By CELEAN JACOBSON
The Associated Press
Friday, March 23, 2007; 1:51 PM
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The government warned foreign and local
correspondents on Friday about their coverage of unrest in the country,
threatening action against Zimbabwean journalists and singling out CNN for
what it called biased reporting.
The government said foreign reporters should beware of authorities and "stay
away from the security forces," according to reports on state radio and
television and in the Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece.
The Information Ministry told Zimbabwean reporters working for foreign
organizations to do the same, and to also avoid opposition politicians.
"Should this not stop, government may be forced to act against them," and
whichever politician they speak to, the ministry said.
The Zimbabwean media criticized CNN _ which is already banned from the
country _ for its reporting on the alleged assault and torture this month of
opposition leaders including Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main Movement
for Democratic Change.
Washington has frequently criticized President Robert Mugabe's crackdown on
the opposition, and the government called CNN a tool of American foreign
"Sadly CNN has embedded itself within such a treacherous imperialist policy
... it can no longer validate its claim to be a trusted source of accurate
and balanced news opinion," the Information Ministry said in a statement.
"We stand by our reporting of the situation in Zimbabwe and look forward to
being given the opportunity to report from inside the country," CNN
spokeswoman Megan Mahoney said.
Four foreign journalists have been expelled under sweeping media laws that
began to be strictly enforced in 2003. The British Broadcasting Corp. is
officially banned. Scores of independent local journalists have been
assaulted or arrested and jailed under the media laws.
Both state television and radio have harshly criticized CNN's Africa
correspondent, Jeff Koinange, now doing most of his reporting on Zimbabwe
from outside the country.
Zimbabwe's ambassador to the United States, Machivenyika Mapuranga, said on
CNN this week that a ban on the Atlanta-based network's reporters would
continue because it and the BBC "champion the imperialist interests of the
British and the Americans."
CNN anchor Michael Holmes responded that, "Reporting the comments of other
governments is not acting on their behalf; it's reporting."
According to official figures from the state Central Bank, at least 3.5
million Zimbabweans have left the country in seven years of political and
economic turmoil since often-violent seizures of thousands of white-owned
commercial farms began in 2000, disrupting the agriculture-based economy in
the former regional breadbasket.
The bank said its calculations were based on inflows of currency from exiles
to their families, now the nation's biggest source of hard currency.
Arthur Mutambara, leader of a Zimbabwean opposition faction, told a trade
union meeting in Johannesburg that events of the last few weeks had unified
"We are going to drive Mugabe out of power through collaboration and working
together." Mutambara said.
By Joe De Capua
23 March 2007
A press freedom group is reacting to a warning to western media by Zimbabwe's
government. The government says it may take action against journalists,
including VOA reporter Peta Thornycroft, for allegedly supporting US
government policy and regime change in Zimbabwe.
Robert Mahoney is the deputy director of the Committee to Protect
Journalists (CPJ). From New York, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service
reporter Joe De Capua.
"We're very concerned by this. It's yet another form of intimidation on the
part of the Zimbabwean government to keep reporters out of the country.
There's a huge gap in the reporting in Zimbabwe, Events are taking place in
the country which are not properly covered. This may suit the government,
but we as a press freedom organization call on the government in Zimbabwe to
be completely open and honest about this and to allow foreign journalists
into the country and allow them to work unimpeded," he says.
The CPJ has complained before about attacks on the media in Zimbabwe. "We
publicized violations of journalists' rights and press freedom abuses in
Zimbabwe. And we constantly monitor the situation because it's extremely
difficult for journalists not only to get into the country, but once they're
in the country to move around. And I must add it's also very difficult for
Zimbabwean journalists, who reside in the country, to do their job, too," he
by Fanuel Jongwe Fri Mar 23, 12:31 PM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Long-ruling Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe denounced
opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as a stooge of the West on Friday in the
face of mounting international condemnation of his rule.
Tsvangirai would never rule the country as long as he was alive, said
83-year-old Mugabe, shrugging off criticism over his government's recent
violent crackdown on the opposition which saw Tsvangirai, among others,
detained and assaulted.
"Tsvangirai, you want to rule this country on behalf of (British Prime
Minister Tony) Blair," Mugabe told hundreds of supporters at his party
"As long as I am alive that will never happen."
He charged Britain with using Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) as a front to re-colonise Zimbabwe in order to plunder the country's
"You (Tsvangirai) thought when I say I am 83, you could push me. It's a
solid 83 years of experience and resilience and I know the tactics.
"We went to jail, we are hardened. Nothing frightens me. Someone wrote that
I am a frightened man. Frightened by who? Little men like Blair? I have seen
it all. I make a stand on principle, here I was born, here I stand and here
I shall die."
Neighbouring South Africa, warning that a "total meltdown" was facing
Zimbabwe, also lashed out at foreign countries that question its policy of
quiet diplomacy towards Harare.
"If outside governments played a more constructive role from the outset we
would not have had this crisis in Zimbabwe," deputy foreign affairs minister
Aziz Pahad told reporters in Pretoria.
South Africa and the Southern African Development Community "remained seized
with the matter", Pahad said, but did not elaborate.
The United States and Britain have threatened to broaden sanctions against
Mugabe and his inner circle, but Mugabe has told them to "go hang".
Australia added its voice to the protest on Friday, calling on South Africa
to pressure Mugabe into quitting.
"We pussyfoot around far too much using diplomatic language," Prime Minister
John Howard told commercial radio. "This man is a disaster, his country is
just a total heap of misery.
Mugabe's anti-Western sentiments were echoed in an unlikely quarter when
Arthur Mutambara, who leads a faction of the MDC, said only Africans had the
moral authority to speak out against the situation in his country.
"The only people who have a legitimate role to talk about Zimbabwe are
Africans ... Mugabe is a despot, a dictator, brutalising blacks, brutalising
whites, brutalising Africans," the SAPA news agency quoted Mutambara as
telling a seminar on Zimbabwe in Johannesburg.
But Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, urged members
of his ruling ZANU-PF to stand up against their opponents saying there was
no room in the party for cowards.
Traditionally loathe to interfere in Zimbabwean affairs, African leaders
have started adding their voices to the growing international discontent
over the country's political and economic downspiral.
Zimbabwe is facing inflation in excess of 1,700 percent, 80 percent
unemployment and shortages of consumer goods and fuel.
Meanwhile, MDC youth members vowed on Friday to stand up against Mugabe's
rule, announcing plans to continue holding rallies banned by the government.
And authorities said a police station in the eastern border town of Mutare
in Zimbabwe has been petrol bombed, allegedly by MDC youths.
Nobody was injured in the attack which occurred around 0100 GMT.
Monsters and Critics
Mar 23, 2007, 19:23 GMT
Johannesburg - Zimbabwean Vice President Joyce Mujuru held secret talks with
South Africa's Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka in Johannesburg
Friday, South African news channel Etv and Britain's Channel Four News
Etv showed footage of Mujuru at the luxurious Westcliff Hotel in
Johannesburg. Mujuru, the wife of influential former army commander Solomon
Mujuru and herself a former liberation struggle fighter is tipped as a
possible successor to 83-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
South African Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said the visit was a
private one and refused to give details of the women's talks, SAPA news
'The vice president of Zimbabwe is on a private visit to South Africa and
therefore it is not on an official diary,' Mamoepa was quoted as saying.
Joyce Mujuru, once seen as Mugabe's favourite to succeed him, has reportedly
fallen out of favour with the 83-year-old leader, who has indirectly accused
the Mujurus of trying to oust him.
The two deputy presidents' meeting was likely to fuel speculation over
whether South Africa is working with elements within ZANU-PF on a
South Africa has repeatedly insisted Zimbabwe's problems must be resolved
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
23 March 2007, 17:53 GMT
South Africa's deputy foreign minister has made the country's
strongest comments on neighbouring Zimbabwe, saying it was on the brink of
Aziz Pahad said it was now difficult to see how the country could
avoid a complete collapse.
South Africa has come under pressure from the West over its reluctance
to voice criticism of Zimbabwe.
But the authorities have insisted there is no alternative to its
approach of quiet diplomacy towards Robert Mugabe.
International outrage at the situation in Zimbabwe was heightened this
month after a violent crackdown on opposition politicians left party leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in hospital.
The UK and US have threatened to broaden targeted sanctions on
But so far Zimbabwe's powerful neighbour South Africa has been muted
in its response.
The BBC's Grant Ferret in Johannesburg said Zimbabwean activists in
the county will be pleased with the comments, which they hope indicate a
more interventionist policy towards Zimbabwe.
On Friday, a Roman Catholic Archbishop repeated his calls for
Zimbabwean citizens to take to the streets in protest at conditions in their
"This dictator must be brought down right now," said Pius Ncube,
Archbishop of Bulawayo.
"Brought down by people power, not by a violent manner but let people
fill the streets and demand that he comes down."
But during a rally of Zanu-PF supporters in Harare, the 83-year-old Mr
Mugabe remained defiant.
"Nothing frightens me, not even little fellows like Bush and Blair. I
have seen it all, I don't fear any suffering or a struggle of any kind," Mr
Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for 27 years, told cheering crowds.
Zimbabweans are grappling with spiralling annual inflation of 1,700%
and widespread unemployment and poverty.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
March 23, 2007
Posted to the web March 23, 2007
Southern Africa is "finally" assuming leadership in trying to resolve the
burning Zimbabwean crisis on their doorstep, but it has been a long time
coming, said analysts, as three members from a regional powerhouse met in
Lesotho to chalk a way forward. The Southern African Development Community
(SADC), which has pushed for an approach of "quiet diplomacy" to the
Zimbabwean crisis, has increasingly come under fire for failing to wield any
"But the brutal public attack on civic and leaders of the opposition leaders
[last week] has forced the private rumblings of discontent over Zimbabwe to
become public and break away from their traditional solidarity response,"
said Brian Raftopoulos, a Zimbabwean academic and African affairs specialist
at the South African-based Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.
A Zimbabwean opposition supporter was killed last week, and Morgan
Tsvangirai, who leads a faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), was among the pro-democracy leaders arrested and beaten by the
police, allegedly for inciting violence.
This week, Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa, currently deputy chair of the
SADC, broke ranks with the regional body to admit that "quiet diplomacy has
failed to help solve the political chaos and economic meltdown in Zimbabwe,"
and even likened the country to "a sinking Titanic whose passengers are
jumping out in a bid to save their lives."
Acknowledging the gravity of the recent outbreak of violence in Zimbabwe, he
said Zambia had been forced to re-think its position after "the twist of
events in the troubled country", which "necessitates the adoption of a new
Mwanawasa's comments came ahead of a meeting under the auspices of SADC in
the Lesotho capital, Maseru, on Thursday and Friday, at which Zambia,
Lesotho and Tanzania discussed "how best" the regional organisation could
respond, "with a view to helping Zimbabwe in its current difficulties", said
Vernon Mwaanga, Zambia's acting foreign minister. Zambia will assume
leadership of the SADC in August.
"The meeting, attended by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, who heads the
regional security arm, and Lesotho's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, who
is currently the chair of SADC, and Zambia, looked at several options,"
These will be put forward at an SADC meeting in Tanzania next week. Kikwete,
whose country is one of an SADC 'troika' on Zimbabwe, along with Namibia and
Lesotho, met Mugabe a few days ago.
SADC has been in existence since 1980, when it was formed as a loose
alliance of nine majority-ruled states in Southern Africa, known as the
Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) to coordinate
development projects to lessen its economic dependence on then apartheid
South Africa. Since then the organisation's objectives have evolved into
maintaining common political values and promoting peace and security, with a
view to boosting development.
Raftopoulos said the SADC should have stamped the "human rights debate" on
Zimbabwe as "African" at least seven years ago, when the 2000 general
elections had been marred by violence but were endorsed by the SADC as "free
In 2005 more than 700,000 people were internally displaced by Operation
Murambatsvina (Drive Out Trash), a three-month campaign to rid the country
of slums and illegal informal businesses. Again, the SADC maintained its
silence. "Instead, it [SADC] allowed itself to be corned by the Zimbabwean
regime into branding the human rights debate as 'Western'," said
Chris Maroleng, an analyst with the think-tank, Institute for Security
Studies, commented, "SADC has been hamstrung on Zimbabwe, as it has failed
to adopt a common position. SADC, as a multilateral forum, failed to engage
with Zimbabwe, as members found themselves polarised. Except for smaller
countries in the region, such as Botswana and Lesotho, regional powers like
South Africa have failed to criticise Zimbabwe. But the gap between the
countries has begun to narrow."
Quiet diplomacy has failed to help solve the political chaos and economic
meltdown in Zimbabwe
Africa's efforts to mediate between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and opposition
parties have been fruitless: in 2005, the African Union appointed former
Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano to help solve Zimbabwe's problems;
last year the SADC appointed former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa to
mediate in the strained relations between Harare and Britain.
Maroleng said the region should now try to create "an enabling environment"
in Zimbabwe to create the "political space" for dialogue between the ruling
party and civil society.
ZIMBABWEANS TAKE INITIATIVE
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean pro-democracy activists have become more vocal.
Tension has been mounting in Zimbabwe for the past two months, marked by
protests and running battles with the police over a worsening economic
crisis compounded by shortages of foreign currency, food, fuel, electricity
and medicines. Last month, political meetings were banned in the capital,
On Thursday, Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo,
called for mass street protests to force Mugabe to "step down" from power.
Zimbabwean nongovernmental organisations and a coalition of churches have
condemned the political violence that has erupted in Zimbabwe in recent
weeks, and urged dialogue to restore peace.
The National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO),
representing more than 1,000 civil groups throughout the country, said it
was concerned by police heavy-handedness when dealing with critics.
NANGO warned that the current political tension could lead to civil unrest,
adding that recent violent incidents "have occurred against the backdrop of
a politically, socially and economically volatile situation, characterised
by high levels of poverty and inequality, militarisation of state functions
and de-legitimisation of civil society initiatives."
The association called for the establishment of a national human rights
commission, which has been on the cards, in addition to lifting the ban on
political gatherings, constitutional reform and the "repeal of repressive
legislation", while the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) attributed the
outbreak of violence on the ban on political meetings.
In a statement on Wednesday the ZCC said, "This orgy of violence, which is
attributed to the ban on political gatherings in Harare for three months, is
provoking the opposition, especially at this strategic moment when political
parties are preparing for the 2008 presidential election."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
Ecumenical News International
3 March 2007 | 07-0238 |
Harare (ENI). Zimbabwe Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube has called for
"peaceful" street protests against the 27-year rule of President Robert
Mugabe who has cracked down on opposition protests with ferocity as his
country faces economic meltdown.
"It's time for a radical stance and not soft speeches and cowardice and the
time is now," Ncube told a 22 March meeting organized by the Christian
Alliance, which brings together church groups, campaigning for political
change in Zimbabwe under the umbrella of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.
"As Zimbabweans we need courage to stand for our rights now. Now we must
just stand up to this government," said Ncube, a long-standing critic of
excesses committed by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party. "We must stand up and
fill the streets and demand that this man [Mugabe] stand down right now."
The archbishop castigated Mugabe's government for unleashing security forces
who beat up scores of opposition, church and rights activists including
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change. Tsvangirai went to hospital last week with head and facial injuries
suffered at the hands of security forces who had blocked a prayer rally "to
pray for an end to tyranny". An MDC activist, Gift Tandare, was fatally shot
as the meeting was dispersed.
"God made human beings in his own image," Ncube told the meeting attended by
church leaders, rights activists and foreign diplomats attached to Harare.
"Human beings, therefore, are special creatures and human rights are
God-given. There is no one who has the right to ride over us and bash our
heads like what happened [last week].
"Courage is what is needed. Let's stand for our rights now. My biggest worry
is [that] Zimbabweans are cowards," said Ncube. "If we were courageous and
get around 20 000 of us into the streets, the government of Zimbabwe would
not do anything to us."
He added, "The pastors must be the ones in front. I urge that pastors get
off the comfort of their seats and lead and suffer with the people.
"We pastors are too fond of the comfort we enjoy. We like nice breakfast
with eggs and bacon every morning. That must stop. We like to drive nice
cars. As long as we are in for comfort we are not going to get rid of the
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches deplored the worsening political crisis in
the country and called for dialogue to end the tensions.
"As the ZCC we do not condone violence by whoever, and we strongly condemn
the shooting to death of MDC activist Gift Tandare and the brutal treatment
of the opposition leaders and their supporters while in the hands of the
police," read part of the church council statement.
It also deplored attacks against police officers, some of whom were injured,
by activists reacting to the death of their colleague.
"If this state of affairs continues, we foresee a situation that will
degenerate into civil unrest where there will be a lot of bloodshed," the
churches said. "We therefore recommend that all stakeholders engage in
dialogue. Police should restrict themselves to their duties of arresting
suspects and investigating all criminal activities and not to use torture
and ill-treatment as a means of interrogation."
Efforts by leaders to broker talks between the ruling party and the MDC
floundered nearly four years ago after a government minister described
church leaders as opposition activists wearing clerical collars.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 March, 2007
The government has intensified its oppressive campaign against the
opposition in recent weeks fearing major uprisings in the face of a rapidly
deteriorating economy and public protests by Zimbabweans. Observers say the
ruling party is using violence to intimidate people in order to avoid any
serious public action by the MDC. But so far the plan seems to have
backfired. Zimbabweans say they are more determined than ever to remove
Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF. And the opposition has said rallies planned for
this weekend will go ahead with or without permission from the police.
In Kwekwe, MDC MP Blessing Chebundo said the district leadership has
organised a rally for Saturday afternoon at the Globe and Phoenix Grounds in
Kwekwe Central. He added that hundreds will show up to hear their local,
provincial and national officials map out the way forward. Explaining why he
believes this Chebundo said: "People have seen the way. If we don't go
forward with the struggle to really free ourselves in a country that was won
through armed struggle, but where people are not free, and if we don't free
ourselves, then no-one will."
Another rally, scheduled for Sunday in Chitungwiza, will be addressed by MDC
president Arthur Mutambara and other MDC leaders. Police raided the home of
MDC MP Job Sikhala on Thursday and arrested several MDC supporters suspected
of distributing fliers for the rally. It is not clear how many are in
custody at St Mary's police station.
The police have used extremely violent means to block opposition rallies
this year, and arrested officials and supporters have been beaten severely
and tortured while in police custody. At a press conference in Harare on
Friday, leaders from the Christian Alliance urged the police to protect
innocent Zimbabweans as it is their duty to do so. They also denied
government allegations that the rally that was violently blocked by police
two Sundays ago was a political meeting.
A statement released to the press by he Alliance said in part:
"A major concern for us is the rapid shrinking of religious space where the
state has taken upon itself to re-define who should be allowed to hold
prayer meetings and who can attend it. We call upon the government to stop
interfering with freedom of worship and association within the church in
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
23 March 2007
A member of the Combined Harare Residents Association based in Mbare has
confirmed to Newsreel that bus rank marshals from the suburbs are being
picked up by Zanu PF officials every Wednesday for militia training in the
city centre. Zanu PF has an office in Harare's 4th street, with a notorious
reputation for being used as a torture base. The training is allegedly
taking place there. This new militia is being dressed in navy blue trousers
and grey shirts while some of them are being issued with the standard police
uniform. They are also said to be receiving a special daily allowance of
Z$100 000 per day.
The woman who refused to be named says this same squad was behind the brutal
assault of mourners returning from a funeral on the 11th of March, the same
day Save Zimbabwe tried to hold a prayer rally. The incident took place
alongside Kelvin Shopping Centre in Waterfalls where a Zupco bus was stopped
by five 'special constabularies' attached to Stodart Hall police station.
Only one was in uniform while the others wore casual clothing. Three of them
were identified as Rera, Maromo and Mabhena. They allegedly got into the bus
carrying baton sticks and demanded to know why the mourners had not attended
the Save Zimbabwe Campaign rally.
When the women in the bus asked why this was being done, Rera allegedly
threw a tear gas canister into the bus, which fortunately failed to burst.
The women were then ordered to get out of the bus one by one leaving their
cell phones and money to the gang. It's alleged a Glen View woman who was
part of the mourners had a miscarriage following the assaults. Stodart Hall
police refused to deal with the matter telling the complainants to go to
Mbare Police Station. Although the police say they are investigating, those
responsible are still walking the streets.
Later in the day, a ZANU-PF member Tendai Savanhu donated 10 kg's of mealie
meal to each of the victims and urged them not to receive any donations that
came from the MDC. A ZBC TV crew also visited some of the mourners to get
interviews and despite getting the true picture broadcast an interview
claiming MDC youths carried out the attack in an effort to force people to
attend the Save Zimbabwe Campaign rally. Meanwhile, despite a police ban on
demonstrations, political gatherings and meetings its reported that the Zanu
PF's women's league held a demonstration in Harare against what they called
interference from the West in Zimbabwe's internal affairs.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Sydney Morning Herald
March 24, 2007
Almost everyone who can get out of Zimbabwe has fled, writes Ed O'Loughlin
YOU don't see corpses lying by the roadside in Zimbabwe. A terrible
affliction is laying waste to this once fertile country, but - at least
until now - its victims have not died dramatically. Instead, they just fade
Since the President, Robert Mugabe, nosed his country into an economic
kamikaze dive 10 years ago, almost a quarter of his 13 million subjects have
An estimated 3 million went to neighbouring South Africa in search of work.
Many more have fled to Europe and Australia, or to other southern African
countries which, seven years ago, Zimbabwe dwarfed socially and
Hundreds of thousands have disappeared from the main towns and cities to the
countryside, some driven out of their shantytowns - strongholds of support
for the opposition Movement of Democratic Change - by government thugs.
Many more hope to reinvent themselves as Iron Age peasants, surviving off
communal plots of corn and vegetables, out of sight and out of mind.
If inflation is a rough indicator of human misery, life for the remaining
Zimbabweans is growing 1750 per cent less pleasant every year -
hyperinflation not witnessed anywhere since Germany between the wars. Since
2000, gross domestic product has halved to $US4 billion ($5 billion), the
biggest modern collapse of a peacetime economy. Unemployment is at least 60
As the Central Reserve Bank continues to print tonnes of new banknotes to
pay for the state salaries, subsidies and corruption that keep Mugabe and
his cronies in power, ordinary wage-earning Zimbabweans are watching their
earnings and savings dwindle to vanishing point.
For many, the point of desperation has finally been reached. Prices are now
such that even educated, middle-class people with jobs - nurses, teachers,
even the state's hitherto loyal policemen - have to spend almost all their
salaries just to get to and from work.
You do not have to be an economist to work out what will happen when the
cost of going to work exceeds what people earn from it. That, as they say,
is when the wheels come off.
This week the head nurse at a government health clinic in Bulawayo said 10
of her 22 nurses had already left the country. Like most people interviewed
for this article, she did not want to be named for fear of government
"People go because Zimbabwean doctors and nurses are well trained and can
get better jobs elsewhere," she said. "Here nurses only earn 600,000 to
900,000 [Zimbabwe dollars, $US43 to $US64] a month before deductions. Most
of that now goes just on on transport, which costs up to 20,000 [$US1.42] a
The staff who remain are fighting a losing battle to maintain basic
services. Specialist drugs and medical supplies to treat common illnesses
and injuries can no longer be provided free and few patients can afford
An increasing number of the children presenting at the clinic appear
malnourished but there is no provision for supplemental feeding. The state
ambulance seldom operates because of the cost of fuel, and has been replaced
by a local service based on boys pushing handcarts lined with blankets.
Few patients can afford the $Z8500 minimum payment - half a day's net
survival costs for the average Zimbabwean - set by the authorities for the
formerly free treatment.
Coupled with the regional HIV epidemic, the collapse in the once-admired
health service has seen average life expectancy plunge from 60 in 1990 to 37
Medical staff themselves are struggling to survive.
"For tea break every day we just eat bread, no margarine or jam or anything
any more, just bread," said the head nurse. "We don't eat lunch any more,
nothing until we get home in the evening."
A visit to a Bulawayo supermarket shows shelves well stocked with goods,
including staples such as maize meal, potatoes, bread and sugar, but few can
afford them. Ten kilograms of maize meal may be only $US1.25 at world
prices, but 56 per cent of Zimbabweans now live on less than $US1 a day.
Then there are soaring costs for transport, clothing, school fees and all
the other necessities of life.
The Government claims to provide staples at much lower, subsidised prices,
but in practice they are seldom available. Shops in Bulawayo were this week
selling Government-standard loaves of bread that were hollow in the middle,
and people complain of flour weighted with sand.
Paradoxically, the crisis would be even worse were it not for the crisis in
the public service. Due to incompetence, staff shortages and a lack of
foreign currency to pay for new equipment, the registrar-general's office
has amassed a two-year backlog in passport applications.
If her own passport had not expired two years ago, the clinic's head nurse
said, she would long ago have left for Australia or New Zealand, where many
of her friends have already had no difficulty in finding well-paid and
Many undocumented Zimbabweans have given up waiting and walked illegally
into neighbouring states such as Botswana, where nurses can earn seven times
as much as at home.
The malaise has even stretched to the police and army, whose rank and file
were until recently kept loyal by generous wages, now also almost worthless.
One former policeman in Bulawayo said that about half the young men who
joined the police with him in 1985 have quit in recent years, while
desertion from the army is said to be soaring.
"Recently I was with some of my former colleagues," he said. "They were
telling me that they wanted to go to Namibia or South Africa to look for
jobs so they could leave the police. All of the uniformed forces - the
prison service, the army, the police - are quitting in masses because of the
For the time being Mugabe is still able to fill up the dwindling ranks by
recruiting members of the so-called national service brigades - youth
militias set up by the ruling ZANU-PF party to act as auxiliary muscle in
its battle to suppress opposition.
Many of these new recruits are poorly educated youngsters with no other
prospects of employment and nothing better to do, but even they will soon
tire of working for almost nothing.
Another key Mugabe constituency, the settlers and war veterans who were
granted shares of confiscated white-owned farms, is also growing restive.
Without full title to their new plots, unable to raise loans in a state
where even legal title is now meaningless as collateral, the new occupants
lack the capital or expertise to maintain the intensive agriculture that was
previously Zimbabwe's principal source of foreign earnings.
The new class of small farmers is now mired in poverty and dependent on
dwindling government subsidies and handouts.
One former salesman said he applied for a share of seized white farmland and
found himself granted 200 hectares of rocks and scrub in what had been a
highly profitable hunting farm. Wealthy foreigners had previously paid up to
$US1000 a night, plus trophy costs, for the privilege of shooting big game
there. However, for agriculture it was useless.
"There are a few people there still but they are doing nothing but
poaching," he said. "There is nothing they can do with the land, especially
with this drought we now have. There is no water there because they took all
the water pumps and pipes and sold them."
The former salesman was also one of the new class of black goldminers
granted government licences for small-scale prospecting in the mining area
north of Bulawayo.
As with the big commercial mines, they were required to sell their gold to
the Reserve Bank at a big discount to world prices. But being much more
difficult to regulate than the big mines, many small prospectors sold their
gold at full value on the blackmarket, sparking a government crackdown last
year that shut down most of the smaller operations, whether compliant or
"It doesn't make sense," the former salesman said. "Before that they were at
least getting something. If you went to the ore mills and got 30 grams from
your ore and took 15 to the bank and 15 to the parallel market, they were
still getting some gold from us. Now they are getting nothing at all."
Mugabe's efforts to dictate unrealistic prices in the markets for currency,
minerals, energy, tobacco [the main export crop] and food have turned even
the most upright citizens into expert blackmarketeers.
Every day, police Land Rovers - previously donated to Zimbabwe by the
now-detested British Government - cruise the streets of Bulawayo to pick up
the women who deal in foreign currency on every other street corner.
The women are either shaken down for bribes or taken to the police station,
where they are fined, have their currency confiscated and are then released
to start the game all over again.
Yet the biggest customer on the blackmarket is now the Government itself,
which is reported to be paying up to $Z25,000 to the US dollar, way above
even this week's street rate of $Z14,000.
The Government needs the foreign money to pay for imports of maize to
distribute to the swelling numbers of the hungry - in a country that until
Mugabe's land reforms exported maize and other food crops.
Still, critics charge that key figures in, and close to, the Government are
still being permitted to buy US dollars from the Government at the official
rate of $Z250, bleeding the foreign reserves at great profit to themselves.
Famine is now a serious threat to millions of ordinary people. Forced out of
the cash economy, many rural folk or displaced urbanites had hoped to at
least survive by growing their own subsistence crops of maize, vegetables
and sorghum in tribal areas or seized white farms.
But this year Zimbabwe is afflicted by drought. Ninety-year-old Khayisa
Ndiweni, chief of the Ntabazinduna district of Matabeleland since 1944, said
it is the worst he had seen since 1946.
"Rain is very scarce and there are no crops this year," he said. "There is
no employment, so the people go to South Africa and to other countries. All
the boys and girls are leaving. Some send money back, but if they can't,
what will happen to us who remain here?"
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 March 2007
The MDC has urged the international community to commit critically needed
food aid to Zimbabwe to avert a large scale humanitarian crisis amid reports
that people are starving and dying in rural areas.
A report on BBC radio 4 on Friday said the situation in rural areas is far
worse than most people know, as children and the elderly are succumbing to
hunger. The deputy national chairman of the MDC Lovemore Moyo, who is also
the MP for Matobo in Matebeleland South, said the situation in the country
The government last week declared 2007 a drought year but insisted it would
not ask for food assistance because it has the capacity to feed its own
people. Moyo said government is making things worse by refusing outside
'By not asking for assistance the government is simply afraid that food
distribution by any other organisation will neutralise its support base in
rural areas. So we are saying to the government, if they have the capacity
to feed the nation do so now. Where is the food, give it to the people now,'
He feared the regime might be holding on to the last stocks of maize for use
during campaigns for Presidential and Parliamentary elections that might be
held next year. In his Matobo constituency, Moyo said many villagers have
been surviving on nothing for days and he's received reports that many are
forced to resort to eating leaves. His party was therefore appealing to
donor countries, private companies and non-governmental organisations for
urgent assistance as food has run out in the country.
Reports say stocks of the staple food crop maize are 'very low' countrywide
and market prices have risen beyond the reach of most Zimbabweans. 'People
in the rural areas are on the brink of starvation. The strongest may survive
this the others won't, as long as Zanu (PF) uses food as an electioneering
tool,' Moyo said.
Analysts insist Mugabe's regime should take the blame for the food crisis.
4,000 commercial farmers have been violently driven off their land in the
last seven year, and evictions continue. This has created a total
The initial invaders, mostly war veterans were themselves pushed from the
farms, which were redistributed to Mugabe's cronies, top Zanu (PF) party
officials, senior army, air force and police officials and compliant judges
Few of the 'new farmers' are producing crops but the rest lack the skills to
produce even on subsistence level, according deputy Agriculture Minister
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Marzo 23, 2007, 13:36 EST
Mike Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents' Association, who was
himself detained two weeks ago, told reporters the wave of violence is more
systematic and comprehensive than that meted out to political leaders last
Mr. Davies says the police attacks, which usually take the form of beatings
on the feet and legs, is designed to instill fear and keep Zimbabweans
He added that President Robert Mugabe is using the violence to promote his
Earlier this week, Mr. Mugabe told his critics "to go hang" and promised to,
in his words "bash" his opponents again.
Doctors have told VOA that it is difficult to know how many people have been
injured as many cannot afford bus fares to reach medical help. One doctor
said the injuries are more pervasive than those he saw during the 2002
presidential election and that many patients are able only to hobble out of
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube told a Johannesburg
media conference that leaders of the Southern Africa Development
Community -- SADC -- should come up with specific proposals to deal with the
Zimbabwe crisis when they meet in Tanzania in the next week or two.
"On the forthcoming SADC meeting, heads of state need to place Zimbabwe high
on the agenda and to develop a concrete proposal on how to promote dialogue
between all parties in Zimbabwe; the purpose of this dialogue would be to
develop a SADC road map for Zimbabwe," he said.
Tendai Biti, a member of parliament who belongs to the opposition group
Movement for Democratic Change, also addressed the Johannesburg conference.
He was among those activists who were beaten in police custody last week.
Speaking to reporters, he said that any dialogue in Zimbabwe must lead to a
"A dialogue that will ensure that we have a transitional constitution, and a
transitional authority that will run our country until we Zimbabweans write
a constitution for ourselves, by ourselves," said Biti.
"And after that, we hope that we will have free and fair elections in our
country under international supervision, and then hopefully after those free
and fair elections we can begin the process of reconstructing our country,"
In a related development, there are reports of a three-page police watch
list of individuals Zimbawe authorities want to prevent from leaving
Zimbabwe. Last weekend, several opposition leaders were stopped at Harare
International Airport and were not allowed to leave the country.
The Namibian (Windhoek)
March 23, 2007
Posted to the web March 23, 2007
KUDOS must go to the only two prominent, brave and outspoken voices on the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, including a violent crackdown on
opposition and human rights workers, namely Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South
Africa and President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia.
Not only have the two leaders spoken out where others wavered, they will
have done so knowing that there would be those who would be quick to try and
shoot them down with tired, outworn and reactionary slogans.
Tutu lambasted the South African government for its silence about the brutal
treatment of democracy activists in Zimbabwe, adding "we Africans should
hang our heads in shame" because there was hardly concern, let alone
condemnation, from leaders in Africa about the situation there.
Tutu, undoubtedly always a voice of conscience, said: "What more has to
happen before we who are leaders, religious and political, of our mother
Africa, are moved enough to cry out 'enough is enough'".
He was followed, this week, by President Mwanawasa of Zambia, who bravely
called for a 'new approach' on Zimbabwe when he spoke at a state banquet in
his honour in Windhoek.
Comparing Zimbabwe to a "sinking Titanic", Mwanawasa said: "If all SADC
member states have a common destiny, they must all surely rise and lend a
helping hand when one of them should run into serious difficulties".
While the Zambian head of state's statement was not as strongly worded as
that of the Archbishop, he nevertheless went a lot further than most of his
fellow southern African heads of state, whose silence has not only been
deafening, but embarrassing as well.
Namibia's Information Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, this week said that
while "Namibia has never and will never condone violence", the Government
believed that "President Robert Mugabe and the people of that country have
the capacity and the will to solve its own domestic problems without the
interference of other countries".
She was also "encouraged" to hear that the Zimbabwean Ambassador to Namibia
was "investigating" the "cause" of the violence.
Surely it stands to reason that if Namibia does not condone violence, as the
Minister alleged, then it would condemn it? Yet this has not happened.
It is obvious that the latest crackdown on opposition and democracy
activists in Zimbabwe is more than ample proof that that country cannot in
fact solve its own problems.
Mugabe clearly will not be influenced by the opinions and condemnation by
foreign, particularly Western nations.
He has already told critics to "go hang" and has threatened to evict several
European ambassadors from his country.
Other SADC countries, in particular, have not only an obligation, but a duty
to speak out, even if Mugabe does not heed their words either.
Those who have spoken on the issue, apart from Tutu and Mwanawasa, have been
obvious apologists for the Zimbabwe regime.
So-called "quiet diplomatists" include the Chairman of the African Union,
Ghanaian President John Kufuor, who could only say he found the situation in
Zimbabwe "embarrassing", which is simply unacceptable coming from the head
of this continental body.
Whatever the stance Africans may take on the Zimbabwe crisis, and even if
they erroneously believe that sanctions, and not Mugabe himself, are to
blame for the deteriorating economic decline in that country, it is
absolutely clear that the rampant human rights violations have absolutely
nothing to do with the West, imperialists, or sanctions for that matter.
The Zimbabwean head of state is most clearly responsible and must be held
accountable for the violation of the rights and dignity of his own people.
If the appeals of much of civil society in many SADC countries fall on deaf
ears as far as their governments and heads of state are concerned, then one
wonders at their commitment to upholding and maintenance of human rights in
general, but in their respective countries as well.
The Tutus and the Mwanawasas deserve to be commended for at least having the
courage to swim against the current and raise their voices in protest.
We can only hope that SADC heads of state see fit to follow suit and end
their current practice of appeasing an ageing dictator because of old
International Herald Tribune
By Michael Wines Published: March 23, 2007
JOHANNESBURG: Modern South Africa came about, historians agree, in part
because of the United Nations' unrelenting stance against apartheid. The UN
affirmed that South African racism was not merely an internal political
problem, but a threat to southern Africa. The UN banned arms shipments to
South Africa. The UN demanded fair treatment of black dissidents there.
It worked. This month, a democratic South Africa sits as president of the UN
Security Council. It was a remarkable, even poignant affirmation of the
power of morality in global diplomacy.
Or so it might seem. After just three months as one of the Security
Council's nonpermanent members, South Africa is mired in controversy over
what could be its great strength: the moral weight it can bring to
In January, South Africa surprised many, and outraged some, when it voted
against allowing the Security Council to consider a relatively mild
resolution on human rights issues in Myanmar, whose government is widely
seen as one of the most repressive on earth.
Last week, the government again angered human rights advocates when it said
it would oppose a request to brief the Security Council on the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe, where the government is pursuing a violent crackdown
on its only political opposition. South Africa later changed its stance, but
only after dismissing the briefing as a minor event that did not belong on
the Security Council's agenda.
This week, South Africa threatened a delicate compromise among nations often
at odds - the United States, China, Russia and the European powers France,
Britain and Germany - to rein in Iran's nuclear program. The major powers
had agreed on an arms embargo, asset-freezing and other sanctions against
Iran, but South Africa proposed dropping the arms and financial sanctions
and placing a 90-day "time out" on other punishments - which would have
rendered the sanctions toothless, critics said.
"I'm not gutting the resolution; I'm improving it," Dumisani Khumalo, South
Africa's ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters from news agencies
Granted, none of these positions by themselves have been fatal to the
efforts at hand. The resolution on Myanmar was dead on arrival anyway,
condemned by vetoes from China, which backs that nation's dictatorship, and
Russia. Nor could South Africa have singlehandedly blocked a Zimbabwe
South Africa's wrench in the Iran sanctions effort has complicated things,
but mostly because the great powers would like Iran's defiance to be met
with unanimous disapproval.
Rather, what has left some of South Africa's admirers slack- jawed is the
apparent incongruity of its positions. It is not merely that South Africa's
current leaders are withholding the same sorts of international
condemnations that sustained them when they were battling oppression.
When apartheid's evils came to the fore in the Security Council in the early
1980s, it was newly independent Zimbabwe that occupied one of the council's
nonpermanent seats and voted to condemn South African racism. Myanmar, then
known as Burma, joined in denouncing apartheid from its seat in the General
The same South Africa that now opposes sanctions against Iran's rogue
nuclear program voluntarily renounced its own atomic bomb in the early
1990s, as apartheid came to an end. South Africa remains the only nation in
history to have given up its nuclear program of its own accord.
Given this backdrop, a columnist in the Johannesburg-based Star newspaper
fretted last week over what he called a "fundamental misunderstanding" of
the role of human rights in a nation's development. The nation's
second-largest political party, the Democratic Alliance, was more brutal:
"Instead of furthering an agenda based on the protection and promotion of
human rights," the party stated, "we are more concerned with using
bureaucratic excuses to shield tyrants and despots from international
South African officials have offered their own defense. On Friday, Deputy
Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said the government was committed to resolving
the crisis in Zimbabwe through dialogue, but added that "it is not our
intention to make militant statements to make us feel good, or to satisfy
governments outside the African continent," Reuters reported.
Beyond that, Khumalo, the UN ambassador, has justified his government's
actions in the rarefied argot of international diplomacy. Myanmar and
Zimbabwe, he has argued, do not meet the legal standards for Security
Seasoned scholars might and do differ, but to many analysts here the real
question is why, given its standing as a beacon of human rights, South
Africa has taken theses positions at all. Perhaps nobody outside of Pretoria
knows, but there are plenty of theories.
One, advanced by a committed advocate of Myanmar's freedom, is that South
Africa is feathering its strategic relationship with China, which largely
controls Myanmar, supports Zimbabwe's authoritarian regime and has
assiduously courted President Thabo Mbeki. China has big investments, a
decent-sized immigrant population and great ambitions in South Africa.
Another is that South Africa is playing the role of bad boy on the Security
Council to underscore its demand that the council be overhauled to reflect
new global realities. South Africa and many other developing nations deeply
resent the great powers' veto over major UN actions, often against rogue
developing states like Zimbabwe and North Korea. They want the emerging
southern hemisphere to have more sway in the body's policies and actions.
"South Africa wants reform of the Security Council, come hell or high
water," said Thomas Wheeler, a four-decade diplomat for South Africa who is
now chief executive at the South Africa Institute of International Affairs,
a research group. "And they're using practically any means to do it. They've
got almost a bee in their bonnet - that this is the way to go; to force the
issue in this way."
A third theory, a hybrid of those two, is that South Africa's leaders have
yet to decide whether they are democrats or the revolutionaries of two
decades ago, railing against seemingly immovable establishments on behalf of
seemingly lost causes. The establishments in those days were the United
States and Britain, powers inimical to the communists who were the
financiers of black liberation movements in the 1980s.
"What you have here is the continuing, ongoing tussle over whether the
ANC" - the governing African National Congress - "is still a protest
movement or the governing party of a responsible member of the international
community," said a retired American diplomat with decades of Africa
"They're reflexively against anything we're for - we in the States; we and
the British; we in the North. It's more Chinese than the Chinese."
In the past two weeks, the nation has been under serious tension due to the brutal violent response by the state machinery to stop peaceful Zimbabwean citizens from attending a prayer meeting organized under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. That extreme and disproportionate response resulted in the death of two innocent citizens, Gift Tandare and Itai Manyeruke both of Highfields. We have just learnt about the death of Itai Manyeruke on Wednesday. We are sending our condolences to their families. It also resulted in the arrest and brutal assault on leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign who were on their way to attend the prayer meeting.
We wish to put it on record that the meeting organized on March 11 2007 at Zimbabwe Grounds was intended to be a prayer meeting coordinated by the Christian Alliance as chair of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. The Christian Alliance has taken lead to ensure that the Save Zimbabwe Campaign becomes a platform where prayer is encouraged. As Christians it is our obligation to minister to people in ways that reduce anger and frustration and building hope. Prayer is one of the tools that we believe will bring healing and transformation in a peaceful manner in our nation.
As the Christian Alliance, we are non-partisan. And we therefore value and respect the Save Zimbabwe Campaign as a non-partisan platform seeking to bring together various religious and civic groupings and political formations within our country, so that we can all engage each other in finding a lasting solution to our ongoing national crisis.
We call upon the ministers of Home Affairs and of Defense to ensure that the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army are there to protect all Zimbabwean citizens and to remain apolitical. The assault and torture of arrested citizens by the state agents without due process of the courts is a serious human rights offence by the state.
A major concern for us is the rapid shrinking of religious space where the state has taken upon itself to re-define who should be allowed to hold prayer meetings and who can attend it. We call upon the government to stop interfering with freedom of worship and association within the church in Zimbabwe. It is sad to note that on March 11, many church services in Highfield, Glen Norah and Glen View could not take place due to the excessive use of force by the police and the CIO who went about interfering and infringing on people’s God-given rights of movement, assembly and association. This development has resulted in the State creating a very hostile and threatening situation of anguish and hopelessness.
It is the duty of the state to ensure that people live in an environment where socio- economic and personal security is guaranteed for all citizens.
We have been encouraged by the response of church bodies in the SADC region like the South African Council of Churches, who have called upon SADC to ensure that freedom of association and worship in Zimbabwe is respected. We also applaud the response of the African Union that has expressed concern over the deteriorating conditions in our country.
We the people of Zimbabwe want peace, prosperity, human dignity which are our God given rights. We are also looking forward in the near future to reconcile with all our relatives and friends who are scattered in the diaspora due to harsh economic and political conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe.
As we enter into the period of Easter we call upon all Zimbabweans to get
into prayer for the nation, only God can save Zimbabwe. As the Christian
Alliance we sense a renewed urgency for the speedy and peaceful resolution of
our national crisis to avert looming disaster. We believe the time has come to
engage in meaningful and productive dialogue with all stakeholders for the sake
of this nation. May God save us from these trials and tribulations that we are
facing for this short time.
By Sarah McGregor
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - African leaders must lead on the crisis in Zimbabwe
because Western governments have lost their credibility in the region, a
leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said on
Arthur Mutambara, who leads one of two major factions in the MDC, said
Western mixed signals on democracy and governance were not helping
"We appreciate the support from Western powers but the double standards of
the West undermine our struggle," Arthur Mutambara was quoted by South
Africa's SAPA news agency as saying in Johannesburg.
"The only ones who have the moral authority to speak out on Zimbabwe are
Africans," Mutambara told a seminar organised by South Africa's powerful
trade union, COSATU.
Mutambara said Western powers had shown double standards on former Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, both of which
he said were "created" and then discarded by the West.
The MDC says a number of activists, including the leader of the party's main
faction Morgan Tsvangirai, were arrested and beaten this month for holding a
prayer rally in Harare in defiance of a government ban on political
Western critics including Britain and the United States have slammed the
crackdown on the opposition and threatened to level more economic sanctions
on 83-year-old President Robert Mugabe and his government.
International outcry to the images of battered opposition activists appears
to have further emboldened Mugabe, who blames the country's economic
meltdown on the legacy of British colonialism and ongoing Western
Mugabe has frequently accused the MDC of being "stooges" of his Western
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube on Friday
repeated his call for non-violent street rallies, even if it threatened his
own safety, to force Mugabe to resign.
"This dictator must be brought down right now by the people's power but not
in a violent manner. If we can get 30,000 people together Mugabe will just
come down," Ncube, a top cleric of Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, told
a news conference.
"I would put myself on the line."
Ncube said "quiet diplomacy" on the continent had so far failed to solve an
economic crisis in Zimbabwe where official inflation tops 1,700 percent --
and petrol, food and foreign currency are scarce.
However, Ncube expressed cautious optimism the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) may adopt a tougher stance on Zimbabwe at its meeting
expected in the coming weeks.
Fri 23 Mar 2007, 15:32 GMT
By MacDonald Dizrutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed on Friday to
survive any Western attempt to dislodge him from power as regional
heavyweight South Africa defended its "quiet" approach to the gathering
Mugabe said Britain and the United States would never overcome the support
he enjoys in his ruling ZANU-PF party, which led the former Rhodesia to
black majority rule in 1980.
"Nothing frightens me, not even little fellows like Bush and Blair. I have
seen it all, I don't fear any suffering or a struggle of any kind," Mugabe,
83, said to cheers from ZANU-PF supporters at a meeting in Harare.
"I make a stand and stand on principle here where I was born, here where I
grew up, here where I fought and here where I shall die," Mugabe said,
accusing the West of sponsoring the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) to overthrow his government.
One of Zimbabwe's top Roman Catholic clerics, Archbishop Pius Ncube of
Bulawayo, on Friday repeated his call for mass peaceful protests to end
Mugabe's 27-year rule.
Police, meanwhile, accused MDC supporters of petrol bombing a police station
in Mutare city, the latest in a series of violent acts which officials have
attributed to opposition activists.
International criticism of Mugabe has sharpened this month after police
cracked down on opposition supporters attempting to attend a banned prayer
rally, arresting several MDC activists including party leader Morgan
MDC officials say Tsvangirai and a number of other detainees were badly
beaten while in detention.
Western critics including Britain and the United States have threatened more
economic sanctions on Mugabe and his government, which is already battling
Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis in decades with inflation now topping 1,700
'TOTAL HEAP OF MISERY'
Western countries have also increased calls for a tougher African stand,
with Australian Prime Minister John Howard saying the world was being too
soft on the ageing Zimbabwean ruler.
"We pussyfoot around far too much using diplomatic language. This man is a
disaster. His country is just a total heap of misery," Howard told
But South Africa, the regional power, on Friday defended its "quiet"
approach to Zimbabwe, saying it was the only way to keep lines of dialogue
open with Mugabe's government.
"It is not our intention to make militant statements to make us feel good,
or to satisfy governments outside the African continent," Deputy Foreign
Minister Aziz Pahad told a regular news briefing.
Pahad said a Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting on
Zimbabwe tentatively set for Tanzania next week had been pushed back to
allow more time to prepare, adding that the meeting could end up as a
Western denunciations of Mugabe also drew criticism from one of the MDC's
two main factions, with factional leader Arthur Mutambara saying Africa must
lead the drive for change.
"We appreciate the support from Western powers but the double standards of
the West undermine our struggle," Arthur Mutambara was quoted by South
Africa's SAPA news agency as saying in Johannesburg.
"The only ones who have the moral authority to speak out on Zimbabwe are
Africans," Mutambara said.
Ncube, who has used his archbishop's pulpit to become one of Mugabe's most
vocal and fearless domestic critics, on Friday said again he was ready to
lead mass peaceful protests.
"This dictator must be brought down right now by the peoples' power but not
in a violent manner. If we can get 30,000 people together Mugabe will just
come down," Ncube told a news conference. "I would put myself on the line."
Sydney Morning Herald
Sahm Venter in Johannesburg
March 24, 2007
THE Australian husband of a tortured Zimbabwean activist said she refused to
cry despite enduring hours of attacks that resulted in 80 injuries,
including broken bones.
An exhausted Jim Holland was speaking just hours after Sekai Holland, a
64-year-old grandmother, and a fellow activist, Grace Kwinje, were admitted
to hospital in Johannesburg after their dramatic escape from Zimbabwe on
"Sekai has just been incredible. She has been through the most brutal
torture you can imagine and yet her spirits have been so wonderfully high,"
Mr Holland said. "The regime tried to beat her into submission and has
totally failed, and she knows that she's won."
Mr Holland thanked the South African Government for providing police
protection at Lanseria Airport outside Johannesburg and an armed escort to
the hospital. "It was such a relief," he said.
Mrs Holland and Ms Kwinje had been arrested at the steps of a plane on their
first attempt to flee to South Africa on Saturday. On Wednesday a Zimbabwean
court ordered they be allowed to leave the country and the pair were
escorted to Harare's airport by the Australian consul, Mark Lynch, amid
fears the military would ignore the court order.
Mrs Holland sustained her injuries after she was arrested and beaten on
March 11. She had gone to a police station to enquire about colleagues who
had been arrested during a public prayer meeting. She was set upon by 16 men
and one woman who "hit her with every sort of weapon you can think of", Mr
Holland said. The female, the youngest of the group, jumped on Mrs Holland,
breaking three of her ribs. Her other injuries include a broken arm, a
broken leg, a fractured knee and multiple bruises and lacerations.
"They hit and bruised her in over 80 different places, according to the
doctors," Mr Holland said at a news conference at the Netcare Milpark
Hospital in Johannesburg.
Mrs Holland and Ms Kwinje were resting after the hospital had cautiously
described their condition as "stable". A spokeswoman said it would take 48
hours before doctors would be sure of the women's prognosis.
They were among the most badly beaten of a group of activists that included
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic
"How she withstood that, I have no idea," Mr Holland said of his wife. "She
passed out several times, I am told. But she refused to be cowed, she
refused to cry. When they asked her who was her president, she said
Mrs Holland was then taken to another police station where she was kicked
out of a police truck and landed heavily on the ground, injuring her head.
The couple met in the 1960s while studying political science at the
Australian National University in Canberra. Mrs Holland joined the
liberation movement of the now President, Robert Mugabe. But she fell out
with the leadership of the now-ruling ZANU-PF party after she witnessed
brutality in a Zambian training camp. She returned to Zimbabwe when it
gained independence in 1980. Mr Holland, an engineer, worked for the
Government for 12 years.
"Sekai knows him well . As far as we are concerned he has betrayed all the
ideas of the liberation struggle and he's created a nation of misery," Mr
Holland said. "It's time for a new Zimbabwe."
? John Howard has called for an end to the Mugabe regime. "We pussyfoot
around far too much using diplomatic language," the Prime Minister said
yesterday. "This man is a disaster; his country is just a total heap of
Mr Howard cited Zimbabwe's economic crisis as well as police brutality
towards critics of the regime. "I think it's time that the neighbouring
African countries, particularly South Africa, exerted political pressure on
Mugabe to go," he said.
HARARE, Zimbabwe, March 23 (UPI) -- Zimbabwe and Angola have signed a
security deal but Angola denied reports it was sending troops to Zimbabwe to
back the regime of President Robert Mugabe.
"It is not the custom of the Angolan government to interfere in the internal
matters of other governments," the Angolan Embassy in Harare said in a
statement responding to reports that 1,000 paramilitary police would arrive
in Zimbabwe in April, the Financial Times reported.
A top Angolan official, Interior Minister Gen. Roberto Leal Ramos said on
Zimbabwean state radio that that south African nation would not welcome
"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, the
Financial Times reported. "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."
BY GIFT PHIRI
HARARE - Solomon Madzore, the National Youth Assembly secretary general of
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and Promise Mkwananzi,
the president of the Zimbabwe National Students Union, an umbrella body
representing tertiary levels students in Zimbabwe , today said they planned
to lead nationwide street protests against the continued senseless killing
of innocent civilians.
Madzore appeared to break ranks with his party's national executive, which
last week decided to shelve planned demonstrations following advice from
lawyers that such action would lead to unnecessary deaths of innocent
civilians by a regime bent of using all tactics at its disposal to cow a
As Madzore told a joint press briefing today that he would lead his youth
wing in demonstrations to protest against the murder of Gift Tandare, Itai
Manyeruke and the gruesome assault on spokesman Nelson Chamisa, ZINASU's
Mkwnanzi said his organisation had also resolved at the weekend to
demonstrate against the escalating lawlessness in Zimbabwe.
Madzore said demonstrations by the party's youth wing would go ahead despite
a resolution by the national executive, the MDC's supreme decision-making
body to shelve planned demos.
"Our patience has run out. We are being killed everyday. We are left with no
option but to resort to popular action," he said.
"We are under pressure from our constituency to do something about this and
there is no way that the youth wing will remain mum while we are being
killed by a partisan police force."
Mkwananzi said recent events in Zimbabwe have been extremely disturbing.
"The government of Zanu (PF) continues to perpetrate the degeneration of law
and order," Mkwananzi said. "This is a deliberate move to create a conducive
environment to unleash a reign of terror under the guise of maintaining law
He said Mugabe held a prayer meeting with church leaders aligned to his
party and no
one stopped him but the regime went out of its way to thwart a similar
meeting going to the extent of brutally beating opposition leaders including
Morgan Tsvangirai the leader of the opposition and later his Spokesperson,
"The beating of innocent civilians is unacceptable," said Mkwananzi. "We
call upon Mugabe and his spent party to uphold the principles of a
democratic society accede to the demands of the people and allow people the
right to freely gather and deliberate on issues critical to their well
being. We call upon the government to desist from preaching the gospel of
violence and begin to work towards a framework that will enable dialogue to
flow in earnest."
Madzore said MDC youths were aggrieved by the aloofness of the South African
government in the face of such barbaric acts across its border.
"We challenge Thabo Mbeki to take an active role in the resolution of the
Zimbabwean crisis," Madzore said. "The World Cup is around the corner and
South Africa cannot afford to have it in the thick of such upheavals in
Mkwananzi said ZINASU understood that the Zimbabwean government has hired
mercenaries from Angola to help augment the Government's efforts to thwart
aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe .
"We wish to warn these invaders that we brook no interference in our
internal affairs," said Mkwananzi. "We believe in the sanctity of our
The youths said they were one hundred percent behind the ZCTU`s proposed
strike for review of wages and salaries.
"We will support all peaceful protests that will ensue," he said. "We
believe the problems currently bedeviling the students are premised on bad
governance, and dictatorship. There is no money to pay lecturers, no
textbooks, no lessons, and unaffordable tuition and accommodation fees. The
students are starving. Efforts to meet and deliberate on students issue have
been met with brute force."
He proceeded: "Such madness can not be tolerated. We urge the youths and the
students of Zimbabwe to remain vigilant as the vanguard of democracy. The
rise and defend their parents and their country. We must rise now and say
enough is enough."
Madzore said the MDC youths were demanding elections under a new
constitution in 2008.
"The youth and the students of Zimbabwe are urged to go out and mobilize
intensively for the 2008 elections," he said. "We must mobilize ourselves,
register to vote and stand ready to defend the ballot."
13.59 Fri Mar 23 2007
A Zimbabwe court has adjourned an extradition case against a British man
after his defence lawyer said he had been tortured by police.
"But it has become clear from this testimony today that CID misled us ...
they did actually torture my client" - defence lawyer Jonathan Samukange
The case involves Simon Mann, a former special forces officer accused of
masterminding a thwarted coup against Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro
Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in 2004.
Harare Magistrate's Court will resume extradition hearings on April 13.
Mann's lawyer Jonathan Samukange has urged the court to turn down an
extradition request from Equatorial Guinea on the grounds it had a record of
torturing political prisoners and conducting unfair trials.
Mr Samukange, who had previously accused Zimbabwean military and
intelligence officers of torturing his client, said the nation's Criminal
Investigations Department (CID) had also assaulted his client in custody.
He made the allegation after questioning the CID detective who had led the
police interrogation of Mann.
"But it has become clear from this testimony today that CID misled us ...
they did actually torture my client," Mr Samukange said.
A senior prosecutor in Zimbabwe's Attorney General's office, asked the court
to look into the fresh torture allegations and requested Mann be brought to
testify when the court reconvenes.
Mann is serving a four-year prison sentence in Zimbabwe after being
convicted in 2004 for trying to buy weapons without a licence in connection
with the coup plan.
He is due for release in May.
Equatorial Guinea Attorney General Jose Olo Obono, who is leading the
extradition bid, described the human rights groups' investigations as "false
political reports" and pledged that Mann would get a fair trial if
Eleven men, including foreigners, are serving sentences ranging from 13 to
34 years in jail in Equatorial Guinea for their involvement in the coup
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 03/24/2007 00:06:11
A PETROL bomb ravaged a police station in Zimbabwe's eastern border town of
Mutare on Friday as political temperatures continue to rise in the
A timber cabin, dockets, police bicycles and other police property were
destroyed as a fire consumed Sakubva police station, police confirmed.
Chief police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said there were no injuries, adding
that police were investigating.
"We are still carrying out investigations in connection with that incident.
We are following some leads," Bvudzijena said.
The attack on the police station follows a spate of similar attacks which
the police have previously blamed on opposition supporters.
Three female police officers suffered serious burns when petrol bombs and
teargas canisters were hurled into their house inside the Marimba Park
police station yard in Harare, and days later the Mkoba police station was
in flames following another attack.
Police said they had identified the Marimba Park bombers, but no arrests
have been made so far. The police are keen to find the source of the teargas
canisters used in the attacks amid fears they may have been smuggled into
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) denies any involvement
in the violence which follows the arrest of its senior leaders in a police
crackdown. The party's two faction leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur
Mutambara, were detained with 48 others after police crushed a planned rally
two weeks ago.
Tsvangirai and several other officials were severely beaten in police
custody and sustained serious injuries.
Police sources told New Zimbabwe.com that a false report of political
violence was lodged with the Sakubva police station resulting in all the
officers except two leaving the station.
A bomb was then planted in the station with a string, several meters long,
attached to it, said the source.
"The string was dipped in paraffin and what the culprits did was to set that
string on fire. The fire traveled all the way to the petrol bomb leading to
its explosion," a police source said.
ABC radio, Australia
This is a transcript from PM. The program is broadcast around Australia at
5:10pm on Radio National and 6:10pm on ABC Local Radio.
PM - Friday, 23 March , 2007 18:46:00
Reporter: Nance Haxton
MARK COLVIN: The Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, has called on
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe to resign immediately.
Last night the Australian embassy in Harare helped former Australian
citizen and opposition activist, Sekai Holland, reach South Africa.
She needed urgent medical treatment after she was savagely beaten by
police at a rally almost two weeks ago.
Unemployment in Zimbabwe is already over 80 per cent, there's
hyper-inflation and ordinary people can't even afford to buy staples.
Mr Downer is also calling on the Australian cricket team to cancel its
tour to Zimbabwe later this year.
He says the government would consider helping financially if the
International Cricket Council were to fine the team for cancelling its
As Nance Haxton reports.
NANCE HAXTON: Prime Minister, John Howard, today described Zimbabwe as
a heap of misery, urging neighbouring African countries to put pressure on
the country's president Robert Mugabe to resign.
Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, backed up that call
ALEAXNDER DOWNER: I think he should resign.
I think anybody who has presided over a country not only abusing the
human rights of that country, but who's policies have led to a decline in
the life expectancy from 61 in 1990 to about 33 or 34 today, who has
presided over 1800 per cent inflation in the last year and has 80 per cent
of the population out of work, no that's somebody who would be best off
NANCE HAXTON: When former Australian resident and opposition activist,
Sekai Holland, tried to fly out of Harare earlier this week after being
beaten by police, she was stopped by security forces and held under armed
Mr Downer says the Australian Government intervened in helping Sekai
Holland to South Africa for medical treatment.
ALEXANDER DOWNER: I'm glad our diplomats have been able to help people
who are good people, who stand up for human rights and for freedom in
NANCE HAXTON: Mrs Holland is now in a Johannesburg hospital being
treated for multiple bone fractures.
The Australian government has given Australia's international aid
agency AusAid $82 000 to assist with the costs of medical care and
counselling for victims of political violence in Zimbabwe.
University of South Australia crisis management expert Associate
Professor, Robert Heath, says the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated
further in recent days because of infighting amongst the ruling party.
ROBERT HEATH: One of the big problems we've got, unless South Africa
or nations within Africa take some strong effort over this, the people
pointing most of the fingers and who are trying to do most of the work, tend
to be what are seen as the white or colonial governments.
NACE HAXTON: Oxfam Australia Policy Director, James Ensor, says its
clear that the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe is deepening, and
the victims of the crisis are the country's ordinary citizens.
JAMES ENSOR: The unemployment rate in now in excess of 80 per cent and
what we're seeing is a period of hyper-inflation, so inflation in Zimbabwe
is going up at a rate of 300 per cent per month, and what that means is that
the basic necessities of life are now becoming unaffordable for ordinary
In fact in our experience ordinary people in many situations are lucky
to be able to afford one meal a day.
NANCE HAXTON: Alexander Downer says the worsening situation in
Zimbabwe means the Australian cricket team must cancel its plans to tour
there later this year.
ALEXANDER DOWNER: My personal view is that it would be, I would prefer
the Australian cricket tour of Zimbabwe was cancelled but to cancel it
involves financial penalties and so we will have to sit down with the
Cricket Australia when they return from the Caribbean hopefully
victoriously, but when they return from the Caribbean and talk to them about
MARK COLVIN: Alexander Downer the Foreign Minister ending Nance
The Herald (Harare)
March 23, 2007
Posted to the web March 23, 2007
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono has warned of the existence
of "stronger forces" on the parallel market that are fuelling the slide of
the Zimbabwe dollar against major currencies.
Investigations and consultations with the academia, the financial sector and
the business community among others, had revealed that the
inflation-consistent exchange rate for the country was well below a tenth of
prevailing "wild" rates of up to $20 000 to the US dollar obtaining on the
This reflected that other mysterious forces calculated to cause dislocations
in the Zimbabwean economy had overtaken economic fundamentals.
"What economic justification is there for us as a nation to propel ourselves
down the cliff through wild parallel market exchange rates that are over 10
times higher than what is rationally justified from economic fundamentals
like inflation differentials?
"Even if today the central bank was to devalue the exchange rate to Z$30
000/US$, in the face of the speculative phantom aiming at non-economic
objectives, tomorrow the parallel market rate would stubbornly persist, and
with it, deepening of the economic crisis," said Dr Gono.
He implored stakeholders to carefully calibrate their expectations in a
manner that saw costs and benefits from a broader, economy-wide point of
view, as opposed to sectoral purviews.
The central bank Governor was, however, quick to point out that within the
context of progress on the social contract formulation, mechanisms should
continue to be sought to address genuine business viability concerns but
this in a manner free of undue profiteering.
Furthermore, the infiltration of politics into every aspect of social and
business existence was of great concern as it affected honest and sincere
"In order to ensure that this process of social dialogue succeeds, it is
imperative that as a principle, stakeholders negotiate and engage in good
faith, free from political inclinations that seek to work at undermining the
ultimate objective of resolving the prevailing economic hardships in the
Friday March 23, 2007
Foreign Office ministers have found space in their diaries to make a
statement on Zimbabwe to MPs, Mr Straw announced.
He said that the oral statement next Monday was "the least" that the
government could do given persistent, cross-party demands for an urgent
debate on the deepening crisis in the country.
The move comes after he told the Commons last week that the diaries of
Foreign Office ministers were too full to accommodate one.