Saturday, June 21, 2008

Zimbabwe Aflame

Updated on July 4th 2008
Updated on July 6th 2008

this is the latest news out of Zimbabwe... in the past 48 hours of reading, (not just on Zim) I have read the most horrendous torture and killing of innocent civilians at the hands of a brutal dictatorship, that anyone could imagine... in fact I would have to say, it is beyond imagination... one couldn't begin to dream up such stuff in a civilized world... but it is happening in Southern Africa, the land that people there say is one of Ubuntu, "humanity toward others" in the Zulu Language...

From The Sunday Times
July 6, 2008
Teenage girls raped at Robert Mugabe's torture camps
A sharp rise in pregnancies shows Zanu-PF’s campaign is reaching new depths of cruelty

Douglas Marle in Harare

Dozens of teenage girls have been made pregnant after being taken into the bush and raped in torture camps by President Robert Mugabe’s youth militia operating near Mudzi, a town 100 miles northeast of Harare, human rights workers allege.
Amid the continuing chaos, there are as yet no clear statistics, but the sharp rise in teenage pregnancies seems almost certain to have been repeated elsewhere in rural districts. Some of the victims will have contracted HIV-Aids, which has ravaged Zimbabwe for years and helped reduce average life expectancy to 34 for women, the lowest in the world.
The raped girls are the silent victims of Mugabe’s stolen election. Their suffering has been surrounded by silence owing to the stigma and shame of rape.
“It is a particularly brutal and disturbing element of the months of violence, and its after effects will be felt by these girls and their families long after the rest of the terror sweeping the country has died away,” said one human rights worker. “Some of the girls will never recover.”
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There are an unprecedented 16 teenage pregnancies registered at one local hospital alone. Residents report that the local Zanu-PF militia boasts that it wants to make Mudzi an “MDC-free zone”. The torture camps, they claim, are still manned, with no sign that they are about to be dismantled.
In Harare, the new parliament is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday amid reports that the Mugabe regime plans to kill or arrest MPs from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to overturn the opposition’s narrow majority.
Among those risking their lives to attend is a former Zimbabwean headmaster who has spent the past eight years in exile in Britain, working as a supply teacher in Essex.
“I am scared,” said John Nyamandi, 56, who won the constituency of Makoni Central in Manicaland. “We know a hit list has been drawn up. But we started the game and have to finish it.”
The March 29 elections gave the MDC 100 seats compared with 99 for Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. It is the first time the ruling party has lost control of parliament since independence in 1980.

article from Guardian re hidden camera in election fraud,
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — A Zimbabwe prison officer used a hidden camera given to him by a British newspaper to film how he and his colleagues were forced to vote for Robert Mugabe in last month's widely criticized presidential runoff.
The Guardian posted the film on its Web site Saturday, and said in the film and accompanying stories that the officer, Shepherd Yuda, fled Zimbabwe on Friday and was now with his family in an undisclosed location.
International observers said the June 27 runoff was not free or fair, largely because of violence against opposition supporters. There also were reports of ballot tampering as described in Yuda's film, with members of the security forces and others not allowed to vote in secret.
Repeated attempts to reach Zimbabwe's government spokesman for comment Saturday by telephone were unsuccessful.

Click here to watch the video.

Zimbabwean officials have rejected criticism of the election, which opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of as the only other candidate. Mugabe was declared winner on June 29 and took the oath of office within hours of the release of results.

The film, which lasts about 10 minutes, shows a senior official identified as a member of Mugabe's party handing out postal ballots to Yuda and other prison workers and watching as they mark them. It is clear they feel they have no choice but to vote for Mugabe, for fear of what the senior official might do if they vote for the opposition.
Later, in private, Yuda sits in front of the camera and says that marking an `X' on the ballot next to Mugabe's photo "was the most difficult moment of my life."
Other scenes in his film show prison workers speaking fearfully of a colleague's relative being abducted by militant Mugabe supporters, and a meeting at which prison workers are told to vote for Mugabe. It also shows some famous prisoners, including No. 2 opposition leader Tendai Biti and civil rights activist Jenni Williams. Biti, charged with treason, and Williams, charged in a separate case with disturbing the peace, each have since been released on bail.

it is now 6 days to the post election run off, and some are saying the elections should be held off, as the rising tide of violence is becoming critical... my view point is, that regardless of whether the election is held or not, there will continue to be violence... Zimbabwe is on the brink of a Killing Fields that is akin to the SEA killings in Cambodia... we will in the future be witness to stacks of skulls lined up, and mass graves dug up... all because we did nothing, but issue proclamations and platitudes, and Mbeki stood by while his 'comrade' did as he wished... this will stain not only Zimbabwe's reputation for 100 years, but also South Africa and other Southern Africa states... the west also will be complicit in this Holocaust... God will bless Africa, only after he has judged it, and his judgement will be harsh...

News Update: June 23rd, the MDC has backout of the contest; sadly they feel that the election will only go to Bob anyway, and many of their supporters will be killed at the polls... this still doesn't stop the killings... the ZANU-PF has the smell of blood and will no doubt continue it's oppression once election observers leave the country... it is now time for the rest of Southern Africa to step up and say NO MORE!! or be complicit in the killings...

It's all lies, says Mugabe

June 21 2008 at 01:57PM
Harare - President Robert Mugabe accused the Zimbabwe opposition of lying over political violence to justify claims that next week's presidential runoff vote will not be free and fair, the official media reported on Saturday.Mugabe said the Movement for Democratic Change was compiling names of alleged victims and falsely claiming that their supporters were being beaten up."They say this so that they can later say the elections were not free and fair. Which is a damn lie," the state Herald newspaper quoted him as saying at a campaign rally on Friday in the western city of Bulawayo.Mugabe faces opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the June 27 runoff. Tsvangirai won the first round but not by an outright majority.

Independent human rights groups says 85 people have died in pre-election political violence, which has displaced tens of thousands from their homes, most of them opposition supporters.The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said most of the dead were victims of militants of Mugabe's party, but at least five were ruling party supporters.International condemnation of the violence is mounting. The European Union on Friday threatened additional sanctions against Mugabe's government. Even African countries traditionally sympathetic toward Mugabe, including Angola, voiced concern.In Bulawayo, Mugabe said that everywhere he visited was peaceful. He repeated his campaign theme that voting for Tsvangirai and his pro-Western party was "tantamount to going back to colonialism", The Herald quoted him as saying."You cannot take away the country using a ball point. The gun is stronger than the ball point," the 84-year-old autocrat said. A seven-year bush war swept Mugabe to power at independence from Britain in 1980.Zimbabwe's powerful police chief Augustine Chihuri put the blame for the violence firmly on the Movement for Democratic Change."I wish to put the record straight on the political violence in Zimbabwe. It is without doubt that between the two political parties... MDC-T (Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change) is the main culprit in the political violence that we are currently witnessing in the country," the Herald quoted him as saying.He said police have arrested 156 Zanu-PF and 390 opposition supporters; that the police force was on high alert and had already started intensifying deployments throughout the country."Violence will not be treated with kid gloves and as the police we are intensifying deployments in all areas," the Herald quoted him as saying.Doctors for Human Rights said there were 14 new victims added to the list on Thursday. They included four opposition activists killed in the township of Chitungiwza, south of Harare, on Wednesday, and eight who died across the country in recent days whose death certificates were issued Thursday.Details of the two others were not immediately available.One of the dead was a school headmaster in the Mutoko district northeast of Harare whose eye was removed and whose genitals were severed.The fire-charred body of another, the wife of an opposition local council official southwest of the capital, was found with both feet and a hand removed, the doctors said.Witnesses said gangs of militants wearing bandannas and scarves of Mugabe's party and carrying sticks and clubs continued to roam Chitungwiza and other Harare townships Saturday after manning makeshift roadblocks overnight.Residents were advised to stay indoors and avoid traveling by road at night, witnesses said. Militants also set up camps in suburban grassland and frog-marched residents to political meetings, they said.Tsvangirai said on Friday that a "wave of brutality" has swept Zimbabwe since the runoff was called. His message was distributed by e-mail, one of the few ways he has of reaching voters.Tsvangirai's attempts to tour the country have been stymied by police at road blocks, and the state-controlled media all but ignore him.Roy Bennett, a leading member of Tsvangirai's party, told South Africa's independent television news on Friday that the violence will not stop Tsvangirai from participating in the runoff.On Friday, leaders in Africa and Europe stepped up pressure on Mugabe to stop political attacks, while Tsvangirai called on Zimbabweans not to lose hope that they can change their country.The opposition says the treason case against its secretary-general, Tendai Biti, is also part of a government plot to undermine it before the election.After hearing two days of arguments from prosecutors and defense lawyers, Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe ruled on Friday that there were grounds to believe Biti had committed an offense and ordered him held until another hearing set for July 7 while police continue their investigations. - Sapa-AP

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