Exiled Zimbabwean human rights activist Gertrude Hambira talks about Robert Mugabe’s election as head of the African Union.
The issue of land In Zimbabwe: we present the last coverage from Zimbabwe’s London based SW radio Africa.
As the Zimbabwean elections unfold, and Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF turn to intimidation and fraud to hold onto power, Amandla’s Gwen Schulman and Rose Marie Whalley speak to Gertrude Hambira, the former Secretary General of the largest trade union in Zimbabwe and a member of Women of Zimbabwe Arise; and Violah Shamu, who was elected as a city councillor for the capital city of Harare in 2002 and was driven into hiding by the Mugabe regime.
Gabriel Shumba is one of Zimbabwe’s most prominent human rights defenders and provides regular expert commentary to national media in South Africa and international media. He is a human rights lawyer who fled Zimbabwe in 2003 after he was arrested and brutally tortured for providing counsel to a representative of the Movement for Democratic Change, President Robert Mugabe’s chief political opposition.
In 2004, he appeared before US Congress to testify on behalf of victims of political violence in Zimbabwe. In October 2006, Gabriel petitioned the Canadian government to indict President Robert Mugabe under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
Nous avons parlé, dans ce blog, de la possibilité de voir un coup d’état renversant Robert Mugabe, au Zimbabwe. Un des acteurs principaux pouvant être Solomon Mujuru. AllAfrica.com, un site de nouvelles africaines bien connu, vient nous confirmer qu’une telle tentative a été déjouée par le camp Mugabe.
We already posted in this blog, the possibility of seeing an attempt of coup d’état against President Mugabe in Zimbabwe. We mentioned Solomon Mujuru as one of the potential protagonists. AllAfrica.com, a well known African news site, just released the news saying a coup d’état was thwarted by the Mugabe camp.
By Tichaona Sibanda.
Unconfirmed reports say influential retired Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, General Solomon Mujuru has been placed under house arrest following reports of a foiled coup plot against Robert Mugabe.
Accurate information about the country’s military activities is notoriously difficult to find and a highly reliable army source told Newsreel it was too early to put the ‘pieces together’. He confirmed military intelligence officers were following up on the names of some ‘big guns’ believed to be involved in the plot.
‘The problem with Mujuru is that even under house arrest no soldier can stop him from venturing out. The best they could do is put him under surveillance and monitor his phone calls which they might have been doing all along,’ said our source.
Another serving officer told us information circulating widely in the army was that Mujuru was placed under house arrest a few days after Major General Engelbert Rugeje and Air Vice Marshall Elson Moyo were picked up after being fingered as the coup leaders. Mujuru still wields vast influence over many military officers who came through Zanu (PF)’s armed wing, ZANLA.
Retired army Colonel Bernard Matongo said the implications of the alleged coup plot have left Mugabe in limbo because he has no-one else to trust. Mugabe has always banked on the support of his loyal defence forces to sustain his rule. His party has split into two, with both factions fighting to get rid of him.
‘If reports of the coup plot are true then Mugabe has been left standing alone. The only people he can trust now are his bodyguards, many of whom are his close relatives, otherwise his position as head of state is becoming less secure by the day,’ Matongo said.
Reports of the coup plot were suppressed in the country until Thursday when the weekly Financial Gazette carried the story. Some details had first emerged last week when The Zimbabwean and The Zimbabwe Times both published reports of the coup.
Sources in the army told us this is the first time since independence that investigations over a coup plot have been carried out in the country. Usually a barrage of denials from the army meets any mention of a coup against Mugabe.
But the army has not uttered a word or issued a denial this time, suggesting reports might be true. Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi last week took the unusual step of confirming to The Zimbabwean newspaper that several soldiers had been arrested, but for ‘misconduct.’
First reports of the alleged plot filtered through when a Major Sigauke was reportedly instructed by General Rugeje to put his B squadron of the armoured regiment on standby. Sigauke once served under Rugeje at Inkomo barracks but became suspicious of the order and informed the chief of the defence intelligence, Brigadier Mike Sango. Sango in turn passed on the information to General Constantine Chiwenga, who immediately briefed Mugabe of the plot.
Newsreel is also reliably informed that the army’s Presidential Guard, headed by Brigadier Armstrong Gunda and the Special Air Services under the command of Colonel Panga Kufa, were put on high alert following reports of an impending coup. It is not known what role top co-accused Air Vice Marshall Moyo might have played in the alleged plot, but it’s believed almost all pilots in the Airforce of Zimbabwe are loyal to him as the only high ranking officer able to fly an aircraft. After independence Moyo was a flying instructor at Thornhill Airbase in Gweru where he trained the majority of pilots who are senior officers now.
Other senior commanders like Air Marshal Perence Shiri and his deputies Air Vice Marshals Henry Muchena and Abu Basutu don’t have flying wings.
Meanwhile the UK Daily Telegraph also carried reports of the ‘coup’ Thursday and said that seven serving and former officers of the army have been charged with plotting against Mugabe.
The paper said the men were arrested in stages, beginning on May 29, and appeared twice in closed hearings at Harare magistrates’ court earlier this month. A police record of the arrests said that the officers were accused of ‘treason’ over a plot in which they aimed to overthrow Mugabe and install Emmerson Mnangagwa, the rural housing minister, in his place.
There are conflicting and different reports about the coup, suggesting that this is all part of the bitter infighting in Zanu (PF) as both factional leaders have been mentioned as being involved. It is known Mujuru and Mnangagwa don’t see eye to eye and that both men are reportedly plotting behind Mugabe’s back to oust him from power. It also seems one camp is now blaming the other for this plot.
Il semble que les États-Unis auraient bien voulu renverser Mugabe et appuyer Morgan Tsvangirai. Il semble qu’un rapport du Département d’État (“Supporting Human Rights and Democracy report (2006)”, Téléchargeable ici) nous laisse entendre que oui.
Did the USA wanted to topple Mugabe and support Morgan Tsvangirai? It seems that a report from the US State Department (“Supporting Human Rights and Democracy report (2006)”, Download here) makes us believe so.
The following article talks about it:
By Ewen MacAskill, Guardian 6/4/07
Apr 7, 2007, 09:58
The US admitted openly for the first time yesterday that it was actively working to undermine Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe. Although officially Washington does not support regime change, a US state department report published yesterday acknowledged that it was supporting opposition politicians in the country and others critical of Mr Mugabe.
The state department also admitted sponsoring events aimed at “discrediting” statements made by Mr Mugabe’s government.
The report will be seized on by Mr Mugabe, who has repeatedly claimed that the US and Britain are seeking regime change.
The comments are contained in the state department’s fifth annual Supporting Human Rights and Democracy report. It sets out in detail actions the US government is taking worldwide to promote human rights. The report has had a troubled history. Three years ago publication had to be hastily delayed when details emerged about US human rights abuses at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.
The US, compared with the UK, was initially slow to criticise Mr Mugabe, but has since adopted an increasingly critical stance, most recently at the Human Rights Council in Geneva last month.
In an unusual piece of candour, the state department report says: “To encourage greater public debate on restoring good governance in [Zimbabwe], the United States sponsored public events that presented economic and social analyses discrediting the government’s excuses for its failed policies.
“To further strengthen pro-democracy elements, the US government continued to support the efforts of the political opposition, the media and civil society to create and defend democratic space and to support persons who criticised the government.”
While the US and British governments still insist their aim in Zimbabwe is not regime change, they have been encouraging the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangarai, who was beaten up last month.
The report says that while Zimbabwe is nominally democratic, the government of Mr Mugabe is “now authoritarian”.
At a press conference to launch the document, the assistant secretary of state, Barry Lowenkren, said the US goal was not necessarily regime change but to create a level playing field for all parties. He added that where there was a country with record levels of inflation, denial of basic human rights and other abuses, the US had a duty to speak out so that people in Zimbabwe knew they had support.
Asked whether US efforts to promote human rights worldwide were being undermined by the hundreds of of people being held at Guantánamo, Mr Lowenkren insisted the issue was not raised by non-governmental groups at conferences he attended and participants were more interested in what the US could do to help them in their own countries.
He also denied the report was softer on authoritarian governments allied to the US, such as Belarus, than to Zimbabwe.
Voici un article de Tawanda Mutasah (directeur exécutif de l’Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa) qui nous indique que les chefs d’États africains commencent à confronter Mugabe qui semble s’être tirer dans le pied en ayant voulu persécuter l’opposition. Cette dernière, sous l’initiative de la centrale syndicale ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions), a déclencher un mouvement de grève générale qui n’a malheureusement pas été suivi partout (lien en anglais). Il faut comprendre que la présence policière a été forte. D’ailleurs, le travail des journalistes devient de plus en plus difficile. The Independent nous annonce même la mort d’Edward Chikombo, un caméraman de la chaîne nationale ZBC, qui a été assassiné.
Here is an article by Tawanda Mutasah (executive director of the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa) who tells us that leaders from African states start confronting Mugabe, which seems to have shot himself in the foot by persecuting the opposition. The opposition, under the initiative of the ZCTU (Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions), started a general strike movement that unfortunately wasn’t followed everywhere. But we have to understand that the police presence was strong. The journalists’ work has become difficult and the Independent even tells us that Edward Chikombo, a cameraman for the state broadcaster ZBC, was assassinated.
When the leaders of other Southern African countries met Robert Mugabe last week in Tanzania, they talked tough behind closed doors – telling him to stop his regime’s brutal oppression of dissidents and the slow starvation of his people. But in a troubling public gesture, the same leaders called for the removal of “all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe.”
In fact, the sanctions on travel for Mugabe and his henchmen are one form of pressure that has actually been successful.
Why should Mugabe be able to “bash” his people – in his own words – and then leave them without electricity and water while he commandeers the national airline to go to London and shop at Harrods? Before the current travel restrictions, he was famous for doing just that.
For a decade, Mugabe has shored up his regime by violent suppression of pro-democracy movements at home, coupled with Africanist appeals for legitimacy abroad. But in the aftermath of shocking attacks this month on opposition leaders, his position looks increasingly precarious.
It is increasingly unclear whether Mugabe is fully in control in Zimbabwe. The current crackdown defies even the perverted logic of self-preservation.
Why would Mugabe shoot himself in the foot by ordering mass arrests of activists and passers-by alike in the vicinity of the Harare headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change? The arrest of the movement’s leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the abduction and torture of prodemocracy organizers have fueled outrage.
It is possible that the government has already started to disintegrate, and Mugabe – though he would not admit it – has lost control of the security apparatus of his party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, or Zanu-PF.
Human rights defenders in Africa worry that Mugabe may continue to hide behind African regional mechanisms while he destroys Zimbabwe. Many leaders in our region have been reluctant to reject Mugabe’s attempts to use his Africanist credentials to shield himself from criticism – as when he questioned the “Africanness” of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights after it criticized abuses in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe and his inner circle have consistently tried to pull the wool over the eyes of their African neighbors, using a combination of diversionary theatrics, and poker-faced lies – such as the 13-page document recently issued to African embassies that claims that Tsvangirai was “at no time” assaulted while in police custody, despite the photographs of his wounds that appeared in newspapers worldwide.
Some African leaders have taken encouraging steps in recent weeks. In addition to the Southern Africa Development Community meeting in Tanzania to discuss Zimbabwe’s crisis, the African Union’s chairman, John Kufuor, and commission head, Alpha Konare, raised concerns about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. South Africa finally expressed its discomfort over events; and Zambia’s president, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, called Zimbabwe a “sinking Titanic.”
In the face of the Mugabe regime’s dissembling, African leaders must be crystal clear in their demands. First, they must insist that Zimbabwe adhere to democratic standards – and the African treaties that Zimbabwe has signed.
Second, African leaders must hold Mugabe accountable to an immediate process to end his country’s crisis. This should include, in the year remaining before Zimbabwe’s next presidential elections, a credible road map for a democratic constitution, an immediate restoration of the rule of law, a framework for free and fair elections under international supervision and transitional guarantees of non-partisan control of key state institutions such as the army an the police.
African leaders must overcome their reluctance to criticize one of their own. In the face of the disaster in Zimbabwe, we should all be speaking up.
Voici un commentaire de Mary Riddell dans le Guadian de Londres qui commente le devoir qu’a l’Europe de faire pression sur les dictateurs africains pour qu’ils cessent leurs régimes tyranniques, notamment celui de Mugabe au Zimbabwe. Voici le texte dans son intégralité et qu’on peut aussi trouver ici.
Here is a comment from Mary Riddell in the London Guardian about:”The European Union, 50 this week, [which] has a moral and historical duty to exert diplomatic pressure on Africa’s monstrous leaders” and especially with Mugabe’s tyranny. (You can also find the original text here):
This is a story of war and bunfights. Start with the party thrown by Robert Mugabe to mark his 83rd birthday. Herds of cattle were slaughtered and drums of beer imported for a banquet that filled a football stadium. Outside, the people starved and the morgues filled up. Soon afterwards, Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, had his skull smashed by the President’s men. In Zimbabwe, the hangover of excess and brutality goes on.
Next Sunday, the leaders of the European Union will gather in Berlin for another celebration, to mark the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Two spectres will haunt the 50th anniversary of a prosperous club. The first is Zimbabwe, the second Darfur. Both languish in the shadow of slaughter and repression, the birth parents of modern Europe.
Africa has changed, too. Today’s version barely resembles the continent whose image dominated the G8 concerts of 2005. Poverty is not history, despite some progress, and nor is tyranny. Some countries grow more vibrant and economically stable, but Africa stands tainted by two monstrous leaders destroying their people as the world looks on.
In Mugabe’s imploded country, bread is rare, torture routine and Tsvangirai’s mangled face a metaphor for a ruined land. In Sudan, General Omar al-Bashir has turned Darfur into a graveyard and presided over what UN investigators last week decried as ‘gross and systematic’ human-rights abuses.
Britain and Europe have promised much to Africa. What, in the face of such outrages, must they do now? Mugabe, the most sinuous of politicians, has played skilfully on Britain’s strident denunciation of his land grabs of 1990. In his version, a narrative bolstered by our right-wing press, only white farmers matter to old colonialists. Many in southern Africa have backed the myth of Mugabe the liberator.
Now, at last, there are murmurs of censure from neighbours including Thabo Mbeki, whose craven complicity up to now may stem from his own resentment over white land ownership in a fragile South Africa. Mugabe’s defiance is undented. ‘Go hang,’ he told the West. In his preference, Tony Blair would be first to swing.
Since condemnation has played into Mugabe’s hands, Europe needs other weapons. Strengthening existing sanctions, such as a travel ban and an assets freeze on key Mugabe underlings is not as feeble as it sounds. Stopping dignitaries from buying their shoes at Gucci and having their varicose veins fixed in Harley Street is often no great blow to the powerful, who can find other options. But outside pressure coupled with the shortening sell-by date of Mugabe’s patronage may make his henchmen question their loyalty to a despot who must know he is close to the end.
Besides tougher sanctions, Margaret Beckett also wants UN human-rights monitors to move into Zimbabwe. But this watchdog, fully committed in Sudan, is in its infancy, while the African Union (AU) is barely three years old. Among such fledglings, the EU at 50 is solidly middle-aged, with the hormonal mood swings to prove it. If it is ever to take a central role in the world, and atone for the meddlesome record of many member states in Africa, now is the time.
A Europe forged from war, atrocity and oppression is ideally placed to help orchestrate the diplomatic pressure that South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia must apply on Zimbabwe. As Tom Cargill of Chatham House says, it should also be lobbying China to act responsibly. Any dialogue between Britain and Zimbabwe has often been conducted at a scream, which has played straight into a dictator’s hands. Some commentators demand, idiotically, that Blair scream louder.
The way forward, instead, lies in the solid diplomacy that has unravelled in the swashbuckling Blair era, as Foreign Office expertise has been parcelled out to the Department for International Development and the Cabinet Office. It is possible to dream of many fates for Mugabe. If hyperinflation does not get him, the grief and rage of the dispossessed may drive his downfall. For now, anno domini still looks the best hope for a country where women are lucky to reach 34 and even a hellish ruler cannot hope for immortality.
Any notion that some silver bullet from the West will finish Mugabe has merely cemented his tenure. But though the Zimbabwe problem is for Africa, Europe has a role to play in applying what pressure it can in Harare and elsewhere on the continent. According to Richard Dowden of the Royal African Society, Mugabe has no bottom line, nor a wish to ‘be part of planet Earth’.
By contrast, Sudan’s General Bashir, though vile and murderous, has a proven track record of buckling under threat. Europe, shamefully, has applied none throughout a government-sponsored war of attrition in Darfur. Four million citizens rely on aid. Collectors sent out for firewood are mainly female, because men get murdered while women may just get raped. And yet not a single useful EU sanction exists. If Bashir’s top brass want to buy their diamonds in the Rue St Honore, as a break from strafing villages, they may do so with impunity.
Clearly, Europe cannot do everything to save Darfur. That does not entitle it to do nothing. It should urgently, and as a minimum, impose travel bans, freeze murderers’ assets and help stifle funding for militias. Instead, foreign ministers have formally expressed concern on 53 occasions, which means that more than 200,000 people have each taken to their graves a micro-sliver of an EU regret. Some punishment. Behind the scenes, Bob Geldof is busy again, helping devise events to kickstart anger and force political action in Europe from this month onwards. Even his critics should be glad, as the death toll rises, that someone has a sense of urgency.
Obviously, the UN has a vital role in Africa, but Europe can act without fear that Russia or China will flout its collective will. It can, and should, look far ahead, partnering the new breed of African leader and helping to train the AU troops that will be needed to keep the peace in countries ripped asunder by the old sort in the decades to come. When the EU’s feeble foreign ministers meet in April, they had better have something positive to propose on both Zimbabwe and Darfur.
The revellers at Europe’s 50th birthday party should remember how it all began. More than half a century since the Holocaust, the first rule of deferred horror still applies. During times of extermination and oppression, the eyes of the world stay dry and blind. But countries uncoupled from the precepts of humanity and the rule of law cannot be left unchallenged as their citizens suffer and die. Europeans, of all people, should know that.
Mugabe, après avoir tenté d’éliminer l’opposition, s’en prend maintenant aux proches de son parti: la ZANU-PF. Le “camp des Mujurus” tenterait de l’éliminer. En effet, la vice-présidente du Zimbabwe, Joyce Mujuru, et son mari, Solomon, sont très populaires au sein de l’armée du Zimbabwe (voir article précédent). Tous deux sont des héros de la guerre de libération du pays et sont en opposition à Mugabe. Ce sont eux qui ont bloqué la tentative du président de repousser les élections de 2008 à 2010. Mugabe s’est alors tourné vers son chef de la sécurité nationale, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Il le destinerait à sa propre succession.
Cela explique pourquoi, une opposition existe entre les Mnangagwas et les Mujurus. Les premiers ayant la sympathie des services secrets et l’autre de l’armée. Cela explique les rumeurs voulant que Solomon Mujuru se constitue une armée privée dans son fief de Chikombe afin de renverser Mugabe si le besoin s’en ferait sentir. D’ailleurs, Mugabe a été furieux d’apprendre que des entretiens se sont tenus entre le clan Mujuru et des membres du personnel des ambassades britannique, française et américaine. Sont-ils aller chercher un blanc-seing?
Mugabe, after trying to eliminate his opposition, is going after dissidents within his own party: the ZANU-PF. It seems the “Mujuru camp” is trying to eliminate him. The Vice-president, Joyce Mujuru, and her husband, Solomon, are really popular within the national army (see previous post). Both are heroes from the liberation war and are in confrontation with Mugabe. They were the ones who stopped Mugabe from postponing the election date from 2008 to 2010. Mugabe turned to Emmerson Mnangagwa, his chief of national security, and prepares him for his own succession.
This explains why, an opposition exists between the Mujurus and the Mnangagwas. The firsts are favorite in the army, the others within the security services. It also explains the rumors saying that Solomon Mujuru is building a private army in his home area of Chikombe in order to topple Mugabe if he feels a need to it.
Mugabe’s sentiments clearly show that he now dislikes the Mujurus to the marrow and can vow to soldier on without their support even in these trying times of his political career as the ZANU PF boat is sinking into abyss.
[…] because of irreconcilable differences that have gripped the faction ridden ZANU PF party along tribal lines, Mujuru has planned to build a private army from his province that is currently running the entire ideological state security apparatus holding Mugabe’s life on a thread.
As a matter of fact, Mugabe was furious to learn that meetings were held between the Mujurus and foreign ambassies (The Timesonline):
Solomon Mujuru, whose wife Joice is vice-president, has met the British, French and US ambassadors, provoking fury from Mugabe, who now believes that leading players in his own Zanu-PF party are scheming to overthrow him.
In an unprecedented attack on senior party figures, Mugabe claimed last Friday that there was “an insidious dimension where ambitious leaders have been cutting deals with the British and Americans”.
He said: “The whole succession debate has given imperialism hope for reentry. Since when have the British, the Americans, been friends of Zanu-PF?”
[…] the armed forces still seem loyal to the retired General Mujuru, whose contacts with foreign diplomats signify his ambition.
Sources close to the Foreign Office in London confirmed that Britain would be willing to work with any postMugabe leader to help restore both the economy and democracy in Zimbabwe.
Did the Mujurus get their “OK to proceed” signal from the foreign ambassies?
Dimanche dernier, le journal Le Monde annonce qu’au Zimbabwe, une protestation contre le régime de Mugabe a été empêchée par les autorités. Ces dernières ont arrêté plusieurs manifestants dont Morgan Tsvangirai (voir photo plus bas), chef du Mouvement pour le changement démocratique (MDC):
La police a bloqué tôt dimanche matin toutes les rues du quartier, fouillé piétons et passagers des véhicules qui y circulaient avant de les obliger à rebrousser chemin. Des escarmouches ont opposé des policiers fortement armés à des partisans de l’opposition.
De telles manifestations ne sont pas surprenantes lorsqu’on jette un coup d’oeil au délabrement économique du pays. Le Mail and Guardian d’Afrique du Sud indique que l’inflation dépasse les 1700% et qu’elle risque de passer à 4000%. Le taux de sans-emploi est de 80%.
L’arrestation de membres de l’opposition rend aussi la position du président sud-africain Thabo MBeki plus délicate puisque ce dernier a été indulgent envers Mugabe. Ces arrestations soulèvent des protestations en Afrique du Sud où on exige un langage plus dur de la part de Prétoria envers le voisin zimbabwéen. De plus on a appris de la voix de son avocat que Tsvangirai a été passé à tabac par la police pendant sa détention.
Vous pouvez lire la section anglaise pour trouver les noms des autres opposants qui ont été arrêtés.
Morgan Tsvangirai est une figure de proue de l’opposition zimbabwéenne. Il créa le MDC en 1999, symbolisant la radicalisation des luttes sociales. Déja à l’époque, l’économie du pays chancelait avec une augmentation de 67% des prix du carburant. Des protestations avaient aussi lieu contre la participation du Zimbabwe dans la guerre au Congo. En quelques mois, Tsvangirai deviendra la plus grande menace politique de Mugabe. Il sera incidemment poursuivi en justice pour “terrorisme”. En mars 2002, Tsvangirai perdra aux élections présidentielles avec 42% des voix contre 56% pour Mugabe. Les élections étaient vraisemblablement truquées. Un an plus tard, Tsvangirai et le MDC organisent une grève générale et les événements qui en découleront mèneront à l’emprisonnement de Tsvangirai en juin 2003. 2005 verra la scission du MDC, l’opposition sera scindée en deux avec Tsvangirai d’un côté et Arthur Mutambara de l’autre. C’est une division qui profitera à Mugabe.
Last sunday, the International Herald Tribune, the zimbabwean governement crushed a protest that asked for democracy and the end of a 27 years ruling by the president Mugabe:
A civil rights lawyer in the capital, Harare, said at least 35 people had been arrested.
The police arrested Morgan Tsvangirai [see picture above] and Arthur Mutambara, who lead rival factions of the Movement for Democratic Change, the only political opposition group of note in Zimbabwe.
Among those also reported arrested were Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the MDC; Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA); and Mike Davies, chairman of the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA).
Arthur Mutambara was also arrested.
Such protests aren’t surprising if we take a look at the economical situation of Zimbabwe where inflations runs highwer than 1700% and might reach 4000% according to the Mail and Guardian. The unemployment rate is also at 80%.
The arrets of opposition leaders makes things more complicated for Thabo Mbeki, president of South Africa. He has alwasy been lenient with Mugabe’s regime. But voices in the country are asking him to take a tougher stance against Zimbabwe. Especially after hearing the news that Tsvangirai was beaten up by the police during his custody.
Morgan Tsvangirai is a leading figure of the zimbabwean opposition. He founded the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999. The MDC represented the social struggle of the zimbabwean people. Already in 1999, the population suffered from a faltering economy with gas prices rising by 67%. Protests were also taking place against the involvement of Zimbabwe in the Congolese war. Within monthes, Tsvangirai will become the political Nemesis of Mugabe. Not surprisingly, he will be accused of “terrorist activities”. In March 2002, Tsvangirai will loose the presidential elections with 42% of the votes and Mugabe 56%. The elections were rigged.One year later, Tsvangirai and the MDC will organize a strike. The following events will lead to Tsvangirai’s arrest in June 2003. 2005 will see a split in the MDC. The opposition movement will be lead by Tsvangirai on one side, and Arthur Mutambara on the other. This split will benefit Mugabe’s regime.