Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

JOHANNESBURG – To show how the party led
by President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe uses
brute force against its opponents, Elton
Mangoma , a cabinet minister in the country ‘s
troubled power -sharing government, rolled up
a pant leg during a recent interview at his
home to reveal scars from a 2007 police
beating that he said shattered his kneecap.
” If South Africa, the African Union and the
international community fold their arms , then
Zimbabwe can descend into chaos, ” warned
Mr . Mangoma , a leader in the Movement for
Democratic Change, or M. D . C . , the party that
fought Mr . Mugabe ‘s rule for a decade before
regional leaders pressured it into governing
with him for the past two years .
On Thursday , the police came again for Mr .
Mangoma , the minister of energy and power
development, who now stands accused of
criminal abuse of office in a deal to procure
fuel – charges he denied through his lawyer.
Also on Thursday , Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court –
viewed by many as partial to Mr . Mugabe, 87 –
invalidated the 2008 election of a speaker of
Parliament from the Movement for Democratic
The day ‘s events provided yet more evidence of
Zimbabwe’s rapidly deteriorating political
situation .
” The fact of the matter is that Zimbabwe is in a
crisis ,” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ,
leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change, said in a statement on Thursday .
Mr . Tsvangirai , who in March 2007 was badly
beaten at the same police station where Mr .
Mangoma said he was beaten , cited signs of
what he called a campaign by Mr . Mugabe’ s
party, ZANU-PF , to ” promote chaos and fear in
the country ” : 73 meetings of the M. D . C .
banned or disrupted by the police in recent
weeks; assaults on Mr . Tsvangirai ‘s supporters
in the slums of the capital, Harare , and in the
countryside; a propaganda onslaught against
him and his party in the state- controlled media ;
and the arrest and jailing of M. D. C . leaders and
activists opposed to Mr . Mugabe ‘s 31 -year rule.
Mr . Tsvangirai , who won more votes than Mr .
Mugabe in a March 2008 general election but
withdrew before a June runoff after widespread
attacks on his supporters , contended that
members of his party were being hounded by a
police force and criminal justice system
controlled by Mr . Mugabe .
” But ZANU-PF cadres and securocrats who
murdered people in the run-up to the 27 June
election are roaming free, ” Mr . Tsvangirai said .
He said Mr . Mangoma and six activists accused
of treason after watching videos of the
uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia were ” innocent
victims of a barbaric and senseless
dictatorship . “
Mr . Mugabe ‘s supporters said that the activists
were plotting to overthrow him. Jonathan
Moyo, a member of ZANU- PF ‘s Politburo , wrote
in the Feb . 27 Sunday Mail , a state-controlled
newspaper, that with the uprisings in North
Africa, ” no doubt vigilance has become the
order of the day all around .
” Only God knows why these hopeless copycats,
whose death wish is to be arrested at the
Harare Gardens and be charged with treason in
accordance with the rule of law they love
preaching about, honestly think they can do an
Egypt or Libya in Zimbabwe,” Mr . Moyo wrote.
ZANU-PF ‘ s crackdown seems driven by anxiety
about revolutions against autocratic rulers
sweeping North Africa and the Middle East , as
well as by the party’ s own push for elections
this year – elections that leaders of the
Movement for Democratic Change have warned
could lead to another violent and discredited
election .
In interviews in recent days , spokesmen for
both Mr . Mugabe and his party have said that
the elections must happen this year .
But South Africa, tasked by regional leaders
with brokering Zimbabwe’ s power- sharing deal ,
is pushing back against Mr . Mugabe ‘s rush to
the polls with unusual vigor that marks a
surprising break with its long and much
criticized ” quiet diplomacy ” in responding to its
neighbor ‘ s decade -long economic and political
In a statement on March 1 , Marius Fransman ,
the deputy minister in South Africa’s
Department of International Relations and
Cooperation, said South Africa and the region
took the position that any election held before
Zimbabweans adopted a new constitution
through a referendum would violate the power –
sharing agreement .
Told that ZANU-PF officials had said there
would be an election this year , Lindiwe Zulu , a
special adviser to South Africa’s president ,
Jacob Zuma , said in a recent interview that
pulling one off that soon would take a miracle .
And on a recent visit to Zimbabwe, Ms. Zulu
said , Mr . Zuma ‘s team plainly voiced concern
about a recurrence of violence and
intimidation .
” If they are going to have an election by
October , they would have to do a 360-degree
turnaround at high speed, ” she said .
Even more forceful comments came from
South Africa’ s deputy president , Kgalema
Motlanthe, who acknowledged the harsh
realities confronting his own country , where
more than a third of working – age people are
jobless and often resent the estimated two
million Zimbabweans who have settled here to
escape their devastated homeland .
Mr . Motlanthe called for the next Zimbabwean
elections to be a watershed in the country ‘s
history, free of violence and observed by
international monitors from the region and
Europe, his spokesman , Thabo Masebe,
confirmed .
” It is the will of the Zimbabwean people which
must determine the future of Zimbabwe as a
country , and it is in our interest as a country
that indeed we proceed in that direction ,” Mr .
Motlanthe said last week. ” Because if we fail
and Zimbabwe implodes , literally the border
between Zimbabwe will disappear and we will
sit with all the problems. “

Published: March 11 , 2011


Charges against three Mthwakazi Liberation
Front ( MLF ) leaders , who were arrested last
week for alleged subversion of a constitutional
government, were Monday altered to treason
which attracts the death penalty.
John Gazi , Paul Siwela and Charles Thomas will
appear in court today for trial.
They had initialy been brought to court
yesterday , but because of the new circumstance
did not appear before any magistrate and were
instead kept in the courts ’ holding cells .
The activists are being represented by a defence
team led by Advocate Lucas Nkomo and
includes Sindiso Mazibisa , Robert Ndlovu and
Matshobana Ncube .
Mazibisa said police had initially charged his
clients under Section 20 of the Criminal Law
( Codification and Reform ) Act ( subversion of a
constitutional government ) , but the charge was
altered in the holding cells without warned-and –
cautioned statements recorded.
“ They are now saying the trio distributed flyers
and calendars urging people to do the Egypt ,
Tunisia and Ethiopia and I don’ t know where
Ethiopia is coming from ,” said Mazibisa .
“ They are also saying on March 1, they held an
executive meeting in Bulawayo where they
mooted to overthrow the government. ”
The lawyer said what was strange was that the
police only decided to change the charges at
3pm yesterday yet his clients were arrested last
“ The charges were changed in the court holding
cells and no warned-and -cautioned statements
were recorded from them . They had to go back
to the police station and recharge them . We
could not go into court without seeing the
papers because we are challenging remand ,”
said Mazibisa .
Contacted for comment, the Criminal
Investigation Department coordinator for
Matabeleland region , Assistant Commissioner
Erasmus Makodza , confirmed the development .
“ They will appear in court Tuesday . They are
being charged with treason, ” he said .
MLF is pushing for a separate Matabeleland
The group formally wrote to President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
demanding the creation of a separate state
citing “ continued marginalisation ” of the
Matabeleland region .

2011 20 : 09

Harare , Zimbabwe (CNN) — A court in
Zimbabwe ruled Monday that six of 45 political
and civil society activists arrested last month on
charges of plotting to topple President Robert
Mugabe in a Tunisian-Egyptian style uprising
face a trial on treason charges and could be
executed if convicted .
” Merely listening to treasonous utterances is not
criminal ,” said Harare Magistrate Munamato
Mutevedzi as he freed 39 of the 45 activists who
have been detained since February 19 .
He said the six others must face trial because
they had organized and spoken at the meeting .
Mutevedzi ordered the six social and human
rights activists held , including former Movement
for Democratic Change Member of Parliament
Munyaradzi Gwisai .
They now await a trial date at the High Court on
treason charges, which carry the death sentence
in Zimbabwe.
” You can apply for bail at the High Court since
the offense you are facing is a scheduled
offense which cannot be entertained by a
magistrate court ,” said Mutevedzi, referring to
the six.
Immediately after the ruling , the activists ‘
attorney Charles Kwaramba told the court that
his clients were being detained in solitary
confinement while the women were being
forced to work at the prison .
” We seriously object to this . They are still
innocent and there is no need to punish them , “
said Kwaramba . ” Their right of liberty is being
seriously infringed . That amounts to slavery . It
must not be allowed in a democratic society . “
Last week , the United States expressed concern
about their arrests and allegations by their
lawyer that some of them were tortured.
The activists were arrested and charged with
treason after they were caught watching footage
of the protests that led to the ouster of Tunisian
leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian
President Hosni Mubarak .
At least 12 of the activists were beaten with
broomsticks on their buttocks and the soles of
their feet, according to their attorneys .
Robert Mugabe, 87 , has ruled Zimbabwe since
1980 . Like Mubarak and Ben Ali, he has been
accused of rigging elections and instituting
repressive laws to tighten his grip on power .
Political observers have suggested the arrests
may be an indication that authorities are
worried that the changes sweeping across north
Africa may inspire Zimbabweans to rise up .

From Columbus S . Mavhunga , CNN
March 7 , 2011 — Updated 1429 GMT ( 2229

Harare , Zimbabwe (CNN) — Washington has
ruled out lifting sanctions on Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle
until the regime shows a greater respect for
human rights, said a U . S . official visiting the
southern African nation Friday .
Susan Page, the deputy assistant secretary for
African affairs , said the United States was
concerned by the recent rise in ” political
violence , wanton intimidation of the public , and
partisan arrests and prosecutions . “
She applauded Mugabe ‘s statement last week
calling for an end to the violence but questioned
whether that message was filtering down to his
security forces.
” We hope President Mugabe, as head of state
and commander in chief of the armed forces,
also conveys that message to the police and
security services, ” Page said. ” The credibility of
that statement , however , ultimately will be
reflected in if or how it is honoured . “
Page said if Mugabe’ s party wants to play a
constructive role, ” it must reject the use of
violence and fear in its operations. “
Mugabe ‘s critics accuse the longtime ruler of
using violent means to hush his political
opponents, who are part of a unity government
that Mugabe wants ended .
In recent days , police in Zimbabwe have
arrested dozens of political activists, students
and trade union members for allegedly plotting
an Egyptian-style uprising . Defense attorneys
have reported torture of the detainees .
U . S . State Department Spokesman P . J . Crowley
said the activists were charged with treason and
urged Mugabe’ s government to uphold
international human rights laws and ensure due
process for those arrested.
The United States and the European Union
imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe in 2002.
Mugabe blames those sanctions for his
country ‘ s woes — which late last year included a
90 % unemployment and an inflation rate of
231, 000,000% – – and threatened to seize all
Western -owned investments in the country
unless sanctions were lifted .
Mugabe has held power since Zimbabwe
became independent in 1980 . In 2009 , he
formed a coalition government with challenger
Morgan Tsvangirai, who was named prime
minister .
But last December , Mugabe announced he was
tired of working with the opposition party ,
which he said ” lacked ideology and policies ” and
called for an election this year .
Tsvangirai , however , has threatened to boycott
the poll if a referendum on a new constitution is
not held .

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 4 , 2011 — Updated 1855 GMT ( 0255

The United States ambassador to Zimbabwe,
Charles Ray , has poured cold water on President
Robert Mugabe ’ s anti -sanctions drive saying the
campaign will not have any significance if
people remained suppressed .
On Wednesday President Mugabe officially
launched his Zanu PF party ’ s anti – sanctions
campaign , blasting the US , United Kingdom and
their allies for imposing sanctions against him
and his inner circle to effect regime change .
The 87 -year old veteran leader said the
sanctions were a form of violence which had
hurt the economy and impoverished
In retaliation , he threatened to seize companies
linked to countries that have maintained
sanctions on Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe and his lieutenants signed an
anti -sanctions petition .
But Ray said the petition was a “ wretched thing ”
when only one section of the population was
allowed to demonstrate .
“ Petitions are great things ,” said Ray in a
statement .
“ On any given day , thousands of petitions are
circulating in the US . But a petition becomes a
wretched thing when only one section of the
population is allowed the right to express its
views publicly , while others seeking the right to
assemble , petition , and demonstrate are
arrested and tortured. ”
Ray said Zimbabwe’ s current political and
economic environment , including fresh threats
from the President on his birthday to take over
established companies , had a chilling effect on
new investment , both domestic and
international .
“ Banks and other businesses are responsible to
their shareholders , and find it increasingly
difficult to justify investing in such a high risk
environment . Only economic stabilisation and
political sanity will change this , ” Ray said .
“ For more than 10 years , Zimbabwe has been
ineligible to receive any type of international
loan , regardless of US and EU opinions, due to
its leaders ’ failure to make payments on its
debt . Zimbabwe’ s unpaid debts to the African
Development Bank , IMF , and World Bank put a
stop to lending long before there were
sanctions . ”
Ray said restrictive measures imposed on
Zimbabwean leaders did “ not hurt other
Zimbabweans. What hurts the rest of the
country is the corruption , mismanagement , and
lack of social investment that has brought
development to a standstill ” .

18 : 35

UNITED NATIONS ( Reuters) – The United
Nations is investigating suspected arms
transfers from Zimbabwe to Ivory Coast’s
incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo in violation
of U . N . sanctions , according to a report
obtained by Reuters.
The report emerged after a week of gun
battles between forces loyal to Gbagbo and his
rival Alassane Ouattara , almost universally
recognized as winner of a November 28 poll,
that risk pushing the top cocoa grower back to
full -blown civil war .
Diplomats on the U . N . Security Council said
the possible transfer of weapons to Gbagbo
was a serious matter. They said his forces
could use them against U . N . peacekeepers —
UNOCI, who recognize Ouattara as Ivory
Coast’s president — or Ivorian civilians who
support Ouattara .
UNOCI’ s confidential ” Embargo monitoring
report January 2011 ,” obtained by Reuters on
Thursday , said the mission was gathering more
information on ” the arrival of light weapons
cargoes from Zimbabwe. ” U . N . officials told
Reuters arms from Zimbabwe would have been
intended for Gbagbo and not Ouattara .
In January, Gbagbo sent a special envoy to
Harare to meet with and enlist the support of
Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, who like
Gbagbo has been accused by his opponents of
election fraud and is under U . S . and European
Union sanctions .
Ivory Coast has been under an arms embargo
since the last bout of serious violence in 2004 ,
when pro -Gbagbo forces bombed French
peacekeepers in the rebel -held north . Analysts
say both sides have repeatedly violated the
The report also said UNOCI was monitoring a
shipment of 10 large wooden boxes that ” may
contain trucks or tanks . “
” This cargo has been at Abidjan airport for six
months ,” the UNOCI report said . ” Aerial
pictures confirmed the presence of these
boxes, which are under 24 / 7 hours military
surveillance. “

Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch said
countries aiding Gbagbo should be careful :
” Given the documented pattern of unlawful
attacks on civilians by pro -Gbagbo forces ,
countries violating the arms embargo to
provide weapons to his forces might be
complicit in grave human rights abuses . “
The report spoke of a ” suspected cargo delivery
from Angola ,” involving two Soviet –
manufactured Sukhoi -27 fighter jets and a
Soviet -made MIG- 25 interceptor and
reconnaissance bomber , spotted at San Pedro
airport in Cape Verde, and a Russian cargo
plane seen at Abidjan in January.
The Russian aircraft ” has a considerable cargo
capacity to carry heavy military equipment or a
company of soldiers ,” the report said .
The report did not explicitly say whether the
fighter jets were linked to Gbagbo’s
government. But it said UNOCI had received
information that the ” same ( Russian cargo )
aircraft had supplied equipment to the Ivorian
government in 2005. “
An official at Zimbabwe’ s mission expressed
surprise about the allegation and declined to
comment. Diplomats at Angola ‘ s U . N . mission
were not immediately available for a reaction .
Gbagbo has ordered UNOCI out of the country ,
a demand the mission has ignored . U . N .
troops have been protecting Ouattara , who is
holed up in an Abidjan hotel along with his
The UNOCI report is not the first of a possible
transfer of military aircraft to Gbagbo. U . N .
peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy apologized to
Belarus for a U . N . statement on Monday
alleging that an initial shipment of attack
helicopters had arrived in Ivory Coast from
Belarus .
Diplomats said the statement on the helicopter
sale issued by Secretary -General Ban Ki -moon ‘s
press office was based on credible U . S .
intelligence . Ouattara ‘s U . N . envoy Youssoufou
Bamba told reporters that the only incorrect
part of the statement was that a first shipment
had arrived .
” It’s true that he ( Gbagbo) wanted these three
helicopters to be smuggled into Cote d ‘Ivoire
and be assembled,” he said . ” This is something
we have from credible sources of intelligence . “

By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS | Thu Mar 3 , 2011 6 : 01 pm
( Editing by Mohammad Zargham )

Washington (CNN) — The United States
expressed concern Thursday about recent
arrests in Zimbabwe of political and civil society
activists and allegations by their lawyer that
some of them were tortured.
On February 19 , former Movement for
Democratic Change Member of Parliament
Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 other labor union
and student activists ” who had gathered
peacefully to discuss recent events in Egypt “
were arrested and charged with treason , State
Department spokesman Philip J . Crowley said in
a statement .
Other political and civil society activists have
also been arrested, he said.
” Gwisai ‘ s defense attorney has reported that
several of the 46 people were tortured while in
custody, and we understand that the magistrate
has ordered physical examinations to
substantiate those claims,” he said. ” We call on
the government to provide medical attention for
those who need it and , if torture occurred , to
take immediate action to hold the perpetrators
accountable . “
A ruling on the charges’ merits is to be delivered
March 7 .
Crowley called on the government of Zimbabwe
to uphold rights spelled out under the
International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and to ensure that those arrested are
guaranteed due process .
Zimbabwean authorities said the 46 people were
arrested and charged with treason after they
were caught watching footage of the protests
that led to the ouster of Tunisian leader Zine El
Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian President Hosni
Mubarak .
” On 16 February they held a meeting and the
purpose of the meeting was to organize,
strategize and implement the removal of a
constitutional government of Zimbabwe by
unconstitutional means , the Tunisian-Egyptian
way ,” prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba said last
week in court .
At least 12 of the activists were beaten with
broomsticks on their buttocks and the soles of
their feet, defense attorney Alec Muchadehama
told a packed courtroom on Thursday . All 46
defendants were charged with treason, a charge
that carries a death sentence in Zimbabwe.
” If watching television footage of the uprisings
was treason, most Zimbabweans would be guilty
of it because we watch news daily,”
Muchadehama said .
Robert Mugabe, 87 , has ruled Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980 . Like Mubarak and Ben
Ali , he has been accused of rigging elections and
instituting repressive laws to tighten his grip on
power .
The arrests may be an indication that authorities
are worried that the changes sweeping across
north Africa may inspire Zimbabweans to rise
up . The opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, MDC, which is in a troubled unity
government with Mugabe’ s ZANU-PF , has called
the arrests ” an abuse of state machinery by
ZANU-PF to suppress the people’s views . “
Mugabe ‘s policies over the past decade have
been blamed for plunging the once-prosperous
country into economic crisis . Mugabe has called
for an election this year , but his political rival
and leader of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai, has
threatened to boycott the poll if a referendum
on a new constitution is not held .

By the CNN Wire Staff
March 4 , 2011 — Updated 0151 GMT ( 0951

THE United Nations ‘ top human rights official
called yesterday for the release of dozens of
activists arrested in Zimbabwe for discussing the
uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia .
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi
Pillay said some of those arrested and charged
with treason , from the International Socialist
Organisation and other social justice and human
rights groups , had alleged they were beaten in
detention .
” The arrests appear to be part of a growing
crackdown on civil society and members of the
political opposition , and are a clear sign that the
establishment of a consolidated democracy in
Zimbabwe is still very far from assured, ” she
said in a statement .
Police in Zimbabwe said they arrested 46 people
in Harare last month as they watched videos of
North African protests and discussed possible
demonstrations in Zimbabwe, where President
Robert Mugabe , 87 , has held power for 31
years .
Pillay, a former UN war crimes judge , has
spoken out in support of protesters in North
Africa and the Middle East and said a crackdown
against demonstrators in Libya could amount to
crimes against humanity. She said yesterday the
uprisings had made it clear ” there is no true
democracy without freedom of expression and
assembly” .
” It is therefore both deeply ironic and disturbing
that, in Zimbabwe, activists are being arrested
and mistreated simply for discussing North
Africans’ efforts to bring about change through
largely peaceful protests, ” she said .
� Zimbabwean police and troops are putting on
a show of force in the capital as calls for
protests against the long -time authoritarian
ruler appear to have gone unheeded.
Armoured cars , trucks of riot police and Israeli –
built water cannon vehicles have swept through
Harare since Saturday , fanning out into
townships around the city . Authorities have
given no official explanation for the display of
Messages , many of them anonymous , posted on
Zimbabwean websites called for protests
yesterday . But there has been no open
campaigning for demonstrators to turn out on
the streets .
Mugabe is scheduled to address a mass rally in
central Harare today. – Reuters , Sapa- AP

Mar 1, 2011 10 : 01 PM | By unknown

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe may
have attempted to use Swaziland to bust
an international arms embargo by asking the
small kingdom nation to clandestinely buy
weapons from a British firm in 2008, it has
emerged .
The bid to evade an European Union arms
embargo on Harare was thwarted by British
authorities who blocked the purchase of US $ 60
million worth of military equipment by
Swaziland because of strong suspicions that the
small kingdom was acting as an intermediary for
Harare , according to a diplomatic cable released
last week by whistleblower website WikiLeaks.
The cable , written by former British ambassador
to Swaziland Maurice Parker , said that in
December 2008 the government of the
Kingdom of Swaziland ( GKOS ) sought to
purchase approximately US $60 million worth of
military equipment , including helicopters ,
vehicles , weapons and ammunition from a
British arms manufacturer .
“ The British government denied the request over
end – use concerns ,” Parker allegedly wrote.
In documents requesting permission to
purchase the equipment , Swaziland ‘ s Ministry of
Defence stated that the equipment was for use
by the country ’ s defence forces on United
Nations peacekeeping deployment in Africa.
Parker said permission was denied because it
was unclear whether the weapons were
intended for UN peacekeeping purposes or
whether Swaziland was “ possibly acting as an
intermediary for a third party ” .
“ The GKOS may have been attempting to build
up domestic capability to deal with unrest , or
was possibly acting as an intermediary for a
third party such as Zimbabwe or a Middle
Eastern country that had cash , diamonds or
goods to trade ,” the cable said.
The alleged purchase request came just months
after southern African human rights groups
stopped a Chinese ship laden with arms
destined for the Zimbabwean army from
docking at ports in the region.
Swaziland ’ s King Mswati III is one of Mugabe ’ s
closest regional allies and was chairman of the
security troika of the Southern African
Development Community .
Zimbabwe is subject to a Western arms
embargo which is part of a raft of punitive
measures imposed on Mugabe and senior
members of his ruling elite by the European
Union , United States , New Zealand and Australia
for their alleged role in human rights abuses .
The cable said the Swazi arms purchases were
blocked after suspicions that the array of
weapons requested would not be needed for
the first phases of peacekeeping .
The purchase application included requests for
three Bell Model UH-1 H helicopters, FN Herstal
light machine guns , armoured personnel
carriers , command and control vehicles
including one fitted with heavy machine gun ,
military ambulances , armoured repair and
recovery vehicles , military image intensifier
equipment and optical target surveillance
equipment .

by Own Correspondent

One of the state witnesses in the treason case
against Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 others is a
member of the state secret security service ,
Jonathan Soko, who gave the court details ,
through an affidavit, how security agents
penetrated the Gwisai meeting without the
organisers of the meeting suspecting anything .
Below is the intelligence officer ’ s affidavit :
“ I Jonathan Soko aged 28 years do hereby make
oath and swear that : I am employed by the
Zimbabwe Republic Police holding the rank of
Detective Sergeant. I am currently attached to
the Criminal Intelligence Unit and based at
Harare Central .
“ I know the accused only in connection with the
“ On 19 February 2011, I was on duty and I was
assigned by my superiors to cover a political
meeting that had not been sanctioned which
was to be held at Cross Roads House, 43 Julius
Nyerere Way , Harare . The intended speakers
were said to be Lovemore Matombo ( ZCTU) ,
Obert Masaruure ( Zinasu ) , J Chirenje ( MPAWUZ ) ,
Munyaradzi Gwisai ( ISO) and chaired by T
Sando ( ISO) ( whom I know as Antionator
Choto ) .
“ I got to the venue at about 13 : 45 hrs before the
meeting had commenced so as ( to avoid) the
vetting process . When the vetting process
commenced outside the room , I was already
seated and it seemed I had already been vetted
so I remained in the room . Over 40 people were
vetted as they entered the room by way of
presenting the programme with the ISO
emblem and headed ‘ ISO calls on workers ,
students and the working people to support the
struggle in solidarity with Egyptian and Tunisian
workers ’ and stating their organisation and how
they got to know about the meeting . Everyone
who attended was in possession of the invitation
document ( programme) .
“ When everyone was seated the meeting was
called to order by Antonater Choto who told
participants that they were invited for a
revolutionary cause but before deliberations
could start , they were to be shown a video
about the Egyptian revolution as they wait for
other speakers.
“ A video footage of events in the Egyptian revolt
was shown from a laptop computer and
projector by Michael Sozinyu and after the video
Choto told the meeting that Lovemore
Matombo of ZCTU who was billed to speak
could no longer make it to address the meeting
hence they could start . She told the meeting
that the speakers were to deliberate on the
lessons poor Zimbabweans and workers could
learn from the Egypt revolt and how best
Zimbabwe can implement the Egypt revolt so as
to remove a dictator and a system of
“ Welcome Zimuto of Zinasu , Hopewell Gumbo
of Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and
Development, Edson Chakuma of the Food and
Allied Workers ’ Union and Munyaradzi Gwisai
( ISO) gave speeches in this order . These
speeches were aimed at inciting public violence
as they told the meeting that it is possible for
the people to revolt against government and
cause the resignation of the president as
witnessed in Egypt . They said what is needed is
unity of purpose , mobilisation and proper
strategising. They said people should start
sending text messages and e -mails urging them
to revolt against the government which they
described as causing the suffering of
Zimbabweans. They said there is need to
remove President Mugabe from office because
he was a dictator. They also said Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai should not be allowed to
replace President Mugabe as he was a capitalist
and a stooge of the West .
“ Choto would moderate after every speaker and
would churn out slogans like viva socialism viva,
a luta continua, abacha chingoyoka which were
responded to by the participants who
participated in the sloganeering .

“ After the speeches Choto invited contributions
from the floor as she asked participants to say
what they had learned from the Egypt revolt
video and what Zimbabweans can do to achieve
what the Egyptians achieved.
“ The meeting was however disrupted at this
juncture and before anyone could speak a word
that police details had surrounded the building
and were demanding entry into the building
reached the meeting .
“ Gwisai then told everyone not to panic and
asked everyone to pretend as if they were
having a church service and this is when Pastor
Reki Jim started church songs and everyone
sang along . Some of the participants however
went to an adjacent phone shop and pretended
to be customers. Gwisai also ordered the
removal of the banner pinned to the walls with
the messages ‘ The choice now is socialism ’ .
He also ordered for the programme to be
collected from everyone .
“ Police details then managed to gain entry and
rounded up everyone and took them to Harare
Police Station . ”

STAFF WRITER | HARARE – Feb 25 2011 19 : 29