View Full Version : President Mugabe Crushing Resistance

June 3rd, 2003, 03:28 PM


This is a transcript from AM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 08:00 on ABC Local Radio.


ELEANOR HALL: To Zimbabwe now where the opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change, says the country is now in a state of war after the MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, was arrested and police fired shots and tear gas to disperse anti-Government rallies.

The confrontations, in which at least one person is reported to have been shot, have occurred at the start of five days of mass protests which the MDC had planned in an effort to drive President Robert Mugabe from power.

This report from our Africa Correspondent, Sally Sara.

SALLY SARA: Less than two hours before the protests were scheduled to begin, Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, had a visit from the police.

Five plain-clothes officers took him to Harare Central Police Station. He was questioned about his planned involvement in the demonstrations before being released. It was a bad start to a bad day for Mr Tsvangirai.

The Opposition failed in its attempt to entice millions of Zimbabweans onto the streets, to protest against President Robert Mugabe. The rallies were smothered before they even began. Thousands of police and soldiers made sure that most residents simply stayed at home.

Spokesman for President Robert Mugabe, George Charamba, says the Government has obtained a High Court order banning the demonstration.

GEORGE CHARAMBA: Yeah, what is uppermost in our mind is the fact that law and order must and will be maintained.
We have messages for the Zimbabwean people, that they, this is their country, the land we have taken is their land, and that therefore they must defend their revolution. Why would we be intimidated? This is a literal opposition party that is, that has no roots in the Zimbabwean fabric and why should one worry about it?

SALLY SARA: But the Government does appear to be worried. It's rolled out the security forces to ensure that the opposition demonstrations don't get off the ground.

Soldiers fired tear gas and warning shots during confrontations in the capital, Harare.

Spokesman for the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Welshman Ncube, says the country is now in a state of war.

WELSHMAN NCUBE: Well, when you get a government employing armoured vehicles, helicopters, thousands and thousands of soldiers, thousands and thousands of policemen, all heavily armed to the teeth, against the civilian population which is not armed, surely, surely that is a risk. Demonstrating against Mugabe is a crime.

SALLY SARA: But the fight isn't over yet. The Opposition is urging Zimbabweans to stay away from work until Friday.
So far the strike has been a success for the MDC, but its promise of mass demonstrations is yet to materialise.

It's unclear whether the heavy police presence stopped the rallies, or whether people were unwilling to take to the streets anyway.
Zimbabwe is a country soaked in fear and dissent can come at a heavy price.

Several opposition officials and members of parliament were detained just as the protests were about to begin. Police Spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, says the search for senior members of the MDC is far from over.

WAYNE BVUDZIJENA: We're also looking for others, including Welshman Ncube, whom we'd like to speak to as well. For as long as anyone defies that High Court order, no-one should be organising anything suggesting or setting up any mass action. Should anyone be involved in those [inaudible] categories, then there's a need for police to bring the people before the courts.

SALLY SARA: The events of the next week in Zimbabwe will be carefully analysed and argued. If the Government, with the help of the security forces, can keep a lid on the unrest, it will provide a temporary boost to President Robert Mugabe.

But the underlying problems won't go away. Mr Mugabe is an ageing leader at the helm of a country which is falling apart. The Opposition Movement for Democratic Change is determined to remove him from office.

This is Sally Sara in Johannesburg for AM.

TLOZ Link5
June 3rd, 2003, 05:55 PM
Can someone please remind me why the City Council invited Mugabe to the 9/11/02 Eternal Flame ceremony at Battery Park?

And not only that, why was there no public outcry (at least none I've heard of) when he actually attended?

(Edited by TLOZ Link5 at 5:56 pm on June 3, 2003)

June 3rd, 2003, 06:32 PM
My guess is that there were probably Zimbabwian victims on September 11th.

Lack of outcry?... most Americans don't follow Zimbabwe, and those few that do, see it as a Africa/European colonial power issue. I just read that there were about 200 protesters at the ceremony in New York.

Did you go protest?

There was quite an up-roar when he visited Paris.

TLOZ Link5
June 3rd, 2003, 08:13 PM
I had no ideav he was there until I saw him at the ceremony on TV.

June 3rd, 2003, 09:46 PM
I had no idea he was there until...right now.

June 3rd, 2003, 09:47 PM
The city council should be ashamed. Another good reason the city shouldn't get a hold of the WTC site.

June 4th, 2003, 01:44 AM
Robert Mugabe likened himself to Adolf Hitler. What a sicko! I hate him like Kim Jong-Il.