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The Zimbabwe people say "Enough is enough"

Open dissent in Zimbabwe gathered momentum in 2016 and was buoyed by real time posts on social media. Two activists were mentioned in the early stages as their legacies provided inspiration and they are referred to as "Itai" and "Tondarai".
Itai Dzamara, journalist-turned-democracy campaigner, was abducted in broad daylight in Glen View on 9th March 2015. It is alleged that five men dragged him into an unmarked Activist Itai Dzemera who has been missing in Zimbabwe since March 2015car. His wife approached the High Court in a bid to force the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to search for her husband but failed. His younger brother, Dr Paston Dzamara, continues defiantly. Itai Dzamara had led a group petitioning President Mugabe to resign from office on 7th November, 2014. They staged a peaceful protest, dubbed 'Occupy Africa Unity Square.' A squadron of anti-riot policemen swooped onto the park and beat up the group, who were armed with nothing but a petition. By the time the beating stopped, Dzamara lay unconscious and a lawyer who tried to intervene was thrashed with batons too. This may be the last photograph that was taken of Itai.
Tondarai Ndira, ex newsreader and head of the human rights group, Zimbabwe Peace Project, allegedly had to be identified by DNA in 2008 after his body was located a month after an abduction at the height of Zimbabwe's bloodiest election campaign.
The history of enforced disappearances in Zimbabwe goes back. In 1975 Edson Sithole and his secretary Miriam Mhlanga were abducted and never found, Army Captain Edwin Nleya disappeared in Hwange in 1989 while investigating the involvement of senior officials in ivory poaching and his body was only found two months later, CIO secretary Rashiwe Guzha disappeared after breaking up an affair with Deputy Director Edwin Shinhuru in 1990 and has not been found. MDC activist Patrick Nabanjama was abducted in the 2000 election and never found. Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko was abducted from her home in 2008 and appeared in a police station days later and spent three months in detention then was cleared of the charges the following year. Prominent human rights activist Paul Chizuze was last seen on 8th February 2012.

The people rise in anger and desperation

An oppressive regime can keep its people under its knuckles for only so long, before - with nothing more to lose - the “povo” rise in anger and desperation. Desperate protestor is definat in Zimbabwe
At first, the demonstrations in Zimbabwe were peaceful, ignoring the odd savage beating or two by police. Then more people just disappeared.
When the names Itai and Tonderai are mentioned, Zimbabweans nod with miserable resignation.
Zimbabwe is rallying behind #thisflag — started a few weeks ago by Pastor Evan Mawarire, who said “enough is enough” in a YouTube clip that went viral within hours. July 6 was labelled a day of civil disobedience, but this time one of the slogans among many was “burn Zimbabwe burn”.
Already, social media is full of photographs of burning tyres and the black shells of cars, but a week ago there was a new dimension.
Photographs of a policeman manacled by his own handcuffs and a video of police with their dogs ­ running for their lives to the jubilant cheers of demonstrators have been viewed.
In London, a crowd that was demanding the British government reject the Mugabe regime laid siege to visiting Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa at Westminster’s Chatham House. He needed to be rescued by British police.
Unless things are managed with care, Zimbabwe is on the brink of civil war.
Thirty-six years of rigged elections, the deliberate starvation of those who did not support Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF with absolute media control and the final coup d’etat was the destruction of the jewel of Africa in 2000 by the takeover of productive farms that has led to an unemployment rate of 96 per cent. Most people survive by selling whatever they can at informal wayside stalls.
Protesters retaliate after violence against their leagl marches in ZimbabweThis combined with looting of the diamond fields by Mugabe’s cronies, the President’s regrettable report that his regime had “lost” $US15 billion ($20bn), the banks running out of cash and delayed or non-existent salaries to the civil service and teachers has left the landscape ripe for revolt.
Two specific events triggered the civil disobedience that took place on the July 6.
First, the increasing number of road blocks, sometimes every few kilometres, manned by so-called police extorting “fines” for arbitrary infringements such as a “messy” windscreen wiper. Young mini-bus drivers had secured a source of slim revenue: picking up random passengers on the roadside. The continuous road blocks have made this service impossible.
Second, the government passed legislation two weeks ago banning the informal importation of goods. Zimbabweans, largely women, had crossed the border into South Africa for years buying bargain-priced foodstuffs and other necessities before returning to sell them wherever they could.
Mr Chinamasa will likely come home from Europe with his begging bowl empty. So Zimbabweans will have no hope of getting enough to eat and, as Scotch cart at one of the many Police roadblocks that prompted to an uprisingmore than 200 businesses have closed down this quarter, no hope of work.
The demonstrators are essentially seeking a peaceful solution, but the bottom line is they want Mugabe and ZANU-PF out as soon as possible. With the unpredictable nature of demonstrators once they’re really angry, despite the huge arsenal of anti-riot machinery Mugabe has built up for just such an eventuality, there are worrying times ahead.
We can only pray this will not turn into a genocide similar to the 20,000 Matebele murdered in the Gukurahundi (Shona for “the early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”) of 1983-87. Mugabe tried to recruit the veterans of the Bush War that led to independence in 1980, his willing enablers in the seizure of white farms, but they have now ­endorsed the protesters.
Will Mugabe take any notice of his people? Who will replace him? He has made sure the succession plan is as muddied as it could possibly be. It can only be hoped the international community, for years all too aware of what has been happening, will be there to help pick up the pieces and restore stable government to this once glorious country.

Zimbabwe activist Evan Mawarire freed

Hundreds of citizens who had mounted a 12-hour vigil at the magistrate's court erupted Supporters for Pastor Evan Mawarire during his court appearance for treason chargesinto song and dance, honking vehicles and flying the Zimbabwean flag.
The scene resembled independence celebrations or a parade of a hero who had just returned from exile as a crowd of nearly a thousand people sang, danced, prayed and shared solidarity messages.
Citizens from across the racial divide, and with diverse political, religious and social beliefs gathered at the Harare magistrate court in show of support for Evan Mawarire's citizen activism.
About 100 lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights group were at the court to offer legal assistance.
The public gallery at the court was packed to the brim and police maintained a heavy presence in and around the courthouse.
Observers said the turnout of citizens to the courts was a clear message to the state that what Evan is advocating for are issues affecting Zimbabweans from all walks of life.
All charges against "This Flag" movement leader Mawarire have been dropped
One of the citizens present at Wednesday's court vigil, 49-year-old Claudia Mutasa told DW that authorities are failing to understand that Evan is not a politician who wants to form a government.#thisflag has become symbol of protest in Zimbabwe
“Pastor Evan is not coming from a political standpoint. There is no denial that things are not well in the country. Arresting Evan is not fair. Government is violating fundamentals of democracy,” Mutasa said.
Musician Willis Wataffi said it was high time government stop shifting the blame and pointing fingers at western forces who it always accuses of plotting to effect regime change.
“We are here not for a man, but for a cause. I am affected as an artist. If the ordinary citizen does not have money to spend, I am affected. They will not come to our shows,” Willis said.
Evan Mawarire was initially arrested on public violence charges Tuesday before the state changed the charges to subversion and unseating a constitutional government in court on Wednesday.
Had the treason charge stuck, he could have faced up to 20 years in prison.
Mawarire has been calling the Zimbabwe government to deal with corruption, injustices and abuse of state funds since April.
Mawarire supporters rejoiced upon hearing news he would not face charges
No case to answer
The sitting magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe could not approve of it and dismissed the case on procedural inconsistencies.
Ewan Mawarire founder of theFlag movemnet after his acquittal from trumped up cahrges in ZimbabweChanging or placing a new charge on an accused person in a court session is not permissible under the Zimbabwe constitution.
Speaking to DW after the release of Evan, the legal counsellor Dzimbahwe Chimbga from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said the judgment was a restoration of the law to protect citizens.
“We agree with the magistrate's ruling. It is consistent with the provisions of the Zimbabwe constitution. People have the freedom to express themselves,” Chimbga said.
Evan Mawarire attracted the wrath of the state after mobilizing last week's protests that closed down businesses and schools across the country.
Last week's protests by public transport operators also fueled nationwide demonstrations. Taxi operators accused police officers of using roadblocks to extort money from motorists.
Mawarire still defiant
After emerging from the court, Mawarire addressed the crowd and thanked them for being united.Police outside court during Pastor Evan Mawarire treason trial
He remains defiant and says citizens must keep the momentum to press President Mugabe's government to address socio-economic issues that are affecting the country.
“We are not backing down anymore. This is our chance to speak to our government, and we won't get robbed of that chance,” Evan said.
“We have not broken down any laws. The government intimidates us, they arrest us, and they scare us into keeping quiet and we are saying we are done with that. If you touch one of us, you are touching all of us.”
Growing disgruntlement is sweeping across the country with various groups expressing themselves against government policies.
Some have called it the era of hashtags that has seen Zimbabweans speaking out in an exceptional way.

War veterans remain defiant

War veterans have thrown down the gauntlet at President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, War veteran secretary Victor Matematanda have rejected President Mugabe in Zimbabwescoffing at the government’s savage crackdown on their leadership which they say is akin to what the late Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith and his minority government did to blacks before Zimbabwe’s independence.
The restless freedom fighters’ defiance comes as their secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, as well as three other officials, were given bail yesterday after being charged on Monday with undermining and insulting Mugabe.
To date, police have all in all arrested five senior war veterans, including the spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Douglas Mahiya, in a crackdown which came in the aftermath of the freedom fighters serving divorce papers on Mugabe in a stunning development two weeks ago.
“It is sad that these fighters, the best that Africa has ever produced in modern times, four decades down the line they are being persecuted by those who were war deserters, war cowards,” ZNLWVA chairperson Christopher Mutsvangwa told an online television channel this week.
“It is an attempt at intimidating us but if Smith couldn’t intimidate us then no one will intimidate us. It is very sad that these people abuse the most powerful office in the land … a whole rally of pseudo war veterans is called up to be addressed,” Mutsvangwa added, also criticising last week’s gathering in Harare of Zanu PF supporters to ostensibly show solidarity with Mugabe.Riot police with teargas and dogs break up legal protests in Zimbabwe
Characteristically shooting from the hip, Mutsvangwa said there was an attempt by those in power to “politicise the criminal laws of this country” in a desperate endeavour to silence war veterans.
“Arrests and any other attempts to derail us is a useless thing. We want the nation to know that we are behind the leadership of Mutsvangwa. Any other moves are just as good as what Smith did when we were in the struggle,” Mahiya told the Daily News yesterday.
“Smith wanted to rope in Africans and set up a puppet government which was led by Muzorewa. In this case, there is going to be a puppet war veterans' leadership that is not a true representative of the people because it is not elected by the people under the constitution of the war veterans. So, their operations are illegal,” he added.
Analysts also said yesterday that the war veterans had at last found their voices despite the crackdown, and this was indicative of their resolve to take on Mugabe and the rest of the Zanu PF leadership despite the government’s vicious response to their communiqué last week.
Speaking in Harare during his hastily-convened meeting with Zanu PF supporters last week, Mugabe said the former freedom fighters who had denounced him would be punished severely, in similar fashion to the punishment that was meted out to delinquent war veterans who were thrown into dungeons during the country’s liberation struggle.
Political analysts also said the government had miscalculated the mood among both the war veterans and the general populace when it decided to descend heavily on the ex-combatants.
Riot police with automatic guns quash protesters in Zimbabwe“The statement by the war veterans’ chairperson Mutsvangwa puts down the gauntlet and it will be interesting to see how the regime responds to that.
“Clearly, where they expected the war veterans to scurry and cower, they have not. However, it is unlikely that the establishment will take this lying down. So, an escalation of sorts is likely and the war veterans and the country need to brace for that,” said civic leader and political analyst McDonald Lewanika.
Another analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the war veterans were clearly fed up with Mugabe and his government.
“Those handing over themselves to authorities are just telling the regime that we have had enough. Indeed, they cannot arrest all of us. We have to defy this regime that is leaving the affairs of the country on auto pilot,” he said.
War veterans have been one of Mugabe and Zanu PF’s strongest pillars of support over the past five decades, playing particularly significant roles to keep the nonagenarian in power in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008 elections which were both marred by serious violence and the murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.
The fall-out between Mugabe and the war veterans also comes as the 92-year-old is battling swelling public anger against him and Zanu PF, which has seen strikes and riots hurting the already dying economy further.
Yesterday, unemployed college and university graduates and pro-democracy groups held successful demonstrations against Zimbabwe’s untenably high unemployment and the government’s plans to introduce bond notes.
In the meantime, Mahiya also said yesterday that he was unfazed by the crackdown on war veterans as the meeting that produced the communiqué that authorities took exception to was attended by provincial and district leaders of ex-combatants who wanted to discuss problems besetting the country.
“We were arrested because of the meeting that we had at Raylton Sports Club where we Protester relased after being pinned down by armed riot policemet with district and provincial officials. It was a follow-up to the meeting we had with the president where we gave him our grievances and the problems that people are faced with.
“We thought that they could respond to that but they did not, and so we called the leadership to map a way forward and that is what we were discussing at the meeting,” Mahiya said.
Elaborating on his arrest, Mahiya — who was held at the infamous Matapi cells in the Harare high density suburb of Mbare which have been condemned by the country’s courts — said the place is “a hellhole that is unsuitable for human beings”.
“That place is so bad so much that you cannot put an animal there. There is complete darkness and the blankets are lice-infested. The blankets are those that are used to cover the dead. The toilets are so bad,” he said.

Protests rock Harare

More protests are taking place in Harare today with hundreds marching in the central business district over the failure of President Robert Mugabe’s regime to provide the 2,2 million jobs it promised at the last election.
The marchers are also resisting the pending introduction of bond notes in Zimbabwe.
There is a heavy deployment of anti-riot police in the city centre.
Protester is confroneted in Harare in front of riot policeRemember this protest only went ahead after the intervention of the courts following attempts by the regime to ban it.
Tajamuka/Sesjikile member, Slyvanos Mudzvova, said “You can’t pick up a bond paper and print it and put it on the same value with the US dollar. That is why I am saying on August 3, let’s meet at corner Julius Nyerere and Jason Moyo and march to the ministry of Finance and tell Patrick Chinamasa’s office that we reject his bond tissues.
“He must use them himself in the toilet. To you retailers, have you forgotten that your shops were once left empty and you had no business to do, while vendors could not buy staff to sell and commuter omnibus conductors and drivers had nothing to show for their daily works as the bearer cheques we were using had become worthless?

On this day greatness was born

Today, I would love for you to join me in celebrating the life of a contemporary hero, Itai Dzamara.
On this day Itai Peace Kadiki Dzamara was born.
I spent the last couple of hours in the Itai Dzamara SquareItai Dzamara abducted Zimbabwe activist (Africa Unity Square) praying and reminiscing about our childhood and how time has processed us to where we are. My mind travelled far and wide and I can only thank God for allowing me to share the same womb and life with this level of greatness.
Whatever they did to Itai, we choose to celebrate his life even though a lot of unanswered questions and anger engulf our minds. We thank God for Itai's life and what He has allowed him to accomplish.
The history of Zimbabwe will never be complete without Itai's name. He inscribed an indelible footprint on the sand of this great nation. He laid a foundation for the new Zimbabwe we are all yearning for.
Itai blazed a trail and ushered in a new dispensation of citizens' activism and participation. We salute him for that. A quintessential hero, he is.
As we celebrate his life, we make a commitment to finish what he started and we hope he will also greet the new Zimbabwe he sacrificed for.
Ladies and gentlemen, help me celebrate this gift in time.
Happy birthday Itai.
#BBID #TheEndgame #Occupy
Dr Patson Dzamara, 7th August, 2016

Police break up "Mega-demonstration" in defiance of Court order

A court-approved protest staged by Zimbabwe's opposition supporters seeking electoral Masses demonstrate in Zimbabwe after failed promisesreforms turned violent Friday in Harare when it was broken up by police.
In Zimbabwe's capital city, police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse a demonstration that the country's top court had ruled could proceed.
Opposition leaders termed Friday's march in Harare a "mega-demonstration." It marked "the first time that Zimbabwe's fractured opposition joined in a single action to confront President Robert Mugabe's government since 2007," as The Associated Press reports.
Former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who is now at odds with Mugabe, told reporters that 50 people were injured and admitted to the hospital. And Didymus Mutasa, a senior official from Mujuru's party, told Reuters, "Today has been for me the worst day that I have lived in this country, where I have observed with my own eyes, the state breaking its own laws and the state starting violence by attacking people who were just gathered together."
The protest was organized by at least 18 opposition parties, as the BBC reports, and demonstrators were "calling for electoral reform ahead of polls in 2018." Mugabe has ruled the country since 1980 and plans to run again.
Riot police face demontsrations in Zimbabwe"Clashes spread through the streets of the capital Harare as riot police fought running battles with protesters who hurled rocks at officers, set tyres ablaze and burned a popular market to the ground," according to Reuters.
"I was beaten by the police here exercising my constitutional right, beaten with baton sticks by a horde of around 10 police officers," Jonathan Malindati told The New York Times. He was "bleeding from his head and displaying baton marks on his back," according to the newspaper.
Ahead of today's demonstration, police had "warned that unauthorized demonstrations would not be tolerated," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit. "Public protests have become a rare occurrence in Zimbabwe, but there have been a spate of demonstrations in recent months demanding that President Mugabe stands down over economic mismanagement, non-payment of salaries and a chronic shortage of cash."
A woman carrying groceries on her head runs away as Zimbabwe's opposition supporters set up a burning barricade.
As NPR has reported, Zimbabwean clergyman Evan Mawarire has been at the center of many of those recent protests. He set off a wave of strikes and demonstrations when he appeared on YouTube draped in a flag, calling for change. "This flag, every day that it flies, is begging for you to get involved, to say something, to cry out and say, 'Why must we be Protesters beaten by Zimbabwe riot policein this situation?" he said in the video, which sparked a movement called #ThisFlag.
Mawarire was arrested for inciting violence, and fled the country after his release. Speaking on Weekend All Things Considered, he described a sense of growing momentum to the protest movement:
"It was amazing to see and so humbling to see Zimbabweans come to a place where they were bold enough to say to a government that is known to be harsh, 'Enough is enough and we won't let you treat citizens the way that you are treating them.' That added to the momentum of the citizens' movement that we now have on our hands."
The leaders behind Friday's demonstration have vowed to continue taking to the streets.
"If that was intended to cow us from demonstrating, I want to say the opposite has been the case. We are going next Friday to do exactly the same as we have done today," Mutasa said, according to Reuters.

Precipice

Yesterday was a bizarre experience. In the morning I planned to take part in a march that Zimbabwe riot police beat protester with batons during legal marchwas due to be led by 18 political parties to the Headquarters of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission where a petition on electoral reform was to be handed over. All previous MDC marches had been peaceful, happy events, virtually no Police presence and not a hint of violence or trouble.
Well before I got to the rallying point, I saw people running and vehicles turning around and going back the way they had come. This was two hours before the event was due to start. When I got to about a kilometre from the point we were meant to start from, I saw the first tear gas and water cannons.
I saw a group of young people looking down the road and stopped to ask what was happening. They said “we got clearance from the Courts to march and were going to Freedom Square (Zanu PF calls it Robert Mugabe Square) when we were tear gassed by the Police”. They advised me it was dangerous to go any further. I proceeded to the collection point through rock strewn roads, burning tyres and saw running battles between young people and the Police. I saw water cannons in action with blue dye in the water and one machine putting out a fire.
The main road through the City was totally deserted, the Agricultural Show grounds, normally packed with visitors and opened officially the previous day by the Vice President of Sierra Leone, was also abandoned – not a vehicle in sight, the only people were the Police and the small running groups of protestors. There was drifting clouds of tear gas and smoke everywhere.
I left the area and drove to Parliament to wash my face and get the tear gas out of my eyes. Then I tried to go back but was completely blocked by cars fleeing the battles in the CBD. Subsequently the street battles raged over much of the City, business closed down and the streets deserted. The army was deployed and helicopters were put up to monitor the people.Injured protester is led away after beating by riot police in Zimbabwe
Was there any need for this? Absolutely not! I had participated in four previous marches and had not felt for one instance, any threat or danger. Just cheerful thousands celebrating their right to protest the state of crisis through which we are all living. The violence was instigated by the Police who were totally responsible for what followed. I had previously warned colleagues in Parliament that the tension on the streets was palpable and that everyone needed to be careful when handling any protests.
The previous Wednesday, a tiny demonstration by 200 MDC Youth in the CBD had also been attacked by the Police – perhaps more justified because they were defying a decision to turn down their request to demonstrate. But what then happened should have taught the authorities a lesson – the general population joined in and mayhem reined for the next 4 hours eventually shutting down the whole City. Cars were burned, shops looted and a great deal of damage was done.
Yesterday, I drove away from the mayhem in the CBD and went to my next meeting which was a lunch with the Centenary Club – now over 120 years old and located in the Royal Harare Golf Club. I ordered a coke and sat on the balcony and watched the golfers and their caddies on the freeways. It must be one of the finest golf courses in the world, certainly one of the most beautiful.
The Club was busy, the car park full of expensive cars, the waiters courteous and well trained, the weather perfect. It was a world away from the harsh realities just 4 kilometres away.
Zimbabwe always confuses visitors – they stay in our expensive hotels and resorts, enjoy the friendly people and the near complete safety on the streets. See our packed Churches on Sundays and play golf or watch cricket in circumstances that rival the very best.
An inch away from all of that is another reality – 5 million people on the edge of starvation and being fed by the international community, 90 per cent unemployment, banks with their doors closed because they have no cash, one third of all children are orphans, Roit police in Zimbabwethe lowest per capita incomes in the world. Corruption that takes a third of all we produce out of our mouths and is then used to feed the appetites of a tiny minority who are wealthy by any standard. A President who drives in a cavalcade that would do Obama proud and flies to Singapore once a month for a medical check-up in one of the most expensive clinics in the world.
But it cannot go on for much longer, the disparities are just too great, the suffering of the great majority has gone on for too long and the people’s legendary patience is running out. Zimbabwe is on the edge of a precipice and its own leadership has not got a clue about what to do. Certainly what they did yesterday was not the sensible thing to do in any way.
This week the Elders – a grouping that includes Tutu, Mrs Mandela and Annan, called on the SADC leadership, meeting this weekend in Swaziland, to recognise that the crisis in Zimbabwe must be addressed. They noted that a peaceful, dignified, legal and democratic transition is possible, but only if leadership is exercised. Left to our own devices with a paralysed leadership, we can only commit suicide.
In Tolstoy’s play “The Cherry Orchard”, a scarecrow in a wheat field plays a key, if symbolic role. In Zimbabwe, the Old Man of the country was taken from his bed, given a shot of something by his doctors and then trundled out in public to show that he was alive. He nearly fell as he climbed out of his car, had to be helped to walk in slippers at the Show Grounds and then sat silent and half asleep while the Vice President of Sierra Leone Retaliation to legal demonstration sparked damage to vehiclesopened the Show. This is the leadership that is supposed to guide Zimbabwe away from the precipice. It is just not possible and everyone can now see that.
Like the scarecrow in Tolstoy’s play, he is not going anywhere and this shameful farce in terms of leadership continues while Zimbabwe burns. Our national debt is now approaching 3 times our GDP; interest on the debt alone is equal to one third of all State revenues. The budget deficit has spiralled out of control. The Civil Service is being paid with virtual money by electronic means but they cannot draw their salaries out of the banks. Even a child can sense that this state of affairs simply cannot go on.
South Africa has suddenly woken up as a result of a massive collapse of the trade with Zimbabwe. Tens of thousands of South African industrial jobs are at stake. Suddenly they appreciate that there is a leadership crisis in the country and that the crazies in the G40 and the Presidents bedroom are trying to take power from the scarecrow’s hands. That would toss us out of the frying pan into the fire.
The international Community agrees with the Elders that an orderly rescue mission is possible and could result in a legal, democratic transition. But it is not going to happen by itself. Leadership of a high order is required and quickly, or else this country is going to plunge over the edge of the precipice and will in turn drag the dual worlds represented by our smoking streets and the Harare Golf Clubs down together into the abyss.

Mugabe returns home amid health rumours

After speculation about the President's health - which was sparked by an unannounced flight to Dubai after leaving the SADCC conference prematurely - Robert Mugabe returned to Harare.
“I had gone on a family matter to Dubai concerning one of my children,” he told reporters in the local Shona language, without giving details. He appears to be oblivious that Harare and Bulawayo are smouldering as the UM carrier is commandeered for family matters as though it is a Rixi Taxi.
“Yes, I was dead, it’s true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do. Once I get back to my country I am real,” Mugabe added tongue-in-cheek in English, referring to speculation on some online news websites that he had succumbed to illness.
Reports that Mugabe’s health is declining have become common but he has often referred to himself as “fit as a fiddle.”Protesters clutch thewir trophy a Robert Mugabe Rd sign during protests
Mugabe rejects accusations by his political opponents that he has brought one of Africa’s most promising economies to its knees since coming to power at independence from Britain in 1980.
Zimbabwe is struggling to pay salaries to soldiers, police and other public workers, fuelling political tensions including within his ruling ZANU-PF party.

The MDC political party revealed the following thirteen farms which are owned by the President - Gushungo Estates 4046ha Mazowe, Gushungo Dairies 1000ha Mazowe, Iron Mask Estate 1046ha Mazowe, Sigaru Farm 873ha Mazowe, Gwebi Wood 1200ha Mazowe, Gwina Farm 1445ha Banket, Leverdale Farm 1488ha Banket, Highfield Farm 445ha Norton, Cressydale Estate 676ha Norton, Tankatara Farm 575ha Norton, John O’Groat Farm 760ha Norton, Clifford Farm 1050ha Norton and Bassiville 1200ha Norton.
In addition, members of his family own the following farms: Reward Marufu (Grace Mugabe’s late brother) - Leopards Vlei 1294ha Glendale, Kachere Farm 880ha Mazowe; Sabina Mugabe (Robert Mugabe’s late sister) - Mlembwe Farm 1037ha Makonde, Longwood Farm 924ha Makonde and Gowrie Farm 430ha Norton; Leo Mugabe (Robert Mugabe’s nephew) - Diandra 815ha Darwandale, Nangadza 1200ha Mhangura and Journey's End Farm Makonde

"We are coming for you" says Mugabe (Warning - graphic images)

President Robert Mugabe yesterday, while addressing ZANU PF party Central Committee, said he was fast running out of patience with MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and other opposition parties and pressure groups protesting against his government, threatening to deal with them decisively. Mugabe said MDC-T and the other opposition parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) should be sternly cautioned of grave consequences, warning them they will not win the war.President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe speech

In response, NERA believes ongoing threats by the Ruling Party leadership and attacks from ZANU PF Youth who are being encouraged and funded by ZANU PF are undermining the political process and jeopardizing the country’s security and stability.
NERA asserts that the solution to the continued protests by citizens and opposition is through a peaceful, inclusive, transparent orderly election process which NERA continues to advocate for. NERA is calling Robert Mugabe or Heir Apparent Vice President Mnangagwa to recognise that Zimbabwe Citizens and Opposition parties have legitimate demands which should not be dismissed, ignored or teargassed into irrelevance.
NERA calls for Robert Mugabe, Vice President Mnangagwa and the ZANU PF government to remember that they serve at the pleasure of Zimbabwean people and that the Zimbabwe People have a right to exercise their displeasure at the continued oppression and mismanagement of Zimbabwe. NERA would like to also remind Robert Mugabe, Vice President Mnangagwa and the ZANU PF government that under the Constitution and Electoral Act Zimbabwe is a democracy where opposition politics is a right.
NERA is neither moved nor afraid of the politics of aggression and violence exercised by Robert Mugabe, Vice President Mnangagwa and the ZANU PF government. Although Violence and Aggression are standard operating practice for the Ruling party, NERA will not tolerate this type of aggression and will NEVER cower or back down in the face of the ZANU PF oppressors.
NERA would like to also remind Robert Mugabe, Vice President Mnangagwa and the ZANU Zimbabwe activist Sylvanos Mudzvova was abducted but relased after torture and removal of big toe nailPF government that the Zimbabwean people are not Western Sponsored and that the assertion that protests or dissension by Zimbabwean People are sponsored by a foreign entity belittles the problems faced by the Zimbabwean People which include
• 95% unemployment
• Cash shortages
• Delays in Civil Servants
• Missing $15 billion
• Unwarranted abductions and Arrests
• Unfair Judiciary Systems which continues to imprison and abuse Citizens and Political Activists
• Continued government spending on leisurely items and unnecessary travel
• Rampant corruption
• General fiscal irresponsibility
• Continued aggression by ZANU PF Youth on those who oppose ZANU PF
• Continued purchase of tools of oppression during a difficult economic period, such as more police cars, more guns and teargas
• Refusal by the government to ensure Free and Transparent elections by bolding refusing to enact electoral reform
These are all real issues faced by the Zimbabwean Citizens which do not need a Western sponsor.

Jacob Ngarivhume of NERA made the following statement:
"On Saturday 17 September, we are going to demonstrate nationwide, calling for electoral reforms. The demonstrations will be in 210 constituencies across the country.
"I will participate in the demonstration in my own constituency. Let us come together and clearly send a message to the government that we are serious in our demand for electoral reforms. There is no going back.
"We encourage you all to organize yourselves in your small units and demonstrate. PLEASE note that these demos are non-violent. Let us not damage or destroy property, let us not attack people’s markets and let us protect our infrastructure.
"Should the police provoke our peaceful demonstrations, let us ensure our safety by gathering in huge numbers which they cannot break. Please note that we are nationwide this time, surely they will not be able to unleash terror at a national scale. Our safety is in our numbers and resolve.Injured protester in Glen View tonwship Harare September 2016 on www.rhodesian.com.au
"Spread this message about the demonstration and invite others to participate. It is now or never."

A heavy police presence in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare stopped the planned mass demonstration, as activists claimed police used live ammunition to disperse small protests.
Reports from around the country are:
Number of Arrests 87 - Mabvuku 4, Dzivarasekwa 6, Kuwadzana 2, Hatfield 12, Macheke 5, Mutare Central 1, Kambuzuma 5, Gwanda 15, Zvishavane 16, Bindura 2, Glenview 4 and Zaka 15 (including Tatenda Chitagu). The arrests include Hons Trevor Saruwaka MP Mutare Central, Nomathemba Ndlovu MP PR Mat South,Lilian Timveous Senator Midlands, Fani Munenge Glen View North and MP PR Harare Ronia Bunjira.
Abductions 10 from Kuwadzana
Injured and Assaults 125 - Marondera 30, Mutare Central 10, Makoni South 4, Bindura 50, Zaka 1 and Epworth 30
Raids 3 - Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe 1, Mudzi 1 and Marondera Central 1

We can't retreat
Despite losing a brother to an abduction, Dr Patson Dzamara continues on his crusade:
"Good to be back home!
"Upon my return to Zimbabwe, I was engulfed with a multitude of emotions. In the quest for a new and better Zimbabwe, I travelled to four countries during the past month and I am glad to inform you that we are making headway.
"As I actively participate in the pursuit of a new and better Zimbabwe, my eyes are constantly opened to new realities. Chief among those is that wherever God leads us, his grace is always available and sufficient.
"As soon as I got my passport stamped at the Harare International Airport a certain man (from the system of course) approached me. In under a minute he told me that Mugabe Patson Dzarara and Evan Mawarire in New York in September 2016was about to arrive and ZANU PF supporters were milling around the airport, waiting to welcome him. Not only that, he also told me that some actually intended to harm me. With his help, I was able to expedite the process of clearing my bags before he whisked me away. I quickly got onto a cab to a point where my arranged transport picked me. God is amazing, I don't know this person but He used him to protect me.
"Never again shall we the citizens of Zimbabwe lounge back in indifference while politicians urinate on our heads telling us that its rain.
Cognizant of the fact that we carry the responsibility to redeem ourselves out of the despicable hands of ZANU PF, we can't retreat until we are free.
"The road to our freedom is not only long and winding, it is inundated with nefarious detours. It will cost us tears, blood, sweat and even lives but we must stick it out until we welcome a new and better Zimbabwe.
"This is a watershed moment for our nation. We can't lose this moment. As such, I make a commitment to continue doing my best to do my duty to God and my country. I can't run away from my country despite the omnipresence of danger as a result of my resolute stand against Mugabe and his minions' misrule.
"I know no other home than Zimbabwe and I will never run away from Mugabe. I am prepared to die for my convictions and what I believe to be right, if need be.
A new and better Zimbabwe is possible in our lifetime. We shall come face to with it. I pray that God's grace will continue to sustain and lead me so that I may witness the new and better Zimbabwe too.

"We will NOT give Mugabe any money" World Bank

Evan Mawarire posted on Facebook: “They laughed at citizens and said we amounted to nothing, they called us wishful thinkers and even sell-outs but we soldier on. Everyday we are making progress in holding our government accountable and building a better Zimbabwe than the one we have.”
The World Bank has officially responded to the petition delivered by pro-Democracy activist Dr Patson Dzamara earlier this morning. According to documents exclusively revealed to The Southern Daily, the World Bank is not considering Zimbabwe any sort of emergency funding because of outstanding arrears, and this position will not change anytime soon.
In the detailed letter, the institution reiterated that it was only assisting Zimbabwe with funding aimed at assisting things like water, and sanitation, while stressing that it maintained deep care for the welfare of the Zimbabwean people.Zimbabwe curency
The development resembles a huge win for the activists in Zimbabwe, who were worried that, with Mugabe backed in a corner, and Bretton Woods institutions expressing an interest in bring stability by bailing out the cash strapped government, the funds would ‘prop up the oppressor’.
Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa had been working all around the clock to re-engage international finance institutions to bail out Zimbabwe’s government which has run out of cash, resulting in a massive economic collapse that has led to widespread protests and an internal revolt against Mugabe.
The developments will be a huge blow to the current government. Its Chinese partners have developed fatigue and will not bail out the country without clear and stable financial policies and security on investments. Japan is not willing to bail out the country, and western countries, mainly the UK turned down proposals by the finance minister for a bail out earlier this year.
With the World Bank now out of the picture, the government has run out of options. The economy is in free fall, and an implosion looks certain.
It’s the second time Dzamara has proved a thorn in the tender belly for Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Former Mugabe ally Mujuru leads Zimbabwe succession charge. Questions about her past.

At 18, she left school to fight in the liberation struggle under the nom de guerre “Spill Blood”. At 24, she became the youngest minister in Robert Mugabe’s first post-independence cabinet. By 50, she was vice-president and a favourite to succeed Mr Mugabe as leader of Zimbabwe, the once-wealthy southern African nation.
Now, at 61, cast out of the ruling party, she is hoping to lead a rebellion against the ageing autocrat, a man she called “father” for four decades.
Joice Mujuru former Vice President ZimababweThe passage of Joice Mujuru from revolutionary hero and life-long Mugabe comrade to opposition leader encapsulates the political turmoil shaking the country. As the world’s oldest president, now 92, approaches the end of his life, a thinly veiled succession battle is taking place both within the ruling Zanu-PF party and outside.
Officially, Ms Mujuru, the tough talking leader of the newly formed Zimbabwe People First party, is preparing for elections in 2018 for which Mr Mugabe has pledged to stand again.
“Zimbabwe’s people want to change the government through the rightful constitutional process,” she said in an interview.
Unofficially, with signs that Mr Mugabe is increasingly frail and a surge in protests despite police brutality, it is not certain whether the centre can hold that long.
“One wouldn’t really be sure whether we’ll get to 2018 because some of it goes with nature,” is how Ms Mujuru puts it delicately. “Because our man is quite old, he is quite sick and the situation is very volatile.”
It is far from certain whether Ms Mujuru will be the one to benefit from Mr Mugabe’s eventual demise.
She may be associated too closely with the man in whose image Zimbabwe has been shaped. Asked why she stuck with him — even as his tactics turned divisive, violent and ultimately ruinous — she says: “It was respect. When I joined I was a young girl. I grew up looking up to these people.”
Working with Mr Mugabe, she says, was “hard”. “He is a headmaster. And you know what a headmaster does? He does his things by a whip.”
Joice Mujuru is set to visit the UK at the invitation of Chatham House to drum up support for her new political party. She will be entering the UK for the first time since a blanket travel ban on the Mujurus (as part of President Robert Mugabe’s inner circle) was quietly dropped.
Opposition leader Joice Mujuru meets dispossed farmer Guy Watson Smith after her family took his farm in land grabThis visit will take place against the backdrop of two different Zimbabwean High Court orders against her, most recently in 2015, citing theft of the moveable assets of Hanagwe P/L. These assets – worth some US$1.47-million plus compound interest – were forcibly left behind on Alamein Farm in Beatrice, Zimbabwe, when it was seized from the legal owner, his wife and young children in 2001 at gunpoint. The seizure of one of the most productive tobacco farms in Zimbabwe was orchestrated by her now late husband, Solomon Mujuru, under the auspices of the violent Land Reform Programme. Joice Mujuru inherited the farm, on which she lives, together with all the stolen assets.
Mujuru is scheduled to meet with representatives of Chatham House and to attend open meetings of the Zimbabwean Diaspora in the UK in a series of Q&As, of which one will take place in Leicester on Saturday 8 October. She aims to drum up support and raise finance for her new political party, the ZPF (Zimbabwe Peoples First party).Frayed Zimbabwe flag on flagpost
Mujuru appears to have turned her back on Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party. However, she seems quite happy to remain a convenient beneficiary of the regime’s violent past, maintaining residence on and actively operating Alamein Farm. This farm gained further notoriety in 2011 with the death of her husband, retired General turned businessman, Solomon Mujuru, who died in what many commentators describe as mysterious circumstances in the farmhouse which was burnt to the ground on 15 August 15 2011.
Zimbabwean High Court Judgments dating from 2002, and again in 2015, ruled the seizure of the moveable assets on Alamein Farm to be illegal. The judgement of 2002 ordered the return of the assets to owner Guy Watson-Smith, but the Sherriff of the High Court and the agents who tried to retrieve said assets arrived at the farm and were violently evicted, never to return. The judgment of 2015 ordered payment of compensation for damages, totalling US$1,469,440 plus compound interest to Hanagwe P/L.
Guy Watson-Smith, the owner of Alamein Farm, has invited Mrs Mujuru to attend a private meeting to discuss a settlement of the affair, which she has previously expressed interest in doing, and which would allow her to further her political aspirations with a cleaner slate. There have been reports that an agreement has been reached. If this unpalatable taint of theft and abuse of power is unsettled, she has little chance of convincing Zimbabweans that she’s fit to raise support or money, much less higher office.

Germany tells Mugabe: We won't give you a penny until you stop brutalizing Zimbabwe citizens and end corruption.

MEMBERS of the Germany Parliament on Tuesday said President Robert Mugabe's government should not expect German Frank Heinrich visits Zimbabwefinancial aid from Berlin "any time soon" for as long as corruption and human rights violations persist. Head of the visiting Bundestag delegation, Frank Heinrich, said Germany had "doubts" about Harare's approach to governance.
He said: "We had our doubts and that has been so for some years now, about the democratic ways and the approach by the government that happens to be in power putting it down to the grass roots people."
Heinrich and his colleagues are in Zimbabwe for dialogue with President Mugabe's government. The five member Bundestag delegation which will also visit several other African countries for similar engagements, met with Zin1babwean government officials including the speaker of Parliament, Jacob Mudenda, and members of the civil society.
Germany is one of the western countries which slapped President Mugabe with sanctions for gross human and property rights violations in 2002 following political violence which was preceded by the land grab programme which displaced white commercial farmers from their land without compensation. The human rights situation continued to worsen after the sanctions regime was put in place but was to improve significantly between 2009 and 2013 when President Mugabe and the two MDC formations were in a Government of National Unity.
However, the situation was to change again after the tenure of the five year long fragile political coalition.
Of late, there have been fresh reports of abductions and the arresting of peaceful protesters throughout the country, forcing some EU member states and the US government to call for both calm and respect for human rights.
"So, we are saying we want to talk with you and we want to invest in relations, but as long as these points have not been clarified we are not giving any money because we want to be responsible to our tax payers for every cent we give and we want to be in control of that," said Heinrich.
He added: "We are not giving government any money as long as they do not show us that they have done what they promised in areas of corruption, human rights, freedom of speech and some democratic areas."

Mliswa’s win is ominous for Zanu PF

Before the Norton by-election, Zanu PF had all but taken polls, since 2013, as routine victories and this was aided by the opposition’s boycotts.Temba Mliswa newly elected opposition Zimbabwe memeber of parliament in Norton
However, Norton was different as Zanu PF faced stiff opposition from Temba Mliswa who had the support of MDC-T and some war veterans.
Zanu PF went all out and they were accused of violence and vote buying, but all these stone age tactics came to naught.
Taking nothing away from Mliswa, Saturday’s election was a slap in the face for Zanu PF by an electorate that is weary of party policies.
The ruling party cannot expect to win an election in this environment, where the economy has all but tanked and joblessness is at an all-time high and continues to grow.
In simple terms, people no longer trust Zanu PF, as its electoral promises have proven to be as hollow as in the past.

Activists abducted and beaten ahead of protests

Zimbabwean pro-democracy activists were assaulted and abducted ahead of a planned demonstration dubbed #MunhuWeseMuRoad.Burnt out car after abduction of Patson Dzamara prior ro Protest Against Bond Notes in Harare on 18th Novevember 2016
Sources on the ground, which could not be identified for fear for their safety, told IBTimes UK that men abducted and beat half a dozen activists who had been calling for Zimbabweans to gather and protest in the March Against Bond Notes in the capital Harare on Friday, 18 November.
Prominent political activists Patson Dzamara, Ishmael Kauzani and Sten Zvorwadza, who were shuttling from one safe house to another, were reportedly ambushed by between 12 and 14 men in three twin-cab vehicles around Mukonohono and Glen Eagles Road. According to the sources, several of these men were wearing police clothes, while others were plain clothed.
Patson Dzamara's back after alleged abduction and beating by police on 18 November 2016 before a protest in HarareDzamara and Kauzani's vehicles were blocked and one was rammed into a ditch.
"As [the activists] were running out of the vehicles, the men started beating them up, took Patson and shoved him into another vehicle and continued to beat up the other guys," activist Promise Sande confirmed.
Kauzani claimed that several rounds of bullet shots were fired as the activists tried to run away. Zvorwadza and Kauzani, whose car was torched, were "badly beaten" but both men managed to escape, sources confirmed. Another activist who was in the vehicle with the movement leaders was reportedly missing a front tooth.
Sande alleged that uniformed men "tried to shove some of the guys [activists] into the burning cars."
Dzamara, whose brother and activist Itai Dzamara disappeared while protesting against the Zimbabwean government in March 2015 and has been missing since, was taken away, stripped naked and tortured before being dumped on the Harare-Bulawayo Road. He was admitted to the Avenues Clinic on Mazowe Street in Harare. "He is quite badly Burnt out vehicle after abduction and beating of activits before protest in Harare on 18 November 2016beaten, on his back, but not severely injured," the source said, after speaking to Dzamara.
Three activists are still missing.

#NoToBondNotes
#MunhuWeseMuRoad
#Tajamuka
#ThisFlag

The U.S.Embassy posted this on their Facebook page:
"Harare, November 19 2016: The United States notes with concern reports of the abduction, assault, and harassment of civil society leaders ahead of Friday’s scheduled demonstrations. We urge the Zimbabwe government to investigate these crimes and ensure adequate protection of individuals peacefully exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to freedom of expression.
"U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr. met today with Patson Dzamara to check on his wellbeing, to share U.S. concerns, and to show our support for the rights of Dzamara and those of all Zimbabweans.
Logo of the Zimbabwe U S Embassy"The United States remains concerned about Zimbabwe’s deteriorating human rights record, which includes the continued harassment, arrests, and ongoing detention of civil rights leaders, political activists, and journalists demanding economic and political reforms. In many cases, these individuals have been assaulted and denied access to adequate health care. Some have been detained for extended periods and reportedly been subjected to torture, while the disappearance of some activists, including Itai Dzamara, who disappeared on March 9, 2015, remain unresolved. These actions are in contravention of Zimbabwe’s international commitments.
"The United States supports the freedoms of speech and assembly, and we call on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens, and to uphold its laws and international commitments."

The EU delegation, heads of mission of EU member states in Harare and Switzerland also issued a joint statement on Friday condemning the increasing abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe. The heads of mission note with growing concern a significant and worrying increase in the number of incidents over recent months, in violation of the fundamental human rights and freedoms enshrined in Chapter 4 of the Constitution, the statement read.
“Those incidents include acts of intimidation, violence, abduction and torture,  violations of the rights of arrested and detained persons, and a lack of respect of the freedom of assembly and association and the freedom to demonstrate and petition.Patson Dzamara recovering in hospital after abduction and torture in Zimbabwe before a protest against the issue of bond notes
“The heads of mission repeat their appeals to the competent authorities to conduct thorough investigations of these incidents, and to ensure that those responsible for commissioning and carrying out these crimes are prosecuted.
“The government of Zimbabwe is responsible for the protection of its citizens from abduction and torture, regardless of their political opinions,” the statement added.
“Human rights, democracy and the rule of law are essential elements of the bilateral relations between the European Union and Zimbabwe. Sustainable peace, development and prosperity cannot exist without respect for human rights and freedoms.

“Those principles underpin all internal and external policies of the European Union.”

Pastor Evan returns to Zimbabwe and is arrested

"Pastor Evan is back in Zimbabwe! Please uplift this brave and dynamic Pastor in prayer. He was immediately arrested and is being charged with treason - in the true way of tyrannical states. Other Pastors and church leaders are already rallying around him. It is uncertain as to whether he will be brought to court tomorrow or on Friday. So please pray against continuing injustice against this innocent man. God bless you all." Ben Freeth, 2nd February 2017. Facebook

One report says that he was detained at the Harare airport and charged under the same charges as last year - subverting a constitutionally elected Government. After six months in exile in USA, he arrived on a scheduled flight from Johannesburg.

"I can't help thinking of the cowardly magistrate, Elisha Singano, who has kept Pastor Evan in jail. Shame on him! What an unjust act. He knows just like the State Prosecutor and the 9 CIO guys that arrested him know, that Pastor Evan is innocent. Cowardliness is such a problem amongst us. May Pastor Evan be a Joseph in our midst!" Ben Freeth, 4th February 2017, Facebook

Press release announces Pastor Evan released from detention from Chikurubi Prison after his arrest at Harare International Airport on return from six months exile in USA

#ThisFlag posted this message on Facebook on 17th February 2017: "Update from the courts earlier today. Matter has been postponed to March 16 because the state was not ready. Our resolve remains steady in uniting the citizens of Zimbabwe as we prepare for the coming season of change."

Listen to Pastor Evan here

Army takes over

The news is by no means clear and the situation may well be what is called “fluid”, but several defining things seem to have happened in mid November 2017. First of all, it appears that the 93-year-old, Jesuit-Grace Mugabe talks to the President during rallyeducated Robert Mugabe is no longer in power and has not been in power for some time, no doubt due to his increasing physical and perhaps mental frailty. Real power has been exercised by his wife, Grace, and the faction around her. Recently there have been manoeuvrings to do with the succession. The vice-president and long-term heir apparent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was unceremoniously sacked by Grace and her faction earlier this month, and fled to South Africa, claiming his life was in danger. It seemed Grace had won the succession struggle. However, faced with the prospect of Mugabe II, that is, President Grace, the army decided to act. They have taken over the government.
World leaders pressed for 'calm, non-violence, restraint'. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and leaders from around the world have appealed for calm and restraint in Zimbabwe amid the crisis. "The UN Secretary-General is monitoring the evolving situation in Zimbabwe," UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. "He appeals for calm, non-violence and restraint. Preservation of fundamental rights, including freedom of speech and assembly, is of vital importance."Emmerson Mnangagwa Vice Ptresident that was deposed by President Robert Mugabe
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was not clear whether the dramatic events in Zimbabwe marked "the downfall of Mugabe". Mr Johnson accused Mr Mugabe of rigging elections, torturing opponents and "the worst hyper-inflation in recorded history", and said the country must not exchange one "unelected tyrant" for another.
The African Union Commission said it was crucial the political crisis be resolved in a manner that promoted democracy and human rights — the commission was closely following developments in Harare, Mr Faki said.
The whiplash developments followed Mr Mugabe's firing last week of his deputy, which appeared to position the first lady, Grace Mugabe, to replace Emmerson Mnangagwa as one of the country's two vice presidents at a party conference next month.
Mr Mnangagwa's whereabouts were not clear on Wednesday. He fled the country last week, citing threats to him and his family. As the military took control of the capital and the state broadcaster, it appeared more and more likely the world's oldest head of state was being deposed by a coup. The military said it had not staged a military takeover, but was instead starting a process to restore Zimbabwe's democracy.
The army's supporters praised the move as a "bloodless correction".
Citizens in the capital, Harare, contributed to the feeling of a smooth change by carrying on with their daily lives, walking past the army's armoured personnel carriers to go to work and to shops.
Tanks rattle into Harare city at early stages of coupZimbabwe for the first time is seeing an open rift between the military and long-time ruler Robert Mugabe.
Many who have never known any leader but Mr Mugabe waited in long lines at banks to draw limited amounts of cash, a result of this once-prosperous country's plummeting economy.
"I am just following what is happening on WhatsApp but I am still in the dark about what is happening," said Felix Tsanganyiso, who sells mobile airtime vouchers.
"So far so good; we are going about our business without harassment.
"My plea is that whoever takes over should sort out the economy. We are tired of living like this."
Critics of the Government urged Mr Mugabe to go quietly. "The old man should be allowed to rest," former Zimbabwe finance minister and current activist Tendai Biti told South African broadcaster eNCA.
Earlier, Zimbabwe's army denied it had carried out a coup after taking over the state broadcaster in the early hours of Wednesday, even as military vehicles took to the streets of the Zimbabwean capital and prolonged gunfire was heard near the presidential residence. Military officers read an address live on state TV, saying President Robert Mugabe was "safe" and his "security is guaranteed".
General Constantine Chiwenga who deposed President Mugabe in coup in Harare in November 2017"It is not a military takeover of government," an army spokesman said in a televised statement. "We wish to assure the nation that his excellency the president... and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
"We are only targeting criminals around who him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.
"As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy." The address came hours after several loud explosions echoed across central Harare and troops seized the headquarters of the ZBC, Zimbabwe's state broadcaster.
"Although it doesn’t look like a coup, it is a coup,” Zimbabwe analyst Alex Magaisa, a senior Zimbabwe legal analyst based in the UK, told The Telegraph.
Several cabinet ministers, including local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and finance minister Ignatius Chombo, and Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwayo, were arrested. There was allegedly a brief gun fight outside Mr Chombo’s house.
Speculation had been mounting throughout the day that a coup was under way against Mr Mugabe, after the head of the armed forces threatened to "step in" over the sacking of an influential vice president. Zimbabwe's ruling party accused General Constantine Chiwenga of treason over his comments, after the rare appearance of the military vehicles in Harare.
Gunfire erupted near Mr Mugabe's private residence in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday, a witness told AFP.
"From the direction of his house, we heard about 30 or 40 shots fired over three or four minutes soon after 2.00 am," a resident who lives close to Mugabe's mansion in the suburb of Borrowdale said. Armed soldiers were assaulting passers-by in the early morning hours in Harare, according to the Associated Press, while officers were seen loading ammunition near a group of four military vehicles. Aggressive soldiers told passing cars to keep moving through the darkness. "Don't try anything funny. Just go," one told a Reuters reporter on Harare Drive.
Army presence through Harare during coup in November 2017Two hours later, soldiers overran ZBC, a principal Mugabe mouthpiece, and ordered staff to leave. Several ZBC workers were manhandled, two members of staff and a human rights activist said. Shortly afterwards, three explosions rocked the centre of the southern African nation's capital, near the University of Zimbabwe campus, witnesses said.
The move was widely seen as part of a battle between Mr Mnangagwa and Grace Mugabe, the first lady, over the presidential succession when Mr Mugabe dies or steps down. The Zimbabwean president, who is 93, fights his last election next year.
Many expected Mrs Mugabe to be appointed vice president in Mr Mnangagwa’s place at the Zanu PF special congress next month.
Gen Chiwenga, an ally of Mr Mnangagwa, demanded on Monday that Mr Mugabe immediately cease “purging” the former vice president's allies in the party and in government.
"We must remind those behind the current treacherous shenanigans that when it comes to matters of protecting our revolution, the military will not hesitate to step in," the head of the armed forces commander said.
In a statement issued on Tuesday evening, Zanu-PF accused Gen Chiwenga of "treasonable conduct." Earlier on Tuesday Kudzai Chipanga, the leader of Zanu-PF's youth wing, accused Gen Chiwenga of stealing billions of rands and said his movement would act to protect the president.
"We as Zanu-PF youth league are a lion which has awakened Kudzai Chipanga ZANU PF Youth Leader supprots President during 2017 coupand found its voice, therefore we will not sit idly and fold our hands whilst cheap pot-shots and threats are made against Mugabe,” he said in a statement widely released on social media.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled Zimbabwe after he was sacked as vice president on November 6, made a triumphant return to the country on Wednesday, 22nd November 2017, a day after 93-year-old Mugabe resigned.
Mugabe's departure after 37 years in power followed an intense week with the military staging a government takeover, the commencement of impeachment proceedings and citizens taking to the streets in protest.
Mnangagwa will serve Mugabe's remaining term until elections next year. Opposition lawmakers who have alleged vote-rigging in the past say that balloting must be free and fair.
The party's Central Committee had voted to remove Mugabe from his party leadership post and replace him with Mnangagwa, a former justice and defence minister with close ties to the military.
Mugabe fired his longtime deputy as the former president's wife, Grace Mugabe, positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband. That led the military to step into the party's factional battle a week ago by sending tanks into the streets and putting the president under house arrest - a move that opened the door for the party and the people to turn against the leader who took power after the end of white minority rule in 1980.
The resignation was met with wild celebrations across Harare. People were thrilled to be rid of a leader whose early promise, including an emphasis on education, was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human rights violations.

The second in command takes over to jubilation...

Robert Mugabe's former vice president and top enforcer - known to some as "The Crocodile" - took command of the southern African country is rousing style Friday when he was sworn in as the nation’s second president - only Zimbabwe’s second leader in nearly four decades - to shouts and singing from tens of thousands of people.
Emmerson Mnangagwa former Vice President to Mugabe takes over in Novemebr 2017A smiling Emmerson Mnangagwa greeted the crowd at a packed stadium, promising to reduce crushing unemployment and return the country to prosperity after years of decline. “Our economic policy will be directed for job, job, job creation” he told the crowd of 60,000 in the capital, Harare. “We must work together. You, me, all of us who make up this nation. I must hit the ground running.”
Mnangagwa, a former justice and defense minister, had been Mugabe’s ruthless enforcer, accused of overseeing the brutal deaths of thousands of political opponents. He is the subject of U.S. sanctions targeting officials in Zimbabwe’s repressive regime.
Mnangagwa had returned from a brief exile to widespread support from Zimbabweans who welcomed his promises of democracy. His speech on Friday struck notes of inclusion and reconciliation after years of growing frustration with Mugabe’s rule.Zimbabwe celebrates at the end of Mugabe rule in Harare November 2017
He promised to tackle corruption and pledged “democratic” elections would be held next year as planned. Mnangagwa also praised Mugabe, who remains a respected figure by many in Africa for his role in ending white-minority ruled Rhodesia. Mugabe should be “lauded and celebrated” for his work, Mnangagwa said, to tepid applause.
Mugabe did not attend Friday's swearing-in, and ruling party officials have said he will remain in Zimbabwe after they promised he was "safe" and his legacy as a "hero" would stand.
Zimbabwe's state-run Herald newspaper reported Mnangagwa assured Mugabe and his family of their "maximum security." The report said the two men agreed Mugabe would not attend Friday's ceremony because he "needed time to rest."
Ahead of the inauguration, some people began to dance in the stadium stands. Banners read "Dawn Marchers in Bulawayo November 18 2017 after removal of President Mugabeof a new era" and "No to retribution," even as human rights activists began to report worrying details of attacks on close allies of the former first lady and their families. Mnangagwa has warned against "vengeful retribution."
Tendai Lesayo held a small Zimbabwean flag as she sold drinks from a cooler outside the stadium. She said she would welcome a fresh start, saying "life now is impossible."
Elsewhere in the capital, long lines formed outside banks, a common sight in a nation struggling with cash shortages and other severe economic problems that the new president will have to confront.
"Right now, nothing has really changed for me. I still cannot get my money from the bank," said Amon Mutora, who had been in line since 6 am.
"Attending the inauguration will not bring food for my family," said Kelvin Fungai, a 19-year-old selling bananas from a cart. Many young people are well-educated but jobless, reduced to street vending to survive. Others have left the country.

After Mugabe

Eddie Cross wrote from Harare on 22nd Novemeber 2017 about events in Parliament and his views about the way forward:
"I am a veteran of the struggle for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe. I seem to have been at it for a century, but I have never seen such scenes in the country. First Saturday when spontaneously millions of Zimbabweans demonstrated for Mugabe to go. Then Sunday when the Central Committee of the Zanu PF Party (however constituted) voted to remove both Mr. and Mrs. Mugabe from their positions in the Party. Then the let down that evening when Mr. Mugabe came on Television and said he was going nowhere, he was “President” and “Commander in Chief”.
"The City of Harare woke up on Monday and it was very quiet all day – fewer cars on the roads and little business going on. Towards noon on Tuesday people started gathering at African Unity Square for prayers and we concluded meetings of our (MDC) leadership to decide what to do in Parliament that afternoon. When I arrived at Parliament, the entrance was surrounded by media and a crowd of several thousand was gathered over the road in the Square.
Eddie Cross member of opposition party MDC in Zimbabwe"Inside we started the process of impeachment with the Speaker reading out the motion and the charges against Mugabe, then the rules for the special joint sittings of the House and the Senate. The international press must have been amused by the tradition and the ceremonial nature of the process at that stage. Once he was done, we stood down and then left Parliament to go to the venue for the Joint Sittings which was the Harare Conference center. By 16.30 we were seated with perhaps 2000 people in the gallery.
At 16.45 the bells were rung and exactly on 16.50 the Speaker and the President of the "Senate walked in and we started the proceedings. The two Members putting up the motion, one a Senator and one a MDC Member of Parliament, then proposed the motion to impeach. The debate began and about 17.30 and the Speaker interrupted proceedings to announce that he had received a letter from the President. This was then read out and when it came to the part about him “tendering his resignation with immediate effect”, the place exploded. It took several minutes to restore order and then he suspended the session indefinitely. We filed out to find that the entire country was pouring out onto the streets and a massive street celebration was underway.
"The main result of these mass demonstrations and events is that the international and regional communities now know that what has transpired has the support of the great majority of all Zimbabweans. The fact that it was the army that was the trigger, has little significance providing they go back to barracks when the new President is sworn in – something I expect to happen this week (on Friday). This gives, whatever government comes in over the next few days, very little breathing space before it has to deal with the very tough issues that are on the table for the new regime.
"First of these is the national Budget which was supposed to be presented to Parliament on Thursday the 23rd November. The country will run a huge fiscal deficit this year after the US$1,4 billion deficit in 2016. The economy is shrinking, and inflation is suddenly accelerating. The budget is the only policy instrument available to the government and whatever was planned by the Minister of Finance (who is now in jail) will have to be reviewed and changes made. We have until the end of January to get this done – but there is a lot to do and this will take some time.
"Then there is the issue of re-engagement with the international Community. This is essentially a political process which must be concluded before any talk of an IMF guided stabilization and recovery plan can be considered or talks with bilateral development Partners initiated. The new government has to persuade the international community that it has a plan to get us to a free and fair election as soon as possible so that the regime in Harare can replace its temporary legitimacy conferred by the street, with democratic credentials. This process must be set out in clear terms with guidelines, targets and timelines.
"This in itself will not be a short process. It will involve the full implementation of the 2013 Constitution, the restoration of the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary, the removal of all restrictive legislation such as POSA and AIPA. We will need a complete overhaul of the enabling legislation for elections and the selection and appointment of an independent electoral Commission. We will have to reform the armed forces to bring them under full civilian control and to disband the Joint Operations Command which has been responsible for much of the manipulation and rigging of elections in recent years. We will have to restore the independence of all traditional leaders in the country and ensure that the media is free and unfettered by the State in any way.
"The MDC Leadership has already called for the next election to be supervised by the UN or one of its Agencies. All of this is a tough call for the incoming administration but progress beyond this is going to be impossible.
Once the doors to reengagement have been opened, the question of economic policy is going to come to the fore. Again, the list of things that will have to be attended to before the IMF can consider resuming implementation of the Lima Agreement of 2016, is a lengthy one. It will begin with the reduction of the fiscal deficit from 15 per cent of GDP to 3 per cent by both reducing recurrent costs and increasing State revenues. Both are going to be difficult to achieve as Zimbabweans are already heavily taxed and any cuts in employment costs are going to be very unpopular.Pastor Evan the leader of the Flag movement has been cleared of all pending charges on 29th Novemebr 2017
"But in the wider economy, the new government is going to have to amend or remove the Indigenisation Act and its Regulations, it is going to have to stop the fiscal bleeding through the 105 State Owned Enterprises, its going to have to give the Reserve Bank complete autonomy to tackle monetary system reform and to protect Bank security and it is going to have to take steps to restore the viability of all export firms. The vexatious issue of land reform must be revisited and cleaned up by paying compensation to the farm owners who had their land taken from them without compensation. Then what to do with the millions of hectares of farm land that is affected by this exercise.
"Finally, the government is going to have to deal with the national debt which now stands at over US$30 billion if farm compensation is included as a contingent liability. There is absolutely no way that this can be attended to by the State on its own and this must be a central issue for the Lima process. Tough call – but not impossible and whatever else the new President is planning, it is these issues that will occupy his time in the next 3 months. For today he has arrived in Harare, will be sworn in as President on Friday and then take up these issues on Monday with a new team of Ministers who will have to share the burden of leadership. The honeymoon will be very short."

Army opens fire on opposition protesters in Zimbabwe capital during wait for election results

Zimbabwe is a country on the brink after six people have been killed who accused the government of rigging this week’s election.
The deployment of soldiers and their beating of unarmed protesters set back President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s efforts to shed Zimbabwe’s pariah status after decades of repression under Robert Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in November.
Even before the violence, European Union observers questioned the conduct of the presidential and parliamentary poll, Zimbabwe’s first since Mugabe was forced to resign. The observers expressed concern about delays in releasing the results of the presidential contest.
Thousands of supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) chanted anti-government slogans and destroyed benches, signs, traffic lights prompting police to fire warning shots, water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds.
Protesters responded by burning tires and throwing rocks until the army intervened sending people running for cover as many were wounded.
Officers had been facing off through a locked gate against protesters who brandished opposition party banners, lit fires and chanted slogans against the ruling ZANU-PF party.
“You said you were better than Mugabe — you are the picture of Mugabe,” shouted one young male protester wearing a white T-shirt. “We need security for the people.”
Thousands of supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) chanted anti-government slogans and destroyed benches, signs, traffic lights prompting police to fire warning shots, water cannon and tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowds.
Protesters responded by burning tires and throwing rocks until the army intervened sending people running for cover as many were wounded.
Officers had been facing off through a locked gate against protesters who brandished opposition party banners, lit fires and chanted slogans against the ruling ZANU-PF party.
“You said you were better than Mugabe — you are the picture of Mugabe,” shouted one young male protester wearing a white T-shirt. “We need security for the people.”
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF party and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of using underhand tactics to steal the election from them.
An angry crowd of mostly young men, some of whom covered their faces, whistled and chanted “Chamisa, Chamisa” in downtown Harare.
It comes as Zimbabwe’s president warned against making “provocative statements” as protesters ran rampant through the streets. “Now is the time for responsibility and above all peace,” President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, opposition challenger Nelson Chamisa is again claiming victory over Mnangagwa writing on Twitter that, “No amount of results manipulation will alter your will.”

Warning - graphic images

Opposition supporters jubilant as they march want answers

Protests at delays in presidential results after claims of rigged election

Protestors light fires in street

Opposition supporters met by riot police firing tear gas

Police baricade temselves

Tear gas is fired at protestors

Protestors flee as Zimbabwe troops arrive

Zimbabwe soldiesr fire at protestors

Zimbabwe soldier with AK47 during protests

Alleged Presidential guard eyes protestors while six were killed by gunfire

Onlookers at man allegedly shot by soldiers

Protestor shot in back with chest exit wound in Zimbabwe

MDC supporter with leg wound

MDC supporter with leg wound after shooting

Grandmother killed in crossfire when Zimbabwe soldiers shhot at opposition supporters in Zimbabwe

"They shot and killed freedom today, BUT THEY WILL NEVER KILL OUR HOPE!
"We pray for peace and cry with those who have lost loved ones #PeaceBeStill"

Evan Mawarire, 1st August, 2018

Mnangagwa wins first post-Mugabe election

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been declared the winner of Zimbabwe's election. Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former spy chief, installed after Robert Mugabe's removal in a coup in November, has been voted in after a poll marred by the deaths of six people in an army crackdown on opposition protests.
After two days of claims and counterclaims, the 75-year-old Mnangagwa secured a comfortable victory, polling 2.46 million votes (50.8%) against 2.15 million (44.3%) for 40-year-old opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.
Election poster being ripped up as marchers pass by in ZimbabweThe election, the first since the army's removal of 94-year-old Mugabe, passed off relatively smoothly but its aftermath revealed the deep rifts in Zimbabwean society and the instinctive heavy-handedness of the security forces.
On Wednesday, 1st August, 2018, troops backed by armoured vehicles and a military helicopter were sent in to crush demonstrations by opposition supporters who said Mnangagwa's ZANU-PF party had rigged the elections.
Six people were killed as soldiers, some with their faces obscured by camouflage masks, opened fire with automatic weapons.
The following day, soldiers ordered civilians off the streets of the capital, despite calls from foreign governments and international organisations for calm and for political leaders to show restraint. Police then sealed off the headquarters of Chamisa's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) before storming the building and arresting 16 people. The search warrant said they were looking for unlicensed firearms, grenades and stones.
Coupled with video of soldiers firing on unarmed demonstrators on Wednesday, the raid does serious damage to Mnangagwa's efforts to rehabilitate the image of a country synonymous with political repression and economic collapse.
Questioning the independence of the judiciary, Chamisa said he was reluctant to go to court to challenge the results, saying this would be "going into the lion's den".
Opposition supporter savagely beaten by soldiers after protest march"We are not about to be a meal for lions," he told reporters, alleging that Mnangagwa's ruling ZANU-PF party had rigged the poll but without providing any concrete evidence.
Before the police stormed the MDC headquarters, Secretary General Douglas Mwonzora said 27 party workers carrying out voter tabulation were locked inside its offices by officers who had sealed off the building.
"We will not recognise that search warrant because they want to plant evidence. They want to disrupt our results tabulation process, that's all," he said.
Wednesday's crackdown by the army crushed the last vestiges of euphoria that followed its removal of Mugabe in November and fuelled suspicions that the generals who launched the coup remained Zimbabwe's de facto rulers.
In Harare, the contrast could not have been starker with November, when hundreds of thousands filled the streets, hugging soldiers and celebrating their role in ousting Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabwe had known since independence in 1980.
"They are showing their true colours now. We thought they were our saviour in November but they fooled us," said newspaper vendor Farai Dzengera, saying that the brief dream of an end to decades of repression was over.
Nearly all shops in downtown Harare were shuttered and the normally bustling pavements quiet the day after the bloodshed.
Mnangagwa's spokesman, George Charamba, insisted that Thursday was a normal working day. "They must go about their business as always," he said on state television.
But accusations of vote-rigging by Nelson Chamisa, the MDC leader who claims to have been the victor, have been met with a brutal crackdown. Last week riot police stormed a press conference by Mr Chamisa while Mr Mnangagwa’s own presidential guard shot protesters in the capital, Harare, killing at least six people.
Amnesty International said that more than 60 people have been arbitrarily arrested in what its southern African director, Deprose Muchena, called “a vicious campaign of torture, intimidation and suppression of dissenting voices”.
There is “real fear” as more and more party members are being detained in unknown locations, said Nkululeko Sibanda, Mr Chamisa’s spokesperson. Tendai Biti, a senior MDC figure, said he had narrowly escaped “abduction” on Friday and had gone into hiding.
Mr Mnangagwa has pledged an independent investigation into last week’s shootings. But the mounting crackdown has come amid signs of a split within the security forces over the vote’s aftermath.
The brutality bears the hallmarks of Constantino Chiwenga, the former commander of the armed forces who led the coup and became Mr Mnangagwa’s vice-president, said Fidelis Mudimu, director of the Counselling Services Unit, an NGO that deals with victims of political violence. Some observers see Mr Chiwenga as the power behind the throne in what is effectively a military junta and say that he is in control of the presidential guard.
“There is a splinter in the army that is loyal to their former commander, the current vice-president,” while other units remain loyal to Philip Sibanda, head of the armed forces, Mr Mudimu said. “These splits can break out into violence any time. Mnangagwa has to sort this out quickly.”

Doubling of fuel price results in protests that prompt detentions and more death
Protests began in Zimbabwe on 14 January 2019 following a 130% increase in the price of Protests break out prompted by 130% fuel price increase in Zimbabwefuel imposed by the government of Emmerson Mnangagwa. Thousands of Zimbabweans protested against the price increase, along with increasing levels of poverty, the poor state of the economy, and declining standards of living. Beyond the capital, disturbances were also reported in the cities of Mutare and Bulawayo. The government responded with a coordinated crackdown that involved raiding the homes of some residents and resulted in hundreds of arrests and multiple deaths. The protests stopped after three days; by 17 January, businesses started reopening as the protests ended.
The government reported that three people, including one policeman, had died in the protests. Non-government sources reported that around 200 people had been arrested and that eight had been killed in the protests by police by the end of the first day of protests. Protestors against doubling of price of fuel in Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) stated that 172 people had been injured, of which 68 were treated for gunshot wounds. Indiscriminate acts of violence by the police on both protesters and bystanders were also reported, along with acts of looting by some protesters in Harare, Bulawayo and Kadoma. By 18 January, the ZADHR had recorded 844 human rights violations that included 78 gunshot injuries, 466 arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as 242 cases of assault and degrading treatment.
Internet monitoring group NetBlocks reported the blocking of over a dozen social media and messaging platforms in Zimbabwe including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followed by total internet blackouts. The government extended its disruption to a full shutdown to prevent the use of VPN circumvention tools by demonstrators. The Zimbabwe troops systemically target protestors in Zimbabwecountry's largest cellular provider, Econet, confirmed that the government issued a directive blocking all internet access during the protests. After the protests ended the Zimbabwean High Court ruled that the internet shutdown was illegal and ordered it to be restored.
On the third day of the protests, civil society activist and pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested. Mawarire's lawyer stated that the government alleged that his inciting of violent protests on Twitter as the reason for the arrest. The Movement for Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) stated that its party leadership had been detained by security forces during the protests. An unknown number of abductions by security personnel were reported during the crackdown on the protests. A Zimbabwe soldier described to the Telegraph how he had commited rape and broke legs. Dusk had fallen on the second day of violent anti-government protests in Harare when the company commander gathered his men and relayed orders for the night's operation. Soldier sent in to quell protests in Zimbabwe
The task, said the long-serving NCO, was straightforward: go into the poor suburbs of Zimbabwe's capital, locate opposition activists, and 'punish them'.
"Our lieutenant told us to go in and find them. We got our information of where the Movement for Democratic Change activists live from members of our party, Zanu PF," the soldier told the Telegraph this week.
According to his own account, the soldier would take part in systematically breaking legs and would personally commit at least one rape in a door-to-door operation on the night of January 15.
Protestors light fires during unrest in ZimbabweAt this stage, the count is speculated to have reached 12 people that have been killed and more than 300 wounded, many of them with gunshot wounds, since violent protests broke out across the country in January 2019.
Zimbabwe's government has denied authorising soldiers to commit abuses in its efforts to restore order.
But the country's independent Human Rights Commission has accused security forces of systematic torture in the subsequent crackdown. Rights groups on Friday raised the alarm about sexual violence.
"We have received very disturbing reports of a number of cases of women allegedly raped by members of security forces," Dewa Mavhinga, southern Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said on Friday. Zimbabwe forces called in when rioting breaks out
"Beatings, harassment and other abuses have continued after Mnangagwa's return and there are no clear actions from the government to hold accountable those committing the abuses." Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said she had not received any reports of rape. The soldier the Telegraph said he had no regrets and freely admitted to committing a rape. “It was night. We were looking for someone in the MDC. We had an address, this lady was sleeping with a light on. I asked is her husband there, and she said she doesn't have one. I was done in a minute," he said.
The man also said his unit, who wore civilian overalls and no insignia during the operation, broke “many bones” of MDC supporters by pinioning them to the open back panel of an army pick up truck and then smashing it closed on their legs.
"We are going to deal with people calling for demonstrations. They will hide under doors, under beds. The schoolchildren who joined the demonstrations, most of them are MDC, and most of them are taught by their parents to do this.
Zimbabwe forces during protests in Zimbabwe"And so we have to beat them. We stopped them. Don’t believe we didn’t stop them. We did. We will do this again,” he said.
A solider in a different regiment said he had been sent on a similar punitive expedition in poor townships last week.
Zimbabwe's High Court on Friday deferred until next week a decision on whether to free an activist pastor detained during the protests.
Evan Mawarire, who led a national shutdown in 2016 against Robert Mugabe, has been accused of inciting the unrest. Prosecutors argued against the bail application, saying Mr Mawarire posed a flight risk and could re-offend if released.
Judge Tawanda Chitapi said he would rule on Tuesday but hinted he could ban Mr Mawarire from posting videos similar to the one that the state says encouraged unrest until the trial is over. Zimbabwe troops systemically search the community after protests in Zimbabwe
The #BlackWednesday call for women in Zimbabwe to wear all black clothing gained traction. The call to wear all black was organised by Tsimba Kadzi with the aim of highlighting the wanton abuse of women and to stop the sexual violence being perpetrated by soldiers against women.
Since exposing the scale of violence in Zimbabwe last weekend, The Sunday Times has been contacted by numerous victims and their families. These are some accounts:
The two girls, one 11 and the other 12, were on their street in the Pumula district of Bulawayo one afternoon, going between each other’s homes, when they made the mistake of peeping through the wall of the police station to see what had happened to their neighbours who had been locked up. They were spotted, dragged in by soldiers and raped in the courtyard.
Zimbabwe troops during protests in Zimbabwe in 2019“I’m losing faith in humanity,” said Nkululeko Sibanda, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in tears after speaking to the girls. “What’s happening here is beyond my ability to process.”
The hairdresser in hospital after soldiers broke all her fingers...
The teenage boy stripped naked with knives by soldiers then flogged after they could not find his uncle, a union leader...
Every day more are added to the hundreds detained.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa returned from an overseas trip in the early hours of Tuesday, calling the violence “unacceptable”. The shootings may have stopped but the campaign of terror unleashed on Zimbabwe’s poor has continued.
While his Cambridge-educated finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, was posting pictures on Twitter yesterday of meeting investors in Zurich after attending Davos, soldiers in Zimbabwe were smashing up small businesses and menacing people on public buses.
So who is really in control just 13 months after Zimbabwe celebrated the end of 37 years of dictatorial rule under Robert Mugabe? Protestors detianed in Zimbabwe front in court
“It’s all about power,” said Beatrice Mtetwa, Zimbabwe’s leading human rights lawyer. “There can be no question but that Zimbabwe is under military rule — the army is in control.”
“This is a battle between reformers and hardliners,” explained a close adviser to Mnangagwa. “Effectively we have two presidents.”
The adviser was referring to Mnangagwa and his deputy, General Constantine Chiwenga, who as army chief led the move against Mugabe in November 2017.
Those close to both men say there is little love lost between them and that Chiwenga has grown impatient with Mnangagwa for appointing people from his Karanga tribe and profiting from stakes in diamond mines and Zuwa, the country’s biggest petrol station chain.
“[Mnangagwa] has become too greedy and people are fed up,” said a foreign businessman who has known both men for decades. “Diamonds, fuel . . . he hasn’t stopped collecting and putting pressure on people.”
Protestors in Zimbabwe arrested in January 2019Mnangagwa left the country earlier this month on an investment-raising tour after announcing that fuel prices would more than double. When fuel protests erupted and a nationwide stayaway from work began, Chiwenga decided to act.
The Sunday Times has learnt that, at the height of the street crackdown, there were plans either to impeach the president or launch a coup on January 18 — but Chiwenga failed to get enough support from fellow MPs in the ruling Zanu-PF party and the presidential guard remained loyal. Some MPs publicly said they had been threatened by Chiwenga’s men.
“They threatened to kill me and harm my family,” tweeted one. “I stand by Mnangagwa. The plot is foiled. They lack numbers for impeachment.”
“The whole stayaway and protests was a pretext for the military to come out,” claimed the presidential adviser. “There are so many fissures within government, lots of people aligned to Chiwenga, also some with Grace Mugabe [the wife of Mnangagwa’s predecessor]. There’s also a tribal element. It’s a complete mess.” Protestors imprisoned in Zimbabwe in January 2019
The adviser added: “It’s a battle for the control of Zimbabwe and control of resources, the fact that shit hits the fan the moment he is out of the country I don’t think is a coincidence.”
Terence Mukupe, a former Wall Street banker who was Mnangagwa’s deputy finance minister and has family ties to him, also tweeted that he was receiving death threats to switch sides. “I will never sellout on my President,” he wrote. “You are wasting your time threatening to kill me and my family . . . I will never join your sick plot!!! Come get me and do as you please but my President is not going anywhere!!!”
Mnangagwa is himself no stranger to violence, having headed the feared CIO intelligence agency during a crackdown in the 1980s in which thousands were killed in Matabeleland.
Mukupe insisted to The Sunday Times that Mnangagwa has changed and his focus now really is on reopening the country for business. Referring to a prophecy made by a local pastor last year, he added: “He was told by his prophet if he directly orders spilling of blood that would be the end of his presidency and he believes that.”
Injuries during protests in ZimbabweMukupe said he had no doubt the army was behind the crackdown. “Look at it this way: he takes off to market the country and those on the ground start carrying out acts contrary to what he is preaching. It was clear sabotage. The army believe it’s they who put the president in power so they should be the ones calling the shots,” he added.
Others disagree, arguing that this may be a “good cop bad cop” routine.
“I’ve known him many years and he hasn’t changed yet,” said the foreign businessman. “The only way [Mnangagwa] has been able to maintain control is violence on the streets, beating people up — that’s his raison d’être. He was trained by North Korea and as head of CIO was ruthless.” Women dress in black to protest in Zimbabwe against rape by troops during retaliation against riots
Mtetwa also thinks it is too convenient to blame Chiwenga: “I don’t believe one man has the power to do this without others being in agreement. It’s the entire Zanu-PF system.”
Under the Mugabe regime, she was twice arrested and badly beaten three times, and represented scores of people who were detained and tortured. “These are days we thought we would never see again,” she said. “Only this is worse. Using live ammunition, putting 14, 15 and 16-year-olds in custody, wholesale arrests without any evidence . . . We are seeing systematic denial of bail, trials without people even knowing the charges. The courts are violating every rule in the book in what is clearly an orchestrated campaign.”
For the past 12 days, Fadsizai Chibanda had gone every day to Chikurubi maximum-security prison in Harare to try to visit her husband, Patrick, who was dragged from their home in a midnight raid at the start of the crackdown. She is borrowing money to pay the bus fares, $6 (£4.55) each way, with nothing coming in because the small pre-school she runs is closed down.
Evan Mawarire arrested while carrying his bible is accused of inciting unrest again in ZimbabweShe saw him once in court, where he looked dirty and beaten and was, as with all those picked up, denied bail. When she tried taking food to the prison, it was rejected.
“They are deliberately starving them,” said Mtetwa, who is representing Evan Mawarire, a well-known pastor who was arrested after calling for non-violent protest against the fuel-price rises. “The prisons have no food and when we take things they refuse to accept it, saying it might have cholera.” No one knows where the crackdown is leading. Though there is clearly no love lost between the president and his deputy, they need each other, says Stephen Chan, professor of world politics at Soas, University of London (the School of Oriental and African Studies) and a regular visitor to Zimbabwe. “General Chiwenga and [Mnangagwa] are not a happy couple but they also can’t live without each other.”
Whatever the real reason for it, the violence is a huge disappointment for those who thought things would change post-Mugabe.
Among them is Kerry Kay, who knows only too well the scale of Mugabe repression after her husband, Iain, was beaten to within an inch of his life in 2002 by thugs carrying sticks wrapped with barbed wire, who forced them off their farm.
The last time I saw her was at the march in November 2017 to call for Mugabe’s resignation, where people cheered the soldiers who had arrested him. Then she was jubilant, hugging everyone and telling me she “felt 17”. Yesterday she was smuggling baby food to a woman who had been locked up with her 11-month-old child.
“I’ve documented hundreds of thousands of cases since 1998 and I can’t believe this is happening again,” she said. “These are evil bastards who have so much blood on their hands they could drown in it, and they will do anything to stay in power.”

Degradation by illegal settlers and gold miners worsens damage from Cyclone
The damage caused by Cyclone Idai could have been significantly minimised had government paid attention to warnings about serious environmental degradation in Chimanimani, it has emerged.
The Zimbabwe Independent can reveal that government was warned about the ecological problems, which included rampant destruction of several hectares of plantation forests by illegal settlers and gold miners, which intensified two years ago which exacerbated the impact of the cyclone and resultant floods.
Information at hand indicates that the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ) and timber companies operating in the mountainous district raised the red flag over the cutting down of trees which they said rendered communities extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, such as mud-slides and rockfalls in the event of heavy rains.
They even called for an all-stakeholders’ meeting to try and salvage the situation, but to no avail.
During a visit to Chimanimani at the weekend, the Independent also observed that the most destructive landslides, rockfalls and mudslides took placed in places which had lost significant tree cover.
Bridge washed away at Chimanimani in March from Cyclone Idai with damage aggravated by desturction from bush clearing and illegal miningAreas which still had intact forests appeared largely unscathed.
Idai — described as the strongest tropical cyclone ever recorded in the entire southern hemisphere by the World Meteorological Organisation — made landfall in Mozambique on March 4 this year as a powerful category five storm before racing to Chimanimani.
The storm managed to pack winds of 170km/hr before making landfall, which is about as strong as a tropical cyclone can get.
It now emerged that what turned Idai from a natural hazard to a human disaster was a chain reaction of social vulnerabilities created by long-term environmental degradation, population pressure and political expediency.
Mountains have lost significant tree cover due to illegal settlers, who for over 15 years have besieged the forests, rampantly uprooting, cutting and burning trees to prepare farmland.
The FCZ has over the past decade been trying to drive the illegal miners and settlers out of the forests but has failed to do so because settlers enjoyed tacit support from government and Zanu PF as they claimed to be beneficiaries of agrarian reform and black empowerment programmes.
This is despite the fact that these forests were set aside for conservation and are protected against any other use by the Forestry Act. In legal terms, they are known as gazetted forests.
In 2016, the FCZ carried out a multi-temporal satellite imagery assessment which revealed that over 45 000 hectares of forest had been destroyed by gold miners and settlers in just 10 years.
The FCZ has particularly been worried about the state of Ngangu Mountain near Chimanimani town, at the foot of which sat several houses, some of which were destroyed by landslides, claiming up to 70 lives.
“We have been worried for a long time with the situation at Ngangu Mountain. If you look at the satellite images and compare with what it looks now, you will see that the rockfalls and landslides would track where there were no trees. Places which still had intact forests were not affected. We are not saying the trees would have prevented the cyclone from happening, but they would certainly have minimised the damage and this is scientifically proved,” an FCZ official who preferred anonymity said.
“This is the same case with the landslides which hit St Charles Lwanga School. People settled themselves in Tarka Forest and destroyed trees which hold together the rocks and the soil and we have this crisis as a consequence. There is a reason why those forests were left intact.”
Information also indicates that players in the timber industry have over the past five years been pushing for an all-stakeholders’ meeting to address the situation, again without success.
Allied Timbers warned government of possible disaster in 2017.
“The situation is really bad. Diversion of rivers where the terrain is steep and soils can be eroded easily is causing serious damage to the environment and, in such a scenario, normal forest activity cannot take place. The mining grants must be reversed; we appeal to government to reconsider their issue and stop all mining operations in the gazetted forests,” correspondence, in 2017, to government by Allied Timbers chief executive Dan Sithole reads.
“Logging, residential and infrastructure development and other activities continue to expand on slopes highly prone to landslides. Excessive soil water content is the primary cause of slope failure while steep slopes, weak soils or topography that concentrates water are the main factors contributing to landslide risk,” it further reads.
A forester with a local timber company who preferred anonymity said that in 2017 new settlers used tractors to plough through five hectares of freshly planted pine trees and set newly harvested timber on fire as they cleared land for commercial farming north of Tarka Forest, where, at the onset of the cyclone, landslides sent huge boulders littering the bed of Nyahodi River, knocking down homes along the way.
“We reported them to the police. They were arrested and fined just US$20 for the offence. Soon afterwards, they returned and continued with their activities. They boast of strong political connections,” the forester said.
Forestry Company spokesperson Violet Makoto said: “It would be insensitive to talk about those issues right now when so many people lost their lives.”
A visit to Rusitu Valley where Kopa Growth Point was entirely wiped out proved that there was discord between human beings and their environment: those social processes generating vulnerability on the one side, and physical exposure to hazards on the other.
For instance, mountains enclosing the growth point are still fully clothed in big trees and there was no sign of landslides on their steep slopes, yet the lower lying land is buried underneath rocks and pebbles transported by the flooded Rusitu and Nyahodi rivers from the affected areas upstream.
“We don’t even know where these rocks came from. We only saw them coming down along with the water,” Luke Mabhurugwa, a survivor of the cyclone who lives close to the growth point, said.
While some of the more superstitious villagers have been quick to suggest that the tragedy was caused by some fictional monster which traversed the once the usually serene environs and left its occupants wailing in grief, it would appear that the loss of forests that buffer Chimanimani against landslides, flooding and storm surges may have worsened the impact of Cyclone Idai.
Andrew Kukambura, 5th April 2019, The Zimbabwe Independent

39th Independence celebration
On 18th April, 2019, Zimbabweans celebrated 39 years of independence amid a cloud of dissatisfaction and worsening economic conditions.
The “celebrations” came just a few days after the prices of bread and other basic goods doubled again, a sure sign that citizens will soon witness the triple-figure inflation of 2008.
Just a year short of 40, Zimbabwe’s Promised Land remains a very distant possibility. The little hope created when long-term president Robert Mugabe was removed from office in November last year has all but vanished. The economy is getting worse and political seclusion from the world remains in effect.
Clown sells balloons at 39th Independence Celebrations in ZimbabweUnemployment still hovers above 90%. Hospital treatment and medicines are still the preserve of a few, so it decent education. There is an acute shortage of cash, forcing the government to introduce “a plastic market” for daily transactions. The bulk of the population now has to depend on neighbouring countries for basic goods and jobs.
The country remains a pariah state and there are still Western-imposed sanctions imposed on individuals. Its efforts to be re-admitted to the Commonwealth have failed and it now depends on loans from neighbouring and eastern countries.
Despite heavy rainfall, the event went ahead as planned as thousands of citizens loyally thronged the stadium and were treated to colourful military displays, artists’ performances, and sporting events.
In his speech to the crowd, President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledged the severe challenges facing his country but remained hopeful that “prosperity is coming”.
He also spoke out against corruption, applauded citizens’ unity of purpose to assist those ravaged by Cyclone Idai, and promised to pursue a crucial re-engagement with the West.
Mnangagwa also said his government is mobilising resources to feed people that face hunger due to the drought, which hit most of Southern Africa in the 2018/2019 rainy season.
He castigated business for raising prices. “Government is alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminate increases of prices, which has brought untold suffering to the people. This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue, which the second Republic has espoused,” he said.
Conspicuous by his absence at the festivities was popular opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. He opted to issue a statement on Twitter saying Independence Day has come at a time when Zimbabweans were unsatisfied.
“As we commemorate our country’s cherished independence today, the stark reality is that most are reeling from abject poverty and frustrations. State decay, corruption and violence have shuttered the 1980 Uhuru dream and ruined livelihoods. Won’t rest until we attain change that delivers,” Chamisa tweeted.

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