The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai in hospital as outrage grows
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
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.
CARRIED INTO COURT
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
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
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
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
"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)
Mutambara 'free' - says lawyer
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 03/14/2007
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
"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
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.
slowly and was able to board an emergency vehicle unaided, but appeared
disoriented. He was not among those who returned the salute.
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"
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
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
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
Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the BBC's
Network Africa program Tuesday that the police had been attacked by opposition
"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."
Tsvangirai 'denied lawyer or medical treatment'
Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 5:48pm GMT
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
Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer. "I believe Morgan Tsvangirai is in a
She added that earlier this morning,
police refused to allow her to
see Arthur Mutambara, leader of rival faction
of the opposition Movement for
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
gatherings. About 100 other opposition activists and three
detained while trying to attend the same event.
A few hours after
their arrests, reports suggested that some had been
Mr Tsvangirai eventually appeared in a magistrate's court
with about 50 of his supporters. He has severe head injuries,
deep gash in his skull. The regime has not formally pressed any
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.
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
regime claimed that about 200 MDC "thugs", using "children" as
attacked the police, injuring three officers and leaving them
with no option
but to open fire in self defence.
Sweden Critical Of Zimbabwe Police, Ambassador Sees
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was "not broken"
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
dispersed a prayer meeting declared illegal by the government.
Tsvangirai and others there," Rylander told Swedish radio news,
the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was "in
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
Swedish International Development Cooperation Minister Gunilla
Tuesday slammed the "brutal" crackdown by Zimbabwe police
"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.
Rice demands Tsvangirai release
From correspondents in
March 14, 2007 04:43am
Article from: Agence
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.
said the US government holds Mr Mugabe directly responsible for the
and well-being" of the detained politicians, who were allegedly
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
"The United States calls for the immediate and unconditional
those individuals detained by the government of Zimbabwe after
attack March 11 on a prayer meeting in the Harare suburb of
South Africa: "concern" But No Condemnation Over
South Africa's Deputy Foreign Aziz Pahad on Tuesday expressed
government's "concern" about reports of a crackdown on opposition
neighbouring Zimbabwe but stopped short of condemning the regime
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
"South Africa expresses its concerns about these reports," he said,
the Zimbabwean government "to ensure that the rule of law including
for rights of all Zimbabweans and leaders of various political
Pahad appeared to rule out South Africa
leaning on Mugabe to end oppression
of political opponents in
"Only dialogue among the main political protagonists can help
bring about a
lasting solution" the problems in Zimbabwe, he opined, but
would "continue to monitor the situation closely" and to work
stakeholders in Zimbabwean society to achieve political
Pahad was speaking after religious, trade union and civic
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
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
"Silent diplomacy has not and will not work. South Africans must
stand," said Nicholas Mkaronda, the South-Africa based director of
"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
The South African Council of Churches said South Africa's silence
rights abuses in Zimbabwe was aggravating the situation in the
© 2007 DPA
Regional silence on crisis "loud"
HARARE, 13 March 2007 (IRIN)
Pro-democracy activists lashed out at the lack of a regional response
"deteriorating human rights" situation in Zimbabwe as two activists
shot and wounded by police in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday, the
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
The region's silence has attracted growing criticism as
rallies were banned
in Harare in February, after running battles between the
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
prior to a meeting to launch the party's presidential campaign in
a high-density suburb in the capital.
Tension has been
mounting in Zimbabwe for the past two months: NGOs, church
and students have all staged sporadic demonstrations around
the country as
Zimbabweans battled with annual inflation now running at more
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,
In the first detailed statement on the situation, South
Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, said, "Similarly, we appeal to
opposition political parties to work towards a climate that is
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
On Tuesday, Zimbabwean police disrupted the wake of Gift
Chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly, a
organisation advocating constitutional reform in Zimbabwe,
who had been shot
dead by the police on Sunday during running battles with
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters, ahead of a
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
"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
After two days in custody, Tsvangirai and other arrested
bearing wounds and bruises, appeared in court and were taken to
"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
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
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
"This form of repression and intimidation of a peaceful
unacceptable, and the loss of life makes this even more
added. "I urge the Zimbabwean authorities to ensure an
and comprehensive investigation into these events; I
encourage the courts to
continue to discharge their responsibilities as
guardians of the rights of
UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon joined the chorus of condemnation by
western governments and urged
the Zimbabwean government to release all
Two AP Journalists Arrested, Detained; Whereabouts of One
Media Institute of Southern Africa
March 13, 2007
Posted to the web March 13,
On 12 March 2007, the High Court ordered the police to allow
to their clients, including two detained journalists, as well
leaders and human rights activists.
Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and television producer Tendai Musiyu,
with Associated Press (AP), are among those being detained at
stations in Harare, together with opposition Movement for
(MDC) leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Authur Mutambara.
whereabouts remain unknown following his arrest on 11 March at
shopping complex, when police disrupted a national prayer meeting
been scheduled for Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield under the auspices
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
Justice Bhunu also ordered that medical practitioners be allowed
the injured activists after the state conceded in its submission
had been assaulted by the police. He further ruled that if the
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,
ruling late in the evening of 12 March.
unconfirmed reports say Mukwazhi is being held at Epworth police
the outskirts of Harare and that efforts were underway to
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,
cordoned off Zimbabwe Grounds, venue of the planned national day
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and severely assaulted
who are detaining him at Borrowdale Police Station.
arrested together with National Constitutional Assembly
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,
association, the Zimbabwean government on 21 February 2007
three-month ban on demonstrations and political rallies in Harare.
police cited the violence, looting and destruction of property in
on 18 February and Kambuzuma on 4 February as reasons for the ban.
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
in Highfield came a day after the High Court granted the MDC an
allowing them to proceed with their rally to launch the 2008
campaign at Zimbabwe Grounds in the same suburb.
2 more shot as the world reacts to Zimbabwe brutality
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.
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
soldiers were going to work early Tuesday morning when they ran
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
In further news the offices of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
raided by police Tuesday morning. The police were allegedly
officials and staff hostage against their will at the offices in
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
Strong condemnation of the Mugabe regime came from the German
the European Union which released a statement saying the
"underlines the responsibility of the Zimbabwean government to
those arrested are safe and remain unharmed".
for the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is reported as
secretary-general urges the government of Zimbabwe to release
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
President Thabo Mbeki remained silent and received much
for ignoring such brutal actions next door. Strong words
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
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
Cosatu secretary-general Zwelin-zima Vavi told the local press on
that Mbeki's "silent diplomacy" had not worked and they would stage
protest outside the Zimbabwe High Commission against police
Despite all the voices urging him to say something, Mbeki's
Mukoni Ratshitanga said there would be no
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
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
The nation mourns with them. The struggle for
democracy and peace in Zimbabwe will continue.
Deputy Secretary for Health,
Amnesty International Demands Probe into Killing of Zimbabwe
Activist; Calls for Release of Peaceful Protestors
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
International today demanded an immediate investigation into the
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
Other leaders, including Tendai Biti, the Secretary General of
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
Amnesty International called for all detainees who engaged in
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
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
Lovemore Madhuku, chairperson of the National Constitutional
is in detention at Malborough Police Station and has also
beaten while in police custody. He reportedly has a broken
hand and head
injuries, for which he has received medical
Several protestors are reported to have sustained injuries
excessive use of force by riot police, who were attempting to
demonstrators. Amnesty International fears that those in police
be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
According to reports, over 50 people were arrested at the
remain in detention.
Lawyers have been denied
access to all those in detention except for
Lovemore Madhuku and Grace
Amnesty International is deeply concerned by the severe
freedom of expression, assembly and association following
the blanket ban on
Contact: Suzanne Trimel 212/633-4150 or
Ben Somberg 212/633-4268
MDC activists in Mutare still in police custody
By Tichaona Sibanda
MDC activists arrested in Mutare on Monday are still
languishing in police
cells a day after they were picked up just before an
in the eastern border town.
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
Muchauraya who was also arrested and spoke to us from the
cells said there
are over 100 activists who were arrested and the figure
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.
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
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
Innocent Kasiyano, co-ordinator of the students Christian
Zimbabwe, said police pounced on the student leaders and others
as they were
marching along second street extension. There were also running
between the students and the police. Mkwananzi and Katema were
released but arrested after going to the Magistrates' court to
hearing of those arrested on Sunday. They are now expected to
court on Wednesday.
SW Radio Africa
Tsvangirai: Struggle continues
13/03/2007 17:04 -
Harare - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai defiantly
Tuesday his campaign to topple President Robert Mugabe would
continue, as he
headed to hospital for injuries received in police
"The police assaulted defenceless civilians but the struggle
Tsvangirai said in brief comments to reporters as he was led
from a Harare
courthouse into a police van which ferried him for
The comments were the first from the Movement for Democratic
since he was arrested on Sunday as police crushed a planned
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
U.N. rights chief: Zimbabwe crackdown "unacceptable"
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
Rights groups say opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and others have
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
The hardest job in Africa?
13/03/2007 09:04 - (SA)
It takes a lot of balls to be an opposition leader in Africa. On
day you could wake up inside the stomach of a crocodile, you might
to take a short walk off the edge of the Vic Falls or a really
foot soldier could ask you to test the water temperature of the
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
Blokes like Tony Leon don't have to worry about getting bopped
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
see, eat or speak properly after his alleged beating by Zimbabwe
The beatings, in fact, were pretty impressive. Scores of Mugabe
whacked anything that moved with great gusto after a rally in Harare
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.
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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
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?
they just beat him until he fell unconscious on the floor, they did
three times and in the process they battered his body and his head so
when his wife went to see him, he could not see properly, could not
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
What I do know is that South Africa continues to behave in a
inexplicable manner. First they ignored the story altogether and then
the storm of worldwide outrage grew, they reluctantly allowed some
on the news. Even then the story was put together so badly I wondered
who was doing it - even today at 13.00 hours their coverage was
and badly put together - the faces of the presenters who are
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
understand why the South African President remained silent why the
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.
have news for them - we are keeping a list and one day soon, there
justice for all the victims of this regime. As I write the funeral
Tandare is underway in Harare. Early this morning the Police/Army
with live ammunition on a crowd of mourners at the house. They
young MDC members in the process. What is this about the use of
ammunition against defenseless, unarmed civilians? Are they crazy?
regional leaders - especially Mbeki, we hold them responsible for
situation. For 7 years they have sat on the sidelines and done little
defend the rights of ordinary Zimbabweans in the face of a tyranny every
as evil as that which confronted the ANC in South Africa and the Zanu
Zapu movements in Rhodesian days. They have connived and protected
tyranny so that it felt it was immune to global pressure and could do
it wanted inside the country - and get away with it. They have left
ordinary people of Zimbabwe to suffer, their only recourse being flight
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
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
take over from Mugabe, who even they, now see as being at the
end of his
Bulawayo, 13th March 2007
SA blamed for Zim crisis
March 13 2007 at
South Africa's silence on human rights violations in
aggravating the situation in that country, the South African
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
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
Authorities attempted to ban the meeting through effecting
country's "draconian" Public Order and Safety Act (POSA), enacted in
"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
"The people of Zimbabwe need the space to express peacefully
aspirations and their dissatisfaction with the hyperinflation,
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
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
Makue concluded by affirming the council's support for the
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
aggrieved" at the death of Gift Tandare, the Youth Chairperson
National Constitutional Assembly in Harare, during the prayer
The league condemned the continued violation of human
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
Tsvangirai asked for it, says Zanu (PF)
March 13, 2007,
Nathan Shamuyarira, secretary for information and publicity for
ruling party Zanu (PF), says Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader,
"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
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
dogs are patrolling the streets of Harare, Zimbabwe, as tension
following the arrest and alleged beating by police of Tsvangirai. He
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
It is only now after a court ruling that Tsvangirai will
treatment, but Makumbe says it is difficult to get hold of
Zimbabweans have had enough
Sunday's incident is a turning political point. He says the
Zimbabwe are no longer going to let Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean
to have it his way as it has been for the past 27 years. Although
make the government more brutal, Makumbe says Mugabe is slowly
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
refuted these allegations and said the police are hiding the fact
were outnumbered and said many times they had to run for their
they resorted to use "raw force" to subdue the people. edited by
Analysis: Mugabe's final days may be upon us
Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent
Last Updated: 5:48pm GMT
At long last, President Robert Mugabe's
stranglehold on Zimbabwe may
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
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
Never in its 44 year history has Zanu-PF been as divided as
today. Mr Mugabe appears to be in a state of open warfare with both
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
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
There is no
other explanation for Mr Mugabe's apparent failure to
extend his term of
Last year, he announced that he would not bother seeking
when his present term ends in 2008. Instead, he would simply
constitution and postpone the next election until 2010. But this
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
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.
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
disintegrating. Mr Mugabe can no longer afford to pay his security
The police and the army rank-and-file are just as
everyone else. This combination of discontent within and
without Zanu-PF is
unprecedented. Mr Mugabe's final days may be upon
Beginning Of Watershed For Zimbabwe: Analysts
brutal beatings of Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of Zimbabwean opposition
officials may signal the beginning of a watershed for the country, analysts
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.
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
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
Onlookers have often wondered why Zimbabweans, faced with more than
years of growing hardships, have not rebelled.
Makumbe said there
was now tension in the whole of the country. Respected
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
"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
He said increasing poverty was driving some Zimbabweans to
"The economic situation is what is driving a lot of people.
is: if I don't die from a bullet I'll die from hunger," he
Tsvangirai, 55, appears to be riding a new wave of courage
years in which he has maintained a fairly low
The former trade unionist went through a gruelling treason trial
in 2003 and
2004 and has come in for criticism since for allegedly failing
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
"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
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.
just, legitimate and peaceful struggle will not cease until a new,
prosperous and democratic dispensation unfolds in Zimbabwe," the group
in a statement this week.
By Guy Pearse, Dpa
© 2007 DPA
Analyst says Zimbabwe May be Heading Down same Road as Former
By Joe De Capua
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
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
"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
With an inflation rate of well over 1,000 percent, what more damage
strikes due to Zimbabwe's terrible economy? Hanekom says, "Well, I think
the inflation remains where it is now at.1700 percent at month's end, if
strike materializes in April I'm quite sure it will push the inflation
the 2000 percent mark. And then we can say as far as economic terms
concerned that Zimbabwe will be well on the same road that the
under Mobutu (Sese-Seko) took a number of years
Despite the harsh international criticism, Hanekom doubts it will
Mugabe. "This is the strongest condemnation to date, but I personally
whether Mugabe will take any note of it. What will ruffle Mugabe's
is if the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the
Union (AU) suddenly stand up and start criticizing him. But I'm
must admit that I don't think it is possible because of that
solidarity between the ruling elite on the African continent
the suffering of the people," he says.
Mugabe will remain in office until his death, the South
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
possibility to prosecute him for violations of human rights,
Save Zimbabwe rally in South Africa
By Lance Guma
Over 300 Zimbabweans turned up at the Zimbabwean embassy in
South Africa Tuesday to protest the torture and arrest of
back home. Organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign the
together members of different civic groups operating in
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
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
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
government has avoided condemning the arrests and torture, Meldrum
forthcoming elections in South Africa and pressure from groups like
Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist
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
SA urges Zimbabwe to respect rule of law
March 13, 2007,
South Africa urged Zimbabwe today to respect the rule of law and
of opposition leaders amid a worldwide outcry over police
detained Zimbabwean opposition figures. Aziz Pahad, SA's deputy
minister, in Pretoria's first detailed statement on the situation in
northern neighbour since an opposition demonstration was crushed on
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
the region's economic powerhouse, has long maintained a policy
diplomacy" toward Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, arguing
confrontation with him over allegations of human rights abuses
mismanagement could be counterproductive. Morgan Tsvangirai,
the leader of
the Movement for Democratic Change, and dozens of other people
on Sunday for attempting to protest against Mugabe's rule.
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
A stain Mbeki cannot wash
13 March 2007
stance on Zimbabwe is a disgrace. President Thabo Mbeki's
is merely a euphemism for his callous indifference. He
continues to turn a
blind eye while President Robert Mugabe's regime
violates every human
Under the iron grip of its murderous dictator, Zimbabwe, a
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.
near-total press censorship, illegal farm expropriation and
Silence about this criminal autocracy equates to a tacit
approval of it.
Thus, our president is complicit in the Zimbabwean
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
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
Had Mbeki and the South African government stepped in
several years ago,
Zimbabwe wouldn't be imploding into the tragic mess of
unimaginable suffering that it is now. Countless lives would have
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
Alex MatthewsCape Town
Divide and rule in
The Guardian - comment by Simon Tisdall
Despite recent violence, Robert Mugabe's political manoeuvring means
far from losing his grip on power - for now.
March 13, 2007
The latest spasm of violent repression in Zimbabwe has sparked
that the era of Robert Mugabe may finally be drawing to a close.
country's self-styled founding father and president since 1980 shows
of leaving voluntarily - and it remains unclear who or what can
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
while media controls and censorship mean egregious official
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
"I utterly condemn the violent and unwarranted action taken
peaceful, legitimate gathering of Zimbabweans," said Lord
current Africa minister, after Sunday's violence. "The United
Robert Mugabe and his government responsible for the safety of
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
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
Mr Mugabe, meanwhile, fresh from celebrating his 83rd birthday
when he was hailed by state-controlled media as "an unparalleled
and "an international hero among the oppressed", is manoeuvring
his time in office to 2010 or even 2014.
Zanu-PF successors such as vice-president Joyce Mujuru and
Emmerson Mnangagwa, he declared: "There are no vacancies.
The door is
closed." His birthday party cost an estimated 300m Zimbabwean
$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
man," said Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society. "I
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
decline may also be finally approaching a tipping point,
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
transitional government and a new constitution, will still
required, an International Crisis Group report concluded this
month. "A deal
that merely removed Mugabe while in effect maintaining the
quo by keeping Zanu-PF in power would be no change at all."
Reporters Without Borders Press release
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
Nothing has been heard of Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, a freelance
working for the US-owned Associated Press (AP), since
arrested him on 11 March along with a freelance
journalist, also working for
AP, Tendai Musiyu.
Mtetwa said that Musiyu was being held at the Marlborough
while lawyers working for the local branch of the press
organisation, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe),
were continuing to search for Mukwazhi's place of detention.
journalists were arrested during a prayer meeting held by the Save
Campaign (SZC) in the working class district of Highfield, brutally
by police, along with numerous activists and opposition figures,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, leaders of the two
factions of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The SZC is a
churches; opposition parties, including the MDC;
organisations; the trade unions and student bodies opposed
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
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,"
Zimbabwe police "raid labour offices"
Tuesday 13 March
Police early Tuesday raided the Harare offices of the main
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
The police said they were looking for subversive material, Ndlovu
Flyers, files and video tapes were seized and ZCTU's financial
Galileo Chirebvu was told to accompany officers from the
ZCTU has called for a general
strike on April 3-4 to protest the
government's inability to solve the
ZCTU officials have frequently been arrested by police,
who accuse them of
working hand-in-hand with opposition forces. dpa rt
Financial Gazette editor fired
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
Chamunorwa who has been forced out four years after
saving the paper from
Chamunorwa was barred from entering the Financial Gazette
after he was told he had been relieved of his duties as the
Chamunorwa confirmed the development but insisted: "No
hard feelings. I
have any comment for now."
addressed shell-shocked journalists at the paper Tuesday
morning before its
routine morning diary meeting to announce the changes at
He said he had appointed an acting editor whom he refused to
Zimbabwe.com has been told that Hatred Zenenga, who is employed by
Herald as Deputy Editor, could take over. Zenenga, who once worked with
Chisese at Zimpapers where he was chief executive officer, was approached
Chisese confirmed there had been changes at the Financial
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
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
On December 10, 2005, Mugabe spokesman, George Charamba who
vitriolic Nathaniel Manheru column in the Herald, warned Chamunorwa
hard line stance against the government.
Tibaijuka... tick, tock, tick, tock, the clock ticks," Charamba
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.
his lawyers - Warara and Associates - Kaukonde demanded a full
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
But sources said the Kaukonde story is fortuitous because six weeks
some Harare-based journalists were approached to replace Chamunorwa
"Gono had finally agreed to let Sunsleey Chamunorwa go".
of the journalists approached refused to accept the job after he asked
would happen to Sunsleey. He was told Sunsleey was a problem. He
the grounds that he was not pliable," said an insider.
Chamunorwa has had
clashes with senior Zanu PF politicians, notable among
Chombo, the Local Government and Public Works Minister who at
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
The Fingaz exclusively ran stories on Chombo based on a tape
Jayesh Shah owner of Gift Investments, who blew the whistle on
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
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
Exchange rate: 1 USD = 55 ZWD.
November 2003: Exchange rate: 1 USD
= 750 ZWD.
July 2004: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 5,624
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
March 2007: Exchange rate: 1 USD = 259 new ZWD = 259,793 old