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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai in hospital as outrage grows

Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:29PM EDT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sent from court to hospital with a deep head wound on Tuesday as world outrage grew over the government's violent crackdown on political protests.

Tsvangirai, who leads the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said he had suffered "terrible" treatment in police custody following his arrest on Sunday for attempting to attend an opposition prayer rally.

"It was sadistic to attack defenseless people," the burly former trade unionist said outside the Harare court, where he appeared limping, with a gash in his head and a swollen eye. His head was shaved where the wound had been treated.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice led international condemnation of the crackdown, saying Washington held President Robert Mugabe personally responsible for Tsvangirai's safety.

"The world community has again been shown that the regime of Robert Mugabe is ruthless and repressive and creates only suffering for the people of Zimbabwe," Rice said in a statement.

South Africa, Zimbabwe's powerful neighbor to the south, also took the rare step of commenting, calling on Mugabe's government to respect the rule of law and the rights of all people, including opposition leaders.

Pretoria said it was concerned over the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, where the 83-year old Mugabe has said he is ready to stand for a new term next year despite an economic crisis that has driven inflation to 1,700 percent and put some eight out of 10 people out of work.


Tsvangirai was brought to court on Tuesday along with about 50 other detainees, several of whom had to be carried into the courthouse. One wore a bloodstained shirt and all appeared dirty, dishevelled and tired.

State lawyer Florence Ziyambi ordered that the accused be taken to hospital for treatment. Tsvangirai was bundled into a minibus by riot police, while the others went by ambulance.

Rights groups say the group was tortured after their arrest during a prayer meeting organised by a coalition of opposition, church and civic groups to discuss Zimbabwe's woes.

Police had ordered organisers to scrap the meeting, apparently worried that the opposition was launching a street campaign to oust Mugabe.

One man was shot dead when riot squads moved in to crush the rally. It was the second time in a month police had battled opposition youths in the capital.

Tsvangirai and his colleagues were still undergoing medical treatment as the evening wore on and it was unclear whether they would be released or returned to jail overnight.

Defence lawyers said riot police had cordoned off a private hospital where the opposition politicians were being treated.

Mugabe -- once one of Africa's liberation heroes but now accused of chronic economic mismanagement and political abuses -- has said he will seek another term if asked by the ruling ZANU-PF party, whether elections are held as planned in 2008 or delayed for two years.

Political analysts say Mugabe's election plans have alarmed even some senior members of ZANU-PF, aggravating tensions within the party as the long-cowed opposition grows bolder.

Mugabe frequently blames Zimbabwe's economic problems on sabotage from former colonial master Britain and other Western nations.

ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said Tsvangirai had been intent on getting arrested to win more Western support.

"I think Tsvangirai wanted to be arrested because he wanted more support from London and Washington," Shamuyarira was quoted as saying by SABC, South Africa's state broadcaster.

While other Western countries joined the United States in denouncing Zimbabwe's latest moves, most of its African neighbours remained diplomatically low-key despite an accelerating meltdown which many analysts say could threaten the entire region.

"The problem in Zimbabwe should be solved by Zimbabweans themselves," Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said on Tuesday as he received the new Zimbabwean ambassador.

"Everybody else cannot be a prefect, but we can only offer advice which could either be accepted or rejected."

(Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka and Nelson Banya in Harare, Shapi Shacinda in Lusaka, Sue Pleming in Washington)

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Injured Tsvangirai, Mutambara 'free' - says lawyer

New Zimbabwe

TSVANGIRAI arrives in court Tuesday
TSVANGIRAI trailed by Tendai Biti, a Harare MP
TSVANGIRAI inside an ambulence. Behind him is NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/14/2007 04:09:39
THE two leaders of Zimbabwe's splintered opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and their colleagues who were brutally assaulted in police custody have been set free, their lawyers said.

Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, together with 50 other officials and activists walked free out of the Harare Magistrates Court after the state failed to avail a prosecutor and magistrate to preside over their case.

In a dramatic development, lawyers representing the politicians walked out of the court when the state eventually tried to have hearing.

"The court order said our clients are free. Legally they have been set free, but physically they have been detained overnight at the Avenues Clinic for medical examinations but under lawful police guard," said Selby Hwacha, one of the lawyers.

"The state failed to provide a magistrate and prosecutor. The court order clearly said if by mid-day our clients had not been in court, then they were free. We simply walked out when the state on second thought tried to convene a hearing. We didn't want to stand up to their funny games, " Hwacha said last night.

On Monday evening, High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu granted an order that lawyers should be allowed access to the arrested politicians, several of whom were injured.

Bhunu ordered the state to bring all the suspects to court by mid-day Tuesday, or they would be considered free.

In court Tuesday, Tsvangirai, his face swollen and a large gash on his head, was taken to a hospital under police guard after the brief court appearance.

About 50 other MDC officials and activists arrested while trying to attend a church-driven rally in Highfield on Sunday also appeared in court.

A crowd outside the court sang and waved the opposition party's open hand salute as Tsvangirai and Mutambara shuffled into the court. At least six other injured activists were also on view, displaying varying injuries allegedly inflicted by the police.

Tsvangirai walked slowly and was able to board an emergency vehicle unaided, but appeared disoriented. He was not among those who returned the salute.

As the activists, some bruised and bandaged, shuffled into court Tuesday, many sang and chanted in defiance of a heavy police presence. Tsvangirai and Mutambara stood in the courtroom but did not chant or sing.

Tsvangirai had a large gash on his head with about 10 stitches, and his face and eyes were badly swollen. Colleagues said he was tortured after being arrested when police crushed the gathering on Sunday that was organized as a prayer meeting by a coalition of opposition, church and civic groups under the "Save Zimbabwe" banner.

Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly pressure group arrived at the court with a bandaged arm. Grace Kwinje had head wounds around his ear. "Save Zimbabwe" members outside the court said they were worried that their friends might have internal injuries because of police beatings.

One opposition activist, Gift Tandare, was shot dead in unrest Sunday surrounding the prayer meeting. Two mourners were slightly injured Tuesday at his funeral in skirmishes with police.

The U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had called for the "immediate and unconditional release" of the opposition activists.

"The world community again has been shown that the regime of Robert Mugabe is ruthless and repressive and creates only suffering for the people of Zimbabwe," Rice said.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour added her voice to mounting international criticism of Zimbabwean authorities.

"This form of repression and intimidation of a peaceful assembly is unacceptable, and the loss of life makes this even more disturbing," she said.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the European Union, Amnesty International and the human rights committee of the International Bar Association also have expressed concern and condemnation.

Opponents of Mugabe blame the president for acute food shortages, inflation of some 1,600 percent — the highest in the world — and repression and corruption.

They have demanded the ouster of 83-year-old Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only ruler since independence from Britain in 1980.

Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the BBC's Network Africa program Tuesday that the police had been attacked by opposition activists.

"The opposition has been involved in violence, caught by police with weapons of destruction and destroying cars and stores and beating up people," Ndlovu told the BBC. "They've been beating up police you know. That is what government cannot tolerate."

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Tsvangirai 'denied lawyer or medical treatment'

The Telegraph

By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 5:48pm GMT 13/03/2007

      Zimbabwe's police defied a court order today and refused to allow
Morgan Tsvangirai, the detained opposition leader, medical treatment or
access to his lawyer.

      "Since when did the police in Zimbabwe obey court orders?" asked
Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer. "I believe Morgan Tsvangirai is in a
deplorable condition."

      She added that earlier this morning, police refused to allow her to
see Arthur Mutambara, leader of rival faction of the opposition Movement for
Demcratic Change.

      Both men were arrested on Sunday after they tried to attend a prayer
meeting in the capital, Harare. President Robert Mugabe's regime has banned
all political gatherings. About 100 other opposition activists and three
journalists were detained while trying to attend the same event.

      A few hours after their arrests, reports suggested that some had been
assaulted and tortured.

      Mr Tsvangirai eventually appeared in a magistrate's court today along
with about 50 of his supporters. He has severe head injuries, including a
deep gash in his skull. The regime has not formally pressed any charges.

      Innocent Chagonda, a lawyer representing Mr Tsvangirai, saw his client
on Monday but was forbidden to speak to him. "He [Mr Tsvangirai] 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,"
said Mr Chagonda.

      Lovemore Madhuku, another opposition figure, is in hospital with a
broken wrist and extensive bruising inflicted by police.

      One opposition supporter, Gift Tandare, was shot dead by police during
the disturbances.

      The regime claimed that about 200 MDC "thugs", using "children" as
shields, had attacked the police, injuring three officers and leaving them
with no option but to open fire in self defence.

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Sweden Critical Of Zimbabwe Police, Ambassador Sees Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was "not broken" after being
held by police, Swedish Ambassador Sten Rylander said Tuesday after a brief
meeting at a court in Harare.

Rylander and other European Union ambassadors on Monday visited several
police stations in an attempt to trace Tsvangirai and others arrested Sunday
after police dispersed a prayer meeting declared illegal by the government.

"I hugged Tsvangirai and others there," Rylander told Swedish radio news,
adding that the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was "in
much better shape than I had expected."

"I talked with him, and he was not broken. He regards this as the beginning
of the end," the Swedish diplomat said.

Swedish International Development Cooperation Minister Gunilla Carlsson on
Tuesday slammed the "brutal" crackdown by Zimbabwe police against the

"The brutal abuse against public gatherings and freedom of speech that
Zimbabwe's regime conducted in connection with the peaceful prayer meeting
(Sunday) March 11 must be strongly condemned," Carlsson said in a statement.

Carlsson said the outside world has to "step up" efforts to help end the
negative spiral in Zimbabwe.

© 2007 DPA

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Rice demands Tsvangirai release

From correspondents in Washington

March 14, 2007 04:43am

Article from: Agence France-Presse

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanded the immediate release of
Zimbabwe opposition leaders jailed by what she called the "ruthless and
repressive" regime of President Robert Mugabe.
Ms Rice said the US government holds Mr Mugabe directly responsible for the
"safety and well-being" of the detained politicians, who were allegedly
beaten by police after being detained on Monday.

She specifically mentioned Movement for Democratic Change leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, and the leader of the National
Constitutional Assembly, Lovemore Madhuku.

"The United States calls for the immediate and unconditional release of
those individuals detained by the government of Zimbabwe after its brutal
attack March 11 on a prayer meeting in the Harare suburb of Highfield," she

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South Africa: "concern" But No Condemnation Over Zimbabwe

South Africa's Deputy Foreign Aziz Pahad on Tuesday expressed the
government's "concern" about reports of a crackdown on opposition leaders in
neighbouring Zimbabwe but stopped short of condemning the regime of
President Robert Mugabe.

"The South African government has noted reports emanating from Zimbabwe
regarding the current difficulties being experienced by the political
leadership in the country," Pahad said.

"South Africa expresses its concerns about these reports," he said, urging
the Zimbabwean government "to ensure that the rule of law including respect
for rights of all Zimbabweans and leaders of various political parties is

Pahad appeared to rule out South Africa leaning on Mugabe to end oppression
of political opponents in Zimbabwe.

"Only dialogue among the main political protagonists can help bring about a
lasting solution" the problems in Zimbabwe, he opined, but South Africa
would "continue to monitor the situation closely" and to work with all
stakeholders in Zimbabwean society to achieve political dialogue.

Pahad was speaking after religious, trade union and civic society leaders
slammed the government for failing to condemn the bloody police crackdown in
Harare in which one person was killed and several others injured or tortured
in custody, including Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan

Earlier around 100 people, mostly Zimbabweans, demonstrating outside the
Zimbabwean Consulate in Johannesburg under the Save Zimbabwe banner had
called on South Africa to lean on Harare.

"Silent diplomacy has not and will not work. South Africans must take a
stand," said Nicholas Mkaronda, the South-Africa based director of Crisis in

"The South African government's silence is deafening," said Roy Bennett, a
former deputy with the MDC who fled charges of treason in Zimbabwe to South

South Africa "should speak out against the severe lack of democratic space
and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe," he said.

The government's evasive response on Zimbabwe was also slammed by the
Confederation of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), a partner in the
tripartite governing alliance as "shamefully weak."

The South African Council of Churches said South Africa's silence on human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe was aggravating the situation in the country.

© 2007 DPA

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Regional silence on crisis "loud"

HARARE, 13 March 2007 (IRIN) -

Pro-democracy activists lashed out at the lack of a regional response to the
"deteriorating human rights" situation in Zimbabwe as two activists were
shot and wounded by police in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday, the third day
of police crackdowns.

"At the very least they can issue a condemnation of the brutality and
torture, and urge the Zimbabwe government to take action against the
police," said Brian Raftopoulos, a Zimbabean academic and curently African
affairs specialist at the South African-based Institute for Justice and

"The silence from the region and SADC [Southern African Development
Community] on the situation in our country is loud," said a bitter Jacob
Mafume, coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe, a coalition of more than 300
civil society organisations.

The region's silence has attracted growing criticism as rallies were banned
in Harare in February, after running battles between the police and
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
prior to a meeting to launch the party's presidential campaign in Highfield,
a high-density suburb in the capital.

Tension has been mounting in Zimbabwe for the past two months: NGOs, church
groups, labour and students have all staged sporadic demonstrations around
the country as Zimbabweans battled with annual inflation now running at more
than 1,700 percent, compounded by shortages of foreign currency, food, fuel,
electricity and medicines.

A statement on Tuesday by the South African government stopped short of any
criticism of the Zimbabwean government and urged it to ensure that "the rule
of law, including respect for the rights of all Zimbabweans and leaders of
various political parties, is respected."

In the first detailed statement on the situation, South Africa's Deputy
Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, said, "Similarly, we appeal to leaders of
opposition political parties to work towards a climate that is conducive to
finding a lasting solution to the current challenges faced by the people of

Officials in Zambia, which will assume chairmanship of SADC in August, and
neighbouring Botswana said they were monitoring the situation.

Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Mundia Sikatana last week reportedly urged
the region not to ignore the festering crisis in Zimbabwe, adding that when
Zambia assumed the chairmanship of the SADC he intended to move the Zimbabwe
question up the agenda and engage the European Union on the matter.

Press reports in the Zambian capital, Lusaka, said Sikatana made his
statements to SADC Executive Chairman Thomaz Salomao, who was in Zambia to
prepare for the SADC summit in August 2007. "We should not pretend that all
is well in Zimbabwe," Sikatana said. "There is a serious problem, and
ostracising Zimbabwe will not help solve the problems there."

On Tuesday, Zimbabwean police disrupted the wake of Gift Tandare, Youth
Chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly, a nongovernmental
organisation advocating constitutional reform in Zimbabwe, who had been shot
dead by the police on Sunday during running battles with the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters, ahead of a planned prayer

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was among 30 pro-democracy leaders who were
beaten and arrested by the police, also on Sunday, for allegedly inciting

Nickson Magondo and Naison Mashambanhaka were shot and wounded while
attending Tandare's wake, in Glenview, a Harare suburb. Police also raided
the offices of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in the capital on the
pretext of looking for subversive material.

"The evidence of brutality at the hands of the police is there to see,"
Raftopoulos commented. "We want to see South Africa and SADC encourage the
Zimbabwean government to dialogue with the NGOs and opposition instead of
responding to public meetings with this kind of brutality."

After two days in custody, Tsvangirai and other arrested leaders, all
bearing wounds and bruises, appeared in court and were taken to hospital for

"It is unacceptable that, post-independence, meetings are being banned and
we are being subjected to colonial treatment, and then the regional leaders
bury their heads in sand," said Crisis in Zimbabwe's Mafume.

South Africa's labour federation, Congress of South African Trade Unions,
condemned its government's "shamefully weak" response "in the face of such
massive attacks on democracy and human rights, especially coming from those
who owed so much to international solidarity when South Africans were
fighting for democracy and human rights against the apartheid regime".

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, said,
"I welcome the speed and firmness with which Zimbabwe's courts have acted in
the face of shocking reports of police abuse," and commended the High
Court's order that Tsvangirai be provided with medical treatment.

"This form of repression and intimidation of a peaceful assembly is
unacceptable, and the loss of life makes this even more disturbing," Arbour
added. "I urge the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure an immediate, impartial
and comprehensive investigation into these events; I encourage the courts to
continue to discharge their responsibilities as guardians of the rights of
all Zimbabweans."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the chorus of condemnation by
western governments and urged the Zimbabwean government to release all
opposition leaders.

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Two AP Journalists Arrested, Detained; Whereabouts of One Unknown

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

March 13, 2007
Posted to the web March 13, 2007

On 12 March 2007, the High Court ordered the police to allow lawyers access
to their clients, including two detained journalists, as well as opposition
leaders and human rights activists.

Photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and television producer Tendai Musiyu,
both employed with Associated Press (AP), are among those being detained at
various police stations in Harare, together with opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Authur Mutambara.

Mukwazhi's whereabouts remain unknown following his arrest on 11 March at
Machipisa shopping complex, when police disrupted a national prayer meeting
that had been scheduled for Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield under the auspices
of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu made the ruling following an urgent application
filed by Advocate Erick Matinenga, representing the detained journalists,
political leaders and human rights activists, after the police denied their
lawyers access to their clients.

Justice Bhunu also ordered that medical practitioners be allowed access to
the injured activists after the state conceded in its submission that they
had been assaulted by the police. He further ruled that if the police defy
that order, it should produce all the detainees at the High Court at 8:00
a.m. (local time) on 13 March.

The High Court also ordered that all detainees be brought before the
Magistrates Court by 12:00 p.m. on 13 March, failing which they should be

MISA-Zimbabwe understands that the police have not complied with the High
Court order and have refused lawyers access to the detainees, despite the
ruling late in the evening of 12 March.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports say Mukwazhi is being held at Epworth police
station on the outskirts of Harare and that efforts were underway to
ascertain the whereabouts of the award-winning journalist. His colleague
Musiyo is being held at Marlborough Police Station.


Gift Tandare, an MDC activist, was shot and killed in Highfield on 11 March,
when police cordoned off Zimbabwe Grounds, venue of the planned national day
of prayer. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and severely assaulted
by police, who are detaining him at Borrowdale Police Station.

Tsvangirai was arrested together with National Constitutional Assembly
chairperson Lovemore Madhuku, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, Arthur
Mutambara, leader of the other MDC faction, legislator Job Sikhala and Grace
Kwinje, and Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai faction. Madhuku is reported to
have suffered a fractured arm following severe assaults by the police.

In a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression,
assembly and association, the Zimbabwean government on 21 February 2007
imposed a three-month ban on demonstrations and political rallies in Harare.

The police cited the violence, looting and destruction of property in
Highfield on 18 February and Kambuzuma on 4 February as reasons for the ban.
On 18 February, police violently disrupted a High Court-sanctioned rally in
Highfield by the opposition MDC, leading to violent clashes between riot
police and supporters of the party.

Police invoked the restrictive Public Order and Security Act (POSA) to
affect the bans under Section 27, which allows for the temporary prohibition
of public gatherings within police districts for a period not exceeding
three months.

The clashes in Highfield came a day after the High Court granted the MDC an
order allowing them to proceed with their rally to launch the 2008
presidential campaign at Zimbabwe Grounds in the same suburb.

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2 more shot as the world reacts to Zimbabwe brutality

By Tererai Karimakwenda
13 March, 2007

Events unfolding on Tuesday clearly exposed the brutality of the police
under Robert Mugabe and received strong condemnation from the international
community. Also at the receiving end of strong global criticism was South
Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who has continued to refuse to make any
public statements against the authorities in Harare, despite the shocking
brutality of the police.

Much has transpired this Tuesday but here is a brief summary:
Following the shooting death of opposition supporter Gift Tandare at a rally
violently stopped by the police on Sunday, and the arrest of scores of
opposition officials and civic leaders, 2 more innocent civilians were shot
by soldiers near Tandare's home where people had gathered to mourn with his
family. The soldiers were going to work early Tuesday morning when they ran
into mourners returning from a wake at Tandare's home.

Meanwhile there was confirmation that MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and
several others were severely assaulted and tortured by police in custody,
when they appeared in court Tuesday morning with visible wounds and
bandages. Witnesses described Tsvangirai as having a swollen face and a
large gash on his head. He appeared in court briefly with about 50 activists
and was taken to hospital after police finally complied with a court order
they had ignored. Professor Arthur Mutambara, President of the other MDC
faction was also hospitalised as was NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku and
several of the others who were arrested.

In further news the offices of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions were
raided by police Tuesday morning. The police were allegedly holding
officials and staff hostage against their will at the offices in Harare. No
further updates have been received.

A detailed account of the day's events follows but first a look at the
response of the international community to the brutal assaults which made
headlines around the world.
Strong condemnation of the Mugabe regime came from the German presidency of
the European Union which released a statement saying the presidency
"underlines the responsibility of the Zimbabwean government to ensure that
those arrested are safe and remain unharmed".
A spokesperson for the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is reported as
saying: "The secretary-general urges the government of Zimbabwe to release
the detainees and to guarantee their safety."
Reports also came from the US State Department that Washington was shocked
by reports from Zimbabwe. New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark and the
Italian Foreign Minister also commented negatively on the situation in

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki remained silent and received much
criticism himself for ignoring such brutal actions next door. Strong words
regarding Mbeki's silence came from critics at home and abroad.
In the Business Day South Africa newspaper, Alex Matthews wrote: "Government's
stance on Zimbabwe is a disgrace. President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy"
is merely a euphemism for his callous indifference. He continues to turn a
blind eye while President Robert Mugabe's regime violates every human
South Africa's main opposition the Democratic Alliance tabled a motion in
parliament urging Mbeki to speak out. The party's media secretary Martin
Slabbert said that the motion was brought to parliament by DA Foreign
Affairs Minister Douglas Gibson Tuesday afternoon. Slabbert said the DA is
calling on president Mbeki to join the EU and the UN in condemning the
recent violent assaults on opposition and civic leaders in Zimbabwe. He
added that the ruling party's policy of "quiet diplomacy" had not borne any
fruits and was a silent approval of the abuses by the Mugabe regime.
Cosatu secretary-general Zwelin-zima Vavi told the local press on Tuesday
that Mbeki's "silent diplomacy" had not worked and they would stage a
protest outside the Zimbabwe High Commission against police brutality.

Despite all the voices urging him to say something, Mbeki's spokesperson
Mukoni Ratshitanga said there would be no statement.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Late this afternoon after press conferences and numerous other meetings, collecting food for our President and all those detained and tortured by the brutal regime, Hon. Paurine Gwanyanya MP, Evelyn Masaiti and I went to Glen View to visit the bereaved family of Gift Tandare.  Gift was shot dead by the Zimbabwe Police militia because he, like thousands of others had gone to attend a Prayer Meeting at Zimbabwe Stadium in Highfields on Sunday, called by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign to pray for our beloved country. 
We arrived at their humble little home to find mourners grieving for this senseless and brutal loss. It was heart wrenching and humbling to share their grief.  In the picture is Gifts wife holding their little boy named after his Dad, and Gifts Mum is on her right. They also have two daughters, one in Form 3 and one in Grade 7.
The nation mourns with them.  The struggle for democracy and peace in Zimbabwe will continue.
Kerry Kay,
Deputy Secretary for Health,

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Amnesty International Demands Probe into Killing of Zimbabwe Activist; Calls for Release of Peaceful Protestors


March 12, 2007

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

The organization also expressed serious concern for the welfare of two
leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) -- 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 custody.

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 Program. "The killing of Gift Tandare must be
investigated immediately and the perpetrators brought 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."

Tandare was killed during a protest against a police ban on all peaceful
demonstrations in Harare's low income suburb of Highfield. The demonstration
was organized 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.

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

Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the severe restrictions of
freedom of expression, assembly and association following the blanket ban on
rallies and demonstrations.


Contact: Suzanne Trimel 212/633-4150 or Ben Somberg 212/633-4268

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MDC activists in Mutare still in police custody

By Tichaona Sibanda
13 March 2007

MDC activists arrested in Mutare on Monday are still languishing in police
cells a day after they were picked up just before an anti-government protest
in the eastern border town.

Pishai Muchauraya the MDC spokesman for Manicaland said it took the police
more than 30 hours to record cautioned statements from the activists who
were now waiting to be taken to court. He described conditions in the cells
as poor and not fit for a human being. Each cell is holding up to 30
activists instead of the 10 it was built for. Police also made no attempt to
provide food for those arrested. An SOS was sent out to town and people
started bringing food into the prison.

Muchauraya who was also arrested and spoke to us from the cells said there
are over 100 activists who were arrested and the figure includes children
and women. He said they have not been able to sleep or get any kind of rest.

Lawyers representing the activists have worked all day to try to get them to
court but are facing serious bureaucratic delays, blamed on the police. The
officer-in-charge of the station, named as Florence Marume, has been
particularly harsh to the activists. She has allegedly been brutal and
openly condemning of the MDC.

'I believe this is a deliberate plot by the police, especially this Marume,
to keep us locked in these filthy cells to break our backs-she will not
succeed,' Muchauraya said.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe National Students Union leaders Promise Mkwananzi and
Washington Katema were picked up by the police just before a planned march
into the city from the University of Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

Innocent Kasiyano, co-ordinator of the students Christian movement of
Zimbabwe, said police pounced on the student leaders and others as they were
marching along second street extension. There were also running battles
between the students and the police. Mkwananzi and Katema were initially
released but arrested after going to the Magistrates' court to attend court
hearing of those arrested on Sunday. They are now expected to appear in
court on Wednesday.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Tsvangirai: Struggle continues


13/03/2007 17:04  - (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defiantly vowed on
Tuesday his campaign to topple President Robert Mugabe would continue, as he
headed to hospital for injuries received in police custody.

"The police assaulted defenceless civilians but the struggle continues,"
Tsvangirai said in brief comments to reporters as he was led from a Harare
courthouse into a police van which ferried him for treatment.

The comments were the first from the Movement for Democratic Change leader
since he was arrested on Sunday as police crushed a planned anti-government

Tsvangirai and 49 other opposition activists were given clearance to receive
hospital treatment after appearing in the dock in connection with their
attempts to stage the rally in defiance of a government prohibition.

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U.N. rights chief: Zimbabwe crackdown "unacceptable"


Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:09AM EDT

GENEVA (Reuters) - Zimbabwe must launch a fast and fair investigation into
the weekend detention and reported beating of opposition leaders, which
constituted "unacceptable" repression, a top United Nations official said on
Louise Arbour, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed
concern over "shocking reports of police abuse" in a crackdown following a
planned rally by a coalition of opposition and church groups.

At least one person was killed and many others injured as police moved to
stop what they called an illegal protest against President Robert Mugabe's

"This form of repression and intimidation of a peaceful assembly is
unacceptable, and the loss of life makes this even more disturbing," Arbour
said in a statement released in Geneva.

"I urge the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure an immediate, impartial and
comprehensive investigation into these events," she said.
Rights groups say opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and others have been
tortured while in police custody.

Arbour praised the Zimbabwe High Court for ordering that the Movement for
Democratic Change leader be given immediate medical treatment and brought
before the court or released.

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The hardest job in Africa?


13/03/2007 09:04  - (SA)

David Moseley

It takes a lot of balls to be an opposition leader in Africa. On any given
day you could wake up inside the stomach of a crocodile, you might be asked
to take a short walk off the edge of the Vic Falls or a really persuasive
foot soldier could ask you to test the water temperature of the White Nile
when it's in flood.
Such is the state of politics on the "dark continent". Except, of course, in
South Africa. If you're the leader of the opposition here you simply get
heckled at the movies or the ruling party assimilates your failing ideals
into their own monolithic corporation.
Blokes like Tony Leon don't have to worry about getting bopped rhythmically
and systematically over the head by the state police. Non-supporters of the
government (I hope) aren't yet getting locked up for years without trial or
fed to starved pitbulls. (I'm sure it happened in the past, but we're moving
on now).
In South Africa we can criticise the leaders and laugh at their perfect
comedic timing during press conferences without fear of accidentally getting
set alight at a tragic braaing accident.
Surely a quiet whisper into Bob's ear?
But you have to wonder for how long. With the daily drama in Zimbabwe and
Thabo Mbeki's reluctance to try and talk some sense into Robert Mugabe you
have to wonder what, apart from the wind, is going through the president's
mind. Does he hope the country will sort itself out or is he waiting for the
Zambezi to flood and wash the ills away?
I can kind of understand why he doesn't want to get involved. People
shouldn't stick their noses in where they don't belong. But surely just a
quiet whisper from Mr Mbeki into Mr Mugabe's ear would help.
"Umm, Bob. Ja, umm, it's Thabo here. Yes, that's right, the liberal
white-man loving scum from down south who sold his soul for a cashmere
sweater and a rainbow nation. Anyway, Bob, I have a few points for
discussion here.
"Your inflation is out of control, your GDP is non-existent, apparently the
country is out of food, none of the farms seem to be operating, and there
just seem to be a lot of dead people lying around not really contributing
much to the tourist trade. What is it exactly that you're doing over there?
Bob, wait, don't hang up..."
Not the Renaissance we had in mind
Newspaper reports claim that Morgan Tsvangirai, the thorn in the side of
Robert Mugabe, is "reportedly being kept in a lice-infested cell and cannot
see, eat or speak properly after his alleged beating by Zimbabwe police".
The beatings, in fact, were pretty impressive. Scores of Mugabe militia
whacked anything that moved with great gusto after a rally in Harare was
deemed to be out of control.
You wonder how much longer a supposedly dignified man like our esteemed
president will tolerate his buddy's leave of absence from his senses. I
don't imagine that Mr Mbeki had this in mind when he light-bulbed the
African Renaissance (French for "rebirth", just in case you were wondering).
About the only thing that Zimbabwe has in common with Mbeki's vision is the
bloody, messy pulp that falls to floor after a "birth". It's not pretty, but
someone has to clean it up.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of
diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore
their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


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Beaten with an Iron Bar

So much is going on right now that it is difficult to keep track. But for me
one incident stands out in the past two days - the fact that whilst in
Police custody and under Police "protection" one of our most able activists.
Grace Kwinjeh, a single mom who is very active in the field of women's
rights, was severely beaten and at one stage a policeman took an iron bar to
her head. She now has head injuries and has lost part of her ear.

Now an iron bar is not a weapon of interrogation, or intimidation, it is a
murder weapon, nothing less. When you pick up an iron bar and move to strike
someone on the head with it - your intention is to kill not maim.

Grace is a very determined and outspoken woman - but she is also an active
Christian and young. I cannot think of anything she might have said or done
to justify such an act.

Then you have to look at the case of Morgan Tsvangirai - he was not even
arrested on the street. He and his PA went to the Machapisa Police Station
to ask what was happening to others who had been arrested in the prayer
march that morning. Both of them were then arrested and both have been

Morgan is 55 (birthday the day before), a quiet family man who is devoted to
his wife and children. I have never seen him, in 10 years, ever lose his
temper or even get angry. He has a calm temperament and this could not have
been more evident than the weekend before when he found himself barred from
entering the City Hall in Bulawayo where he was scheduled to speak to local
residents. He remonstrated with the Police details on duty, then turned to
the many hundreds of people on the street and said they should disburse and
not cause any trouble. We outnumbered the police by a 100 to 1. We could
easily have taken them on - water cannon or not.

But this time he was not on the street; he was in a Police cell and in their
hands. No crime committed, no charges laid, no violence at all at that stage
of the game. Just pure vindictive hatred of a man who has stood for justice,
human and political rights and freedoms for most of his life. The only man
in fact who offers any chance of an exit out of this Zanu led morass. This
time they outnumbered him and the crowds, which normally follow him, were
locked out.

What did they do with the opportunity? Talk about the way forward? Talk
about the state of the economy and how difficult things were for themselves
and their families?

No they just beat him until he fell unconscious on the floor, they did that
three times and in the process they battered his body and his head so that
when his wife went to see him, he could not see properly, could not feed
himself and was almost unrecognizable.

They did that despite the fact that they knew the whole world was watching -
we have been headlined on the CNN, NBC, Sky and BBC for almost 48 hours now.
They did that despite the fact that everyone knows we are close to the time
when Zanu PF will have no choice to speak to this man they were beating.
What was the intention? They know he will not bend or go back on his
mission. They know that what they did will inflame the people even more
outside those Police cell walls. Do they want anarchy so they can impose
marshal law and abandon any pretext of government by consent of the people?
You must answer those questions because I cannot.

What I do know is that South Africa continues to behave in a totally
inexplicable manner. First they ignored the story altogether and then when
the storm of worldwide outrage grew, they reluctantly allowed some mention
on the news. Even then the story was put together so badly I wondered just
who was doing it - even today at 13.00 hours their coverage was appalling
and badly put together - the faces of the presenters who are very
professiona,l told another story all on its own.

So far President Mbeki has yet to say a word. No comment from the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs. Just stony, inexplicable silence! Yet no country in the
world has more responsibility for the situation here, no country in the
world has more to lose. Still silence. Only Tony Leon commented that he also
could not understand why the South African President remained silent why the
crisis in Zimbabwe plummeted to new lows.

Maybe the guys in that Police cell with Morgan know that the end is in
sight; that their privileges and special status are all under threat because
of this man in the cell with them? Maybe they thought they would not be
brought to justice and had total impunity. Maybe the senior political
figures responsible for this sort of thing - Mutasa, Gotche and Moghadi had
told them to go ahead - have fun and beat the daylights out of the man, that
they would guarantee that there would be no investigation, no recriminations
even - perhaps a hefty reward.

Well I have news for them - we are keeping a list and one day soon, there
will be justice for all the victims of this regime. As I write the funeral
of Gift Tandare is underway in Harare. Early this morning the Police/Army
opened fire with live ammunition on a crowd of mourners at the house. They
injured two young MDC members in the process. What is this about the use of
live ammunition against defenseless, unarmed civilians? Are they crazy?

As for regional leaders - especially Mbeki, we hold them responsible for
this situation. For 7 years they have sat on the sidelines and done little
to defend the rights of ordinary Zimbabweans in the face of a tyranny every
bit as evil as that which confronted the ANC in South Africa and the Zanu
and Zapu movements in Rhodesian days. They have connived and protected that
tyranny so that it felt it was immune to global pressure and could do what
it wanted inside the country - and get away with it. They have left the
ordinary people of Zimbabwe to suffer, their only recourse being flight to
other countries.

Even now as we near the time when this Zanu PF led regime is about to
collapse in a heap, there is evidence that they seek, not a democratic
solution to our crisis, allowing the people here to determine who will take
them out of this mess. But they work quietly (that is the meaning of "quiet
diplomacy") behind the scenes to engineer a "reformed" Zanu government to
take over from Mugabe, who even they, now see as being at the end of his

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 13th March 2007

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SA blamed for Zim crisis


          March 13 2007 at 06:15PM

      South Africa's silence on human rights violations in Zimbabwe is
aggravating the situation in that country, the South African Council of
Churches (SACC) said on Tuesday.

      "Our leaders must show that they are committed to helping the people
of Zimbabwe to find rapid solutions to the many problems confronting them,"
the SACC said in a statement, expressing concern about the "growing wave of
repression and human rights violations in Zimbabwe".

      The council joined Zimbabwean opposition groups in criticising South
Africa's silence on the situation in the country that "threatens to
destabilise the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC)

      "We notice, with deep concern that Zimbabwean authorities are
attempting to create and exploit divisions within the Zimbabwean Church.
Authoritarian regimes commonly make use of such 'divide and rule' tactics to
discredit and stifle genuine opposition," said SACC general secretary Eddie

      The SACC was reacting to the recent detention of a number of church
and opposition leaders, civil society activists and human rights campaigners
participating in a public prayer meeting.

      Authorities attempted to ban the meeting through effecting the
country's "draconian" Public Order and Safety Act (POSA), enacted in January

      "History has shown that the truth will set us free. No matter how
harsh the repression, a people who seek peace with justice can not be
deterred," Makue said.

      The council said the actions of the Zimbabwean security forces were
limiting options available to its people in finding a solution to the many
challenges they faced.

      "The people of Zimbabwe need the space to express peacefully their
aspirations and their dissatisfaction with the hyperinflation, unemployment
and shortages of basic commodities that are making life intolerable for the
vast majority of citizens," Makue said.

      This contributed to the "massive migration" of Zimbabweans to
neighbouring countries.

      But relief services offered in these countries were unable to stem the
tide of the migrants or meet their needs.

      "Political leaders within the SADC have a responsibility to engage in
actions that enhance peace and security for all people of the region."

      Makue concluded by affirming the council's support for the principle
of finding African solutions to African problems.

      "Now is the time for us to act for peace and justice in Zimbabwe," he

      Meanwhile, the Young Communist League said they were "bitter and
aggrieved" at the death of Gift Tandare, the Youth Chairperson of the
National Constitutional Assembly in Harare, during the prayer meeting.

      The league condemned the continued violation of human rights and
harassment of members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) by the

      "This shows that the Zimbabwean government is engaged in a brutal
offensive to ambush the people of Zimbabwe and deny them their fundamental
rights to enjoy freedom and democracy," it said in a statement.

      The league said it was clear that so long as President Robert Mugabe
was at the helm there would be a reversal of the liberation gained by the
people of Zimbabwe 26 years ago. - Sapa

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Tsvangirai asked for it, says Zanu (PF)


March 13, 2007, 08:30

Nathan Shamuyarira, secretary for information and publicity for Zimbabwe's
ruling party Zanu (PF), says Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, has been
"asking for trouble for a long time".

He says Tsvangirai has been provoking violence in urban townships. "If you
ask for that kind of trouble you'll get it," he said, referring to
Tsvangirai. Morning Live's Vuyo Mbuli asked: "Was Tsvangirai beaten because
he asked for it?" and Shamuyarira replied, "Yes he asked for it!"

The Zanu (PF) representative maintains that the meeting held on Sunday was
unlawful and all the people who attended it ignored government's call to ban
mass meetings. He says all meetings, including those of the ruling party,
have been barred. "The MDC is always playing to the gallery of the
international community. They want to demonstrate to Britain and America
that there is violation of human rights in Zimbabwe. So they provoke action
with the purpose of impressing their overseas bosses."

He alleged that the "overseas bosses" were giving the MDC money to organise
the demonstration and paid unemployed youngsters to cause upheaval in the

Strong police presence
Police with dogs are patrolling the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe, as tension
grows following the arrest and alleged beating by police of Tsvangirai. He
and other MDC leaders were arrested on Sunday.

In another interview with AM Live, John Makumbe, a senior lecturer in
Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe, says the atmosphere in the
capital is tense this morning. He says there were pictures taken of the
badly injured Tsvangirai. "He has head injuries, his whole body is
swollen...they are very severe beatings."

It is only now after a court ruling that Tsvangirai will receive medical
treatment, but Makumbe says it is difficult to get hold of medicine in

Zimbabweans have had enough
Makumbe says Sunday's incident is a turning political point. He says the
people of Zimbabwe are no longer going to let Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean
president, to have it his way as it has been for the past 27 years. Although
this will make the government more brutal, Makumbe says Mugabe is slowly
losing support from within his own government.

Meanwhile Zimbabwe police allege that the protestors tried to use children
as human shields against them, picked up tear gas canister's and threw them
at police.

Mukamba refuted these allegations and said the police are hiding the fact
that they were outnumbered and said many times they had to run for their
lives and they resorted to use "raw force" to subdue the people. edited by
Matuba Mahlatjie

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Analysis: Mugabe's final days may be upon us

The Telegraph

By David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent
Last Updated: 5:48pm GMT 13/03/2007

      At long last, President Robert Mugabe's stranglehold on Zimbabwe may
be loosening.

      Throughout his 27 years of dominance, the old dictator's opponents
have always risked assault, torture or worse. The bludgeoning meted out to
Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, and about 100 of his supporters
after they tried to hold a prayer meeting on Sunday was entirely standard.

      Violence of this kind has been enough to suppress Mr Mugabe's critics
outside the ruling Zanu-PF party.

      Meanwhile, his skilful manipulation of factions within the ruling
party has always thwarted any internal challenge. But there are growing
signs that Mr Mugabe is finally losing his grip.

      Never in its 44 year history has Zanu-PF been as divided as it is
today. Mr Mugabe appears to be in a state of open warfare with both his
party's main factions.

      One is led by Solomon Mujuru, a retired general and former army
commander who wants his wife, the vice-president Joyce Mujuru, to succeed Mr

      The other major faction is dominated by Emmerson Mnangagwa, who has
served in the cabinet since 1980 and was once a favourite for the succession
but had a spectacular falling out with the president.

      In the past, Mr Mugabe would always have been clever enough to ally
with one faction against the other. At the very least, he would have turned
them against one another and kept each permanently off-balance.

      But today, both the Mujuru and Mnangagwa groups appear to have united
against him.

      There is no other explanation for Mr Mugabe's apparent failure to
extend his term of office.

      Last year, he announced that he would not bother seeking re-election
when his present term ends in 2008. Instead, he would simply amend the
constitution and postpone the next election until 2010. But this proposal
seems to have been dropped.

      Both major factions have an interest in Mr Mugabe stepping down next
year and opening the way for their champions to seize the presidency. They
appear to have jointly thwarted the bid to rewrite the constitution.

      Having been defeated, Mr Mugabe is now talking about standing for
re-election next year.

      Two factors are eroding Mr Mugabe's position every day. First, he is
83 and his mental powers are visibly failing. While physically fit, the edge
has come off Mr Mugabe's mind.

      Second, Zimbabwe's economy is in meltdown. At first, this national
calamity did not threaten his grip on power. On the contrary, by driving the
black middle class out of Zimbabwe and leaving the rest of the population
destitute and with no thought except day-to-day survival, economic collapse
probably reduced the chances of popular unrest and helped Mr Mugabe.

      But the crisis is reaching such proportions that the Zimbabwean state
itself is disintegrating. Mr Mugabe can no longer afford to pay his security

      The police and the army rank-and-file are just as desperate as
everyone else. This combination of discontent within and without Zanu-PF is
unprecedented. Mr Mugabe's final days may be upon us.

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Beginning Of Watershed For Zimbabwe: Analysts

The brutal beatings of Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of Zimbabwean opposition
officials may signal the beginning of a watershed for the country, analysts
said Tuesday.

Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) appeared briefly in a Harare court on Tuesday before being
taken to hospital.

He and dozens of opposition activists arrested with him at an aborted prayer
rally on Sunday had been badly beaten by police while in custody.

The arrests sparked violent clashes in a restive township, where youths
stoned police, attacked an army truck and hijacked a bus. One person was
shot dead by police.

"I think it's the beginning of a watershed, the beginning of mounting
opposition to Mugabe," said John Makumbe, a lecturer in political science at
the University of Zimbabwe.

But, he said: "We'll need to see a sustainable wave, of a month or two, of
civil disobedience before we can say we've reached a watershed."

Tsvangirai's arrest came two weeks after President Robert Mugabe's
government banned all political meetings in and around the capital, fearing
mounting discontent.

Life is getting tougher for most Zimbabweans, as inflation of more than
1,729 per cent, food shortages, and unemployment of more than 70 per cent
take their toll.

Onlookers have often wondered why Zimbabweans, faced with more than six
years of growing hardships, have not rebelled.

Makumbe said there was now tension in the whole of the country. Respected
newspaper editor William Saidi who recently received a bullet and a
threatening letter in the post at his offices said he too felt there would
be more action against the government.

"I don't know how far the opposition is willing to go," Saidi said in a
telephone interview. "It's a pity were going down this route."

He said increasing poverty was driving some Zimbabweans to desperation.

"The economic situation is what is driving a lot of people. Their thinking
is: if I don't die from a bullet I'll die from hunger," he said.

Tsvangirai, 55, appears to be riding a new wave of courage following two
years in which he has maintained a fairly low profile.

The former trade unionist went through a gruelling treason trial in 2003 and
2004 and has come in for criticism since for allegedly failing to capitalize
on rising discontent.

But now the married father-of-six has plunged back into direct confrontation
with Mugabe and his government, in power here since 1980.

In comments carried in last week's state-controlled Manica Post newspaper,
Tsvangirai urged his officials to get arrested.

"We are going to measure each other and those among us who have not been
arrested will be relieved of their duties," he said. "We have to take (the
government) head-on."

Tsvangirai's arrest and the death of an activist will spur government
opponents on to more action, the Save Zimbabwe Campaign organizers of
Sundays rally has promised.

"Our just, legitimate and peaceful struggle will not cease until a new,
free, prosperous and democratic dispensation unfolds in Zimbabwe," the group
said in a statement this week.

By Guy Pearse, Dpa
© 2007 DPA

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Analyst says Zimbabwe May be Heading Down same Road as Former Zaire


      By Joe De Capua
      13 March 2007

With the worsening political crisis in Zimbabwe, International criticism of
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been loud and clear. Condemnation of
the government's crackdown on opposition leaders and their rallies has come
from the United States, European Union and the UN Secretary-General.

Among those following developments in Zimbabwe is Herman Hanekom of the
Africa Institute of South Africa. From Cape Town, he spoke to VOA English to
Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about whether the latest government
crackdown represents a tipping point in that country's political crisis.

"This has been the worst case of victimization since the year 2000's
presidential elections. I would, however, add that I don't think this is the
final straw on the camel's back. But it's definitely leading up to it. We
have April scheduled by the labor unions to embark on a series of national
strikes. And then I think it will be the closest to date that the situation
has come to what we will call the balloon bursting," he says.

With an inflation rate of well over 1,000 percent, what more damage can
strikes due to Zimbabwe's terrible economy? Hanekom says, "Well, I think if
the inflation remains where it is now at.1700 percent at month's end, if the
strike materializes in April I'm quite sure it will push the inflation above
the 2000 percent mark. And then we can say as far as economic terms are
concerned that Zimbabwe will be well on the same road that the then-Zaire
under Mobutu (Sese-Seko) took a number of years ago."

Despite the harsh international criticism, Hanekom doubts it will sway
Mugabe. "This is the strongest condemnation to date, but I personally doubt
whether Mugabe will take any note of it. What will ruffle Mugabe's feathers
is if the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African
Union (AU) suddenly stand up and start criticizing him. But I'm afraid I
must admit that I don't think it is possible because of that psychosis of
solidarity between the ruling elite on the African continent regardless of
the suffering of the people," he says.

Asked whether Mugabe will remain in office until his death, the South
African analyst says, "That's what I said a few years ago and I still stick
to my point there. I think he wants to die in office. He will be safe. There'll
be no possibility to prosecute him for violations of human rights, etc."

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Save Zimbabwe rally in South Africa

By Lance Guma
13 March 2007

Over 300 Zimbabweans turned up at the Zimbabwean embassy in Johannesburg,
South Africa Tuesday to protest the torture and arrest of opposition leaders
back home. Organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign the protest brought
together members of different civic groups operating in South Africa.

UK Guardian journalist Andrew Meldrum told Newsreel the embassy was heavily
guarded by police during the demonstration and that it was a peaceful
procession. The attitude of the police was in stark contrast to the
brutality shown in Zimbabwe. Meldrum says the police told him they
remembered his violent deportation from Zimbabwe and even wished him well in
regards to the country's future.

Tuesday's protest brought together members of the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition (SA Chapter), National Constitutional Assembly, the two factions
of the MDC, Christian Alliance, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa
and several other NGO's. A petition demanding the release of those arrested
and the restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe was handed over to embassy.

Meldrum says the crackdown in Zimbabwe has highlighted the use of torture by
the police force. He says it's no coincidence the demonstrations are coming
at a time Mugabe wants to extend his term in office. Although the South
African government has avoided condemning the arrests and torture, Meldrum
predicts forthcoming elections in South Africa and pressure from groups like
the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist
Party will put pressure on Mbeki's government to act.

Meanwhile the MDC UK province has planned a demonstration outside the
Zimbabwean embassy in London Wednesday. Party spokesman Matthew Nyashanu
told Newsreel the protest is aimed at showing solidarity with those arrested
and tortured in Zimbabwe. The demonstration has been scheduled for 1pm and
is expected to end around 4pm. Members of the ZimVigil who have been
protesting at the embassy for over 4 years will also join in the

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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SA urges Zimbabwe to respect rule of law


March 13, 2007, 20:15

South Africa urged Zimbabwe today to respect the rule of law and the rights
of opposition leaders amid a worldwide outcry over police treatment of
detained Zimbabwean opposition figures. Aziz Pahad, SA's deputy foreign
minister, in Pretoria's first detailed statement on the situation in its
northern neighbour since an opposition demonstration was crushed on Sunday,
said South Africa was concerned.

"South Africa urges the Zimbabwean government to ensure that the rule of law
including the respect for rights of all Zimbabweans and leaders of various
political parties be respected," Pahad said in a statement.

"Similarly, we appeal to leaders of opposition political parties to work
towards a climate that is conducive to finding a lasting solution to the
current challenges faced by the people of Zimbabwe," Pahad said.

South Africa's quiet diplomacy
South Africa, the region's economic powerhouse, has long maintained a policy
of "quiet diplomacy" toward Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, arguing
that public confrontation with him over allegations of human rights abuses
and economic mismanagement could be counterproductive. Morgan Tsvangirai,
the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, and dozens of other people
were arrested on Sunday for attempting to protest against Mugabe's rule.

Tsvangirai and the others appeared in court earlier today but were
immediately sent to hospital for treatment of injuries which party officials
said were sustained in police custody. Pahad said South Africa would
continue to work with all sides in Zimbabwe "to ensure the objective of
dialogue among all political parties is realised." - Reuters

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A stain Mbeki cannot wash away

Business Day

13 March 2007


Government's stance on Zimbabwe is a disgrace. President Thabo Mbeki's
"quiet diplomacy" is merely a euphemism for his callous indifference. He
continues to turn a blind eye while President Robert Mugabe's regime
violates every human right.

Under the iron grip of its murderous dictator, Zimbabwe, a once prosperous
nation, has slid slowly towards the abyss. Millions are starving. The army
and bureaucracy are in shambles. Lively informal settlements have become
flattened moonscapes. The political opposition is quashed. Ordinary people
are mercilessly persecuted.

There is near-total press censorship, illegal farm expropriation and
exponential inflation.

Silence about this criminal autocracy equates to a tacit approval of it.
Thus, our president is complicit in the Zimbabwean catastrophe.

SA, as Africa's economic and military powerhouse, has been in the unique
position of being able to pressure Zimbabwe into reforming, yet Mbeki has
done nothing.

He has passively watched our beleaguered neighbour and the way its
citizenry, both black and white, have been shockingly abused in ways that
bear a palpable resemblance to the sufferings of blacks in SA during

The two presidents may share a history of resistance against the subjugation
of the majority. They may also share a few character traits. But this is no
excuse for Mbeki to regard the friendship and approval of a megalomaniac
comrade such as Mugabe as more important than the rights - and lives - of
millions of Zimbabweans.

Had Mbeki and the South African government stepped in several years ago,
Zimbabwe wouldn't be imploding into the tragic mess of chaos and
unimaginable suffering that it is now. Countless lives would have been saved
and the economy would have remained intact.

It is only too clear that Mbeki has blood on his hands. He will never be
able to wash it off.

Alex MatthewsCape Town

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Divide and rule in Zimbabwe

The Guardian - comment by Simon Tisdall

Despite recent violence, Robert Mugabe's political manoeuvring means he is
far from losing his grip on power - for now.

March 13, 2007 5:59 PM
The latest spasm of violent repression in Zimbabwe has sparked speculation
that the era of Robert Mugabe may finally be drawing to a close. But the
country's self-styled founding father and president since 1980 shows no sign
of leaving voluntarily - and it remains unclear who or what can force him

Rather than loosening Mr Mugabe's grip on power, factional rivalries within
the once monolithic ruling Zanu-PF party have enabled him, so far at least,
to divide and neutralise his critics. Disaffection within the army and
police over the impact of inflation on wages and prices - a national
affliction - has encouraged absenteeism and desertion but as yet no overt

The regime's willingness to use brute force, seen again in Sunday's beating
and torture of the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and others, has
proven effective until now in discouraging large-scale political protests.
The flight into exile of up to three million Zimbabweans - almost a quarter
of the population - has necessarily weakened opposition on the ground.

Additional factors are contributing to Mr Mugabe's presidential longevity.
The regime has systematically, although not wholly successfully, intimidated
the judiciary while media controls and censorship mean egregious official
incompetence and corruption often go unreported.

Most importantly of all, perhaps, the international community's ineffective,
sporadic engagement has also enabled Mr Mugabe to thumb his nose at foreign
critics. After Peter Hain, then a foreign office minister, reduced
Anglo-Zimbabwean relations to a furious shouting match, Britain - the former
colonial power - backed away from further confrontation and has largely
looked the other way in recent years.

"I utterly condemn the violent and unwarranted action taken [against] a
peaceful, legitimate gathering of Zimbabweans," said Lord Triesman, the
current Africa minister, after Sunday's violence. "The United Kingdom holds
Robert Mugabe and his government responsible for the safety of all those

The question of what Britain would actually do if its warning were ignored,
as it plainly has been, was left hanging in the air - because London has no

The EU and the Commonwealth have also shown themselves powerless to promote
change using limited sanctions and official ostracism. So too - for mistaken
reasons of regional and racial solidarity as well as sheer inertia - have
South Africa, Zimbabwe's influential neighbour, and the Southern African
Development Community.

And while Bush administration officials occasionally talk about Zimbabwe as
a rogue state and a threat to international peace and security, there is no
thought of active, Middle East-style intervention there. The 82nd Airborne
Division is in any case otherwise engaged.

Mr Mugabe, meanwhile, fresh from celebrating his 83rd birthday last month
when he was hailed by state-controlled media as "an unparalleled visionary"
and "an international hero among the oppressed", is manoeuvring to extend
his time in office to 2010 or even 2014.

Mocking potential Zanu-PF successors such as vice-president Joyce Mujuru and
former minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, he declared: "There are no vacancies.
The door is closed." His birthday party cost an estimated 300m Zimbabwean
dollars (about $65,000) in a country where most people do not have enough to

"The party is so divided, it's difficult to see who could remove the old
man," said Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society. "I don't
think things have changed so dramatically that you can talk about the
government being toppled. Mugabe is a master manipulator and he's still on
top of things. He reads the situation pretty well. He doesn't look like a
man who is about to give up."

All the same, Mr Mugabe's position is far from secure. The weekend's
shocking violence may galvanise rather than deter the protesters,
accelerating the consolidation of a united opposition under the Save
Zimbabwe Campaign umbrella. Zimbabwe's prolonged economic and institutional
decline may also be finally approaching a tipping point, rendering the
country ungovernable.

And if the regime's brutality increases as it struggles to keep hold, the
neighbours - and the west - may finally be embarrassed into decisive action.

Yet even if Mr Mugabe goes, radical political and economic reform, including
a power-sharing transitional government and a new constitution, will still
be urgently required, an International Crisis Group report concluded this
month. "A deal that merely removed Mugabe while in effect maintaining the
political status quo by keeping Zanu-PF in power would be no change at all."

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Reporters Without Borders Press release

13 March 2007


Two journalists arrested, a third beaten as police crush opposition rallies

Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of two freelance
journalists, arrested while covering an opposition demonstration two days
ago in the capital Harare. It also protested against a brutal beating police
meted out to a former editor.

Nothing has been heard of Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, a freelance photographer
working for the US-owned Associated Press (AP), since Zimbabwean police
arrested him on 11 March along with a freelance journalist, also working for
AP, Tendai Musiyu.

Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said that Musiyu was being held at the Marlborough
police station, while lawyers working for the local branch of the press
freedom organisation, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe),
said they were continuing to search for Mukwazhi's place of detention.

The two journalists were arrested during a prayer meeting held by the Save
Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC) in the working class district of Highfield, brutally
put down by police, along with numerous activists and opposition figures,
including Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leaders of the two
factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The SZC is a
collective grouping churches; opposition parties, including the MDC;
non-governmental organisations; the trade unions and student bodies opposed
to Robert Mugabe's government.

The same day, the former editor of the privately-owned but now defunct Daily
News, Luke Tamborinyoka, was badly beaten by police during the demonstration
organised at the Zimbabwe Grounds, leaving him with cuts and a bruised back.

"Nothing can justify keeping arrested journalists in custody," the press
freedom organisation said. "For several years the Zimbabwean government has
been using the police to silence those who criticise it and those likely to
report on their behaviour. This intolerance, which is not new, must continue
to be fought," it said.

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Zimbabwe police "raid labour offices"

Tuesday 13 March 2007 11:59

Police early Tuesday raided the Harare offices of the main Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which has called a strike next month, the labour
body said in a statement.
Police and members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) arrived at
the ZCTUs offices in the centre of the city at around 9. 30, information
officer Khumbulani Ndlovu said.

The police said they were looking for subversive material, Ndlovu said.
Flyers, files and video tapes were seized and ZCTU's financial administrator
Galileo Chirebvu was told to accompany officers from the Criminal
Investigations Department.

ZCTU has called for a general strike on April 3-4 to protest the
government's inability to solve the economic crisis.

ZCTU officials have frequently been arrested by police, who accuse them of
working hand-in-hand with opposition forces. dpa rt sc

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Financial Gazette editor fired

New Zimbabwe

By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 03/13/2007 21:44:53
THE board of the weekly Financial Gazette has succumbed to pressure from
Zanu PF and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to sacrifice its
Editor-in-Chief Sunsleey Chamunorwa who has been forced out four years after
saving the paper from collapse.

Chamunorwa was barred from entering the Financial Gazette offices Tuesday
after he was told he had been relieved of his duties as the paper's editor.

Chamunorwa confirmed the development but insisted: "No hard feelings. I
have any comment for now."

Jacob Chisese addressed shell-shocked journalists at the paper Tuesday
morning before its routine morning diary meeting to announce the changes at
the Fingaz.

He said he had appointed an acting editor whom he refused to name. New has been told that Hatred Zenenga, who is employed by The
Herald as Deputy Editor, could take over. Zenenga, who once worked with
Chisese at Zimpapers where he was chief executive officer, was approached
last month.

Chisese confirmed there had been changes at the Financial Gazette but
to disclose much information saying: "We will announce the changes in due

The Financial Gazette was taken over by Zimbabwe's intelligence services in
a covert operation that ushered Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono as the new
owner, according to the privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.

Sources at the Financial Gazette said Chamunorwa is a victim of the power
struggles in the fractious ruling Zanu PF pitting Joice Mujuru and Emmerson
Mnangagwa. Chamunorwa was accused of supporting Mnangagwa, while the paper's
editorial policy tended to lean towards the opposition MDC.

"He survived this far because Gono refused to bend to pressure from the
ruling party and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) who both
complained of his hardline editorial policy which they said was harming the
party and favouring the MDC," said a source.

Gono appointed Chamunorwa to head the paper on May 5, 2003. Before his
appointment, Chamunorwa was Gono's advisor and Public and Investor Relations
executive at the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) where the central bank
chief was managing director and chief executive officer.

A source revealed Tuesday: "On July 14, 2005, Sunsleey had visitors from the
CIO who warned him about his editorial policy. He was almost fired by the
board but Gono stood by him. (But) Chamunorwa was headstrong and continued
with his policy of no sacred cows in journalism."

On December 10, 2005, Mugabe spokesman, George Charamba who pens the
vitriolic Nathaniel Manheru column in the Herald, warned Chamunorwa of his
hard line stance against the government.

"Sunsleey Tibaijuka... tick, tock, tick, tock, the clock ticks," Charamba
in article in the Herald.

Charamba warned Chamunorwa after the Financial Gazette had published a
damning report by the former United Nations Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, on
Operation Murambatsvina which displaced more than 700 000 people in May

Sources said matters came to a head last week when Ray Kaukonde, the Zanu PF
Mashonaland East chairman and Governor, a side-kick of General Solomon
Mujuru, sued the Fingaz for $400 million over the story the paper had
published on his security company.

Through his lawyers - Warara and Associates - Kaukonde demanded a full
retraction of the Fingaz lead story of March 8 which intimated his company
had its contract at the Harare International Airport terminated because it
used as a conduit to smuggle diamonds.

Kaukonde is suing for reputational harm.

But sources said the Kaukonde story is fortuitous because six weeks ago,
some Harare-based journalists were approached to replace Chamunorwa because
"Gono had finally agreed to let Sunsleey Chamunorwa go".

"One of the journalists approached refused to accept the job after he asked
what would happen to Sunsleey. He was told Sunsleey was a problem. He
refused on the grounds that he was not pliable," said an insider.

Chamunorwa has had clashes with senior Zanu PF politicians, notable among
them Ignatious Chombo, the Local Government and Public Works Minister who at
one time threatened the former Fingaz Editor-in-Chief.

Chombo was implicated in the bribery scandal which involved jailed former
ZUPCO chairman Charles Nherera and ex-chief executive officer Bright Matonga
who is currently on trial.

The Fingaz exclusively ran stories on Chombo based on a tape recorded by
Jayesh Shah owner of Gift Investments, who blew the whistle on Nherera and
Matonga when they demanded a bribe of US$10 000 each for every bus Shah was
going to supply to ZUPCO.

Chamunorwa, a former business editor at the Zimbabwe Independent, saved The
Fingaz from collapse when he hurriedly moved to run the paper after the
editor Nqobile Nyathi and her team abandoned the paper midstream three days
before printing to join the banned The Daily News.

Nyathi, deputy editor Abel Mutsakani, Assistant Editor Sydney Masamvu, news
editor Luke Tamborinyoka, business editor McDonald Dzirutwe and sub editor
Darlington Majonga -- all abandoned the Financial Gazette to move to The
News. Gono's supporters claimed the move was an attempt to sabotage the
paper by Nyathi's predecessor, Francis Mdlongwa, who was now at The Daily
News and was furious Gono had scuppered his plan to buy the Fingaz when it
was put on the market by Elias Rusike.

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Timeline: Zimbabwe's economic woes

1980: Exchange rate: 1 US dollar (USD) = <1 Zimbabwean dollar (ZWD)
      1998: Exchange rate: 1 US dollar (USD) = 24 Zimbabwean dollars (ZWD)


      March 2002: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 55 ZWD.

      November 2003: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 750 ZWD.

      July 2004: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 5,624 ZWD.

      December 2005: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 77,965 ZWD.

      August 2006: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 101 new ZWD = 101,347 old ZWD.

      December 2006: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 162 new ZWD = 162,070 old ZWD.

      March 2007: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 259 new ZWD = 259,793 old ZWD.

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