By ANGUS SHAW
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 29, 2007; 3:52 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- Police denied they arrested Zimbabwe's main opposition
leader, but his whereabouts remained unknown Thursday, a day after they
stormed his party's headquarters in a new crackdown on resistance to
President Robert Mugabe.
The raid came shortly before Mugabe left for Tanzania to attend an emergency
meeting of southern African leaders about the crisis in Zimbabwe. A ruling
party spokesman said Mugabe planned to brief the meeting about the arrests
On Wednesday, Morgan Tsvangirai was detained along with other Mugabe
opponents as he prepared to talk to reporters about a wave of political
violence that left him briefly hospitalized, said his aide, Eliphas
He said police sealed off approaches to the Movement for Democratic Change
headquarters and fired tear gas to drive away onlookers before taking
Tsvangirai and the others away in a bus.
"We don't know their whereabouts. We don't know if they have been charged,"
the aide said.
Later Wednesday, an opposition lawyer, Alec Mmuchadehama, said he believed
Tsvangirai had been released. Efforts to contact Tsvangirai or other
opposition party officials were not successful.
The United States said Mugabe was trying to intimidate legitimate political
"We hold President Mugabe responsible for the safety of these Zimbabwean
citizens, and we call on Zimbabwean authorities to investigate these attacks
and punish those responsible," said State Department deputy spokesman Tom
He urged southern African nations to make clear that Mugabe's actions were
unacceptable. He should be called to account, Casey said, for his misrule
"not only over the last few weeks but over the last few years."
The comments echoed statements from the European Union and Human Rights
Police acknowledged the raid on the Movement for Democratic Change and said
10 people were arrested but that Tsvangirai was not among them.
"We never arrested him," police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said on state
television news late Wednesday.
Bvudzijena said 10 other suspected opposition activists were arrested
Tuesday night, including two senior opposition officials whose homes were
searched for weapons. Police found 53 sticks of dynamite and 35 detonators
in the Harare home of one of the officials, Piniel Denga.
Bvudzijena said the dynamite was similar to that used in a gasoline attack
on a train Friday.
"We are not witch-hunting. We are carrying out investigations and they are
very thorough," he said.
Mmuchadehama said the opposition legal team was investigating the reported
arrests but had been denied access to those detained.
State radio said Mugabe left for Tanzania to attend a meeting of the
Southern African Development Community on the political turmoil in Zimbabwe
amid concerns the crisis could threaten regional stability.
Before leaving, Mugabe held a meeting of his politburo, the ruling party's
highest policy-making body, to discuss whether to hold national elections in
2008 or 2010.
Ruling party spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira said Mugabe, who has pushed for a
delay until 2010 that would lengthen his rule, expressed willingness to run
The radio report said the party would go ahead with elections regardless of
whether the opposition takes part. On Tuesday, Tsvangirai said he would
boycott a presidential election scheduled for next year unless it was
carried out under a new democratic constitution that ensures it is free and
Mugabe, 83, is under growing pressure to step down as leader of the country
he has ruled since independence in 1980. Tensions are said to be rising in
his party over his succession, and the opposition blames him for the
country's corruption and acute shortages of food, hard currency and
Tsvangirai, 54, was arrested along with about 50 other people on March 11 as
opposition, church, student and civic groups tried to stage a prayer
meeting. His supporters said police smashed his head against a wall
The European Union said it viewed Wednesday's arrest of Tsvangirai with
"great concern," said Jens Ploetner, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry of
EU president Germany.
"The EU president holds the leadership of Zimbabwe responsible for the
bodily injury to Tsvangirai and calls for him to have immediate access to
legal, and if necessary, medical consultation," Ploetner said.
The international human rights group, Human Rights Watch, called on the
meeting of regional powers to take strong measures to address the escalating
It said in a statement that the Zimbabwean government has permitted security
forces to commit serious abuses with impunity against opposition activists
and ordinary Zimbabweans.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which is linked to the opposition,
has called for a national protest strike in early April, before Zimbabwe's
27th anniversary of independence.
Monsters and Critics
Mar 29, 2007, 7:47 GMT
Harare/Johannesburg - Two petrol tankers have been petrol- bombed in
Zimbabwe's eastern city of Mutare in the latest attack to hit the
crisis-ridden country, reports said Thursday.
In the latest terror bombing, two petrol tankers were bombed along Sanhanga
Road in Mutare on Wednesday, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said.
The Herald said police quickly doused the fire before it spread. There were
no reports of extensive damage. State media accuse the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) of being behind a string of petrol bomb attacks,
but the party denies this.
Police say they have so far recorded nine petrol bomb attacks in the past
Overnight Tuesday they mounted a crackdown in which 35 opposition activists
and party officials including an MP and a member of the party's national
executive committee were rounded up.
Police claimed late on Wednesday that they had discovered explosives and
detonators at the Harare home of one MDC official, Piniel Denga, followig a
There was no immediate response by the MDC to the claim. Zimbabwe has been
gripped by political tension since the March 11 arrest and assault of key
opposition and civil rights activists.
The state-sponsored crackdown against the opposition has provoked renewed
international condemnation of President Robert Mugabe's government.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
March 28 2007 at 10:21PM
Harare - The top-decision making body of Zimbabwe's ruling party has
agreed a presidential election date and its chosen candidate, but will
reveal the details on Friday, a spokesperson said.
Nathan Shamuyarira, a spokesperson for Zanu-PF, told state television
that the party's politburo had "extensively" discussed proposals to have
simultaneous presidential and parliamentary polls.
"The resolution on harmonisation (of elections)... has been discussed,
but we will take the matters to central committee on Friday," he said.
Mugabe, who has ruled the country since 1980, will see his term of
office expire next year, but his party last December proposed extending his
tenure by two more years to 2010.
But the proposals have met with opposition from party elders and
Mugabe also appears to have abandoned the idea, urging his supporters last
week to gear up for elections in 2008.
According to Zimbabwe Television, the troubled southern African
country looks set to hold both the presidential and legislative elections
It said Mugabe had "already indicated that the ruling party favours
holding the elections next year, as consultants have advised that 2008
presents fewer legal problems".
It added: "President Mugabe has indicated his willingness to contest
the election if nominated and already both the Zanu-PF women's league and
youth league have endorsed his candidature."
Opposition and church leaders this week said elections under current
constitution would not be free and fair.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) hinted on Tuesday that he would not take part in the
elections unless a new people-driven constitution was in place.
"If Tsvangirai decided to boycott the elections we will go ahead with
the elections in any case because this is in the constitution," said
Shamuyarira for Zanu on television.
"We are doing what is legal and we are doing what the MDC themselves
were clamouring for." - Sapa-AFP
Published 02 April 2007
Across the continent, liberation movements that fought against colonial rule
proved unable to sustain democratic governance. We cannot keep blaming the
Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF has become the symbol of the descent of African
liberation movements into brutal dictatorship.
The great Tunisian writer Albert Memmi noted this phenomenon back in 1957.
In The Coloniser and the Colonised, he wrote of the tendency of liberation
movements, once in power, to mimic the brutality and callousness of former
rulers. Backsliding liberation movements in Algeria, Angola, Ghana, Kenya,
Namibia and other countries have left in their wake the lost hopes and
shattered dreams of millions.
In the inner sanctum of South Africa's ruling African National Congress they
have coined a word for it: "Zanufication". As Zimbabweans flee across the
border to avoid police brutality or the hardships of an economy in free fall
(inflation at more than 1,700 per cent and shortages of basic foodstuffs),
they whisper it in hushed tones, a warning.
A senior national executive member of the ANC, Blade Nzim ande, warned
recently: "We must study closely what is happening in Zimbabwe, because if
we don't, we may find features in our situation pointing to a similar
Unions, sections within civil society and church groups daily inveigh
against the South African government's head-in-the-sand policy towards
Zimbabwe and President Thabo Mbeki's "quiet" diplomacy. The Congress of
South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has complained to the South African
Broadcasting Corporation, the public broadcaster, over its failure to cover
the Zimbabwean meltdown. Although the ANC in South Africa and Zanu-PF are
light years apart, the spectre of "Zanufication" haunts South Africa,
raising the question: "Is there something inherent in the political culture
of liberation movements that makes it difficult for them to sustain
The irony is that it is the leaders of former heroic liberation movements
who have become stumbling blocks to building a political culture on the
African continent based on good governance. The former South African
president Nelson Mandela and President Thabo Mbeki enthusiastically
proclaimed in 1994 that the end of official apartheid was the dawn of a new
era. Yet many liberation movement leaders - Mugabe is a good example - still
blame colonialism for the mismanagement and corruption on their watch.
Obviously, the legacy of slavery and colonialism, and now unequal
globalisation, are barriers to development. However, to blame the west for
Zimbabwe's recent problems is not reasonable. Yet the diplomacy of South
Africa, from which most African countries take their cue, is based on this
assumption. Initially ANC leaders also bought in to this, but thankfully, on
Zimbabwe, Mbeki is increasingly isolated. True to his contrarian and
stubborn nature, he still argues that because Zimbabwe was given a raw deal
by the British, Mugabe's regime should not be criticised publicly. In terms
of land, for example, black Zimbabweans did indeed receive a raw deal, yet
that is not the whole story. The Zim babwean government was idle for at
least a decade; when it finally implemented a land reform programme, this
consisted of giving fertile land to cronies who subsequently left the land
The story is similar elsewhere on the continent. As African liberation
movements came to power, their supporters were keen to overlook
shortcomings. The feeling was that a new, popularly elected democratic
government needed to be given an extended chance. Liberation movements were
seen as the embodiment of the nation as a whole.
In South Africa, criticism of the ANC by supporters has always been muted.
"You cannot criticise yourself," an ANC veteran once admonished me. There
has also been a fear that criticising the government gives ammunition to
powerful opponents. When a top ANC leader, Chris Nissen, broke rank and
publicly criticised a party official's errant behaviour, he was warned: "Do
not wash the family's dirty linen in public."
As a journalist - active in the liberation struggle - I, too, gave in to
this principle in the heady days after South Africa's first non-racial
democratic elections in 1994: "Let's not criticise too much; let's give the
new government a fighting chance." But that was a grave mistake. All
governments must be kept on their toes. The problem for most liberation
movements is how to establish a democratic culture.
During a liberation struggle, decision-making is necessarily left in the
hands of a few. Dissent and criticisms are not allowed lest they expose
divisions within the movement, which could be exploited by the colonial
enemy. But if non-criticism continues during the first crucial years of
power, it becomes entrenched, part of a political culture. In the early
liberation years, governments often operate as if under siege. Critics are
marginalised, making later criticism almost impossible.
Take, for example, the South African government's initial inaction on the
Aids pandemic. Mbeki embarked on a fatal policy of denial. Many ANC
supporters knew he was wrong but kept quiet, in case they were seen as
supporting western governments or big pharmaceutical companies bent on
perpetuating Africa's underdevelopment. Many activists preferred to reserve
their misgivings about government policy, rather than be placed in the camp
of the "neo-colonialists".
In Zimbabwe, Mugabe brutally quashed rebellions in the 1980s, killing
thousands in the Matabeleland region. No regional liberation movement said
anything about it. The silence of Zanu-PF critics laid the foundations for
his reign of terror.
In many African countries - with South Africa the exception - the state is
virtually the only employer after liberation. Patronage can be used to
reward or sideline critics.
The cold war, during which many African governments started their life,
reinforced the siege mentality of "them against us" among African liberation
movements. Mugabe continues to blame imperialism. So, when the UK or
Australia attacks Zimbabwe, African neighbours will fall silent: they don't
want to be seen supporting their former masters.
Similarly, Mbeki's silence on Zimbabwe is partly because he does not want to
be associated with the "colonial" powers. South Africa's first strong
political statement on Zimbabwe during the current crisis, by the deputy
foreign affairs minister Aziz Pahad, one of Mbeki's closest personal
friends, was to attack the South African media for giving too much attention
to the western perspective on Zimbabwe. This was after Tony Blair had called
for sanctions against Zimbabwe and Austra lian leaders had bemoaned South
Blair's criticism had the effect of silencing Zanu-PF's opponents in the
country. About to launch a final assault against Mugabe, they felt they had
to soft-pedal so that the president could not paint them as stooges of the
west. One of the main problems of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) has been to fight off propaganda coming from Mugabe and the
media that they are fronts for the west.
That is why it is so important for Mbeki to stand up and publicly condemn
Zanu-PF. It would make it far harder to see the conflict in Zimbabwe through
the distorting "Africa v the west" prism. Mbeki should follow the lead of
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and state clearly that Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe
represents the worst backsliding of African liberation movements.
There is also a problem with the cult of the leader. Members of liberation
movements defer too readily to leaders and many African countries famously
retained colonial-era "insult laws" by which criticism of the president
(which, in Zimbabwe, includes poking fun at him) can attract a lengthy jail
sentence. Thus leaders can remain in power for decades and die in office if
they are not violently pushed out of power. That is why Mandela felt it
important to leave after only one term. That is also why the grass-roots
democracy movements mushrooming on the African continent invariably demand
that presidents limit their terms in office.
The anti-colonial struggle was often violent, and few liberation movements
have attempted to restore a culture of non-violence. Thus it is no surprise
that Mugabe finds it easy to use violence against his people: the colonial
state apparatus was attuned to that purpose. Once violence is used, it is
used again. Even the idea of an opposition - internal or external - is a
difficult concept for many. Mugabe's Zanu coerced the Patriotic Front (PF),
the other major liberation movement in Zimbabwe, to merge with it in the
1980s, hence the name Zanu-PF. This eliminated a possible opposition force.
The resurgence of an opposition is due partly to a generational change in
the country's politics. Many of the MDC's supporters are young and have
experienced Zanu-PF mainly as a party in government that exploits its
people. They are not impressed by past liberation credentials.
The articulate MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa is not yet 30 years old. In
South Africa, it is young activists in the Treatment Action Campaign and
their leader Zackie Achmat who have been responsible for forcing the
government to adopt more responsible Aids policies. Zwelinzima Vavi, leader
of Cosatu, says: "We are not prepared to be merely 'yes-leader' workers'
The sad truth, however, is that waiting for another generation before there
can be real change is costly, even deadly, for ordinary Africans, not least
William Gumede is a former deputy editor of the Sowetan newspaper. His book,
"Thabo Mbeki and the Battle for the Soul of the ANC" will be republished by
Zed later this year
Zimbabwe: The nation by numbers
Research by Sarah O'Connor
100,000 people gathered to watch Bob Marley perform on independence day, 18
20% real growth of economy in first year of independence
20,000 numbers killed during Mugabe's crackdown on Matabeleland in the 1980s
70% of farmland still owned by white farmers in 2000, 20 years after
1 million dead people on the Zimbabwean electoral role in 2002
18% proportion of population made homeless by "Operation Murambatsvina" slum
clearances, starting 2005
56% of population earn less than $1 a day
52 years since average income was as low as today
Published 02 April 2007
Despite years of fine reporting and many furious editorials, the bloodshed
continues in Darfur and Mugabe hangs on in Zimbabwe.
Sixth-formers who apply to study journalism at university often explain
their interest by referring to the power of the news media, saying something
like: "Journalism shapes the world in which we live." It is a sort of
commonplace in an age when ministers live and die by headlines, and no doubt
there is truth in it, in the philosophical sense that journalists have a
role in defining perceptions of the world, but it always jars with me. That
is just not my experience.
In day-to-day terms, much of the job is a desperate struggle to interest the
readers and give them what they want for their money - not an endeavour that
leaves you with an overwhelming feeling of power. And when it comes to the
things that really matter, I suspect that most journalists are conscious of
how little difference they make, rather than how much.
Darfur is a case in point. How many times have you read that 200,000 people
have been killed and two million more displaced in a vicious campaign,
backed by the Khartoum government, against the people of western Sudan?
Every time you have read it, some journalist has had to write it, struggling
to find a new way to communicate the horror behind a message growing staler
by the month. And whether those journalists were reporting from the field or
sitting at desks in London, they were probably hoping, however faintly, that
this time something would change.
No paper has tried harder than the Independent, which carries about twice as
many articles about Darfur as any of its rivals, and publishes an editorial
on the subject roughly once a month. Last weekend, it even had an exclusive
in an open letter from leading European writers (Stoppard, Grass, Heaney, Fo
. . .) to EU leaders, reproaching them for celebrating 50 years of the
European idea while massacres continued in Sudan. "The Europe which allowed
Auschwitz and failed in Bosnia must not tolerate the murder in Darfur," they
The Independent's next edition was able to report that the letter had forced
the matter on to the EU summit agenda and that, as demanded by the writers,
stronger sanctions against the Sudanese government were on the table.
It was a stunt - a classy one, but a stunt all the same. NGOs and
campaigners are always trying to dream up new ways of getting the press to
take up Darfur again, and you will have noticed some of them. Yet, in nearly
four years, nothing, not the stunts, not the editorials, not the eyewitness
reports, has stopped the killing.
Would it make a difference if it was the mighty Daily Mail and not the
Independent that was leading the way? The Mail, as it happens, pays little
attention to Darfur, but it has not been ignoring another African horror
story: Zimbabwe. Indeed, for years it has been most energetic in covering
the outrages of the Mugabe regime.
Why the paper should be more concerned about Zimbabwe than Darfur is
interesting, but a matter for another day; my point here is that it has made
no difference. And if the Daily Mail's best efforts have not troubled
Mugabe, or even obliged the Foreign Office to take a harder line, then I
would say there is no reason to believe that any British journalist can make
a real difference to Darfur.
Perhaps you are now reflecting that changing things isn't the job of
journalists anyway: it is the business of voters and politicians. And this,
of course, is true. What journalists are supposed to do is deliver the news,
with some interpretation or commentary where appropriate. However, when the
news you bring is 200,000 dead and two million homeless, and when after you
have reported it the killing just goes on, it becomes even harder to swallow
the idea that journalism shapes our world.
Horrible, but not atrocious
Half a century ago, an American cartoon about press values showed a newsroom
full of people in a state of joyous excitement, and at its centre a figure
in an eye-shade holding a telephone to his ear as he performed a gleeful
jig. The caption beneath read: "The editor of a yellow-press newspaper
receives news of a horrible murder committed in the most atrocious of
I'm sure no one cheered when word came that Bob Woolmer had been strangled,
but there was no mistaking the surge of energy it sent through a bunch of
papers that had been sagging under the weight of their dreary Budget
As the Sunday Times pointed out, though, most of what we read in the first
frenzy of reporting seems not to have been correct: police said there was no
sign Woolmer was about to expose a match-fixing ring and there had been no
row with players, nor was there evidence of a wild struggle, or of poison,
and nor were the walls of Woolmer's room spattered with blood, vomit and
faeces (though "traces" were found). The murder was horrible all right, but
it appears the circumstances were not that atrocious.
Brian Cathcart is professor of journalism at Kingston University
29 March 2007
DUMISANI Kumalo, SA's ambassador to the United Nations (UN), is actually
right. The situation in Zimbabwe is not a threat to international peace and
What President Robert Mugabe is doing to his country is ruinous but it does
not threaten peace beyond his borders. Nor is there much prospect that
Mugabe's opponents will set up bases in neighbouring states and launch a
guerrilla war against him. So there is little chance of a future threat to
security in southern Africa, let alone internationally.
Kumalo then is right on the technicalities. But the alternative he proposed,
referring Zimbabwe to the UN's Human Rights Council, is simply feeble, given
that this body has shown itself, with SA's help, to be as selectively blind
to human rights violations as was its predecessor, the Human Rights
Commission (where we previously voted to shield Mugabe from criticism).
SA's policy of "quiet diplomacy" has plainly failed. Economic sanctions are
likely to do more harm to Mugabe's victims than to him. Less harmful to the
people of Zimbabwe would be to turn Mugabe and his key supporters into
pariahs across the continent, an option which even at this late stage is
still open, though unfortunately no more likely than economic sanctions. In
practice, Africa's policy towards Zimbabwe is to wait for Mugabe to die.
Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad repeatedly says that condemnation will
not help the situation in Zimbabwe. Yet mobilising world opinion against the
apartheid government was a key strategy of the African National Congress
(ANC) until it took power in 1994. It gave hope to the oppressed, undermined
the self-confidence of the oppressors, and weakened the National Party when
negotiations finally got under way after Nelson Mandela's release in 1990.
The real indictment of SA, however, is not that it has failed to condemn
Mugabe but that it has all along encouraged him. It did so right from the
start of his campaign of destruction seven years ago. In 2000, we declared
his first rigged election to be free and fair. In 2001, when he threw out a
journalist we accepted his claim that this was not a threat to the press.
When he threatened the bench we said this did not jeopardise the rule of
Along with other members of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), we denied that there were any human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
We endorsed Mugabe's attempts to make the British the scapegoats for his
land seizures. Several ministers said SA could learn from his land "reforms"
(something we no longer say).
We denigrated the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai. In 2002, we endorsed a second violence-ridden election.
We tried in 2003 to have Zimbabwe reinstated in the Commonwealth after it
had been suspended.
In 2005, for the third time, we endorsed a fraudulent election. Only 18
months ago we sent air force jets to join Zimbabwe air force's 25th birthday
celebrations. And we sold Mugabe spares for military helicopters.
These were all statements or acts of government - aptly symbolised in
photographs of Mugabe and Mbeki holding hands and laughing together.
In addition, the ANC has continued to hail Mugabe's Zanu (PF) as a sister
party, and sent a solidarity delegate to one of its congresses. It also
greeted Mugabe as a conquering hero when he appeared at Mbeki's inauguration
as president in 2004.
Mugabe's use of violence to destroy democracy, the economy, human rights,
the rule of law and political opposition has in practice been publicly
encouraged by both the South African government and the ANC.
The question is: why?
The usual answer is that there is an unwritten rule that one liberation
movement does not criticise another. But there is a more worrying
possibility. This is that our government and ruling party share with Mugabe
a belief that liberation movements have a perpetual right to rule. Mugabe
intensified his crusade against democracy only when there were clear signs
that his people were turning against him and he faced the prospect of defeat
at the polls.
Our government, in other words, does not wish to be hypocritical and condemn
Mugabe when in its heart of hearts it endorses his desire to stay in power
at all costs.
The implication is that democracy in SA is safe only for as long as it works
for the ANC.
Kane-Berman is the CE of the South African Institute of Race Relations.
Business Day (Johannesburg)
March 29, 2007
Posted to the web March 29, 2007
Government has been stung into making its strongest condemnation yet of the
violent detentions and arrests in Zimbabwe, but has insisted that its policy
of quiet diplomacy and the promotion of dialogue is the right course of
The statement, in a snap debate in the National Assembly yesterday, came as
President Robert Mugabe cracked down again on opposition leaders, with the
Movement for Democratic Change's Morgan Tsvangirai being detained briefly by
It also came ahead of today's extraordinary summit of Southern African
Development Community leaders in Tanzania to discuss Zimbabwe and the
Democratic Republic of Congo.
President Thabo Mbeki has cancelled all domestic appointments to attend the
meeting, which Mugabe will also attend.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sue van der Merwe, who stated government's position
in a rowdy debate, was often interrupted by opposition MPs who called for
Mugabe to be ousted.
"The latest political developments in Zimbabwe, including the arrests,
detention and assaults on senior opposition leaders, are a major cause for
"The South African government wishes to stress its concern, disappointment
and disapproval of the measures undertaken by the security forces in dealing
with the political protests," Van der Merwe said.
She reiterated that government had maintained contact with all sides of the
political spectrum in Zimbabwe to promote the dialogue needed to begin
finding a solution to the crisis.
"We are constantly made aware of messages regarding Zimbabwe that come from
regional groups such as the European Union, and other countries. The
difference between their position and ours relates to geography. We, as
neighbours, will carry the consequences of anything that happens in
Opposition MPs were not convinced. Inkatha Freedom Party MP Albert Mncwango
said Mugabe was a hideous and destructive dictator who had to go.
Democratic Alliance chief whip Douglas Gibson said SA needed to apply
pressure to "make it clear publicly that SA is appalled at the mess that is
Zimbabwe and wants it resolved".
"We need to apply smart sanctions against President Mugabe, his wife and
cabinet, so that SA is no longer their place for luxury shopping. The SADC
must also apply smart sanctions. These target the guilty and not the poor."
The First Post
President Mugabe is establishing a reserve army to back up
his regular force. The Government Gazette announced this week: "There is
hereby established a reserve force of the army to be known as the War
Recruitment is open to any man officially registered as a
war veteran, and all would-be recruits have been told to report to their
district army headquarters tomorrow. If accepted they will be armed, clothed
and equipped as normal soldiers - and they'll benefit from army travel and
Those over 50 will be given light and administrative work.
Those under 50 will be expected to undertake the normal duties of a soldier.
First response has been anger from Zimbabweans who know
that any increase in armed military personnel means a corresponding increase
violent crime. Soldiers either commit robberies and car-jackings themselves
their weapons to criminals.
Yesterday's arrest of the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
illustrated how much Mugabe relies on the army to back police in his current
crackdown on opposition activists. Troops were used to surround the MDC
The new force is seen as a sign that, despite renewed pressure
from within his ruling Zanu-PF party and from other African nations, Mugabe
has no intention of relinquishing control.
Today Mugabe is in Tanzania for the meeting of African heads of
state, where South Africa's Thabo Mbeki is expected for the first time to
urge him to quit - or at least to meet and talk with his Zimbabwean
opposition. Mugabe is likely to tell Mbeki - to use his favourite phrase -
to 'go hang'.
When he returns to Harare, he faces a divided meeting of his
party's central committee. One faction, led by ex-army commander Solomon
Mujuru, is opposing Mugabe's candidature in next year's presidential
election. The other, the old guard which includes party secretary Didymus
Mutasa, will insist that Mugabe remains leader of the party, and therefore
must represent the party in the election.
There have been rumours that Solomon Mujuru and his wife Joyce,
the vice-president, have held secret meetings with foreign envoys to discuss
a post-Mugabe future.
However, the general opinion here is that it's still too early
to write Mugabe off. He's expected to tough it out, backed by his army, his
secret police - and, from tomorrow, his new War Veterans Reserve.