Archive for the ‘Police’ Category

Prime Minister , Morgan Tsvangirai Friday
warned the inclusive government would
immediately collapse if he was arrested.
The Prime Minister faces possible arrest for
contempt of court following his condemnation
of a Supreme Court ruling which set aside the
election of former Speaker of the House of
Assembly, Lovemore Moyo.
Sources in the AG’ s office said Tsvangirai was
likely to be charged under Section 82 ( 1 )
subsections ( a ) and ( b ) of the Criminal Law
( Codification and Reform ) Act .
But Tsvangirai told journalists soon after
returning from a regional tour where he was
appraising regional leaders on the deteriorating
state of affairs in the country that his arrest
would be the “ final nail to the delicate and
fragile government” .
“ Well , the thing is that if there were people who
want to arrest me, I am here and I don’ t think I
want to run away ,” Tsvangirai said .
“ I have heard about it ( the arrest) and we will
see how they proceed but that will be the last
nail in this whole delicate and fragile
government. ”
He added : “ I think people should not try to be
over reactive. People should just be calm about
it but I will , of course , be waiting to see what
the charges will be should they decide to
proceed on that .
Last week an angry-looking Tsvangirai attacked
the Supreme Court ruling on former Speaker
Moyo.
He said : “ The decision is a clear reflection of the
state of affairs at the Bench , the Judiciary which
in the post -Dumbutshena and post – Gubbay era
largely discredited itself by becoming a willing
appendage of Zanu PF .
“ Dubious and pro- executive decisions have been
made in this era . ”
Tsvangirai warned yesterday the country could
slide back to “ dark days ” of violence unless
regional leaders helped save the power-sharing
deal with President Robert Mugabe.
The PM said he had met leaders of Botswana ,
Mozambique , Swaziland and Zambia and
briefed them about the growing political
tensions in the country .
The security organ of Sadc which brokered the
power-sharing pact is set to meet in Zambia on
March 31 with Zimbabwe high on the agenda.
Tsvangirai said he will be meeting the Sadc
appointed facilitator in the Zimbabwean crisis,
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa this
weekend , to brief him on the situation in the
country .
“ I have told these fellow leaders that the time
for Sadc to act and deliver is now . And we are
all agreed that Zimbabwe should not be allowed
to decelerate into an implosion ,” he said .
“ I have told the Sadc leaders of the renewed
siege mood in Zimbabwe , the arbitrary arrests,
the crackdown on democratic forces in the
country and the culture of impunity that is
seriously threatening the health and the life of
the inclusive government . ”
He said the civilian authority was no longer in
charge of Zimbabwe and called on Sadc leaders
to intervene and ensure that the country does
not explode into chaos.
“ While I was away in the last four days , it
appears the civilian authority is no longer in
charge and dark and sinister forces have
engaged in a hostile take -over of running the
affairs of the country , with or without the
blessing of some leaders of the civilian
authority, ” said Tsvangirai .
“ Together with civic society and other
democratic forces , we had planned to hold a
major peace rally in Harare tomorrow ( today) to
pray for peace in the country . We had duly
notified the police as required by law. I was told
yesterday that the police have refused to allow
that peaceful rally to proceed , against the
provisions of the law and the letter and spirit of
the GPA.
“ There has been an instruction from the Police
Commissioner -General to effectively ban
meetings when there is a Cabinet decision that
no meetings should be banned . ”
Tsvangirai however said the rally would go
ahead because the ban was illegal .
Yesterday a Harare magistrate, Barbara
Chimboza, ruled the MDC-T rally should not be
held because it was not in the interest of public
order .
Lawyers representing the MDC-T were late
yesterday preparing to file an urgent High Court
application to challenge the ruling .
Police banned MDC-T rallies scheduled for this
weekend , saying Zanu PF had either booked the
venues or was holding its own rallies in close
proximity to where the MDC-T wanted to
assemble .

OWEN GAGARE \ MOSES MATENGA | HARARE
– Mar 18 2011 17 : 49
http://www.newsday.co.zw

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
Change.
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
decline.
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. “

By CELIA W . DUGGER
Published: March 11 , 2011
http://www.NYTimes.com

HARARE — Zimbabwe ‘s Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai called on Thursday for a ” divorce” in
the unity government, proposing elections under
a roadmap by the Southern African
Development Community .
” We have reached a moment where we are
saying , let’ s agree that this is not working , it ‘s
dysfunctional,” Tsvangirai told a news
conference at his party ‘s headquarters.
” Let’ s make arrangements to go for elections
under a roadmap designed by SADC so that we
have a clear, legitimate government. “
” Even those with legendary patience, like some
of us, have reached a stage where we are saying
enough is enough. There is obviously a
breakdown in the relationship between the
parties,” Tsvangirai said .
” If people find that a marriage has reached
irreconcilable differences , then agree to a
divorce. “
Tsvangirai spoke hours after police detained
energy minister Elton Mangoma , a key member
of his Movement for Democratic Change ( MDC) ,
on undisclosed charges.
The MDC suffered another blow Thursday when
the Supreme Court nullified the 2008 election of
party chairman Lovemore Moyo as speaker of
parliament , following an appeal by Mugabe’ s
close ally , Jonathan Moyo.
Tsvangirai said Mangoma ‘ s arrest by a police
constable was a reflection of Mugabe ‘s ZANU-PF
party’ s ” total disregard to the basic tenets of
decency . “
” His arrest is an assault on the global political
agreement , ” the deal that created the unity
government two years ago, Tsvangirai said.

( AFP )

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
week.
“ 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
state.
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 .

RICHARD MUPONDE | BULAWAYO – Mar 07
2011 20 : 09
http://www.newsday.co.zw

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Monday said
President Robert Mugabe had agreed to have a
police “ ban ” on MDC-T rallies lifted .
Observers said it was not clear whether the ban
was a calculated move by the police to maintain
law and order in the wake of political violence
or acts by overzealous and partisan officers
singing for their supper .
Monday Tsvangirai reportedly met the 87 -year –
old former guerilla leader to discuss the ban on
public gatherings, especially those of the MDC-T
and other organisations perceived to be anti –
Zanu PF .
“ The Prime Minister and the President met
today and agreed that all meetings should be
allowed to proceed ,” said Luke Tamborinyoka ,
the Prime Minister ’ s spokesperson .
“ The two agreed that there is no instruction to
stop any meetings as insinuated by overzealous
police officers who enforced a non- existent
instruction to stop the people of Zimbabwe from
exercising their constitutional right of assembly. ”
Tamborinyoka said there was a general
agreement that the government was under no
threat to justify prohibition of public meetings .
“ Moreover, Cabinet met last week and agreed
that there was no threat to the inclusive
government to warrant a ban on public
meetings , ” Tamborinyoka said.
“ According to the GPA , executive authority in
the country is shared between the President , the
Prime Minister and Cabinet . That all of them
have not sanctioned any ban on public
meetings can only mean that whoever is
tampering with the people’ s freedom of
assembly is either being deliberately
mischievous or has a parallel government
agenda. ”
He added : “ The President and the Prime
Minister agreed that there is no state of
emergency in the country ; that the people’ s
rights must be respected ; and that there is no
instruction from anyone to stop public
meetings . ”
George Charamba, President Mugabe ’ s
spokesperson , yesterday said he was not yet
aware of any such meeting between the
President and the Prime Minister .
“ I don’ t have that information as yet , but when I
left at around 1 pm I had not heard about the
meeting , I am not sure if he ( the President ) met
the PM. Let me find out and get back to you,”
Charamba said .
But by the time of going to print , Charamba had
not honoured his word .
Repeated efforts to contact him proved fruitless
thereafter.
Weekend reports said the police had banned
public meetings throughout the country .
The ban had been put in place ahead of the
MDC-T congress in May and possible elections
being agitated for by Zanu PF much to the
chagrin of GPA facilitator South African
President Jacob Zuma .
The ban mainly affected the MDC-T because
Zanu PF gatherings and demonstrations are
usually blessed by the police .
The MDC- T is holding restructuring meetings
ahead of its elective congress, but the ban had
adversely affected the exercise .
On Saturday , the police allegedly barred the
MDC-T from holding meetings in Mashonaland
East , West and Bulawayo provinces with
weekend reports suggesting the police and army
were on high alert amid reports of possible
disturbances in the country .
Former MDC-T MP Munyaradzi Gwisai is
languishing in remand prison charged with
treason for allegedly trying to incite an Egypt –
type revolution in Zimbabwe.
He reportedly invited political activists to watch
a video of the North African protests which
brought down Egypt ’ s strongman Hosni
Mubarak .
In a similar but unrelated incident , three top
members of a Bulawayo- based party, Mthwakazi
Liberation Front , also face treason charges after
they allegedly distributed fliers inciting people to
disobey President Mugabe’ s rule.
If convicted they face the death penalty . Last
week, planned demonstrations against political
violence failed to take off after a heavy
deployment of police and soldiers .
However , Zanu PF was allowed to hold its rally
at the Glamis Arena last Wednesday where
President Mugabe launched his anti -sanctions
campaign .

KELVIN JAKACHIRA /FELUNA NLEYA | HARARE
– Mar 07 2011 20 : 02
http://www.newsday.to.zw

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
HKT )

Bulawayo police have banned street protests,
rallies and meetings by political parties and civic
groups citing a hostile environment , a measure
observers described as “ symptomatic of regimes
without the people’ s mandate ” .
Police were denying political parties, other than
Zanu PF , and civic groups permission to hold
rallies on the back of suspicion the gatherings
could plot North Africa-style anti -government
uprisings .
The ban was prompted by fear the meetings
could be hijacked and used as a launchpad for
anti -President Robert Mugabe protests .
This comes at a time International Socialist
Organisation general coordinator Munyaradzi
Gwisai and 45 others are in remand prison for
allegedly planning an Egypt -style uprising
against President Mugabe ’ s rule.
Over the past few weeks, Bulawayo police have
denied the two MDCs and political pressure
groups permission to hold rallies, protests and
political meetings .
MDC-T Bulawayo provincial spokesperson Felix
Magalela Sibanda said the move had adversely
affected the party’ s preparations ahead of its
elective congress set for May .
“ The police are saying our meetings are
cancelled indefinitely . . . there is just no
justification for the cancellation of our
meetings , ” said Sibanda .
Last week , MDC- T MP for Bulawayo Central
Dorcas Sibanda was briefly detained for
allegedly organising a meeting perceived to
support anti -President Mugabe protests .
She was arrested during a fund- raising event for
Mpilo Central Hospital .
On Monday last week, police arrested over 22
Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise ( Woza /
Moza) activists for holding a burial society
meeting in Entumbane and charged them with
planning anti -government protests .
Last Wednesday , police denied the Bulawayo
Progressive Residents ’ Association ( BPRA )
permission to hold street protests against poor
service delivery, saying “ they were given a
directive not to clear any meetings or
demonstrations ” .
BPRA said the “ move by the police is an affront
to freedom of expression and the right of
Zimbabweans to assembly” , adding the
association was considering taking legal action
against police .
Tsepiso Mpofu , the coordinator for the Youth
Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, which is
spearheading a programme to assist youths
with voter registration, last week said her
association had also been denied permission to
hold meetings in high -density suburbs .
Edwin Ndlovu, the spokesperson for the
Welshman Ncube – led MDC, said their party
meetings had also been stopped on flimsy
grounds .
“ Police were clear and told us that they cannot
allow us to go ahead with our meetings because
we will use them to launch anti -government
protests, ” Ndlovu said .
Analysts , however , condemned the move by the
police as unconstitutional .
Rodrick Fayayo , a Bulawayo-based
commentator , said : “ It’ s symptomatic of
regimes without the people’ s mandate . They are
scared of the demonstrations they see in North
Africa, that is why they are closing space . ”
Acting Bulawayo police provincial spokesperson
Inspector Precious Simango could neither
confirm nor deny that police had officially
suspended political meetings , rallies and
protests.
“ There are reasons why those meetings , rallies
and protests were not sanctioned by the
regulating authorities,” Simango said , but
refused to state the reasons.

NQOBANI NDLOVU | BULAWAYO – Mar 06
2011 18 : 48
http://www.newsday.co.zw

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
HKT )

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
force.
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
http://www.timeslive.co.za

HARARE ( Reuters) – Internet campaigns calling
for protests against the 31 – year rule of President
Robert Mugabe on Tuesday did not lead to any
mass gatherings in Zimbabwe, where police
have threatened to crush any ” Egypt -style “
protests.
The two campaigns , on Facebook and Twitter ,
were trying to start popular uprisings similar to
ones that toppled the long -serving leaders of
Tunisia and Egypt and are threatening Libyan
strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Although there was no unusual security
deployment in Harare on Tuesday , private
newspaper NewsDay reported that soldiers in
armoured troop carriers had been ” sighted ” on
Monday in traditionally restive townships in the
capital.
The Facebook campaign calling for a million
citizen march and a separate one on Twitter
were aimed at bringing down Mugabe, 87 ,
leader since independence from Britain in 1980.
Zimbabweans in London were planning to burn
an effigy of Mugabe outside of the country ‘ s
embassy in London in support of the Facebook
campaign .
But by mid- morning, there was no sign of any
gathering in the large park in Harare named as
the protest venue by the organisers operating
under the banner FreeZimActivists .
Other parks , normally packed with people, were
largely empty , apparently over people’s fears of
being caught up in any protest .
Zimbabwe’s dominant state media made no
reference to the planned demonstration against
Mugabe, who rights groups say has used
violence and intimidation to crush any
challenges.
Tensions have been running high in the past
weeks, with Mugabe ‘s ZANU- PF pushing for
early elections that officials from the rival and
governing partner MDC party have said could
lead to a bloodbath.
Mugabe was forced into a power -sharing
government with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’ s Movement for Democratic Change
after the controversial 2008 vote that led to
violence and hundreds of thousands fleeing the
country .
Police officials – – who said they would crack
down on any protest — were not immediately
available for comment.
Ordinary Zimbabweans are fearful of speaking
publicly about the call to protest, mindful of
tight security laws with sweeping provisions
against anything that could be viewed as inciting
violence or rebellion against a constitutional
order .
Last week , police arrested 46 people in Harare
as they watched videos of protests in the north
African countries and discussed possible
demonstrations in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe
plans to run for another five year -term in
elections he wants to call later this year .
ZANU-PF has deployed massive shows of force ,
including using helicopter gunships, against
previous protests .
Critics say Mugabe has used tough policing and
vote -rigging to keep his grip on power despite
an economic crisis in the past decade that many
blame on his mismanagement .

By Cris Chinaka
HARARE ( Reuters)