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Mutambara, Kwinjeh, Holland stopped from leaving Zimbabwe

By Violet Gonda
16 March 2007

Professor Arthur Mutambara the leader of one of the MDC factions was
detained at Harare International Airport Saturday. Maxwell Zimuto an
Information Officer with the Mutambara led MDC said the opposition leader
was about to fly to South Africa when he was stopped. It's been alleged that
he has been taken to Harare Central Police Station. Police refused to

Meanwhile senior officials from the Tsvangirai led MDC, Grace Kwinjeh and
Sekai Holland, who were brutalised in police detention and suffered serious
injuries, were also detained on Saturday. It is reported the two were
stopped at the airport as attempts were being made to send them to South
Africa for medical treatment. They had been taken to the airport by
ambulance from the Avenues Clinic where they were still receiving treatment.
They have been taken back to the clinic and are reportedly under police

Mutambara was one of the leaders of the opposition and civic groups, who
held a press conference as a united group in Harare on Friday. The
pro-democracy groups said they would continue with their defiance campaign
to force the Mugabe regime to accept the need for democratic reforms in
Zimbabwe, a new constitution and free and fair elections. This is the first
time since the split in 2005 that the two MDC factions have come together
and agreed to forge a united framework.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Zimbabwean opposition activists re-arrested

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: March 17, 2007

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa: Two Zimbabwean opposition activists who were
seeking medical treatment abroad after allegedly being beaten by police were
among three detained trying to leave the country Saturday, a party official

The African Union, meanwhile, called on Zimbabwe to respect its citizens'
human rights.

Arthur Mutambara, head of a faction of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, was arrested by police at Harare International Airport as
he was leaving for South Africa, said Roy Bennett, the movement's exiled

Also arrested in a separate incident were Grace Kwinje and Sekai Holland,
who were to receive specialized medical treatment in South Africa, he said.

"We are not sure why they were arrested. Tensions are very high," he said.

Tawanda Mutasah, director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern
Africa, said the two women, among the most severely injured when Zimbabwean
police broke up a protest gathering Sunday, were due to travel to
Johannesburg to receive specialist post-traumatic care.
He said the ambulance carrying the women from Harare's Avenues clinic to the
airport, where they were to leave in a medical rescue aircraft, was stopped
on the tarmac by officers from Zimbabwe's security forces.

The women's passports were taken and they were told they needed a clearance
certificate from the Department of Health. They were then instructed to go
to Harare's central police station but were later allowed to return to the
clinic under police guard.

"That the Zimbabwean government now resorts to arresting people in
ambulances in clear need of specialist care, is an indication of the
repressive lengths they're prepared to go," said Mutasah, adding that
lawyers for the women were trying to get a court order to allow them to
receive treatment.

Bennett also said that, according to reports from Harare, police took the
body of Gift Tandare, an activist shot dead by police, and performed their
own burial.

Tandare's father was forced to release his son's body into police custody
while family were preparing for the funeral, he said.

Zimbabwean police used tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition to crush
the March 11 gathering, and beat activists, including the main opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, during and after arrests, according to opposition

AU Commission chief Alpha Oumar Konare "has followed with great concern the
recent developments in Zimbabwe" and "recalls the need for the scrupulous
respect for human rights and democratic principles in Zimbabwe," the
53-nation bloc said in a statement.

African nations have been criticized for their failure to speak out against
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's treatment of the opposition.

Tsvangirai left the hospital Friday battered but defiant, pledging to
"soldier on until Zimbabwe is free." His supporters vowed to drive Mugabe
from office with a campaign of civil disobedience.

Mugabe warned his opponents against inciting unrest.

"If they do it again, we will bash them again," he said in an address to his
party's youth wing, state radio reported.

The latest violence has drawn new attention to a deteriorating situation in
the southern African country, where the increasingly autocratic Mugabe is
blamed by opponents for repression, corruption, acute food shortages and
inflation of 1,600 percent - the highest in the world.

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CIO seize Tandare's body

By Violet Gonda

17 March 2007

Robert Mugabe's notorious Central Intelligence Organisation allegedly
removed the body of the late Gift Tandare from a funeral parlour in Harare,
after forcing his father to sign a letter of consent. Alex Muchadehama the
lawyer representing the family said it was in clear violation of the family's
rights to bury their loved one as his wife, mother and other relatives were
unaware that the body had been taken.

The security forces have been playing politics with the deceased's family
causing confusion on the whereabouts of the body. The lawyer said there was
a burial order and the deceased was going to be buried on Monday at
Granville Cemetery. But early Saturday morning state agents "then forced the
father and the aunt to go to the Registrar of births and deaths to change
the burial order so that it would read that the burial is now going to take
place in Dotito in Mount Darwin." This is despite the fact that t he family
had originally wanted to bury Tandare at their rural home in Mount Darwin
but were forced to switch plans because of unrealistic demands by their
local Chief Kandeya. Initially the Chief had refused to allow Gift's family
to bury him at Mashanga village on Saturday, on the grounds that he was an
MDC activist. The chief later wanted four head of cattle as payment to allow
the deceased to be buried in his area.Tandare was an MDC and NCA activists
who was shot and killed in cold blood by police last Sunday, when violence
was used to block a gathering organised by the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

Muchadehama confirmed that he went to the funeral parlour on Saturday and
was told the body had been taken without the consent of Tandare's wife and
other close family members. "No one knew about it until we told them that as
far as Doves (funeral home) were concerned that was what had happened and
that the body had already been collected around about 9am today. And when we
went there immediately after 9am there was no body of the deceased at
 Doves." The lawyer said none of the family members had at the time of
broadcast been able to communicate with Tandare's father. He said: "If they
coaxed or forced someone to really go against their wishes to take the
deceased without any of the other relatives knowing it really means that the
police or whoever did it is out to force their will on the people." The
police have been playing politics with the deceased's family, since the
fatal shooting, in a complete sign of disrespect for the dead. Not content
with the murder of Tandare security forces descended on the Glen View home
of the deceased, on Tuesday and ordered all the mourners to lie down. They
then beat people severely, without any provocation and fired several random
shots, injuring two. One of the victims, Naison Mushamanaka, had been shot
in the arm the previous morning and received treatment and discharged. But
he was then shot again on Tuesday this time smashing his lower arm. He has
had an operation and is still in hospital. The family have instructed the
lawyer to seek an urgent court application to allow them to bury their loved
one as it's believed the police plan to bury Gift Tandare in Mount Darwin on

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


Earlier....From SW Radio Africa, 16 March

Tandare burial set for Monday in Harare

By Tichaona Sibanda

It has emerged that the late MDC activist Gift Tandare died from trauma
caused by excessive bleeding from a single gunshot wound, amid reports that
he will now be buried in Harare and not Mount Darwin. Tandare's elder
brother Stephen told Newsreel on Friday Gift's burial is now set for Monday
at Granville cemetery just outside Harare. He said they were forced to
switch plans for his younger brother's burial because of unrealistic demands
by Chief Kandeya from their home area in Mount Darwin. Initially the Chief
had refused to allow Gift's family to bury him at Mashanga village on
Saturday, on the grounds that he was an MDC activist. Now Chief Kandeya is
demanding four head of cattle as payment to allow the deceased to be buried
in his area. The elder Tandare feels it is against the family's principles
to pay a chief for the sake of burying his young brother.

'Instead the decision to bury Gift in Harare has been welcomed with joy as
everyone wanted to attend his burial. We've been humbled by the generosity
and assistance given to us by the MDC. I am sure we have made the right
decision,' said Stephen. He told us a pathologist's report stated that Gift
lost a lot of blood when he was fatally shot trying to scurry for cover in
an attempt to avoid a volley of bullets fired by the police. It is believed
police fired a high velocity weapon like an FN or AK assault rifle because
the bullet travelled through his body. 'The bullet entered through his right
arm went through his chest causing internal trauma as it ruptured vital
organs in his chest before exiting through his left arm. The way it has been
explained to me by those with a medical background is that he died instantly
and on the spot,' Stephen said. Those who have worked with Gift have praised
him for his 'incisive wit' and said he was a 'master of detail' when it came
to party activities. A well-known figure in Glen View, Tandare has been
described a remarkable activist, a man of rare vision, integrity and

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African Union greatly concerned over human rights in Zimbabwe

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: March 17, 2007

NAIROBI, Kenya: The African Union on Saturday called on Zimbabwe to respect
human rights in the country, after a violent crackdown on political

AU commission chief Alpha Oumar Konare "has followed with great concern the
recent developments in Zimbabwe" and "recalls the need for the scrupulous
respect for human rights and democratic principles in Zimbabwe," the
53-nation bloc AU said.

"He urges all concerned parties to commence a sincere and constructive
dialogue in order to resolve the problems facing Zimbabwe."

Zimbabwean police broke up a weekend opposition meeting and reportedly
savagely beat members of the country's political opposition, including the
main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, during and after arrests.

Tsvangirai, head of the Movement for Democratic Change, left the hospital
Friday battered but defiant, pledging to "soldier on until Zimbabwe is
free," and his supporters vowed to drive President Robert Mugabe from office
with a campaign of civil disobedience.

Mugabe warned his opponents against inciting unrest.
"If they do it again, we will bash them again," he said in an address to his
party's youth wing, state radio reported.

The latest violence has drawn new attention to a deteriorating situation in
the southern African country, where an increasingly autocratic Mugabe is
blamed by opponents for repression, corruption, acute food shortages and
inflation of 1,600 percent - the highest in the world.

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Pressure for Zimbabwe change

Saturday, 17 March 2007, 12:13 GMT
President Mugabe said Western critics of his rule could "go hang" after they blamed him for the mistreatment of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Observers are now asking if this week's events could lead to real change in Zimbabwe.

As BBC News is banned from reporting inside Zimbabwe, Peter Biles has been following developments from Johannesburg:

Morgan Tsvangirai
Morgan Tsvangirai was prepared for a brutal response from the state

A week ago, we sat in the ballroom of a luxury hotel in Johannesburg. It was the annual dinner of the Foreign Correspondents' Association, and almost everyone from our Southern Africa press corps was there.

For the guest of honour was Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change.

Over the course of an hour or so, he gave us his assessment of the current situation in Zimbabwe.

There was a need, he said, to confront Robert Mugabe's dictatorship on the streets. Mr Tsvangirai made it clear he was prepared for a brutal response from the state, for the banning of meetings, and for arrests.

"We've been to jail in the past," he pointed out.

Less than 48 hours later, Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of other activists were once again in police custody. And they were severely beaten in the process.

The man who limped into court in Harare on Monday, with a serious head injury and his face heavily swollen, looked nothing like the confident figure who had sparred with the press, here in Johannesburg, a couple of days earlier.

Shocking picture

Sekai Holland in hospital
Sixty-four-year-old Sekai Holland suffered a fractured arm, leg and ribs

As the battered MDC activists were treated in hospital, one of our local papers published a truly shocking picture on its front page, of Sekai Holland, a founding member of the Zimbabwean opposition.

She is a roving ambassador for the MDC and I have met her on numerous occasions at international gatherings.

This week's photograph - captioned "Mugabe's Dirty Work" - showed Sekai Holland lying in her hospital bed with her nightdress pulled up, to reveal massive bruising on her thighs.

Her arm was in plaster and her eyes closed. She looked unconscious.

It is thought she was beaten more severely because she was originally a member of the ruling party - Zanu PF - and defected to the MDC.

These are, of course, images that the Zimbabwean government would prefer the world not to see. The authorities have made it as difficult as possible for us to report on Zimbabwe in recent years.

Mugabe's 'axis of evil'

I last went to Harare in the winter of 2001, just a few weeks before BBC News was officially barred from entering the country.

We had gone to report on the death of the man known as Chenjerai "Hitler" Hunzvi, the leader of the War Veterans' Association who had led the seizure of white-owned farms a year earlier.

He had died suddenly and was given a funeral at Heroes' Acre in Harare.

It was the day after Tony Blair's first re-election as prime minister, and President Mugabe used the occasion to rant about his axis of evil: Britain, Blair and the BBC.

It may take a lot more than opposition protests before Zimbabwe enters the post-Mugabe era
A while later, we found ourselves reporting from one of the most beautiful places in the country: the Mana Pools National Park, on the banks of the Zambezi.

Here, at least, one could quietly forget about Zimbabwe's woes and enjoy a rare event: a total eclipse of the sun.

But the recent death of "Hitler" Hunzvi was still on my mind and I asked the white safari operator what the reaction of local white farmers had been when they had first heard the news.

His response was entirely predictable: "Jeez, man, we finished the beers before lunch that day."

These days, there is not much to laugh about in Zimbabwe.

The nation is on its knees. Inflation is running at 1,700%. There is said to be 80% unemployment, and most people are unable to buy even the most basic goods.

The state health service has collapsed. Doctors and nurses have been on strike and people are leaving the country in huge numbers.

Many Zimbabweans end up here in South Africa.

There are thought to be about three million of them. And that is not good news for the government in Pretoria.

No country can satisfactorily absorb an influx on this scale.

Border crossing

A few months back, I watched the daily routine on the South Africa-Zimbabwe border at Beit Bridge.

Desperate Zimbabweans swim the crocodile-infested Limpopo River and then worm their way under the border fence, before crossing nearby game farms.

Map of Zimbabwe and South Africa

If they get caught by the police, they are sent back to Zimbabwe immediately. If not, they gravitate towards the big cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg.

After the violent attacks on the opposition in Zimbabwe, the South African government has at last spoken out about the crisis, calling on the Zimbabwean authorities to respect the rule of law.

The statement from Zimbabwe's most powerful neighbour was long overdue.

But South Africa is treading carefully. It does not want to trigger an even bigger exodus of Zimbabweans.

And whether Robert Mugabe is listening is another matter.

He is set on remaining in power, while those closest to him in the ruling party bicker about how to manage the succession.

The problem is that no-one can reliably predict whether this is the beginning of the end-game for President Mugabe, after 27 years in power.

The security forces remain loyal to him, and it may take a lot more than opposition protests before Zimbabwe enters the post-Mugabe era.

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Tension rising in Zimbabwe

The Washington Times

United Press International

Published: Mar. 17, 2007 at 7:39 AM

The restive Zimbabwean city of Harare was being patrolled by "fully armed"
police Saturday under orders of President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe said on the radio Friday he had ordered police to carry guns, The
Times of London said Saturday. A curfew was invoked in sections of Harare
between 8 p.m. and dawn and there were reports the unrest had spread to

Mugabe, 83, who has ruled Zimbabwe for 23 years, also threatened to expel
Western diplomats who support the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition leaders injured in confrontations
with police this week gathered Friday in what they called the start of "the
final stage of the final push" to force Mugabe from office.

"We are going to do it by democratic means, by being arrested, beaten, but
we are going to do it," said Arthur Mutambara, leader of a dissident MDC
faction. "We are continuing with defiance in spite of what Robert Mugabe
says. We are talking about rebellion; war."

He left it unclear whether that meant MDC would end its commitment to

"You can do your own interpretation," he said. "Mugabe is fighting against
his own people. Already there is violence."

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Zimbabwe's President Mugabe Warns Opposition Against Further Unrest


By VOA News
17 March 2007

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has warned opposition supporters against
further acts of unrest.

Speaking on state-run radio earlier Saturday, Mr. Mugabe accused members of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change of attacking police during a
rally last week.  He said police will be armed and prepared to act in the
event of further unrest.

Last Sunday, police broke up an opposition gathering in the capital, Harare.
Several opposition leaders say they were brutally beaten, including MDC
party head Morgan Tsvangirai.  He was released from a hospital in Harare
Friday after treatment for head injuries.

African Union chairman Alpha Oumar Konare issued a statement today calling
on Zimbabwe to show respect for human rights.

Opposition groups have vowed to continue fighting the Mugabe government
until democratic change comes to Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe also has accused Western diplomats in Zimbabwe of funding
his political opponents and has threatened to deport any diplomat found
attending an opposition gathering.

Officials in Britain, Australia and the United States are calling for
increased sanctions in response to the crackdown, and have threatened to
take the issue before the United Nations Human Rights Council.  London also
is pressing the U.N. Security Council to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.
However, South Africa, which holds the Council presidency, opposes the move.

Zimbabwe's citizens are coping with an economic crisis marked by food
shortages and 1,700 percent inflation.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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Sheltered by a cone of silence

Hamilton Spectator, Canada

By Kevin Cavanagh
The Hamilton Spectator
(Mar 17, 2007)
Robert Mugabe, the disgrace of Africa, says he'll seek another six-year term
as president of Zimbabwe. His odds of winning are pretty good.

Earlier this week, Mugabe's police shot one man dead and wounded many others
at a rally of church and civic groups calling for political change. His
goons savagely beat political opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the brave
soul who persists in being a martyr for freedom in a viscous landscape.

This is the same Mugabe who, in 1987, urged Canada's prime minister Brian
Mulroney to step up efforts to topple "immoral" apartheid.

Perhaps the most painful legacy of Mugabe is the knowledge of what might
have been. Most Zimbabweans will never be beaten or shot by his cops, but
they pay the price for how he has taken one of Africa's wealthiest countries
and, through corruption and obduracy, created ruin and chaos.

In 1980, after helping free Rhodesia from white minority rule, Mugabe became
prime minister of the newly independent Zimbabwe -- ironically through fair
and free elections. Since then he has raped democracy by declaring himself
president; scrapping a two-level legislature for a one-chamber "parliament";
rigging elections; shutting down a free press; and grinding the country's
industrial sector to bits by using lucrative senior positions as graft for
incompetent political or tribal cronies.

With his controversial land redistribution scheme in 2000, whites had their
farms taken away in the name of justice and given to "war veterans" from
Mugabe's Zanu party. Agricultural production has collapsed.

Once-thriving Zimbabwe is now a land of food shortages; 80-per-cent
unemployment; inflation of at least 1,700 per cent; tragic infant mortality;
and people fleeing or living in desperation.

It's no mystery that history will remember Mugabe as a thug, not a
liberator. What's puzzling is the abdication of Africa's leaders.

Canada and other Commonwealth members have kicked Mugabe out of that
organization, and many countries have imposed tough sanctions.

But such gestures will not improve life for Zimbabweans. Mugabe conveniently
dismisses Western critics as immoral imperialists. He will only feel
pressured when he is aggressively accosted by his own neighbours.

A generation after apartheid was expunged -- helped by a campaign in which
Canada had a vocal role -- Africa's presidents find it easy to look away as
Mugabe crushes the innocent. Their silence is deadly.

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Mugabe 'responsible for beatings' - Beckett

From correspondents in London

March 18, 2007 06:19am

Article from: Agence France-Presse
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ZIMBABWE's President Robert Mugabe is responsible for the beatings of
opposition leaders because he has made it clear it is a "deliberate act of
policy," Britain's Foreign Secretary has charged.

"One can only hold him responsible," Margaret Beckett said in an interview
recorded for BBC television today (AEDT) when asked if she held him
personally responsible for the violence.

"He is in charge of the government," Ms Beckett said on BBC1's Politics

"He has made it very clear that this is a deliberate act of policy on the
part of the government of Zimbabwe and that he is indifferent to the real, I
think horror, that is felt right across the international community," she

Ms Beckett said Britain and its allies were "pressing very hard" for action
to be taken in the UN Human Rights Council.

"This is a new body, fairly recently set up, this is one of its first major
tests and there's general agreement that that is the right place to call for
action against the government of Robert Mugabe," she said.

"So that is what we are doing," she said.

Ms Beckett is also calling for a tightening of sanctions the European Union
slapped on Mugabe and his coterie after he won elections in 2002 which the
opposition insists were rigged.

The travel ban and also an assets freeze extend to anyone who has "taken
part in activities which seriously endangered democracy, respect for human
rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe," she said.

Those measures cover some 130 people, including Mugabe, his current and
former cabinets and leaders of his ruling Zanu-PF party.

She repeated earlier remarks that people directly involved in the violence
against opposition leaders must be properly identified to see whether they
are already on the list of people targeted for sanctions.

"We'll be talking to other EU colleagues about how we can strengthen the
EU's targeted bans," she said.

Pressure has mounted on Mr Mugabe since police crushed an opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rally in Harare last Sunday.

Its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and other opposition activists were arrested
for defying a police ban and then beaten while in police custody.

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CIO kidnap Gift Tandare's body from funeral parlour

By Zvakwana

LAST Sunday, during the the violent clamp-down on civic and political
attendance at a "Save Zimbabwe" prayer meeting, a young man was murdered in
cold blood by the Zimbabwe police.

This young man, Gift Tandare, was a popular member of the Movement for
Democractic Change. He is left by a wife and young children, toddlers age.
One has to wonder how this young family will survive under Robert Mugabe's
nasty dictatorship where most people are now dependent on food distibuted by
zanupf. If you are not a member of zanupf, you starve.

Gift was a peace-loving man and he was in the process of reclaiming his
right to attend a prayer gathering to pray for freedom and democracy in the
country he loved so much.

In death, there is still no peace. Zanupf continue to hound his family as
they greave. This week, the police took pot shots, with live ammunition, at
mourners who had come to pay their final respects to Gift's family.

In Zimbabwe, it is usual to bury the dead at their rural home so that they
can join their ancestors. In Gift's case, the local chief was pressured by
Mugabe's regime into denying Gift's family the right to be bury their loved
one in the earth of his ancestors. The reaction from his extended family was
to tell the chief to go to hell and they proceeded with preparations for

This morning, on hearing this, the Zimbabwe regime have sent in their
ruthless Central Intelligence organisation (CIO), armed to the teeth. Under
the command of a man named CHOTO, they have kidnapped the body of the late
Gift Tandare, at gun point, from the funeral parlour. This is illegal and a
violation of the rights of the family to bury their beloved son, husband and
father. The CIO said they were taking his body to Urungwe, many miles away,
for burial.

The actions taken by Zimbabwe regime over this last week must highlight to
the world how evil they really are. Kidnapping a body from a greaving
family - how much lower can they get?

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Triesman condemns further arrests in Zimbabwe

Saturday 17 March 2007 19:59
Foreign and Commonwealth Office (National)

Commenting on arrests in Zimbabwe, Minister for Africa Lord Triesman said:

"I deplore the current situation in Zimbabwe. Reports of further arrests of
MDC opposition members, including Arthur Mutumbara, show the extent of Mr
Mugabe's contempt for his own people. Reports of a victim of last week's
brutal police action being buried against their family's will reinforce the
fact that Mugabe and his Government have abandoned any pretence of decency.

"The international community will hold the Government of Zimbabwe
responsible for the treatment of those detained, and I call for their
immediate release.

"We will continue to press very strongly for the UN Human Rights Council to
act on this appalling situation."

Press Office, Downing Street (West), London SW1A 2AL

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