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'We will not be intimidated'

BBC
Dan Parkinson
BBC News

Dancers at an MDC rally
More than 300 people attended the MDC rally

Straining to be heard above fierce drumming, Zimbabweans at a rally in London spoke of their fury at the attack on opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

At the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) demonstration, held in the shadow of the Zimbabwean Embassy, many said they were now more determined than ever to overthrow President Robert Mugabe.

"If his idea was to scare us into submission by targeting Mr Tsvangirai than it has failed," said Jaison Matewu, 50.

"There is no doubt he was behind this. The music we are playing here is war music. It is aggressive and it shows how we feel. We are not going to back down.

"I have spoken to people in Zimbabwe and they feel like they have nothing to lose now. There will be an uprising.

"They are even organising in rural areas. The police and the army are going to be stretched. Things are going to be very difficult."

There is no doubt in our minds that the attack on Morgan was authorised by Mugabe
Suzeet Kwenda

More than 300 MDC supporters, living in exile in the UK, met in a square outside the embassy to show their support for Mr Tsvangirai.

Bare trees were draped with the Zimbabwean flag and mock "wanted" posters bearing Mr Mugabe's face were put up.

The "reward" offered was "freedom for the people of Zimbabwe".

Drummers pounded out a relentless beat as MDC supporters danced and chanted.

The dancing stopped only briefly when those gathered stood with their hands thrust into the sky to sing the Zimbabwean nation anthem.

Drummers at an MDC rally
Drummers played traditional "war music" at the rally

Most brandished placards bearing slogans giving bleak facts about modern day Zimbabwe.

"Zimbabwe leads the world - the highest number of orphans per capita," one read.

The demonstration was organised in response to the attack on Mr Tsvangirai while in custody after his arrest at an MDC rally in Zimbabwe on Sunday.

Some of those gathered said they had first-hand experience of brutality in Zimbabwe.

Cuthbert Chisango, 38, left Zimbabwe in 2001 after he was attacked by eight men for being an MDC member.

'Desperate man'

"They beat my head repeatedly," he said.

"I know what it is like to be attacked. The reason they have attacked Morgan is they want to stop the opposition rallies.

"They have been beating supporters at the rallies but that has not stopped them taking place.

"This attack on the leadership was an attempt to make them feel pain in the hope it will stop them.

"It will not. It will only make them stronger."

A demonstrator at an MDC rally
Suzeet Kwenda said she thought Robert Mugabe was frightened

The main reason many thought Mr Tsvangirai had been attacked was that Mr Mugabe was frightened.

"This was the act of a desperate man. There is no doubt in our minds that the attack on Morgan was authorised by Mugabe," said Suzeet Kwenda, 43.

"He fears that the population is turning against him. I have a house near where the rally was and my neighbour told me police had blocked all the roads in the area.

"They are intimidating innocent people now. This is a big turning point. People will not stand for it."

Others at the rally said they were worried about friends and family back home who might be caught up in violent clashes.

A demonstrator at an MDD rally
Barbara Murray said South Africa should take action

Diana Dhlamini, 40, said her mother and father were still in Zimbabwe and could be targeted.

"It is really not a good situation over there," she said.

"I am very worried. There will be a backlash I'm sure and it could spread across the whole country.

"I think Mugabe has made a very big mistake. The whole world has seen what has happened to Morgan.

"We need governments to take action. I would like to see the British go in, even if it is to overthrow Mugabe by force."

MDC member Barbara Murray, 57, who left Zimbabwe six years ago to build political contacts in the UK, said she wanted South Africa to put pressure on Mr Mugabe.

"I think Mugabe fears Morgan will be Zimbabwe's Nelson Mandela," she said.

"South Africa says it can't do anything. But it has the most power over Zimbabwe. They could cut off electricity, stop giving Mugabe money, stop meeting him.

"That would put pressure on Mugabe and something needs to be done."


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Mugabe warns Zimbabwe opposition of "heavy price"

Reuters

By Nelson Banya

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government vowed to
silence dissent on Wednesday, defying international outrage over an assault
which left the opposition leader with a suspected fractured skull.

†Images of battered Mugabe critic Morgan Tsvangirai going to court after his
arrest on Sunday have brought condemnation from several countries including
the United States.

Washington said on Wednesday it was looking at what additional sanctions it
might impose on Zimbabwe.

Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980,
showed no sign of softening his approach.

Political tensions have increased in recent weeks because of plans by
Mugabe, now 83, to further extend his rule.

His government accused Tsvangirai, the head of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), and his supporters of inciting violence to overthrow the
administration and warned their campaign would end in "grief."

"Those who incite violence, or actually cause and participate in unleashing
it, are set to pay a very heavy price, regardless of who they are,"
Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said in the statement.

Zimbabwe police later surrounded the headquarters of Tsvangirai's party in
Harare and arrested two executives from his party's offices in the southern
town of Bulawayo.

"They have barricaded the building and have four trucks in front of the
building but we are not sure what they want to do," said Luke Tamborinyoka
an information officer with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC).

There was no immediate comment from the police.

INTENSIVE CARE

The United States has condemned police action against Tsvangirai and his
followers as "ruthless and repressive" and regional powerhouse South Africa,
which normally avoids direct comment on Zimbabwe's woes, called on Mugabe's
government to respect the rule of law.

Tsvangirai, speaking to a radio reporter from his hospital bed, said he was
attacked after arriving at a police station to check on supporters who had
been detained with him on Sunday when the government broke up a planned
prayer vigil.

"It was almost as if they were waiting for me," he said in remarks broadcast
on South Africa's national radio.

"Before I could even settle down I was subjected to a lot of beatings, in
fact it was random beatings, but I think the intention was to inflict as
much harm as they could."

Tsvangirai's spokesman said he was in intensive care.

"He has just had a brain scan because his skull is cracked," spokesman
William Bango said from Tsvangirai's Harare hospital, adding the opposition
leader had also needed blood transfusions.

ECONOMIC CRISIS

African Union Chairman John Kufuor said African leaders were embarrassed by
the situation in Zimbabwe and perhaps could do more to help, but have met
stiff resistance from Harare.

"The African Union is very uncomfortable. The situation in your country is
very embarrassing," Ghana's president Kufuor said in response to a question
from a Zimbabwean at the Chatham House think-tank during a state visit in
London.

The latest crackdown comes as Zimbabwe faces a deepening economic crisis
with inflation at more than 1,700 percent, unemployment of 80 percent and
shortages of food, fuel and foreign exchange.

Mugabe originally proposed adjusting election dates to extend his current
term by two years to 2010, and then said that if necessary he would be
willing to stand in elections in 2008 -- meaning he could remain in office
through 2014.

Tsvangirai lost a 2002 presidential election to Mugabe, a poll widely
believed to have been rigged by the government.


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Tsvangirai's Skull May Be Fractured

The Guardian

Wednesday March 14, 2007 6:31 PM

By ANGUS SHAW

Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - The country's main opposition leader said Wednesday
that police beat him repeatedly in the head, back, knees and arm and that he
lost a lot of blood in an attack that seemed intended ``to inflict as much
harm as they could.''

Morgan Tsvangirai, who remains hospitalized, underwent a brain scan, and his
lawyer said he may have suffered a skull fracture and internal bleeding as a
result of police beatings.

Tsvangirai, 54, and more than 40 other opposition figures were arrested at a
prayer meeting Sunday in the latest crackdown on dissent by President Robert
Mugabe's security forces and political supporters.

Tsvangirai told the British Broadcasting Corp. in an interview from his
hospital bed that police beat him on the head, and that he suffered body
blows to the knees and back, and that his arm was broken. He said he ``lost
a lot of blood'' and that he was given two pints.

``I was subjected to a lot of beatings, and random beatings, but I think the
intention was to inflict as much harm as they could,'' he told the BBC. ``I
suffered injuries on the head, six stitches, and body blows and a broken
arm. ... Overall, I think the most serious injury was the head injury
because I've lost a lot of blood.''

Mugabe arrived at the private hospital where Tsvangirai was being treated to
visit his sister, Sabena Mugabe, who was admitted for an undisclosed
ailment, hospital staff said.

Tsvangirai was in a hospital unit where he could be more closely monitored
and was awaiting the results of a brain scan for a suspected skull fracture,
said Tafadza Mugabe, one of his lawyers.

At a brief court appearance Tuesday, Tsvangirai's right eye was swollen shut
and his head partly shaved to reveal crudely stitched gashes.

Police used tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition to crush Sunday's
gathering by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of opposition, church
and civic groups, in Harare's western township of Highfield.

Police shot and killed one opposition activist, identified as Gift Tandare.
Two mourners were slightly injured Tuesday at his funeral in skirmishes with
police, witnesses said.

Mugabe has said he is in favor of a plan to extend his term in office by two
years, to 2010, in an effort to delay a showdown between rival factions
within his ruling party over the choice of his successor.

Under the plan, the country would not hold a presidential election in 2008
and instead combine that election with one for parliament in 2110 to save on
the cost of polling and ease the administration of the election. The main
opposition party opposes any plan that would delay the presidential
election.

At least 34 activists were released from the private hospital in Harare
early Wednesday and reunited with their families.

Those freed were told to return to the Harare magistrates' court when it
opened Wednesday, but amid chaos at the court no proceedings were held, and
the activists returned to their homes.

Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer for the group, and police were not present at the
court.

``If they want us, the police can call us,'' she said.

Tsvangirai attorney Innocent Chagonda said police withdrew from Harare's
Avenues Clinic later Wednesday. He said a High Court order issued late
Monday ordered police to charge or release the opposition leaders and
activists by noon on Tuesday. None was charged.

``As far as we are concerned, they are now free men,'' he said.

Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
and colleagues from other opposition and civic groups were ferried in
ambulances and buses from the magistrates' court to the hospital. Many
sustained severe bruising and internal injuries after the police raid on the
prayer meeting that authorities had declared illegal.

Mtetwa said police forced Tsvangirai and many of her other clients to lay
face down and then beat them savagely and repeatedly with truncheons both at
the scene of the arrests and at police stations.

``We were made to lie on our stomach and they beat with batons and iron
bars. When one group of police got tired another started on us,'' said
William Bango, one of Tsvangirai's aides who was sent home from hospital
Wednesday, told reporters.

Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway faction of Tsvangirai's party, also
had head wounds, and Lovemore Madhuku, head of a militant reform group,
suffered a broken arm.

``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,'' said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Among those arrested Sunday in Highfield were two journalists on assignment
for The Associated Press, Harare freelance photographer Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi
and freelance television producer Tendai Musiya. Both were also released
from official custody but Musiya was still undergoing medical checks and was
expected to return home shortly.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Dell expressed disappointment at what he called
the passivity of neighboring states, including South Africa, in the face of
the suffering of Zimbabweans.

``One would hope that in the glaring light of the growing brutality of the
Zimbabwean government, those states would finally feel moved to act. They
can no longer deny that there is a real crisis on the way here,'' Dell told
the British Broadcasting Corp.

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad issued a statement Tuesday saying
South Africa was concerned about the declining political and economic
situation in Zimbabwe.

``South Africa urges the Zimbabwean government to ensure that the rule of
law including respect for rights of all Zimbabweans and leaders of various
political parties is respected,'' he said.

Germany, which holds the European Union presidency, said ``it was deeply
concerned'' about the opposition leaders' maltreatment, and the Zimbabwean
government was responsible for their safety and well-being.

John Kufuor, president of Ghana, told SABC radio news that the African Union
``is very concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe.''

Mugabe's opponents blame the 83-year-old leader for repression, corruption,
acute food shortages and inflation of 1,600 percent - the highest in the
world. They have demanded the ouster of Mugabe, Zimbabwe's only ruler since
independence from Britain in 1980.

State radio Tuesday quoted Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu as saying
opposition activists had attacked police and were to blame for the violence.

Authorities suspected an ``underground movement'' of opponents was planning
a violent campaign against the government, he said.

Nathan Shamuyarira, chief spokesman for Mugabe's ruling party, said
Tsvangirai defied a police ban on Sunday's meeting. ``Tsvangirai really
asked for the trouble in which he has found himself,'' he told South African
state television.

---

Associated Press Writer Celean Jacobson contributed to this report from
Johannesburg, South Africa.


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US mulling new sanctions against Zimbabwe

Yahoo News

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States is considering fresh sanctions against
Zimbabwe's government following the arrests and beatings of opposition
leaders by President Robert Mugabe's regime, a senior official said
Wednesday.

"The US has a number of sanctions in place against those responsible for
repressing democratic activities in Zimbabwe and we do need to take a look
at what other measures might be appropriate," said State Department deputy
spokesman Tom Casey.
He would not elaborate on what sanctions could be added to current US
measures, which primarily involve travel bans and financial restrictions on
individual officials and a suspension of direct aid to the Harare
government.

"There's always other tools in the toolbox and I certainly expect we'll look
at those," he said.

A senior State Department human rights official, Barry Lowenkron, will also
raise the Zimbabwe issue with the African Union during a visit to its Addis
Ababa headquarters on Thursday, he said.

"We're also going to be consulting with a number of other like-minded
countries, including some of our European allies ... to see what other kinds
of things we might be able to do," he said.

The action came after Zimbabwe police broke up an opposition rally on
Sunday, arresting dozens of politicians and severely beating several,
including Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

Tsvangirai was hospitalized in intensive care on Wednesday amid an
international uproar over the incident that included condemnations from US,
British, European and African leaders.

Casey called on the UN Human Rights Council, which is currently in session
in Geneva, to join in condemning Mugabe's government for having "so
blatantly and so violently taken actions against the principle leaders of
the opposition."

Washington has been a fierce critic of the year-old council for focussing a
series of meetings on
Israel while ignoring other human rights issues.

"Frankly, with the council meeting right now in Geneva it would be hard to
understand how they wouldn't want to turn their attention to serious cases
of human rights abuse and violations as is occurring in Zimbabwe," he said.

Mugabe's government earlier Wednesday accused the United States, Britain and
other Western governments of trying to topple his 27-year-old regime.

Current US sanctions against Zimbabwe, imposed in 2002 and 2003, include
financial and visa restrictions against selected officials, a ban on
transfers of defense items and services and a suspension of non-humanitarian
government-to-government assistance.


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Nature of Injuries of Tortured Civil Society Activists andOpposition Party Leaders



Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights 14 March 2007

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has, having
been granted extremely delayed access to Opposition Party Leaders and Civil
Society Activists arrested on Sunday 11 March 2007, been able to assess the
extent of the injuries they sustained.

It is highly regrettable that the medical treatment of these persons was
wilfully delayed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police despite the stated urgency
of the need for medical treatment. This resulted in the aggravation of
injuries sustained in several persons.

In violation of the rights of the injured persons detained, medical
treatment was denied on 11 March 2007 and again on Monday 12 March 2007. In
default of a High Court Order granted on the evening 12 March 2007 the
police further denied medical access to the injured persons. Permission to
take the injured to a medical facility was finally granted on the afternoon
of Tuesday 13 March 2007.

In the interim several of the persons detained were in a grave medical
condition. Of the 64 persons attended to 20 are currently admitted to
hospital for treatment.

The injuries documented were consistent with beatings with blunt objects
heavy enough to cause the following:

† a.. Fractures to hands, arms and legs in 5 individuals including Lovemore
Madhuku with a fractured ulna. 3 of these, Elton Mangoma, Sekai Holland and
Morgan Tsvangirai sustained multiple fractures.
† b..††† Severe, extensive and multiple soft tissue injuries to the backs,
shoulders, arms, buttocks and thighs of 14 individuals.
† c..† Head injuries to 3 individuals, Nelson Chamisa, Morgan Tsvangirai and
Lovemore Madhuku with the latter two sustaining deep lacerations to the
scalp.
† d..† A possibly ruptured bowel in 1 individual due to severe blunt trauma
to the abdomen.
† e.. A split right ear lobe sustained by Grace Kwinjeh.
Prolonged detention without accessing medical treatment resulted in severe
haemorrhage in Morgan Tsvangirai leading to severe anaemia which warranted a
blood transfusion. Injuries sustained by Sekai Holland were also worsened by
denial of timely access to medical treatment which led to an infection of
deep soft tissue in her left leg. Denial of access to treatment in another
individual suffering from hypertension lead to angina.

Further tests are currently being carried out to determine the fuller extent
of injuries in several of those currently admitted. Some will require
surgical procedures as part of their treatment. Sekai Holland has already
undergone a surgical fixation of the fracture in her left ankle.

2 of the individuals hospitalised were admitted due to conditions resulting
from poor conditions of detention with severe diarrhoea in 1 individual and
extensive and severe flea bites in 1 individual.

In addition to those tortured during the course of their arrest, 2
individuals were shot while attending the funeral of Gift Tandare, who was
shot dead on Sunday March 11 2007. The two individuals sustained gunshot
wounds to the left ankle and right arm respectively. One sustained a
shattered left ankle from the gunshot wound and is likely to require
amputation from the left ankle downwards. The other individual primarily
sustained shrapnel wounds early on Monday 12 March but however was shot
again in the same arm on the evening of Monday 12 March upon his return to
the funeral resulting in a open fracture to the arm, the severity of which
may warrant amputation of that arm.

Ends.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
6th Floor, Beverly Court, 100 Nelson Mandela Ave
PO Box CY 2415, Causeway
Harare
Tel: 708118, 251468
Fax: 705641
Cell: 091260380


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AU chief says Zimbabwe situation 'embarrassing'

SABC

March 14, 2007, 17:00

John Kufuor, the African Union chairperson, says African leaders are
embarrassed by the situation in Zimbabwe and perhaps could do more to help,
but have met stiff resistance from Harare. The beating of Morgan Tsvangirai,
the Zimbabwe opposition leader, and dozens of others during a crackdown on
political protests has sparked world outrage but the response within Africa
so far has been relatively muted.

"The African Union is very uncomfortable. The situation in your country is
very embarrassing," Kufuor, who is president of Ghana, said in response to a
question from a Zimbabwean at the Chatham House think-tank during a state
visit in London.

"I know personally that presidents like Olusegun Obasanjo, from Nigeria,
Thabo Mbeki from South Africa and others have tried desperately to exercise
some influence for the better. But they came against stiff resistance," said
Kufuor. Kufuor was heckled during his speech at Chatham House on four
separate occasions by Zimbabweans calling on African leaders to take a stand
against Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean president's government.

Inflation at more than 1,700 %
Zimbabwe faces a deepening economic crisis with inflation at more than
1,700%, unemployment of 80% and frequent shortages of food, fuel and foreign
exchange.

"I think we should all assume that all these institutions, the African
Union, mean well. Perhaps we have not exhausted the means to give us a
handle on the situation so we can help Zimbabwe return to normality," he
said. Kufuor stressed that African leaders were serious about tackling the
situation in Zimbabwe, but said individual presidents and nations were
limited by what unilateral action they could take. "What can Mbeki as a man,
alone, do against Zimbabwe?" said Kufuor.

"In our own various ways we are trying very hard to exercise some influence.
I tell you, we are serious," he said. Kufuor is in Britain on a state visit
to celebrate Ghana's 50 years of independence from its former colonial
ruler. - Reuters


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Mugabe government unapologetic over Tsvangirai



Staff and agencies
Wednesday March 14, 2007
Guardian Unlimited


Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, at a local hospital in Harare
Zimbabwean opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, at a local hospital in Harare. Photograph: Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images


The Zimbabwean government was today unapologetic over allegations that the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai sustained serious head injuries while in police custody.

Mr Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, was being treated in intensive care after two days in custody following his arrest at an anti-government demonstration on Sunday.

His appearance in court yesterday, with a deep head wound, swollen face and a limp, prompted international condemnation amid accusations he had been tortured by police.

Speaking from his hospital bed, he told the BBC his beating was an inspiration for the struggle against the rule of the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, and said: "There is no freedom without struggle, and there is no freedom without sacrifice."

The opposition leader's lawyer said doctors believed he had suffered serious head injuries, a suspected fractured skull and internal injuries.

The 54-year-old was this afternoon moved to a unit where he could be more closely monitored, and is awaiting the results of a brain scan.

It is understood that he has undergone blood transfusions.

Mr Tsvangirai said he was attacked after arriving at a police station to check on colleagues who had been arrested earlier on Sunday.

"It was almost as if they were waiting for me," he said in remarks broadcast on South Africa's national radio. "Before I could even settle down, I was subjected to a lot of beatings ... I think the intention was to inflict as much harm as they could."

Late this afternoon, Mr Mugabe arrived at the hospital where Mr Tsvangirai was being treated, but it remained unclear why he was visiting the building.

A statement released by his government suggested that Mr Tsvangirai and his supporters had brought the violence on themselves by resisting arrest.

"Those who incite violence, or actually cause and participate in unleashing it, are set to pay a very heavy price, regardless of who they are," the information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said in the statement.

Mr Tsvangirai, along with other political activists, was detained when police crushed a demonstration organised by opposition groups, church leaders and students.

Gift Tandare, an opposition activist, was shot dead in the unrest. Many others were seriously injured during the police action and subsequent days in custody.

More than 30 injured activists were reunited with their families today after being treated for their wounds. Around a dozen remained in hospital.

Opposition officials accused police of trying to assassinate Mr Tsvangirai, while his lawyer said police had ignored court orders to provide medical and legal help for the prisoners.

The accusations sparked international dismay, with the UN, the US and the EU condemning Mr Mugabe's "ruthless and repressive" actions.

In central London, demonstrators interrupted a visit by the Ghanaian president to chant: "Liberate Zimbabwe."

Even South Africa, which usually remains silent on its neighbour's troubles, called on Mr Mugabe's government to respect the rule of law.

Opponents of the Zimbabwean president blame him for repression and corruption, acute food shortages and the highest inflation in the world.

Political tensions in the country have mounted in recent weeks because of plans by Mr Mugabe to further extend his rule, possibly until 2014. He has ruled the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.


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Tsvangirai court case delayed -lawyers

Reuters

14 Mar 2007 08:18:07 GMT
Source: Reuters

†HARARE, March 14 (Reuters) - The court case against Zimbabwe opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was severely injured in police custody, was
delayed on Wednesday when state lawyers did not turn up, defence attorneys
said.

"The prosecutors are not here, so we are going and they may have to proceed
by way of summons," one of Tsvangirai's lawyers Alec Muchadehama told
reporters outside a Harare magistrate court.

Tsvangirai, in hospital with head and facial wounds, was formally freed from
police custody late on Tuesday.

He remains hospitalised with about a dozen other accused and did not come to
the court to face charges of defying a government ban on rallies and
protests.

The court session was set for 9.00-9.30 local time (0700-0730 GMT) and
another defence lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, said the state Attorney General's
Office was not yet ready for the case against Tsvangirai, who leads the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

"When we asked the AG's office, the AG's office said it did not request us
to be here," she said.

The state lawyers were not readily available for comment.


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Hot Seat transcript: Analysis on the arrests of political & civic leaders in Zimbabwe

SW Radio Africa Hot Seat Transcript

In the programme ĎHot Seatí Journalist Violet Gonda talks to Zimbabwean poet and writer Chenjerai Hove and Pedzisai Ruhanya an Information Officer with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition about the arrests and assault of Save Zimbabwe Campaigners in the last few days in Zimbabwe.

Broadcast†Tuesday 13 March 2007

Violet Gonda: We welcome on the programme ĎHot Seatí Zimbabwean poet and writer Chenjerai Hove and journalist Pedzisai Ruhanya who is also an Information Officer with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

Chenjerai Hove: Thank you

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Ya, welcome

Violet Gonda: Now a lot has been happening or going down in Zimbabwe in the last few days and I know that Pedzisai youíve been following the events on the ground with the political and civic leaders who were arrested on Sunday. First of all, can you give us an update on whatís been happening so far?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Ya, currently as we are speaking a few minutes ago we were feeding those guys whoíve been arrested, they are currently at the Avenues Clinic in Harare where some of them have been admitted. So the Court proceedings could not go ahead because the conditions of the detainees were not good, some of them were passing out and as a result they had to be taken by ambulance to the Court and as we are speaking they are being attended to by a team of doctors at the Avenues Clinic. So thatís the situation as it is now. Court proceedings have been suspended pending the treatment of these detainees.

Violet: And we understand that the magistrate did not turn up?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Yes, from around 1.00 to 3.00 oíclock when some of the detainees were taken to the Avenues Clinic, there was no magistrate but we were told that around 6.00 oíclock the Chief Magistrate, one Guramombe, Mishrod Guramombe, he is now at the court awaiting the release of the detainees from the hospital so that the proceedings can go ahead in the dead of the night.

Violet: So even though theyíve been taken to hospital they are still under arrest?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Yes they are still arrested, the police are here and as we were giving food we were told what to do and what not to do by armed riot police so they are still arrested and under arrest and the police areÖ

Violet: And before we go, oh sorry, carry on?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Yes, I was saying the police that the police are in charge at the hospital; they have taken over the security of the hospital.

Violet: And before we go to Mr Hove, are you able to describe for us Pedzisai what you saw in terms of their conditions because we understand that some of the leaders like Mr Morgan Tsvangirai had serious injuries and people like Grace Kwinjeh. Can you tell us what you saw ?

Pedzisai: Ya, I saw Morgan Tsvangirai, he had a blood-stained shirt, he had a cut on the head; he had deep cuts on the head. I saw Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, he was bandaged, his shirt was full of blood. I saw Grace Kwinjeh her right ear is damaged and she had blisters, she had swollen legs. I saw Holland, Sekai Holland; she was in a pathetic state of condition, in fact the riot police had to assist her to get into the ambulance. So generally the condition of the detainees was not good, it was very bad.

Violet: Now Mr Hove, whatís your interpretation of these events, whatís your comment on this?

Chenjerai Hove: I think that tyrannical regimes at the end, when nothing else is left that they can use, they use brute force and this has happened in many countries that where the government knows that it has made every error, every mistake political and economic, they resort to the most brutal methods, they resort to violence and cruelty. So, for me, it looks like everybody knows that the regime is collapsing so it wants to collapse with many corpses.

Violet: And you know, Pedzisai back to you, and I know that right now itís a bit difficult for you to talk because you are actually at the Avenues Clinic where you know most of the detainees are and the police have surrounded the area as youíve said. But, could you tell us, because you are on the ground, do extraordinary and unsafe conditions exist in Zimbabwe right now?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Ya, the political environment in Zimbabwe it is very bad, because as these people were in detention, I think you have heard that two other activists were shot and injured by the police at the funeral in Glen View, at the funeral of the late Gift Tandare. And, as we were at the Magistrates Court, when Tsvangirai was leaving the Magistrates Court to be escorted to the Avenues Hospital, people broke into a song Ishe Komborera, others were crying, you know, relatives were crying because you canít believe the state in which Morgan Tsvangirai is, you canít believe that this is a lawful citizen, a legitimate leader of the Opposition in this country, but the manner in which he was brutalised is just simply shocking and tempers are rising in Zimbabwe. You would also remember that just yesterday when Tsvangiraiís torture was made public, people in Mutare responded by demonstrating, and a lot of people, I think close to 125 people were arrested by the police. So the situation in Zimbabwe is very bad.

Violet: And Mr Hove, you know, as Pedzisai has said and also weíve all seen how the violence this time was so severe and many people believe that the regime is trying to break the back of the opposition. So you know, does any of this activism, particularly rallies, get us any closer to achieving a resolution to this crisis?

Chenjerai Hove: I think rallies are part of the programme that can be used, but not the only one, I think a multiplicity of methods have to be used in conjunction with rallies. Because if there are no gathering points, if there are no meetings, people become isolated they lose hope and they despair into apathy which is painful. So people have to re-group every now and then and that is part of the project and it should work like that but of course there are the risks. But, this risk is also necessary because I think that by brutalising the nation the State itself is brutalising itself. Itís presenting its ugly face and that makes people who see that the Government does not respect any law that makes them actually stand up and also possibly end up not respecting any law. Thatís why people are fighting the police now, they are throwing stones at the police because they have seen that the police who are supposed to protect them are actually commissioned to kill them.

Violet: Pedzisai do you think that a lot of people on the ground understand why itís important to participate in these protests and attend rallies? Do they see how their participation can cause change?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Ya I think thereís a lot of appreciation by the Zimbabweans that the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis needs people to express their views on how they are governed. And, what has critically happened, I think there is an issue that has not been pointed out, on Sunday 11th March, I happened to be one of the people who was present. I saw Morgan Tsvangirai, I saw Professor Arthur Mutambara, I saw Dr Lovemore Madhuku conversing, discussing on how they think the crisis in Zimbabwe should be resolved. And now I think the State is in a quandary, they donít understand what is going on, they have been celebrating the divisions in the MDC but now, Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara, Lovemore Madhuku and others are sharing the same cells. They are together as I speak, they have been talking. So they are in a quandary as to understand the reasons behind this unity, the reasons behind the coming together. And the followers of the MDC and the people in civil society who matter are here and they have made a statement that they are not going to give up. In Glen View, as I speak to you thereís a funeral and up to 500 people are there so people believe that fighting the regime, just like during the liberation struggle people confronted Smith, they believe that confronting the regime, expressing themselves, exercising their rights is the way to the resolution of the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Violet: Thatís the question that I wanted to ask you that, this is the first time you know since the MDC split last year, that we have seen both factions of the Opposition working together. Is what happened to the leaders a perfect recipe for re-unification Pedzisai?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: I may not be privy to what they are doing, but from what people are talking, from what we hear, particularly the coming together of these people, because youíll remember that when these people were arrested they were actually moving in the same convoy. They actually had a brief meeting where Tsvangirai and Mutambara discussed and agreed that they need to do one, two, three things. So, there is hope among Zimbabweans that their coming together in action, their coming together in unity to confront the common enemy of Zimbabweans, in a way shows that something could be in the offing. We may not be privy to the finer details, but their understanding of the Zimbabwean crisis and their coming together is something that shows Zimbabweans that there is some unity of some sort.

Violet: And Mr Hove, some critics would say that although there seems to be leadership commitment what seems to be missing right now is the mobilisation capabilities to get groundswell support. Do you agree with this?

Chenjerai Hove: No but I think that observation lacks understanding of the political situation in the country. There is repression in every corner, everywhere; the secret police are in every household, in every institution. Itís very difficult for the leadership to simply be able to mobilise at every level as they wish. People have been ruled through fear from 1965 during UDI under the State of Emergency and that fear is still there. So, the little that is happening now, even now surfacing, is a result of people having realised that even if they isolate themselves they cannot to be subdued and suffer and pretend to be happy at home. So, this is, I think, leading to other things which, as Pedzisai was saying, even the leaders are realising that even if they are divided they will be victimised, even if they are together they will be victimised. So they realise that they should be together because they will be victimised anyway but they will form a closer bond when they are together in order to be able to put together a strong plan of action to the nation. But, it goes with sacrifices. There are sacrifices that the leaders are beginning to realise that they have to sacrifice their individual positions to be able to create a greater and more powerful platform.

Violet: In the recent International Crisis Group report on Zimbabwe thereís a roadmap for change in Zimbabwe which is the retirement of Mugabe and then a transitional government leading to a new constitution and elections. Now, will a change of face change things in Zimbabwe? Will a change of face solve the problem?

Chenjerai Hove: I think so but what I am worried about, if Mugabe was not there in power things will move smoothly and there are people on both sides who are prepared to sit and negotiate and discuss and share certain common grounds. But, I think that my worry is that President Mugabe will not yield power. He will not give up power. He is a man who is absolutely power hungry and thirsty for power. He will not listen to anything which makes him lose power, he wants to die in power. That is where the problem is. We have always said that the problem in Zimbabwe is Mugabe.

Violet: You know, Mugabe just turned 83 this year and those who saw his birthday interview say he was just rambling. Do you think he is still physically fit to govern?

Chenjerai Hove: If it was a matter of being physically fit alone that would be no problem but I think his mind; he is completely out of touch with reality. He is not fit to govern. People, everybody knows that the President is no longer fit to govern, his mind, psychologically is not strong enough, he was just rambling on and he is being kept there by people who are wanting to keep him there so that they can loot the economy, they can plunder the resources of the country, because, as you can see each Minister is running is own private fiefdom. Ministers are doing what they want, they make that statement, another Minister that one, a Police Commissioner makes a different statement, so nobody is actually in control. So, the man has actually lost the capacity to govern and people have to face that in the country.

Violet: And Pedzisai, what did you make of the ICG recommendations and the issue of an interim government? Do you think any of this is feasible?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: I disagree with the ICG report on the premise that it is not Mugabe alone who is the problem. The problem in Zimbabwe is a problem of legitimacy and governance and in order to deal with the crisis of legitimacy and governance that the country has been grappling with for perhaps seven years or so, we need an overhaul on the governance structure of Zimbabwe. And, critically, we need a constitutional overhaul, we need to create structures that can produce democratic processes and democratic outcomes. So, what we need fundamentally in Zimbabwe is not necessarily a change of government, but a change of governance. But, in the case of Zimbabwe a change of governance means also a change of government. Because if we change the structures of governance in this country we put structures that can produce legitimate processes and legitimate democratic institutions, everything will be OK. But, if we change a government without necessarily changing the institutional framework that governs our country it means we have not done anything because we are simply putting someone into the shoes of a flawed political structure and we can reproduce the kind of violence, the kind of state that we have in this country. So, beyond the change of government, we need a change of governance, we need a new constitutional dispensation. Thatís why some scholars in constitutionalism say that constitutions are not made for the angels we know but for both the angels and devils we donít know. We need a constitutional framework that treats both angels and devils equally. So we would be narrow to say we need a change of government, we need fundamentally a change of governance and we know, in the Zimbabwean case, if we change the governance structure it automatically follows that the interim government is also booted out.

Violet: But how do you get to that point because weíve seen how pro-democracy groups since 2000, you know the Opposition since 2000 calling for a new constitution. How do they get to that point?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Listen Violet my sister, the struggle in which Zimbabweans are in is not a struggle for sprinters; it is a struggle for long-distance runners. We know people are in despair because of the continuity of the current crisis that we have. If you look at the history of regimes in Zimbabwe that has governed this country since colonial rule, the life of a regime in Zimbabwe has been that long, but, ultimately, change has always, changes have always come. Even if you look at the history of Hitler, how many years did Hitler rule in Germany and what is the state of Germany today? There has never been a regime in the history of mankind that has been there for all time. So, if we understand that, it therefore means that, yes, it may take time to remove this regime but ultimately this regime is going. If you look at what they are doing now this is not consistent with an illegitimate regime. It may take time, it will take deaths, it will take assaults, but, ultimately, this regime is going to leave office.

Violet: And Mr Hove, as an observer, are there any other alternatives?

Chenjerai Hove: I think that for example, what I think ideally this Crisis Group report gives a possibility of an interim situation. That would be an ideal situation in which a transitional mechanism will be able to put all the constitutional things in place before a proper election is held or proper elections at every level are held. So this is why in the long term, I think we need this transitional arrangement which will actually change the structures of government in order to write a new constitution, to change the bad laws, to change electoral laws, to be able to put an efficient well managed democratic institution in all corners of governance, including the judiciary even. So, while the fight is long term, itís for long distance runners as Pedzi is saying, itís also important that sprinters are needed to be able to change this crisis, to be able to transform this crisis into a positive force which can bear fruit, which can actually produce what we need in the long term. If we fight for the long term solution only, I think we will have a lot of casualties to early and people will probably go back into apathy again. So what the situation in Zimbabwe needs I think as far as I can see, is a quick solution at the moment because it is a crisis which is actually a catastrophic crisis. And, when that mechanism is there which is put in there to change things; to be able to create long-term solutions to all these crisis which have been created over the last 27 years, then we can make that transformation and make that the mistakes of 27 years ago will not be repeated again.

Violet: And you know, some of said maybe Mugabe should be offered a retirement package. Now do you think an exit strategy that left Mugabe free of prosecution for crimes against humanity will be acceptable to the people?

Chenjerai Hove: I think some sections of the population will not accept that. Look, I used to work a lot, to do some work in Matabeleland. People there some time ago were asking just for an apology and an acknowledgement, that the brutality of the Fifth Brigade must be acknowledged and the President must apologise. He refused. He simply said it was a time of madness, whose madness he didnít say. The other time later on when I used to go to Matabeleland, when I used to work there, people were so angry because there were youngsters who didnít go to school because their parents had been killed and there no death certificates for them to be able to get a birth certificate to write an exam at grade seven. So they are extremely angry. It would be very difficult for a people whose anger and frustration has been stretched for so long to be able to forgive and make him have a nice time as if nothing happened. People will have a lot of problems in forgiving a man who goes on for all these years without accepting responsibility for the things that he actually did. So that would be difficult. As far as a package is concerned, the President has always had a package open for him, I mean, the late President Banana had his package, exit package, beautiful one. The President is entitled to his salary until he dies if he retires, and all the other benefits are there. But the exit package after human rights abuses; I donít think people will accept that.

Violet: And Pedzisai, the International Community have imposed targeted sanctions on members of the Zimbabwean Government, and so my question is what else can the International Community do because it seems that the targeted sanctions seem not to be having any effect? And also, why do you think African countries are so reluctant to condemn human rights abuses in Zimbabwe?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: I think first of all, we, as Zimbabweans, we need to be seen to be doing quite enough before we cry for international help. Yes, international help is needed to support our struggle. But, fundamentally and critically, we need to mobilise our people, we need Zimbabweans to take agenda of their own liberation. It is only when we are organised on the ground, when Tsvangirai, when Mutambara, when civic society leaders, when community leaders speak with one voice, identify the problem, that the problem in this country is a manufactured problem, manufactured by Mugabe and his cohorts. We confront them, like what is happening. We know it is painful when we say people must sacrifice, when you have someoneís father, someoneís mother, when you have someoneís sister, when you have someoneís brother but the moment we become organised it will be very easy for the International Community to intervene. But, if we are divided, if we are not organised, it becomes very difficult for them to simply say Ďwe are coming to Zimbabwe, Mugabe is badí. Let us, let Zimbabweans on our own prove that Mugabe is bad by defying illegitimate laws, by defying illegitimate directions by the regime police officers. And, it is only when we do certain things, like what happened on Sunday that the International Community has a standing to say what is happening in Zimbabwe is wrong. But, if we are not organised, if we are not united, if we donít involve the communities that we live in, it becomes difficult for the International Community to intervene on the basis of press statements, on the basis of megaphone diplomacy. We need to be on the ground, do empirical things, observable things like what Tsvangirai and Mutambara and others who have been attacked by the police did on Sunday. This should continue. And it is on those premise that the International Community has the strength to come and intervene?

Violet: And finally, Mr Hove, if discontent is widespread, what is the spark in your view that will change things in Zimbabwe right now?

Chenjerai Hove: What might happen, for me, especially if the Opposition fails to come with a common front, a solid common front, is that the young people are going to be so angry that nothing for them will matter for them any more and the country might go up in flames because the government doesnít observe itís own laws and even when it makes illegal laws then it breaks them again and the young people are really over stressed and they are going to be more angry, which is the worst case scenario for me. They will be so angry that they will just, like the food riots of a few years ago, they will just burn everything on their way. So, that is a possibility which is now there which I think the regime now knows is a very, very likely possibility.

Violet: And Pedzisai, a final word?

Pedzisai Ruhanya: I think we will not have a situation where we have unorganised sort of spontaneous demonstrations. We have the Opposition organising itself as we speak under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, and this last weekend was organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign which brings everybody together. But, I agree with my brother Hove when he says that if people donít come together, if people donít organise themselves and people start doing what happened in 1998 when we had the food riots, we can have such a situation, because each time we had public meetings at Crisis, you will hear people saying Ďtipei zvishandisoí, when they say Ďtipei zvishandisoí they are saying Ďarm us because we cannot continue to be attacked by armed people while we have no armsí. This is the worst scenario, root of conflict; itís not good for us. So, we need this process to be guided and we need leadership in these processes. People are angry and we need people who channel this anger in a democratic fashion in order to resolve this crisis.

Violet Gonda: thank you very much Pedzisai Ruhanya and Chenjerai Hove.

Pedzisai Ruhanya: Thank you

Chenjerai Hove: Itís my pleasure.

Audio interview can be heard on SW Radio Africaís Hot Seat programme (Tues 13 March 2007). Comments and feedback can be emailed to violet@swradioafrica.com


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Three Police Officers Injured In Zimbabwe Petrol Bomb Attack

playfuls.com

Three police officers in Zimbabwe were injured, two of them seriously, after
a house in a police camp in the capital Harare was firebombed by suspected
opposition supporters, state radio reported Wednesday.

Two of the police constables were reported to be battling for their lives at
Harare's main Parirenyatwa Hospital following the attack on Tuesday night,
the report said.

The assailants, who are still at large, cut through a perimeter fence and
threw their bomb through an open window of a house at the police camp in
Marimba Park, a low-income suburb close to Glen View, where a bus was stoned
by an angry mob on Tuesday morning.

An official with the Combined Harare Residents Association told Deutsche
Presse-Agentur dpa that some residents of Glen View were assaulted on
Tuesday night by police.

Harare has been gripped by political tension since Sunday when police
arrested Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
dozens of opposition activists who were trying to hold a prayer rally in
Harare's Highfield suburb.

One person was shot dead in skirmishes between MDC supporters and police
following the thwarted rally. Several of those arrested, including
Tsvangirai, were severely assaulted while in police custody.

© 2007 DPA


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Zimbabwe situation truly tragic: Blair

news.com.au

From correspondents in London

March 15, 2007 05:40am

Article from: Agence France-Presse
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BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair overnight called the situation in Zimbabwe
"truly tragic" following the beating of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"I'd like to say how sorry I feel for people in Zimbabwe," he said, when
asked about the situation in Britain's former colony at a joint news
conference with Ghanaian President and African Union chairman John Kufuor.

"People should be able to live under the rule of law and they should be able
to express their political views without harassment or intimidation or
violence," he said at his Downing Street office.

Earlier in London, Mr Kufuor voiced concern at the situation in Zimbabwe,
saying it was "embarrassing," but defended the AU's response to President
Robert Mugabe's regime.

In Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai said his beating at the hands of the security
services would should serve as an inspiration for the campaign to topple Mr
Mugabe.

"What is happening is happening in Zimbabwe is truly tragic," said Mr Blair.

"I have said to the president that we will work with the African Union in
any way that we can in order to support and help a process of ensuring that
proper order is restored in a lawful and constitutional way where people are
able to express their views and where proper democracy is introduced.

"What is happening in Zimbabwe is a tragedy for the people in Zimbabwe.

"It is so sad and so wrong when people are prevented from getting access to
those basic constitutional rights."


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William Hague: Conservatives urge the Government to enforce sanctions on Zimbabwe

conservatives.com

††††† Speaking about the recent political developments in Zimbabwe, Shadow
Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:

††††† "I am appalled by the arrest and the brutal treatment of Mr Tsvangirai
and dozens of other opposition figures.

††††† "The violence they have been subjected to and their lack of legal
representation whilst in detention, despite High Court rulings to the
contrary, is the latest example of the ruthless and repressive nature of the
Mugabe regime.

††††† "Mr Mugabe has brought Zimbabwe to economic and political collapse,
with desperate poverty and hunger in what should naturally be a prosperous
and productive land.

††††† "The Conservatives urge the British Government and our EU partners to
rigorously enforce economic sanctions and travel bans. We also urge the
Government to raise the matter at the Security Council.

††††† "We call on the Prime Minister to urge the government of South Africa
to bring its influence to bear on the Zimbabwean government."

††††† Rt Hon William Hague MP
††††† 14/03/2007


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'Quiet diplomacy is an abject failure'

Mail and Guardian

††††† Cape Town, South Africa

††††† 14 March 2007 02:26

††††††††††† As the African National Congress (ANC) and General Council of
the Bar in South Africa expressed concern at the situation in Zimbabwe on
Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said the government's response to
the situation is shameful.

††††††††††† "The ANC is concerned about the current situation in Zimbabwe,
including reports of the alleged assault of opposition leaders while in
police custody," party spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama said in a statement.

††††††††††† The ANC trusted that a thorough investigation would be conducted
into these allegations, and that any necessary action be taken in accordance
with the law.

††††††††††† He reiterated the ANC's call for all in Zimbabwe to respect and
uphold the Constitution and law of the land, and work to safeguard the
rights of all citizens.

††††††††††† "We further reiterate our call to all stakeholders in Zimbabwe
to continue to seek peaceful and inclusive solutions.

††††††††††† "In line with the spirit and positions of the African Union and
the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the South African
government should continue to seek to assist the people and leaders of
Zimbabwe to address the challenges facing the country," Ngonyama said.

††††††††††† However, DA spokesperson Douglas Gibson was more forthright.

††††††††††† "For South Africa to opine that Zimbabwe must 'observe the rule
of law' is like telling criminals the same thing and expecting them to
behave.

††††††††††† "South Africa's quiet diplomacy is an abject failure and it is
time that our country made it clear to President [Robert] Mugabe that he is
in no sense a friend," Gibson said.

††††††††††† Firstly, Mugabe and other Zanu-PF members should not be invited
to attend the ANC's congresses or conferences.

††††††††††† Secondly, the government should tell Mugabe that the human
rights abuses, police brutality, arbitrary arrests and beatings of
opposition politicians had to stop.

††††††††††† "These actions remind us of the worst days of apartheid
repression and the South African government should be ashamed of its
limp-wristed and meek response."

††††††††††† Government should also take the initiative in the SADC and the
AU to encourage them to find their voice and vociferously criticise the
Mugabe regime.

††††††††††† "It is time that the government, SADC and the AU recognise that
we all have a duty to our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, who suffer
hunger and deprivation of human rights because of President Mugabe and the
Zanu-PF. Surely it is time for a change," Gibson said.

††††††††††† In another statement, the human rights committee of the General
Council of the Bar of South Africa said it was most concerned about the
further erosion of human rights in Zimbabwe.

††††††††††† The concern related not only to the institutionalised brutality
under the guise of law enforcement that resulted in a duly elected
representative of the people and a MP being beaten, and which necessitated
an urgent application to court to ensure that graver harm did not befall
him.

††††††††††† "It is also evident that the beating of a public figure sends a
chilling message to ordinary citizens who wish to raise their voices in
peaceful protest against a regime that does not subscribe to democratic
values.

††††††††††† "We are witnessing a people being denied their basic freedom of
expression," the committee said.

††††††††††† In a country where the issue of rigged ballots dominated the
last two elections, the suppression and the silencing of any form of
criticism, if not unchecked, created the genuine concern of absolute
totalitarianism, which had within it the seeds of chaos and no other
peaceful avenue to restore democratic values.

††††††††††† In either case, it would devastate the lives of Zimbabweans. It
would also be felt throughout the entire Southern African region, and to an
extent greater than that presently experienced where hundreds of thousands
of Zimbabweans had fled their country because of fear from persecution or
poverty. -- Sapa


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Australian returns to find wife beaten and under guard

The Age, Australia

By Sarah Smiles
March 15, 2007

Australian man Jim Holland returned to his Zimbabwe home from a business
trip this week to find his wife beaten up and battered in a Harare hospital
surrounded by riot police.
Sekai Holland, 64, a member of Zimbabwe's leading opposition group, was
tortured by the security forces of President Robert Mugabe after being
arrested at a rally on Sunday.

"She's been beaten all over her body," Mr Holland told The Age from Harare.
"She's got lacerations, very extensive bruising . . . in her case there were
15 thugs taking turns and a woman jumping on her with her boots.

"When they finished all the beatings, they deliberately broke her arm and
foot and then forced her to walk on it."

Ms Holland, who lived in Australia from 1961 to 1980 where she was a leading
anti-apartheid activist - spent two days in custody without medical
treatment before being summoned before a local court on Tuesday alongside
senior members of the Movement for Democratic Change, including leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

A visiting friend of the Holland family, former NSW senator Bob Woods, was
arrested and interrogated by security forces when he tried to visit Ms
Holland in hospital, Mr Holland said.

He said his wife had suffered serious injuries and required surgery, yet was
in "remarkably good spirits".

Mr Holland met Ms Holland at the Australian National University in 1965 and
the couple settled in Zimbabwe in the early 1980s. Mr Holland runs
Zimbabwe's low-cost email service, Mango. They have two children and a
grandson living in Sydney.

But a Foreign Affairs spokeswoman said Australia would not offer consular
services to Ms Holland because she was not an Australian citizen.

Meredith Burgmann, president of the Legislative Council of NSW and the
Zimbabwe Information Centre, said the response was disappointing.

"I think it's harsh. This is a really severe and terrible case and (Sekai's)
Australian connection is immense," Dr Burgmann said. "Everyone admires her."


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S Africa changes tune on Zimbabwe

BBC

††††† By Martin Plaut
††††† BBC Africa editor

There has been an unprecedented international reaction to the beatings
inflicted by the Zimbabwe police on members of the opposition - including
the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai.

The United States condemned the action as ruthless and repressive, while the
British government called for a ratcheting up of pressure on officials close
to President Robert Mugabe.

And the chairman of the African Union, Ghanaian President John Kufuor,
assured an audience in London that the AU was trying hard to resolve the
crisis.

"I want to tell you straight away that I know that the AU is very
uncomfortable. The situation in [Zimbabwe] is very embarrassing," Mr Kufuor
said.

But the most significant change has come from the South African government.

Mr Mugabe is used to criticism from Europe and the US - and routinely
ignores it.

But the tone adopted by his friends in the South African government is
entirely new. After years of fending off international pressure, saying they
were engaged in what was termed "quiet diplomacy" to persuade Mr Mugabe and
the opposition to resolve their differences, the South African authorities
have now come out in open opposition to the repression in Zimbabwe.

Tougher line

Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad called on Harare to respect the rule of
law and the rights of all political parties.

But it now emerges that South African President Thabo Mbeki began taking a
tougher line over Zimbabwe even before Sunday's beatings.

Mr Mbeki and Mr Mugabe met during last week's independence celebrations in
Ghana. Mr Mbeki is reported to have said that he was determined that South
Africa's hosting of the Football World Cup in 2010 should not be disrupted
by controversial presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

Mr Mugabe had been hoping to postpone the elections until then, to give
himself more time in office.

Then on Monday a key Mugabe ally, Zanu party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira,
was called in by leading members of South Africa's governing party - the
African National Congress (ANC).

From all reports he was left in no doubt about the displeasure felt by the
ANC over the beatings inflicted on Mr Tsvangirai and his followers.

Study ban?

Intense international activity is now under way on how to increase the
pressure on Mr Mugabe not to extend his presidency beyond next year.

Britain, the EU and the US are considering what steps should be taken next.

The British government has called for what it describes as a "ramping up" of
the European travel ban and asset freeze on 125 senior Zimbabwean officials.
This could include extending the measure to the families of those officials
already on the list.

This would be particularly aimed at preventing the sons and daughters of
cabinet members and senior members of the security forces from studying at
European and American universities - something that causes deep resentment
in Zimbabwe, where schools and universities are close to collapse.


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US Department of State - Press Briefing



Extract from:

Daily Press Briefing
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 14, 2007

MR. CASEY: Okay. Good afternoon, everybody. Don't have any opening
statements or announcements for you, so let's go right on down to Sue.

QUESTION: Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe said today that the opposition
would pay a heavy price for what he called their campaign to oust him from
power. And Tsvangirai is, of course, in intensive care with a cracked skull.
I just wondered diplomatically what are you doing at the moment to put
pressure on the Zimbabwean Government and how are you handling this?

MR. CASEY: Well, first of all, unfortunately, I think those kinds of
comments are just in keeping with the continued efforts at intimidation and
repression of the opposition that have unfortunately characterized President
Mugabe's increasingly autocratic leadership in the country. In terms of
actions, certainly as you've seen, we've spoken out on this issue forcefully
including statements by the Secretary which you know. Our Ambassador in
Zimbabwe, Chris Dell, has been very active on this issue. He was in the
courtroom yesterday when Mr. Tsvangirai and some of the others appeared. He
intends to meet with Mr. Tsvangirai as soon as he is physically able to
receive visitors.

I would also note that the opposition intends to participate in the funeral
for the individual who was killed as a result of the police action breaking
up this prayer breakfast last weekend. That is scheduled to take place on
Saturday and Mr. Tsvangirai said if he's physically able, he intends to
participate in that. And we all on the Government of Zimbabwe to refrain
from any actions against that funeral and events surrounding it and to allow
that to move forward peacefully and without any further incidents of
violence or intimidation.

In terms of other actions on our part, we are calling on the Human Rights
Council in Geneva to take up this issue. Again, I think you've heard us
express concerns about the Council and frankly, it hasn't done a credible
job in its past year of work. It's focused almost exclusively on issues
related to Israel and has not turned its attention to other vital issues
before it. And frankly with the Council meeting right now in Geneva in
session, it would be hard to understand how they wouldn't want to turn their
attention to a serious case of human rights abuse and violations, as is
occurring in Zimbabwe.

In addition to that, tomorrow, Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human
Rights and Labor, Barry Lowenkron will be in Addis Ababa for consultations
with the African Union. He intends to focus on this as well as a number of
other issues to see what we can do with our African Union partners to push
the Zimbabwean Government to allow for peaceful political participation from
its citizens and from the opposition. We're also going to be consulting with
a number of other likeminded countries, including some of our European
allies who we've been working with actively on the ground in Zimbabwe as
well to see what other kinds of things we might be able to do working with
them.

As you know, we do have a number of targeted sanctions in place against some
of those who are responsible for depriving the Zimbabwean people of their
democratic rights and certainly we'll look at whether there are any other
additional measures that might be necessary as well in response to some of
these latest activities.

QUESTION: Has the Ambassador in Zimbabwe met with Zimbabwean Government
officials to personally voice your displeasure over what's happened?

MR. CASEY: He has spoken with a number of officials in the foreign ministry.
I'm not exactly sure who. He has not spoken to President Mugabe. I would
note, of course, as well, that he had tried previously to intercede with
Zimbabwean police officials and those who were at the detention center to
try and see Mr. Tsvangirai as well as some of the other leaders and was
rebuffed in that effort, as were members and other ambassadors from the
European Union who attempted to do so as well.

So I would certainly characterize the Zimbabwean Government's response as
less than satisfactory in all causes here.

QUESTION: Other than raising this with the Human Rights Council in which the
State Department has often, since the Council's inception, criticized its
functioning at a visit of Assistant Secretary Lowenkron to Addis Ababa to
consult with the AU. Is there any consideration being given to more dramatic
steps to try to persuade President Mugabe to treat the opposition with less
violence?

MR. CASEY: Yeah. Well, as I said, we have in place -- the United States has
in place a number of sanctions against those responsible for repressing
democratic efforts in Zimbabwe. And we do need to take a look at what other
measures might be appropriate in response and again, certainly, we'll talk
with our European friends and allies as well as some of our other partners
in the region about what other steps might be appropriate in response to
this.

It is, again, troubling not only that this regime has gone forward and used
acts of intimidation and efforts at suppressing free speech in the country,
but to have so blatantly and so violently taken actions against the
principle leaders of the opposition, I think, really shows the international
community that the regime has little intention, without additional efforts
on all our parts, to make the upcoming electoral campaign be one in which
it's possible to have a free and fair contest and one in which the people's
voice can be heard.

QUESTION: Has the United States come close to maxing out on its own
sanctions that could be imposed against Zimbabwe?

MR. CASEY: I think in terms of what we have done to date, they haven't been
very specific and focused on individuals who have been associated with some
of these repressive policies. I think we'd have to take -- and we will have
to take a look at what is currently on the table and what other steps might
be taken. There's always other tools in the toolbox though, and I certainly
expect we'll look at those.

QUESTION: We'll have to take a look -- you mean at actual -- at additional
sanctions?

MR. CASEY: I think we have to take a look at what is in place and see what
other measures might be appropriate to take. What I don't want to do is try
and signal for you any specific course because people are just starting this
process now.

Sue.

QUESTION: Are you also looking at humanitarian assistance because the
humanitarian situation has deteriorated there and economically, you know,
inflation is at a gazillion percent and people are really struggling?

MR. CASEY: Well, unfortunately part of the reason for the terrible economic
situation in Zimbabwe are the policies that have been adopted by the Mugabe
regime. If a political leadership had set out on a course to basically
undermine what had been one of Africa's more successful economies, they
couldn't have done a better job than the policies that have been implemented
over the past few years.

But certainly, we're always open to and looking at ways that we can relieve
the suffering of people not only in Zimbabwe but elsewhere. I'm not sure at
this point what kinds of humanitarian assistance might be appropriate. But
obviously, if there's a need, we'll look at that carefully and work with the
UN and other agencies to fulfill that.

Libby.

QUESTION: Is Barry Lowenkron's trip a special trip or was this something --†
was he already in the region?

MR. CASEY: Barry was already planning on going to speak with the AU, but
this has become an issue that is now raised to the top part of his agenda
for this trip just in light of the happenings over the weekend.

QUESTION: Can you say what else was on his agenda?

MR. CASEY: I'll try and give you a broader detailed response to that later,
George. But I think what Barry intends to do is have consultations with the
AU along with our AU Ambassador, talk about a broad range of human rights
and humanitarian issues. I would expect he would talk about the situation in
Sudan as well and certainly about our general concerns about human rights in
the region and what the AU can do to help further necessary reforms and make
a better case for what can happen in Africa. There are some success stories.
But as you know, looking at our Human Rights Report, there are also a lot of
problems.

Charlie.

QUESTION: Is recalling your Ambassador one of the things you'll be looking
at?

MR. CASEY: I don't want to try and talk to you about specifics on this,
Charlie. I know people are looking at a variety of things. I think right now
Ambassador Dell is performing a very valuable function in the country by
being able to make his voice heard on these issues and by being able to talk
with and work with and do what he can to support the rights of the political
opposition and those that have been imprisoned and those that have been
fairly savagely beaten in this case.

Yeah, let's go this gentleman. Same subject, sir?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. CASEY: Okay, after you.

QUESTION: Are you satisfied that other multilateral organizations such as
the African Union and the Southern African Development Community and other
countries that might have even better influence on Zimbabwe -- are you
satisfied that they are doing enough to stop what is going on in Zimbabwe?

MR. CASEY: Well, I think it's clear that all of us, the United States
included, need to take a look at what we can do to help change this very
serious situation in Zimbabwe. I know that the South African Government has
spoken out on this a little earlier. But certainly all the countries of the
region, including the AU, ought to take a look at what can be done to foster
change in Zimbabwe. Again, I think we've got a long and clear track record
from the Mugabe government of taking increasingly more repressive measures
against the political opposition. And this is something that should be of
concern to democratic countries in the region like South Africa as well as
to the broader international community.

And again, I think an important opportunity to discuss some of those issues
will be Assistant Secretary Lowenkron's visit to the AU tomorrow. But I
think all of us need to do whatever we can to try and improve the situation
there.


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American ambassador to Zimbabwe condemns abuse of rights



By Violet Gonda and Tererai Karimakwenda
14 March 2007

The American Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, has spoken strongly
against the recent actions by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the
government of Robert Mugabe. Ambassador Dell was at the Rotten Row Court
House on Tuesday where he witnessed the injuries suffered by MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai and the opposition officials and civic leaders who were
severely assaulted in police custody. Dell was also present when police
defied an order from the attorney general ordering them to bring those who
needed medical attention to the hospital. He described the situation at the
courthouse as pandemonium and said it was very revealing of the state of
disarray, chaos and "frankly near-anarchy" that Zimbabwe has become.

The Ambassador said despite waiting about three hours in court the detainees
moral was high. He observed that MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai behaved
like a true leader, at one point refusing to be taken for medical treatment
unless the whole group were afforded the same privilege. Dell also described
Tsvangirai as being very lucid, even though he looked badly injured with a
skull fracture.

As for the atmosphere in Harare, Ambassador Dell said there was obvious
tension because the police were threatening civilians. He described how they
were even physically assaulting any small groups seen on the streets. As a
result he said people were afraid to talk to each other. But Dell also said
there is a new air of defiance that has developed.

Regarding the issue of targeted sanctions, Ambassador Dell said: "I think
you will see further moves on the targeted sanctions front."

The full interview with Ambassador Dell will be aired on the programme Hot
Seat next Tuesday.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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15 Students still in ruthless police holding cells

The Zimbabwean

(14-03-07)
15 Students and one driver are reported to be still in the ruthless police
holding cells. ZINASU has learnt that 10 students who were arrested together
with the opposition and civic leaders at the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer
meeting are still in police holding cells. The students were and are still
being denied food and legal representation. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights are still making franitc efforts in getting the students released.

Yesterday the 13th of March 2007, saw the arrest of ZINASU leadership and
two Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition employees, taking the total number to
sixteen detainees. The arrested are expected to appear in court today.

Meanwhile, Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition, civic and student
leaders, were all released in the custody of their lawyers. They will be
notified by way of summons.

Information† Desk
Zimbabwe National Students Union
21 Wembly Road, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe,
0026391301231/ 002634788135
zinasu@gmail. com
www.zinasu.org


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Now is the time to act, the future of Zimbabwe is at stake

Zimbabwejournalists.com

14th Mar 2007 16:45 GMT

By OSISA

The following statement will be run in a least one major newspaper in every
country in the SADC region and in at least 2 South African papers. To add
your support to this statement (either as an individual or as an
organisation) mail your support to Roshnee Narrandes (roshneen@osisa.org ).
Deadline: 14 March 2007 at 16h00.

NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT, THE FUTURE OF ZIMBABWE IS AT STAKE

Zimbabweans fight while SADC Watches in Silence: A Call to Action

We represent the many people within SADC who believe in lasting and
democratic solutions to the crisis in Zimbabwe.† We issue this open letter
to all citizens of this region, and in particular to our heads of state and
government, members of parliament in the respective countries and senior
leaders within the SADC and African Union Secretariats to take urgent action
to end the crisis in Zimbabwe.

We learned with shock and dismay of the Zimbabwe stateĻs attack on its
citizens on Sunday 11 March 2007 which resulted in the death of Gift
Tandare.† We are horrified to learn of the arrest and detention of dozens of
civil society, church and opposition parties leaders at a peaceful prayer
meeting that took place the same day.† Their subsequent detention without
access to legal counsel and appropriate medical attention is cause for great
concern.

We are outraged that not a single state within SADC and the AU has issued a
statement decrying the situation and calling for the restoration of, and
respect for, human rights in Zimbabwe.

For almost a decade the people of Zimbabwe have suffered under the unjust
regime of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party.†† Freedom of expression and
assembly have been severely curtailed, virtually all independent media
outlets have been shut down, and thousands of people have been dispossessed
by an increasingly desperate party and its ruler.

For many years Zimbabwean activists have mounted protest actions and
demonstrations, and have made it clear to the world that they aspire to live
under a democratic dispensation.† Using non-violent means, the people of
Zimbabwe have used all legitimate structures at their disposal: the courts,
their parliament and the media, with little or no effect.

Today, in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, we, the people of this
region, must say that enough is enough.† Our governments cannot continue to
ignore this situation.† Millions of Zimbabweans are displaced and are no
longer able to live in their once prosperous nation.† Millions more within
Zimbabwe are hungry, sick and unable to access basic services.

If action is not taken now at the highest levels, there will be blood on the
hands of all those states whose silence has aided and abetted MugabeĻs
regime.† The time for a softly-softly approach ≠ if there ever was one ≠ is
over.

Those who defend Mugabe imply that his opponents seek to overthrow the
Mugabe regime.† This is simply untrue.† We firmly believe that the future of
Zimbabwe lies in the hands of Zimbabweans themselves.† The future of
Zimbabwe lies in national constitutional talks, in free and fair elections
and in a return to the respect of human rights principles.† The role of the
regional and continental community is to facilitate this process.

We therefore demand regional and continental intervention to ensure:

1. Freedom of assembly, expression, opinion and association are respected;

2. The media are allowed to operate freely;

3. That the looming humanitarian crisis that prevents Zimbabweans from
accessing basic social services including food security, health care, water
and sanitation, be averted.

We therefore urgently call upon all heads of state and government in SADC to
ensure the following:

1. An independent investigation into the death of Gift Tandare on 11 March
2007 following the police shooting in Highfield;

2. The release of all political detainees in custody since the prayer
meeting on 11 March 2007;

3. Provision of quality medical attention to all those in custody;

4. Access to legal counsel by all those in custody;

5. Speedy resolution of this situation by the courts and compliance with
court orders by the police.

Furthermore, we insist that African governments use bilateral and
multilateral means such as the SADC, African Union and the United Nations to
urgently appoint and dispatch a high-level team of eminent persons to:

1. Assess the situation on the ground in order to prevent more shootings and
harm to the general public,

2. Develop a sustainable and inclusive diplomatic solution to the crisis;

3. The holding of all-party inclusive talks.

NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT, THE FUTURE OF ZIMBABWE IS AT STAKE

†THE PEOPLE OF SADC


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International day of prayer for Zimbabwe

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR ZIMBABWE
Website: www.PrayZimbabwe.org
Contact: Aaron, Media Relations Coordinator
E-mail: aaron@PrayZimbabwe.org
For Immediate Release
PRESS RELEASE
(Worldwide) On April 18, 2007, friends of Zimbabwe will gather together
around
the world in prayer for the country of Zimbabwe and its people as a part of
the International Day of
Prayer for Zimbabwe (IDOPZ).
Thousands in Zimbabwe die each week from AIDS. Food is scarce. Medication is
in short supply. The
inflation rate is the highest in the world at nearly 1600 percent. Medical
workers are on strike. 80
percent of the population is unemployed. Humanitarian aid organizations are
restricted from getting
life-saving supplies to the people.
A team of pastors, students, professors, journalists, both native
Zimbabweans and others, have joined
together to coordinate the Day of Prayer. Using the Internet as a powerful
networking tool, the IDOPZ
website has shared stories and pictures with interested individuals
worldwide, and students have
connected through Facebook.
Contact Aaron (aaron@PrayZimbabwe.org), IDOPZ Media Relations Coordinator,
for interview requests
and additional contact information.


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EU president Germany criticises Zimbabwe for arrests

Reuters

Wed Mar 14, 2007 1:35PM GMT

BERLIN, March 14 (Reuters) - EU president Germany expressed its concern on
Wednesday about developments in Zimbabwe and called for the immediate
release of all opposition activists detained over the weekend.

Images of battered Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai appearing in
court on Tuesday have fuelled world outrage over a crackdown on political
protests by President Robert Mugabe's government.

"The (EU presidency) learned with great concern of the serious injuries of
opposition leaders caused by their mistreatment," EU president Germany said
in a statement.

Germany said it was aware of the release of 14 opposition members but called
for the instant release of all others who were arrested during a prayer
gathering on Sunday of the Save Zimbabwe campaign.

Sunday's arrests, which occurred as Tsvangirai and other opposition
supporters attempted to attend a prayer vigil, came as Zimbabwe faced a
deepening economic crisis with inflation at more than 1,700 percent,
unemployment of 80 percent and frequent shortages of food, fuel and foreign
exchange.


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Police besiege MDC offices

The Zimbabwean

(14-03-07)

RIOT POLICE BESIEGE HARVEST HOUSE

Heavily armed riot police details are ,as l write this e-mail ,surrounding
Harvest House the MDC Headquarters. lt is not yet clear what they intend to
achieve but l get a sense that they want to close it down.

The regime is reigning in itself in a medivial violent fashion
indiscriminately beating people whom they suspect to be part and parcel of
the current spell of the democratic winter resistence.

Meanwhile l had an opportunity to see all those that are currently detained
at Avanues clinic including President Morgan Tsvangirai,Dr Lovemore
Madhuku,and many more.The situation is a sorry one and exposes the
government`s shamelessness.

The comrades are badly injured ,but you can not doubt the resilience in
their faces and expressions and even when l spoke to those that could
speak,the message l got was that this was the turning tide and people can
now only move forward.

On our part as the students movement we pledge to continue to give our
heartily contributions to the best of our bit until the country of zimbabwe
and its people are free.

The Region and the lnternational community are continually implored to keep
exerting pressure to the powers that be in every possible way to halt the
on-going spate of madness and brutality that ZANU PF has unleashed on
unarmed and defenceless civilians.

Longlive The Freedom Fight
Longlive The People`s VICTORY

Promise Mkwananzi
Democracy Activist
Zimbabwe National Students Union
21 Wembly Road, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe,
0026391301231/ 002634788135
zinasu@gmail. com
www.zinasu.org


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Despite Sharpened Zimbabwe Crisis, Analysts See Resolution Nearer

VOA

††††† By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
††††† Washington
††††† 13 March 2007

Despite the intensification of Zimbabwe's political crisis in recent days,
some analysts in the country and abroad say they believe a resolution is
closer than ever before.

The detention of Movement for Democratic Change founder Morgan Tsvangirai
and allegations police beat him - supported by television images showing his
battered face and head - have brought expressions of concern, criticism and
outright denunciations from the United Nations, the European Union and the
United States.

Observers say the international outcry will increase pressure on Harare
while boosting political opponents and civic groups seeking political and
economic reform.

Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe sought
perspective on the latest developments in Zimbabwe's long-running crisis
from senior analyst Sydney Masamvu of the Southern African office of the
International Crisis Group and Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
Director Alois Chaumba in Harare.

Chaumba, chairman of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, said the fatal police
shooting of an MDC activist Sunday at a protest prayer meeting in the Harare
suburbs and the detention and reported beating of opposition leaders has
added fuel to the fire.


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Zimbabwe government slams Western support for opposition

jurnalo.com

Wednesday 14 March 2007 17:01

Zimbabwe's Information Minister on Wednesday slammed the support Western
governments have shown for for the country's main opposition political party
after its members were subjected to police brutality.
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu lashed out at Britain, the United States and New Zealand
in particular in light of the international outcry that followed the arrest
and assault of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader and
some of his supporters on Sunday.

Ndlovu also criticised international media that broadcast the latest
developments, in comments on state radio in the country that is gripped by
political and economic turmoil.

"The government continues to watch with increasing concern the role played
by the BBC and CNN in seeking to justify the public violence by the MDC," he
said.

"Zimbabwe is a sovereign country which brooks no interference from any
quarter in its own internal affairs and rejects any attempts by erstwhile
colonialists who have turned themselves into guardians of democracy to
invade other countries," he said.

The minister warned that those who incite violence would pay a very heavy
price.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and those arrested alongside him on Sunday were
released on Wednesday without facing charges in court. The government has
said they were bent on inciting violence.

They were seized while negotiating with police for permission to hold a
prayer rally on Sunday. dpa rt bve


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Zimbabwe unrest puts tour in doubt

The Australian

† Jon Pierik, St Kitts
† March 15, 2007
AUSTRALIA is under pressure to abandon its tour of Zimbabwe in September as
the strife-torn country plunges further into crisis.
The latest blow came when opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, with a deep
head wound and limping, appeared in court after his arrest on allegations of
organising an illegal demonstration against the rule of president Robert
Mugabe.
Approximately 50 other opponents of the government were also arrested, while
one protestor was shot dead by police.

Australia is due to play three matches - two in Harare and one in Bulawayo -
in September, but its first tour there since 2004 must now be in doubt.

Cricket Australia operations manager Michael Brown said yesterday all the
"checks and balances" would be taken before the tour went on.

"At the moment we are focused here (on the World Cup in the Caribbean), when
I get back next week there will be time to touch base," Brown said.

"We conduct rigorous and thorough consultation with local authorities, with
the government, government intelligence agencies and the Department of
Foreign Affairs and Trade as we always do."

CA and the Australian Cricketers Association will send a security delegation
to Zimbabwe for a pre-tour inspection. No Tests will be played during the
trip as Zimbabwe does not regain full status until November.

Australia cancelled its tour in 2002 when the safety of the players could
not be guaranteed. A travel warning on Australia's Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade website urges caution.

"Foreigners, including Australians, have been targets of racially motivated
violence.

"You should avoid demonstrations, street rallies and any public gatherings.
Such events could become catalysts for violence and Australians could get
caught up in attacks directed at others," the warning reads.

The minister for foreign affairs, Alexander Downer, has been quick to attack
Mugabe in the wake of the recent troubles.

"The brutal suppression of a rally in Zimbabwe over the weekend by the
Mugabe government, including killing an opposition activist, is further
evidence of the regime's utter disregard for basic democratic principles and
the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe," Downer said.

"These latest arrests form part of an intensifying cycle of repression by
the Mugabe regime."

Mugabe, 83, has been Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain and
the overthrow of white rule in 1980. He is also Zimbabwe's patron of cricket
and has presided over a corrupt and racist organisation which has seen the
country's best players flee overseas.

The squad sent to the Caribbean for the World Cup would barely be
competitive against an Australian first-grade side.

At the 2003 World Cup, held in South Africa and Zimbabwe, players Andy
Flower and Henry Olonga wore black armbands in an unprecedented protest
"mourning the death of democracy in our beloved Zimbabwe".

They subsequently retired and applied for political asylum overseas.

"I walked away because of the state of affairs and not much has changed,"
Flower said recently.

"Since then it has gone further downhill. I don't believe things will change
unless the government changes, so that's the stage we are at."


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Arrests energize Zimbabwe opposition


Leader of fractured movement finds stature boosted following beating

By Craig Timberg
Updated: 8:16 a.m. ET March 14, 2007
JOHANNESBURG - Two harrowing days in police custody have left Zimbabwean
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with serious physical injuries but also
renewed standing as head of an anti-government movement that is showing more
energy than it has in years.

Tsvangirai's failure to mount protests after several tainted elections had
fueled criticism that he lacked the strategic savvy -- and perhaps even the
physical courage -- to lead a final push against President Robert Mugabe. As
recently as Friday, speaking before journalists in Johannesburg, Tsvangirai
played down the need for demonstrations, saying: "Going in the streets is
only one of the strategies. . . . A struggle has various stages."

Yet two days later, police arrested Tsvangirai, 55, for attending a
political rally in defiance of a ban on such gatherings. Though organizers
portrayed the event as a prayer meeting in an attempt to sidestep the ban,
it in fact marked the launch of an ambitious new "Save Zimbabwe" campaign,
bringing together most major elements of an opposition that had splintered
badly in 2005.

"If they ever wanted to boost Morgan Tsvangirai's popularity, they've done
it," said David Coltart, an opposition lawmaker who is not aligned with
Tsvangirai, speaking from Helsinki, where he was observing an election.
"Whether Morgan intended this or not, this thing has been thrust upon him,
and probably emboldened him."

'Sadistic' attack
At the gathering Sunday, police shot dead one anti-government activist,
rounded up 50 others and beat many of them severely, opposition officials
said. Those arrested appeared in court together Tuesday, wearing casts,
bandages and bloodied, dirty clothing, and won both access to their
attorneys and the right to medical care at a Harare clinic, news reports
said.

Outside the court, Tsvangirai told journalists, "It was sadistic to attack
defenseless people," according to the Reuters news agency.

The worst injuries were suffered by Tsvangirai, a burly former mineworker
and union activist who appeared in court with a swollen face and stitches in
a gash on his head. Party officials said he lost consciousness three times
during his first day in jail, and in a brief meeting with his wife Monday
morning, Tsvangirai could barely eat, walk or speak.

His harsh treatment left many people concluding that Mugabe, attempting to
maintain control after 27 years in power, regards Tsvangirai as his most
serious threat.

Most of the detained activists were taken back to court late Tuesday, the
Associated Press reported. They were released into their attorneys' custody
and are due back in court Wednesday morning. Tsvangirai was one of 12 who
remained at the clinic.

The opposition leader has his roots in Zimbabwe's labor movement and was
among the founding members of the Movement for Democratic Change in 1999. He
ran for president against Mugabe in 2002, and many outside observers say
they believe he would have won if Mugabe's forces had not manipulated the
election. Tsvangirai has been charged with several crimes, including
treason, but has been acquitted.

Mugabe's blunder?
Despite his personal popularity, Tsvangirai was not able to turn discontent
into effective demonstrations after tainted elections in 2000, 2002 and 2005
or during a brutal slum-clearance campaign in 2005 that left 700,000
Zimbabweans without homes or jobs. His party split later that year, and he
has struggled since to regain his stature.

Even with the party fractured, opposition to Mugabe's rule began rising
again late last year as inflation topped 1,000 percent and persistent
shortages of gas and food affected millions of Zimbabweans. Trade union
activists and several civic groups, such as the National Constitutional
Assembly and Women of Zimbabwe Arise, increasingly drove this new activism.
The breakaway faction of the Movement for Democratic Change grew more
aggressive, issuing a flier for Sunday's rally that declared, "It is
defiance or death."

But the events of recent days have altered the chemistry of opposition
politics again.

John Mw Makumbe, a political analyst at the University of Zimbabwe, said
Mugabe had blundered badly in mistreating Tsvangirai. "He has really raised
Morgan's profile beyond his wildest imagination," Makumbe said, speaking
from Harare, the capital. "This time, Morgan is almost being viewed as the
president."

U.S., British and U.N. officials have sharply criticized the government for
arresting and beating 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," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a statement issued in
Washington. She demanded that Tsvangirai and other activists be freed.

There have been reports of sporadic unrest in recent days, but nothing
resembling the violence on Sunday, when police used tear gas, water cannons
and live ammunition to control rock-throwing youths.

Attention now is focused on what Tsvangirai will do with his enhanced
stature when, and if, he is freed from jail. "We'll wait to see if Morgan
will really rise to the occasion when he's recovered," Makumbe said.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company


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Church leader appeals to police and army to lay down arms



By Violet Gonda
14 March 2007

Zimbabwe has witnessed an orgy of violence perpetrated by the security
forces and events in recent days have shown the police using brutal force to
silence the masses. Pastor Berejena from the Christian Alliance said what is
happening in the country is un-Godly and security forces should lay down
their arms. Activist Gift Tandera was killed in cold blood while scores of
pro-democracy activists were arrested and tortured while in police custody.
Their crime: attempting to hold a peaceful prayer meeting.

Despite the international outcry over the recent arrests and shootings
police continue with their clampdown on the opposition. Scores of MDC
supporters were beaten and arrested in Kwekwe and Gweru and more mourners
who were gathered at the funeral of Tandare were brutalised Tuesday. Not
content with the murder of Tandare security forces descended on the Glen
View home of the deceased and ordered all the mourners to lie down. They
then beat them all severely and, without any provocation, fired several
random shots, injuring two.

The force has also shown its partisan nature by denying opposition forces
their constitutional right to hold meetings on the one hand, but on the
other allowing Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF to hold whatever meetings they want.

Quoting from the book of Ezekiel Pastor Berejena said: "You have gone far
enough oh prince of Israel. Give up your violence and oppression and do what
is just and right. Stop dispossessing my people."

He said the police and army should realise that we are brothers and sisters,
come what may and no matter what uniform we put on.

He also appealed to church leaders saying as the voices of the nation chosen
by God, they should be doing more and speaking out.

The Pastor, who is also the provincial vice chairperson of the Zimbabwe
Pastors Forum, said Zimbabweans should pray about the situation the nation
is facing.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Ntuane slams govt on Zim crisis

Mmegi, Botswana

OLIVER MODISE
STAFF WRITER

Legislator Botsalo Ntuane has slammed the government for applying double
standards and turning a blind eye to the political and economic crisis in
Zimbabwe. Contributing to the debate on the recurrent and development budget
proposals of the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs, Ntuane was quick to
point out that it is no surprise that Botswana is swelling with Zimbabwean
illegal immigrants.

He said the Botswana government is failing to speak up against the ills of
its Zimbabwean counterpart and must suffer the consequences.

He quoted from the BBC website the latest reports on the arrest of the
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai after police violently
dispersed demonstrators who were protesting in a campaign dubbed 'Save
Zimbabwe'. Ntuane read out to an attentive Parliament a statement from
United States spokesman Sean McCormarck. It said: "The United States
government condemns the brutal and unwarranted actions of the government of
Zimbabwe on the 11th March in attacking its citizens peacefully gathered to
exercise their legitimate democratic rights," he said. He stated that the
story pointed out that so far there has been no word from any of Zimbabwe's
neighbours.

"We must speak out against the situation in Zimbabwe the same way we spoke
against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s when we were a small nation
criticising a big power," he said.

"I can't reconcile this contradiction. What is the worst that can come out
of speaking out and saying enough is enough? I am pleading with the
government to say enough is enough because this has not brought any
dividends for us," said Ntuane. He added that rising crime, loitering and
government expenditure in daily repatriation are the bitter fruits that
Botswana has reaped from the Zimbabwean crisis.

By not speaking up against Zimbabwe, Ntuane said that government is
favouring a black government's bad deeds and discriminating along racial
lines. "This policy of quiet diplomacy has failed," he said.

"This belief that speaking against a sister African government amounts to
interference in the nation's sovereignty is illogical," he said.

He added that the government of Botswana had to choose between defending
Robert Mugabe's government and bearing the full brunt of the people
affected.

Labour and Home Affairs Minister Charles Tibone told Parliament that
Botswana is facing major problems from illegal immigrants from neighbouring
countries and other parts of Africa. He said dealing with the immigrants is
costing the country millions. He added that government's remedy to the
problem would be to engage in anti- crime exercises with the help of the
police and soldiers and repatriation of all illegal immigrants.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Monpati Merafhe told Mmegi that Botswana is deeply
concerned about the latest developments in Zimbabwe. He replied Ntuane's
concerns with questions like "what should we do? Do you want us to march
into Zimbabwe? There is no alternative and we are committed to engaging the
Zimbabwean government constructively, without aggravating the situation any
further," he said.

SADC spokesperson Lefa Martins said she was unaware of the latest events in
Zimbabwe. She added that the issue is sensitive and only executive secretary
Dr Tomaz Salomao who is currently out of the country can comment.


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Zimbabwe attacked over 'barbaric' attack

Religious Intelligence

††††† Wednesday, 14th March 2007. 3:26pm

††††† By: Ed Beavan.

††††† THE GOVERNMENT has condemned the state-sponsored brutality against
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

††††† Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, she was 'horrified' by the recent
events in the former British colony which is teetering on the brink of
political and economic crisis under the despotic rule of Robert Mugabe.

††††† Ms Beckett called for the United Nations to urgently look into the
situation. She said: "I am horrified by events over the last few days in
Zimbabwe, and hold the government of Zimbabwe fully responsible for the
barbaric treatment meted out by the police to members of the opposition both
during and after their arrest on 11 March.

††††† "News that Morgan Tsvangirai may be in intensive care because of the
injuries he sustained in police custody is particularly distressing.

††††† "We want the United Nations Human Rights Council to look into the
situation in Zimbabwe urgently, and will be pushing for this in coming days.

††††† "The Zimbabwean Government's continued brutal treatment of the
opposition and recent actions show its total disregard for international law
and the will of the international community."

††††† Last week the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Dr Rowan
Williams, expressed his 'deep concerns' over the situation in Zimbabwe
following a meeting with the Anglican Bishop of Harare Nolbert Kunonga.


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Eyewitness: Harare's brutal clash

From BBC News, 13 March

John (not his real name) is 32 years old. Speaking from a secret house in
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, he tells the BBC News website of the brutal
fracas that ensued when police stopped a rally in Highfield suburb from
taking place on Sunday.

There were about 60 of us from the area where I live and we joined up to
head to where the rally was going to be held. The police were already there
when we arrived and were trying to stop the rally from going ahead. By the
time [opposition leader Morgan] Tsvangirai arrived there were more than
1,000 of us youths, all singing. When he [Tsvangirai] came he just started
lifting up his arms and everyone was celebrating to see the leader alive.
That was when the trouble started because he wanted to talk to us and they
[the police] were trying to separate him from us. The situation was getting
heated - Tsvangirai and the police were arguing, and we were carrying on
singing and shouting, louder and louder. All in all there were only about 30
police and there were more than 1,000 - we were too many for them. They
could not control what was happening. They [police] started throwing tear
gas. We picked up their [police] discarded sticks and used them to beat
their left-behind colleagues. Some of them took Tsvangirai and the MDC
officials that were with him and forced them into their vehicles. They drove
away in two pick-ups and a white Toyota defender. A lot of people started
fleeing from the tear gas but some of us stayed and sang, in defiance. We
started fighting back. We threw stones at them, and when they began rushing
towards us, we started fighting with them because we wanted our freedom and
we wanted our leader to be released.

They knew they couldn't win and so started shooting at us. One of us was
killed. They shot my friend Gift Tandare dead. When we realised that one of
us had been killed, everything became worse. We went on the rampage and we
did not even fear for our lives. There was a lot of action and as we threw
punches we cried in Shona: "Ngatirwirei rusununguko" - let's fight back for
our freedom. When they [the police] realised that someone had been shot they
tried to run from the scene. They had pick-ups but not all of them made it
back in time before they drove off. About six or eight of them were left
with us. As they ran some of them dropped their batons so we picked up their
discarded sticks and used them to beat their left-behind colleagues. The
police were badly beaten. One of our youth leaders started calming the
situation. He knew that if we carried on like we were - we were so angry -
that we would kill them. If that happened, the trouble would be too bad. We
left the police on the side of the road and ran away. It was about one
o'clock in the afternoon. We were all told to disperse because we were
afraid that more police were going to come

They [police] say they did not expect there to be trouble on Sunday but they
are the ones who caused the trouble. They shot one of us. What happened on
Sunday, when we fought back, was the first time for me and a lot of people I
know. There are many reasons - the country is not stable anymore, prices of
all commodities are going up, everyday. We don't even have enough money to
cater for our basic needs. Transportation is rising every day. And the
postponement of the elections to 2010 is now too much - people feel they
cannot wait anymore and suffer until that time. Gift is at the mortuary but
the rest of us, we are hiding. The police take videos at times and so we
can't be sure if they saw our faces. They might come looking for us. I am
also affected by the tear gas and now have the flu-like symptoms that it
brings. I cannot be seen to be suffering from these effects or else I will
be known to have been at the rally.


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Statement on Recent Arrests and Physical Attacks on Civil Society Leaders

LEGAL RESOURCES FOUNDATION

The Legal Resources Foundation condemns in the strongest possible terms, the
reprehensible conduct of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the condonation of
such conduct by the Government of Zimbabwe over the last few weeks, and
particularly since Sunday 11 March. The matters complained of include:

∑††††††††††††††††††††† The shooting by the police of an unarmed man in
Highfield on Sunday 11 March , when civil society activists and opposition
political parties attempted to have a prayer meeting for Zimbabwe under the
banner of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. The use of live ammunition in the
circumstances was uncalled for and must be presumed to have been deliberate.
In a normal society the police do not use live ammunition against citizens
and residents exercising their democratic right to freedom of assembly and
expression. [Constitution of Zimbabwe , Article 21]

∑††††††††††††††††††††† The banning of all political meetings for a period of
three months . The law gives no general authority to the Minister of Home
Affairs to do this. The Public Order and Security Act [Chapter 11:17] only
entitles the regulating authority (i.e. the officer commanding a police
district), if he believes on reasonable grounds that the normal powers
vested in the police to regulate public gatherings will not be sufficient to
prevent public disorder being occasioned by the holding of public
demonstrations or any class of public demonstrations in the area under his
command or any part of that area, he may issue an order prohibiting, for a
period not exceeding three months, the holding of all public demonstrations
or any class of public demonstrations. In other words, the authorities are
only entitled, in very limited circumstances, to ban demonstrations. There
is no general power to ban meetings. It cannot be truthfully said in respect
of every single police district in the country that there is any reasonable
need to prohibit all demonstrations for three months. By arrogating to
themselves the powers which they do not legally possess, the authorities are
themselves causing or at least contributing to a tense situation and thus to
unnecessary loss of life, as well as trampling on the constitutional rights
of the people of Zimbabwe to assemble freely for the purpose of expressing
their opinions.

∑††††††††††††††††††††† The arrest of leading civil society activists and the
leadership of the opposition . It is not at all clear what offence these
people are alleged to have committed. What is known is that they attempted
to attend a prayer meeting for the country at Zimbabwe Grounds, in
Highfield. It is unbelievable that people who are concerned about their
country should be arrested, assaulted and tortured simply for daring to
exercise their Constitutional right to assemble and pray for their country.

∑††††††††††††††††††††† The assault and torture of all the civil society
activists and political leaders who were arrested by the police . The use of
assault, torture and other forms of violence against people in police
custody is in contravention of the Constitution of Zimbabwe [Article 15],
the Police Service Charter and all known human rights norms. Many of the
people who were arrested sustained serious injuries, and some of them were
denied medical attention and treatment after they had been tortured and
assaulted. This is abhorrent in any society, let alone one which claims to
be a democracy.

∑††††††††††††††††††††† The refusal by the police to allow access to the
arrested people by their legal practitioners and their families until so
ordered by the courts . [in contravention of the Constitution of Zimbabwe ,
Article 18] It appears the police are being used by the Government to fight
its political battles with its rivals. This is unacceptable and indicative
of a Government that has absolutely no respect for human rights and is not
even attempting to adhere to common standards of decency and morality.

We condemn in very strong terms the manner in which state authority is being
abused to further the interests of the ruling party and we call upon the
Attorney-General to prosecute those members of the police who perpetrated
the acts of violence.

† 14 March 2007

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