News briefs 25-05-06

UZ student president arrested
HARARE - Tineyi Mukwewa, the president of the UZ Student Representative Council (SRC) was arrested this week by police from the Harare CID law and order section
Student leader Washington Katema reported that Tineyi was picked up at the campus

in connection with the demonstrations that rocked Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) two weeks ago.
Katema said this latest arrest follows an article that appeared in the state controlled Herald saying the Mashonaland Central provincial spokesperson Inspector Michael Munyikwa had deployed a team to look for Mukwewa and also Givemore Chari the SRC president at BUSE and Promise Mkwananzi the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) President.
Katema said, “ZINASU condemns the wanton, brutal and barbarously vicious violation of our academic freedoms by the ‘government’ of today. The vision for ‘education for all’ has transmogrified into a melodramatic nightmare. Education is not for sale.” – SW Radio Africa

Swedish ambassador denies criticising EU sanctions
HARARE – Sweden’s top envoy to Zimbabwe has said he fully supports targeted sanctions slapped on President Robert Mugabe and his top lieutenants by the European Union (EU), contradicting controversial remarks attributed to him in the state media.
Ambassador Sten Rylander has, since assuming his diplomatic duties in Harare a few months ago, been portrayed by the state media as a “well-known critic of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe”.
However, he maintained that government “spin-doctors” were deliberately misquoting him after he was reported in the state media last week as saying the smart sanctions against Mugabe’s hierarchy were hurting the poor.
“Once again I am forced to point out that my views have been deliberately distorted – either by unprofessional reporting or official spin-doctoring,” Rylander said.
“Sensible readers . . . will realise that an ambassador of any EU member state would never make statements deviating from the common EU position. I, for one, and the country I represent, am fully behind this position as it still stands, including the imposition of targeted sanctions vis-à-vis Zimbabwe.” – ZimOnline

Army refuses to divulge DRC losses
HARARE – A senior defence official this week refused to disclose to journalists Zimbabwe’s losses in men and equipment during a military intervention in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a matter that has remained a closely guarded secret in Harare.
At a press conference to launch a joint programme for United Nations personnel and Zimbabwe army officers to conduct lectures on peace-keeping efforts in various
schools, Defence Permanent Secretary Trust Maphosa rejected questions by journalists to say how many men and how much equipment Zimbabwe lost during the war that began in 1998 and ended in 2003.
Zimbabwe intervened in the DRC in 1998 to shore up that country’s late leader Joseph Kabila (father of present DRC President Joseph Kabila) against an armed
rebellion that was backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
Senior army officers and other Zimbabwean government officials reportedly looted diamonds and timber from the DRC for personal gain.
Repeated probes by the media about the exact losses incurred by Zimbabwe in the DRC have met with no response with Harare touchy over the issue especially
because most economists attribute Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown partly to the Congo misadventure which came soon after the government awarded war veterans unbudgeted gratuities. – ZimOnline

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