those in detention, say it’s been difficult to locate the detainees as the police keep moving them from one detention centre to another.
Pedzisai Ruhanya a journalist and officer with the Coalition gave us a run down on the status and whereabouts of some of the political detainees. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is said to have been beaten unconscious and could not walk. He is currently at Borrowdale police station.
NCA chairperson Dr Lovemore Madhuku sustained deep lacerations on the scalp and a fractured arm. Although he was taken to Parirenyatwa Hospital for urgent treatment on Monday morning, the civic leader was taken back to Marlborough police station.
The leader of the other MDC, Professor Arthur Mutambara is detained at Avondale police station. Ruhanya said: “We understand he is being ill-treated there and we are told Professor Mutambara is not eating. I think he is refusing to eat protesting against his detention.’
Lawyers and visitors are being refused access to the detainees. At the time of broadcast lawyers Innocent Chagonda and Beatrice Mtetwa were preparing an urgent High Court application to get access and independent medical treatment for the victims.
The Coalition said they know of between 30 and 40 people who were arrested but it’s believed there are many others.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights issued a statement calling for the immediate release to a medical facility for urgent medical treatment of injured opposition and civic leaders. The group said: “The lives of those arrested and tortured continue to be threatened by refusal of access to medical treatment.”
Some of the officials arrested include Tsvangirai MDC secretary general Tendai Biti who is being held at Rhodesville. The Coalition said Grace Kwinjeh, the Tsvangirai MDC deputy secretary for International Relations, is reported to be in a critical state after sustaining head injuries. Kwinjeh is being held at the notorious Braeside police station with 4 other detainees.

There are also serious concerns about the health of MDC official Sekai Holland who is being held at Avondale police station.
Ruhanya said: “At Highlands police station there is Nelson Chamisa (spokesperson & MP) and Mike Davies from the Harare Combined Residents Association. I am told these two guys were assaulted at Goromonzi torture camps… and have now been moved to Highlands. We have not been allowed to talk to them or see them but we left food for them.”
Meanwhile the Save Zimbabwe Campaign said: “In a typical fascist behaviour and reminiscent of Rhodesian political thuggery, the Zimbabwean police thoroughly assaulted leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Convention while in custody contrary to the provisions of the law and international statutes governing the treatment of detainees.”
Among the Save Zimbabwe Campaign leaders arrested were, Morgan Changamire, Willas Madzimure (MP), Alois Dzvairo, Madock Chivasa, Elton Mangoma and Tsvangirai’s personal assistant William Bango. Also arrested were Gladys Hlatywayo, Manex Mawuya, Frank Chamunorwa, Linos Mushonga, Godfrey Gumbo, Clever Kafero.
MDC and NCA activist Gift Tandari was shot dead on Sunday. He leaves behind a wife and three children. One observer said: “I certainly hope that the funeral for poor Tandari is going to be a huge gathering for all of us who demand democracy. I hope that all those involved in the opposition to this criminal regime make full use of this mindless killing to achieve every degree of discomfort to Mugabe and his criminals. It would be no less than Tandari himself would have wanted.”
Meanwhile the U.S. government has issued a statement condemning the arrests of the political & civic leaders and has called for the immediate release of those detained.

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Amnesty International: Calls investigation into killing of activist and release of peaceful protestors

   AI Index: AFR 46/001/2007        12 March 2007


AI Index: AFR 46/001/2007 (Public)
News Service No: 049
12 March 2007

Amnesty International today demanded an immediate investigation into the
killing of Gift Tandare, a Zimbabwean activist shot dead by riot police
yesterday at a demonstration in Harare.

The organization also expressed serious concern for the welfare of Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) leaders Morgan Tsvangirai, currently in
detention at Borrowdale Police Station, and Arthur Mutambara, detained at
Avondale Police Station. Both have been severely beaten while in police

Other leaders, including Tendai Biti, the Secretary General of the
Tsvangirai-led MDC; Grace Kwinje, the Party's Deputy Secretary for
International Relations; and Nelson Chamisa, spokesperson for the MDC, have
also sustained severe injuries while in police custody. Grace Kwinje is
reported to have lost part of her ear as a result of the beatings.

Amnesty International called for all detainees who engaged in non-violent
protest to be released immediately.

"We are calling on the Zimbabwean government to immediately release all
those arrested for peaceful protests," said Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of
Amnesty International's Africa Programme. "The killing of Gift Tandare must
be investigated immediately and the perpetrators bough to justice. The
government must also guarantee the safety and well-being of all those in
police custody. All detainees should be given immediate access to their
lawyers and medical care."

The killing of Gift Tandare took place during a protest against a police ban
on all peaceful demonstrations in Harare's low income suburb of Highfield.
The demonstration was organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

Lovemore Madhuku, chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
is in detention at Malborough Police Station and has also been severely
beaten while in police custody. He reportedly has a broken hand and head
injuries, for which he has received medical care.

Several protestors are reported to have sustained injuries following
excessive use of force by riot police, who were attempting to disperse the
demonstrators. Amnesty International fears that those in police custody may
be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment by police.

According to reports, over 50 people were arrested at the demonstration and
remain in detention.

The state media has also reported that three policemen also sustained
injuries while dispersing the protestors.

Lawyers have been denied access to all those in detention except for
Lovemore Madhuku and Grace Kwinge.

The organization added that those arrested for engaging in violent protest
should be guaranteed a fair trial.

Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the severe restrictions of
freedom of expression, assembly and association following the blanket ban on
rallies and demonstrations from 20 February to 20 May 2007.

Under Section 27 of the Public Order and Security Act, which is being cited
by police to implement the three-month ban, public demonstrations can only
be prohibited for a specified period 'not exceeding one month'.

Public Document
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in
London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web:

For latest human rights news view

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MDC leader 'battling for his life'

Mail and Guardian

      Harare, Zimbabwe

      12 March 2007 06:37

            Zimbabwe's chief opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been
left fighting for his life after being brutally beaten in police custody,
his deputy claimed on Monday.

            "As of now, ... Tsvangirai is battling for his life at
Borrowdale police station after he was brutally assaulted," Thokozani Khupe,
deputy head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told reporters.

            Khupe, who has not herself seen Tsvangirai since his arrest
Sunday, said the MDC leader lost consciousness three times while at
Machipisa police station, close to the site of a planned rally that was
crushed by the security forces.

            Tsvangirai's lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, who visited his client
in custody earlier in the day, refused to discuss his condition when
contacted by Agence France-Press.

            'We are not going to stop'
            Zimbabwe's opposition movement vowed on Monday to continue with
its drive to topple veteran President Robert Mugabe despite the arrest of
its top leaders and the use of deadly force to crush a mass rally.

            The Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of groups that organised
Sunday's thwarted anti-government protest, insisted they would not be cowed
by the crackdown which saw chief opposition leader Tsvangirai arrested and
allegedly badly beaten by Mugabe's security forces.

            "We are not going to stop, we do believe that we have a
legitimate right to demand democratic change and an end to this tyranny,"
Save Zimbabwe Campaign spokesperson Jacob Mafume told reporters at a press

            "The events of yesterday [Sunday] vindicate that our cause is
just and legitimate ... Our just, legitimate and peaceful struggle will not
cease until a new, free, prosperous and democratic dispensation unfolds in
Zimbabwe," he added.

            The campaign joined earlier calls by supporters of Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the United States government for
the release of the dozens of opposition leaders and activists who were
rounded up on Sunday.

            The MDC leader was only on Monday allowed access to his lawyer,
who reported back that his client had been badly beaten.

            "The information we have from his lawyer who visited him this
morning is that he was brutally assaulted and [his face] was heavily swollen
and is in bandages," said MDC spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka.

            "He was taken to hospital for urgent medical treatment but he is
now back in the cells."

            Apart from Tsvangirai, a host of other senior opposition figures
were detained in police sweeps on Sunday, including four MDC lawmakers and
Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional Assembly.

            The arrests came amid a police crackdown on the demonstration,
which was to have taken place in the township of Highfields, a traditional
hotbed of opposition to Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.

            The Save Zimbabwe Campaign had billed the gathering as a prayer
meeting in a bid to circumvent a recent ban on political rallies.

            However, the police cordoned off the area and rounded up
activists who tried to make it to the sports ground where the rally was to
have been held.

            National police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzujena said Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a smaller MDC faction, were arrested as they
were "going around inciting people to come and indulge in violent

            Bvudzujena also confirmed police had shot dead an MDC activist.

            He said the man had ignored warning shots as he threatened a
group of officers at a shopping mall in Highfields.

            In Washington, State Department spokesperson Sean McCormack
condemned "the brutal and unwarranted actions of the government" against
people who it said were trying to peacefully "exercise their legitimate
democratic rights".

            The fatal shooting and arrests have further enraged opponents of
Mugabe who voiced ambitions in a weekend interview for another term of

            The next presidential elections are currently scheduled to take
place in 2008 but the 83-year-old Mugabe, who has been in power since
independence from Britain in 1980, would only stand again if chosen as
Zanu-PF's candidate.

            While he was given provisional approval in December to extend
his presidency until 2010, ostensibly to coincide with parliamentary polls,
such a move still needs the backing of the party's powerful central

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More arrests, tension rises

HARARE, 12 March 2007 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean police arrested 240 more
pro-democracy supporters on Monday as they demonstrated against the killing
of an opposition party member and a crackdown on protest over conditions in
the country.

More than 140 opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters
were arrested in the eastern city of Mutare, about 300km from the capital,
Harare, on Monday as pressure mounted on the government to release those
arrested and ensure basic freedom of association.

Police arrested 110 opposition supporters in Harare, protesting the break-up
of a gathering on Sunday the police had declared illegal. In spite of the
arrests, the MDC said the month-old "defiance campaign", launched by a
coalition of civil society groups and political parties, would continue.

"We just hope that Zimbabweans are resilient enough to continue; certainly,
the leadership is there," said Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of one of
the two MDC factions. "Zimbabweans are tired of hunger, poverty and
malnutrition. They are also angry and determined, which we hope will
overcome their fear [of arrest and detention]."

Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, the leaders of the two MDC groups,
and several other party and NGO officials were arrested on Sunday ahead of a
planned prayer meeting in Highfield, Harare's most populous working-class
suburb, where an "opposition ringleader" was shot dead and three policemen
were injured in an altercation in the same suburb, also on Sunday.

The meeting was called under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign
(SZC), a pro-democracy drive launched by several NGOs, labour unions,
students and opposition parties in February.

Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena told IRIN that the
political party leaders were picked up after they were observed "going to
high-density areas, inciting people to come out and commit acts of violence.
There was no prayer meeting - they were going to hold a rally. No political
party, including ZANU-PF [the ruling party], is allowed to hold rallies in

Rallies were banned in the capital in February, after running battles
between the police and MDC supporters took place before a meeting to launch
the party's presidential campaign in Highfield.

Bvudzijena confirmed that an "MDC supporter" was shot dead by the police
after a "gang of MDC youth" attacked policemen on patrol in the suburb.
"Three policemen were injured; one of them sustained several cuts to his

Political commentator John Makumbe said police had sealed off the venue of
the prayer meeting on Saturday night. "Thousands of people poured into the
streets to hold the rally in the Highfield township. There were numerous
vicious battles with the police. The intention of the [Save Zimbabwe]
Campaign is to escalate the movement, which is happening and will continue."

Makumbe said he sensed a willingness among Zimbabweans to sustain the
momentum. "There might be intermittent breaks, like now, with virtually the
entire leadership behind bars. But once they [the leaders] get out and have
had the time to regroup, the campaign will continue - the intention is to
get the campaign going in all the major cities and towns in the country."

He also pointed out that the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) had
advertised a stayaway on 3 April and 4 April, signalling a change in
attitude towards the defiance campaign.

Lawyers for the arrested leaders told IRIN that they had been unable to
access their clients, who remained in custody. "We don't know their
whereabouts; we don't even know how many of them have been arrested," said
Otto Saki, an attorney with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an NGO that
defends victims of rights abuses. He said they had seen Tsvangirai in one of
the cells in a police station, but had not been allowed access. He claimed
they had also spotted one of the arrested leaders swathed in bandages.

Harrison Nkomo, an attorney representing Mutambara, one of the MDC faction
leaders, claimed he was assaulted by the police and forced to flee, leaving
his vehicle at Machipisa Police Station in Highfield, while trying to
establish his client's whereabouts.

"We are still investigating," said police spokesman Bvudzijena, explaining
why none of the arrested leaders have appeared in court.

IRIN correspondents reported that, according to some police sources, the
leaders had been so badly assaulted that the police were afraid to bring
them into court before they recovered from injuries sustained during

At a press conference on Monday, the SZC said the government had behaved "in
a typical fascist behaviour, reminiscent of Rhodesian thuggery". Chairperson
Pastor Lucky Moyo of the Christian Alliance, a grouping of church leaders,
said he was saddened by government's reaction to "peaceful defiance of bad

"The treatment of unarmed civilians is an unfortunate reaction by the
government," Moyo said, adding that the authorities should avoid a civil
uprising caused by deepening poverty.

With annual inflation running at more than 1,700 percent, shortages of
foreign currency and food, tension has been mounting in Zimbabwe over the
past two months: NGOs, church groups, labour and students have all staged
sporadic demonstrations around the country.

On Monday, groups of armed policemen continue to patrol the capital's

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140 MDC activists arrested in Mutare

By Tichaona Sibanda
12 March 2007

The police crackdown on the opposition continued on Monday when 140 MDC
activists, including women and children, were arrested at the start of an
anti-government protest in central Mutare.

The protesters were demonstrating against the murder of MDC activist Gift
Tandari by the police in Highfields on Sunday and the subsequent arrest and
detention of the MDC leaders.

MDC spokesman Pishai Muchauraya spoke to us from Mutare central prison cells
and confirmed that police had picked up 140 activists, but could not confirm
if any of them were beaten.

'They are currently getting cautioned statements from us and we have yet to
hear the charges against us. But it's most likely we will spend the night in
the cells and take us to court tomorrow (Tuesday),' Muchauraya said.

In Masvingo at least 10 students including Zimbabwe National Students Union
vice-president, Gideon Chitanga were arrested Monday following on- going
class boycotts at Masvingo State University, according to information from
the Crisis Coalition.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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EU Ambassadors Try To Trace Opposition Leader Tsvangirai

Ambassadors from several European Union countries were Monday engaged in
efforts to trace the whereabouts of Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition
supporters after a heavy- handed crackdown on the political opposition over
the weekend, Swedish Ambassador Sten Rylander said.

In an interview with Swedish radio, Rylander said he and other EU colleagues
had divided themselves into groups and visited various police stations in
the capital Harare.

The move was an effort to trace Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and others who were arrested on Sunday
raided a prayer rally and arrested dozens of people.

"We are concerned about Morgan Tsvangirai," Rylander said, adding the
diplomats had not met the opposition leader.

By visiting the police stations, the diplomats hoped to prevent police from
assaulting members of the opposition, Rylander said.

The Swedish ambassador expressed concern over the current situation in
Zimbabwe and mused that there was "so much discontent in the country."

Rylander said Spanish ambassdaor to Zimbabwe had seen Lovemore Madhuku of
the opposition National Constitutional Assembly, who had a broken arm and
had sustained a head injury.

© 2007 DPA

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US 'Shocked' Over Zimbabwe Political Violence


      By David Gollust
      State Department
      12 March 2007

The U.S. State Department is expressing shock over police violence Sunday
against leaders of the political opposition in Zimbabwe. It urged the
release of detained opposition leaders as quickly as possible. VOA's David
Gollust reports from the State Department.

The United States has been a persistent critic of the Zimbabwe government's
treatment of dissidents, but it is using some of its strongest language to
date to condemn the violent crackdown on protesters Sunday.

Reports from Harare say police killed one activist, severely beat several
others, and arrested more than 100 as they blocked opposition groups from
holding what was described as a prayer meeting in the capital.

Two prominent opposition figures, including Morgan Tsvangirai, a past
election challenger of President Robert Mugabe, reportedly sustained head
wounds and other injuries in the police attack.

The State Department, in a written statement late Sunday, called the
government actions brutal and unwarranted.

In a follow-up talk with reporters Monday, State Department Deputy Spokesman
Tom Casey said the police violence was absolutely uncalled-for, yet
representative of the brutal way in which the Mugabe government deals with

"We are shocked by the reports of injuries to a number of opposition leaders
and we certainly call on the government of Zimbabwe to provide all medical
treatment necessary to any of these individuals and to release them as
quickly as possible," Casey said. "This is unfortunately, again, just
another example of the increasingly harsh treatment that those wishing to
express their views - particularly those wishing to express opposition
political views - face under President Mugabe's leadership."

Spokesman Casey said Zimbabwe in the past few years has seen an increase in
threats, repression, intimidation and acts of violence against anyone who
tries to stand in President Mugabe's way.

He said what the country needs is free and fair elections, but that it is
hard to imagine that occurring under circumstances in which Mr. Mugabe is
either a candidate or in which his government is administering the vote.

The 83-year-old president, who has run the country since 1980, has suggested
he might step down after his current terms ends.

But his ruling party has sought to postpone presidential elections due next
year until 2010, which would potentially give him another two years in

Sunday's statement here said the United States holds President Mugabe and
his government accountable for Sunday's police actions, and for the safety
and well-being of those in custody.

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Zimbabwe court orders lawyer access for Tsvangirai


Mon 12 Mar 2007 18:38:17 GMT
HARARE, March 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's High Court ordered police on Monday
to allow lawyers access to detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai,
whose attorney said he was in "bad shape" from suspected assault while in
police custody.

The court gave the order after lawyers said they had been refused permission
by police to see Tsvangirai and dozens of other opposition figures arrested
on Sunday over a banned prayer meeting, one of Tsvangirai's lawyers said.

"A provisional order was issued that we have access to our clients, that
they should be taken to hospital where necessary and that they should be
taken to court by 12 (p.m. local time) tomorrow (Tuesday) failure of which
they should be released," Alec Muchadehama told Reuters.

He said lawyers would immediately visit police stations to gain access to
their clients.

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Action alert for Zimbabwe

Dear All

WOZASolidarity is calling on your help following
events in Zimbabwe yesterday. Morgan Tsvangirai and
Lovemore Madhuku have been seriously assaulted while
in custody; Nelson Chamisa, Mike Davies and Elton
Mangoma are reported to be at the infamous Goromonzi
torture center. Arthur Mutambara and Tendai Biti's
locations have not been ascertained. 19 of the
detainees (which include ZINASU student leaders) are
at Harare Central Police Station whilst the rest are
dotted around the greater Harare police stations.

that the whereabouts of missing detainees be revealed
and appeal to the police to remember that they are
there to protect the people not do the dirty work of a
discredited dictator.

Harare Central + 263 4
Chitungwiza + 263 70 22001
Rhodesville +263 4 481111 / 495753
Southerton, + 263 4 668438/667032/667012
Warren Park, + 263 4 223921/229991/229992
Highlands +263 4 495304/495340/495504

For cheap calls to Zimbabwe (but harder to get
through) dial 08715513513 (mobiles) or 0844 566 4949
(land lines)

Lois Davis (WOZASolidarity co-ordinator)

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EYE-WITNESS REPORT: 'It is a sorry sight for Zimbabwe but we pray that freedom will come'

OneWorld UK
      In an exclusive, on-the-spot report for OneWorld, a Zimbabwean
journalist - who must remain anonymous to protect his safety - reports on
yesterday's police clampdown in Harare in which a teenager was killed and
scores of prominent civil society leaders were beaten and arrested.

      What was supposed to be a prayer rally to pray for Zimbabwe, a country
with an inflation rate of over 1,700% and 80% unemployment, ended up in
bloodshed yesterday when police went on a rampage and opened fire, killing a
teenager and injuring several others in Harare.

      The President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan
Tsvangirai, was briefly taken to the central police station were he waited,
crumpled in pain, while the police made preparations to take him to a
detention camp. His face was so swollen from the beating that he was
scarcely recognisable.

      Several prominent figures, including the National Constitutional
Assembly spokesperson, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, Grace Kwinji, Tendai Biti and
Nelson Chamisa, were also visibly in need of medical attention, which,
according to Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro, they were denied.

      Another of those beaten and arrested was Sekesai Holland, a "mother
figure" in the protest movement. She was helped into a police truck by
fellow activists in an attempt to protect her from further beating.

      Journalists were not spared. Photojournalist Tsvangirai Mkwazhi and
broadcaster Tendai Musiyazviriyo were among 50 or so other male and female
reporters and photographers forced to lie face down in a jumbled heap as
they were carted off in a police truck. The official accreditation - which
they paid in precious US dollars - could not save them.

      Lawyers Otto Saki and Irene Petras of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, and Morgan Tsvingirai's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, were among those
desperately trying to protect their clients in the central police station.

      The arrested civil society leaders - many with bloody faces - were
seen waiting at the police station for the next move: probably to the
Goromonzi detention camp where they can expect harsh treatment.

      Teargas covered the scene of the rally, the city's Highfields
district - known as the cradle of the independence movement. Police also
used batons. Commuter buses were stopped and passengers asked to produce
their identification cards and to give their addresses. Police told bus
conductors and drivers to roll on the ground, a common army drill. The
police also harassed girls wearing jeans.

      The heavy police presence prevented soccer fans from getting to a
match at the adjacent Gwanzura stadium. People, even religious leaders, were
beaten indiscriminately.

      The riots spread to Chitungwiza and Mabvuku. I heard many people
saying they were tired of conditions in the country and wanted an

      Many police, too, are tired of the demonstrations that keep them at
work almost every weekend. To avoid being seen as supporters of the
government, many officers have stopped wearing their uniforms on the way to
work - donning them only when they arrive at the police stattions.

      The US government's demand for the immediate release of civil society
leaders and victims of the government's brutality is a welcome development.

      It is a sorry sight for Zimbabwe but we pray that freedom will come.

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'We want to put an end to this tyranny'


          March 12 2007 at 04:23PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition movement vowed to push on Monday with
its drive to topple veteran President Robert Mugabe despite the arrest of
its top leaders and the use of deadly force to crush a mass rally.

      The Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of groups that organised
Sunday's thwarted anti-government protest, insisted they would not be cowed
by the crackdown which saw chief opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
arrested and allegedly badly beaten by Mugabe's security forces.

      "We are not going to stop, we do believe that we have a legitimate
right to demand democratic change and an end to this tyranny," Save Zimbabwe
Campaign spokesperson Jacob Mafume told reporters at a press conference.

      "The events of Sunday vindicate that our cause is just and legitimate
... Our just, legitimate and peaceful struggle will not cease until a new,
free, prosperous and democratic dispensation unfolds in Zimbabwe," he added.

      The campaign joined earlier calls by supporters of Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the United States government for
the release of the dozens of opposition leaders and activists who were
rounded up on Sunday.

      The MDC leader was only on Monday allowed access to his lawyer,
Innocent Chagonda, who reported back that his client had been badly beaten.

      "The information we have from his lawyer who visited him on Monday
morning is that he was brutally assaulted and (his face) was heavily swollen
and is in bandages," MDC spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka told AFP.

      "He was taken to hospital for urgent medical treatment but he is now
back in the cells."

      Apart from Tsvangirai, a host of other senior opposition figures were
detained in police sweeps on Sunday, including four MDC lawmakers and
Lovemore Madhuku, head of the National Constitutional Assembly.

      The arrests came amid a police crackdown on the demonstration which
was to have taken place in the township of Highfields, a traditional hotbed
of opposition to Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.

      The Save Zimbabwe Campaign - a coalition of rights groups, opposition
and church activists - had billed the gathering as a prayer meeting in a bid
to circumvent a recent ban on political rallies.

      However the police cordoned off the area and rounded up activists who
tried to make it to the sports ground where the rally was to have been held.

      National police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzujena said Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara, leader of a smaller MDC faction, were arrested as they
were "going around inciting people to come and indulge in violent

      Bvudzujena also confirmed police had shot dead an MDC activist. He
said the man had ignored warning shots as he threatened a group of officers
at a shopping mall in Highfields.

      In Washington, state department spokesperson Sean McCormack condemned
"the brutal and unwarranted actions of the government" against people who it
said were trying to peacefully "exercise their legitimate democratic

      The fatal shooting and arrests have further enraged opponents of
Mugabe who voiced ambitions in a weekend interview for another term of

      The next presidential elections are currently scheduled to take place
in 2008 but the 83-year-old Mugabe, who has been in power since independence
from Britain in 1980, would only stand again if chosen as ZANU-PF's

      While he was given provisional approval in December to extend his
presidency until 2010, ostensibly to coincide with parliamentary polls, such
a move still needs the backing of the party's powerful central committee.

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A turn for the worse

The Economist

Mar 12th 2007

Torture, killing and the beating of opposition leaders reflect rising tension


AS REPRESSION in Zimbabwe grows more brutal, and as the economy sinks deeper into the mud, analysts usually cite a catalogue of reasons why change in the wretched southern African country, though much-needed, is unlikely soon. The political opposition is timid and led by men unwilling to risk their own necks. Religious and civic leaders do offer defiance of President Robert Mugabe’s misrule, but are unwilling to work with their political colleagues. Ordinary people, wary of violence and remembering civil war in the 1970s, dare not take to the streets. Relative moderates in the ruling party will not challenge the hardliners. And outsiders—notably South Africa next door—refuse to intervene.

Now, just maybe, something has snapped. The leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, an articulate, educated and stubbornly peaceful man, has long refused to do anything that might provoke a violent crackdown. Today he sits in police custody, described by a lawyer as beaten so badly by his captors that he is nearly blind, prone to fainting and so swollen “you couldn’t distinguish between the head and the face”.

He was arrested on Sunday March 11th, along with other opposition leaders, after jittery police in Harare, the capital, broke up a prayer meeting organised by various groups. Police also shot dead a young activist at a primary school. Another detained opposition leader, Lovemore Mudhuku, a lawyer, suffered a broken arm and head wounds. On Monday riot police armed with shotguns, rubber batons and teargas, patrolled the streets of Harare, enforcing a ban on any political gatherings.

But by walloping moderate opposition leaders the police may merely open the way for an angrier class of activists more willing to risk bloodshed. Political tension in Zimbabwe is rising in tandem with the jobless rate (now over 80%) and with the cost of living (hyperinflation now tops 1,700%). Sunday’s violent protests—as well as praying, youths battled the police and torched an army truck—were the second in a month. Hungry and jobless young men in the townships of larger towns, especially around Harare, are turning on police with increasing confidence. Mr Mugabe himself rides around the small capital, an otherwise sleepy place, with a large motorcade flanked by nervous policemen who aim their guns at passers-by and at any motorists slow to move out of the way.

Yet any change probably depends more on the internal dynamics of the ruling party, Zanu-PF, and on the attitude of South Africa. Mr Mugabe’s party is divided along various lines. Though dominated by one broad ethnic group, the Shona, sub-groups are vying for power once Mr Mugabe goes. Rival camps have been formed around his possible successors. Old hands are competing with younger men with dubious business connections, who are eager to profit from lucrative opportunities for corruption. The role of the army looks more and more influential. But Mr Mugabe is a master at keeping his allies divided and thus dependent on him. He talks of remaining as president at least until 2010.

Outsiders have a limited opportunity to influence what happens. America’s government has called the police crackdown on the opposition “brutal and unwarranted”, but such Western criticism will be ignored. South Africa may have the means to put pressure on, either through regional institutions such as the African Union or the Southern African Development Community, or by threatening to limit the provision of energy and other goods to Zimbabwe.

But South Africa’s government, fearing the eruption of violence on its northern border, has always preferred to promote “quiet diplomacy”, meaning President Thabo Mbeki trying to cajole Mr Mugabe to go. That has proved ineffective and now, it seems, violence is anyway increasingly likely. A time will come when South Africa—and moderates in Zimbabwe’s ruling party—will reckon the risk of doing nothing is greater than the risk of trying, seriously, to get Mr Mugabe to go.

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Analyst says Mugabe isolated, desperate and dangerous

By Lance Guma
12 March 2007

A weekend in which police gunned down a father of three during a protest has
been described as signalling a turning point in Zimbabwe's crisis. Political
analyst Dr John Makumbe says Mugabe is finding it difficult to find any one
who is willing to support his continued stay in power and the isolation had
increased his desperation. Dr Makumbe says orders for the police to use live
ammunition had to have come from the very top and could not be blamed on the
possibility of overzealous policemen. Makumbe spoke to Newsreel a few
minutes after receiving a text message from Mutare on the arrest of another
140 protesters in the eastern border town and says more of the same will
continue to happen.

The political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe says the
economy has been Mugabe's biggest achilles heel and every form of pressure
was linked to it. Politicians within the ruling Zanu PF party have also lost
confidence in Mugabe because their businesses are now collapsing under the
economic meltdown. He urged the general public to reject Mugabe's plan to
extend his term of office. He said Mugabe was effectively saying 'you don't
want me to take 2 years, so I will take 6 more.' Makumbe says there is a
real possibility Mugabe could either seek re-election in 2008 or 2010 and be
in office up to 2014 when he turns 90 years old.

The United States government has meanwhile condemned the police crackdown
and called for the release of those in custody. Government spokesman Sean
McCormack said the US would hold
Mugabe and the government of Zimbabwe accountable for their actions on
Sunday and for the safety and well being of those in custody. He added that
the actions were unwarranted since citizens had a right to peacefully gather
and exercise their legitimate democratic rights.

South Africa's opposition leader Tony Leon called on Thabo Mbeki to review
his policy towards Zimbabwe in the wake of Sundays events. He said the
arrest and detention of Tsvangirai should serve as a final wake-up call to
Mbeki that he could not afford to continue with a 'business-as-usual
approach' to the growing crisis in Zimbabwe. 'This is an extraordinary
derogation of duty by the region's most significant power, the disastrous
consequences of which are being felt by both Zimbabweans and South Africans
everyday,' Leon added.

South Africa's foreign ministry spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa told journalists
they had noted developments in Zimbabwe and that 'matters of mutual concern
are discussed within the existing diplomatic mechanism between South Africa
and Zimbabwe.' Other African countries have so far not made any comments on
the latest crackdown in Zimbabwe. Amidst growing international condemnation
of the killing and arrests the Zimbabwean police went on the defensive
accusing the opposition of distributing 'dangerous weapons' to their

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena used an appearance on state television to
make the allegation, saying the protesters were beating up police officers.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Mutambara MDC UK condemns Sunday arrests

By Lynette Mhlanga

THE life of man is a thing precious and favored by all legal systems in
the world, and yet in Zimbabwe today we lament the loss of two
civilians who died after the police fired lived ammunition on innocent
unarmed civilians.

The cold blooded, pitiless and heartless audacity by the desperate Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu PF government has been displayed
today when the police callously killed two civilians and arrested MDC
Presidents Prof. Arthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai and the National
Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku and many other civic
organisation and church leaders.

MDC UK District strongly condemns and denounce these arrests with all the
revile impunity it deserves. We condemn such blatant disregard of human
life. We the MDC UK people condemn the Zanu PF government's latest evil
ploy. We categorically condemn the blatant killing of two civilians this
morning when the riot squad mad
dogs fired live ammunition into the demonstrators injuring and maiming many

We deplore this blatant misuse of power. This wickedness, this gullibility,
cruelness, and nastiness are heavily condemned. We
condemn this blatant abuse of power, this disproportionate use of police
power with no restraint. We deplore Mugabe's evil methods which have turned
our streets into murder gallows where the Zimbabwe Republican Police has
become wild mad dogs who are now slaughtering our relatives, friends and
fellow countrymen. A police service which uses guns on unarmed hungry people
has lost its mandate to keep peace in our country.

The police were supposed to use such force as is reasonable in the
circumstances of preventing a crime. However there was no crime committed,
so the police had no right whatsoever to fire live ammunitions into

A government which rigs elections and uses food aid to buy votes is no
longer tolerated.

Freedom from incarceration or detention is arguably the most
fundamental and probably the oldest, the most scarcely won and most
universally recognised of human rights. A detention is a drastic deprivation
of liberty which is only justified under narrow circumstances; these
detentions are at tension with human rights law.

We the people of Zimbabwe refuse to accept this heartless, most daring
violation of our people's right to liberty. We refuse to have a government
so autocratic and cold-blooded. From time immemorial, the right to liberty
has always been the bedrock of the common law and still does. Ironically
Mugabe and his government have no respect of this fundamental right.

Liberty and security of person are human rights guaranteed by the Zimbabwean
Constitution, the Zanu PF government has dismally failed to secure and allow
the free enjoyment of this fundamental right, and hence we the MDC UK
denounce it.

Zimbabwe is our home, the home we call our stronghold and fort, in it we
expect to be allowed and guaranteed our fundamental rights.

The right to life is the most basic human right of all. The fundamental
nature of this right is recognised even by the constitution of Zimbabwe.
Internationally no derogation from this right is allowed even in times of
war or emergencies.

The Zanu PF government has both the positive obligation to protect the right
to life by law and a negative obligation not to take life save in execution
of a sentence of a court following a conviction of a crime for which this
penalty is provided by law.

However in Zimbabwe the dictator has decided to play god, killing the very
people he once saved from colonialism. Zimbabweans moved from hot pot into
the fire when Mugabe became their leader. Whatever rights the people
Zimbabwe had acquired have all been eroded by Mugabe in his bid to stay in
power. We condemn this government.

This latest manoeuvre and evil strategy by Zanu PF is a desperate and futile
exercise to frustrate all the efforts of the Opposition parties
in coming up with a united front against a common enemy is not just
disapproved but is condemned with all the contempt and impunity it
deserves. We people in the diaspora, we the MDC party in the UK hereby
categorically denounce and condemn this act.

We condemn categorically this Zanu PF government which pretends to be
democratic which kills civilians in broad daylight are heavily
condemned. We refuse to have a police state in Zimbabwe. A police force
which has lost its main objectives of keeping and maintaining peace is
condemned here forthwith with all the disgust it deserves. A police force
which blatantly and fragrantly violates absolute human rights such as the
right to life is unacceptable to any Zimbabwean.

We refuse to have such cruel policemen in our streets. We condemn such
stupid men who can see the obvious suffering of their fellow men and yet
obey stupid laws meant only to benefit one geriatric fading man who clings
to power because of the fear of prosecutions for genocide and crimes against
humanity he committed in Matebeland.

How a sane group of policemen choose to practice a policing which boarders
on murder is what no sane Zimbabwe today understands. We deplore such acts,
such a practice of firing live ammunition to innocent civilians rightly
exercising their right to demonstrate.

We refuse to embrace cruel practices which results on loose of life. We
refuse to be ruled by a desperate old man who is so senile that he kills his
own people, who are tired of being under a yoke of oppression for too long.

We this act for what it is. What Mugabe wants to frustrate is any form of
coalition on the part of the opposition. After relishing like a lizard on
the sun, Mugabe knows the divided opposition has finally realised that in a
coalition they can oust him so easily and he Robert is shivering.

How such a man sleeps when Zimbabwean families are crying
the loss of their children baffles us. A government which enacts
autocratic laws like POSA, AIIPA etc to suppress any rising against it is a
government with no direction. An enemy of the people is amongst us in the
form of brainless policemen who carry orders which results in losses of

We refuse to accept what Zanu PF has done. We categorically say NO to Zanu
PF' heartless, unfeeling, cold blood and merciless killings and
arrests of MDC Leaders. We deplore the beating of lawyers in a democratic
state.  In one act the right to life was violated, the right to liberty was
taken away, the right to freedom of expression and movement was taken away.
We condemn such blatant disregard of human life.

Mugabe needs to know that democracy does not exist in a vacuum. It is
premised on the existence of a polity with members, and for whom
democratic discourse with its many variants takes place. The authority and
legitimacy of a majority to compel a minority exists only within political
boundaries defined by the citizens of Zimbabwe. Simply put, if there is no
free speech, there can never be no operating democracy.

Our freedom of speech, freedom of association and our right to life and the
fundamental absolute right not to be subjected to torture have been violated
blatantly with no due regard given to humanity. Mugabe wants to beat the
nation into subjection however Zimbabweans must never give this demagogue
any false sense of security. Mugabe must know that we the people of Zimbabwe
are not intimidated, we will fight until the day our children see a new
peaceful Zimbabwe.

We refuse to be killed, assaulted and arrested when we exercise our
right to demonstrate. We refuse to be denied our right to choose a new
leader. There is no better time than now for the people of Zimbabwe to rise
against this dictator. Where our men are when one single man is killing our
people, arise all children of Zimbabwe and fight.

It's better to die fighting for our rights than allow hunger to kills in

Where is our pride, our patriotism and nationalism if one man can torture
and make our families suffer like this? Mugabe must taste our anger, our
discontent, restlessness and unhappiness. There is no peace in Zimbabwe,
Zimbabwean people are suffering and toiling in anguish under the misery and
distress which Zanu PF has meted over the last ten years.

We decline, snub, repudiate this move, we beg to be excused from such a
sinister, ominous, creepy, baleful killing of civilians which is so
heartless. Remember now that this demon has tasted our blood Mugabe will not
stop until we fight so arise my fellow country man and fight for your

Mugabe has lost our mandate to govern us, any social contract we had with
him is no longer sacred, and if you spill any blood of one of us we will not
tolerate such cold bloodedness. Mugabe must go. And the time is now.
Stifling the people will not work anymore. Mugabe is now a President who
knows he has no future in a free Zimbabwe and his only solution is to remain
glued in office until death takes him to thy kingdom come through the
murdering of his own people.

We the MDC UK district we condemn the killing, we condemn the arrests, we
condemn the torture and inhuman treatment of the people by a police force
which has lost its objective, a police force which has become murderers in
broad daylight.  It's a shame, it's a pity. We have had enough. We the MDC
UK condemn this police force. We refuse to accept these sinister evil
methods by Mugabe and his government. Mugabe is a dictator who thinks only
him is can rule Zimbabwe We should not let these tendencies to be repeated
We say here Mugabe your time is over. We condemn and deplore your cold
bloodedness. We the MDC UK say enough is enough Mugabe must go.

Lynette Mhlanga is the Secretary for Publicity and Information for the
Arthur Mutambara MDC UK District

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Comment: don't write off Mugabe, Zimbabwe's great survivor

Times Online
March 12, 2007

Robert Mugabe faces a divided opposition and has confounded his critics

Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor
When African heads of state gathered to celebrate Ghana's independence
anniversary earlier this month, most of the talk was of the imminent fall of
President Robert Mugabe's regime.

At 83, the veteran leader is clinging on to power in face of economic
collapse, political chaos and isolation abroad.

There are now said to be three different factions within his own ruling
Zanu-PF party all vying for power. With inflation running an 1,700 per cent,
even former loyalists in the military and security services are are finding
it difficult to feed their families. Once they abandon him, his demise will
be swift.

Nevertheless, seasoned African observers warn that it is dangerous to write
off Mr Mugabe, who remains the dominant political player in Zimbabwean

Related Links
  a.. Mugabe opposition leaders seized at rally
  a.. Inexplicably, a feeling of change stirs in Zimbabwe
  a.. Mugabe under threat from within
Time and again his opponents have predicted his fall, but over the past
decade he has survived challenges that would have defeated a lesser

Even he seems to believe in his own immortality. Although he has ruled since
independence 28 years ago he speculated at the weekend that he might run for
another term "if the party says so".

Part of Zimbabwe's problem is that the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) is divided. Neither of its two rival leaders, both
of whom were arrested during yesterday's rally, are regarded as serious
alternative leaders.

Zimbabwe's African neighbours are also concerned about what would happen to
the country if Mr Mugabe was removed. They are already host to millions of
Zimbabwean refugees. If his removal led to a violent power struggle the
situation could deteriorate. They could face an even larger exodus of
Zimbabweans or worse they might have to intervene to restore order.

Africa's record in dealing with these emergencies is not encouraging.
Judging by the response to current crises in Sudan and Somalia, Zimbabwe had
better hope that when it does finally rid itself of its dictator it can find
someone to lead the country back from the abyss.

  a.. Have your say
I visited Zimbabwe in 1994 after having cycled across the continent from
Morocco. Zimbabwe was an oasis relative to all the other countries I had
been to. Clearly there was a good infrastructure, relationships between
blacks & whites seemed to be working.

The systematic mismanagement of the country over the interveening period is
sad and pathetic. The situation has been compounded by the lack of effective
assistance from the international community for those who rightfully oppose

Can there be any doubt that politicians have lost all credibility when
billions can be spent on waging an illegal war against Iraq but we find a
consensus to provide assistance to Zimbabwe?

Mugabe is aware that he does not have anyone to answer to and like most
tyrants is gambling on repression keeping his internal opponents cowered. A
very sad state of affairs.

Tristan, London, UK

Mugabe and his gangsters are a shining example of how much better off the
average African was under European colonial rule. Weep for Zimbabwe. Weep
for Africa.

Ed Stokes, San Diego, California, USA

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Police break rules on the use of firearms

By Tichaona Sibanda
12 March 2007

A former senior police officer with the Zimbabwe Republic Police has accused
the force for not following the 'three golden rules' for the use of deadly

Retired senior assistant commissioner Jonathan Chawora said ever since
police imposed a three-month ban on political rallies and protests, a number
of firearms have been discharged illegally by the police against unarmed
civilians.'The three golden rules are; don't use a firearm if you can
achieve your objective by other means; If in doubt don't use a firearm and
lastly never use a firearm when your objective
has been achieved. But judging with what I have heard is happening in
Zimbabwe, it seems the
police are simply not following these rules,' Chawora said.The murder of MDC
activist Gift Tandari was during skirmishes that could have been controlled
by use of tear gas and water cannons. Before Sunday's tragic incident
thousands of riot police have turned the country's townships into military
zones, beating and
arresting peaceful protesters.

Chawora blamed Zanu (PF)'s politicians for pressurising the force into
taking unlawful action against the population, as tensions keep rising as a
result of skyrocketing inflation
and shortages of fuel and staple foods.'The good thing about the unlawful
use of firearms is that every police officer is well aware of the
repercussions of their actions. They know in the long term the justice
system will catch up with them as prescribed in police regulations. Because
of political interference we now get officers believing they are protected
from immunity, but they don't know they will face prosecution long after
Robert Mugabe has gone,' said Chawora.A military source told us police have
lately been using high-powered assault rifles used only in conventional
wars. Such weapons said the source are not meant for close quarter battles
or low intensity operations such as crowd control.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Freedom is coming tomorrow

By Ontibile Kababongwe

ZIMBABWEANS are just tired. Who is this Robert Mugabe? Does he own Zimbabwe?
We are tired, tired, tired? Mugabe must just go.

When Madoc Chivasa, NCA spokesperson left home this (Sunday)  morning, he
told me that he was not coming to church with me but instead was going for a
prayer rally. We need to pray for this nation. We are likely going to be
incarcerated like the apostles of Jesus and beaten up but even if it takes
us to die so be it, we are accountable to future generations. They will ask
why we let Robert Mugabe ruin this country.

Around mid day he sent me a message to say he had been arrested in
Highfields. Yes, today Highfields was characterized by teargas. Commuter
omnibuses are being stopped and everyone is being asked to produce their
National Identification card and to say where they stay in Highfields.
Conductors are drivers are being asked by the sadistic police officers to
roll in the grass, a drill common in the army.

My girl friend was telling me that she was asked why she was wearing jean
trousers, something the Zimbabwean government Vice President, Amai Joyce
Mujuru is against.

The police are barring people from going to the Zimbabwe grounds, the centre
of the revolutionary activities backing date to Chimurenga II thereby
denying them freedom of assembly.

Soccer fans failed to attend the soccer match that was at the adjacent
Gwanzura stadium because of the heavy police presence who were beating
people indiscriminately beat up church men. The anti Mugabe riots have
spread to Chitungwiza and Mabvuku were people are saying Mugabe's turn to
ruin Zimbabwe is over and we want an alternative.

At the central police station, I saw President of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai's face swollen from button sticks
wielded by the police, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesperson
drooping in pain. The police who said they are now tired of the activists'
demonstrations bashed the leaders using button sticks. They were trying to
rela a message from Robert Mugabe.

Professor Arthur Mutambara of the pro-senate faction of the MDC has also
been beaten and thrown in the cells at Harare central police station.

Sekesai Holland who is a mother figure slept in the quad at Harare Central
Police station waiting for the truck that took them to Goromonzi where they
will receive treatment that will leave them for dead. Sekesai was helped
into the police truck by her buttocks by kind activists so that she would
not receive further beating. I saw blood streaming down faces in the truck
and we will not celebrate independence this year.

I saw Grace Kwinji leading the pack, followed by the Kuwadzana legislator,
Nelson Chamisa, Tendai Biti (MDC MP), Morgan Tsvangirai, photo journalist
Tsvangirai Mkwazhi, and journalist Tendai Musiyazviriyo among thirty or so
others forced to lie in a police lorry for Goromonzi. This was so that the
outside world would not see the brutality of the Robert Mugabe government.
These activists were just a sorry site.

I am reliably informed that the truck had been filled with the scarce fuel
and that it will go round and round Harare so that they will not know where
they are. The police have been given instructions to be brutal and ruthless
with these Mugabe enemies.

Lawyers Otto Saki and Irene Petras of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), and Romaldo Mavedzenge, personal assistant to Arthur Mutambara among
others paced up and down at the central police stations desperately as the
police personnel read from the book of lawlessness and executed their

It is a sorry site in Zimbabwe but we pray that freedom will come tomorrow.
I pray for these comtades who are in the filthy police cells in this poverty
stricken nation.

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Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)

12 March 2007

Statement on Excessive Use of Force and Denial of Access to Treatment of
Detained Activists

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights calls for the immediate
release to a medical facility for urgent medical treatment of injured
opposition and civic leaders currently held at Borrowdale, Braeside and
Marlborough Police Stations. These persons have as at present been denied
access to medical treatment. Those held at Borrowdale Police Station have
also been denied legal access.

ZADHR has received reports that some of those detained were tortured during
the course of their arrest and is concerned that the activists detained may
be in grave medical condition. Information received indicates that MDC
President, Morgan Tsvangirai and NCA Chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku both
sustained deep lacerations on the scalp while Tsvangirai sustained a
peri-orbital echymosis (swollen, bruised eye) in one eye, indicative of
possibly more serious head injuries. Madhuku is also reported to have
sustained a fractured ulna. It is imperative that those in need of medical
attention be allowed access to a medical practitioner and for them to be
assisted in getting immediate medical assessment and treatment as required.

The lives of those arrested and tortured continue to be threatened by
refusal of access to medical treatment.

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Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Press Statement

12 March, 2007

Murder, Arrests, Detention and Torture of Human Rights Defenders, Opposition
and Civic Leaders

Zimbawe National Students Union (ZINASU) is appalled by the alarming state
repression that the Government unleashed against the human rights defenders,
opposition, civic society and student leaders. ZINASU condemns the brutal
attack, arrests, detentions, torture and murder of innocent unarmed

This comes after a Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting that was scheduled
to convene yesterday the 11 th of March 2007, at the Zimbabwe grounds in
Highfields, Harare. An MDC youth, Gift Tandare, was shot dead by heavily
armed riot police. May his soul rest in peace. Morgan Tsvangirai , the
President of the main opposition in Zimbabwe, Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), was heavily tortured and reported to have collapsed three times, he
is detained at Borrowdale Police Station. Former student leaders and senior
MDC officials, Arthur Mutambara and Tendai Biti are being held at Avondale
Police Station. Nelson Chamisa, former Secretary General of ZINASU and the
current spokesperson of the MDC is detained at the notorious Goromonzi
Police station. Student leaders at the University of Zimbabwe, Zwelithini
Viki and Kudakwashe Mapundu who were arrested for distributing fliers
calling for the prayer meeting are still detained at Harare Central Police
Station. ZINASU vice president was arrested today in Masvingo over the
on-going class boycott by the students. ZINASU Information and Publicity
secretary, Lynnette Mudehwe and a youth activist, Sydney Chisi are held at
Southerton Police Station together with 6 others, Gladys Hlatswayo, a former
student leader is at Harare Police Station. Dr. Lovemore Madhuku,
chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly, sustained a broken arm
and head injuries and is reported unconscious at the time he was visited
this morning. The list of the casaulties is endless.

The rogue regime of Robert Mugabe has reached unprecedented levels of
idiocy. Zimbabwe has gradually become a de facto one party state, where
civilians have been denied the right to assembly and association. In war
studies, we are experiencing a period of armed peace. It is like the period
between 1930 and the outbreak of World War Two in 1939. Zimbabwe is now a
full blown military and Police dictatorship premised on a smart genocide
where people have been dehumanised and exposed to human indignity.

As students we demand;

. Escalation of the democratic resistance campaigns
. Immediate halt to use of torture and barrack gangsterism against the
. Immediate release of all arrested human rights defenders
. Detainees to have access to food, medical attention and legal
representation .
. Presidential elections in 2008 under a new people driven and democratic
constitution .
'The regime can kill the revolutionaries, but it can never kill the

Struggle is our birthright,

Aluta continua ; Victoria acerta

Little by little, Freedom shall come

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Celebrating the suffering women of Zimbabwe

12th Mar 2007 17:24 GMT

By Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

2007 marks the 30th anniversary of International Women's Day. In 1977, the
United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution inviting member states
to observe a UN day for women's rights and international peace - 8 March.

This year the Human Rights Forum joins the whole world and all progressive
women in Zimbabwe in celebrating the United Nations International Women's
Day whose theme is Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls. We
understand the term impunity as a concept wherein those that perpetrate
human rights abuses are not held to account or are somehow held to be 'above
the law'.

Women's Rights and Zimbabwe's International Obligations
Women and girls' rights to be free from violence are enshrined in various
human rights treaties. Under these treaties, some of the rights to which
women and girls are entitled include: life, liberty and security of person;
freedom form torture and cruel, degrading or inhuman treatment or

In line with its international obligations, Zimbabwe ratified the Convention
on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1991. Zimbabwe
is also party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which in
article 18 calls on all member states to ensure the protection of the rights
of women in Africa. The Human Rights Forum commends the government of
Zimbabwe for signing the Domestic Violence Bill into law although the Human
Rights Forum is concerned that the law does not specifically protect women
against politically motivated gender violence.

Zimbabwe has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, which gives
individuals the right to take complaints to the United Nations. Moreover,
Zimbabwe has signed and not yet ratified the Protocol to the African Charter
on the Rights of Women in Africa, which supplements and gives effect to the
provisions protecting women's rights in the African Charter.

Political Participation
Political participation of women in decision - making and governance is an
important human rights issue. Women have the right to participate fully at
all levels of political, civic and community life. The 1997 SADC Gender and
Development Declaration, to which Zimbabwe is signatory, upholds the status
of women making posts in politics and the public service and sets a target
of 50% for full participation by women by 2015.

Out of Zimbabwe's 150 Parliamentarians, only 24 are women. In the revived
Senate there are 22 out of 66 women. Of the 53 Ministers in Government only
4 are women. Of Zimbabwe's ten Provincial Governors, only two are women. The
Government of Zimbabwe has not ensured the active participation of women in

Politically Motivated Violence Against Women
In the Monthly Political Violence Reports produced by the Human Rights Forum
it is evident that over the years various rights affecting women in Zimbabwe
have been violated in situations that were politically motivated ranging
from sexual torture, the threat of the act of rape itself, assault, torture
and freedom of expression and association.

The Human Rights Forum has been operating a database wherein information on
human rights violations has been collated. In 2001, there were 75 women
whose rights were violated in Zimbabwe, 151 in 2002; 217 in 2003; 229 in
2004; 154 in 2005 and 259 in 2006. The incidents of violence were most
frequent during the election years of 2000, 2002 and 2005.

The coincidence of the frequency of violations over this period suggests a
clear correlation with elections, thus supporting what is often overtly
stated by the violators, that the gender - based violence is politically
motivated. However, 2006 seems to have been the worst year in terms of human
rights violations and more particularly politically motivated violations
against women.

A significant number of perpetrators of human rights violations against
women have not been arrested or accounted for, thus raising the fear that
they may not be prosecuted or held accountable for the offences. Since the
1998 food riots, the Human Rights Forum has fought legal battles in
Zimbabwean and international tribunals against perpetrators of these
violations and has won some of the cases.

However, the Human Rights Forum notes with sadness the delays in paying
compensation to the extent that when the compensation is paid it is not
enough to cater for just the bus fare to go and collect it. Furthermore,
some of the perpetrators continue to enjoy de facto and de jure impunity
through police inaction, non-prosecutions, delayed judgements, amnesties and
or pardons, which have effectively frustrated victims' efforts to seek

In 2000, after a period of excessive violence, the government granted a
General Amnesty for politically motivated crimes in the period surrounding
the February 2000 Constitutional Referendum and the June 2000 General
Elections. Clemency Order No. 1 of October 2000 freed from prosecution
perpetrators of politically motivated violence between 1 January and 31 July
2000 and pardoned those who had been already convicted.

The Clemency Order excluded crimes such as 'murder, rape, robbery, indecent
assault, statutory rape, theft and possession of arms'. Persons who
committed assault, torture, abduction and arson were therefore pardoned. The
Clemency Order of 2000 was a breach of the State's duty to investigate and
to guarantee people's freedom from such acts.

Article 2(3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
Article 25(a) of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women
obliges states parties to grant an 'effective remedy' to victims in a manner
that recognises their worth and dignity as human beings. Women victims
should therefore have access to justice, compensation and rehabilitation for
harm suffered. The Human Rights Forum notes that whilst, monetary
compensation in appropriate amounts is certainly a part of this duty, the
obligation also includes non - monetary gestures that publicly acknowledge
and condemn the harm done to victims, including an official state apology
where there were shortcomings and failures on the part of the state in its
obligation to protect victims.

Compensation available to victims must be adequate, prompt and proportional
to the gravity of the violation. Rehabilitation, which includes medical,
psychological and other care, should also be part of the remedies.
Guarantees of non - repetition should also exist through systematic
enforcement of the prohibition against torture and elimination of impunity
for all perpetrators.

The Human Rights Forum implores the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that
all those who have committed human rights violations against women in breach
of the Zimbabwe Constitution and international human rights standards and
norms, while serving in any capacity in the police, army, CIO or any other
uniformed forces or state agencies, should not be allowed to continue
serving as members of those agencies.

Of the 298 cases that the Human Rights Forum has taken to court since 1998
on behalf of citizens who have suffered abuse at the hands of the state, 68
involved women. The offences that were brought before the courts mainly
consisted of torture, assault and assault (GBH). The Zimbabwe National Army
perpetrated 63% of these abuses against women.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police and alleged ZANU PF supporters perpetrated the
rest. 50% of the cases have been closed and the rest, which have either been
settled out of court or by the courts, are still to be paid. The Human
Rights Forum takes this opportunity to deplore the serious delay in paying
out the agreed sums in the rest of the judgements. Most of the amounts,
which were determined at the time, have had their value seriously eroded by

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EU presidency, Ban Ki-moon condemn Zimbabwe treatment of opposition leaders

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: March 12, 2007

LONDON: The European Union presidency and the U.N. secretary-general on
Monday condemned the reported arrest and torture of Zimbabwe opposition
leaders after a weekend rally, and told Robert Mugabe's government it must
ensure the safety of those detained.

The U.S. State Department, too, strongly criticized the Zimbabwe police
breakup of Sunday's peaceful rally in Harare and said the United States was
shocked by the reports of injuries suffered by opposition leaders.
Colleagues of Morgan Tsvangerai, leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change, said he had deep gashes on his head and shoulders.

The attacks "were an indication of the repressive nature of the Mugabe
dictatorship," said State Department spokesman, Tom Casey.

The Save Zimbabwe Campaign said another opposition leader, Lovemore Madhuku,
was taken to the main Harare hospital early Monday after collapsing from
police assaults and was reported in a serious condition.

Organizers of the rally had described it as a prayer meeting, proclaiming:
"Zimbabwe Will Be Saved." Under 83-year-old Mugabe, Zimbabwe's economy has
fallen apart and its people suffer from severe food shortages and the
world's highest inflation.

The current German presidency of the EU urged Zimbabwe to release those
arrested and to allow them legal assistance and medical care.
A statement said the presidency "underlines the responsibility of the
Zimbabwean government to ensure that those arrested are safe and remain

It condemned the violent breakup of the rally "during which one participant
was killed, one was injured and many ... were arrested and in some cases

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the reported
beating of the opposition leaders, spokeswoman Michele Montas said in New

"Such actions violate the basic democratic right of citizens to engage in
peaceful assembly," Montas said. "The secretary-general urges the government
of Zimbabwe to release the detainees and to guarantee their safety."

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema, in Lisbon on Monday, was asked
whether the events in Zimbabwe would hinder plans for a recently announced
EU-Africa summit.

D'Alema condemned the acts of violence but said the meeting should go ahead.

"We are very concerned with what is going on in Zimbabwe. We condemn
repressions against democracy. ... But this fact should not prevent us from
promoting the summit."


Associated Press writers Edith Lederer at the United Nations, Joana Mateus
in Lisbon, and David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

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Former Aust citizen detained in Zimbabwe

ABC Australia

Tuesday, March 13, 2007. 8:19am (AEDT)

An Australian lobby group for democracy in Zimbabwe is calling on the
Federal Government to pressure the Mugabe regime to release a democracy

Former Australian citizen Sekai Holland has been detained by Zimbabwean

Police detained Ms Holland along with dozens of other opposition figures
yesterday and killed a man while breaking up a prayer meeting in Harare.

The Government says the meeting defied a ban on political rallies but the
crackdown has brought international condemnation.

Sixty-one-year-old Ms Holland is married to an Australian and spent 20 years
living here before returning to Zimbabwe to fight for democracy.

The president of New South Wales' Legislative Council and president of the
Zimbabwe Information Centre, Dr Meredith Burgmann, says Ms Holland, along
with Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai, were arrested by police.

Dr Burgmann says there are fears for her safety.

"Because it's very normal in these situations for the political detainees to
be very badly beaten up while they're in jail," she said.

Dr Burgmann says Ms Holland's two children, who live in Australia, are also
anxious for her release.

Opposition Leader

Meanwhile Zimbabwe's High Court has ordered police to allow lawyers access
to Mr Tsvangirai, whose attorney said he was in "bad shape" from suspected
assault while in police custody.

The court gave the order after lawyers said they had been refused permission
by police to see Mr Tsvangirai and dozens of other opposition figures
arrested over the banned prayer meeting.

"A provisional order was issued that we have access to our clients, that
they should be taken to hospital where necessary and that they should be
taken to court by 12pm local time ... failure of which they should be
released," lawyer Alec Muchadehama said.

He said lawyers would immediately visit police stations to gain access to
their clients.

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Freedom House Strongly Condemns Crackdown on Zimbabwean Opposition

Freedom House

  Washington, D.C.,March 12, 2007

The detention and alleged beating of Zimbabwean opposition leaders is an
appalling example of the total loss of political freedom in Zimbabwe,
Freedom House said today.

A prayer rally organized on Sunday by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign was
violently broken up by riot police using guns, tear gas and water cannons.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the country's principal opposition figure, was arrested,
along with other opposition leaders, including Arthur Matambara, Tendai Biti
and Lovemore Madhuhu, as well as a number of other participants and
journalists. One activist was shot and killed in the conflict. Lawyers have
been denied access to the detainees; however, witnesses report that
Tsvangirai was beaten unconscious and was later taken to an army hospital
for urgent medical treatment. His hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, March

"Zimbabwe has been heading downhill for some time, but this episode, and
particularly the beating of Mr. Tsvangirai, if confirmed, marks a new low,"
said Jennifer Windsor, Executive Director of Freedom House. "We call on the
Zimbabwean government to immediately release those in custody, and ask other
governments, including those of neighboring countries, to join in holding
the Mugabe regime accountable," she added.

The US government has condemned the actions of the Zimbabwean government and
called for the release of those in custody.

President Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since the country's independence from
Britain in 1980. In recent years, his rule has led to a precipitous decline
in living standards, with inflation recently reaching 1600 percent and food
shortages common. Mugabe's term ends in 2008, but there is discussion within
his party of extending his term for two more years.

Zimbabwe is one of the world's most repressive states, and crackdowns
against independent media, civil society and political opponents are common.
In the 2007 version of Freedom in the World, Freedom House's annual survey,
the country earned the lowest possible scores for political rights and civil

Freedom House, an independent non-governmental organization that supports
the expansion of freedom in the world, has monitored political rights and
civil liberties in Zimbabwe since 1980.

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Crackdown could galvanise Zimbabweans to rise against Mugabe

Zim Online

Tuesday 13 March 2007

By Tsungai Murandu

HARARE - The police crackdown on the opposition could prove to be the final
straw in a seven-year-old Zimbabwean political and economic crisis as
analysts warn of a looming social upheaval unless a political solution is
achieved soon.

Analysts told ZimOnline yesterday that a police crackdown on the opposition
and civil society - that started in February and intensified with the
killing of an opposition supporter this week - would galvanise Zimbabweans
into action against President Robert Mugabe's government.

Riot police arrested some of the leaders from both factions of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) change on Sunday following
skirmishes in Harare's working class suburb of Highfield.

Those arrested included Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads the main wing of the
MDC and Arthur Mutambara who heads a rival faction of the party.

Also arrested was Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA) pressure group that is fighting for a new, democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe.

"What this harassment does is that it will invigorate people to be even more
daring in their actions against the government," said John Makumbe, a
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer and a strong Mugabe

Makumbe warned that defiance against the government's ban on demonstrations
and political rallies was going to spread to other parts of the country,
with about 100 more MDC supporters arrested in Mutare yesterday.

"The state of the economy is going to make it worse for the government
because the next few weeks will see the demonstration being organised by the
ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions) at a time when we already have
strikes by academics and others," added Makumbe.

The ZCTU - the largest labour umbrella body in the country - has set April
3-4 as the dates for a nationwide strike to protest against deteriorating
living standards in the country.

The government has vowed to crush the strike, warning that law enforcement
agents will ruthlessly deal with the organisers.

The planned strike - and the police crackdown on the opposition - comes at a
time when official inflation data paints a deteriorating economic picture.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office released at the weekend put the
country's inflation - already the highest in the world - at 1 729.9 percent
in February, up from 1 593 percent the previous month.

"The month-on-month figure for February is really not as high as the poverty
datum line for the same month that was published last week, which shows that
there is higher pressure on prices than is being captured by the official
statistics," said independent economist John Robertson.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, the cost of living for a
family of six for the month of February surged to $686 115 from $458 986 in
January, reflecting an increase of 49.5 percent.

This is much higher than the 37.8 percent monthly inflation increase
recorded by the CSO. - ZimOnline

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Harare crackdown a wake up call on Mbeki: SA opposition

Zim Online

Tuesday 13 March 2007

Own Correspondents

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) on
Monday said last Sunday's arrest and torture of Zimbabwean opposition and
civic leaders was a "wake up" call on President Thabo Mbeki to deal with the
worsening political crisis in Zimbabwe.

An opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporter, Gift Tandare,
was shot and killed by the police during the disturbances in Harare's
working class suburb of Highfield.

In a statement released on Monday, the DA immediately condemned the
crackdown saying it was assault on legitimate democratic protest.

"Mr Tsvangirai's arrest is a complete negation of the multi-party approach
which President Mbeki has held up to the world as a solution to the crisis
in Zimbabwe.

"If we fail to act and to speak out, then it will become clear to the
international community that the South African government's policy of
"silent diplomacy" is nothing more than "quiet approval".

Mbeki has in the past refused to criticise President Mugabe preferring
instead to pursue a policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Harare.

The DA said Pretoria's policy of quiet diplomacy was a clear "derogation" of
duty as it had failed to achieve any meaningful result over the past seven

In a statement yesterday, the powerful South African of Trade Unions
(COSATU) acondemned the arrest of Tsvangirai, Mutambara and other civic
leaders adding the crackdown typified the "complete disregard for the
respect of civil liberties".

"We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all those arrested,"
said COSATU spokesperson Patrick Craven.

"COSATU welcomes the unity displayed by the two MDC factions on Sunday, who,
for the first time, appeared in a public event together, and hopes that this
heralds the emergence of the broadest possible mass movement in support of
democracy and human rights in Zimbabwe," said Craven.

In Washington, the United States on Sunday condemned the "brutal and
unwarranted actions of the government of Zimbabwe . . . in attacking its
citizens peacefully gathered to exercise their legitimate democratic rights".

"We hold President Robert Mugabe and the government of Zimbabwe accountable
for the government's actions today (Sunday), and for the safety and
well-being of those in custody," said State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack. - ZimOnline

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Mujuru courts diplomats

Mail and Guardian

      Godwin Gandu | Harare

      12 March 2007 11:59

            Presidential hopefuls within the ruling Zanu-PF party are
courting international diplomats to put pressure on 83-year-old President
Robert Mugabe either to step down or embrace political reforms.

            Their thinking is that Mugabe's departure will pull the country
out of a deepening economic crisis.

            Vice-President Joice Mujuru's husband, retired General Solomon
Mujuru, is leading the negotiations for reforms and upping the stakes by
mobilising the party membership to push for leadership renewal ahead of the
expiration of Mugabe's term in March next year. Insiders within Zanu-PF and
the opposition told the Mail & Guardian that Mujuru has met key European
Union diplomats.

            The same sources told the M&G that, during a heated Politburo
meeting last November, Mujuru told Mugabe that he had been in touch with
international diplomats and that they are deeply concerned about the growing
crisis. Mugabe reportedly reacted angrily, asking in which capacity Mujuru
was meeting with members of the diplomatic corps.

            'The Mujuru camp has been very active on the diplomatic dinner
circuit of Harare," said Tendayi Biti, secretary general of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change. "They have been wining and dining. They are
being taken seriously, obviously because the issues they debate centre on
how best the country can be rescued from the current mess it finds itself
in," he said.

            The M&G is reliably informed that Mujuru held talks with the
British and French ambassadors in Harare, but has been unable to confirm
this with either embassy. What is not clear is whether Mujuru and his allies
have made any headway.

            As pressure builds, Mugabe is considering dissolving Parliament
early next year and standing as the party's candidate in the presidential
elections in 2008, while also bringing forward parliamentary elections
initially scheduled for 2010.

            Insiders within the Cabinet revealed that it is one of many
options available to Mugabe, who has consulted key officials within the
justice ministry and the intelligence agency about the best way to cling to
power, given his party's unwillingness to endorse his plan to hang around
until 2010. Despite growing pressure within his own party, it appears Mugabe
is determined to hold on to power.

            Global think tank International Crisis Group (ICG), which
released a report on Zimbabwe this week, believes that Mugabe remains "in a
strong position to choose the time and manner of his departure", but that
growing economic and political pressures could hasten him into retirement.
It also warns that "Zanu-PF has broken into factions which could prove
dangerous for the president."

            Insiders revealed that Mugabe "is now caught between a rock and
hard place", as he tries to figure out how he can survive while rival camps
try to edge him out.

            Mujuru and Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are both waiting
for a chance to grab his job.

            "Mugabe may have turned his back on Mujuru, but there is no
evidence he supports Mnangagwa. Actually, he doesn't know who to trust
within his party and government, and he cannot solely rely on advice from
securocrats and bank on their support," said a member of the ruling party's
administrative organ, the central committee.

            "Naturally, Mugabe is a loner; he doesn't have friends. He is
hardworking, though, but unlike before, he is increasingly consulting openly
on crucial matters and that tells you all is not well," the source said.

            "Again, ministers are openly resigning and, even in politburo
meetings, some are taking him to task over crucial matters. Things, I think,
are changing, albeit slowly,' he said.

            "Mugabe doesn't trust either of the two factions," says Eldred
Masunungure, a political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. "He
prefers a new driver he can trust -- not one who will send him to jail, but
someone who is dependable," he said.

            "Whoever succeeds him will not be one of the two [Mujuru or
Mnangagwa]," he added. "Given the way he has rubbed each of the camps the
wrong way, he won't trust either."

            'The next five months are crucial,' says Crisis Group report
            Zambia has broken ranks with the region on the meltdown in
Zimbabwe by declaring that "there is a serious problem" in its southern

            Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Mundia Sikatana told Southern
African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary Thomaz Salomao in
Lusaka that hordes of Zimbabweans were streaming into Zambia looking for
food. He said the SADC summit scheduled for August should look for ways to
halt the crisis by facilitating dialogue between Zimbabwe and the European

            The statement comes in the same week as the International Crisis
Group's warning that the next five months are going to be crucial in the
resolution of Zimbabwe's crisis.

            "[They] will determine whether Mugabe gets his party's
endorsement to extend his term to 2010, or Zanu-PF chooses a new candidate
and lays the groundwork for presidential elections in March 2008 as
scheduled," the report says.

            The report adds that strong pressure will be exerted by the
economy and that there are reports that pay disparities within the security
services risk propelling officers into "active rebellion against the

            The report notes the potential for a resurgent political
opposition. It says the MDC would greatly benefit from reconciliation,
noting how the MDC's domestic and international image has dipped since the

            The report states that "failure to reconcile could kill any
potential deal with ruling party moderates", adding that "the next election
may be the last chance for current MDC leaders".

            The International Crisis Group also recommends that the SADC and
South Africa engage with the United States and the EU to adopt a joint
strategy for resolving the crisis, and calls upon the SADC Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation to convene an urgent meeting to
consider the regional consequences of the economic meltdown in Zimbabwe.

            Portugal, which is to hold the EU presidency in the second half
of 2007, is urged not to invite Mugabe and other government members to the
EU-AU summit unless significant reforms have already been undertaken.

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