Fri Mar 16, 2007 6:28 PM BST
By Nelson Banya
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe accused officials in
his own party of joining a Western- backed plot on Friday as the main
opposition chief left hospital after treatment for what he said was an orgy
of police beatings.
Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had
been treated for a head wound and other injuries following his arrest on
Sunday at an anti-Mugabe protest. He said he would fight on to end Mugabe's
"Freedom is not cheap," the 55-year-old Tsvangirai, who has challenged
Mugabe in several elections, told Reuters at his home in the capital Harare
shortly after he was discharged.
Images of a badly bruised and limping Tsvangirai on his way to the hospital
earlier this week fuelled international outrage and threats by the United
States and other nations to tighten sanctions against Mugabe and other
senior Zimbabwean officials.
Mugabe, 83, warned against any "monkey games" by those he called the stooges
of his Western critics, whom he accused of funding Tsvangirai's MDC to
replace him through "violent terrorist acts".
He said imperialists were taking advantage of the ruling ZANU-PF party
succession to re-assert themselves.
"There has been an insidious dimension where ambitious leaders have been
cutting deals with the British and Americans," Mugabe told a meeting of
ZANU-PF's youth league in Harare.
"The whole succession debate has given imperialism hope for re-entry. Since
when have the British, the Americans been friends of ZANU-PF? Have we
forgotten that imperialism can never mean well for our people?" said Mugabe.
Mugabe's current six-year term ends in 2008 but the ruling party last
December circulated a motion to hold presidential elections in 2010 when the
parliamentary vote is due.
This was viewed as a move to extend Mugabe's rule but has drawn resistance
from some senior members of ZANU-PF.
Mugabe appears to have backed down from the plan but has stoked further
tension by suggesting last week that he would run for President next year if
his party picked him as candidate.
There are two competing factions bidding to succeed Mugabe, with one pushing
for Vice President Joice Mujuru. Emmerson Mnangagwa, a heavyweight minister
in Mugabe's government is said to be another strong contender for the post.
Critics charge that Mugabe, Zimbabwe's ruler since independence from Britain
in 1980, has ruined the former breadbasket of the region through
controversial policies such as the seizure of white-owned land to resettle
Tsvangirai said on Friday he was feeling better but had been told to relax
by doctors. Supporters say he suffered a fractured skull but doctors have
not confirmed this.
In an article for Britain's Independent newspaper on Friday, he said
democratic change was in sight in Zimbabwe and his spirit would not be
broken by police violence.
"They brutalised my flesh. But they will never break my spirit. I will
soldier on until Zimbabwe is free," he wrote, saying he suffered an "orgy of
heavy beatings" in custody.
Mugabe, whose government says Tsvangirai and his group had resisted arrest
and waged a violent, militia-style campaign to topple him from power,
renewed warnings to the MDC.
"If they repeat it they will get arrested and get bashed by the police," he
said. "We now must have our police well armed."
The veteran leader said Western governments, through their embassies in
Harare were funding the MDC. He said the ambassadors would be summoned by
his foreign ministers but warned them they risked being kicked out if they
did not behave.
Mugabe on Thursday told Western critics to "go hang" and on Friday said
their plans to propel the MDC to power would fail.
"They are wrong and stand for great shock if they continue to stretch our
patience. As for the stooges: let them get this as friendly advice: no
monkey games here," he said.
Tsvangirai and others arrested in the recent crackdown face charges of
public violence and convening an illegal rally, defence lawyers say. The
charges usually lead to fines not jail.
A court hearing on Tuesday was cancelled after a prosecutor ordered
Tsvangirai and others be treated in hospital.
(Additional reporting by Cris Chinaka, MacDonald Dzirutwe and Mike Saburi in
Harare, Deborah Haynes in London and George Obulutsa in Nairobi, Sarah
McGreggor in Johannesburg)
16 March 2007
In Zimbabwe, all opposition groups have vowed to continue confronting the government until President Robert Mugabe leaves office and democratic elections are held. For VOA, Peta Thornycroft has more.
|Opposition MDC faction leader Arthur Mutambara (c), chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly Lovemore Madhuku (l), and Tendai Biti (r), Secretary-General of the main opposition faction vowed to forge an alliance against Mugabe's government|
Madhuku was speaking at a news conference Friday that
was organized by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, which last Sunday organized the
prayer rally, where top opposition leaders were arrested and beaten by
Madhuku, who was among those beaten, said he was taken aside by assistant commissioner Musarashuna Magunda, from the law and order section of Harare police station, who accused him of being a ringleader in the growing opposition to Mr. Mugabe's 27-year rule. He said the assistant commissioner warned him that he would suffer the consequences of his political activities.
Minutes later, Madhuku said, the beatings started. Bruises are still visible on his head and his arm, which was broken and remains in a cast.
The president of one faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Arthur Mutambara, said all opposition groups need to unite to end what he called "the ZANU-PF tyranny," referring to the ruling party.
Mutambara urged opposition leaders to suspend personal and political agendas in favor of a national agenda, which, he said, is to bring democracy to Zimbabwe. He said he and Morgan Tsvangirai, the founding president of the Movement for Democratic Change and leader of the other faction, are in agreement on opposing the ruling ZANU-PF party. Mutambara also agreed there should be no further participation in elections until there is a new constitution.
|Robert Mugabe (file photo)|
Mutambara, who was himself arrested last Sunday, paid tribute to all those who had endured beatings in detention.
Mutambara had strong criticism of President Mugabe, calling him a "tyrant and a sick old man," and saying he did not recognize him as head of state. Mutambara said Mr. Mugabe should leave office now, and leave the country.
He said no responsible African leader could ignore what is going on in Zimbabwe, and that South Africa could not consider itself free while its neighbor's people remain oppressed.
|Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is seen in bed at a local hospital in Harare, 14 Mar. 2007|
The police continue to patrol some of the townships, but some of the violence, which took place earlier on in the week appears, for the moment, to have decreased.
President Mugabe has accused the MDC for colluding with the West to seek what he calls regime change in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has threatened to expel Western diplomats
whom he accuses of supporting the political opposition.
The veteran leader said diplomats who wanted to represent their countries
had to "behave properly" or they would be thrown out.
His government has faced criticism after opposition activists who tried to
stage a rally in Harare were beaten.
But the authorities say opposition protesters caused the violence.
Earlier in the day, the bruised and bandaged opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, left hospital in a wheelchair.
His colleagues say he was beaten in police custody after his arrest at the
rally. Four of his colleagues remain in hospital.
UK Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett has said she holds Mr Mugabe
personally responsible for Mr Tsvangirai's injuries, and the US has said it
is considering extending its sanctions on Zimbabwean officials.
But Mr Mugabe has rejected the criticism and used a meeting with members of
his ruling party's youth wing to hit out at diplomats.
"We will kick them out of this country," the French news agency AFP quoted
him as saying.
"I have asked the minister of foreign affairs to summon them and read the
riot act to them," he said.
"We shall tell the ambassadors that this is not a country which is a piece
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
A legacy of international inaction encourages Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe to
believe there is no price to pay for his crackdown on opponents.
By Benedict Unendoro in Harare (AR No. 102, 16-Mar-07)
The universal condemnation of the police assault on Zimbabwean opposition
leaders on March 11 is unlikely to move President Robert Mugabe. Ordinary
Zimbabwean interviewed by IWPR say their president has got away with this
kind of thing for decades, and the international community has done little
more than issue protests from a safe distance.
Fifty opposition leaders on their way to attend a prayer meeting at Zimbabwe
Grounds in the working class suburb of Highfield, Harare, were arrested and
then savagely assaulted in police cells on March 11.
The images of a badly beaten Morgan Tsvangirai, president of the Movement
for Democratic Change, MDC, that flashed round the globe this week may have
jolted the international community from its slumber.
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Tsvangirai was in intensive care after
sustaining serious head injuries from a police beating. Other prominent
opposition figures also suffered serious injuries.
Tsvangirai left hospital on March 16. He and others had been released into
the custody of their lawyers three days earlier as police had not completed
the paperwork relating to possible charges.
Yet the new international outcry seems unlikely to alarm President Mugabe,
given that he has not been swayed by similar criticism of his past actions
over the last 27 years.
"Mugabe's story since independence in 1980 is a bloody trail of mass murder
and the torture of political opponents," said Thompson Zhou, a teacher in
the farming town of Kadoma.
"With such a track-record, why would Mugabe lose sleep over the recent round
of condemnation over the torture of Tsvangirai and company?"
In the Eighties, Mugabe began consolidating his position by sending North
Korean-trained troops into Matabeleland and the Midlands to attack
supporters of ZAPU leader Joshua Nkomo.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace subsequently found that more
than 20,000 people - most of them from the Ndebeli ethnic group which was
ZAPU's constituency - died or disappeared during a five-year reign of terror
known as "Gukurahundi" - which roughly means "sorting the chaff from the
The killings received universal condemnation, but no international action
was taken to stop them.
In the run-up to general elections in 1990, the head of the Central
Intelligence Organisation, CIO, in the Midlands region, Elias Kanengoni, and
senior ZANU-PF Youth League official Kizito Chivamba shot opposition
candidate Patrick Kombayi, who had made the mistake of running against
Mugabe's deputy, Simon Muzenda. Even though a Zimbabwean court found the two
men guilty of attempted murder and the Supreme Court upheld the conviction,
Mugabe promptly pardoned them.
In 1999, two journalists, the late Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto, were
tortured by the military for a week after publishing a report about a failed
plot within the Zimbabwean army. The international community called for a
commission of inquiry, but Mugabe ignored the demand and instead praised the
soldiers who held the men captive.
The Mugabe government went on to launch wide-ranging attacks on whole
sections of the population, defying his critics abroad.
In 2000, his loyalists embarked on a campaign to force white farmers off
their land, using violence against workers as well as owners and their
families. Several farmers were killed and more than a quarter of a million
farmworkers lost their jobs and homes.
The official rationale was that the farms were needed for landless
Zimbabweans, but many believed the government was punishing the farmers, who
were seen as part of the opposition to a controversial constitution, which
was defeated in a referendum in February 2000.
The broadest attack of all came in May 2005, when the Zimbabwean leader sent
police and soldiers into poor suburbs to destroy homes and shops in what he
called Operation Murambatsvina ("Sweep Away the Rubbish") and characterised
as an urban regeneration project. Once again, critics said the authorities'
real intention was to destroy or disperse communities seen as potential
recruiting-grounds for the opposition.
United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka reported that 700,000 people
lost their means of livelihood and 2.5 million their homes as a result of
Victims called the campaign "Bob's Tsunami" because the scale of the
population dislocation was comparable to a natural disaster.
Many Zimbabweans remain frustrated with the failure of the international
community, and other African states in particular, to take decisive measures
to curb Mugabe's policies.
"We know there is no one who can save us," said a woman at the funeral of
Gift Tandare, killed by police as they moved to head off the March 11
meeting at Highfield. "We can't even save ourselves because of the brutality
of the state machinery. So we have no choice but to leave this in the hands
of the Creator."
Although the European Union and North American countries have imposed
sanctions on Zimbabwe, including an arms embargo, the country has other
sources of military and security equipment. China provides weapons while
Israel has supplied water cannons.
Zimbabwe's cosy relationship with China has obstructed moves to address
concerns at the United Nations Security Council, as Beijing simply exercises
Within Africa itself, Mugabe has been under little pressure to change from
fellow-leaders. South African president Thabo Mbeki, for example, refuses to
condemn Mugabe's actions and instead promotes a policy of "quiet diplomacy".
Mugabe has distanced himself from the African Union's New Partnership for
Africa's Development, NEPAD, dismissing it as a western ploy to re-colonise
Tanzanian president Jikaya Kikwete flew into Harare for emergency talks on
March 15. As expected, little came out the meeting. Mugabe emerged as
defiant as ever, saying that his critics in the West could "go hang".
Benedict Unendoro is the pseudonym of a journalist in Harare.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
16 March, 2007
The images of battered opposition leaders and activists in Zimbabwe are
grabbing headlines around the world, bringing strong condemnation of the
Mugabe regime. But the man at the centre of it all has remained stubborn,
accusing the opposition of initiating violence by attacking the police. It
was hoped that a visit by the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete to Harare
Thursday would help pressure Robert Mugabe to obey the rule of law, but at a
press conference after their talks, Mugabe said the West could "go hang."
Speaking on Al Jazeera TV on Friday Mugabe also threatened diplomats
criticising his regime, saying they would be thrown out.
Observers said the young Tanzanian President looked as if he was in awe of
Mugabe, and may have been the wrong choice to take on the defiant dictator.
But political analyst and lecturer Dr. John Makumbe said these impressions
are incorrect. He described the Tanzanian leader as "a tough cookie."
Makumbe recounted how Kikwete, soon after he was elected, removed the
Tanzanian ambassador to Zimbabwe who was seen as a ZANU-PF "boot licker" and
replaced him with a much stronger one. Makumbe said Kikwete had grilled
Mugabe for 5 hours during his visit. "What SADC leader has ever kept Mugabe's
attention for that long?" he asked.
Makumbe explained that as chairman of the SADC organ on politics, defence
and security, Kikwete has the responsibility to deal with the crisis in
Zimbabwe, as SADC have finally decided to take the situation more seriously.
Observers say he should have also visited the opposition officials who are
recovering from police inflicted injuries. Mugabe stated that the Tanzanian
president was visiting as a brother and ally, and no details of their
discussions were revealed.
More developments came from South Africa where it was reported that Mugabe
had been pressured by that country to harmonise presidential and
parliamentary elections in 2008. This would help South Africa avoid negative
publicity during the World Cup in 2010, when parliamentary elections due in
Zimbabwe were likely to produce violence. The plan has been criticised by
Zimbabwean analysts who said South Africa has maintained a hands-off
approach towards the crisis next door, but was now concerned about tourism
during the world football finals. The Mail & Guardian newspaper reported
that insiders within Zimbabwe's ruling party said they will use the 2010
World Cup in South Africa to justify the 2008 harmonisation.
Also in South Africa, the Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu
had strong words against police brutality in Zimbabwe. He said: "As Africans
we should hang our heads in shame," and "How can what is happening in
Zimbabwe elicit hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation from us
leaders of Africa?" South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki is one of the
leaders Tutu was criticising. According to Associated Press news agency
Mbeki used his weekly African National Congress newsletter to urge South
Africans to use the annual Human Rights Day next week to address racism in
his country. But there was not a mention of Zimbabwe.
In Namibia the National Society for Human Rights held a demonstration Friday
to protest what they said was their "government's disturbing silence on the
situation in Zimbabwe.' NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh said
Namibia should make it clear that the human rights, humanitarian and human
security situation in Zimbabwe is totally unacceptable. He called upon the
SADC region to collectively and publicly reprimand Mugabe, condemn violence
and human rights abuses, and impose additional targeted sanctions against
the Mugabe regime.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Turmoil in Zimbabwe this week refocused the world's attention
on the 27-year rule of President Robert Mugabe. The world of blogging was no
exception as the BBC News website discovered. From Harare, Bev Clark writing on kubatanablogs offered an
interesting analogy about the country's situation. "I've been seeing Zimbabwe like a cake lately," she wrote on the
day opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, arrested for attending a weekend rally,
was taken to hospital after two days in police detention. "Morgan Tsvangirai, Raymond Majongwe, Mike Davies, and Grace
Kwinje (etc) are the candles burning big and bright. The icing is made up of a
small section of civic and political activists. While the actual cake itself
comprises the Zimbabwean people." That is not where it ends, the cake, it seems, has just been put
in the oven. "Until we, the Zimbabwean people, come to the party and support
civic and political leaders working for change, not much will happen. The cake
has got to cook. It's got to get warm, and bake and maybe even burn, but it
can't stay like it has been - unmovable. "Because if it does, no matter how many Highfield rallies we
have, and no matter how iconic Tsvangirai becomes, the struggle for freedom in
Zimbabwe will remain lop-sided." The
Bearded Man is also not convinced that this is the beginning of the end of
Mr Mugabe's rule, as some commentators would have it. He then goes on to echo a plea made by many Western governments
to Zimbabwe's immediate neighbours. "Please would someone out there actually DO something about this
Mugabe person?" 'Cowardice' Who exactly is being asked to do something? Well, South Africa -
Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour to the south - for a start. "South Africa's so called 'quiet diplomacy' has achieved
precisely nothing in Zimbabwe," blogged Tony Sharp on The Waendel Journal. "Its call to Mugabe yesterday to respect the rights of citizens
will change nothing. Mugabe, like his ilk elsewhere in the world, recognises
cowardice when he sees it and knows that talk is cheap." In a volatile situation where perceptions of events are so
important, The Zimbabwe Pundit -
subtitled "the world as seen through the eyes of a Zimbabwean" - seems to be
losing patience with the opposition in the country. "The media in Zimbabwe is owned and operated by the Mugabe
regime. So in Sunday's aftermath Zimbabweans are being force fed a diet of MDC
thuggery, non-attendance and opposition violence. This makes me wonder when the
pro-democracy movement will get its act together in terms of creating its own
robust media and information response unit." Steph's Blog would beg
to differ though - and sticks the boot into the BBC while she is at it,
comparing a report on violence at an opposition rally on Sunday in state-owned
The Herald newspaper with one of ours. "The Herald is a Zimbabwean government-owned newspaper and the
BBC is a British government-owned broadcaster. The Herald's version is
pro-Mugabe and pro-police but at least it was there, the BBC wasn't. Its version
is MDC propaganda, with a little bit of British imperialism chucked in," she
blogged. "Morgan Tsvangirai is a Western-sponsored 'terrorist', he
plotted in London to assassinate Mugabe and overthrow the elected government.
There is nothing democratic about the MDC. The only reason the British
government is anti-Mugabe is they still consider Zimbabwe to be Rhodesia."
'Breached conditions' The Radical
Soldier of Zimbabwe!, meanwhile, is having none of it and offers what could
be a radical solution to challenges facing the country. "Europe intervened in the Balkans and the 'coalition of the
willing' did a job in Iraq, but nobody seems to care about Zimbabwe," he
lamented. "Britain, in my view, has more legal grounds to invade Zimbabwe
than it did Iraq. Britain was the former colonial power in Rhodesia and
negotiated the Lancaster House Agreement. The agreement is actually worth
reading. It sets out the principles under which democratic Zimbabwe should have
been governed, and was in fact governed for the first few years. "Mugabe has clearly violated the agreement. He has breached
conditions including white representation in parliament [NB this clause has
expired], independence of the judiciary, citizenship and payment of pensions.
These should be sufficient grounds for Britain to demand change or otherwise
invade. Who knows? Maybe John Howard will even commit a couple of hundred
Australian troops." Laer from Orange County California sees little chance of this
happening though - mainly because of another world power. "The big problem for me is that China doesn't seem to care. It
will continue to block UN efforts to protect Zimbabweans from Mugabe, proving
once again the powerlessness of the world body," he blogged on Cheat Seeking
Missiles. So is there any hope at all? "From what I can see, the UN is frozen, the African Union is
powerless to do anything, and the world just watches," he said.
Turmoil in Zimbabwe this week refocused the world's attention on the 27-year rule of President Robert Mugabe. The world of blogging was no exception as the BBC News website discovered.
From Harare, Bev Clark writing on kubatanablogs offered an interesting analogy about the country's situation.
"I've been seeing Zimbabwe like a cake lately," she wrote on the day opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, arrested for attending a weekend rally, was taken to hospital after two days in police detention.
"Morgan Tsvangirai, Raymond Majongwe, Mike Davies, and Grace Kwinje (etc) are the candles burning big and bright. The icing is made up of a small section of civic and political activists. While the actual cake itself comprises the Zimbabwean people."
That is not where it ends, the cake, it seems, has just been put in the oven.
"Until we, the Zimbabwean people, come to the party and support civic and political leaders working for change, not much will happen. The cake has got to cook. It's got to get warm, and bake and maybe even burn, but it can't stay like it has been - unmovable.
"Because if it does, no matter how many Highfield rallies we have, and no matter how iconic Tsvangirai becomes, the struggle for freedom in Zimbabwe will remain lop-sided."
The Bearded Man is also not convinced that this is the beginning of the end of Mr Mugabe's rule, as some commentators would have it.
He then goes on to echo a plea made by many Western governments to Zimbabwe's immediate neighbours.
"Please would someone out there actually DO something about this Mugabe person?"
Who exactly is being asked to do something? Well, South Africa - Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour to the south - for a start.
"South Africa's so called 'quiet diplomacy' has achieved precisely nothing in Zimbabwe," blogged Tony Sharp on The Waendel Journal.
"Its call to Mugabe yesterday to respect the rights of citizens will change nothing. Mugabe, like his ilk elsewhere in the world, recognises cowardice when he sees it and knows that talk is cheap."
In a volatile situation where perceptions of events are so important, The Zimbabwe Pundit - subtitled "the world as seen through the eyes of a Zimbabwean" - seems to be losing patience with the opposition in the country.
"The media in Zimbabwe is owned and operated by the Mugabe regime. So in Sunday's aftermath Zimbabweans are being force fed a diet of MDC thuggery, non-attendance and opposition violence. This makes me wonder when the pro-democracy movement will get its act together in terms of creating its own robust media and information response unit."
Steph's Blog would beg to differ though - and sticks the boot into the BBC while she is at it, comparing a report on violence at an opposition rally on Sunday in state-owned The Herald newspaper with one of ours.
"The Herald is a Zimbabwean government-owned newspaper and the BBC is a British government-owned broadcaster. The Herald's version is pro-Mugabe and pro-police but at least it was there, the BBC wasn't. Its version is MDC propaganda, with a little bit of British imperialism chucked in," she blogged.
"Morgan Tsvangirai is a Western-sponsored 'terrorist', he plotted in London to assassinate Mugabe and overthrow the elected government. There is nothing democratic about the MDC. The only reason the British government is anti-Mugabe is they still consider Zimbabwe to be Rhodesia."
The Radical Soldier of Zimbabwe!, meanwhile, is having none of it and offers what could be a radical solution to challenges facing the country.
"Europe intervened in the Balkans and the 'coalition of the willing' did a job in Iraq, but nobody seems to care about Zimbabwe," he lamented.
"Britain, in my view, has more legal grounds to invade Zimbabwe than it did Iraq. Britain was the former colonial power in Rhodesia and negotiated the Lancaster House Agreement. The agreement is actually worth reading. It sets out the principles under which democratic Zimbabwe should have been governed, and was in fact governed for the first few years.
"Mugabe has clearly violated the agreement. He has breached conditions including white representation in parliament [NB this clause has expired], independence of the judiciary, citizenship and payment of pensions. These should be sufficient grounds for Britain to demand change or otherwise invade. Who knows? Maybe John Howard will even commit a couple of hundred Australian troops."
Laer from Orange County California sees little chance of this happening though - mainly because of another world power.
"The big problem for me is that China doesn't seem to care. It will continue to block UN efforts to protect Zimbabweans from Mugabe, proving once again the powerlessness of the world body," he blogged on Cheat Seeking Missiles.
So is there any hope at all?
"From what I can see, the UN is frozen, the African Union is
powerless to do anything, and the world just watches," he said.
HARARE, 16 March 2007 (IRIN) - As Zimbabwe's opposition groups vowed on
Friday to keep up the pressure on the government for "democratic change", a
defiant President Robert Mugabe lashed out at Western governments for
supporting political violence.
Opposition leaders and pro-democracy groups at a meeting issued a
declaration committing themselves to a "heightened momentum" of protest
action, Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), told IRIN.
The gathering, under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC), a
pro-democracy drive launched by several NGOs, labour unions, students and
opposition parties in February, was attended by both factions of the MDC.
Zimbabwe has been in the spotlight since Sunday, when the police violently
broke up a prayer meeting they had declared illegal, beating protestors
including the opposition leadership. There was international condemnation of
But the official newspaper, The Herald, on Friday quoted Mugabe accusing
western governments of ignoring what he had said was MDC instigation of the
violence. "When they criticise government when it tries to prevent violence,
and punish perpetrators of that violence, we take the position that they can
The government has vowed to use force to confront political "revolt", while
the MDC has tried to reach out to the security forces after the
petrol-bombing of a police camp on Tuesday in the capital, Harare, in which
three policewomen were injured.
"We are not fighting the security forces, they are our brothers and sisters,
who are in the same predicament; we are fighting a dictatorial system," said
Chamisa. "When you are bitten by a dog, you have to deal with the master."
The MDC has denied any involvement in the bomb and teargas attack on the
Marimba police camp.
A policeman's story
A policeman, who spoke to IRIN under condition of anonymity, described the
"unbearable conditions" the police now faced as a result of the political
"When violence breaks out due to political disturbances, work becomes
unbearable for us as police officers. Since February we have not been
allowed to go off duty or on leave," he said.
"Our bosses say the police force is understaffed and no-one should even
think of taking a rest. That means we are on duty 24 hours a day. The
pressure is even greater for us who are attached to PISI [the intelligence
unit] because we have to be out, in plain clothes, gathering information on
who is saying what and whether there are plans to carry out rallies or
demonstrations, and where," he complained.
"People are growing increasingly angry with the police and army, as they say
we are being used by the government to beat them up, yet we will simply be
carrying out orders. It is not that we like to beat up people, no. Remember,
some of them are our relatives, friends and neighbours. But we have to
safeguard our jobs: employment is difficult to find these days, and I have a
family to look after."
He added: "Yes, the people might hate us for simply being police officers,
but they should remember that we are also unhappy with the kind of life we
are living today: we buy from the same shops, board the same mode of
transport with them, and get very paltry salaries."
In a country with a prostrate economy and an inflation rate of over 1,700
percent, "I can't manage to send my child to a good school because my salary
is small, and every month I am forced to borrow from moneylenders, who
charge high interest," he said.
"Most of the time, we go out to carry out our duties on empty stomachs and,
because these tasks are given at short notice, we can even go for a whole
day without food because the police force cannot manage to send provisions
whenever there are special assignments to be carried out."
By Tichaona Sibanda
16 March 2007
Concerned officers in the Zimbabwe Republic Police have leaked to the MDC
the name of the officer who shot and killed Gift Tandare in Highfields on
Youth assembly secretary-general of the MDC Solomon Madzore said they have
also been supplied with names of all those who savagely tortured party
president Morgan Tsvangirai and others at Highfields police station the same
Madzore, who was about five metres away from where Tandare was hit and fell,
said it took paramedics at least four hours to get to their mortally wounded
But by the time paramedics got to him he was already dead. In the aftermath
of the shooting and brutal attacks police issued a statement defending their
actions, insisting that they had fired 18 warning shots.
Those who were in the crowd have disputed this. Madzore said activists saw
one officer grabbing a gun from another policeman clad in riot gear and
firing indiscriminately at the crowd. At no time did anyone fire warning
shots. It's believed the officer who discharged the firearm could be the
individual responsible for shooting dead Tandare.
'We have passed on the names of those who beat our leaders to the necessary
individuals in the party and they have promised us that those responsible
will one day stand trial for their atrocities,' Madzore said.
The full interview with Solomon Madzore will be broadcast on the Hidden
Story on Monday after the news.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
16 March 2007
Opposition youths in Bulawayo's Tshabalala suburb barricaded roads and burnt
tyres Thursday morning as tension in the country continues to grow following
the arrest and torture of MDC leaders. According to Gertrude Mthombeni,
shadow secretary for Labour and Social Welfare in the Tsvangirai MDC, the
situation in the city is tense with party supporters reacting angrily to the
beating by police of party president Morgan Tsvangirai. She says as early as
five in the morning youths blocked roads using stones and boulders on the
streets of Tshabalala, while others burnt tyres to show their displeasure
with the ongoing police brutality.
Riot squads later cleared the roads and arrested five youths. Mthombeni told
Newsreel that those arrested have been severely tortured in custody. 'People
are very angry and are reacting in different ways,' she said. 19 youths were
arrested the previous day at the MDC offices in Bulawayo after trying to
demonstrate. Police also arrested the former Chief Executive of the banned
Daily News, Sam Sipepa Nkomo in the same crackdown. Mthombeni says the group
arrested with Nkomo was released Thursday evening. The 5 youths arrested
over Thursday's protest are still in custody.
The police are said to be patrolling several suburbs and approaching any
group that numbers more than 3. They are also apparently making arbitrary
arrests. In just one week more than 190 activists across the country have
been locked up. Its further reported that Zanu PF's politburo met on
Thursday to debate the possibility of imposing a state of emergency. The MDC
has already said the fire bombing of police stations in Harare and Gweru was
instigated by state security agents and is an attempt to justify imposing a
state of emergency. Party spokesman Nelson Chamisa has also confirmed that
several of their members were arrested over the bombing allegations and are
still locked up.
Gweru Mayor Sesel Zvidzai was arrested on Tuesday with 10 others after
organising a solidarity demonstration, while in Kwekwe 10 activists were
also picked up for demonstrating. On the same day Mutare police arrested 140
MDC activists including the entire Manicaland provincial executive. On
Wednesday police in Harare raided the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union
offices in the morning and held staff inside against their will. Riot police
were also deployed at the MDC Harvest House headquarters following the
release of Tsvangirai from custody. 3 student leaders and 3 members of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition were arrested at the magistrates court in
Rotten Row for showing solidarity with arrested opposition leaders. All have
since been released.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) - Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu
on Friday lambasted African silence about the brutal treatment of democracy
activists in Zimbabwe.
"We Africans should hang our heads in shame," said Tutu, who is widely
regarded as South Africa's moral conscience. "How can what is happening in
Zimbabwe elicit hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation from us
leaders of Africa?"
There has been increasing criticism of South Africa's refusal to condemn the
arrest and beatings of scores of opposition demonstrators, including the
main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
The foreign ministry earlier this week urged the Zimbabwean government to
ensure laws were respected and work with the opposition toward "a lasting
solution to the current challenges faced by the people of Zimbabwe."
But there has been silence from President Thabo Mbeki, who has consistently
said South Africa will not meddle in its neighbor's affairs and that quiet
diplomacy is preferable to public condemnation.
In his weekly African National Congress newsletter Friday, Mbeki said South
Africans should use next week's annual Human Rights Day to address the
continuing scourge of racism in the country. He made no mention of Zimbabwe.
South African human rights activists called on people to demonstrate in
solidarity with Zimbabwe opposition leaders Saturday.
"After the horrible things done to hapless people in Harare, has come the
recent crackdown on members of the opposition," Tutu said in a statement.
"What more has to happen before we who are leaders, religious and political,
of our mother Africa are moved to cry out 'Enough is enough?"'
The chairman of the African Union, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, said
earlier this week that the organization found the turmoil in Zimbabwe "very
embarrassing." Tanzania's president traveled to Zimbabwe on Thursday for
talks to try to defuse the situation but came away empty handed, with
President Robert Mugabe using a joint press conference to tell his critics
to "go hang."
Tutu, who was a tireless anti-apartheid campaigner and headed the country's
Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help South Africa come to terms with
the past, said all leaders in Africa should condemn the Zimbabwe government.
"What an awful blot on our copy book. Do we really care about human rights,
do we care that people of flesh and blood, fellow Africans, are being
treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were ever treated by rabid
racists?" he asked.
Tutu has often criticized Mugabe in the past. He once described the
autocratic leader as "a cartoon figure of an archetypical African dictator."
This prompted Mugabe to label Tutu an "angry, evil and embittered little
Tutu, who was Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, was awarded the Nobel peace
prize in 1984. Last year he was named a member of a U.N. advisory panel on
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
By Tim Hall and agencies
Last Updated: 9:09am GMT 16/03/2007
Zimbabwe's main opposition leader today appealed to the international
community for help against Robert Mugabe's brutal regime.
Speaking from his hospital bed, in his first interview since being
badly beaten by Mr Mugabe's thugs, Morgan Tsvangirai vowed to fight on to
win democracy for the former British colony.
He insisted that change was "within sight" for the country, but
insisted that opposition leaders needed help from foreign powers.
Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
said:"Yes, they brutalised my flesh. But they will never break my spirit. I
will soldier on until Zimbabwe is free.
"Democratic change in Zimbabwe is within sight. Far from killing my
spirit, the scars they brutally inflicted on me have re-energised me.
"Of course we need the support of the world, and please do support us
in achieving democratic change in Zimbabwe."
Mr Tsvangirai described how a peaceable meeting organised by local
churches was broken up by police officers acting under Mr Mugabe's orders.
Several officials from the MDC party were arrested and taken to a police
station. Mr Tsvangirai went there to appeal for their release.
He said: "Upon my arrival at Machipisa Police Station, all hell broke
loose. I was pulled out of my car by heavily built men in police gear and
they began smashing my head against the wall while pushing me inside the
."The orgy of heavy beatings continued once we were all inside the
station. They were mostly targeting my head and my face.
"The assaults, punctuated with obscene verbal attacks on my person, my
family, my party the MDC, and my supporters continued for a long time.
"It was all like a bad dream. I felt like my head had been smashed
open or I had been partially decapitated. I passed out three times, I was
later told by eyewitnesses.
"I lost a lot of blood and was later injected with two pints. After
passing out the last time, I can't remember many things."
Talking to the Independent, Tsvangirai said the events were painful
and disheartening, but would not make him or his party give up.
He said: "Seeing a police station, which must be a sanctuary for the
protection of the rights of citizens, being converted into a hell-hole was
"Seeing police officers trash their constitutional duties in favour of
brutalising innocent civilians trying to exercise their basic freedoms was
Mr Mugabe, 83, who has been in power since independence from Britain
in 1980, yesterday told Western critics of the latest violence to"go hang."
Mr Mugabe blamed the opposition party for triggering the violence. Mr
Tsvangirai said these claims are ridiculous, saying that he has always
protested peacefully even in the face of great provocation.
By a Correspondent
HARARE - SADC member states will meet in Tanzania at the end of this month
to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe, Tanzania's foreign minister said on
Press reports from Uganda say foreign minister Bernard Membe, told
journalists the meeting would discuss ways through which to deal with the
ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe following President Jakaya Kikwete's visit to
Kikwete met President Robert Mugabe here yesterday amid international
outrage over the killing of an opposition activist, Gift Tandare, and the
arrests of leading opposition figures, including MDC president Morgan
Images of a battered and bruised Tsvangirai going to court after his arrest
and later in hospital, raised international condemnation with Ghanaian
President John Kufour telling the world for the first time that the African
Union and its leaders were concerned by the situation in Zimbabwe.
Kufour said the situation in Zimbabwe was unacceptable and embarrassing
while Kikwete visited Mugabe as international pressure continued to mount.
The United Kingdom, the U.S. and other European Union countries are calling
for more sanctions to be imposed against Mugabe and colleagues.
SADC apparently has been tightening its stance against Mugabe and his Zanu
PF, sending Kikwete to talk to Mugabe ahead of the month-end meeting.
Tanzania is one of a troika of SADC states charged with trying to solve
Zimbabwe's political and economic woes.
"Our president believes that as the chairman of the SADC peace and security
organs, and in collaboration with other SADC leaders, they can solve
Zimbabwe's problems diplomatically," said Membe.
Members of bloc's peace and security organisation would meet on March 26-27
in Dar es Salaam, he added.
"This is the troika meeting and afterwards I believe we will be able to
discuss peace and security in the region including in Zimbabwe," Membe told
During Kikwete's talks with Mugabe, the pair agreed to begin "a new chapter"
in efforts to fix Zimbabwe's crisis, the foreign minister revealed.
Mugabe had assured his Tanzanian counterpart that opposition leaders caught
up in the government crackdown would receive fair treatment under Zimbabwean
law, he added.
"President Mugabe assured President Kikwete all the problems that took place
will be dealt with within the law and all those involved will have their
rights," Membe said.
United States Congress (Washington, DC)
March 16, 2007
Posted to the web March 16, 2007
U.S. Senator Barack Obama delivered the following statement on the latest
developments in Zimbabwe on the floor of the Senate on March 15, 2007:
Mr. President, the events of the last few days in Zimbabwe are outrageous
and warrant universal condemnation. It is time for the government of Robert
Mugabe to cease its repressive and divisive actions, and to allow
Zimbabweans to pursue their hopes for legitimate political change and
Since Sunday, the world has watched with horror and outrage as the Mugabe
government has cracked down on legitimate opposition, detained fifty
Zimbabweans attending a peaceful prayer meeting outside of Harare, and
brutalized opposition leaders and ordinary citizens alike.
A protestor was shot and killed. Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change, has been badly beaten and suffered severe
head injuries. Lovemore Madhuku, the leader of the National Constitutional
Assembly, reportedly has a broken arm and numerous other wounds. Many of
their colleagues in opposition remain in Harare hospitals.
The government has responded to the outrage prompted by these attacks on
human rights and legitimate expression with characteristic bluster. Once
again, we are told that the opposition is to blame. Once again, we hear
ominous warnings that the opposition is "set to pay a very heavy price,
regardless of who they are." Meanwhile, the true cause of the strife -
President Mugabe's disastrous rule - remains unaddressed. To the dismay even
of his own party, he has declared his intention to run for a new term in
office in 2008.
Mr. President, these events are shocking, but sadly they do not come as a
surprise. For years, it has been increasingly apparent that the Mugabe
government is interested only in its own survival and enrichment, not the
welfare of the people of Zimbabwe. International observers - including the
United States - concluded that the presidential election of 2002 and the
parliamentary elections of 2005 were not free and fair.
The State Department reported just last week in its country report on human
rights in Zimbabwe that: "The government engaged in the pervasive and
systematic abuse of human rights. The ruling party's dominant control and
manipulation of the political process through intimidation and corruption
effectively negated the right of citizens to change their government."
Meanwhile, the government's corruption and mismanagement has brought the
Zimbabwean economy to the brink of ruin. Estimates place inflation at a
world-high of 1,700 percent, and the IMF forecasts that this could pass
4,000 percent by the end of the year. Unemployment stands at 80 percent.
Poverty rates are soaring. Zimbabwe's economy is shrinking faster than any
other country in the world that is not at war.
I am heartened, though, that this political and economic deterioration has
been met with growing calls for change.
Within Zimbabwe, the opposition to Mugabe is showing resilience and courage.
Factions of Mugabe's own party have indicated that they want a transition in
2008, and ordinary citizens are increasingly voicing their hopes for a new
Beyond Zimbabwe, frustration with the Mugabe government is mounting. The
head of the African Union has expressed his embarrassment at the situation
in Zimbabwe. South Africa and the Southern African Development Community,
which have been slow to criticize Zimbabwe in the past, seem to be losing
patience. The United States, European Union, and the United Nations were
swift in condemning this latest outrage, and have been consistent in their
calls for change.
Mr. President, the United States must continue to stand strongly against the
Mugabe government's abuses of power in Zimbabwe. We must join with our
European allies, the United Nations, and - most importantly - the countries
and institutions of the region to press for positive change in Zimbabwe.
That means a peaceful democratic transition in 2008, and support for
economic growth and opportunity - including the lifting of sanctions - once
the dark cloud of Mugabe's rule is lifted, and Zimbabweans are able again to
reach for the new horizon they deserve.
I call on President Mugabe to immediately release all political detainees
and repeal the ban on political rallies, to end the use of violence and
torture in the jails, permit a free media and abide by the rule of law. His
government must also urgently address the humanitarian crisis that has put
the mass of his population in dire need of assistance.
Zimbabwe is a nation rich in history and rich in resources. Its talented
people have known great hardship just as they have achieved great heights.
When Robert Mugabe became president over a quarter century ago, there was
great hope. Zimbabwe had emerged from British rule, claiming its freedom
and its future for itself.
Sadly, the freedom and opportunity for which Zimbabweans fought have been
eclipsed in the last decade by repression and uncertainty. Instead of
peaceful self-determination, we see Zimbabweans intimidated and beaten in
the streets. Instead of the responsible management of Zimbabwe's state
institutions, we see state-sanctioned corruption, violence and property
seizures. Instead of economic self-sufficiency, we see what was once one of
Africa's most promising economies in a free-fall.
Yet I am confident that the people of Zimbabwe will once again claim for
themselves a better future. As they seek to hold their leaders accountable,
as they try to rebuild their lives and their country, they must know that
they have a strong and steady friend in the United States. The events of the
last few days - and the Mugabe regime - must belong to the past, and the
United States must work with the international community to help all
Zimbabweans forge a better future.
Behind the scenes, the MDC is talking to Zanu-PF and deals are being done.
Zimbabwe's president may finally be losing his iron grip on power.
March 16, 2007 7:30 PM
Zimbabwe has had two rulers leaders in 43 years. Both gave the finger to
international opinion and led their country into isolation, conflict and
despair. Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe have much in common, but, in the end,
Ian Smith blinked and came to the negotiating table. Mugabe shows no sign of
blinking. Not even when inflation hit 1,594% in February.
He was probably happy to see that picture of a bloodied, beaten Morgan
Tsvangirai broadcast around Zimbabwe: that is what happens to those who
oppose me. He probably wasn't too worried when the picture appeared on the
front pages of the rest of the world. He knows they can't touch him.
Mugabe is a man who would let his nation collapse and his people starve to
death rather than give up power. Sanctions mean little to him, as he
struggles against the demons in his head: Tony Blair trying to depose him,
British imperialism recolonising Zimbabwe, international capitalism
destroying his socialist paradise.
It is true that there is little the outside world can do without South
Africa. President Thabo Mbeki fears Mugabe personally and, even more, fears
the hymns he sings. They can awaken South Africa's own devils and some of
them are real: the inequality of millions of South Africans living in
poverty while most land remains in the hands of whites. If Mbeki was seen to
be aligning himself with Blair, he might light fire in his own house.
So, the South African policy for the past seven years of Zimbabwe's rapid
decline has been for Zimbabweans to talk to each other and make a deal.
That's hard when the government beats up the opposition, rather than talks
to it. As long as South Africa stays on this course, with passive support
from the rest of Africa, the rest of the world cannot apply pressure on
But apart from the blaze of news from the demonstration last weekend, the
tectonic plates are beginning to shift in Zimbabwe. Last December, the
ruling Zanu-PF party failed to deliver on a request from Mugabe to change
the constitution (again) to allow him to rule until 2010. The two factions
within the party came together on this issue at least. Mugabe no longer has
the power or the patronage to play them off against each other. They want a
contest now, not when Mugabe dies.
As the ruling party divided, the two factions of the opposition MDC have
come together again. The MDC party, which split in 2005, is talking to
frustrated presidential wannabes in the ruling party, and they are talking
about the departure of Mugabe. Pressure is mounting on two fronts. Despite
the violence against it, the opposition is planning its next big march on
April 4. Watch this space.
LONDON (AFP) - The government stepped up its criticism of Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe on Friday accusing him of action "bordering on
crimes against humanity" in his attempts to suppress opposition.
Foreign Office minister Lord David Triesman called for African and European
nations to step up action against Zimbabwe after the police beating of
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
In a BBC radio interview, Triesman was asked whether military action should
be considered against Mugabe, given Britain's interventionist policy against
oppression elsewhere in the world.
"I don't think it would be easy or very practical to engage in military
intervention in Zimbabwe," he said.
"But I do think the actions over quite a period now... look to me to be
bordering on crimes against humanity."
That included Mugabe's suppression of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) and the forced eviction of thousands of people in Harare slums
in 2005, he added.
Triesman's comments came amid growing international calls for tougher action
against Mugabe's regime after the arrest and assault of Tsvangirai who
suffered serious head injuries.
Tsvangirai vowed in a letter published in The Independent newspaper here
Friday to fight on until his country is free and urged the world to maintain
pressure for democratic change.
Triesman echoed Beckett's view Thursday that people involved in the violence
against opposition leaders must be properly identified and hit with
He also called for African leaders to be "completely explicit" in condemning
Mugabe and the international community, in particular the United Nations, to
Tsvangirai left hospital on Friday after being told by doctors he is out of
danger and had suffered no brain damage following his arrest for trying to
attend a banned demonstration on Sunday.
In his letter, he wrote: "Yes, they brutalised my flesh. But they will never
break my spirit. I will soldier on until Zimbabwe is free."
Tsvangirai said he had not expected the extent and violence of the
suppression, despite knowing Mugabe had banned all opposition political
party meetings and rallies -- and described the current situation in
Mugabe -- who has said critics of his government can "go hang" -- had
"criminalised" Zimbabwe's police force and other national institutions,
creating "serious mistrust", he said.
"It shall take our nation decades of retraining the police and a radical
shift in mindset to rebuild that trust...
"I seek a comprehensive transformation of our society to restore democracy
and the rule of law.
"Democratic change in Zimbabwe is within sight. Far from killing my spirit,
the scars they brutally inflicted on me have re-energised me. I seek no
"I only seek a new dispensation in my country in which citizens live freely
in prosperity and not in fear of their rulers."
from Jim Holland
16 March, 2007
I am sending this to everyone who knows Sekai or has written to me about her
that I have in my address book. If I have sent this to anyone that it is not
relevant to, please accept my apologies and let me know so that I can remove
you from this mailing list.
My wife, Sekai Holland, is a 64-year old grandmother. For the crime of being
a member of the opposition MDC in Zimbabwe she has suffered one of the most
brutal attacks imaginable at the hands of the ZANU-PF regime's sadistic
Sekai's ordeal began when she and fellow activist Grace Kwinjeh went to
Harare's Highfield Police Station looking for those who had been arrested
for trying to attend a Zimbabwe prayer vigil last Sunday. When they arrived
they were told the others were in the yard at the back, and they were then
taken to the yard and locked in with those already detained. Then the
beatings started. Initially there was a mass beating of everyone there -
over a hundred people who were forced to lie on the ground while they were
viciously attacked. Later Sekai and the other members of the MDC leadership
were called in one by one to the charge office where they were made to
repeatedly run a gauntlet of thugs who beat them mercilessly.
Sekai was first hit in the face, her glasses being smashed to start with.
Her earrings and watch were ripped off. Then she was hit with a variety of
weapons, including clubs and batons. They kept accusing her of being United
Kingdom PM Tony Blair's girlfriend - to which she responded "No - he is my
son - how can you call me his girlfriend?" That naturally didn't go down
well. The beatings went on and on over a period of hours. A woman repeatedly
jumped on her with booted feet - fracturing or breaking three of her ribs.
Her clothes were covered in blood - both her own and that of others
suffering the same brutality. She passed out several times.
At one stage one of the torturers left the room and was then called back by
another who said "What about her legs?". He then used some instrument to
break her leg, after which they forced her to stand up and hobble around on
it. When satisfied that they had indeed broken it they left. The team of
torturers was apparently trying to break her spirit by inflicting the
maximum amount of pain.
From Highfield Sekai was taken first to Central Police Station and then to
the suburban Avondale station. At Avondale when she was ordered to get out
of the high prison truck she replied that she was unable to do so due to her
injuries, so they pushed her out and she fell and landed hard on her head,
adding to the injuries she already had.
Sekai spent two full days in detention without medical treatment. She
suffered filthy conditions without proper sanitation, and with numerous
injuries. When the courts finally forced the police to take the injured for
medical treatment, it was first thought that she had a broken arm and foot,
as well as the massive bruising over most of her body. Later on they
discovered that she in fact had a broken leg not foot, and that she also had
three broken or fractured ribs as well as a fractured knee.
I managed to get back to Harare from Tanzania on the evening of the day
Sekai was admitted to hospital. The place was still crawling with riot
police, and the atmosphere was very tense. However a local human rights
organisation (Amani Trust) had managed to negotiate proper treatment for all
the injured and Sekai was put into very good medical hands.
A doctor friend of ours was visiting from Australia and paid her a visit
before I arrived. However he was caught using a camera and was then arrested
and interrogated by the police for many hours before being released without
charge. Apparently they thought he was a journalist.
Sekai was in excellent spirits when I finally saw her, in spite of being so
sadistically brutalised. She said that neither she nor any of the other
leaders she saw being battered uttered any cries - and that must have
infuriated the torturers. In the end the sadists were the ones who failed.
In frustration they apparently made the bizarre boast that they were being
paid a million dollars (admittedly only USD100 or so now) by (Reserve Bank
Governor) Gono to carry out the beatings, plus an extra $100,000 a day for
their meal allowances. That gives you an indication of the mentality of
those hired by the regime.
Since her admission to hospital Sekai has had surgery to insert pins in her
broken leg and arm. That operation went well, but she will need specialist
treatment outside the country for the fractured knee.
I think that the regime has massively miscalculated with this brutality.
Messages of solidarity have been coming in from all over the world, and I
can see this leading to real pressure on the neighbouring African countries
who have shielded Mugabe and his regime for so long.
The most moving development of all for us has been to hear of the support
coming from so many members of the Australian Aboriginal community with whom
Sekai campaigned over the elimination of Apartheid and other colonial
regimes in Africa, and in support of Aboriginal Land Rights back in the
1970s. They say they are not going to let this pass without action that may
HARARE, 16 March 2007 (IRIN) - Florence Manyanga is an informal trader in a
suburb of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, where violence recently flared between
the police and supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). She spoke to IRIN about the crackdown by the security forces on
growing protest over conditions in the country.
"I have witnessed several skirmishes between the police and residents in
recent months, and over the years, and my feeling is that the police, and
sometimes the army, overact. It beats me why they cannot just let the people
hold rallies and express their opinions.
"I am also worried by the fact that when supporters of [the ruling] ZANU-PF
decide to gather for meetings or even carry out demonstrations without
police clearance, nothing is done to them. That means the law is being
applied to suit those who are ruling.
"I am not surprised that some people became so angry to the extent of trying
to kill police officers because they have just become too cruel. Even
innocent civilians like myself, who are not interested in politics, are
caught in the cross fire. We get beaten and are accused of being supporters
of the MDC.
"The problem with that is, we will all end up joining in the street protests
because even if we don't, we are beaten up. The fights between the police
and residents are affecting my business, and how do these government
officials who send the police to beat us up think we can survive, especially
now that prices of commodities are going up without control?"
ALERT - ZIMBABWE
16 March 2007
SOURCE: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Windhoek
(MISA/IFEX) - On 12 March 2007, firebrand journalist Sunsley Chamunorwa,
renowned for his hard-hitting editorials and commentaries at the helm of the
weekly "Financial Gazette", was suspended over a story reportedly involving
the business interests of a powerful ruling Zanu-PF official.
Chamunorwa was suspended by Chief Executive Officer Jacob Chisese following
publication of a story linking top Zanu officials - among them, the Governor
for Mashonaland East Province, Ray Kaukonde - to lucrative security
contracts at Harare International Airport.
Although details of the nature of the suspension letter handed to Chamunorwa
were still sketchy, journalists at the weekly financial publication believed
to be owned by Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono, confirmed to the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe that their editor had bade them
farewell following a meeting on 13 March 2007, with the company's
Chisese announced Chamunorwa's suspension - pending a final decision by the
company's board - when he addressed members of staff, saying the decision
had been made in light of the lawsuits that the weekly is facing. In its
edition of 8 to 14 March 2007, the "Financial Gazette" led with a story
alleging that three security companies with links to Zanu-PF had their
contracts cancelled after the Joint Operations Command, which consists of
top security officials, had raised concern that the firms could have been
used by senior politicians to facilitate the smuggling of minerals through
Harare International Airport.
Sources close to developments at the company said Chamunorwa's suspension
over the airport security companies story was a smokescreen that was being
used to scape-goat the pressure being brought to bear on the company's board
to push the editor out by certain powerful politicians. The pressure was so
intense to the extent of spilling to the registration and renewal of the
paper's operating licence, notwithstanding the accreditation of its
journalists by the state-controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC),
in terms of the restrictive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) (see IFEX alert of 2 February 2007).
In an interview at the end of January 2007, MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso
reportedly confirmed to "ZimOnline" that his commission had not renewed the
weekly's licence, but refused to be drawn to disclose further details. "It
must be known that it is not an automatic renewal, there are things that we
look at and get satisfied with before granting a licence and we are still
looking at their application," Mahoso told "ZimOnline" then.
He added: "We are not saying they will get a licence or not." Newspapers
renew their publishing licences after every two years while journalists, who
also require licences to practice, must renew theirs after every 12 months.
MISA-Zimbabwe has it on good record that the "Financial Gazette"'s
journalists were still to be duly accredited as of 28 February 2007,
following the expiration of the company's operating licence on 31 December
For further information, contact Zoé Titus, Programme Specialist, Media
Freedom Monitoring, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61
232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Internet:
The information contained in this alert is the sole responsibility of MISA.
In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit MISA.
DISTRIBUTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION EXCHANGE (IFEX)
555 Richmond St. West, # 1101, PO Box 407 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3B1
tel: +1 416 515 9622 fax: +1 416 515 7879
alerts e-mail: email@example.com general e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Internet site: http://www.ifex.org/
Friday March 16, 2007
Cross-party demands for an urgent debate on the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe
were resisted by the leader of the Commons, Jack Straw, as he warned that
the diaries of Foreign Office ministers were too full.
Mr Straw said that he shared the "utter horror" of decent people at the
actions of the "thugs of Robert Mugabe".
He was responding to Theresa May, his Tory shadow, who branded as "shocking"
the pictures of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's bruised and swollen
face after he was allegedly beaten by police.
Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander Friday slammed as "disgusting"
police action in the country as an international row over the brutal
treatment of opposition officials intensified.
In a letter published in the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, Rylander said
the events of the past week were an evil dream.
"How is it possible that these disgusting police actions can take place in
free and independent Zimbabwe?" Rylander asked.
Pictures of badly-beaten opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and a number of
his colleagues have shocked Western nations. Tsvangirai, the leader of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was arrested Sunday as he tried to
attend a prayer rally.
Rylander asked if Zimbabwe was currently reliving the time of struggle
against apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.
Angered by mounting international condemnation, President Robert Mugabe on
Thursday told Western leaders to "go hang."
© 2007 DPA
The East African Standard (Nairobi)
March 16, 2007
Posted to the web March 16, 2007
President Robert Mugabe's gleaming motorcade snaked its way into the clinic
where Zimbabwean Opposition leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was grappling with
Hovering unseen above him were the angels of death. His face was swollen and
one side of his head clean-shaven to make it easy for doctors to stitch the
wound opened up by the rungus (club) of Mugabe's brutes.
The master of iniquitous tyranny was not rushing to see Tsvangirai. No,
lying on the hospital bed, alongside dozens of frail Zimbabweans clobbered
by riot police last Sunday, was his ailing sister, Sabina. He arrived at the
hospital as doctors prepared Tsvangirai, who was confined to the ICU, for a
During the savage beating, as police fought to stop the 'Save Zimbabwe'
prayer meeting, the country reinforced the image of modern day Apartheid
South Africa. It also showed how far Mugabe the freedom hero and former
detainee has degenerated. He has fought many wars, including with
homosexuals and lesbians who plotted his arrest in the UK for saying they
were worse than pigs and dogs.
Bob did not let out a word as he passed by the bed on which Tendai Biti, the
secretary-general of the MDC, who was also clobbered, was lying, on the way
to see his sister. The coincidence of Bob's sister's admission to the
hospital and that of the victims of his brutal force is a clear reminder of
the mortality of humanity.
At 83, Mugabe is clearly a man in the sunset of his days. But he carries
himself as a President for Life. That is why, on the flimsy excuse that
elections are expensive and will hurt the economy, he is pushing for the
postponement of next year's poll to 2010. That is two more years for Mugabe
squeezed out of an illegality.
Yet he holds the unbeaten distinction of transforming his nation from a
breadbasket to a basket case. Inflation is now more than 1,700 per cent, the
highest in the globe. Unemployment is more than 80 per cent and Zimbabwe has
the world's lowest life expectancy - 34 years for women and 37 for men - and
one in four children, a Unicef report says, are orphans.
From a food exporter, the country is now grappling with chronic food, fuel
and foreign exchange shortages. But though compulsory acquisition of land
from White owners and transferring the chunks to the 'patriots' has won him
accolades at home, it has punctured the economic wheel.
But Mugabe's biggest war appears to be with the Opposition, not the stunted
economy of his nation.
His pride and bravado are legendary. Sample a characteristic speech: "We
have said we will never collapse, never ever. We may have our droughts, our
poverty, but as a people we shall never collapse, never ever. We pride
ourselves as being top, really, on the African ladder. We feel that we have
actually been advancing rather than going backwards."
On paper, Uncle Bob is not a mad man - he is well educated, was brought up
the Jesuit way and has on his CV lines that bespeak of one of Africa's
Though degrees are not necessarily evidence of sophistry and political
prowess, Mugabe scores highly in this field. The following are listed
against his name: BSc (Economics) Fort Hare University; BSc (Econ)
University of London by distance learning; BEd University of London by
distance learning; LLB University of London by distance learning; BAdm
University of South Africa by distance learning; LLM University of London by
distance learning and MSc (Econ) University of London by distance learning.
Several honorary degrees he was awarded are in the process of being
So what is wrong with the man? Could he be too involved in 'distance
learning'? His greatest friends are in Iran, Venezuela and Cuba. A man
describes how his wife, Ms Sekai Holland, 64, was beaten during the Sunday
savagery: "She's been beaten all over her body. 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, they deliberately broke
her arm and foot and then forced her to walk on it."
It is in stories about the Mugabes of this world that you understand why
many in the West call Africa the Forgotten, or more bluntly, the Lost
Continent. Sadly, Mugabe is not alone. There are still Presidents in Africa
who seem to have taken lessons from the likes of Idi Amin Dada and
In Gambia, the President is a self-proclaimed medicineman specialised in
managing HIV/Aids complications using bananas and herbs. He administers it
himself. In Guinea, a sick President plotting to die in office is at war
with his people and in Ethiopia, journalists and human rights activists fill
the prisons. There is a little of that too in Kenya. Is Africa the cursed
The writer is The Standard Managing Editor, Weekend Editions
Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)
March 15, 2007
Posted to the web March 16, 2007
Criticising Mugabe openly would be much more effective Once again, the
attention of the world has been rudely drawn to the atrocious political and
human-rights situation that prevails in Zimbabwe. Recently, the leader of
the country's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan
Tsvangirai, and other members of the party were viciously assaulted by the
regime's police. And once again, President Robert Mugabe's colleagues in the
rest of Africa do not want to be drawn into saying anything even slightly
critical of their respected, ex-freedom-fighter (and, therefore, beyond
In Botswana, for instance, the show of deference to Mugabe can be gauged
from the fact that in presenting his ministry's budget proposals to
parliament the other day, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mompati Merafhe,
apparently did not make any reference to the ongoing violations of human
rights in our neighbouring country. As I argued in the past, this will no
doubt be one of the major negative factors in President Festus Mogae's
Given this see-and-hear-no-evil attitude of African governments regarding
Zimbabwe, it did not surprise me at all to hear from a South African radio
station that some senior Zimbabwean politicians had (in the middle of the
current controversy in their country) appealed to African governments to
"continue to act as mediators between Zimbabwe and the Western world".
Imagine the arrogance! This suggests that while African governments refuse
to do anything meaningful to try to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, they may be
acting as "mediators" between Zimbabwe and the Western governments that
Mugabe and his disciples blame for the mess in that country. Does this,
perhaps, explain our own president's agitated criticism of some European
leader, a year or two ago, for the sanctions policy that his government
maintains against the leaders of Zimbabwe?
Lest anyone accuses me of expecting "weak Botswana" to dictate to Mugabe how
he should conduct the affairs of his country, let me make it quite clear
that this is far from my mind. All that I urge our government, SADC, and the
rest of Africa to do is speak out against the atrocities and violations of
human rights that are constantly committed against the people of Zimbabwe by
their government. This would be no different from what previous governments
of this country did against South Africa's apartheid governments. So why is
our present government so scared of doing this to the Zimbabwe government?
Criticising Mugabe openly would be much more effective than the totally
discredited policy of "quiet diplomacy". It would also help restore, to some
extent, Africa's badly tarnished reputation concerning the Zimbabwe crisis.
African states ought to regard the situation in Zimbabwe as a huge
embarrassment to the continent, unless they believe that the violation of
human rights is only wrong if a white government commits it against a black
population, and not if a black government commits it against its own people.
Unfortunately, many people now see such a blatant application of double
standards as the only possible explanation for the otherwise indefensible
refusal of African governments to help the people of Zimbabwe liberate
themselves from their second and far more painful subjugation.
The Namibian (Windhoek)
March 16, 2007
Posted to the web March 16, 2007
THE Law Society of Namibia and the Society of Advocates of Namibia have
called on Government to urgently take up the latest round of political
oppression in Zimbabwe with the Zimbabwean government, "in the interests of
peace and the protection of human rights and democratic values in our
The Zimbabwe government has committed "brutal violations of human rights and
the rule of law" that cannot be conveniently ignored by other governments in
the region, the two lawyers' organisations state in a media statement that
was released yesterday in reaction to the arrest, detention, beatings and
torture of opposition party leaders and supporters in Zimbabwe on Sunday.
"The right to peaceful assembly, freedom of speech and political activity as
well as to human dignity are part and parcel of a constitutional democracy,"
the two organisations said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The violation of these fundamental rights and freedoms as well as the rule
of law on Sunday, resulted in unwarranted violence and widespread detentions
of Zimbabwean citizens.
The abuse of political, church and community leaders and ordinary citizens
by the authorities in Zimbabwe follow upon previous human rights abuses and
disrespect for the rule of law in that country.
These abuses are compounded by the detentions taking place without access to
These events are disturbing to those in the region concerned with the
protection of human rights and the rule of law.
They also serve to seriously undermine those values in the region and cannot
conveniently be ignored by Governments in the region," the organisations
They further stated: "We call upon the Namibian Government to take up this
issue as a matter of urgency with the Zimbabwean Government in the interests
of peace and the protection of human rights and democratic values in our
We call upon the Zimbabwean Government to respect the human rights of its
citizens as well as the rule of law."
March 16 2007
PROTEST MARCH AGAINST 'QUIET DIPLOMACY'
We salute the civil society actors who are present and those who are present
here today to protest our Government's disturbing silence in the face of the
growing international consensus that the human rights, humanitarian and
human security situation in Zimbabwe is totally unacceptable. Our presence
here today adds to the other growing African voices condemning in various
ways the current situation in Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe's
dictatorial regime has come under mounting international condemnation
following a barbaric crackdown on civil and political rights over the last
At the continental level, current African Union (AU) Chairperson and
Ghanaian President John Kufuor last Wednesday expressed concern, saying the
Zimbabwean situation is "very embarrassing". In the SADC region the
Governments of South Africa and Zambia have also expressed concern while the
Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday made a one-day unscheduled
official visit to Harare to hold talks with Mugabe on the dangerous
Various African media power houses in various African countries, such as
Uganda, Botswana and South Africa, have also strongly condemned the
Government of Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe personally for the
crisis. We are also happy that Opposition parties in Parliament have spoken
out against the blatant human rights situation in Zimbabwe. As can be seen
and heard through print and electronic media there is also a growing
consensus among individual Namibian citizens who have also strongly
condemned Robert Mugabe and his regime.
On February 27 2007 and during President Mugabe's visit here our own
President, Lucas Hifikepunye Pohamba, in his official discussions with
Mugabe also urged his embattled Zimbabwean guest to "re-energize efforts to
strengthen democratic governance and the rule of law". We thank President
Pohamba for making this point clear to Mugabe.
We, however, should be very disturbed by the fact that on March 14 2007
President Pohamba's own Ministers and Members of Parliament, led by his
Foreign Minister Mr. Marco Hausiku, in a chorus rejected a motion in
Parliament to debate the Zimbabwe situation. This was at least the fourth
time President Pohamba's policy has been defied by his subordinates. The
first time took place when Deputy Lands Minister Isak Katali on May 22 2006,
while, on a state visit in Zimbabwe praised Mugabe's land reform process,
vowing that Mugabe's land policy would also be implemented in Namibia.
However, after President Pohamba's Administration reiterated on June 26 2006
that Namibia's land reform policy--of willing seller, willing buyer and
expropriation with just compensation--has not changed a bit, our former
President Dr. Sam Nujoma angrily contradicted the Government's land reform
policy. Speaking at Outapi in Omusati Region on July 1 2006, Nujoma strongly
supported Mugabe. The third time occurred on January 30 2007 when the Oshana
Regional Council boycotted a workshop on Leadership and Change Management
organized by the President Pohamba's Prime Minister, the Right Honorable
Nahas Angula's office.
Namibia's apparent "silence" in the face of the ever-deteriorating
Zimbabwean situation should be understood against the background.
We are nevertheless calling upon SADC as a region to take the example set by
its Members States, such as Zambia and South Africa, to collectively and
publicly reprimand Mugabe. SADC must also condemn violence and human rights
violations in Zimbabwe by whomsoever the perpetrators might be.
As an example set by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Rights High
Commissioner Louse Arbour, the UN Security Council must address the
situation in Zimbabwe, a situation which threatens international peace and
We also are calling upon additional targeted sanctions to be instituted
against the Mugabe regime. The situation in Zimbabwe is reminiscent of what
has been going in South Africa under the apartheid regime. And there was no
question on whether or not to impose comprehensive economic and other
sanctions against the apartheid regime then.
I thank you,
Phil ya Nangoloh
Executive Director of Namibia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR)
The Namibian (Windhoek)
March 16, 2007
Posted to the web March 16, 2007
IT is a disgrace that our Government, represented by the ruling party,
Swapo, is as spineless as it is on the Zimbabwe issue, even to the extent of
silencing an Opposition motion in Parliament to condemn the human rights
abuses in that country.
It's even more shocking that it was our Foreign Minister who led the chorus
in Parliament against the motion even as the Speaker (and former Foreign
Minister himself) tried to convince Swapo to at least listen to the motion
before they threw it out.
THE protection of human rights should be cherished by all SADC countries.
Perpetrators of abuses should be condemned whoever they may be and wherever
they are in the world.
That's why one has what is called a 'foreign policy' (otherwise, why
bother?!) We in this sub-continent went to war against a former white South
African regime which brutally trampled the rights of a people.
In our silence right now, we are sending out the message that it's OK if
black people do it to their own! Swapo are playing politics on this one, but
it shouldn't be the case.
It so happens it is largely the members of the Zimbabwe opposition who've
borne the brunt of the latest attack, but it is nevertheless unacceptable.
I'm not a fan or political supporter of the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai (and
less so Robert Mugabe of course), but a commitment to human rights
violations requires one to speak out against such abuses whenever they
occur! So there's a section of Swapo that ducks and dives responsibility to
address the issue head-on, and there's another, more reactionary faction,
who claim that reports of violations of human rights in Zimbabwe are
figments of a collective European and 'domesticated African' imagination
and/or a distortion of the truth.
And a certain deputy minister who is a frequent caller to the NBC chat shows
also asks why we should concern ourselves with the Zim situation when we
don't pronounce on what's happening in Iraq and elsewhere that rights are
The short and sweet of it is, of course, that we should, and many do (not
our Government of course, probably under the excuse of 'non-alignment' or
'non-interference', which is usually applied in difficult situations, while
there appears to be no problem allying with the dictators of this world like
the Mugabes, Abachas, Bandas etc).
And it stands to reason we should take close interest in what happens in our
region and sub-continent and fellow SADC member country.
This divide is also mirrored in our spineless National Union of Namibian
Workers (NUNW), which, once again compromised by its Swapo allegiance,
failed to reach agreement on a statement on the matter.
South Africa's Cosatu union, one which does apparently have workers'
interests at heart, berated even the South African government - which did
address the issue - for its weak stance on Mugabe.
In short, we can expect that the NUNW (which is otherwise quick to pronounce
on matters that have nothing whatsoever to do with workers' issues) will say
nothing at all! Perhaps it's time now for them to drop the slogan of 'an
injury to one is an injury to all' because they simply don't believe in it
anymore! At the end of the day, Swapo (and thereby our Government) don't
really have a leg to stand on and their lack of action is indefensible.
If African countries took more interest in what is happening on the
continent vis-a-vis the dictators and despots, then the West (so-called
Europeans) probably wouldn't have to worry.
After all, the people who care about what is happening there aren't trying
to decide for Zimbabweans.
They must make their own choices.
But there's not a thing wrong with us condemning excess.
At the very least, that is! What we really should be doing is breaking ties
with Mugabe; rescinding the US$40 million 'loan' which could be better used
at home; and joining the sanctions regime against him.
Namibians must surely remember the past when they were first in line to
approve sanctions against the apartheid regime, even though these had
consequences for their own people.
Then Swapo was prepared to pay the price to hasten our self-determination
and independence! What on earth has happened to us since then?
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
March 16, 2007
Posted to the web March 16, 2007
Mozambican Foreign Minister Alcinda Abreu has declared that the Zimbabwean
government should ensure "an opening" so that Zimbabweans "may discuss their
differences, and find solutions to their own problems".
She was speaking to the independent newsheet "Mediafax" in the week when the
world was shocked by images of the battered and swollen face of Zimbabwean
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, after police had set upon an
opposition prayer meeting last Sunday, killing at least one demonstrator,
and hospitalising others, including Tsvangirai.
In the "Mediafax" interview, Abreu said the Mozambican government is
following "with great concern" the situation in Zimbabwe, and supported the
current intervention by the Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete.
Kikwete, in his capacity as head of the SADC (Southern African Development
Community) body on political, defence and security cooperation, flew to
Harare on Thursday for talks with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
"Mozambique supports these measures being taken at SADC level", said Abreu.
"SADC bodies can meet so that we can understand what is going on in
Zimbabwe. Within SADC, our leaders can take a collective decision".
She added that, since taking office in 2005, Mozambican President Armando
Guebuza has been sending special envoys to Zimbabwe. "Our concern is that
there should be an opening at the level of the government, so that
Zimbabweans, from the various sectors of society, may discuss their
differences and find solutions to their own problems".
She added that it was difficult to make any forecast of a possible solution
to the problems of Zimbabwe in the short term.
The economic and social situation in Zimbabwe was difficult, leading
Zimbabweans to seek a better life in neighbouring countries, including
"It's going to take some time for Zimbabwe to recover", said Abreu.
The violent repression of Sunday's opposition meeting has had repercussions
all over the world, none of them favourable to the Mugabe regime. Even the
South African government, previously committed to "quiet diplomacy" over
Zimbabwe, has raised its voice, with Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad
calling on the Zimbabwean authorities to respect the rule of law and human
Botswana Daily News
16 March, 2007
GABORONE - The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) says it has noted with shock
the escalation of state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe, adding that it was
an unconstitutional means to suppress dissenting voices.
The BCP says ever since the formation of the MDC, which poses a threat to
the continued rule by Zanu-PF, the use of violence by agents of the state
against legitimate opposition formations has increased.
The party says it is disturbing to note that with the increased violations
of basic human rights in Zimbabwe by the government, African leaders,
particularly those in southern Africa have remained silent.
It further says for the past 10 years the people of Zimbabwe have had to
endure the wrath of a modern day dictatorship, who rigs elections,
undermines the judiciary, mismanages the economy with impunity and uses
brutal force against citizens.
African leaders have turned a blind eye to the plight of Zimbabwe, the BCP
The BCP appeals to the government of Botswana to change its approach in
dealing with the Zimbabwe government. It says silent diplomacy has not
delivered any positive results.
It further says there are no examples in history of leaders who display
extremely dictatorial tendencies and reciprocate positively to baby glove
It states that the Mugabe regime should be isolated as a matter of urgency.
The BCP also urges the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to reconsider its
relationship with Zanu-PF.
It says by continuing to attend gatherings of Zanu-PF where they deliver
messages of support amounts to endorsing the conduct of the Zimbabwean
The BCP says African solidarity should not be promoted at the expense of
entrenching democratic governance within the continent.
It adds that no party that espouses democratic principles during the
apartheid era maintained relations with the National Party that was in power
at the time, and that the same should apply to Zanu-PF. BOPA
Friday 16 March 2007 14:31
Angola's Minister of Home Affairs Roberto Monteiro said Friday Angola is
sympathetic to Zimbabwe's police force, which has come under fire from
Western nations for the brutal beating of opposition officials.
Speaking during a visit to Harare, the minister said the police should use
appropriate measures to contain cases of violence in order to maintain peace
and security, state radio reported.
The widely-publicised police beating of Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai last Sunday has sparked Western outrage.
Tsvangirai, who was arrested as he tried to attend a prayer rally, had to be
treated in intensive care at a Harare hospital after a beating to the head.
Several of the opposition leaders colleagues were also beaten.
The Angolan minister condemned subsequent attacks on police officers, saying
the police are there to maintain public order.
At least six police officers have been injured in revenge attacks on the
force. Monteiro was in Zimbabwe to sign a cooperation agreement on public
order and security, the radio said. dpa rt sc