SADC Peace Keepers
At a press conference on his arrival in Zimbabwe on Saturday 24 May, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai called for peacekeepers and election monitors from the 14-member regional body SADC to be deployed in Zimbabwe by the end of May.
Death Toll in Post Election State-Sponsored Violence
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa says that according to the party’s records, 50 MDC members have been killed since the March 29 elections. (25 May 2008)
Zanu-PF is targeting influential MDC activists in the rural areas, in the past week those who have been killed were chairmen, polling agents and village heads.Â This is a deliberate strategy to weaken the structures of the MDC.
The abductions of political and civil activists have intensified in the last week as ZANU-PF continues its campaign to destroy opposition structures ahead of the presidential runoff. We have received reports that nearly 20 people have been abducted since Friday. (SW Radio May 28 2008) Â
Estimated Number of Displaced People / Communities (Zimbabwe)
The MDC estimates that over 25 000 people in former strongholds of Zanu-PF have been forced to flee to neighbouring towns and cities. Â
Morgan Tsvangirai says Zanu PF has launched a violent campaign against its supporters in a bid to avoid another defeat next month.Â (Reuters 28 May 2008)
The MDC MP elect for Mbare, Piniel Denga, has endorsed the call for the deployment of election observers and monitors immediately to ensure that those displaced by the violence can go back to their areas. Â
Estimated Number of Homes Destroyed
By mid May, more than 1 000 homes had been destroyed.Â One of the most calculated acts of cruelty by this regime, one of their tried and tested tactics, is to destroy food supplies.Â In a country which needs food aid for an estimated 4.1 million people (out of an estimated population of 7-8 million), Zanu PF loyal thugs have burned piles of maize.Â One of the affected areas is Uzumba.
Post Election State Sponsored Violence a Deliberate StrategyÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
The post election state sponsored violence is a deliberate strategy.Â It has been carefully planned by Mugabe, his deputy Emerson Mnangagwa and the 15 or so senior military police and intelligence officers in the Joint Operation Command (JOC), which now runs Zimbabwe. Â
Their intention is to intimidate the supporters of the opposition so that they either cannot, or are too afraid, to vote in the run-off elections…. Â
Through illegal methods, including the torture and blackmail of abducted opposition activists, Zanu-PF has obtained a list of all the polling agents and leading activists who work on behalf of Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC. Â
Now, village by village, town by town, it is embarking on a savage campaign to eradicate them all.Â (Daily Mail) 15 May 2008).
In tandem with this eradication process is the strategy of displacing thousands of voters, notably from areas which voted for Morgan Tsvangirai.Â Voters are only allowed to vote in the constituencies where they are registered.
Extreme Brutality of Attacks
The victims of violence have been killed using some of the most vicious techniques, including cutting off of genitals, limbs, hands, legs and various other body parts. Bludgeoning of victims to death using steel bars, axes, sticks, gun butts and other blunt objects has been common. Every week the MDC is reporting its activists being murdered and providing evidence of the killings. Doctors have confirmed in medical reports that most of the victims — at least 45 so far — died after “severe assaults”. (Business Day 26 May 2008)
Attacks on Women, Children and the Elderly
Zanu-PF militia is kidnapping children and women. The purpose of the abductions is to force husbands and fathers to return to their villages, where they face beatings and torture by the militia for being MDC supporters. Several of the women who have been abducted have been subjected to sexual harassment, torture and assault. According to the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), many hundreds of men have fled the rural areas to seek safety in the cities. (Reliefweb)
A heavily pregnant woman who was three months away from giving birth was bludgeoned to death in a horrific, brutal and frenzied attack’ that left her almost unrecognisable. Rosemary Maramba’s body was found in Nhakiwa village in Mutawatawa in Mashonaland central. Maramba is one of three people linked to the MDC, who were murdered in the area over the weekend. (SW Radio Africa 22 May 2008)
Clergy – Catholic Priests in Hiding
Many Catholic priests and lay people are reported to be on the wanted lists of soldiers and militia groups and many are forced to remain in hiding following death threats.Â Reprisals come after the Catholic Church joined with other denominations on 8th May to speak out about the country’s deteriorating human rights situation, including the organised violence in areas that did not vote for ZANU PF. (ACN News 26 May 2008)
The Zimbabwean Newspaper:Â The Zimbabwean reports that a 14-tonne truck containing 60,000 copies of Sunday’s edition of The Zimbabwean on Sunday was intercepted and set alight on Saturday night south of Masvingo. The driver (a South African national) and his partner (a Zimbabwean national) were severely beaten with rifle butts and dumped separately in the bush.Â The Zimbabwean’s passport was confiscated and burnt.
Sky TV:Â Zimbabwe police have arrested three people, two of them South Africans, in connection with “illegal broadcasting equipment” for British television network Sky TV, state radio said on Tuesday. It said the three were detained at the weekend in the western city of Bulawayo.
ICJR:Â The New York-based International Committee to Protect Journalists said the regime was one of the world’s most hostile governments to the media.
Last week the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission filed an urgent application in the High Court chambers seeking an order to destroy ballot saying they want to re-use the boxes for the run off election. ZEC chairman Justice Chiweshe argued that due to financial constraints the commission cannot afford to buy new boxes and seals. In terms of the Electoral Act ballot papers should not be destroyed for a total of six months after the election.
The MDC reported that the Zanu PF government has instructed town clerks and executive officers running rural and urban councils not to cooperate with the newly elected councillors from assuming office until after the second round of the presidential election scheduled for June 27.
SADC Tribunal in Windhoek – Landmark Farm Test Case
THE landmark application brought before the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal in Windhoek by Zimbabwean commercial farmers will be heard at the Supreme Court in Windhoek, Namibia, today.Â The case is set for hearing 28 to 30 May.
Marches / Rallies
Over 2 000 people marched on the streets of Johannesburg on Saturday 24 May in a protest over the recent spate of xenophobic attacks that have claimed approximately 44 lives with the majority being African migrants.
Xenophobic Attacks on Foreigners in South Africa
According to Human Rights Watch, since the attacks on African migrants started 11 May, they have claimed over 50 lives and displaced more than 25,000 people, in addition to thousands forced to return to their countries.The Red Cross said on Monday 26 May 2008 that an estimates 25 000 Zimbabweans were fleeing the xenophobic violence in South Africa were heading to Zambia with others moving to Mozambique and Botswana.
Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula told the BBC 56 people had been killed and more than 650 injured. Previously, 50 deaths were reported. He also added that more than 30 000 people had been displaced, 1 300 arrests have been made and special courts had been set up to deal with the situation.The Red Cross in South Africa is currently caring for 25,000 destitute
people who had been driven from their homes around Johannesburg and
Pretoria, the hotspot of the unrest.
Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change party hired at least 1 000 buses to transport refugees affected by the violence back home.
ÂPost published in: News