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Zimbabwe summons, threatens to expel Western envoys

Reuters

Mon Mar 19, 2007 1:27PM EDT

HARARE, March 19 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's embattled government on Monday
summoned and threatened to expel Western ambassadors it accuses of backing
an opposition drive to oust President Robert Mugabe from power.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told Zimbabwe state
television (ZTV) that he had warned envoys accredited to Harare that
Mugabe's government would not hesitate to boot out those who support
opposition politics.

"I summoned the ambassadors, and I told them that Zimbabwe will not allow
any interference in its internal affairs and that those who are going to
continue funding and supporting this programme to will be expelled," he said
during a ZTV news bulletin in the local Shona language.

Mumbengegwi did not identify any ambassador or country by name. But over the
past week, Mugabe and his officials have accused Zimbabwe's former colonial
power Britain, the United States, Australia and Sweden of sponsoring a new
campaign by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
overthrow the government through street protests.

MDC head Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of other party activists say they were
savagely beaten in police custody last after being arrested for defying a
ban on rallies.

Images of their battered faces prompted a wave of international criticism
against Mugabe's government, which is already facing its worst economic
crisis in decades.

But a defiant Mugabe told his Western critics "to go hang" and ordered
Mumbengegwi to "read the riot act" to Western ambassadors in the southern
African country.

"If they continue to do what they did, go supporting the MDC in that overt
manner and do politics in this country, aligning with political forces ...
they will certainly go," Mugabe said last week .

Western diplomats in Harare deny they are involved in opposition politics,
but say they are concerned about rights abuses by Mugabe's government which
the head of the African Union said last week were an embarrassment to the
continent.


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Dell walks out of meeting as Mumbengegwi reads riot act

zimbabwejournalists.com

19th Mar 2007 19:00 GMT

By a Correspondent

HARARE - The United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, who
since his arrival in Zimbabwe has been so outspoken against Zimbabwe's human
rights record, walked out of a meeting in which Foreign Affairs Minister,
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi read the riot act to diplomats and threatened to
expel those who support the opposition MDC.

Diplomatic sources in Harare say Dell, who has been at the receiving end of
the Zanu PF government over his comments on the political situation in the
country, walked out after the foreign minister refused to take questions.

President Robert Mugabe, under pressure from the international community
over the arrests, assaults and alleged torture of opposition leaders,
including Morgan Tsvangirai, said Friday he would expel all those giving
support to the MDC.

He said he was surprised that the international community was only looking
at one side of the story, castigating his government for trying to maintain
law and order.

Mugabe blames the opposition for the violence but they in turn accuse the
government of Zimbabwe for using excessive force and even going as far as
using live ammunition to disperse crowds. This resulted in the killing of
Gift Tandare, an opposition activist who has since been buried in his home
area of Mt Darwin.

Furthermore, the government blocked injured and ailing MDC officials, Grace
Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland from leaving the country to seek medical help in
South Africa raising more international condemnation from the United States
and others.

This was followed by a savage attack on MDC spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa,
who is said to be fighting for his life after being beaten up on his way to
the Harare International Airport. Mumbengegwi did not want to be questioned
on this or any other matter by the diplomats.
He told the diplomats Monday the Zimbabwe government would expel them if
they gave financial or diplomatic support to government opponents.

The AP news agency reports that pressuring diplomats would make it even
harder for the international community to keep tabs on a government accused
of repressing its people and ruining its economy. The Zimbabwean government
prevented opponents from leaving the country over the weekend and has long
severely restricted the press.

The foreign minister, acting on instructions from President Robert Mugabe,
told the Western diplomats that the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic
behavior prohibited foreign embassies from involving themselves in the
internal affairs of the host nation.
He said Zimbabwe would not hesitate to use provisions allowing them to expel
diplomats.

The foreign minister also said they had gone too far, accusing them of
offering food and water to opposition activists jailed last week.
Government opponents said Monday that the government forced the family of an
opposition militant shot dead last week by police to bury him at their rural
home to avoid demonstrations at a planned ceremony in the capital.

The government insisted, however, that Gift Tandare -- killed as police
disbanded a prayer meeting organized by Zimbabwe's political opposition --
was buried in the countryside at the family's request and that the state
assisted with the funeral arrangements and expenses.

Opposition spokesman Eliphas Mokunoweshure called the government explanation
"nonsense."

Members of the opposition said the Tandare family was coerced by state
intelligence agents into holding the funeral in the Mount Darwin district,
95 miles northeast of Harare.

State television said most of the funeral expenses were paid by the ruling
party lawmaker for Mount Darwin, Saviour Kasukuwere, a wealthy businessman.
It denied Tandare's body had been seized from a funeral home.

Hundreds of mourners and democracy activists have gathered at Tandare's home
in the Harare township of Glen View since his death March 11 when police
crushed the prayer meeting. On March 13, police tried to quell mourners
blocking streets and beating drums around Tandare's home in the township, an
opposition stronghold. Two were injured by police gunfire.

Commenting on Chamisa's assault Sunday, the MDC appealed to Belgium to deny
government delegates entry to the EU-AU Brussels meeting which the
opposition spokesperson was going to attend.

Glenys Kinnock, chairwoman of the European Union delegation to the Brussels
meeting, said three lower level officials of Zimbabwe's ruling party were
expected in Brussels later Monday for the meeting. They were not on a travel
ban list of top officials drawn up to punish Zimbabwe for its human rights
record, but would be allowed only to attend meeting sessions, not to enter
EU parliament premises.

The violence in Zimbabwe "will have an enormous negative impact on the
meetings," Kinnock said, adding it was "completely unacceptable" for the
government delegation to have proceeded to Belgium knowing Chamisa had been
beaten.

Commenting on why the police had stopped Kwinjeh and Holland from travelling
Saturday to South Africa, Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said they were
prevented from leaving because a court case was pending against the
activists on accusations of incitement to violence.

Mugabe accused the opposition of being terrorists supported by Britain and
the West, and Tsvangirai said the crisis in Zimbabwe had reached a "tipping
point."

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.

Mugabe, 83, has rejected the international condemnation following the
arrests and alleged beating. The president accused the opposition party of
resorting to violence sponsored by former colonial power Britain and other
Western allies to oust his government, a newspaper reported Sunday.

"We have given too much room to mischief-makers and shameless stooges of the
West. Let them and their masters know that we shall brook none of their
lawless behaviour," Mugabe was quoted as saying in the state Sunday Mail.

Additional reporting by AP


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'Police paid to assault Tsvangirai'

Mail and Guardian

Christopher Dube and Vuyo Sokupa

18 March 2007 11:59

Zimbabwean government officials allegedly made payments of
Z$1,1-million (R100), or the equivalent of a month's salary, to each of the
policemen who assaulted Morgan Tsvangirai, Lovemore Madhuku and other
opposition supporters at a meeting in Harare last week.

Tendai Biti, secretary general of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said an MDC member overheard a police officer at a
police station saying he was going to receive the allowance for the assault
job he had done.

Biti said the assault on Tsvangirai, who sustained a fractured
skull and was in intensive care in a Harare hospital this week, as well as
on other MDC leaders Sekai Holland, Grace Kwinje and Madhuku, was
perpetrated "with the intention to murder".

It was three decades ago that Robert Mugabe first voiced the
philosophy of violence as a guarantor of power, saying at the height of the
bush war against Ian Smith's government: "The gun which produces the vote
should remain its security officer -- its guarantor."

Three decades later, Gift Tandare, youth chairperson of the
National Constitutional Assembly for Glenview suburb in Harare, became the
most recent victim of the gun.

On Tuesday police shot two activists who were attending Tandare's
wake.

The current killing is part of a broader pattern that goes back
to the Mugabe regime's halcyon days following independence. In 1980, members
of the opposition Zimbabwean African People's Union (Zapu), led by Mugabe's
long-time rival Joshua Nkomo, started committing random acts of terror in
the western and southern provinces of Zimbabwe. Resentful that he remained
unpopular in the area, Mugabe's response to the threat was vastly
disproportionate in the following years.

He sent in the 5th brigade --trained by North Korean
instructors -- in 1983 to conduct an operation that eventually claimed the
lives of at least 20 000 civilians, most of them Ndebele. Perence Shiri, who
headed the unit, reported directly to Mugabe, circumventing General Solomon
Mujuru, then the commander of the armed forces.

When Roman Catholic Church activists and other concerned
citizens accused Mugabe of terrorising villagers, he shot back by warning a
gathering in rural Matabeleland: "We have to deal with this problem quite
ruthlessly. Don't cry if your relatives get killed in the process ... Where
men and women provide food for the dissidents, when we get there we
eradicate them," emphasising that his army would not differentiate between
dissidents and civilians.

In a 1982 speech to Parliament Mugabe warned that "some of the
measures [against the dissidents and the villagers he accused of supporting
them] we shall take are measures which shall be extra-legal ... an eye for
an eye and ear for an ear may not be adequate in our circumstances. We might
very well demand two ears for one ear and two eyes for one eye."

Much later, in December 2000, when the MDC was to emerge as the
first real challenge to his rule, he told a Zanu-PF conference: "We must
continue to strike fear into the heart of the white man. The white man must
tremble." Subsequent to this, white farmers and their workers were
terrorised, assaulted and sometimes killed.

Responding to the current repression, John Makumbe, a political
scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, told Zimonline: "What this
harassment does is that it will invigorate people to be even more daring in
their actions against the government."

Zimonline reports that Mugabe is considering declaring a state
of emergency in the coming month if the tensions do not subside.

The women left behind
"Its not fair, its not fair," is all that Gift Tandare's
grief-stricken widow could say on SAfm this week when asked to comment on
the death of her husband.

She joins a list of other widows, including: Adella Chiminya,
the wife of Tichaona Chiminya, Morgan Tsvangirai's personal assistant, who
was petrol-bombed to death; Kathy Olds, the wife of slain farmer Martin
Olds; Mary Stevens, wife of David Stevens; and scores of others who have
been killed by pro-Mugabe thugs far from the glare of the media.

Tandare lived in Glenview, Harare, and was chairperson of his
suburb's branch of the National Constitutional Assembly. He leaves three
children, all in primary school. -- M&G reporter


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Zimbabwe bars arrested opposition members from leaving

Reuters

Mon Mar 19, 2007 5:56 PM GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and others
arrested for defying a government ban on rallies will be blocked from
leaving the country until they appear in court, a police spokesman said on
Monday.

The police statement came as President Robert Mugabe's government came in
for fresh criticism after Tsvangirai's chief spokesman Nelson Chamisa was
assaulted and badly injured by a gang at Harare airport on Sunday, forcing
him to abandon a trip to Brussels.

At least three other activists for the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) said they were also prevented from leaving the airport over the
weekend, heightening political tensions in the crisis-racked African
country.

Tsvangirai, Chamisa and dozens of other MDC activists face charges of public
violence after they were arrested on March 12 outside a prayer meeting
forbidden under a new government ban on political rallies.

The MDC chief and many others say they were savagely beaten in police
custody, and images of their battered faces prompted a wave of international
criticism of Mugabe's government which is already facing its worst economic
crisis in decades.

Tsvangirai, who suffered a suspected fractured skull, left a hospital in
Harare on Friday. A court hearing on their case last week was cancelled and
a new date has not been set.

"The case is still pending and they have to appear in court first," police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told Reuters.

"I understand the dockets are ready so the case should proceed anytime."

On Saturday two opposition officials were stopped at Harare's airport on
their way to seek medical treatment in South Africa.

Arthur Mutambara, who leads a smaller MDC faction, was arrested as he
attempted to travel to Zimbabwe's southern neighbour on the same day and his
lawyers went to court on Monday to challenge his continued detention.

CRACKDOWN

MDC officials also said unknown men beat Chamisa, an MDC legislator and
Tsvangirai's chief spokesman, on Sunday, one week after police launched
their latest crackdown.

Mugabe, 83 and Zimbabwe's sole leader since independence from Britain in
1980, has come in for a wave of international criticism over the treatment
of the opposition leaders, who have long accused him of draconian political
policies and severe economic mismanagement.

Once southern Africa's bread basket, Zimbabwe now suffers from inflation of
more than 1,700 percent, frequent food and fuel shortages and unemployment
of about 80 percent.

Zimbabwe's official Herald newspaper on Monday denied reports by a private
weekly that state security agents had seized the body of an MDC activist
killed by police during violent clashes in a Harare township.

The body had been collected by the dead man's father and the government had
helped the family with the burial at his rural home in line with traditional
custom, it said.

Zimbabwean officials have warned that police would react forcefully if the
opposition tried any "monkey games" and Mugabe has been defiant in the face
of threats from the United States and others to tighten sanctions on his
government.

Tsvangirai, however, vowed last week to continue fighting to end Mugabe's
27-year rule, adding that democratic changes were in sight.

Defence lawyers have argued that the recent police crackdown was illegal and
that Tsvangirai and other opposition members should remain free until they
were charged. The charges they face usually lead to fines rather than jail.

State prosecutors were not available for comment on Monday.

(


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Zimbabwe court orders release of leader of opposition faction leader Mutambara

iii.co.uk

HARARE (AFX) - A court in the Zimbabwean capital Harare has ordered the
release of Arthur Mutambara, the leader of a breakaway faction of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Judge Tendai Uchena said he had been left with "no option but to grant a
default judgement" for Mutambara to be freed after it emerged his arrest had
not been carried out with the agreement of the attorney general's office.

Police had said they arrested Mutambara at Harare airport on Saturday on
charges of inciting public violence. The police failed to turn up for the
hearing at the high court in Harare.

Mutambura had also been arrested on March 11 alongside the main MDC leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and dozens of other activists, who were severely beaten as
they tried to stage an anti-government rally.

Sanders Maphosa, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said he was
"not sure why police had arrested Mutambara for the second time as the AG
(attorney general) had advised police to abide by the (earlier) court
order."

Mutambura's lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who applied for his arrest to be
declared unlawful, said the police had acted in "complete disdain" for the
court order.

"The police do not believe they are bound by the court. Police are showing a
complete disregard of the (legal) process," she said.

Mutambara himself was not in court and it was not known if or when he would
be released from custody.

MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, who was prevented from leaving the country on
yesterdayday when he was beaten up by unidentified assailants, sustaining
serious head injuries, is still in hospital under police guard.

"We feared that his eye would be removed but the doctor has advised us that
it can be fixed. However our only major concern is that his kidneys have
been ruptured," spokesman William Bango said. newsdesk@afxnews.com afp/jsa


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EU lawmaker demands ban on Zimbabwean officials

Reuters

Mon 19 Mar 2007 17:32:32 BST

BRUSSELS, March 19 (Reuters) - Officials of Zimbabwe's ruling party should
be banned from planned meetings in Brussels this week, a senior European
Union lawmaker said after a series of arrests and attacks on opposition
officials in Harare.

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's chief spokesman Nelson
Chamisa was assaulted and badly injured by a gang at Harare airport on
Sunday, preventing him from flying to Brussels for meetings of EU and ACP
(African, Caribbean and Pacific) lawmakers and officials.

"It is clear that the participation of ZANU-PF delegates in the ACP-EU
meeting would send a terrible signal," Glenys Kinnock, co-chair of the
EU-ACP parliamentary assembly said.

"We owe it to Nelson to take a strong and unequivocal position at this
critical time for the people of Zimbabwe," she said in a statement.

Images of Tsvangirai going to hospital last week, battered and limping after
being arrested when trying to attend a banned political rally, fuelled
widespread outrage and threats to tighten sanctions against President Robert
Mugabe and leading officials.

Kinnock called on the small group of EU and ACP lawmakers chairing the joint
assembly to decide on Tuesday to ban ZANU-PF officials from attending
meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

"At the same time, the EU must also work to strengthen existing sanctions on
Zimbabwe and impose new, effective targeted personal sanctions against
ZANU-PF and its business associates," she said.

The 27-nation EU last month extended for a further year its sanctions on
Zimbabwe, including an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe
and other top officials.


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ZanuPF MPs en route to Brussels via London

The Zimbabwean

(18-03-07)
At about 1.00pm today (Sunday 18th March) the following MPs from Mugabe's
ruling party ZANU-PF were seen leaving Harare Airport on an Air Zimbabwe
flight bound for London (arriving at 10pm).

Forbes Magadu, Senator for Chitungwiza

Walter Mzembi, the MP for Masvingo South

Enita Maziriri, the MP for Chivi North

Edward Chindori-Chininga, the MP for Guruve

Nelson Chamisa MP for Kuwadzana for the opposition MDC was attacked when en
route to the airport to attend the same ACP-EU meeting of parliamentarians.

Following the early morning attack on Hon Nelson Chamisa while o his way to
the airport to catch a flight to Belgium for the ACP-EU normal round of
parliamentary consultations, we are told police have moved into his
Kuwadzana constituency, west of Harare, and sealed off the impoverished
suburb. Church services were disrupted; flea markets forced to close ad
ordinary people ordered to remain in doors. Several MDC activists in the
area are being targeted for routine beatings.

Initial reports indicate that his skull has been cracked, his eyes smashed,
his bags looted and seized, he is in a critical condition. Chamisa's trip is
part of a regular parliamentary, government business and was known to the
authorities for long before today's attack. Last week, Chamisa was attacked
together with Morgan Tsvangirai and many other senior officials in
Highfield. He was hospitalised for four days following a brain concussion
and other injuries.


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Reports say Angola to deploy 3000 police militia to help Zimbabwe police



By Lance Guma

19 March 2007.

Details of a public order and security agreement between the government of
Zimbabwe and Angola last week remain shrouded in mystery. Online news
website Talk Zimbabwe.com reports that Angola will send 3000 of its
notorious police militia within weeks to 'boost the Zimbabwe Republic Police
force which has suffered massive desertions in the past few years.' The
website says 'the MPLA government has a powerful police militia that is used
to quell local disorder,' and that the same militia was used in Angola's
civil war and have a reputation for brutal tactics.

The state media in Zimbabwe did not report on this part of the story. A ZBC
Newsnet story confirmed that General Roberto Leal Ramos Montero, Angola's
home affairs minister, signed a cooperation agreement with his counterpart
Kembo Mohadi that would help to 'reduce criminal activity.' Newsnet quoted
Mohadi saying 'the agreement will curb leakages of precious minerals and
human trafficking, among other crimes.' Also present at the signing ceremony
was the deputy minister of home affairs Obert Matshalaga, permanent
secretary Melusi Matshiya, and commissioner of police Augustine Chihuri.

Talk Zimbabwe.com however say Monteiro, in announcing his sympathy for
Zimbabwean police, pledged to supply over 3000 police militia, 'to help with
quelling violence and maintaining law and order in Zimbabwe.' His pledge was
made during a closed-door ceremony which Talk Zimbabwe.com say they had
access to. Analysts have also pointed out that even if the militia are not
immediately deployed, the deal effectively puts them at Mugabe's disposal
should he ever need them. There is also further speculation that Mugabe
might be trying to counter the influence retired General Solomon Mujuru has
in the army and that by bringing in foreign security forces he has a back up
unit.

Talk Zimbabwe.com quotes Monteiro as saying the police should use
appropriate measures to contain cases of violence in order to maintain peace
and security and that 'the Angolan government will help Zimbabwe in this
endeavour.' The website says he also gave indications his government could
deploy their best-trained police militia in Zimbabwe as early as this week
to help contain growing unrest. 'Angola will do everything in its power to
help the Zimbabwean police force and will not allow Western imperialism to
take over Zimbabwe,' Monteiro said adding, 'President Robert Mugabe and I
have agreed on a law and order maintenance agreement that will see Angolan
police helping with the situation in the country.'

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news


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Zimbabwe Says It Buried Slain Militant

The Guardian

Monday March 19, 2007 3:31 PM

By ANGUS SHAW

Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Government opponents said Monday the family of an
opposition militant killed by police was forced to bury him at their rural
home because the administration feared demonstrations at a planned ceremony
in the capital.

The U.S. ambassador, meanwhile, suggested there was a split in Zimbabwe's
security forces, with police reluctant to carry out a crackdown on the
opposition and President Robert Mugabe relying on youth militias and agents
from the feared Central Intelligence Organization.

The government insisted that demonstrator Gift Tandare - killed as police
disbanded a prayer meeting organized by Zimbabwe's political opposition -
was buried in the countryside at the family's request and that the state
assisted with the funeral arrangements and expenses.

Opposition spokesman Eliphas Mokunoweshure called the government explanation
``nonsense.''

Members of the opposition said the Tandare family was coerced by CIO agents
into holding the funeral in the Mount Darwin district, 95 miles northeast of
Harare.

State television said most of the funeral expenses were paid by the ruling
party lawmaker for Mount Darwin, Saviour Kasukuwere, a wealthy businessman.
It denied Tandare's body had been seized from a funeral home.

Hundreds of mourners and democracy activists have gathered at Tandare's home
in the Harare township of Glen View since his death March 11 when police
crushed the prayer meeting. On March 13, police tried to quell mourners
blocking streets and beating drums around Tandare's home in the township, an
opposition stronghold. Two were injured by police gunfire.

Nelson Chamisa, aide to the main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, was
assaulted at Harare International Airport by state agents using iron bars on
Sunday as he was leaving to attend an international meeting in Brussels,
Belgium, members of the Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change said.

The alleged assault follows the re-arrests at the airport Saturday of three
opposition activists, who were allegedly assaulted along with Tsvangirai and
Chamisa when police broke up the March 11 prayer meeting.

Grace Kwinje and Sekai Holland, among the most severely injured March 11,
were prevented from boarding an air ambulance to receive medical care in
South Africa, and Arthur Mutambara, leader of an opposition faction, was
later arrested at the airport.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said a court case was pending against the
activists on accusations of incitement to violence.

Mugabe accused the opposition of being terrorists supported by Britain and
the West, and Tsvangirai said the crisis in Zimbabwe had reached a ``tipping
point.''

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.

Mugabe, 83, has rejected the international condemnation following the
arrests and alleged beating. The president accused the opposition party of
resorting to violence sponsored by former colonial power Britain and other
Western allies to oust his government, a newspaper reported Sunday.

``We have given too much room to mischief-makers and shameless stooges of
the West. Let them and their masters know that we shall brook none of their
lawless behavior,'' Mugabe was quoted as saying in the state Sunday Mail.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Dell told the British Broadcasting Corp. that
Mugabe last week spoke to the youth movement of his party and authorized it
to use any means available against the opposition.

``What we believe is that we're witnessing a major split inside the security
forces, where the regular police, the real police, the professional police
of Zimbabwe, are reluctant to carry out such orders, and therefore the
regime is increasingly relying on youth militias and special agents from
their Central Intelligence Organization, the CIO of Zimbabwe,'' Dell said.

``And I'm certain that the people of Zimbabwe, when the time comes, will
ultimately hold him accountable for comments like that and his
responsibility for the, for unleashing this violence over the last week,''
he said.


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"People can't afford to live but they also can't afford to die"

Zimbabwejournalists.com

19th Mar 2007 08:59 GMT

By a Correspondent

"People cannot even travel to the door of the hospital." Listening to these
shocking words on Radio Scotland today many more Scottish people will have
been alerted to the appalling humanitarian situation of most ordinary
Zimbabweans today.

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were warmly welcomed when
they spoke in Glasgow and at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in a very
brief but packed visit to Scotland this week.

Their purpose during their visits outside Zimbabwe is not just to raise
awareness by using their own ground level experience of the appalling
difficulties of ordinary people, (and not just those of the recently
assaulted politicians disgraceful though that has been), but to offer very
practical and indeed simple ways that individuals and groups can give people
support from outside Zimbabwe.

What uniquely strikes listeners to these two women is that the calm strength
of their words is resolutely backed up by not one but dozens of actions and
risks that they and many WOZA women have personally undergone in their
campaign. Between them they have been arrested nearly 30 times and they
are now returning to continue the struggle.

The nature of the non-violent, even positive, approach of WOZA, is not a
political or top down model, but is rooted in issues close to women's
hearts. This is evidenced by statements such as " we will strike you with
our love", "we, the mothers of our nation".

They have succeeded through this outstanding community movement to mobilise
like no other in Zimbabwe women and now men to "break the silence" publicly.
They urge people to trust their own intelligence and capacity to choose
solutions, rather than leave it to the politicians.

WOZA are also consulting widely on a People's Charter, a blueprint for a new
Zimbabwe. This is a moving and practical document which ends in a call
for " Peace and Friendship.we must again extend a hand of friendship to our
neighbours, regionally and internationally, so that they can help us rebuild
our beloved Zimbabwe."

WOZA are calling on the people of Scotland to demonstrate their support in a
number of direct ways, e.g:
telephone police stations when WOZA supporters and others have been
arrested. One simple phone call can and does make a difference because it
shows to the police and civil servants at ground level that the world is
watching and caring about what is happening, appealing to their own decency.
(And by the way, you can get through if you persevere.)
make donations to WOZA to pay school fees so mothers do not have to stay
at home and can work for freedom
help to pay for mobile phones to increase personal security
help to pay for bicycles to increase mobility
keep press coverage alive
prepare to help to capacitate the new Zimbabwe when it happens

Just recently Jenni Williams received the International Women of Courage
Award by the US State Department in recognition of WOZA's work. When the
history of this crucial time in Zimbabwe comes to be written WOZA will be a
key factor. Meanwhile the movement is towards the future.


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Activist's husband fears Mugabe ambush

news.com.au

By Paul Mulvey

March 19, 2007 06:43pm

Article from: AAP
Font size: + -

Send this article: Print Email

THE husband of a former Australian resident allegedly bashed by Zimbabwe
police in Harare fears for his wife's life following the brutal beating of
another government opposition figure at the weekend.

Jim Holland's wife Sekai, secretary of policy for the opposition party
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was today hoping for a court order
that would enable her to flee the country.

But even if a judge rules that Ms Holland, 64, is allowed to leave Zimbabwe
to receive treatment on a broken leg, her Australian husband says he still
fears police will stop the couple at the airport.

If the court order is granted, Mr Holland said he, his wife and fellow
opposition figure Grace Kwinjeh would drive to the airport in a convoy,
including Australian consular officials, to ensure there were witnesses.

Mr Holland's fears for his wife's life escalated following the bashing of
Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for MDC, who was ambushed after arriving at the
airport on Sunday on his way to a conference in Brussels.

Mr Holland said four men in suits attacked Mr Chamisa with iron bars and
broke his skull.

"After we get the authority to leave, there's still no guarantee we will be
allowed to go," he said from Harare.

"We will go to the airport in a convoy with observers, so people can see
what's going on.

"There's no way a judge won't be able to give us the order, but from what's
happened before, the chances are they (police) will ignore it, that's a very
serious worry.

"Her life is particularly at risk, given what we've seen with Nelson
Chamisa."

Ms Holland and Ms Kwinjeh were arrested at Harare airport on Saturday and
taken back to the city where they remained under armed guard in hospital.

Mr Holland said four armed police were stationed outside his wife's room and
two were inside.


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Update on Sekai Holland


19 March 2007

It was agreed that it was essential to evacuate Sekai and fellow MDC
activist Grace Kwinjeh from hospital in Harare to South Africa, where the
atmosphere was calmer and safer and where medical facilities were better
than in Zimbabwe. Arrangements were therefore made for them to be taken by
air ambulance from Harare airport to Johannesburg. However when their
ambulance drew up next to the aircraft on the tarmac they were met by
members of the CIO (Central Intelligence Agency) who refused to allow them
on board. Discussions with our lawyer followed, but he was told that the
injured women required a clearance letter from the Minister of Health before
they could leave the country. That of course was a total fabrication as
there is no such provision in the law or indeed in practice. The ambulance
was ordered to proceed under police escort to the Central Police Station.
At Central, the lawyer was advised that the women were not allowed to leave
the country but should return to hospital under police escort. No
justification or explanation was given. They were taken back to hospital
and placed under the guard of four uniformed police officers - two fully
armed men and two women. No explanation was forthcoming for another hour or
so, at which time they were informed that they were under arrest as they
were to be charged with some unspecified offence to be determined in due
course by the CID (Criminal Investigation Division of the police).

It should be noted that on the day of their appearance before the court last
Tuesday the magistrate ordered that everyone should be released from custody
and that no further arrests should be made, and that if the police wanted to
proceed against any of those arrested at a later stage it should be by way
of summons and not arrest. The treatment they received today is in direct
violation of that court order.



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Zim fuel prices skyrocket

IOL

March 19 2007 at 04:55PM

Harare - Fuel prices in Zimbabwe have skyrocketed by up to 200 percent
in the last fortnight amid fresh shortages brought on by inflation and a
devalued currency, analysts said on Monday.

The rise in fuel prices, attributed by industry players to the high
cost of foreign currency needed to finance its importation, has triggered a
wave of increases in bus fares and commodities across the country.

The increasing economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, with inflation now
standing at about 1 730 percent and four out of five people unemployed, has
helped fan the growing unrest towards veteran President Robert Mugabe.

While fuel prices in the southern African country rise constantly
under an ever-increasing inflation rate, analysts say this rise was
nevertheless exceptional.

"This is one of the highest increases we have had in a long time and
it's a phenomenal rise," said Witness Chinyama, a Harare based economist.

Urban and long distance transporters have hiked their fares by at
least 150 percent, and petrol is now sold at garages for ZIM$13 000 (about
R387) compared to ZIM$2 000 in January.

Diesel now costs ZIM$15 000 a litre.

"There is a need to review the exchange rate in line with inflation,"
Witness Chinyama, a Harare-based economist said.

"We are now one of the most expensive countries and our export
competitiveness is now being impaired by this artificial exchange rate."

Since August last year, authorities have pegged the local unit at
ZIM$250 to the United States dollar, yet in reality it costs about ZIM$14
000.

Although the official price of petrol and diesel is pegged at ZIM$335
and ZIM$320 respectively, no service station is selling at that price as it
is not viable.

"We can not sell petrol at the government price because it is not
economically viable," one fuel dealer said, refusing to be named.

Government last reviewed fuel prices last year.

Zimbabwe has faced serious fuel shortages since 1999, which the
government blames on sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe and
members of his inner circle at the time.

When the shortages are at their worst some gas stations go without
fuel for months, forcing buses and private cars off the road and leaving
many commuters no option but to walk or cycle to their workplaces. -
Sapa-AFP


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Electricity group ready to cut Zimbabwe supply

Financial Times

By Alec Russel in Johannesburg

Published: March 19 2007 18:26 | Last updated: March 19 2007 18:26

Zimbabwe, which receives 40 per cent of its electricity from Eskom, the
South-African owned power generation group, will almost certainly face power
cuts later this year.

South Africa's troubled neighbour is on a 24-hour rolling contract, and
Eskom officials leave little doubt that if supply runs short, Zimbabweans
will feel the squeeze before South Africans.

"It's not as if next week we'll wake up, and say: 'Not today, we are no
longer supplying electricity'," said Fani Zulu, the chief spokesman for
Eskom.
But he added that the contract with Zimbabwe was very clear that when Eskom
was facing interruptions it had the right to cut off supply with just 24
hours notice but, it "has to be on the basis of shortages in South Africa".

South Africa's provision of electricity to Zimbabwe has become politically
contentious as the country lurches deeper into crisis under President Robert
Mugabe. When he visited Namibia last week, the Namibian government said its
power utility would lend $30m to $40m to the Zimbabwe electricity supply
authority to refit the Hwange thermal power station and the national grid.

Critics of South Africa's policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards Mr Mugabe have
urged Pretoria to threaten to turn off the power. This was a tactic which
South Africa's National party government, under pressure from the US, used
to bring Ian Smith, prime minister of then Rhodesia, to heel in the late
1970s.

South African officials counter that such a move would hurt ordinary
Zimbabweans rather than the elite. Eskom stays out of the political debate
although in recent years it was been in a bitter dispute with the Zimbabwe
authority over unpaid bills.

Eskom said the debt was now zero and that "current consumption is cash on
delivery".


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Cape Town Zim protest


Save Zimbabwe Campaign Coalition - Cape Town.

19 March, 2007

On the 16th and 17th March 2007 the Save Zimbabwe Campaign Coalition, a united effort of various student movements of the University of Cape Town and the Zimbabwe Social Forum of Cape Town, took to the streets of Cape Town in peaceful marches to highlight the flagrant and ongoing abuse of human rights taking place in Zimbabwe today. On March 16th, a rally was held at the University of Cape Town campus to mobilize students to put pressure on their leaders to take a stand against oppression in Zimbabwe. The students then joined a protest march in the Cape Town city centre with other civic groups, to coincide with the Parliamentary network on the World Bank. The marchers gathered outside Parliament where the crowds were addressed by various speakers. On March 17th, the Save Zimbabwe Campaign Coalition once again marched through the streets of Cape Town with leaders of various civil society groups, to bring attention to the injustices of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. Save Zimbabwe will build on the momentum of these successful marches, and through the overwhelming support shown at these events, ensure that future protests and activities will take place in Cape Town to give a voice to the voiceless Zimbabweans living in fear of their safety, health and livelihoods in that country.

University of Cape Town, Save Zim mobilizing students

Save Zimbabwe takes to the streets of Cape Town

Save Zimbabwe Protest

Save Zimbabwe Protest


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Lawyers Acting for Tortured Detainees Now Targets of Police



Open Society for Southern Africa Initiative/Southern Africa Litigation
Centre (Johannesburg)

PRESS RELEASE
March 19, 2007
Posted to the web March 19, 2007

Johannesburg

Lawyer, Andrew Makoni, attempted to serve police from Zimbabwe's Law and
Order Unit with a court order, indicting them from further interference with
the body of Gift Tandare, the young activist shot and killed by police in
last weekend crackdown.

However the commanding officer tore up the court order, threw the pieces in
Makoni's face and threatened him and colleagues from Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) - specifically Otto Saki, Tafadzwa Mugabe and Andrew
Muchadehama - with disappearance should they continue to act for victims of
the crackdown.

The commanding officer than instructed the police officers in attendance to
arrest Makoni if he was again seen walking in the corridors of the Law and
Order Department. Makoni was then ordered to get out of the premises. Makoni
had been forced to undergo an extensive search on entry to the department
and told he was carrying arms of war and that lawyers were facilitating what
police alleged to be violence perpetrated by the opposition.

Nicole Fritz, director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre said: "The
actions of Zimbabwe's Law and Order Unit have to be condemned in the
strongest terms. Even the most repressive societies generally respect the
role of lawyers and understand that if some semblance of the rule of law is
to be maintained, you cannot go about threatening the physical security and
well-being of legal representatives."


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Change in Zimbabwe is yet to come: analyst

SABC

March 19, 2007, 09:00

Moeletsi Mbeki, a political analyst and the brother of President Thabo
Mbeki, says he doesn't agree with Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's statement that the country is at a turning point. Mbeki's
comments come after Nelson Chamisa, another MDC leader, was badly beaten
over the weekend by security forces.

"The reality of Zimbabwe is that Mugabe holds virtually all the cards in
terms of the use of force and he is prepared to use them. If Mugabe
faultered in his use of force then I would say we're facing a turning point
but he is pursuing the use of force and in the papers today you can see the
bleeding heads of one of the MDC leaders. He doesn't care that his
photographs are being shown worldwide."

Mbeki says the threat to South Africans is not the Zimbabweans fleeing to
South Africa but the threat is Robert Mugabe and his regime. "You mustn't
forget the ANC for many years had its headquarters in Zambia, so we in South
Africa got a great deal of help from our neighbours. So it's not the victim
who is a threat to South Africa, the threat is from Robert Mugabe and Zanu
(PF) who are arming themselves with fighter bombers."


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Mugabe panic, ZANU PF splits could make them easy meat

Zimbabwejournalists.com

19th Mar 2007 08:13 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

THERE were unmistakable signs of panic on President Robert Mugabe's face
when he spoke last week of kicking out Western emissaries and allowing the
police to "bash" opposition activists.

His entire posture, in the wake of the disgraceful, savage attacks on
opposition leaders after the aborted prayer meeting in Highfield on 11
March, reeked of panic.
Most observers imagined him reliving the nightmare of conceding defeat after
the results of the 2000 constitutional referendum.

There he was, on public television, perhaps for the first time in his
political life, admitting failure: the people had spoken, he said, in a
voice hardly recognizable from the confident, almost always cocky tone he
had used since the took over charge of Zanu from Ndabaningi Sithole in 1975.

Mugabe must be acutely aware too that the opposition will have been buoyed
by these open signs of his and Zanu PF's Achilles heel.
Morgan Tsvangirai, in particular, must feel supremely confident, albeit amid
the pain of the physical assault on his person, that he and the opposition
could be facing a Mugabe and Zanu PF both reeling from a potentially
devastating lack of political unity and self-confidence.

Tsvangirai, though intrinsically a modest man, cannot be immune from feeling
some kind of de javu as he remembers his party's spectacular success in the
2000 parliamentary election.

Although he himself did not win a seat, his party's victory in 57 previously
safe Zanu PF constituencies must have signalled to both the opposition and
Zanu PF and Mugabe that Zimbabwe would never be a one-party state and that
Zanu PF and Mugabe were not invincible at the polls - as they had been since
1980.

That watershed performance by the opposition was repeated, in somewhat
spectacular fashion, in a by-election in an urban constituency in Harare
last year.
After Mugabe himself had addressed what was billed as a massive rally in the
constituency, with nearly 90 percent of the people wearing Zanu PF T-shirts,
the MDC still retained the seat with a thumping majority.

The panic in Zanu PF was evident with the unprecedented police action to ban
political gatherings in specified urban areas, all of them solidly pro-MDC.
The ruling party recognized, fairly early, how the split in the party had
rendered it extremely vulnerable to any thrust from the opposition.

After the December so-called "people's" conference, when Mugabe had failed
lamentably to rally the party around his "harmonization" of elections
strategy, it became clear that Mugabe himself had lost the plot.

There may be a grain of truth in reports that it was South African President
Thabo Mbeki who persuaded Mugabe to abandon his clever plan to extend his
term by an additional two years.
But it is equally likely that this advice came at a convenient time for
Mugabe, who had probably decided already not to risk rejection by his party
or cause it to split into so many little pieces by forcing it to vote on his
grand plan.

All the evidence of panic can be seen in Mugabe's face: the skin is drawn
more tightly than it would normally be for an 83-year-old; the voice now
contains a strident note which seems involuntary.

Then there is the behemoth that is the economy for both Mugabe and Zanu PF
to contend with: nothing that the government has tried, to turn around the
economy, has worked since 2000.

Gideon Gono, for all his open pleas to the Almighty to come to the aid of
the ruling party, seemed to have reached the end of his tether. The dollar's
value keeps declining as rapidly as the workers' disposable incomes are
shrinking.

Meanwhile, even Mother Nature is refusing to co-operate: there is no bumper
maize harvest in prospect, except in the fevered imagination of the people
at the Grain Marketing Board.

The much-ballyhooed Look East policy has yielded little to fend off the
inexorable decline in jobs and foreign investment.
What Mugabe and Zanu PF have tried to use in the recent past to rally the
majority of their supporters in the rural areas - land reform - may not be a
damp squib, but its public relations clout is dubious.

The so-called "new farmers" - the beneficiaries of massive government
financial support - have been a disappointment.

Most have abused the fuel generously made available to them at concessionary
prices by the government, by selling it on the black market and not even
investing the proceeds into their farms, but on what some critics have
described as trinkets.
Employment is still in the doldrums, with fully 80 percent of the
able-bodied population still unemployed.

A new menace has emerged: those in full employment are earning such paltry
salaries many have quit their jobs to seek better incomes in the informal
sector.
One problem is transport: the share of their income devoted to bus fares to
and from work is so disproportionate to their salaries some believe they are
working just to afford to go to work - and not even to feed their families,
pay school fees or save.

So, many have quit their jobs, to stay at home, saving on bus fares and
eking a living in the informal sector - selling vegetables, the foreign
currency black market or cross-border trading, all seen as far more
profitable than ordinary eight to five employment.

Both Mugabe and Zanu PF are aware of these economic difficulties confronting
voters who must decide, next year, whether the present government could
conceivably ameliorate their desperate situation.

Previously, most voters were not entirely convinced that an opposition
success at the polls could impact positively on their cost of living. Their
attitude was that the economy had been wounded so mortally there was hardly
anything a new government could do, in the short term, to boost their
disposable incomes.

What seems to have altered these earlier perceptions must be the attitude of
the business sector. Increasingly, captains of industry are speaking out
openly against government fiscal and monetary policies. For instance, it had
been widely anticipated that in January Gono would devalue the dollar to a
more realistic level against the US dollar, thus boosting the value of
Zimbabwean exports.

This did not happen and the prices of local goods with even the most minimal
foreign content shot up. The price of fuel has shot up too and while it is
now more available than before most average motorists can hardly afford it.

Curiously, the only people believed to be able to afford everything and
anything for sale are in the government and in Zanu PF. Mugabe himself has
publicly condemned corruption in high places - in other words, among the
very people who have helped him to shape the policies that have wrought
disaster on the economy.

These same people have more than one car and more than one house and their
children attend the most expensive schools in the country, or are in "top
people's" schools in the United Kingdom, the European Union countries and
the United States.
Recently, they have been accused of dealing illegally in gold, diamond
marketing, where billions are being made on the black market.

Mugabe himself has been in the forefront of condemning such leaders, yet
little action has been taken against them. Mugabe knows that people have
lost faith in him because if he cannot deal with corruption so close to him,
then it can only mean that he too may have his own skeletons in some
concealed cupboard.

For that reason, he knows that a victory in any election may not be as
guaranteed as it was at the height of his popularity in the 1980s.

So, as he looks towards the election next year, Mugabe may be gripped by the
panic of someone who knows his time has come, that there is nothing more in
his bag of tricks which could trigger an avalanche of votes in his favour,
against an opposition which has no record of official corruption or of
killing unarmed civilians trying to assert their right to free speech and
freedom of assembly.

An additional cause for Mugabe's panic could be the realization that his
colleague next door, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, had been in power
continuously for 27 years, before he lost the election in 1991. As 2008
approaches, Mugabe himself will have completed 27 years in power.


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Opposition Leader Says Zimbabwe Oppression at New Level

VOA

By Peta Thornycroft
Harare
19 March 2007

Morgan Tsvangirai, founding president of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic
Change, says President Robert Mugabe has launched a new phase in the
suppression of opposition voices. Peta Thornycroft spoke with Tsvangirai at
his home, where he is recuperating from injuries sustained while in police
custody a week ago.

MDC leader Tsvangirai told VOA that with the weekend assault with an iron
bar on an opposition leader Nelson Chimasa at the airport, in full view of
the public, President Robert Mugabe has taken the oppression of his people
to a new level.

"I suspect any dictatorship raises the threshold, and I think this is a new
phase, where instead of random beatings at police stations," Tsvangirai
said, "he is now using hit squads, unidentified men unidentified vehicles,
so but we know these are units of state agents, that have been given this
assignment."

Chimasa, who was at the airport to fly with ruling Zanu-PF colleagues to a
multi-party forum at the European Union, heard Monday that he would not lose
an eye as a consequence of the assault.

Eight days following his beating at the Machipisa Police Station,
Tsvangirai's face is still swollen, and he is still stiff and sore, but he
seemed relaxed and comfortable sitting beneath a shady tree in back garden
of his Harare home.

Tsvangirai says that Security Minister Didymus Mutasa must take
responsibility for the execution of the assaults. But, he said, it is done
at the instigation of President Mugabe.

"I can assess who is in charge of this, it is coming directly coming from
Mugabe, Mugabe is a violent man and he does not hide it, especially where
his power is threatened," he said. "No excuses, no regrets, the defiance
epitomizes his attitude."

Tsvangirai's suggests that there is, for the first time, real dissent in the
ranks of Zanu-PF and that many do not support the recent violence unleashed
on himself and his colleagues.

"I think what is now happening is that if I were Zanu-PF I would start
saying this is the end, or this is the beginning of the end, we cannot
deteriorate to this level of international isolation, international
condemnation at this level, not even our friends will support us, you know
not even our sympathizers will justify this level of barbarity," he said.
"So a lot of them are having very serious self reflection about their
future."

He said there is a difference between professional policemen, and members of
Mugabe's youth militia, who had personalized their hatred of him and the
broad opposition.

He said when he was lying wounded in a police station, five members of the
Central Intelligence Organization came to question him. He said they accused
him of organizing attacks against the police, which he told them had never
been on the MDC's agenda.

In a subsequent telephone interview, Security Minister Mutasa rejected
Tsvangirai's allegations, saying they are "a flat lie". Mutasa laid the
blame for last's weeks events squarely at the door of Tsvangarai and his
party, saying he held a political rally in defiance of a government order.
Mutasa said "Tsvangirai does not know the difference between truth and
lies."

Meanwhile, the other faction of the MDC is preparing to go to court for an
urgent application for the release of their president, Arthur Mutambara, who
was arrested Saturday at Harare International Airport when he tried to board
a plane for Johannesburg.

Two other prominent opposition activists severely beaten in police custody,
Grace Kwinjeh and elderly Sekai Holland, were taken to the airport on
stretchers, but were not allowed to board their private aircraft, had their
passports confiscated, and were sent under police escort back to the
hospital.


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Intelligence agency and media commission help torpedo remaining independent news media

Reporter without Borders

19 March 2007

Scheming by Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) is killing
off the few remaining independent news media while the government-controlled
Media Information Commission (MIC) continues to use obligatory press
accreditation as way to pressure journalists in an entirely unacceptable
fashion, Reporters Without Borders said today.

"The infiltration of the last privately-owned media by the intelligence
agencies has had a disastrous impact on pluralism," Reporters Without
Borders said. "Unable to live with a free press, casting suspicion on the
publications they manipulate and paying little heed to they journalists they
employ, the intelligence agencies have just helped to undermine the already
moribund press even further."

The press freedom organisation added: "As for the discredited,
government-dominated MIC, it continues to practice an utterly unacceptable
form of blackmail on the last journalists not to have fled the country,
intimidating them and threatening them with unemployment."

Two recent episodes have highlighted the disastrous political and financial
consequences of CIO meddling in the media. The editor of the privately-owned
weekly Financial Gazette (FinGaz), Sunsleey Chamunorwa, was denied entry to
his office on 13 March on the grounds that he had been dismissed. FinGaz
chief executive Jacob Chisese, a CIO ally, announced to the shocked staff
that changes were to be made to the newspaper but refused for the time being
to say who would replace Chamunorwa. The MIC last month refused to renew the
newspaper's licence - without which no publication can operate - until it
revealed the name of its owner.

The newspaper has in fact belonged to the CIO since 2001 as a result of a
financial operation using central bank governor Gideon Gono as a cover. "It
held out until today because Gono refused to bow to pressure from the ruling
party and the CIO, which complained about its editorial line and claimed it
was harming the party and favouring the [opposition] Movement for Democratic
Change," a source within the newspaper said on condition of anonymity.

Chamunorwa received a visit from CIO members, who ordered him to change his
editorial line, the same source said. Presidential spokesman George Charamba
wrote a column in the government daily The Herald on 10 December in which he
warned Chamunorwa about his news coverage. "Tick, tock, tick, tock, the
clock ticks," he wrote.

Tichaonoa Chifamba, the head of the company that owns the Daily Mirror and
its Sunday version, the Sunday Mirror, announced to his staff on 7 March
that they would be forced to stop publishing for lack of funds. The CIO took
control of these two newspapers in 2004 after ousting the man who founded
them, Ibbo Mandaza. Thereafter sales plummeted to as low as 2,000 copies a
day and it accumulated 500 million Zimbabwean dollars (about 1.5 million
euros) in debts. The journalists, who had not been paid for the past month,
are now out of work.

At the same time, journalists are threatened with being stripped of the
ability to work legally if they displease the government. After freelancer
Nunurayi Jena submitted his accreditation to the MIC for renewal on 31
December, as all Zimbabwean journalists now have to do every year, he was
told on 23 February that the MIC needed to examine his file more closely
because his accreditation for 2006 was granted in a "fraudulent" manner.
Journalists who work without MIC accreditation can be sent to prison for two
years under a draconian law called the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Journalists have recently been convicted for working without MIC
accreditation for the first time since the AIPPA was adopted in 2002. Three
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation journalists - regional bureau chief Andrew
Neshamba, reporter Trymore Zvidzai and cameraman William Gumbo - and Peter
Moyo, a Zimbabwean journalist working for South Africa-based E-TV, were
arrested on 5 February in Mutare, the capital of the eastern province of
Manicaland, where they had gone to cover illegal diamond mining in the
village of Marange.

After being held overnight, Moyo and Zvidzai were fined 40,000 Zimbabwean
dollars (120 euros) while Gumbo and Neshamba were charged with "criminal
abuse of duty" and are to be tried on 21 March.


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Rebel's plea: help us fight Mugabe

The Australian

Correspondents in Harare
March 20, 2007
ZIMBABWE'S opposition leader called yesterday on southern African leaders to
intervene against the Mugabe regime and help staunch the "blood-letting",
claiming the crisis in the country was at a "tipping point".
The call for help from Morgan Tsvangirai came as reports in Britain
disclosed that a Zimbabwean delegation would be allowed to attend a meeting
in Brussels today despite an EU travel ban.
Mr Tsvangirai told London's The Daily Telegraph: "I am frantically trying to
link up with SADC (Southern African Development Community) ambassadors to
ask them to restrain a fellow member state from the blood-letting."
The opposition leader spoke to the newspaper from his home, where he is
recovering from a broken arm and head injuries sustained while in detention.
"The continued denial within SADC of the existence of a problem in Zimbabwe
does not assist the ordinary person in this country," he told the paper.
The report said British Foreign Office and EU presidency officials admitted
that Edward Chindori-Chininga, a former Zimbabwean government minister,
could be given a restricted visa to attend a meeting of parliamentarians
from European, African, Caribbean and Pacific countries in Brussels, despite
a travel ban on Mugabe regime officials.
Zimbabwean security forces at the weekend assaulted Mr Tsvangirai's
spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, and stopped two badly injured female party
officials from leaving the country.
Mr Chamisa was in a critical condition at Harare's private Avenues Clinic
yesterday after he was beaten on the head with iron bars. His Movement for
Democratic Change colleague, Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, said that Mr Chamisa was
seized by state agents while he waited in an airport departure lounge for a
flight to Brussels.
The incident appeared to show that President Robert Mugabe was determined
not to let his critics leave the country and spread word of the current
crackdown. Four members of the opposition were prevented from travelling
abroad at the weekend.
Last week, Mr Chamisa spent several days in the Avenues Clinic, recuperating
from a severe police beating he had received last Monday. Along with several
of their colleagues, Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Chamisa had been arrested and
beaten after they tried to attend a prayer rally.
Officials at Harare international airport at the weekend stopped Grace
Kwinjeh and 64-year-old former Australian resident Sekai Holland from
boarding a plane to South Africa. The two were briefly taken to a police
station in Harare before being transferred to the Avenues Clinic yesterday.
Mr Mugabe accused the opposition of being terrorists supported by Britain
and the West, and Mr Tsvangirai said the crisis in Zimbabwe had reached a
"tipping point."
Ms Kwinjeh and Ms Holland, among the most severely injured in last week's
incident, were prevented from leaving to receive medical care, and Arthur
Mutambara, leader of an opposition faction, was later also arrested at the
airport.
Ms Kwinjeh and Ms Holland were due to travel to Johannesburg to receive
specialist post-traumatic care.
Reports yesterday said Ms Holland was completely immobilised on her left
side, having suffered multiple fractures including a broken arm and leg and
three broken ribs. She has undergone an operation on a fracture in her left
ankle and has severe bruising causing internal complications.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said that "injuries
sustained by Sekai Holland were worsened by denial of timely access to
medical treatment which led to an infection of deep soft tissue in her left
leg".
Asked whether Zimbabwe was on the edge of a "moment of liberation", Mr
Tsvangirai said yesterday: "Things are bad but I think this crisis has
reached a tipping point and we could be seeing the beginning of the end of
this dictatorship.
"It's very important that international solidarity is being shown. A
combination of national and international pressure is required."
The US said it held Mr Mugabe responsible for the crackdown. "The US
condemns the Government of Zimbabwe's continued attacks on the political
opposition, including additional arrests, beatings and refusal to allow
travel for necessary medical treatment," US State Department spokesman Sean
McCormack said.
Agencies

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