[DEBATE] : (Fwd) Zim protests (while Sunday Times editor lectures)
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Mar 6 16:49:57 GMT 2007
(When you realise how much of this excellent Zimbabwe activism gets
covered in the Sunday Times each week, it puts in proper context the
revolting, weary paternalistic natter of Mondli Makhanya - at the bottom.)
20 students arrested in Bulawayo ... the class boycott continues
undiluted and unabated.
20 students from Hillside Teachers College, Bulawayo, have been today,
arrested on campus for reiterating to other students of the continued,
undiluted and unabated class boycott that was declared on the 5th of
March 2007. Students have since not attended lectures will not unless
the government of Zimbabwe provides tangible solutions to the deepening
educational crisis in Zimbabwe. The arrested students are being
currenlty detained at the Hillside Police Station. The arrested include,
ZINASU Secretary General, Beloved Chiweshe, Hillside Teachers College
Students Union president, Tafadzwa Chengewa, Simbarashe Mkwambo, Trust
nhubu, and other students from the hillside college who names have not
yet been revealed. Cosmas Gwature, the United College of Education, was
also picked from his college campus.
The union condems the continued victimisation of student
activists,especially the systematic targeting of student
leaders.however,the class boycott will continue until the government and
the responsible authorities in Tertiary institutes meet the demands of
the students.The union shall also engage in legal battles against
pepertrators of unjust victimisation and torture of students.
THE INFORMATION DESK
Zimbabwe National Students Union
21 Wembly Road, Eastlea, Harare, Zimbabwe,
zinasu at gmail.com
Zim Online (SA), 5 March
Zimbabwe police gear up for opposition protests
By Thabani Mlilo and Brian Ncube
Harare - Zimbabwe Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has cancelled
leave for officers and beefed up manpower in Harare and Bulawayo in
preparation for possible opposition protests in the two cities, as
political tension mounts in the southern African country. In a memo
addressed to all police stations last Tuesday but made available to Zim
Online at the weekend, titled, "Cancellation of Leave and Placement of
Members on Standby," reference number MJ57/2007, Chihuri cancelled all
leave and placed all officers on alert. "All police officers who had
been granted leave should return to their respective stations with
immediate effect and be deployed as commanded by their provincial
commanders. The dress order of the day will be full riot gear until
further notice and those members who remain at stations should be alert
for urgent calls of action," read part of the memo. In a separate memo,
also written last week, highlighting rising tensions in Zimbabwe, Deputy
Commissioner for Human Resources Barbara Mandizha, ordered police
stations around the country to compile lists of "able-bodied" officers
for immediate transfer to Harare and Bulawayo.
Sources at the police headquarters in Harare told Zim Online at the
weekend that the transfer was a "pro-active" strategy to prepare for
possible protests in the two cities, both strongholds of the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party. "All provincial
commanders are directed to submit a list of able-bodied members for
immediate transfer to Harare and Bulawayo. Commanders should treat this
matter with urgency as this is a directive from the Minister (of Home
Affairs). No excuses should be entertained as this is a national call,"
says the memo. Political tensions have risen sharply in Zimbabwe over
the past few months as a steep economic crisis takes its toll on a
population grappling with the world’s highest inflation rate of nearly 1
600 percent, surging unemployment and poverty. The tensions worsened
after the ruling Zanu PF party proposed last December to extend
President Robert Mugabe’s term which was due to end next year by two
more years to 2010.
Both factions of the MDC and civic groups have vowed to take to the
streets to force Mugabe not to extend his term arguing that the country
could not bear to have the veteran president in power for two more
years. Two weeks ago, the police fought running battles with MDC
supporters in the working class suburb of Highfield as they sought to
block the opposition party led by Morgan Tsvangirai from holding a rally
to launch the party’s campaign for next year’s presidential election.
The Zimbabwe government has banned protests and rallies following the
violent protests in Highfield. The MDC says the ban amounted to a
declaration of a state of emergency by the Harare authorities. Police
spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena refused to comment on the matter saying he
is not at liberty to discuss matters of strategy with the Press. "I am
sorry this is an issue of strategy that cannot be discussed with the
Press. In any case, transfers are a normal phenomenon in any
organisation. So why should it raise eyebrows?" he said. Home Affairs
Minister Kembo Mohadi could not be reached for comment on the matter.
News24 (SA), 5 March
Renewed clashes in Zim
Harare - Police on Monday threatened opposition party supporters, who
had defied a ban on rallies amid reports of renewed street clashes and
the arrest of more than a dozen trade unionists at the weekend. Police
spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena has warned defiant opposition supporters
that the wrath of the law will catch up with them, said ZBC radio.
Police fought running battles on Sunday with youths loyal to Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC party in Harare's Budiriro township, state media
reported. The Herald newspaper said youths had barricaded roads into the
suburb using bonfires and burning tyres after police moved in to stop
the rally going ahead. Police have banned all rallies and demonstrations
in Harare and its dormitory town of Chitungwiza following street battles
in the suburb of Highfield two weeks ago. The opposition has vowed not
to be intimidated by the ban. Police will use the necessary measures to
ensure the ban effected under Section 27 of the Public Order and
Security Act is enforced, said state radio on Monday. On Sunday, shops
in Budiriro closed down and street vendors deserted their stalls as
battles raged, said the Herald. The opposition has not confirmed the
skirmishes yet. The Herald quoted the MDC's organising secretary, former
Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, who said he had not travelled to Budiriro
because the rally had been cancelled.
As tensions rise, the main Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said
in a statement that the editor of a newspaper for workers and 13 union
activists had been arrested at the weekend. Bright Chibvuri, the editor
of The Worker, the union's official newspaper, was arrested on Saturday
while attending a ZCTU workshop in the southern town of Plumtree, said
information officer Khumbulani Ndlovu. Chibvuri has been charged under
Zimbabwe's notorious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA), which says only journalists licensed by a state media
commission can ply their trade, said Ndlovu. Meanwhile, in Chegutu,
central Zimbabwe, 13 activists were arrested while attending what the
ZCTU called an orientation workshop. The ZCTU is planning a nationwide
absenteeism from April 3-4, in a move likely to be met with fierce
resistance by President Robert Mugabe's government.
Zim Online (SA), 6 March
Harare extends rally ban to all towns, cities
Masvingo - The Zimbabwean government has extended a ban on political
rallies and demonstrations in all cities and major towns in a clear sign
of rising political tensions in the troubled southern African country.
In a circular dispatched to police commanders at the weekend, a copy of
which was seen by Zim Online, Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi ordered
all senior police officers to implement the ban in all major cities and
towns. Zimbabwean police banned rallies and demonstrations in the
capital Harare and the second city of Bulawayo two weeks ago following
some violent clashes between the police and Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) supporters in the working class suburb of Highfield. The
MDC and civic groups have already condemned the ban on rallies in Harare
and Bulawayo saying the move amounted to a declaration of a state of
emergency by President Robert Mugabe’s government. The extension of the
ban to all towns and cities will likely stoke up tensions in the
southern African country that is already grappling with record inflation
of 1 600 percent, surging unemployment and poverty.
"You are advised that all public, political gatherings and
demonstrations in major urban centres under your jurisdiction have been
banned. The ban should remain in force until further notice since the
measure is meant to protect ordinary citizens and their properties in
view of threats by some elements within the opposition to embark on
street protests," read the circular. The ban will effectively shut down
political space in Zimbabwe with the opposition not being able to
campaign or hold rallies in such small towns such as Chiredzi, Karoi,
Zvishavane and other rural service centres. Contacted for comment
yesterday on the circular, Masvingo district’s chief superintendent
Lancelot Matange confirmed the directive from Mohadi adding that the
police were ready to crush all illegal protests in the city. "We will
fully comply with the directive from the Minister and we have since
banned all political gatherings and demonstrations in Masvingo urban,"
said Matange. Public notices have already been displayed in several
parts of the town advising residents of the ban. Morgan Tsvangirai and
Arthur Mutambara, who head rival factions of the splintered MDC, have
both vowed to mobilise Zimbabweans to force Mugabe to embrace sweeping
political reforms and abandon plans to extend his 27-year old rule. The
main workers’ federation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
has it will also call a two-day work boycott on 3 and 4 April to force
the government to arrest Zimbabwe’s eight-year old economic recession.
VOA News, 5 March
Women of Zimbabwe Arise members launch new protests in Midlands capital
By Taurai Shava and Carole Gombakomba
Gweru/Washington - The activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise brought
the central business district of Gweru to a halt just before midday on
Monday as members marched, sang songs and distributed flyers to
passers-by before police broke up the demonstration. Eyewitnesses said
police flailed with batons at the mostly female demonstrators and a
reporter estimated about 30 were taken to Gweru's central police
station. A lawyer representing members of WOZA and the group’s male
counterpart, Men of Zimbabwe Arise, said those arrested today were
likely to be arraigned Tuesday. Hilary Garikai said the activists faced
charges under the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act forbidding
participation in "unlawful" gatherings. But Garikai said at least four
of those arrested were ordinary Gweru residents arrested because they
were seen reading copies of the so-called "people’s charter" the group
distributed. WOZA member Nolwanje Simunye, who demonstrated in Gweru,
told VOA that in spite of the arrests, organizers of the Bulawayo-group
considered their first-ever Gweru protest a success. Other WOZA sources
said the group will be launching its "people’s charter" in other cities
this week. At least 174 WOZA members and sympathizers were arrested when
the activist group demonstrated in Harare and Bulawayo on Feb. 13.
The joke will be on us if we don’t wake up to Zimbabwe’s pain
04 March 2007
COMMENT ON THIS: tellus at sundaytimes.co.za or SMS us at: 33971
Too many of us in this southernmost republic, Zimbabwe has become a
standard joke. How many Zim dollars did you buy that watch for? Hah hah
hah! You’re eating like you’re about to go on holiday in Zimbabwe. Hee-hee!
And so we laugh until our jaws can take no more. Even if the jokes
aren’t at all funny, adding Zimbabwe spice lifts a puerile comment up a
notch or two.
The story of Zimbabwe is one of a tragedy that became a comedy.
Missing from most discourse on Zimbabwe nowadays is empathy. Everyone
has basically given up on Zimbabwe and we have decided that shaking our
heads in despair and making corny jokes is our best response.
Even we in newspapers hardly bother with those screaming headlines on
our front pages. There are only so many ways you can tell the story of
fuel shortages and only so many angles from which you can photograph
In short, there is significant fatigue from the media, foreign
governments, multilateral organisations and international agencies.
We in the media have a legitimate excuse for the fatigue: Mugabe has
barred most foreign media (including the Sunday Times) from entering the
country, where we would be able to tell the story properly and
Increasingly, there is this expectation that the only solution is that
the place will one day just self-destruct, implode or whichever dramatic
action suits one’s fancy. There is also the acceptance that Robert
Mugabe will rule until age takes care of him.
In the meantime we let the tragedy run.
The complacency of Zimbabweans is also responsible for the fatigue. A
more docile oppressed people you would be hard put to find.
The only form of protest that they know is to wallow in self-pity and
whine about how the Thabo Mbeki government has done nothing to help them.
And the only risk they are prepared to take is to run the gauntlet of
Limpopo border guards and the ID-searchers on Gauteng streets.
One would be forgiven for thinking that maybe they don’t really mind
But that is obviously not the case. Zimbabweans want human rights,
democracy and economic prosperity as everyone else. It’s just that they
don’t want to have to fight for these things themselves. They will find
every reason why they cannot take on Mugabe.
So those in South Africa and the rest of the international community who
care about basic human values unfortunately have no choice but to help
this submissive people along.
There happen to be some very good moral and selfish reasons to do so.
The first one is the premise of human solidarity. We simply cannot fold
our arms and say nothing while another people suffers at the hands of
gluttonous goons who stuff their faces silly and then beat up the poor
when the nation’s grumbling stomachs disturbs their great feast.
It is a matter of basic human decency and duty that we speak against the
cruelty visited on ordinary Zimbabweans. That is what the world did for
us when the apartheid jackboot was on our necks.
Alas, for seven years our ruling party and our government decided to be
Zanu-PF’s greatest defenders.
Through a combination of policy ineptitude, presidential arrogance and
misplaced liberation-movement camaraderie, South Africa contrived to
legitimise the oppression of Zimbabweans. We fêted Mugabe and his inner
circle; told the world to bugger off when it wanted to intervene;
pooh-poohed credible international organisations when they pressed for
global action against Zanu-PF, and flatly denied that Mugabe’s security
forces and militias were stealing elections, torturing political foes
and conducting all-night rape fests.
When the so-called “ quiet diplomacy” strategy failed, we sommer walked
away without admitting failure. Our President, who for years promised an
imminent breakthrough in Zimbabwe, now hardly ever features the country
in his public utterances.
Our complicity in sustaining and deepening the crisis should prevent us
from walking away.
On the selfish front, we should care about Zimbabwe because it is
hurting us, as the collapse of a major regional economic power would.
Thousands of businesses in South Africa and the rest of the region have
lost a major export destination and product source, and have lost
business partners. The Southern African region needs a strong Zimbabwe
if we are to achieve rapid economic growth.
The other selfish reason is social stability. During its seven years of
collapse, Zimbabwe has spewed out more than a quarter of its 12 million
citizens. Some are in earth’s-armpit places like Perth and Birmingham.
The overwhelming majority are in South African cities and dorpies.
This has put enormous strain on social services. While most are
gainfully employed as professionals and labourers, the desperation of
many has also contributed immensely to the crime wave sweeping South
Africa. Bands of jobless men have discovered how risk-free and
profitable a crime career is in South Africa and have fallen in with
local gang lords and international syndicates.
The Zimbabwean collapse has now become a threat to our own stability.
The sooner we wake up to the fact that what is happening next door is
actually not funny, the better for us.
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