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Morgan Tsvangirai returns to Zimbabwe

The Telegraph
Zimbabwe’s opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has returned to Zimbabwe after six weeks’ absence despite fears of an assassination plot against him and accused Robert Mugabe of seeking to "decimate" opposition structures before the June 27 election.
Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Tsvangirai arrives at the Harare International airport
Morgan Tsvangirai arrives at the Harare International airport

Mr Tsvangirai arrived at Harare airport aboard a regular South African Airways flight from Johannesburg around 1030 GMT after cancelling his homecoming a week ago when his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said it had learnt he was the target of a military intelligence assassination plot. The government dismissed the plot as a propaganda stunt.

Mr Tsvangirai, smiling and looking relaxed, left the airport in a convoy of cars to visit hospitals where victims of recent police and militia brutality had been taken.

He later told a press conference that President Mugabe was seeking to destroy the MDC leadership ahead of next month’s elections. He also said that beating people was not going to win him extra votes

A small party of MDC officials and Western diplomats, including US ambassador James McGee, were at Harare airport to welcome Mr Tsvangirai who has been travelling abroad since April 8 on a diplomatic drive to pressure Mr Mugabe into surrendering power following the March 29 presidential poll which he says he won outright.

Mr Tsvangirai said he left Zimbabwe April 8 to present regional leaders with information that Mugabe’s military planned attacks on the opposition.

He said then that he expected to be away only a few weeks, but instead embarked on an international tour designed to rally support for democracy in Zimbabwe.

"I’m sure that we have managed to ensure an African consensus about the crisis in Zimbabwe," he said, adding it was now time to turn his attention to rallying his supporters in Zimbabwe.

Mr Tsvangirai’s party says more than 30 of its supporters and activists have been killed since the first round of voting, and that attacks are increasingly targeting its top leaders.


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Tsvangirai rejects national unity gov't, vows to defeat Mugabe

Yahoo News

Sat May 24, 9:08 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai rejected the
idea of a national unity government Saturday and vowed to defeat veteran
President Robert Mugabe in an upcoming presidential run-off poll.

"There is no government of national unity on the table," he told reporters
at his first press conference since arriving back in Harare after six weeks

"There has been so much speculation but I don't see how that (a government
of national unity) is going to be implemented."

On defeating Mugabe in the June 27 run-off, he said: "As sure as the sun
rises in the east and sets in the west, Mugabe will not win in the second

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Tsvangirai: It’s good to be back

Story Highlights
# Tsvangirai has arrived in Zimbabwe
# Police stand by as he passes
# Rejects Government of national Unity

Majority leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in Harare on Saturday to begin campaigning ahead of a presidential run-off election scheduled for next month.

“It’s good to be back,” he told reporters as he walked through the airport.

Tsvangirai arrived at Harare airport aboard a regular South African Airways flight around 1030 GMT.

Police stood by as a convoy carrying the Movement for Democratic Change leader left the airport flanked by his security detail.

Mr Tsvangirai’s scheduled return last weekend was delayed amid allegations the army planned to assassinate him.

The ruling party rejected the MDC claims as a fantasy.

The presidential election run-off is scheduled to take place on 27 June despite warnings that election violence makes a fair second round impossible.

Opposition and human rights groups have said hundreds of opposition supporters have been beaten up and at least 40 killed since the first round on 29 March.

Morgan Tsvangirai rejected the idea of a national unity government Saturday and vowed to defeat veteran President Robert Mugabe in an upcoming presidential run-off poll.

“There is no government of national unity on the table,” he told reporters at his first press conference since arriving back in Harare after six weeks abroad.

“There has been so much speculation but I don’t see how that (a government of national unity) is going to be implemented.”

On th  June 27 run-off, he said: “As sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Mugabe will not win in the second round.”

*Update contains report on Press Briefing at Harvest House

Contact the writer of this story, Roy Chinamano at :

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Tsvangirai 'confident of victory'

17:27 GMT, Saturday, 24 May 2008 18:27 UK
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai meets injured supporters after arriving in Harare
Hospitals are said to be struggling to cope with the injured

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said he will win Zimbabwe's 27 June run-off presidential poll, as he returned to Harare after weeks abroad.

The Movement for Democratic Change leader accused the ruling Zanu-PF party of seeking to "decimate" opposition structures ahead of the vote.

His first engagement was to visit supporters hurt in political violence.

Mr Tsvangirai's return was delayed amid an alleged army plot to kill him, which the ruling party said was "fantasy".

Polls on 29 March saw the country's veteran leader, Robert Mugabe, lose his parliamentary majority for the first time in two decades in power.

The MDC leader says he gained the more than 50% of the presidential vote needed to win without a run-off, but official results - released after long delays - said he gained 47.9%, with Mr Mugabe taking 43.2%.

Mr Tsvangirai said the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) would meet on Tuesday to discuss the possible deployment of peacekeepers and election monitors, amid fears that a Zanu-PF campaign of intimidation is making a fair second round impossible.

He said they would be of little use if not in place by 1 June.

He said he had been impressed by the supporters he met in hospital, and that he would win the run-off election.

"I saw people with scars and bruises. They said 'president, we will finish him off on June 27'."

"If Mugabe thinks he has beaten people into submission, then he will have a rude shock on the 27 of June," he said.

Police assault

Mr Tsvangirai also said the recent deaths of more than 40 people - many of them Zimbabwean - in anti-immigrant violence in South Africa could be "directly attributed" to "Mugabe's failed policies of intolerance and repression".

There are believed to be between three and five million foreigners living in South Africa, most of them Zimbabweans fleeing poverty and violence at home.

Correspondents say Mr Tsvangirai has been criticised for spending the last seven weeks abroad while hundreds of his supporters have been beaten up and at least 40 killed, according to human rights and opposition groups.

Hospitals have been struggling to cope with admissions, the BBC's Peter Biles in Johannesburg says, as a result of what is widely perceived to be a government campaign of intimidation against MDC supporters.

29 March: Elections mean Zanu-PF party loses majority for the first time since independence in 1980
19 April: Election officials begin recounting votes cast in the disputed polls
3 May: Official results of presidential election show Morgan Tsvangirai won but fell short of the 50% needed to win completely.
17 May: MDC alleges military plot to assassinate Morgan Tsvangirai
24 May: Morgan Tsvangirai returns to Zimbabwe
27 June: Scheduled presidential election run-off

President Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party denies supporting violence and says the West is trying to demonise Zimbabwe.

Last year, Mr Tsvangirai was treated in hospital after being assaulted by police. He has also been arrested several times and accused of treason.

Mr Mugabe has accused the MDC of fomenting violence since the disputed first round election.

The BBC's Will Ross in Johannesburg says voting in the first round was fairly free and fair by Zimbabwean standards.

But, he says, it is not clear whether Robert Mugabe will risk allowing the second round to be free and fair, because that could see him being trounced as Zimbabwe's worsening economic situation is turning voters against him.

Mr Tsvangirai has spent nearly two months abroad, mainly in South Africa, trying to drum up international support.

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Mugabe aims to decimate Zimbabwe opposn, says Tsvangirai


Sat 24 May 2008, 12:28 GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai returned to Zimbabwe
on Saturday for an election run-off with President Robert Mugabe and said
the veteran leader wanted to "decimate" MDC structures.

Tsvangirai arrived at Harare airport aboard a regular South African Airways
flight around 1030 GMT after cancelling his homecoming a week ago after his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it had learnt he was the target of
a military intelligence assassination plot.

The government dismissed the plot as a propaganda stunt.

Tsvangirai said at a news conference that Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF
party had launched a concerted campaign against the MDC, which has seen 42
people killed and tens of thousands displaced.

"ZANU-PF wants to decimate MDC structures," Tsvangirai said, adding that
many opposition officials were in hiding.

He said he was confident of victory, although conditions are not conducive
for a free and fair election and ZANU-PF was trying to destroy his MDC
before the run-off.

"The conditions on the ground for a run-off are not perfect, and will never
be perfect. But we are saying with the support of SADC (Southern African
Development Community), putting in election observers and peacekeepers, we
can instil confidence in the people of Zimbabwe".

Tsvangirai has been travelling abroad since April 8 on a diplomatic drive to
pressure Mugabe to surrender power following a March 29 presidential poll,
which he says he won outright.

But Zimbabwe's electoral commission says he did not get enough votes for a
straight victory and must face Mugabe in a June 27 run-off.


Tsvangirai said the regional SADC will hold a meeting on the run-off vote
next Tuesday at which sending regional peacekeepers to Zimbabwe will be

"But I told them that by the 1st of June they should put these people on the
ground otherwise we don't need them. You can't have peacekeepers and
observers two weeks before an election because they will not be of any
benefit. What we want is a complete demilitarisation of the situation," he

SADC, which is due to monitor the run-off, said earlier this month that
conditions were neither safe nor fair yet for a fresh vote.

Zimbabweans hope the run-off will start recovery from an economic collapse
that has brought 165,000 percent inflation, 80 percent unemployment, chronic
food and fuel shortages and has sent millions fleeing to nearby countries.

The MDC has vowed to "bury" Mugabe in the run-off, ending his uninterrupted
rule since independence from Britain in 1980.

But the 84-year-old veteran leader has also vowed that he will win the June
27 poll because his ZANU-PF could not afford to lose power to an opposition
backed by "white imperialists."

Mugabe says the MDC enjoys the backing of Western powers out to oust him
over his seizure of white-owned farms to give to landless blacks. The MDC
denies the charge.

Mugabe's party lost control of parliament on March 29 for the first time
since it came to power, and the opposition says the former guerrilla leader
can only win the June 27 re-run through violence and vote rigging.

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Zimbabwe opposition calls for monitors, peacekeepers by June 1

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Date: 24 May 2008

HARARE, May 24, 2008 (AFP) - Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
called Saturday for peacekeepers and election monitors from the 14-member
regional body SADC to be deployed in Zimbabwe by the end of May.

Tsvangirai is to face veteran President Robert Mugabe in a run-off election
on June 27 and has asked the South African Development Community (SADC) to
assist in organising a free and fair election.

"I have discussed with the chairman of SADC as far as monitors and other
peacekeepers," he told a press conference

"I am hoping that on Tuesday when they meet they will be able to concretise
but I told them by the 1st of June you should put these people on the ground
otherwise we don't need them.

"You can't have peacekeepers and observers two weeks before an election they
will not be of any benefit," he added.

No Western monitors were allowed to oversee the first ballot and teams from
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU)
were widely criticised for giving it a largely clean bill of health.

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Robert Mugabe flew to Far East for secret tests for prostate cancer

The Sunday Times
May 25, 2008

Douglas Marle
ROBERT MUGABE flew to the Far East last week for the kind of medical
treatment no longer available in his run-down hospitals in Zimbabwe, leaving
loyalists in the ruling party to wonder who was really in charge with just a
month to go before a run-off in the country’s presidential election.

Sources close to the government said the 84-year-old president travelled to
Singapore on Wednesday to undergo tests for prostate cancer. He was due to
return home today.

Yesterday the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, also returned to Harare,
the capital, with the aim of defeating Mugabe in the election on June 27.
Tsvangirai had planned to arrive last weekend but pulled out after his party
announced he was on an army hit list.

For Mugabe – who has been in power for 28 years but faces a fight for his
political life after losing the first round to Tsvangirai in March – to
leave last week suggested the visit was urgent. He is thought to have had
cancer for some time; observers said the trip might indicate a deterioration
in his condition.

Sources close to the government said the tests were being conducted by a top
Malaysian urologist who was also known to have provided “certain financial
services” for Mugabe.

In recent years the Far East has become a favourite destination of the
president and his much younger wife, Grace, who are banned from Europe and
America. Most of their assets were transferred to the region after western
sanctions were imposed. Family members continue to be educated there and
Mugabe has a close relationship with Mahathir Mohamad, the former Malaysian
prime minister.

The man who has increasingly taken charge of security in Zimbabwe is
Emmerson Mnangagwa, head of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), who was
widely associated with a massacre of 20,000 Ndebele tribesmen in the 1980s.

Mnangagwa, whose reputed brutality earned him the nickname “the Crocodile”,
made his way to power by becoming indispensable to Mugabe. He and his
tightknit group of top military and security officials in the JOC are
directing the current violent course of events.

They are running Mugabe’s campaign and masterminding the violence being
unleashed against Tsvangirai’s supporters.

Tsvangirai’s arrival at Harare airport signalled his determination to
contest the run-off despite concerns that it will be rigged. “I feel quite
safe,” he said as he left South Africa, where he had spent much of the past
weeks lobbying regional leaders.

Police were out in force along the road into the city. The 56-year-old
opposition leader has survived three assassination attempts and was taken to
hospital last year after a brutal police assault at a prayer rally.

Back in Zimbabwe, he first visited victims of the violence in hospital and
then attacked Mugabe, saying the president wanted to destroy opposition
structures before the run-off. He rejected any idea of a government of
national unity.

The violence has grown worse by the day. Last week there were reports of
villagers in opposition areas having their hands crushed in wooden bowls
used for pounding maize so that they cannot vote. At least 48 people have
been killed and hundreds injured since Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party lost the

Hospitals are inundated by the victims of violence and there are shortages
of basic medical materials. “We have come across injured women in hospital
who have no idea who is taking care of their babies and children,” a
hospital worker said.

Mnangagwa and his prime organisers – General Constantine Chiwenga, the
commander of the Zimbabwe defence force, and police commissioner Augustine
Chihuri – are leaving little to chance. They are said to be even more afraid
than Mugabe of the consequences of the president’s loss of power. They might
well face trial, whereas Mugabe could be granted immunity.

A highly structured organisation involving the army, air force and prison
services, as well as officers of the feared Central Intelligence
Organisation, has been put in place to campaign against Tsvangirai’s
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to enforce support for Mugabe and to
intimidate the rural electorate who deserted him in the first round.

With nearly 50 known murders of MDC activists, hundreds of beatings and
thousands displaced from their homes, some Zanu-PF officials are wondering
whether the whole enterprise might not be counterproductive when polling day

Undeterred, Mnangagwa and his henchmen pressed on last week, dismantling a
network of local agents from the Zimbabwe electoral commission and
recruiting trusted military figures to replace them on polling day.

Bankrolling their entire operation was Gideon Gono, governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe. At the same time, he cannily let it be known in Harare
that he had warned Mugabe at the outset about the cost of a run-off,
estimated at US$60m.

He also warned that a run-off could further destroy national unity and that
Mugabe would probably lose again.

Even if the “securocrats” manage to beat and rig their way toa Mugabe
victory, how long will their politically weakened and sick candidate be able
to hang on in office; and who will take charge when he goes?

One man thinks he has the answer: Mnangagwa. One report last week said he
had developed a “vice-like grip” on government. It was an apt description
for “the Crocodile”.

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Punishing Dissent, Silencing Citizens : SPT Report


Report Cover: Punishing Dissent, Silencing Citizens

The latest report produced by Solidarity Peace Trust is titled ‘Punishing Dissent, Silencing Citizens’ and can be downloaded in either pdf or msword format from their website here. The Executive Summary is reproduced below.

Executive Summary

The 2008 Harmonised Election in Zimbabwe was arguably the most historic of the post-independence elections, as for the first time in the last 28 years the ruling party lost its parliamentary majority and the President lost the first round of the Presidential election. This result represented the culmination of a decade of political and civic opposition to a former liberation party whose legitimacy has been greatly eroded by nearly three decades of intolerant rule. At a national level it is a clear message that despite the extremely harsh and repressive political environment in which elections have been conducted in Zimbabwe, the people of the country found the “resources of hope” required to say no to continued authoritarian rule. For the former liberation movements in the region this is also a message of the capacity of once venerated liberation parties to degenerate into unpopular cleptocracies. However it is the violence that has been unleashed by the Mugabe regime on Zimbabwean citizens that has demonstrated the hollowness of Mugabe’s anti-colonial message, with the real targets of his party’s onslaught being the impoverished and battered citizens of the country. The conduct of ZANU PF since the March 29th elections has encapsulated the degeneracy of the Mugabe legacy, and the security threat that this regime now poses to Zimbabweans and the region. The report that follows is a narrative of hope, thwarted by a leader and political party who view the source of their legitimacy not as the electoral process, but the combination of a selective imposition of a liberation legacy and the brutal deployment of political compliance.

The election took place within the context of the SADC mediation process led by South African President Thabo Mbeki, which provided limited electoral reforms and engendered a more free and fair electoral environment. The mediation’s intention was to get political parties in Zimbabwe to agree on processes that would lead to a generally acceptable election. However, the mediation ended in early 2008 with key issues, such as a new constitution, undecided and the unilateral decision by President Mugabe to set the date for the election on March 29th 2008. Nevertheless one of the electoral reforms agree on in the mediation process, namely the requirement to post all election results outside polling stations in the presence of candidates and election agents, was to provide the opposition with a key mechanism to track election results.

After over a month of delay before the release of the election results the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) finally announced that the combined MDC won a majority of 109 seats in Parliament against ZANU PF’s 97 seats, thus defeating the ruling party’s majority in the House of Assembly for the first time in the post-independence period. The more controversial Presidential count gave 47.9% of the vote to Morgan Tsvangirai, 43.2% to Mugabe, 8.3% to Makoni and 0.6% to Langton Towungana. However the less than 50% plus one victory for Morgan Tsvangirai means that there will have to be a re-run of the Presidential election. This will take place on the 26th June 2008.

After the enormous controversy surrounding the delay and the final count of the election the most shocking development of this election has been the state-sponsored brutality that followed the ZANU PF parliamentary and first round Presidential defeat. As the report makes clear the violence that has been inflicted on the Zimbabwean citizenry was carefully planned by a combination of army, police and CIO officials at a meeting in Nkayi in mid April. This followed the threat of violence made by both Mugabe and the security chiefs in the pre-election period, threatening retribution against the people of Zimbabwe in the event of a ZANU PF electoral loss. In the words of the brigadier at the Nkayi meeting, “if we lose through the ballot we will go back to the bush.”

The Report makes it clear that ZANU PF has embarked on a systematic programme of retributive violence in response to its electoral defeat. The major features of this violence are:

  • Key polling agents and election observers have beaten, threatened and/or displaced.
  • There have been 22 confirmed deaths since 1st April and there are increasing numbers of reports of well known activists being abducted.
  • The Joint Operational Command (JOC) composed of representatives from the army, the police, the CIO and the prison service have been implicated in 56% of the post election violations, with the perpetrators acting on the assumption of total Immunity. The police are under instructions not to arrest perpetrators, even when they file cases and victims know their assailants as they often do.
  • Although there have been shootings, most of the deaths and injuries involve simple beatings and other forms of torture committed with ordinary objects such as sticks, fan belts, chains, burning plastic bags, rocks and logs.
  • While no violation reported to us was attributed to the MDC it is nonetheless clear that there have been cases of defensive responses on the part of the MDC in the wake of the current violence.
  • In several constituencies in Mashonaland, the winning ZANU PF MPs have been shockingly implicated as spear-heading the violence. The two most appalling examples of this is the alleged involvement of Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa in orchestrating and inciting violence in Murehwa North, and the direct involvement of Major Cairo Mandhu in the public beatings of at least six people in Mazowe North.
  • An alarming aspect of the violence is the fact that the community members and even family members are committing these brutal acts against one another.
  • Between the 30th March and 30th April there were more than ten times as many violations as in the previous month of March, with 618 political violations.
  • By the 16th May doctors in Harare reported that they had treated 1,600 victims since April 1st.
  • During the first two weeks of May the pace of rural civilians fleeing to Harare has clearly escalated.
  • The majority of violations (46%) have taken place in three Mashonaland provinces. These provinces have traditionally been the stronghold of the ruling party. However in this election, there was a swing towards the MDC, which won 12 out of 60 parliamentary seats in these provinces. The violence in Mashonaland can thus be seen to be both retributive, and as an attempt to reverse the flow of support to the opposition. In all these areas the violence has been highly structured and coordinated, with JOC in charge.
  • The strategy to win the run-off has been implemented in Matabeleland North and South, but without much of the violence evident in Mashonaland.
  • 77% of the victims since March 30th have been affiliated to the MDC.
  • The average age of the victims has been 37.5 years.

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Which way now?

Saturday 24th may 2008

Dear Family and Friends,
They say that a picture speaks a thousand words and if that is true then a
deafening roar filled the African sky this week. We have seen images so
dreadful that they are haunting our thoughts and are etched into our
memories. From The Zimbabwean newspaper comes the picture of a victim of
political violence. A 22 year old woman beaten so badly that her buttocks
have been reduced to cavernous holes." A mess of raw flesh" is the
description used by Peter Oborne, the shocked writer who met Memory, the
young mother of two who was beaten in the playground of her childhood school
along with others accused of being MDC supporters.

Pictures and reports such as these are not new in Zimbabwe. They have become
a part of our lives - a tragic record of a country that has lost its way and
is crying out for help. Then came the other images that shocked us even

The picture of a man burning alive on a road in a South African town is a
sight too cruel for words. He was the victim of an attack against
foreigners. Then came pictures of mobs of men armed with sticks, throwing
rocks, beating people and chasing away their own neighbours. Now the
pictures are of many thousands of frightened, homeless people taking shelter
in police stations and churches and reports that the violence against
foreigners has spread to other South African cities.

For the last eight years South Africa has been a place of safety for
Zimbabweans - an oasis of sanity and an orderly, law abiding, normal way of
life. Even though the South African government chose not to speak out about
events in Zimbabwe, ordinary people opened their homes and hearts to us;
they could not have been more caring, supportive and compassionate to us and
our plight.

An estimated three million Zimbabweans are living in exile in South Africa.
They have left home not because they wanted to but because they had to. Many
left here with wounds, injuries and physical scars, others with memories of
extreme trauma but always it has been the great kindness and support of our
neighbours that has helped heal the wounds, restore dignity and begin the
process of healing.

The eruption of violence against foreigners, many of whom are Zimbabweans,
has left us in deep shock here. How can it be, that without warning and when
Zimbabweans need support and refuge more than ever before, this can be
happening across the border. Our temporary sanctuary, the place where we
felt safe and could find food, friendship and compassion has suddenly gone.
Which way now for our poor people? Too frightened to stay, too frightened to
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.

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"We are all Zimbabweans": South Africans march against xenophobia

Monsters and Critics

May 24, 2008, 12:31 GMT

Johannesburg - Over 2,000 people marched through central Johannesburg
Saturday in protest over the recent spate of xenophobic attacks that have
claimed the lives of at least 44 mostly African migrants.

Waving placards reading 'We are all Zimbabweans' and 'Xenophobia hurts like
apartheid' the diverse crowd of South Africans and immigrants wound its way
through the central business district to a church that shelters hundreds of
illegal Zimbabwean migrants.

Immigrants from Kenya, Cameroon, Mozambique and Angola marched under the
flags of their country.

Zimbabweans were also present in large number among the protestors, some of
whom wore t-shirts marked 'amakwerekwere' (foreigner) - a term used
derogatorily in South Africa.

The protest was organized by a coalition of non-governmental organizations
on the eve of Africa Day, a day on which Africans celebrate continental
solidarity but which looks set to be overshadowed this year by the violence.

Nearly two weeks of attacks aimed mainly at driving African migrants out of
poor communities continued Saturday in a township near George in the Western
Cape. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse rioting residents, who
attacked and looted foreign-owned shops.

East of Johannesburg, a man was shot dead by one of the soldiers deployed to
help police restore calm to the townships around the city, which have seen
the worst of the violence.

The defence department said the soldier shot the man in Springs Friday night
after the man pointed a firearm at him during a police raid.

Earlier this week, President Thabo Mbeki gave the green light for the army
to be deployed to assist the police in fighting mobs that have have turned
on migrants living in their midst, accusing them of taking jobs and public

Since a speech decrying xenophobia a week ago Mbeki has been remarkably
quiet on the crisis, which has shattered South Africa's tolerant image.

'Where are you Mr President?' a banner carried by one protestor in
Johannesburg read.

Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Zola Skweyiya said Saturday he was worried
that the attacks could fuel tensions between South Africans and other

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South Africans decry attacks; 10,000 displaced in Cape Town

Monsters and Critics
People scatter as a South African police officer raises a shotgun outside the Central Methodist Church which houses hundreds of foreign immigrants, after South Africans attempted to attack them in Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 May 2008. Thousands of protesters marched in downtown Johannesburg to protest the recent attacks against foreigners that left over 40 people dead, hundreds seriously injured and some 15,000 displaced.  EPA/JON HRUSA

People scatter as a South African police officer raises a shotgun outside the Central Methodist Church which houses hundreds of foreign immigrants, after South Africans attempted to attack them in Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 May 2008. Thousands of protesters marched in downtown Johannesburg to protest the recent attacks against foreigners that left over 40 people dead, hundreds seriously injured and some 15,000 displaced. EPA/JON HRUSA

May 24, 2008, 15:59 GMT

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Zimbabweans vow not to return home amid attacks


May 24, 2008, 18:15

Zimbabweans working on farms around Musina in Limpopo have vowed not to go
back home despite the incidents of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

It is estimated that 90% of the work force in the Musina area are foreign
nationals. Most Zimbabweans enter South Africa through the Beitbridge border
post. The majority of them feel it is better to remain in South Africa than
to go back home to starve.

The wave of attacks on immigrants left over 40 people dead and 20 000 more
displaced. Five hundred people have been arrested since.

Earlier, authorities at the Lebombo border post in Komatipoort in Mpumalanga
confirmed that the influx of people through the border from South Africa has
increased dramatically since early this morning. Officials from Home Affairs
have been deployed at the border to assist as Mozambican nationals are
fleeing xenophobic attacks in South Africa. The Lebombo border control
coordinator, Mbongiseni Msongweni, says they have attended to a large number
of Mozambicans without documentation.

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Mbeki calls South Africa violence 'a humiliating disgrace'



South African President Thabo Mbeki said Saturday that anti-immigrant
violence that has raged for nearly two weeks was a "humiliating disgrace for
our nation."

"Today we are faced with a disgrace... a humiliating disgrace for our nation
where you have a handful of people, a minority in our community, that
decides to commit crime against fellow Africans," he said during a speech in
the Eastern Cape region, state SABC radio reported.

He added: "That's something we have to act against very firmly, and stop."

The Red Cross in South Africa said Saturday it was caring for 25,000
displaced people following nearly two weeks of anti-immigrant violence amid
emerging evidence of a humanitarian crisis.

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Ambassadors warned Pretoria


    May 24 2008 at 04:58PM

The South African government failed to act on a warning from African
ambassadors last month about impending xenophobic attacks.

This emerged on Friday after a briefing with Safety and Security
Minister Charles Nqakula and African ambassadors to South Africa.

By Friday, the violence had spread to the Western Cape, KwaZulu Natal,
Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga. At least 43 people have been killed and
more than 23 000 displaced.

Police had their hands full trying to staunch looting in Cape Town.

The group of African ambassadors said a warning letter had been sent
to the department of foreign affairs in April.

But on Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad described
the violent attacks as "a totally unexpected phenomenon". And Nqakula has
reportedly admitted the government had been "caught off-guard".

 At Friday's meeting, the ambassadors initially appeared sceptical of
government assurances that the violence was under control, that protection
of refugee concentrations would be stepped up and that
intelligence-gathering would be increased to prevent further attacks.

Xenophobic pamphlets warning foreigners to leave SA or be killed
indicated a degree of organisation that some diplomats appeared to find

At a time when the country's top three politicians are abroad, the SA
government on Friday made its first public apology.

"We are very much concerned and apologise for all the inconveniences
that the incidents have caused," said Deputy President Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka, speaking from Abuja in Nigeria.

Mozambique declared a state of emergency to help its citizens fleeing
the attacks. About 10 000 Mozambicans had returned home by Friday.

The country's two most senior leaders - President Thabo Mbeki and ANC
President Jacob Zuma - have yet to visit any of the violence-affected areas.

Mbeki, who was expected back on Friday night following an African
Union meeting in Tanzania, condemned the attacks in a statement released on
Monday - the day a photograph of a foreigner being burnt alive was flashed
across the world.

On Wednesday, Mbeki authorised the deployment of the SA National
Defence Force to help the police combat and prevent further attacks.

Zuma was also expected home on Friday after a three-day trip to

Gauteng's worst-hit area, Ekurhuleni, is sheltering up to 13 000
displaced people. They have experienced some of the past week's worst
violence in 10 informal settlements.

Ekurhuleni municipal spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said most were
sleeping in the metro's city halls and in 100 tents, each sleeping 10
people, which had been set up outside the Primrose police station.

Policing efforts would be stepped up at the weekend, he said. "Lots of
people are at home and anything can happen."

This week's attacks have also affected operations at DRDGold, where a
third of the workforce is foreign and two of its miners were killed as
violence erupted in the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Ekurhuleni.

On Wednesday, 58 percent of workers did not report for work at ERPM in
Boksburg, but by Friday the situation was 85 percent normal, spokesperson
James Duncan said.

ERPM mine was housing nearly 500 foreign workers in a place of
safety. - Additional reporting by Sapa and AFP

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on May 24,

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South African Xenophobia Embarrassing


Mbeki not competent to deal with issues facing the country

Kgobalale Peter Moruthane

Published 2008-05-25 03:13 (KST)

"Citizens from other countries on the African continent and beyond are
as human as we are and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity," said
South African President Thabo Mbeki on Monday. "South Africa is not and will
never be an island separate from the rest of the continent."

Since then there have been several xenophobic attacks on foreigners in
the country. Many people are saying that Mbeki does not have power to stop

On Thursday, Limpopo became the fourth province in which attacks were
reported. Mozambicans living in the area of Mohlaletse in the Sekhukhune
regions were attacked on that night. Two of them are being treated at Jane
Furze Hospital.

Around the country, some 43 people have lost their lives and more than
20,000 have been evacuated from their shacks or homes since the start of
this phase of xenophobic attacks several weeks ago.

Speaking at an African day event at Sandton Convention Center in
Johannesburg, Zolo Skweyiya of the office of foreign affairs said this
behavior had tarnished the good name of South Africa internationally.
Skweyiya said he is afraid that these attacks will end up causing tension
between South Africa and nearby countries.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma called the violence
embarrassing to the government. Dlamini-Zuma believes the attacks are caused
by a mobilized group of people whose intentions are to steal rather than
plough. She is promising that her department will deal with this matter
carefully and very seriously.

Opposition parties and others have said Mbeki is not competent to deal
with the issues worrying the country. Buti Manamela, secretary general of
the Young Communist Party, said Mbeki had failed to deal with the issue of
HIV/AIDS and failed to mediate the political crisis in Zimbabwe. There's
nothing to suggest that he won't now fail to deal with the xenophobia.

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More calls for Mbeki to step down


May 24, 2008, 07:15

Secretary General of the Young Communist League, Buti Manamela has
reiterated the position of the SA Communist Party that President Thabo Mbeki
should step down. Earlier this month ANC Treasurer General Mathews Phosa and
leading National Executive Committee (NEC) member Tokyo Sexwale also called
for the President to step down.

Manamela says President Mbeki has failed the country in dealing with
HIV/Aids challenges as well as overlooking the crisis in Zimbabwe. He was
addressing the party's 86th anniversary fund raising gala dinner in Phokeng
in the Rustenburg area in North West last night.

The dinner, which was held under the theme True to our History, was attended
by amongst others Phosa, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) Acting
President Sdumo Dlamini and ANC Youth League President, Julious Malema.

During his address Manamela also said President Thabo Mbeki should release
himself from his position before next year's national general elections.

Meanwhile, Manamela has urged the law enforcement agencies to bring to book
the perpetrators of ongoing xenophobic attacks that had claimed 43 lives
across the country.

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The Zimbabwe we DON'T want

The Zimbabwean

Thursday, 22 May 2008 08:48
HARARE – On May 17 at around midnight  my mother, Reverend Winnet
Mupara of the United Methodist Church's Chitakatira Circuit and brother
Guyson Mupara (27) were savagely attacked by vigilantes loyal Mugabe's Zanu
(PF) at their house in Chitakatira.

This group was acting on the express instructions of Zanu (PF) and my
cousin, Grace Mvududu, who stood as a Zanu (PF) candidate for Councillor in
Gombakomba (near Mutare) and lost to the MDC.
The group was let into the house when one of them knocked on the door
and stated that she was Mrs. Marange, wife of the priest of the neighbouring
parish; that she had stayed out late and would like a place to sleep before
continuing her journey the following morning. My mother opened the door to
what she believed to be a wife of a colleague who needed help. To her
disbelief the woman was leading a group of young men and women in military
The group informed my mother and brother that they had information
from their leader Grace, to the effect that: 1. They were staunch supporters
of the MDC; 2. the group had reason to believe that MDC paraphernalia
(cards, t-shirts, fliers and other campaign materials) were kept in the
house. 3; that my mother frequently preached MDC-friendly gospel and/or
sermons to her congregation; and 4. that her son (Chengetai Mupara) was a
known member of the MDC and is now living in the UK.
My mother and brother were requested to surrender all the MDC
materials in their custody. My brother and brother could not produce any of
the items because they did not have any of it. They invited the group to
search for these items anywhere in the house; they found nothing.
My mother and brother were taken out of the house and immersed in cold
water. There were then forced to sit down and lashed with makeshift whips
made of metal wires and wood planks. They were lashed on the back, under the
feet and on the buttocks. They suffered severe bodily injuries namely, loss
of skin and loss of flesh and gapping wounds on legs, back and buttocks. My
mother lost fingernails.
This torture happened in the presence of my mother's granddaughter and
my cousin's daughter, who has mental health problems. Both girls are below
the age of 10. The group stopped the beatings after two hours and left
without making any arrangements for their victims to be treated.
My mother and brother were taken away for treatment following the
intervention of church members and leaders 10 hours later. Fortunately, the
injuries are not life threatening, but we continue to monitor the situation.
Blood is thicker than water. I implore my cousin Grace to think long
and hard about what she has done to her own family in the name of Zanu (PF)
and relations between us and you, your children and the rest of our family
going forward? We cannot continue to have a situation of sister turning on
sister, brother turning on brother, child turning on parent. For what?
Inflation is now over 165,000% and rising; Life expectancy of 37 and
34 for men and women respectively and decreasing; Unemployment is 90% and
rising; Sporadic essential services, inconsistent water and electricity
supply; Collapsed education and health delivery systems; No rule of law and
respect of human rights in general.
I remind my cousin Grace and her Zanu (PF) colleagues, that there is
no good enough reason, least of all political; to attack anyone, never mind
family, in Zimbabwe today. Our nation is at crossroad. We are staring into
This is not the Zimbabwe we all want. The Zimbabwe we all love needs
change now more than ever before. And yes, I say with no regret, shame,
apologies, fear or favour that a vote for Morgan Tsvangirai on June 27, 2008
is a vote for the Zimbabwe we want. We shall overcome!

We will bury the confused cockroach regime
HARARE - I was there at the MDC rally of MDC last Sunday. It was
fantastic, ecstatic and the morale was high amongst supporters. People are
just excited to vote for President Morgan Tsvangirai again. I am one of
those people, who has vowed to campaign vigorously for President Morgan
The regime is on the loosing end now. It is now ponderous, confused
and does not know what next step to take besides abusing the army personnel
to campaign for it. It no longer trusts its MP's. The regime is on its way
out. It’s going to be a walkover for the confused former president of
Zimbabwe. We are excited to think that we are going to vote again, and vote
this regime out for good.
All those people like Chinamasa, Didymus Mutasa and Jabulani Sibanda;
we will definitely try them, come hell, come thunder. There are no two ways
about it. We will purge you Didymus, you are a thief, a liar and a thug.
As for Jabulani Sibanda, you are killing people from Mashonaland,
where I come from. You are going to stand in the dock for it. You have
teamed up with those thugs. In fact, we want the regime to be brought to
book for its Gukurahundi atrocities. You will face it Jabulani.Rember that
people have vowed to go again and vote in millions for M.D.C.
Inflation is hovering at 700 000 % – a world record for sure. There is
no food, the economy is now crippled, and you say Mugabe will win? This will
be a miracle indeed and a world record, of course, if this regime wins under
such conditions. People are just excited again to remove this confused
cockroach regime and ready to throw it in the Hall of Fame for blood sucking
dictators, such as Idi Amin, Charles Taylor, Bokassa and others.
We are just more than happy to go to polls again to just cast our
votes and you will see what will happen to the dictator once it knows that
it has lost.

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Zimbabwean chief mobilizes votes for Mugabe in run-off

xinhua  2008-05-24 20:41:35

    HARARE, May 24 (Xinhua) -- Chief Sogwala of Lower Gweru in the
southern Zimbabwe Midlands Province has called on traditional leaders to
mobilize their subjects and overwhelmingly vote for Robert Mugabe in the
presidential run-off set for June 27.

     He said voting for the incumbent president was the only way of
defending the country from its erstwhile colonizer, Britain, which he said
is threatening to reverse the gains of the country's independence, according
to The Herald newspaper on Saturday.

    He said chiefs and headmen had a duty to safeguard and maintain
the fruits and gains of independence through mobilizing their subjects to
vote against opposition MDC-T presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, whom
he said was a British-sponsored regime change agent.

    "After threats of the recolonisation of our country by Britain
through their sponsored MDC-T almost became a reality in the March29
harmonized polls, chiefs and headmen now have a big task ahead of them of
mobilizing people to vote resoundingly for Mugabe. He has a track record of
fighting imperialist forces and he actively participated in the liberation
struggle of our country," Chief Sogwala was quoted as saying.

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ZCTF Report: Milk & game cubes for Tatenda

24th May 2008
In response to our ongoing appeals for assistance in feeding Tatenda, Bugs van Heerden of Cape Town in South Africa very kindly came to our rescue again with a donation of 100kg of skimmed milk powder and Laureen Bertin of Johannesburg raised funds and bought 300kg of game cubes, 10 litres of Quadripel (horse-fly repellent) and some glucose. 
We went to Johannesburg last week to collect the goods. The trip and the payment of the duty was funded by the ZCTF with the help of the following people who assisted with funds:
Ernest and Paula Blomkamp  
Kim Hoddy
John and Helen Buckle
Gwen Cornfield
Clair Ives
Rita Nichols
Lawrence King
Janet Babin
We had intended to share the donations between Carla and Lisa Marie of Buffalo Range and Tatenda of Imire but sadly, a decision was made by the WWF and National Parks to relocate the Buffalo Range rhinos to Charles Davey's ranch in Bubi so they no longer need our assistance. We believe the relocation was successful and both rhinos are doing well but our sympathies are with Janey Style who, to the detriment of her health, rescued these 2 babies and put every ounce of her strength into saving their lives. Carla and Lisa Marie regarded Janey as their mother and we can only imagine how heartbroken she must be now that they have been taken away from her. 
Last Sunday, we took a trip out to Imire to deliver the food to Tatenda. The Travers were delighted to receive the milk as Tatenda's supply was getting very low but they were even more delighted with the game cubes. Game cubes are not available in Zimbabwe and the animals at Imire haven't had any for several months.
As usual, Tatenda and Hogwash were very interested in the donations, especially when Judy broke open one of the bags of game cubes for them to taste. Once they tasted them, it was almost impossible to get them away from the bags.
Little Tsotsi, the hyena was feeling a bit left out so Judy brought him outside so he could see what all the excitement was about. He clung onto Judy for dear life though because he is extremely nervous around anyone other than her.
                                            JUDY AND TSOTSI
On our way out, we came across Nzou, the elephant who thinks she is a buffalo. Nzou is a remarkable animal. She was taken in at Imire 35 years ago at the age of 2, the orphaned victim of an elephant cull. At the time, she was the only elephant there and she was lonely so she was put with a herd of buffalo to keep her company. Having grown up with the buffalo, she naturally assumed that she was also a buffalo and as she steadily grew bigger and bigger, she assumed the position of "leader of the herd". There was no argument, in view of her size and the odd buffalo that has been foolish enough to try and take her place, has not lived to tell the tale.
There is no doubt that Nzou regards the buffalo as her own personal property. She counts them regularly to make sure they are all present by touching each one in turn with her trunk and she protects them with her life.
If a strange vehicle approaches, she runs in front of her herd and if any of the buffalo get too close to the vehicle, she nudges them back with her trunk or her leg. On more than one occasion, she has rescued  buffalo that have been stuck in the mud. She recently rescued a buffalo calf that had wandered into the middle of a pool of deep mud. She responded to the calf's cries  by going very carefully into the mud herself, wrapping her trunk around the calf's mid-section and pulling it to safety. 
One of the buffalo was caught in a wire snare attached to a tree and Nzou broke the snare off the tree, freeing the buffalo so that the Travers could remove the snare from its neck.   
Some time ago, 2 of the buffaloes were fighting. A buffalo calf was caught in between them and was mortally wounded by one of their horns. Nzou heard the baby screaming and ran to the rescue. When she arrived at the scene, the baby was lying on the ground, bleeding profusely so Nzou lifted it with her trunk and tried to make it stand, but to no avail. The baby died shortly afterwards and Nzou dug a shallow grave with her foot, pushed the baby buffalo into it and covered it over with sticks and leaves.
She is also very protective over her handler who follows the herd around all day to guard them against poachers. The handler was charged by one of the buffalo and the horn caught him under his arm. He was lying on the ground, badly injured and screaming for help. Nzou heard him and arrived just as the buffalo was moving in for the kill. She positioned her great body between the handler and the buffalo and drove the buffalo off. The handler, unable to walk began to crawl back to the house and all the way there, Nzou slowly walked beside him to protect him from the buffalo. 2 weeks later, she killed the buffalo.
The buffalo spend the night in pens and Nzou is chained to a tree every night near the pens. This is to give the handler a chance to sleep and to prevent the animals from wandering off and becoming the victims of poachers. Some nights, Nzou breaks free of her chain, opens the gate of the buffalo pens and calls the buffalo out to go with her to eat from the vegetable garden. 2 of the buffalo are due to be relocated shortly and they have been kept in the pens in preparation for the move. Nzou is not happy about this and persists in opening the gate and letting them out. 
Imire is desperately in need of new game fencing. The fence is old and broken in some places and some of the animals are escaping. Once they have escaped, it is only a matter of time before they are killed by poachers. We are trying to raise funds for this project and if anyone would like to assist, please contact us - details below.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline:        263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065
Mobile:           263 11 603 213

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