Friday 23 March 2007
By Brian Ncube
HARARE - A Zimbabwean opposition activist who was arrested during last week's
riots in Highfield suburb, died in police custody forcing the police to dump
his body at a Harare hospital mortuary, ZimOnline has learnt.
Itai Manyeruke, 30, was severely tortured while in police custody after he
was arrested together with several other Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) leaders, for attempting to take part in a banned prayer rally in
"He was arrested by the riot police on March 11 and handed over to the
Criminal Investigations Department's Law and Order section at Harare Central
together with other members of his party.
"They were tortured throughout the night, being beaten up and suffocated in
water. He died the following morning and the bosses ordered that he be
dumped at the mortuary on the same day," said a junior police officer at
Harare Central police station.
The sources said Manyeruke's family had launched a frantic search for him
over the past two weeks with the family only discovering the body at Harare
central hospital's mortuary.
A relative of Manyeruke, speaking to ZimOnline on condition that he was not
named, said a post mortem had revealed that Manyeruke had died as a result
of several fractures on the spinal accord, injuries that were inflicted as a
result of severe beatings.
"It is even more painful that the people (police) who caused all this are
now sitting comfortably in their homes while we foot all the bills to bury
our relative," said the relative.
Manyeruke's death brings to two the number of individuals who died at the
hands of the police as a result of last week's crackdown on the opposition.
Another MDC supporter, Gift Tandare, was also shot and killed by the police
during the disturbances that triggered international outrage against
President Mugabe's government.
Police national spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena rejected
assertions that the police were responsible for Manyeruke's death.
"It seems that everyone now wants to blame the police for everything bad
that happens to their families. I do not know anything about that," said
Bvudzijena. - ZimOnline
March 23, 2007
Martin Fletcher and photographer Richard MIlls spent the past week
travelling secretly around Zimbabwe, seeing for themselves the terrible
effects on ordinary people of the President's desperate bid to cling to
It was a cloak-and-dagger meeting after working hours in the deserted
business premises of an intermediary. The senior officer in Robert Mugabe's
police force did not attempt to hide his nervousness about speaking to a
foreign reporter working in Zimbabwe illegally. He would "disappear" - be
killed - if he was identified in any way, he told The Times.
But the officer was equally determined to expose the growing disenchantment
within the ranks of Zimbabwe's police and suggested that many of its members
might stand aside if the people rose up against their 83-year-old President.
The fact that he was prepared to take such an enormous risk is a measure of
how Mr Mugabe's grip on power is weakening. It also helps to explain why the
Zimbabwean President wants to import 2,500 Angolan paramilitaries to shore
up his regime.
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo added to the pressure on Mr Mugabe
yesterday. Sensing his growing vulnerability, he called on Zimbabweans to
"stand up and fill the streets and demand this man stand down". He promised
to take the lead, declaring: "The pastors must be the ones in front of the
The police officer used his clandestine interview to offer an unprecedented
insight into the deteriorating strength and morale of a force on which Mr
Mugabe depends heavily for his survival.
He said Mr Mugabe was afraid to arm the police in case some of them turned
on him. He claimed - though there is no way of checking - that Mr Mugabe
recently changed the army unit guarding the national armoury because he did
not trust it. The officer said he had joined the force more than 20 years
ago. "That was a time when a policeman was really a policeman," he said.
"When you woke up in the morning and it was time to get into your uniform
you would feel proud. You would cycle to work feeling happiness. Today it's
totally different. It's like you are in a prison."
Political cronies who were happy to do the regime's bidding were being
promoted over the heads of senior officers. The force was being turned into
an instrument of repression, not law and order. Officers were being ordered
to use brutality, and were side-lined or punished if they refused. "Today
they may say. 'We want you to control the crowd at such a place'. If the
command comes to assault, you have to assault," he said.
The officer said men were leaving the police, the Army and the Air Force
because conditions were so bad. He had lost as many as a third of his own
men. The pay - 150,000 Zimbabwean dollars (less than £5) a month for a
constable - was derisory and barely covered the cost of travelling to work.
Some routinely extorted bribes to make ends meet. "They are forced by the
situation to do what they are doing," he said.
His station had no working vehicles - they had either broken down or been
commandeered from above. It had no rubber batons, riot shields or tear gas
masks, and he even had to cadge paper from businessmen.
Asked if he would try to suppress a popular demonstration against Mr Mugabe
he replied: "How do you do it if you don't have the manpower or equipment?"
Pressed, he admitted his heart would be with the demonstrators. "You try to
appear you are following orders and come up with whatever excuses you can."
The officer said his views were widely shared by officers of his rank: "A
big number of us are not performing as expected. It's not as though we don't
know what to do, but because of the situation. It's maybe better to keep
If even his security forces are growing restive Mr Mugabe really is in
trouble, and Father Ncube added to his problems yesterday with his bold
declaration at a meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.
The gangly, loose-limbed Archbishop had prefaced his remarks during a
twilight interview with The Times earlier this week in a small garden next
to his cathedral. "If we can get 30,000 people together even Mugabe's Army
would not be able to control it," he said, and indicated that he was
thinking of stepping into the leadership vacuum caused by infighting within
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Yesterday he did so. "It's time for a radical stance, not soft speeches and
cowardice," Father Ncube, 60, declared to cheers from the assembled clerics.
"I am willing to stand in front. The time is now."
It is indeed. Richard Mills, The Times photographer, and I spent the past
week travelling secretly around Zimbabwe. Foreign journalists face two years'
imprisonment if caught. We variously posed as aid donors, priests and
chemical salesmen, and were passed from one trusted contact to another.
What we found was appalling. In rural areas of a nation that was once the
pride of Africa, children are now dying of hunger. Families are abandoning
their dead because they can no longer afford funerals. Young girls are
turning to prostitution as their only means of survival.
Hyperinflation is rendering the currency, salaries, savings and pensions
virtually worthless. Prices are doubling every month. The day we arrived in
Harare we were taken to a suburban home where a black-market dealer gave us
12,000 Zimbabwean dollars for one US dollar. Seven days later the rate was
Z$21,000. In one week the price of petrol - in the few stations still open -
rose from Z$14,000 a litre to Z$21,000. Anyone without access to foreign
currency faces destitution. Even whites are now begging.
Two fifths of the population are already suffering from malnutrition, and
John Robertson, a respected economic consultant, predicts worse to come.
Maize is Zimbabwe's staple. This year's harvest will be poor, South Africa
will produce too little to export any to its neighbour and America's drive
to convert maize into ethanol is driving up the worldwide price at a time
when Zimbabwe is almost out of foreign currency.
Waiters, guides, gatemen, maids, hitchhikers - everyone we spoke to voiced
despair. "By the time Mugabe dies there will be nothing of our country
left," one woman lamented.
It would be rash to assume that Mr Mugabe's 27-year-old regime is going to
fall in the next few weeks, or even months. While we met nobody who did not
loathe the man, we met few who were not terrified of his still-formidable
The dreaded Central Intelligence Office has informers everywhere - "even in
church groups" Father Ncube told us. Opposition activists are frequently
detained and beaten. Landlines are routinely tapped, so text messages have
become the opposition's new bush telegraph. Fearful interviewees mostly
insisted on talking strictly off-the-record - one prominent white begged me
not to report his view that Mugabe would not survive the year as he could be
arrested for treason.
In Bulawayo we watched dozens of illegal street vendors vanish like a
Mexican wave when a truckload of police drew up. Driving the 300 miles to
Harare the next day we were stopped at no fewer than six check-points. Our
trips into the closely watched townships had to be covert and fleeting, and
organised by courageous opposition activists. It is also the case that most
ordinary Zimbabweans are too downtrodden, hungry and preoccupied with
day-to-day survival to even contemplate rebellion. They retain horrific
memories of the terrible bloodshed during and after the war of independence.
The three millions Zimbabweans who have left their country include many of
the most able and enterprising.
But there are signs of popular defiance that have seldom been seen before.
In the past fortnight there have been riots in townships in Harare, Bulawayo
and Gweru. Two police stations have been petrol-bombed, tyres set alight and
a railway line blocked. Doctors, teachers and university professors have
staged strikes. Tobacco growers are refusing to sell their crop to the state
unless offered a viable price.
An activist with the opposition MDC in Bulawayo spoke of an impending
campaign of civil disobedience that would include nationwide protests. It
would target the police and homes of leading members of Zanu (PF), the
ruling party. "We are now fighting for our pride as a people, and Mugabe
must go," he said as he sat in our car, watching for watchers.
Given the desperation of the people it is just possible someone like Father
Ncube could provide the spark that
sets Zimbabwe ablaze. The Archbishop's promise to lead "changes the whole
scope of the crisis, and gives the struggle a new dimension", Eldred
Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, said.
Father Ncube was well-known domestically and internationally. It would be
hard for the regime to "bash" him. "He is emerging in the mould of [Desmond]
Tutu. We need a Tutu in Zimbabwe," Mr Masunungure said, referring to the
Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town.
The other potent threat confronting Mr Mugabe is the fracturing of his
party. There was a growing consensus within the party late last year that Mr
Mugabe should make way for younger blood after completing his present term
next March. When he made clear his intention to stay on he sparked a revolt,
and a party whose internal machinations used to be as secret as the Kremlin's
is now engulfed in a vicious semi-public power struggle.
Mr Mugabe is a great survivor, and even his fiercest critics concede that he
is a brilliant tactician. They also know that he will stop at nothing to
retain power, and predict that things could become even worse before they
get better. "Unfortunately it may come to bloodshed," Father Ncube told The
Times."People are upset now. They are angry. If they burn cars Mugabe will
resort to shooting. He will do anything for power."
As Zimbabwe's crackdown continues, there is rising hope that Mugabe may
finally be on his way out of office.
By Karen MacGregor
Updated: 4:51 p.m. ET March 22, 2007
March 22, 2007 - Mary Chibanda has spent the last decade as an opposition
activist in Zimbabwe. Police have arrested her six times and assaulted her
twice. When I last saw Chibanda in the capital of Harare, she was in hiding
and in pain, nursing gashes and a swollen face after riot cops beat her
during a peaceful demonstration against the despotic President Robert
Mugabe. That was four years ago. Last month, Chibanda fled her native
country in fear of her life. "There is no work, no money, no food. We are
being beaten and we are desperate," she said.
Chibanda made it to safety in South Africa last week. As she sought
political asylum and a job in the port city of Durban, pro-Mugabe hardliners
continued their crackdown on their political opponents in neighboring
Zimbabwe. Yet, even while the violence continued, reports of an anti-Mugabe
faction within the ruling ZANU-PF Party left some analysts cautiously
optimistic that their 83-year-old ruler may finally be on his way out of
power. "People have begun to fight back, which has never happened before,"
Professor Lovemore Maduka, a legal scholar and head of Zimbabwe's National
Constitutional Assembly, a civil-society group whose resistance to
constitutional changes triggered the birth of the opposition movement seven
years ago, told NEWSWEEK. Maduka was one of three men-along with Morgan
Tsvangirai, leader of the political opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), and Arthur Mutambara, head of a splinter MDC opposition
party-whose bloodied and battered bodies were photographed and flashed
around the world last week as they left a hospital in Harare. The three
political leaders had been arrested and assaulted by security forces after a
March 11 protest, leaving Maduka and Tsvangarai with deep head injuries and
broken limbs. In spite of his injuries, Maduka says he is encouraged by the
growing resistance and the new unity between political- opposition groups in
Zimbabwe. "People are hugely determined to fight brutality by a government
that has become desperate," he said.
Regional resistance to Mugabe-long sheltered by his iconic status as an
anti-colonial liberation hero-is growing, too. Zambian President Levy
Mwanawasa yesterday described Zimbabwe as a "sinking Titanic whose
passengers are jumping off in a bid to save their lives," and urged African
leaders to intervene in the crisis. "Quiet diplomacy has failed to help
solve the political chaos and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe," Mwanawasa
said, in what appeared to be a veiled criticism of the South African
government's refusal to publicly criticize its erstwhile ally in the
The latest trouble in Zimbabwe began some six weeks ago, when a protest
rally in Harare was disrupted by police and degenerated into a near riot in
one of the capital city's "high-density"-a euphemism for poor-neighborhoods.
On March 11, a demonstration held by antigovernment groups under the
umbrella of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, was crushed by riot police using
tear gas, water cannons and live ammunition. A young activist, Gift Tandare,
was killed: his body was bizarrely "confiscated" from a funeral parlor by
state agents in order to avoid a high-profile political funeral that could
prompt more protests, and was buried by the government. At least 50 people
were injured during or after that rally.
Last Saturday, three of the opposition activists who were allegedly
assaulted on March 11 were re-arrested at Harare airport. MDC Secretary for
International Affairs Sekai Holland, 64, and her deputy, Grace Kwinje, 30,
were severely injured while in police custody after the protest-Holland
suffered multiple fractures, including broken ribs and a broken arm and leg.
But the women were prevented from leaving for Johannesburg to receive
specialist medical care. An ambulance transporting them from a private
clinic in Harare to the airport was stopped on the tarmac by security
forces, their passports were taken and they were told they needed a
clearance certificate from the health department. They later returned to the
clinic and are under police guard. Arthur Mutambara, leader of the MDC
splinter faction, was later also arrested at the airport, en route to
Johannesburg where his family lives. He has been held at Harare central
The following day, Nelson Chamisa, Tsvangirai's spokesman, was assaulted at
the airport and beaten on the head with iron bars by eight unknown
assailants as he arrived for a flight to Brussels. He was en route to a
meeting of the European Union and Africa Caribbean Pacific, but instead
ended up back in a critical condition in the private Avenues Clinic-from
which he had just been released following injuries sustained during the
March 11 rally. The assault on Chamisa prompted Glenys Kinnock, co-chair of
the EU-ACP parliamentary assembly in Brussels, to unsuccessfully call for
officials of Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF to be banned from the meeting, and
for the EU to "strengthen existing sanctions on Zimbabwe and impose new,
effective targeted personal sanctions against ZANU-PF and its business
associates." The 27-nation EU last month extended for a year its sanctions
on Zimbabwe, including an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze on
Mugabe and other top officials.
Mugabe remains defiant, telling critics to "go hang" and accusing opposition
groups of "terrorist" violence sponsored by former colonial power Britain
and the United States. "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," he was quoted as saying by the
pro-government Sunday Mail. On Sunday the Zimbabwean government threatened
to expel Western diplomats, whom, it accuses, of supporting the
opposition-the first time that it has issued such a threat. U.S. ambassador
Christopher Dell, who walked out of the meeting with the Zimbabwean foreign
minister after he refused to take questions, later told The Associated Press
that Mugabe was "far from giving up." Still, said Dell, "he is weaker than
he's ever been before, because the economy has simply made him weaker and
because everyone recognizes that he's 83 years old."
Mugabe's policies have left the country with the world's fastest-shrinking
peacetime economy. Inflation is running at 1,700 percent and the
International Monetary Fund predicts that it will rise to 4,000 percent this
year. Savings have been wiped out, and 56 percent of Zimbabweans earn less
than $1 a day. Many with the means and education to rebuild the country have
fled: estimates put the expat Zimbabwean community at some 3.4
million-members of a diaspora that has stripped Zimbabwe of around 70
percent of its skilled workforce. Development gains have been eradicated:
according to the United Nations Children's Fund, life expectancy has
plummeted from 60 years in 1990 to 37 now-partly as a result of AIDS-while
the infant mortality rate has risen from 53 to 81 per 1,000 live births.
Land-seizure policies have destroyed commercial farming, causing severe
drought-exacerbated food shortages and leaving 1.4 million of this formerly
self-sufficient country's 12 million people dependent on food aid. Zimbabwe's
next elections are due in 2008. Mugabe wants to extend his own term by a
further two years after that. Even if the autocrat is ousted sooner, the
damage to Zimbabwe will likely linger for decades.
Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:56PM EDT
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia's Prime Minister John Howard said on Friday
he was out of patience with Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe and defended an
Australian diplomat who escorted Mugabe opponents to safety.
"We pussyfoot around far too much using diplomatic language. This man is a
disaster. His country is just a total heap of misery. Frankly, I've run out
of patience," Howard told Australian radio in a blistering criticism of
Mugabe's latest attacks on political rivals.
Australia's consul in Zimbabwe, Mark Lynch, on Thursday escorted members of
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's main opposition party,
as they were flown to South Africa for medical treatment after a police
MDC policy secretary Sekai Holland, a former Australian citizen, and Grace
Kwinje flew to Johannesburg after the High Court ruled they were free to
travel if they informed police.
"She's relatively well, considering her appalling injuries, but she's in
excellent spirits," Holland's Australian husband Jim said on Friday, adding
his wife was determined to return home as she felt Zimbabwe was at a tipping
South Africa, the regional power, has said it is concerned about
"deteriorating" conditions in Zimbabwe but insists Zimbabweans must find
their own solutions to their problems.
But Howard, whose country four years ago led efforts to suspend Zimbabwe
from the 53-nation Commonwealth following flawed presidential elections,
said African nations, and especially South Africa, had to convince Mugabe to
"He was a brother in arms against apartheid, I know that, but that's a long
time ago," Howard said.
"The police are using brutal tactics, they're bashing up opposition
politicians, they're fracturing skulls, they're behaving in a totally
Mugabe's government is reportedly considering drafting in up to 3,000
militia from close ally Angola to support the crackdown and plug holes left
by desertions in its own security forces.
Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, has
traded on his legacy as a leading light in Africa's anti-colonial struggle,
blaming Zimbabwe's problems on Western sabotage after his seizure of white
By George Jones, Political Editor and Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Last Updated: 3:10am GMT 23/03/2007
Britain is preparing for the end of President Robert Mugabe's regime
in Zimbabwe and making plans to engage with a successor, the Foreign Office
Senior officials broke with diplomatic protocol to indicate that the
83-year-old could be ousted this year as a result of growing opposition to
his authoritarian rule.
The tougher approach to the Mugabe regime came as a leading Zimbabwean
Roman Catholic cleric said he was ready to face bullets in anti-government
In response to Mr Mugabe's violent crackdown on opposition activists,
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo said Zimbabweans must take to the streets.
"The biggest problem with Zimbabweans is they are cowards, myself
included, but as for me I am ready to stand in front, even of blazing guns,"
he said. "If only Zimbabweans are prepared to stand, so am I prepared to
stand. . . we are not going to be bullied.
"Starvation stalks our land and government does nothing to correct our
''People are angry now and should stand up, fill the streets and
demand that this man [Mugabe] steps down now."
Archbishop Ncube was speaking at a news conference called by Christian
Alliance, a group of church leaders who are part of the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign - the organisers of a prayer meeting at which the opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and 49 others were arrested two weeks ago.
The arrests and Mr Tsvangirai's subsequent beating have drawn
criticism and demands for tougher sanctions.
The Zimbabwean government appealed for support from its African allies
yesterday, amid signs of unease in the continent over the persecution of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
But the Angolan government denied reports that it would be sending
hundreds of paramilitary policemen to bolster Mr Mugabe's security forces.
With Zimbabwe's economy spiralling into near-terminal decline and inflation
predicted to reach 5,000 per cent by the summer, increasing attention is
being given to the possibility of a "palace coup" removing Mr Mugabe.
In London, senior Foreign Office officials said they believed 2007 may
be a "pivotal" year for the state.
Britain believes Zimbabwe is reaching a "tipping point" at which
despair at Mr Mugabe's oppression may outweigh the fear of his suppression.
After criticism that it has been slower than America at signalling
support for attempts to oust Mr Mugabe, Britain is encouraging Zimbabwe's
neighbours to press for a return to stability, making clear London's
readiness to work with a post-Mugabe regime.
By Con Coughlin
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 23/03/2007
When Steve Biko, the charismatic South African Black Consciousness
leader, died naked and manacled in a fetid prison cell in Pretoria in 1977,
his brutal demise ultimately sounded the knell for apartheid.
Those countries, such as Britain and America, that had continued to
maintain relations with the South African regime realised that the Vorster
government had gone too far; David Owen, the then Labour foreign secretary,
led the chorus of international protests, attending a memorial service held
in Biko's honour in London, and making Britain's distaste for Biko's death
at the hands of the security forces publicly known.
The resulting international isolation of South Africa as a consequence
of that single incident led to the collapse of apartheid a decade later and
the takeover of the country by Nelson Mandela's ANC.
There is an important parallel to be drawn between the impact Biko's
death had on South Africa, and the implications of the brutal treatment
recently meted out to Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Just
as Biko's death led to the collapse of apartheid, the latest abuse of power
by Zimbabwe's equally malevolent security forces may prove to be a similar
tipping point in the removal of Robert Mugabe's dictatorship.
Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, appears
to have survived the violent assault he suffered at Harare's central police
station following his detention for participating in an anti-government
protest. Like Biko, Tsvangira suffered severe head injuries - a fractured
skull. Unlike Biko, who was left naked and chained to a grille on the prison
cell floor, the prompt intervention of Tsvangirai's lawyers meant he
received emergency hospital treatment.
Even so, the damage inflicted on Chairman Bob's Marxist dictatorship
by this single act of state brutality may well prove decisive. For the 27
years that he has presided over the slow ruination of his country, Mugabe
has managed to cling to office despite being responsible for some of the
worst outrages seen in the recent history of that benighted continent. He
escaped any meaningful censure when he launched his genocidal campaign
against Joshua Nkomo's Ndebele tribe in the late 1980s, when his North
Korean-trained troops massacred upwards of 20,000 innocent civilians in
Not even the racist campaign that Mugabe launched to evict thousands
of white farmers from land that their families had owned and farmed for
generations succeeded in mobilising international opinion. Zimbabwe was
finally expelled from the Commonwealth in 2003, but only after years of
wrangling in which the majority of the member states argued that Mugabe's
misdemeanours did not merit punitive action. It is only now that people are
seriously questioning Mugabe's ability to cling on to office.
The most trenchant criticism of his latest excess has come from
America, which in itself is surprising, given that Africa's unpleasant
little local difficulties have been low down the pecking order of
Washington's priorities. But now the Bush Administration seems determined to
apply as much pressure as possible against Mugabe, in the hope that it can
succeed in achieving its ultimate goal of effecting regime change in Harare.
This would explain the strength of the comments on the current crisis
made this week by Christopher Dell, Washington's ambassador to Zimbabwe, who
has been a thorn in the side of the government with his criticism of
Mugabe's almost wilful destruction of what was once one of Africa's most
thriving economies, and the ageing dictator's total disregard for the rule
Zimbabweans were "losing their fear", said Mr Dell, and there were
signs of mounting discontent within the ruling Zanu-PF party at the
country's increasingly parlous economic plight - inflation is expected to
hit 4,000 per cent by the end of this year. "What I think we have seen in
the past week is that people have turned a corner," he said. "They're not
afraid any more."
So why is American influence rising in Africa? Partly it is the result
of the woeful lack of leadership the British Government has provided in
curbing Mugabe's wilder excesses. As the former colonial power and the
architect of the 1979 Lancaster House Agreement that gave Zimbabwe
independence, Britain is well-placed to take the lead in reminding Mugabe of
his obligations both to the people of Zimbabwe and to the outside world.
Even the South Africans, decidedly reticent about openly criticising a
former comrade from the liberation struggle, had condemned Mugabe's latest
excesses before Tony Blair and Margaret Beckett, his anonymous Foreign
Secretary, were moved to do so. South Africa, it seems, has finally woken up
to the fact that Mugabe's regime is in danger of spiralling out of control,
with the disastrous implications for the wider region. But they, too, have
been a great disappointment in dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis.
Pretoria nurtures pretensions of becoming the region's dominant power,
but Thabo Mbeki, the South African president, has studiously avoided taking
any position that could be deemed hostile to Harare. When the ANC did
finally pluck up the courage to speak out, its muted criticism was hardly
likely to have Mugabe quaking in his boots. Aziz Pahad, the deputy foreign
minister and a veteran of the liberation struggle, simply called on Harare
to respect the rule of law and the rights of all political parties. Ouch!
South Africa has badly let down the Bush Administration, which at one
point believed Pretoria would be pro-active in resolving the Zimbabwean
crisis. President George W. Bush said as much when he invited Mr Mbeki to
the White House in 2005 and described him as his "point man" in southern
But the South Africans have failed to deliver, and with Mugabe
threatening to run for another term of office, it falls - once again - on
Washington to provide the muscular leadership that is necessary to deal with
Friday March 23, 2007 12:01 AM
By ANGUS SHAW
Associated Press Writer
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - An outspoken Catholic archbishop urged Zimbabweans
to fill the streets to protest a surge in state-orchestrated violence,
saying Thursday he was willing to lead a campaign of peaceful resistance to
force President Robert Mugabe out of office.
Mugabe's opponents reported that a hospitalized activist had died of
injuries suffered when police fired tear gas, live ammunition and water
cannons to stop a March 11 prayer meeting protesting his rule. Police did
not confirm the death of Itai Manyeruki, who would be the second activist to
die as a result of violence. Gift Tandare, 31, was fatally shot as the
meeting was dispersed.
Archbishop Pius Ncube told a gathering of clerics, pro-democracy activists
and mostly Western diplomats in Harare on Thursday that, ``We must be ready
to stand, even in front of blazing guns.''
``I am ready to stand in front,'' he said. ``The biggest problem is
Zimbabweans are cowards, myself included. We must get off our comfortable
seats and suffer with the people.''
Ncube has long been an ardent critic of Mugabe, 83, and his ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front party. The archbishop's past efforts
to rally Zimbabweans have not led to mass protests.
Ncube said the nation's economic collapse had led to many more deaths than
the political violence.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, and another 46 activists were hospitalized after the arrest,
beatings and alleged torture by the police breaking up the prayer meeting
organized by the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe, head of a grouping of
church, civic and opposition groups. The violence prompted a world outcry.
Two injured activists were freed by a court order and allowed to fly to
neighboring South Africa for treatment unavailable in Zimbabwe.
Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinje, who were admitted to a Johannesburg hospital
Thursday, had been detained when they first tried to fly to South Africa for
Mugabe ordered an often violent land redistribution program in 2000 to seize
white-owned commercial farms and hand them over to blacks. The program
disrupted the economy of the former regional breadbasket, leading to acute
shortages of food, hard currency, gasoline, medicines and other essential
``We have to stand up against this oppression. The time for radicalism is
now,'' Ncube said. ``If we gather a crowd of 20,000, the government will not
use its guns.''
Southern African leaders, except for Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, have
been muted in their criticism of Mugabe.
Malawian church leaders and human rights activists held a candlelit vigil
and prayers Thursday ``to beseech God to intercede in the deteriorating
human rights and political situation'' in Zimbabwe. A similar coalition in
Botswana staged a demonstration to urge both the government and the Southern
African Development Community to take a tougher line.
But Mugabe's clampdown was not on the agenda of a meeting in Lesotho of the
14-nation Southern African Development Community.
Friday March 23, 2007
In the best of all possible worlds, Zimbabwe has finally reached the tipping
point that will bring about change. In the real world, little that happens
in the fag end of Robert Mugabe's rule is either inevitable or irreversible.
However, the pressure on Mr Mugabe is growing and the calls for comrade Bob
to bow out are coming from many sources, not merely western ones. Until now,
leaders of the countries immediately affected by Zimbabwe's economic
meltdown, and the influx of millions of refugees, have been conspicuously
silent. Quiet is not a word that justly reflects the efficacy of their
diplomacy. It has been more like a furtive whisper.
This week the neighbours have been turning up the volume. On Wednesday the
Zambian president, Levy Mwanawasa, compared Zimbabwe to the Titanic, with
its passengers bailing out. He said quiet diplomacy had failed. We don't
know what the president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, said to Mr Mugabe
immediately after the bloody suppression of an opposition meeting which left
Morgan Tsvangirai with a cracked skull. But Tanzania is one of a troika of
nations within the Southern African Development Community (SADC). They are
to convene in Dar es Salaam next month with one item on the agenda:
Zimbabwe. They could be telling the 83-year-old to follow the example of
other African leaders who leave office peacefully by retiring.
One thing is clear: this level of regional attention is new to Mr Mugabe,
and perhaps one reason why his information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu,
appealed yesterday for unity. He said that African countries must not allow
themselves to be divided by imperialism.
But the real divisions are being felt in Mr Mugabe's own party, Zanu-PF. Mr
Mugabe has run into a roadblock over attempts to prolong his rule to 2010 or
stand again in 2008. Some factions in the party must be thinking about their
own future. The party still has power in the northern rural communities, but
what incentive do the pragmatists have to get rid of their leader, if they
themselves would be subsequently ousted in a free election? They would be
shooting themselves in the foot. A power-sharing transitional government is
not a bad way out for them. They have few ideological differences with the
opposition, and compromise over white-owned farms could be hammered out.
Of course, the obvious danger of these calculations is that they become
another reason for inertia. Everyone is waiting for someone else to make the
first move. But it must be obvious both inside and outside the country that
Mr Mugabe is running out of political road. He has traded on his legacy in
Africa's anti-colonial struggle long enough, and dragged too many former
comrades down with him.
Thu 22 Mar 2007, 18:43 GMT
By Jeremy Lovell
LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - The recent brutal beatings of Zimbabwean
opposition members give Europe an opportunity to face the humanitarian and
economic crisis there, a member of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change said on Thursday.
David Coltart, a white member of the divided MDC, said the pictures of his
bloodied and bruised colleagues who said they were beaten while in police
detention, had driven the issue up the international agenda.
Not only that, but members of the African Union had started to voice their
concerns over the meltdown in the former British colony of Rhodesia and the
total collapse of its once thriving economy was starting to have a ripple
effect on its neighbours.
"This is a unique combination of circumstances that provides a unique window
of opportunity," Coltart told Reuters at the end of a visit to several
European capitals to drum up support.
"The European Union should appoint a diplomat -- someone like (foreign
policy chief Javier) Solana -- to actively engage with our immediate
neighbours South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia to get a
consensus," he added.
Those four have political clout in the Southern African Development
Community and could swing the balance in favour of actively engaging with
President Robert Mugabe and senior members of his ruling ZANU-PF to find a
Coltart called for a three stage process to rescue Zimbabwe from impending
First there would be a constitutional conference under the auspices of the
SADC and involving all parties -- similar to that which helped South Africa
emerge from apartheid -- which would draft a new constitution.
Then there would need to be a transitional authority to manage the
implementation, stabilise the economy and prepare the way for the third and
final stage -- fresh and fair elections.
"No single institution can deal with what is happening in Zimbabwe. It needs
concerted help. South Africa managed it and so can we," Coltart said.
Inflation in Zimbabwe is running at more than 1,700 percent and unemployment
is 80 percent with shortages of food and fuel.
Mugabe, in power since independence in 1980, has dismissed condemnations
from Britain and Europe as colonialism.
Since the crisis erupted in 2000 with large scale seizure of the white-owned
commercial farms that had formed the backbone of the agrarian economy,
southern African leaders have kept quiet.
But the international condemnation of the beating of MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai among others and the refusal by the authorities to let them leave
the country for medical treatment has changed the mood.
"What is happening in Zimbabwe is beginning to change perceptions of the
attitude of her neighbours. It is not that they are basket cases, but people
are starting to think that they could become so -- and they know it,"
"If Zimbabwe implodes it will have a major impact on the whole region," he
By Alec Russell in Johannesburg
Published: March 22 2007 19:46 | Last updated: March 22 2007 19:46
Zimbabwe and Angola have signed a security co-operation agreement
dramatically raising the political temperature in southern Africa as the
region flounders in its response to President Robert Mugabe's repressive
The deal, which could lead to the supply of paramilitary forces to Zimbabwe,
sends a powerful message that Mr Mugabe has backers in the region prepared
to defend his regime.
The Angolan government, an old ally of Harare, denied on Thurday reports
that the accord would lead to the despatch of several thousand of its
paramilitary police to Zimbabwe as early as the beginning of next month.
Harare said Angolans were coming merely on a "training exchange programme".
But neither side denied the fact of the agreement, and their language
yesterday was in marked contrast to far more combative remarks at the
signing of the deal late last week.
Then General Roberto Leal Ramos Monteiro, Angola's minister of interior,
delivered a clear signal of defiance to the west, which has urged the region
to confront Mr Mugabe over the political and economic crisis in his country.
"Angola will do everything in its power to help the Zimbabwe police force
and will not allow western imperialism to take over Zimbabwe," he said
according to Zimbabwean state radio. "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."
Regional analysts warned that the despatch of Angolan paramilitaries would
hugely complicate attempts to solve Zimbabwe's crisis. "If Angola is acting
in such a unilateral way it would undermine the attempts to reach a
multilateral response," said Chris Maroleng, a Zimbabwe expert at the
Institute of Security Studies, Johannesburg.
An assault by police on Zimbabwe's opposition earlier this month led to
renewed calls from the west for regional leaders to abandon their policy of
Chris Melville, a regional expert at Control Risks, the risk consultants,
said: "Assuming such a deal has been cut it fits into the context of efforts
by Angola to establish itself as a regional player. It also allows it to
start to realise what it has long been saying that it sees itself as
potential rival to South Africa in the region."
In the past decade Angola has been assertive in Africa as it recovers from
its civil war. Buoyed by its oil revenues, it has despatched troops or
police to at least four other countries, including the Democratic Republic
of Congo. This, however, would be the first time it has flexed its muscles
in the traditional backyard of South Africa, with whom it has strained
Responding to reports that 2,500 "Ninja" paramilitaries were to be sent,
with the first thousand arriving on April 1, the Angolan embassy in Harare
said in a statement: "It is not the custom of the Angolan government to
interfere in the internal matters of other governments."
Bringing in Angolans would be a high-risk strategy for Mr Mugabe. The
arrival of forces would be unpopular at home and would risk alienating many
of his supporters, who are critical of the government's crackdown on the
opposition. It is also unclear why he would need them given Zimbabwe has a
huge military force, unless he is uncertain of their loyalties.
?Zimbabwe's High Court has allowed two opposition officials to travel abroad
for medical treatment after they were barred from leaving the country by
police last week, official media reported yesterday, Reuters reports.
The reversal came days after police said that opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and dozens of others arrested on March 12 in a rally against Mr
Mugabe could not leave the southern African nation until they appeared in
High Court judge Barat Patel ordered that Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinje,
who were arrested again on Saturday, be released and their travel documents
23 March 2007 14:54
By Anne Penketh and Basildon Peta
Published: 23 March 2007
Britain is prepared to reach out to the associates of President Robert
Mugabe if a possible successor emerges from Zimbabwe's ruling party and
agrees to respect principles leading ultimately to free and fair elections.
Britain and other donor countries would "re-engage quite vigorously" if the
conditions were met by any successor administration, ending Zimbabwe's long
isolation, a senior British official said yesterday. However the official
made it clear Britain would engage with members of the Zanu-PF party tainted
by their association with Mr Mugabe.
Officials have been considering future strategy in the light of a week of
violence that followed the brutal crackdown on Zimbabwean opposition leaders
after a prayer rally. The British official said that this year would be
"pivotal" for the future of Mr Mugabe's 27-year-old regime.
Pius Ncube, Archbishop of Bulawayo, said yesterday he was "ready to stand in
front, even of blazing guns" to force the President to step down.
Mr Mugabe, 83, is vowing to run for another term in office next year and is
refusing to endorse a successor. He rejects any negotiations with the
opposition and has opted for repression. The Angolan government denied
yesterday that police reinforcements would be dispatched to help Zimbabwean
police deal with opposition protests.
The senior British official said that if a "pragmatic" Zanu-PF faction were
to emerge as the eventual possible successor to Mr Mugabe as part of a
transition, the international community would expect a number of demands to
In return, the donor community would lift sanctions, and help to refloat the
battered economy of the country which suffers from 80 per cent percent
unemployment and chronic food and fuel shortages.
The demands include economic stablilisation, a return to the rule of law, an
end of violence as state policy, political space for opposition, and free
It is widely assumed in Zimbabwe that a "palace coup" by rival factions
within the party is the most likely scenario to end Mr Mugabe's rule, rather
than an election victory by the opposition. Two potential successors are
frequently named: the former parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa and
Vice-President Joyce Muguru.
Friday 23 March 2007
By Tsungai Murandu
HARARE - Scheming by Zimbabwe's feared spy agency and the
government-controlled Media and Information Commission is killing off the
few remaining independent media, an international press freedom watchdog
said this week.
Reporters Without Borders said the effects of the infiltration of the
privately-owned media by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) are
beginning to manifest themselves in Zimbabwe's media and have had a
disastrous impact on pluralism in the country.
"Unable to live with a free Press, casting suspicion on the publications
they manipulate and paying little heed to the journalists they employ, the
intelligence agencies have just helped to undermine the already moribund
Press even further," said the Paris-based watchdog in a statement.
The Reporters Without Borders statement comes against the backdrop of last
week's suspension pending dismissal of Financial Gazette editor Sunsleey
Chamunorwa and the collapse early this month of the Daily Mirror and Sunday
Chamunorwa was suspended on 12 March ostensibly at the instructions of the
CIO which had allegedly been uncomfortable about his editorial stance that
it viewed as anti-government.
There were media reports alleging that the financial weekly had been taken
over by the CIO under a financial operation that used central bank governor
Gideon Gono as a cover.
It is alleged that pressure had been building on Chamunorwa to change his
editorial policy, with reports that the editor was once visited by CIO
agents in 2005 over the issue.
The two Mirror titles have not published in the past two weeks due to
The CIO allegedly took over the Zimbabwe Mirror Group in 2004 before
elbowing out the founder and former publisher Ibbo Mandaza.
The intelligence agency has struggled to run the newspaper group since
taking over, with employees sometimes going for months without salaries.
Reporters Without Borders 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."
The MIC has used its powers to arbitrarily strip journalists of the ability
to work legally if they displease the government.
A recent case is that of freelancer Nunurayi Jena who - as required by
Zimbabwe's tough media laws - submitted his accreditation to the MIC for
renewal on 31 December last year but was told on 23 February that the
commission 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 where they had gone to cover illegal
diamond mining in Marange.
After being held overnight, Moyo and Zvidzai were fined Z$40 000 while Gumbo
and Neshamba were charged with "criminal abuse of duty" and were expected to
appear in court this week. - ZimOnline
By Trevor Ncube
Published: March 23 2007 02:00 | Last updated: March 23 2007 02:00
When you are in the eye of the storm, there is a great danger in marking any
particular moment as the one that will change the world. But I do feel that
Zimbabwe is very close to - if not actually at - the tipping point.
The combination of local protests and government brutality on the one hand
and growing international pressure on the other is building a momentum that
may shift the dynamic from long-term drift to dramatic change. The
population is restive. The government is divided, paralysed and descending
into increasing violence. With inflation spiralling to incomprehensible
levels, the country's finances are in a tailspin. President Robert Mugabe's
real opposition is the economy and against that he can have no response.
It is a frightening time, but therefore also an exciting one. African heads
of state, long derided for political immaturity, are working through
regional and continental structures, and careful diplomacy, to find a
durable solution to Zimbabwe's protracted crisis.
The big shift here is South Africa. Long reluctant to criticise the old man
of anti-colonial struggle, Pretoria has had to recognise the risk of anarchy
and a failed state on its border. The ruling African National Congress has
proposed a motion in the South African parliament urging an investigation
into police brutality and demanding that the Zimbabwean government respect
the rule of law. This is unprecedented.
Behind the scenes, South Africa is lending support to a troika of Tanzania,
Lesotho and Namibia to find a solution, respecting the structures of the
main intergovernmental bodies, the African Union and the Southern African
African leaders are acknowledging that Mr Mugabe has broken promises before
so must be kept under pressure now. The condemnation by African voices is
growing. This too is un-precedented - a historic move forAfricans to create
their own solutions.
Indeed, Zimbabweans want to be authors of our own future. We are hoping for
a transitional administration to engage the whole society in a true
conversation about how to restart the country. This must include the divided
factions in the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. It must also include business leaders, civic leaders and all sectors
of a traumatised society.
We need to rip up the Lancaster House constitution bequeathed when Britain
withdrew and start again. Defective legislation created throughout the
Mugabe era to tighten his hold on power must be thrown out. Most critical,
there must be United Nations monitoring of elections.
Transitional justice will also have to be addressed. People have a rightto
know what has happened to them and who is responsible - both formassacres
decades ago and beatings last week. A comprehensive land audit is vital. But
whatever justice mechanisms are chosen, including a truth and reconciliation
commission, these also must arise out of a national discussion, with
Zimbabweans taking the ultimate decision.
International support and assistance will be essential. Expertise and
financial aid will be crucial to restoring what was once the breadbasket of
But Mr Mugabe is still in power and nothing meaningful begins until he is
gone. His plans for putting off the presidential election until 2010 are
probably dead in the water. But he may now attempt to bring elections
forward, to force the hand of factions in the ruling and opposition parties.
Time is short and whatever happens will be a surprise. My fear is of a
social explosion of such a scale that society completely collapses,
resulting in further bloodshed and destruction - a national tragedy, a
regional disaster and an international crisis.
A palace coup is probably the most likely outcome, though many would be
disappointed. But in my view any change will open the way to further change
and is welcome.
Most welcome of all, however, would be for Africans to rise to the occasion
and engineer a managed change themselves, starting with the president's
departure. Out of the disaster of Mr Mugabe, this could be the first time
Africans work together to get a truly African-authored solution, with
benefits to the country, continent andinternational community. At such a
moment of fear, Zimbabweans' hopeis actually rising.
The writer, a Zimbabwean, is chief executive of South Africa's Mail &
Guardian, owner of Zimbabwe's Independent and Standard newspapers, and
chairman of the Africa division of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Friday 23 March 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - A dissolved ruling ZANU PF party provincial executive in
Masvingo has refused to vacate office accusing the party's national
commissar, Elliot Manyika, of purging the party's existing structures ahead
of possible nominations for President Robert Mugabe's successor.
ZANU PF has since 2004 been embroiled in a bitter war over Mugabe's
Manyika, is accused of backing a faction led by Rural Housing Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa which is fighting for control of the ruling party against
a faction led by former army commander Solomon Mujuru.
Masvingo province, which was led by Samuel Mumbengegwi, was dissolved
last month in what political observers said were behind the scenes manouvres
to purge 'potentially troublesome executives' ahead of next year's election.
The Masvingo executive has since written a letter to Manyika demanding
reasons for its dissolution. They have also vowed not to vacate office until
valid reasons are given the executive's dissolution.
In the letter to Manyika dated 20 March 2007, which was shown to
ZimOnline, Mumbengegwi said it was not in the party's interests to dissolve
the executive when it was facing serious challenge from the opposition ahead
of a key election next year.
"We have seen that you did not give us valid reasons when you advised
us that the executive had been dissolved.
"We feel it not in the best interests of the party for you to sack the
executive when the party is facing such a serious challenge from the
opposition ahead of next year's election.
"We also want to make you aware that we will not allow certain party
officials including yourself to impose their presidential candidates by
purging the existing structures," read the letter signed by Mumbengegwi.
Mumbengegwi confirmed writing the letter insisting to ZimOnline that
they were still in charge of Masvingo province.
"Go to our offices, people are still performing their duties as usual.
We are still in charge. We will have a meeting soon to deliberate on the
issue as an executive," said Mumbengegwi.
Manyika however insisted that the Masvingo executive remained
dissolved adding that elections to choose a new provincial executive would
be held next month.
"Elections will be held on April 28 in Masvingo. Other provinces will
have elections on 29 April. I am not aware of anyone who is refusing to
leave office," said Manyika.
Sources within the ruling party said Manyika wanted to purge all
provincial structures to ensure they speak with one voice when choosing the
party's candidate for next year's poll.
Masvingo is said to be aligned to the Mujuru faction.
The succession battle has however taken a fresh twist over the past
month after Mugabe said he would be willing to take up a fresh term if ZANU
PF nominated him to stand in the election.
Although the two factions are agreed that Mugabe should step down when
his term expires next year, they remain sharply divided over who should take
over the party's top post. - ZimOnline
Friday 23 March 2007
By Thabani Mlilo
HARARE - A trainee journalist on internship at the government-owned New
Zimbabwe Inter Africa News Agency (ZIANA) in Harare appeared in court
yesterday after he was arrested for questioning why the police were biased
against the opposition.
Tapiwa Chiminga, 23, was arrested and spent three days in police custody
last week after he approached Constable Simbarashe Nengane in Kuwadzana
suburb asking why the police had banned opposition rallies in Harare.
He also asked the police officer if the police were not feeling guilty for
killing Gift Tandare, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
supporter and brutally torturing opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai during
opposition protests in Highfield suburb.
The incensed police officer immediately arrested Chiminga accusing him of
breaching the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act for allegedly using
"threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to provoke the breach of
Appearing before Harare magistrate Archie Wochinga on Thursday, the trainee
journalist pleaded guilty to the charge saying he had intended to write a
story that was different from what had been reported already in the media.
But the magistrate altered his plea to not guilty and remanded out of
custody to 30 March for sentence.
Harassment of journalists is common in Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe's
government has banned four newspapers over the past four years for allegedly
violating the country's tough media laws. - ZimOnline
By Patience Rusere
22 March 2007
Riot police descended upon Harare's Saint Mary's district Thursday after
opposition members distributed fliers publicizing a rally scheduled for
Sunday, sources said.
Witnesses said police beat people on the streets and assaulted others in
Saint Mary's parliamentarian Job Sikhala of the Movement for Democratic
Change faction headed by Arthur Mutambara said some 20 people were arrested
while one man was taken to hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in
Sources said a pregnant woman, Patience Chisvo-Mhiripiri, was also beaten.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena refused to comment on the reports.
Sikhala said about 50 riot police surrounded his home early today and
ransacked it, then went on a rampage in the neighborhood.
Sikhala told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
the police sent him threatening physical harm if the proposed Sunday rally
Friday 23 March 2007
By Hendricks Chizhanje
HARARE - Zimbabwean church leaders pushing for talks between the government
and the opposition on Thursday finally broke their silence saying last week's
crackdown against the opposition had seriously compromised their efforts.
Bishop Trevor Manhanga, said last week's events had seriously damaged the
church's initiative to broker talks between the ruling ZANU PF party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
The church leader was referring to the brutal torture of Tsvangirai and
other opposition and civic leaders after they attempted to attend an
outlawed prayer rally in Harare's working class suburb of Highfield.
Manhanga was part of a group of church leaders who last year produced a
document, titled, "The Zimbabwe We Want: Towards A National Vision for
Zimbabwe" that pushed for dialogue between the government and opposition.
"The events of last week are a clear sign of the Zimbabwe we don't want. We
need to speak to both sides. We must double our efforts," said Manhanga.
The church leaders, who were seen as pro-government, last year presented the
church document to President Robert Mugabe and later met Tsvangirai and
other opposition leaders to convince them to accept dialogue to resolve the
The national vision document called for the setting up of an independent
land commission to ensure fair land distribution, a new constitution for
Zimbabwe as well as a review of harsh media and security laws.
While Mugabe accepted the church initiative, he rejected outright calls for
a new constitution.
The church initiative appears to have failed with Mugabe defiantly telling
Western nations unhappy over last week's torture of Tsvangirai while in
police custody to "go hang." - ZimOnline
23 March 2007 14:54
By Nigel Morris and Ben Russell
Published: 23 March 2007
When Tendayi Goneso fled Zimbabwe fearing death at the hands of Robert
Mugabe's brutal henchmen, he thought Britain would offer him sanctuary from
the violence tearing his country apart.
He grieved alone when his wife was murdered by the regime, and has endured
four years apart from his three children.
In exile the 34-year-old accountant, who is recovering from lung cancer, has
become a leading campaigner for democracy and the overthrow of Mr Mugabe.
But as the political situation in Zimbabwe has spiralled toward chaos, the
British government has withdrawn his benefits and left him with the threat
of deportation hanging over his head.
Yesterday ministers were forced to promise an emergency statement on the
crisis in Zimbabwe, where life expectancy has fallen from 60 to less than
40. But the Government was accused of failing to match its words with
compassion for thousands of Mr Goneso's compatriots who hoped Britain would
give them shelter.
There is little doubt Mr Goneso would be a marked man if he was forced to
return home. But the Home Office has already thrown out one asylum
application, appears to have lost track of a second and has cut off all his
Today, Mr Goneso relies on handouts to survive and lives in constant fear of
being evicted from his flat.
He said last night: "I don't know how I would cope if I lost my case -
killing myself would be an option. I don't think I could stand the
humiliation and torture if I was made to go back.
"It's humiliating and degrading to go to charity. It doesn't seem fair -
Britain doesn't appear to be practising what it preaches. They speak of
offering good hospitality and supporting democracy. But the system has been
cruel to me."
Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "The particular
circumstances of Tendayi Goneso make a compelling case for allowing him to
stay. Simply condemning the Mugabe government is not enough. We should do
what we can to protect Zimbabweans from harm."
Clare Short, the former international development secretary who brought Mr
Goneso's case to light, said his treatment was shameful. "Britain is
supporting sanctions on Mugabe and here is a decent, genuine political
refugee being treated with such enormous cruelty in Britain. We know it is
difficult to intervene, but when we have people in this country, we should
treat them better than this."
Mr Goneso built a successful career running several pubs, but became
involved with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), providing
activists with shelter and transport.
Mugabe loyalists took brutal retribution, savagely beating him and
threatening to close his businesses. In 2003 he fled, leaving his wife,
Chiedza, and their children and ended up staying with a friend in the West
Soon after he claimed asylum, he heard terrible news from home. Government
militiamen looking for him directed their bloodlust on his wife, attacking
her so ferociously that she died in hospital from head injuries.
"I felt distraught to have a loved one buried when I wasn't there. It was a
nightmare - I couldn't believe it. I still miss her," he said.
Mr Goneso is now prominent in the MDC's British group, chairing its Walsall
branch, and taking a leading role in fund-raising and demonstrations against
the Zimbabwean regime.
"When my wife was killed I was so angry with the whole system in Zimbabwe. I
feel Mugabe has got away with murder. He may not be killing people directly
but indirectly, he is killing people by the way he has wrecked Zimbabwe's
economy and health system.
Mr Goneso's first asylum application was rejected after three years, but he
made a second immediately afterwards, arguing that his activism with the MDC
made it impossible for him to return. He had heard nothing until a letter
this month told him his financial support was being terminated. Now he
relies on charity from the Red Cross and fears eviction. And if the Home
Office wins a case going through the courts over the status of Zimbabwean
asylum-seekers, he could be ordered to leave.
He only speaks to his three children, who are living with his parents, about
once a fortnight.
The Refugee Council said: "The Zimbabwean community is quite political and
want to go back. These are not people coming here because they fancy a trip
to Britain. They want to return, but are terrified to do so."
A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Government categorically condemns human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe. But that does not mean every Zimbabwean is at
real risk of mistreatment. The asylum decision-making and appeal processes
exist to determine the conditions an individual applicant would face on
return to their country of origin and whether that individual is in need of
international protection. We grant asylum or other appropriate protection to
the Zimbabweans who need it, but expect those who do not to return home."
Asylum-seekers caught in legal limbo
Tendayi Goneso is among thousands of Zimbabweans living in legal limbo in
Britain, but facing the threat of being sent home.
The fate of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers has been the subject of a protracted
A man known as AA won the latest stage in a test case against deportation in
the Court of Appeal two weeks ago. His case now returns to the Asylum and
The Home Office maintains that some deportations to Zimbabwe would be safe
and all asylum applications should be treated on a case-by-case basis. But
AA's supporters argue all removals should be halted until its political
situation improves. They say the mere fact of being expelled from the UK
leaves a rejected asylum-seeker vulnerable to persecution.
Some 1,000 Zimbabwean asylum-seekers lost their applications last year and
face deportation, pending the outcome of the test case.
"Leonard", a maths teacher who fled after being threatened by government
supporters, said: "The Zimbabwe government will be suspicious of people who
have been active in the MDC in Britain... I would say intimidation is almost
100 per cent certain."
Published: 23 March 2007
Sir: The events in Zimbabwe are only the latest in a series of tragedies
that have dogged African peoples, in Uganda under Idi Amin, Somalia,
Liberia, Sierra Leone, the DRC, Sudan and Ivory Coast, since independence.
They have been ruled by presidents who double as the supreme state
institution, controlling the army, police, parliament, the judiciary, state
intelligence organisations and the civil service.
Without independent state institutions, not even the Zimbabwe opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai will ever establish sustainable good governance,
the independence of the judiciary, the rule of law and the protection of
fundamental human rights, which are so critical for poverty reduction.
A classic example is Uganda, where Lieutenant-General Museveni came to power
in 1986 promising that his revolution was not a mere change of guards but a
fundamental change. But 21 years on Uganda is rapidly spiralling into the
dark abyss of political and social turmoil.
In the past two years, Museveni has amended the constitution, virtually
making himself a life president; arrested his most credible opponent, Dr
Kizza Besigye, three months before the elections and charged him with rape,
terrorism and treason and conducted the first multi-party elections in 26
years under one-party rule and structure. The Supreme Court unanimously
ruled that the elections were conducted in non-conformity with the
Constitution. He has also twice in a year sent armed commandos who invaded
the High Court and re-arrested opposition suspects who had been released on
Museveni, Mugabe and most African leaders have blamed British colonialism
for their failures. They miss the point that Malaysia, Singapore and South
Korea were also colonies but are now peaceful and booming economically. The
only difference between the former colonies in South East Asia and those in
Africa is that the former have independent state institutions while the
latter have not.
INTERNATIONAL ENVOY TO THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE EUROPEAN UNION, UGANDA
FORUM FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE, LONDON W3
ZESA Holdings yesterday restored power supplies to Morton Jaffray
Water Treatment Plant, but indications were that it would take up to six
days for the water situation to normalise in Harare and surrounding towns.
The restoration of power meant the Zimbabwe National Water Authority
was now able to treat and pump water at full capacity.
Due to power failure, Zinwa was only using three pumps but began to
use all six pumps late yesterday afternoon soon after Zesa Holdings had
switched on the power.
Some schools in Harare were reported to have sent their pupils back
home because there was no water.
Residents of Highlands, Borrowdale, Chisipite, Mandara, Mabvuku,
Tafara, Manresa, and Glen Lorne have this week been complaining of not
having supplies since Monday.
Deputy Minister of Water and Infrastructural Development Cde Walter
Mzembi led a Zinwa and Zesa Holdings team to assess progress on repair of
the power plant at Morton Jaffray.
He said Zinwa and Zesa Holdings would hold weekly meetings to brief
each other on developments at Morton Jaffray.
He said it was time the two institutions worked together to avoid
"Residents do not measure us by who is wrong or right. They want to
see water coming from their taps," he said.
Zesa Holdings acting group chief executive officer Engineer Ben
Rafemoyo said while new cables had been installed the solution lay in
installing another dedicated power line from Norton.
Morton Jaffray is fed by a dedicated power line from Parkridge in
Warren Park but once that line develops a fault an alternative feed from
Kuwadzana is put on line but it can only supply up to 80 percent of the
"There was a power failure on the main feed to Morton Jaffray. We have
diagnosed and solved the problem. We have replaced the cable with a much
bigger cable that would result in maximum power supply," he said.
Zinwa chief executive officer Eng Albert Muyambo said Zinwa would
intensify its water demand management system to ensure that all residents
have access to water.
"It would take us up to six days to get the water situation to
stabilise in Harare. We have now brought back another three pumps back on
line," he said.
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
22 March 2007
Zimbabwe Health Minister David Parirenyatwa is reported to have acknowledged
this week that it will be difficult for the country to attain its target of
putting 110,000 more HIV-positive people on life-saving antiretroviral drug
therapy this year.
Reports quoted Dr. Parirenyatwa as saying that while the supply of ARVs is
adequate to treat some 50,000 now enrolled, expanding that group is a
challenge. The minister could not be reached immediately to confirm the
reports of his speech.
Dr. Parirenyatwa was speaking at a ceremony organized by WishKids
International, a U.S. organization that helps needy children and families
affected by HIV-AIDS.
While thanking WishKids for its donation of medical equipment, Dr.
Parirenyatwa urged Zimbabweans abroad to help fight AIDS by funding the
purchase of medical supplies to ensure the continued treatment of those on
For further insight into the problem, reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Executive Director Itai Rusike of the
Community Working Group On Health, who said Harare should recruit private
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Letter 1 - Cathy Buckle
Dear Family and Friends,
This week the country came to a virtual standstill when we learned that a
large number of the top leaders of civic society and opposition groups had
been arrested. Everyone, everywhere was talking about it and the world began
watching us again. It was then with shock and outrage that we saw the first
grisly pictures of men and women covered in blood, bruises and wounds
getting off a huge open Police lorry outside the Harare courts two days
later. Now the details have begun to emerge and the statements are being
made by the victims of how they were brutally assaulted whilst in Police
custody. The quotes from those that were involved tell this story better
than any letter or newspaper report.
An MDC youth activist, Gift Tandare was shot and killed by the police. A
friend went to visit his family and said: "We arrived at their humble little
home to find mourners grieving for this senseless and brutal loss. It was
heart wrenching and humbling to share their grief."
Hours later two men were shot by Police at the Tandare home where they had
gone to pay their respects. The same friend wrote again: "When I arrived at
the hospital Dickson was in theatre having an emergency operation and the
doctors thought they would have to amputate his foot. Their crime is that
they were mourning the senseless killing of their friend."
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights described the condition of Grace Kwinjeh
when she came out of Police custody saying: "she was brutally assaulted at
Machipisa and lost part of her ear after being assaulted with a metal rod."
When Lovemore Madhuku came out of Police custody the Lawyers said: "He has a
broken arm in a cast, bandages over his head and a swollen face from
assaults suffered at Machipisa."
A husband recounted what had happened to his wife, Sekai, while she was in
police custody: "A woman repeatedly jumped on her with booted feet -
fracturing or breaking three of her ribs. Her clothes were covered in
blood - both her own and that of others suffering the same brutality." Sekai
also had a broken arm, broken leg and cracked knee.
One of Morgan Tsvangirai's bodyguards described what he saw of the assault
on the leader of the opposition: "They were beating him and he collapsed.
They were going for his head. He didn't scream or shout, he was silent as
they beat him, and it made them so angry, they were shouting, - 'we must
make him cry'."
Throughout the week criticism, condemnation and concern has poured in from
around the world. Voices everywhere are raised in outrage and here in
Zimbabwe there is a feeling of extreme tension. These are very dark days
indeed. Until next week, with love, cathy Copyright cathy buckle 17th March
Letter 2 - J L Robinson
"Bob, Gideon and the Mujibas" have finally hit number one (on the world
scene) - displacing Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, to name a few
The Police torturing of innocent Zimbabweans and the recent murder of a
civilian - all on their way to a national prayer meeting - has truly put Bob
and Zanu in the spotlight. Gideon's brilliance as Bob's world class engineer
of inflation, poverty, starvation and theft of savings using the printing
press like a magician, is now legendry worldwide.
Thanks to Bob and Gideon, Zimbabweans (some of whom were farmers) are now
globally disseminating the facts about Zanu torture and murder, and working
in a multitude of business spheres - literally from ice cream to hot water.
It might well be opportune to expose the "children of Zanu" living abroad on
Zanu's illgotten gains - like Gideon's, perhaps? - to ensure that Gideon's
modus operandi to siphon "so much, from so many, who have so very little" is
The international community owes this to the people of Zimbabwe and their
own citizens and tax payers.
Why should the international community tax their citizens under the auspices
of "helping the poor" in Zimbabwe, when it will only help fatten the "Zanu
fat cats and their external kittens?"
It would be far simpler for them to transfer the money straight to Zanu
Swiss bank accounts rather than go through all the Zisco rigmarole!
Zanu fat cats might do well to look to Thabo for consultancy work - for it
is he that has kept Zanu there so long - in preparation for implementation
of Zanu policy in 'his' South Africa?
Tourism seems hardly a tenable international perception (including the world
cup soccer) when Australia is making consideration for the evacuation of its
citizens from Zimbabwe.
Apparently, a top international university now uses Zanu's policy as a bench
mark/case study for "best practice to destroy a nation." I shall not name
the institution in case Zanu demand royalties, or Thabo enrols in an attempt
to do a better job than Bob.
Letter 3 - Anonymous
In response to Mr. J.L.Robinson's attack on the CFU, he should be aware of
the fact that CFU is an apolitical institution, and therefore cannot, by its
very constitution, be seen to be taking any political stance. What its
members do in their private capacity is not their responsibility. Mr.
Robinson has no idea of the work and frustration that goes on behind the
scenes trying to seek peace and justice in our beloved Zimbabwe in the face
of extreme criticism. We are here, on the ground, while you, Mr. Robinson
are safely in Australia.
Letter 4 - On the Ball
Rugby is termed a hooligan's game played by gentlemen. Soccer, a gentleman's
game played by hooligans. Thus I can only assume that democracy is a meant
to be a gentleman's game played by gentlemen. Recent reports from Zimbabwe
indicate that Zanu wants to change the rules on democracy. To kill and
torture is part of their rules - even at the airport.
The world we live in is fanatical about soccer. We just need to point out to
the AU, the EU, the UN and most of all to FIFA that they have entrusted
their World Cup to the hands of Thabo Mbeki. Are they aware that Thabo
Mkeki's mentor is non other than Robert Mugabe - who believes that democracy
is a hooligan's game to be played by hooligans?
The AU, EU, UN and FIFA are now telling the persecuted in Zimbabwe that
there are no rules now.
They say that football is more important than human life. It's the money.
They care not. They want to score an own goal in Africa. They will.
On the Ball.
Letter 5 - Kay
Today in church our Pastor asked if anyone this week experienced a close
encounter with GOD in the form of a change of attitude. I thought that
perhaps in this confusing, depressing, heartbreaking, hyperinflationary,
BEAUTIFUL AND PRECIOUS Zimbabwe I would share my experience. A week ago(
saturday) at about 6 am at the Harare International Airport a young 30 year
old friend was arrested whilst in the process of boarding a flight to
Jo'berg . The charge"suspected diamond smuggling" .To give you a bit of
backround my friend is an avid rock collector , mostly lovely pebbles she
picks up as she wonders around our beautiful country. She was born here but
left at a very young age and now resides in New Zealand but holds a British
Passport. She tries to come out every second year and she gives freely of
her time where and when she can be of use ,her special interest is our fast
disappearing wildlife. Up to the time of her arrest she was very keen to
take up residence in Zimabawe if at all possible. Pretty radical when you
think that the majority of our young people are doing their dammdest to get
the "hell out" of Zimbabwe. I was informed of her ordeal at six in the
evening , I tried every possible avenue to find out how this poor kid was ,
only to be met with blatent aggression , phones that are either not answered
or continueously engaged . A really hopless situation, my family and I spent
much of the night on our knees. Atleast with God we know ALL THINGS ARE
POSSIBLE. On sunday we eventually made contact with the Embassy Consular,
thank you so much to the very kind person who so kindly actually went to see
our friend and ensure she was ok. I think this visit prompted a radical
change in authority attitude because suddenly we were allowed to visit with
food. Nothing could be done to secure her release until such time the state
gemmologist had vetted the pebbles as being just that "pebbles" of no value.
Friday night I got a text to say my friend was home in NZ safe and sound. I
am sure she will email in time to give me the finer details.
However the point I am trying to make is what about the people that are
arrested and don't have a support system in place like my friend did. Do
these people just become lost in the cracks, because nobody cares or even
knows???? My change of attitude, yes definitely, when I look at that road
block and see that taxi or bus pulled over and everyone has to get out and
be searched, verbally abused, pointlessly delayed. I now ask GOD to drop the
scales from the eyes those in authority so that they can exercise their
powers with dignity, compassion, honesty and truth. My attitude to those in
authority has changed from indifference to constance prayer and hopefully a
ground swell movement that will like a "pebble dropped into a pool" effect
each and everyone of use positively. So Zimbabwe, perhaps if each one who
reads this takes just a minute to ask GOD to give our leader's wisdom and we
keep doing this whenever we think about it we will be instrumental in
bringing about meaningful change at a supernatural speed.
There is so much negativity out there but there is also so much that is good
happening as-well , lets hear about the good things . So when something good
happens to you, share it . You could just be giving some one a smidgen of
hope so that they can face another day , hey what have you got to loose????
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