Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2007 3:45 PM
Subject: State-sponsored brutality against MDC continues
It is reported that overnight there has been a sharp escalation in the level
of violence against MDC activists across the country. In Harare small groups
of Zanu PF youth league and CIO operatives in unmarked vehicles are
targeting known MDC leaders and carrying out arbitrary arrests, the
activists are then being held in Police custody or taken to known torture
centres such as the one at Goromonzi and Hopely Farm where they are being
systematically beaten. None of these individuals is being charged with any
offence or brought to Court.
Today the Avenues Hospital in Harare has taken in another 35 severely
leaders - the number injured with gun shot wounds is now six, with one new
case last night, the rest have similar injuries to the ones we have already
seen. Severe bruising, internal bleeding, broken legs and arms and skull
Similar stories are coming in from centres all over the country. All the
injured are being dealt with in private hospitals as all State hospitals are
instructed not to take in MDC activists, no matter what their injuries.
This follows a meeting of Zanu PF Youth League in Harare addressed at the
weekend by Mr. Mugabe where he is reported to have said that the Youth
League has a "blank cheque" to sort out the leadership of the MDC in the
The danger in this situation is that the people are being driven to the
point where retaliation will become inevitable. One young activist in
Bulawayo today reported that he was walking on the street near his home last
Sunday with his son. He was approached by two policemen who after accusing
him of being a MDC leader and stating that they could "come for him anytime"
the one beat him with a rubber baton. When he resisted he was arrested and
was held without charge for 4 days. During this time he was repeatedly
beaten and a bone in his hand has been broken. He is now so angry that he is
determined to get revenge.
To emphasise the deliberate and planned nature of these attacks, the Herald
has now run, on two separate weekends, a open threat by Presidential
spokesperson, George Charamba - writing under the nom de plume, Nathaniel
Manheru, that the government was going to deal with the MDC using all the
violence that is necessary to curb their activities. In the latest article
he went even further to warn that there was "seething anger in camps and
barracks by the uniformed forces" and "woe betide the unfortunate back on
whom the blows will land."
There should be no question in the mind of observers that the violence being
perpetrated by agents of the State and Zanu PF at present are either casual
activities or without careful planning and direction. They bear all the
trade marks of a deliberate attempt to crush all legitimate, legal and
democratic resistance to the regime.
President Tsvangirai held a meeting with the South African Ambassador today
during which he expressed grave concern that regional and African leaders
were standing by mute while these atrocities were being perpetrated by one
of their number. He said it made a complete mockery of all that South Africa
had stood for since they achieved their own transition to a open, democratic
society in 1994.
T. William Bango
On Behalf of Morgan Tsvangirai
President of the Movement for Democratic Change
19th March 2007 at 18.00 hrs
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare and Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Last Updated: 2:36am GMT 20/03/2007
Sitting in the shade of a tree in his well-tended garden, and cared for by
his wife Susan, the battered Zimbabwean opposition leader nursed his swollen
With his arm still in a splint since a savage beating in police detention 10
days ago, Morgan Tsvangirai talked to The Daily Telegraph and gave a bleak
assessment of the chances of a peaceful transition to democracy in his
Mr Tsvangirai said President Robert Mugabe's strong-arm tactics to crush all
rivals to his dictatorial rule had "entered a new phase" which signalled
"the beginning of the end" for Mr Mugabe's regime.
The founder of the Movement for Democratic Change and some of his closest
allies have been the victims of state-sponsored violence.
Mr Tsvangirai alleged that a new undercover security force had been deployed
by Mr Mugabe and Didymus Mutasa, his security minister, to mete out
intimidation and brutal attacks.
"Instead of random beatings at police stations, [Mr Mugabe] is now using hit
squads, unidentified men, unidentified vehicles," he said.
"But we know these are units of state agents that have been given this
Nelson Chamisa, the vocal and energetic MDC party spokesman, was left with a
fractured skull when he was attacked by eight men, one armed with an iron
bar, as he checked in for a flight to Brussels at Harare's international
airport on Sunday.
His assailants wore military-style clothing and fled in cars with no
Mr Tsvangirai said police officers "disagree with me, but not so violently
that they wish me to die", and that it was special units of young militants,
hand-picked for their loyalty to the Mugabe regime, who were carrying out
the violence under orders from the top.
"I can assess who is in charge of this - it is coming directly from Mugabe.
Mugabe is a violent man and he doesn't hide it, especially where his power
is threatened," Mr Tsvangirai said.
"No excuses, no regrets - the defiance epitomises his attitude."
Mr Mutasa, one of Mr Mugabe's closest aides, yesterday denied Mr
Tsvangirai's claims. "It is a flat lie," he said.
Also yesterday Mr Mugabe's regime accused western diplomats of offering
support to Mr Tsvangirai's MDC party and threatened them with expulsion.
Mr Tsvangirai said on the morning before his beating, that his wife had
"jokingly" warned him he would be arrested as he left their comfortable
Harare home for the rally at which he was detained.
The US state department said yesterday that it held Mr Mugabe "personally
responsible" for the attacks on Mr Tsvangirai and his colleagues.
The swell of international condemnation, including a rare rebuke to Mr
Mugabe from the African Union, has put Zimbabwe at a "tipping point", Mr
He added: "If I were [a member of the ruling party] Zanu-PF I would start
saying this is the end or. . . the beginning of the end.
"I suspect any dictatorship raises the threshold, and I think this is a new
But he said the new strategy could be backfiring on Zimbabwe's increasingly
isolated leader as it has widened splits in his own party.
It is thought by some observers that if robust criticism is repeatedly
directed at the regime, senior members might ultimately wish to distance
themselves from the 83-year-old leader, precipitating the collapse of his
"We can't deteriorate to this level of international isolation -
international condemnation at this level, when not even our friends will
support us any longer, not even our sympathisers will justify this level of
barbarity," Mr Tsvangirai said.
"So a lot of them are having very serious self-reflection about their
Mr Chamisa was on his way to a meeting of African, Caribbean and Pacific MPs
being held by the European Union in Brussels when he suffered serious
injuries as he was attacked at the airport.
But yesterday Zanu-PF delegates faced no obstacles to attending the
conference, which begins today, despite EU sanctions against Harare. In
spite of calls for action to prevent regime figures from travelling to
Brussels, the Foreign Office said that its hands were tied.
"EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific meetings are covered by exemptions to the
visa ban, so any member state would be obliged to issue a visa," said a
The approach has angered William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, who
called for action against Zimbabwe yesterday.
"Now is the time when Britain should be urging the international community
to impose additional penalties on the regime in Zimbabwe," he said.
New York Times
By MICHAEL WINES
Published: March 20, 2007
JOHANNESBURG, March 19 - There were indications on Monday that the
Zimbabwean government's violent crackdown on its political critics was
spreading from widely reported assaults on opposition leaders to less public
attacks and threats against local activists and their supporters.
In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, a civic group reported a series of attacks on
Sunday and Monday on neighborhood activists and local leaders of the nation's
main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change.
The group, the Combined Harare Residents Association, reported assaults on
two political activists, one of whom was shot, and arrests and threats
against two others.
The group's spokesman, Precious Shumba, said in an interview that there were
reports of beatings of others who had been taken outside the city by police
officers, then arrested. Those reports could not be independently verified.
But one of the nation's leading advocates of political reform, Lovemore
Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly, said Monday in a telephone
interview that the violence was growing.
"There is some systematic following of all key activists and trying to
intimidate them, either by making them run away from their homes or beating
them up," he said.
Mr. Madhuku suffered head wounds and a broken arm in beatings after he was
arrested for taking part in what purported to be a prayer meeting on March
Separately, Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer with clients in the antigovernment
groups, said in an interview that human rights lawyers had been warned by
sympathizers in the police force that they had also been singled out for
"What they will do to the lawyers, we do not know," she said, "but we can
only assume it is what has been done to the politicians."
Zimbabwe has been in turmoil for nearly six weeks, since an antigovernment
rally in southern Harare, violently disrupted by police officers, grew into
a near-riot that spread through one of the city's poorest neighborhoods.
Antigovernment groups allied under the banner of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign
were attacked by riot police officers at the March 11 meeting, sending at
least 50 people to hospitals. The government's tactics were widely
President Robert G. Mugabe has adamantly rejected that criticism, saying
that his critics are simply receiving the beatings they deserve for trying
to foment violence.
In a meeting on Monday, Mr. Mugabe's foreign minister, Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, threatened to expel Western diplomats who have praised the
opposition, saying that the Vienna Convention bars foreign governments from
interfering in the affairs of host nations.
The American ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher W. Dell, walked out of the
meeting, news reports said.
19 March 2007
MDC bought the casket, paid $7.2 million for the funeral but in typical
banditry style what Mugabe is renowned for, his secret service (CIO)
kidnapped the body, and whisked it to rural Guruve for a burial which ZANU
PF used to gain cheap political mileage.
MDC is appalled by the lies peddled by the Zimbabwean Government on the
events surrounding the death and subsequent burial of our young cadre,
National hero Gift Tandare. Although it's well documented that the police
shot Gift in cold blood the Government wants to unashamedly portray them as
caring and compassionate. They even have the temerity to claim political
mileage over this tragedy. The uncouth journalists working for the Herald,
the state propaganda news outlet has it that all went well in Guruve and has
qoutes from supposedly gratified relatives. Where is has the decency all
gone in ZANU PF? There were guns everywhere in Guruve and hapless villagers
had no option but to say what they where told. Below is a true report of the
circumstances surrounding Gift's burial:
Soon after news had spread that Gift had been shot dead, people congregated
at Gift's residence in the high density suburb of Gen View for funeral a
wake. Zimbabweans from all walks of life came in droves to the wake and at
one point the crowd at the wake swelled to about 500 people. Fearing that
the funeral would translate into a revolution against the dictatorship, the
government sent in armed police and soldiers to disperse the mourners.
Clearly, they did not want many people to be at that home at any given
moment. They beat up people and used live ammunition to disperse the
mourners. More people where injured and some where shot; the victims
included young MDC activists, Nickson Magondo and Naison Mashambanhaka and
others who are still in hospitalized nursing gunshot wounds and torture
From Monday March 11th till Sat March 17th, the story remained the same,
armed police would come in trucks and mourners would flee the funeral vigil
only return after the police had left. The injured would be taken to
hospital. In the meantime, the MDC Adminstration was putting in place
funeral arrangements. A casket, befitting a National Hero was bought and
$7.2 million was paid for the funeral arrangements.
Initially, Our National Hero, Gift Tandare, was supposed to be buried in
Guruve, but the local chief, a Chief Kandeya, refused to allow the burial to
take place in the area. He demanded that 4 cows be paid to him before any
burial arrangements could take place. His, 'crime' according this ZANU PF
mandarin, was that Gift was an MDC member and not a ZANU PF member. Burial
in his area is reserved for ZANU PF supporters only.
Unable to pay the unrealistic and illegal fine, Tandare's father who by the
way, is ailing and currently sick in bed, send his younger brother (Gift's
uncle) and Gift's siblings (a younger brother and sister), to Harare to
spearhead the burial of Gift in Harare. Gift's mother in law accompanied
them. Burial plans were changed and Gift's wife got another order to have
him have him buried in Harare.
Preparations continued for Gift's burial continued at the Glen View
residence amid reports that the police wanted to hold a private burial
without the members of the family and friends. Monday was declared as
burial day and all family and friends were informed.
However, on Saturday evening at about 8 p.m when mourners where having
supper, an estimated convoy of 30 trucks full of heavily armed police and
military men came and circled the funeral residence. Mourners fled. Those
who were unfortunate were beat up.
The police had come to take Gift's wife and mother to take them to the
private burial of in Guruve.
They wanted the wife to sign another burial order which would grant them the
permission to bury Gift in Guruve; apparently the 'Chief had been talked
to'. Gift's wife and mother in-law hid and the police left with Gift's
sister and uncle.
On Sunday the 18th, The Funeral Parlor called MDC Administration (who were
helping out with the funeral arrangements) to notify them that men in suits
(believed to be CIO) under the command of one senior CIO officer had come
early in the morning and forcibly removed the body of Gift for burial. They
had coerced Gift's sister in the presence of her fearful uncle to sign the
Oblivious of the events at the funeral parlor, Gift's wife had gone to the
High Court to get an interdict order against the police in an effort to bar
them from interfering with the funeral arrangements and the subsequent
burial. The order was granted and here is brief summary of the Interim
Relief Order granted by Justice Mudya on the morning of Sunday the 18th (A
copy is with MDC):
Interim Relief Order
"In terms of the final order granted by Justice Mudya;
1st Respondent: Minister of Home Affairs (later withdrawn; papers could not
be served on him)
2nd Respondent: Police Commissioner or anyone acting through or on his
3rd Respondent: Officer Commanding Law and Order or anyone acting through or
their behalf are hereby interdicted from:
-preventing the family or anyone whatsoever including the general of
Gift Tandare from burying deceased.
-interfering with the funeral arrangements for the deceased Gift
ORDER GRANTED TO THE WIFE SPIWE MUDARIKE.
So, clearly as Mugabe's police have done on so many occasions, they held the
High Court decision with contempt. They proceeded to bury the body of Gift
in the absence of his wife and children. It must say today and as in the
future although ZANU PF buried Gift in the mafia style ceremony, the blood
of Gift is squarely in their hands. They MURDERED Gift and Zimbabwe will
In the not-so-distant future, as Zimbabwean seek justice for Gift Tandare,
Tichaona Chiminya, Talent Mabika and all others innocent Zimbabweans who
have been murdered for merely asking for a better life in a free and
REST IN PEACE GIFT TANDARE-MDC
Sunday Times, SA
18 March 2007
The arrest and brutal detention of Movement for Democratic Change leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleagues have refocused the spotlight on South
Africa's "quiet diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe.
The assumption, as reflected in Mondli Makhanya's recent commentary "The
joke will be on us if we don't wake up to Zimbabwe's pain" (March 4), is
that diplomacy is not working, though what may be the real source of
frustration is Pretoria's lack of effective public diplomacy regarding
This becomes especially apparent during episodes of overt repression as
witnessed over the past week, though the South African government did
counsel Harare on the need to observe the rule of law and the rights of all
If diplomacy has failed, perhaps a closer look at what is unfolding in
Zimbabwe is in order, accompanied by suggestions of what more South Africa
and/or the Southern African Development Community (SADC) should undertake.
At the same time, it is useful to note observations about the recent
Franco-African summit to which Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was not
invited and at which his fellow heads of state made not a peep. The loud and
clear message from their silence was that they had "washed their hands" of
and were not willing to go to bat for their tarnished icon.
Silence can be golden and, in the Taoist tradition of "dynamic inaction",
the best approach to certain intractable situations. Here, South Africa and
the SADC are not alone. Witness the equally lengthy stalemates between
China-North Korea, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Burma or
even the US and Cuba.
Given the fact that the military option is ruled out and cutting off
electricity and a border blockade are equally unpalatable for what these
would convey to our neighbours - the return of the neighbourhood bully - a
protracted crisis-management containment strategy has been the only
Pretoria has gone the extra mile in searching for a negotiated internal
settlement to Zimbabwe's crisis, to no avail. As this diplomacy interacted
with the dynamics within and between the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition
MDC, there was less and less scope within which to work such a settlement.
Both parties became internally divided. But these internal divisions,
especially within Zanu-PF, are what may eventually bear fruit as the country's
economic meltdown, underneath the apparently loosening grip of Mugabe, seems
to be pushing the party's rival factions towards the exit as they search for
a way out of Zimbabwe's predicament.
Once the negotiating phase of quiet diplomacy had run its course, the only
thing Pretoria and the SADC could do was sit back and, in effect, let
Zimbabwe stew in its own juices.
South Africa and the SADC must prepare for whatever emerges from this
current "dynamic inaction" phase of quiet diplomacy, which allows Zanu-PF's
internal contradictions to play themselves out towards the long-awaited
As a result of the growing flood of desperate Zimbabweans streaming into
Zambia - not to mention South Africa, Botswana and Malawi - Zambian Foreign
Minister Mundia Sikatana has suggested that the next SADC summit in August
take up the Zimbabwean crisis. This may signal the need for a more highly
profiled diplomacy on Pretoria's part.
Sikatana's suggestion that the SADC facilitate dialogue between Zimbabwe and
the European Union could complement some of the diplomatic outreach being
reportedly attempted by some among Zanu-PF's divided elite. His suggestion
would also be in line with the International Crisis Group's recommendation
that Pretoria engage the EU and the US in devising a strategy to resolve
Rather than hammering Pretoria without knowing all the facts about what is
and is not happening between South Africa and Zimbabwe, the media need to
focus on breaking developments, with the aim of stimulating constructive
dialogue on Zimbabwe's future and the role that South Africa and others
should play to ensure an internally and regionally stabilising post-Mugabe
Francis Kornegay is senior researcher in international affairs at the Centre
for Policy Studies
The Press | Tuesday, 20 March 2007
During his years as a guerrilla war chieftain, Robert Mugabe proclaimed
himself a proud follower of the Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, writes
The Press in an editorial.
Since becoming President of Zimbabwe, he has certainly proved himself to be
a true Maoist. In his 27 years in office, he has, like his mentor, brutally
suppressed all opposition to his one-party rule and succeeded in bringing
his country to abject ruin, inflicting misery on millions of people.
Despite his appalling record, Mugabe seems determined to cling to power,
partly no doubt out of fear of what might happen to him if he should lose
it. Although the violence of his reaction and that of his security forces to
the peaceful protests last week by the small, splintered and largely
ineffectual opposition may indicate that at long last he does not feel as
safe as he once did, the end of Mugabe's rule has been predicted many times
before. The sad truth is that Zimbabwe will probably have to endure much
more suffering yet before the old thug is finally removed.
The record speaks for itself. Seldom has a country gone from such relative
prosperity to desperate poverty quite so rapidly. There is no question that
when Mugabe took over, Zimbabwe faced many problems, particularly the
colonial legacy of huge disparities of wealth between the tiny white
minority and the black mass of the population. But the economy was
flourishing, inflation was low, employment was high, and the country's food
exports made it the bread basket of Africa.
Now the economy is in ruins. Since 1999 alone, it has shrunk 50 per cent.
Inflation is the highest in the world (about 1700% now and predicted to
reach 4000% by the end of the year), and unemployment is about 80%. Although
something like 3.4 million people out of a population of 13 million have
fled Zimbabwe, starvation is rife, because the country can no longer produce
enough food for its own needs, let alone export it, nor earn enough to pay
for imports. Life expectancy has plummeted to the age of 37 for men and 34
for women - only 10 years ago, it was 65 for women.
All of this partly explains Mugabe's longevity. Amid such death, illness and
poverty, few people have the resources to do more than struggle to maintain
a day-to-day existence without considering any kind of resistance to the
tyranny. Privileges for the security forces to ensure that they stay on-side
have, at least until now, made sure that any uprising, even a peaceful one,
has been out of the question.
Recent reports have suggested that Zimbabwe's collapse is now so complete
that the armed forces or some within the governing hierarchy are becoming
restive. That is more likely wish than reality, but even if it were true, it
is hard to see how an overthrow of Mugabe alone by one of his own ruling
clique would greatly improve things. That clique is so deeply complicit in
the corruption and incompetence of his rule that it is likely one brutal and
repressive thug would simply be replaced by another.
Britain, Europe, the United States and others, including New Zealand, have
all deplored Mugabe's rule - to little effect. Against an essentially broken
country, there is not a lot they can do. Financial sanctions have been tried
against Mugabe and his crooked henchmen, restricting their access to the
luxuries of the West that they covet so much. So far they have been too
narrow to have had much impact. Mugabe regards the West as neo-colonial
racists anyway. As he has said, they can "go hang".
What is particularly regrettable about this situation is that others in
Africa, most notably the South African government of Thabo Mbeki, have
remained shamefully reticent about Mugabe's excesses. It is only in the last
week, after the blatant assaults on opposition members hit the front pages
around the world, that some muted criticism has emerged. Mbeki may be
inhibited by gratitude for support from Mugabe during the anti-apartheid
struggle. But that fellow-feeling must have its limits, and Mbeki and the
rest of Africa are doing themselves no favours by allowing another political
and economic catastrophe in the continent to unfold before their eyes.
Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Tuesday March 20, 2007
Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change has declared that the
bloody assault on its leadership which prompted an international outcry
heralds "the final stage of the final push" to remove Robert Mugabe from
power. One of the party's leaders has even gone so far as to warn of
Zimbabweans have been here before, and been disappointed. So the coming
weeks will be a crucial test of whether the MDC is finally able to
capitalise on the unexpected transformation of its image from weak to heroic
and mobilise popular resistance to Mr Mugabe's 27-year rule.
Five years ago, the MDC declared that the voters were about to turf out Mr
Mugabe. The opposition then watched helplessly as the ruling Zanu-PF stole
the election. In the following days the MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai,
backed away from confrontation with the government just as Zanu-PF was most
vulnerable and ordinary Zimbabweans were still mobilised. He said he did not
want to see bloodshed. Since then the MDC has been on the retreat as it
failed to find a strategy to confront Zanu-PF.
Mr Tsvangirai launched a "final push" and "winter of social discontent" but
they failed to get a sceptical population on to the streets. The collapse in
confidence in the MDC showed as many opposition supporters did not bother to
vote in parliamentary elections and the MDC split over Mr Tsvangirai's
Now his party is again presented with an opportunity after the assault on
the MDC leaders laid bare the brutalities of Mr Mugabe's rule and prompted
Washington to lead international condemnation of Zimbabwe's president.
The MDC said it would seize the moment. Arthur Mutambara, a leader of the
faction that broke away from Mr Tsvangirai two years ago, said the party was
putting aside divisions to rally to the cause. "We have our differences but
we will manage them," he said. "We are in the final stages of the final
push. We are going to do it by democratic means, by being arrested, beaten,
but we are going to do it. ... We are talking about rebellion, war." But at
the weekend, Mr Tsvangirai was still talking about foreign intervention as
key to forcing Mr Mugabe from power. Asked shortly before he was beaten up
why he did not offer more forceful leadership, Mr Tsvangirai essentially
said it was for the people to lead and him to follow.
But ordinary Zimbabweans have not shown a taste for confrontation with the
government even as they have endured a collapsing economy and food
David Coltart, an MDC MP who supports the Mutambara faction, said he remains
doubtful that his party could mobilise large-scale protests. "For all the
publicity of the past week, the fact remains that the opposition hasn't been
able to mobilise tens of thousands of people which is partly to do with
fear, partly to do with divisions in the opposition and partly to do with a
shocking lack of information for ordinary people about what is going on," he
said. "This is a very weak population; weak economically, unhealthy because
of Aids, and a population that is starving."
The one MDC strategy that may yet pay off is the quiet negotiation between
its two factions and rival wings of Zanu-PF.
Mr Tsvangirai has tacitly acknowledged that the best way to encourage change
is through a power-sharing agreement with those in the ruling party who
realise that a coalition government would also ensure a future for Zanu-PF.
But Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF critics acknowledge that an opposition able to
mobilise popular discontent would strengthen their hand in trying to get the
president to finally relinquish power.
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
IT IS heart-rending. "Any man's death diminishes me" may be carrying
sensitivity to excess, but the death the murder of a country diminishes the
human race. Zimbabwe is being murdered.
There is a widespread feeling that former colonial power, Britain, for
one, is not doing nearly enough. In the House of Commons last week, MPs were
demanding a debate on Zimbabwe. The leader of the House, Jack Straw,
deflected those calls because Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett was too
Forget fantasies about invading Zimbabwe. A sizeable force would be
necessary to take over such a large country. Even if Zimbabwe's neighbours
were prepared to co-operate, which they are not, this would require a
build-up. What would Mugabe do during the interim? That is not a pleasant
Brtain would, of course, be justified in having him killed. But we
could not be sure that this would not be followed by even greater violence,
as Mugabe's gangster associates sought insensate revenge.
There have been very few periods in very few countries' history when
the inhabitants' circumstances could not have been even worse. Admittedly,
the 20th century added significantly to their number, but is Zimbabwe as bad
as Cambodia under Pol Pot? There's no guarantee Mugabe's assassination would
not create a Zimbabwean killing fields.
There is only one way to bring this regime to a relatively chaos-free
end: the sustained pressure of a boot on its windpipe. That would be easy to
achieve. Through its control of Zimbabwe's electricity and other vital
supplies, South Africa could do it in a few days. Moreover, the South
Africans almost certainly have senior contacts in the Zimbabwean armed
forces; the sort of people who might be encouraged to mount a coup.
Nelson Mandela has expressed his disquiet over developments in
Zimbabwe.If he were still in charge, something might have happened. But
Thabo Mbeki is as much in denial on Zimbabwe as he is on AIDS.
Mbeki's political emotions are deeply entwined with the ANC's
guerrilla days and the riots against white rule in the black townships.
These days, he is pursuing sensible economic policies while wondering how to
deal with lawlessness in the black townships. But he seems to need a
political comfort blanket; a symbol of his revolutionary past and proof that
he has not sold out. This may explain his support for Mugabe. It is
unfortunate that his comfort blanket has become, for so many Zimbabweans, a
There might just be a compromise. Who would not cheer if Mugabe were
torn to pieces by his victims? At the very least, he deserves to stand
trial. Yet justice for one man is less important than salvation for a
Suppose the South Africans were to offer him a retirement home. They
might suggest, with a view to his great age and heroic services, that he was
entitled to spend his remaining years in gracious circumstances. If this
happened, there would be widespread protests. But more to the point, Morgan
Tsvangirai and others could begin to repair the ravages of Mugabe's
malevolence. Rather than Zimbabwe suffering for another hour, it is better
that Mugabe should enjoy exile in a gilded ease. Alas, he would be unlikely
There are reports that Mugabe's administration is falling apart. We
can only hope this is true, and that the wish is not acting as father to the
thought, while the authors confuse the collapse of a society with the
disintegration of a tyrant's power.
Surpassed only by the mineral riches of Botswana and South Africa,
Zimbabwe ought to have the third strongest economy in Southern Africa. It
should be striding confidently from the Third World to the Second, with
every indicator moving in a healthy direction. Instead, it would be a basket
case, except that Mugabe's thugs have smashed the basket.
Morgan Tsvangirai is an inspiringly decent and honourable man,
determined to do what is right for his country whatever the consequences for
himself. Let us hope that he, and his health, survive. He would be a worthy
recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Which is about all that we in the West could do for him. This may be a
profoundly depressing thought, but Africa deserves realism from Britain. Too
many commentators seem to believe that a solution to its problems is somehow
in our gift. Too many British politicians have come to view Africa as the
ideal backdrop for photo calls and facile emotion.
Over the past couple of years, putative Labor leader Gordon Brown has
discovered that he can give grandiloquent promises to admiring audiences in
Africa at hardly any cost in cash. Our politicians arrive with smiles,
cameras and platitudes. With less publicity, Chinese politicians slip in
with offers of serious money for natural resources. The Brits talk about
good government. Although they are too polite to use the word, they imply
that corruption is a bad idea. The Chinese offer royalty payments to the
bank account of choice.
The irony is that, during the days of Empire, Britain often bought raw
materials from Africa at favourable prices. The Chinese will pay world
market prices plus. But Britain also repaid with roads, schools, hospitals,
law codes, and, eventually, democratic institutions. The balance was greatly
to Africa's advantage. Yet Britain is still accused of exploiting its
colonies' resources. To repeat the phrase, those who think that Africa has
been exploited have seen nothing yet. - The Independent
20th Mar 2007 00:24 GMT
By a Correspondent
HARARE - Nelson Chamisa, the opposition MDC spokesperson remained in
hospital today as the High Court sat late Monday and ordered the immediate
release of Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the other MDC faction.
Chamisa was brutally assaulted Sunday while on his way to Harare
International Airport, en route to a meeting of the ACP-EU countries in
Mutambara on the other hand was arrested and detained Saturday while trying
to leave Harare for South Africa. Also stopped from leaving for South Africa
were Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland of the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC. Police
said he had a case pending at the courts so he was barred from travelling.
Justice Tendai Uchena made a late ruling that Mutambara's arrest was illegal
and violated last week's ruling by another High Court judge setting free
about 50 political activists who were arrested along with Tsvangirai,
Mutambara and Lovemore Madhuku.
The judge said there was no reason for the police to arrest Mutambara since
the pro-democracy activists had been freed by Justice Bhunu following the
police's failure to bring them to court to prefer charges after the arrests
of 11 March that saw Tsvangirai and others being brutally assaulted by the
Mutambara was told he was free to travel as there were no restrictions
imposed on him.
The hearing followed an urgent application by top lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa
challenging her client's continued detention by the police.
She said one Superintendent Tavaziva had effected the unlawful arrest of
Mutambara and was unable to justify it.
"The arrest of our client at the Airport on the 17th March 2007 is therefore
clearly illegal and is a clear contemptuous, arrogant and malicious defiance
of the High Court Order. The fact that the Attorney General's Office has
confirmed its advices that you abide by the High Court Order means you are
also contemptuous of the Attorney General's powers given to him by the
Constitution of Zimbabwe, in the circumstances, it is our view that the Law
and Order Section, particularly Superintendent Tavaziva and Detective Chief
Inspector Mavhunda are in deliberate contempt of the High Court Order and of
the country's Constitution. We are therefore proceeding to apply, on an
urgent basis, for the release of our client from the unlawful detention and
for the two named officers to be held in contempt of court," wrote Mtetwa.
The police, ironically, did not attend Monday's late hearing but the AG's
Office conceded there was no reason and need for Mutambara's further
detention, concurring the MDC leader should not have been arrested at all.
Meanwhile as Chamisa's continues to fight for his life, Kwinjeh and Holland
also remain in hospital but under police guard.
Sunday Times, SA
18 March 2007
President Thabo Mbeki maintained a deafening silence on Zimbabwe this week
even as his own MPs, trade union ally Cosatu, the international community
and Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on him to condemn the beating by police
of opposition members in the country.
As a defiant Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe insisted protesters would be
"bad bashed" , Mbeki completely avoided addressing the issue at a meeting of
the ANC's National Executive Committee and in his weekly newsletter.
Instead, government spokesman Themba Maseko said, "the Department of Foreign
Affairs has been asked to take the lead on this matter". Foreign Affairs
spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the government had remained in contact with
Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, urging
them to negotiate a solution .
Reuters reports from Washington that South Africa's United Nations
Ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, had opposed Britain's call for a special
Security Council briefing on Zimbabwe on the grounds that the situation did
not threaten international peace and security.
Mbeki's silence was in stark contrast to the stand taken by ANC MPs, who
urged a stronger line .
In its strongest statement yet , the ANC caucus in Parliament said it had
"noted with grave concern" the situation in Zimbabwe. "Caucus calls on
government to intensify its efforts to assist the people and leaders of
Zimbabwe ," it said.
This sentiment was echoed by Tutu, who said African leaders should "hang
their heads in shame" for their silence on Zimbabwe.
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi also blasted Mbeki, saying: "At
what point do we say this is not working and go for a harder position? " -
Brendan Boyle and Own Correspondent
19/03/2007 22:51 - (SA)
Maputo - The Association of Mozambican Lawyers have added their voice in
condemning the violation of human rights in neighbouring Zimbabwe, Vista
News reported on Monday.
In a press statement the lawyers called on the Mozambican government to
"advise President Robert Mugabe to respect human rights in his country".
The appeal by the lawyers comes in the wake of the arrests and torture of
opposition politicians and protesters.
"The Association of Mozambican Lawyers classifies this act as a violation of
rights of citizens by denying them freedom to hold meetings," the statement
The lawyers called on the Mozambican government to use "its influence to
help stop the brutality which is being committed by the Zimbabwean
government, which is putting in questions democratic principles and respect
of human rights in the region".
The lawyers also deplored the poor conditions in Zimbabwean prisons and the
restriction of access to lawyers for the detained.
The association also called upon civil and government organisations in the
SADC (Southern African Development Community) region to press the Zimbabwean
government to respect the rule of law.
New York Tmes
Published: March 20, 2007
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has spent much of his 26-plus years in
power suppressing all opposition, persecuting defenseless minorities and
destroying a once-promising economy. He has shamelessly tried to deflect all
blame for the disastrous consequences - including a man-made famine and a
catastrophically mishandled H.I.V./AIDS epidemic - onto international
scapegoats, chiefly Britain and the United States.
Now, the 83-year-old Mr. Mugabe seems to have descended into total
power-madness. He has barred opponents from leaving the country, ordered his
thugs to literally crack the skulls of opposition leaders, accused his own
party's youth group of plotting against him, and told Western critics to "go
hang." Last week, he threatened to run again in 2008 for another six-year
With hyperinflation making its currency almost worthless, Zimbabwe is
running short of basic commodities like milk, cooking oil and gasoline.
Fewer than one in four Zimbabweans have jobs, and life expectancy, nearly 60
in 1990, has plunged into the 30s.
Will no one rescue Zimbabwe? The United States and Europe have limited
influence, and risk playing into Mr. Mugabe's racist rhetoric when they try
to use it. But President Thabo Mbeki of neighboring South Africa - the
region's most prestigious political leader - has enormous leverage, and he
should be using it. South Africa is Zimbabwe's main trade partner, a big
investor and the source of more than 40 percent of its electricity.
Unfortunately Mr. Mbeki has done nothing, apparently out of a misplaced
sense of liberation-struggle solidarity. Zimbabwe is struggling to liberate
itself from Mr. Mugabe's deadly misrule. Its people desperately need all
Zimbabweans, and the influential Mr. Mbeki, to show real-life solidarity
with them - and not with their rampaging dictator.
March 20 2007 at 04:59AM
The African Christian Democratic Party on Tuesday said it was ashamed
by South Africa's silence on the brutality of the Zimbabwean government
against opposition parties.
"Now is the time for the South African government to speak out and to
condemn the brutality of the Zimbabwean government. Failure to do so would
be criminal and would be tantamount to condoning and approving the
undemocratic and vicious acts of a government that does not care for its
people," said party president Kenneth Moshoe.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government has come under
increasing international criticism for its treatment of the country
oppositions. Activists say the government has been disrupting their
gatherings and beating and detaining their leaders. Members of the Movement
for Democratic Change including leader Morgan Tsvangirai have been in the
past week assaulted while in police custody.
"The ACDP condemns the brutal assaults on members of the opposition
parties by the Zimbabwe police in the strongest possible terms and we
challenge the government to do likewise".
"We question why the South African government that claims and pretends
to be champions of human rights on the African continent can remain silent
when the Zimbabwe police are beating protesters and leaders of the
opposition," said Moshoe. - Sapa
US Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
March 19, 2007
Question Taken at March 19, 2007 Daily Press Briefing
Question: Did the Zimbabwe Foreign Minister summon foreign ambassadors and
threaten to expel any who support opposition party members?
Answer: Zimbabwean Minister of Foreign Affairs Simbarashe Mumbengegwi today
summoned Western diplomats for a briefing on the current situation.
Mumbengegwi read a statement of the Government's position and issued a
threat to foreign diplomats to remain quiet or face being declared persona
At the briefing, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Dell, sought assurances that
the minister would provide diplomats an opportunity to respond. When the
Ambassador did not receive these assurances, he departed refusing to
participate in the Government's attempt to justify its recent brutality.
The United States will continue to speak and act steadfastly in support of
the people of Zimbabwe's right to democracy.
Released on March 19, 2007
March 20, 2007 Edition 1
The crisis in Zimbabwe is deteriorating daily. President Robert Mugabe has
predictably shown the middle finger to all of those who condemned the brutal
police assault of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and several other opposition supporters on Sunday March 11. His
police this weekend defiantly arrested several more leaders trying to leave
the country, some for treatment in South Africa, and badly assaulted MDC
spokesman Nelson Chamisa with iron bars at the airport.
And they defied a court order and stole the body of Gift Tandare from a
mortuary and buried him in private, apparently to forestall a public funeral
becoming the occasion for further protest.
This is truly inhumane and outrageous behaviour which only South Africa and
the Southern African region stand any chance of stopping. They will have to
go a lot further than the mild criticism South Africa and some other
regional governments issued last week, urging Mugabe to respect the law and
the rights of his people and calling on both sides to sit down and talk.
Mugabe's treatment of the opposition people this weekend showed how much he
had taken this criticism to heart. And it is futile to suggest that both
sides are equally guilty for the present crisis. Mugabe is the core of the
problem and the region must act accordingly.
Tanzania, Namibia and Lesotho, representing the security arm of the Southern
African Development Community, are to meet on March 26 and 27 in Dar es
Salaam to discuss the crisis. That meeting has now become pivotal in trying
to arrest the downward spiral of violence in Zimbabwe.
The SADC must issue not the usual polite suggestion, but a very firm
instruction to Mugabe to sit down with the opposition and negotiate a route
out of the crisis. Or face definite and specified consequences, starting
with public SADC condemnation and moving on to diplomatic isolation. The
longer the SADC postpones the inevitable confrontation with Mugabe, the more
lives will be lost. This is literally a life and death issue for Zimbabwe
and a moment of truth for the credibility of South Africa's foreign policy.