- Jan 21, 2003Reporter arrested for interview with a
January 2003 09:33
Police in Malawi arrested a radio journalist
yesterday for broadcasting an
interview with a man who claimed to have been
attacked by a vampire.
Southern Malawi has been rife with rumours of
fuelled by the popular belief that the government
is colluding with vampires
to collect blood for international aid agencies.
A judge later dismissed charges against Maganizo
Mazeze of broadcasting
false information likely to cause public alarm,
after an interview on a local
radio station with a tea-planter from the southern
province of Thyolo.
"I am not bitter with anyone," Mazeze said after
his court appearance. "In
fact, my sojourn in jail has reinforced my resolve
to unearth issues
authorities would otherwise prefer buried."
The police said there was no evidence to support
the interviewee's claims.
A man was recently stoned to death by villagers in
Thyolo after being
suspected of working with vampires. - Guardian
Mugabe party office
Attackers have thrown petrol bombs at a ruling
party office in a suburb of the Zimbabwean
One person died and seven people were hurt,
several seriously, say police.
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said
about 50 young men drove into Harare's
western Kuwadzana township on Monday
night, smashing property and assaulting
pedestrians before throwing petrol bombs at
"It's a political attack.
We suspect that it is
related to the
by-election to be held
in the suburb," Mr
expected to take
place soon, following
the death in police
custody last year of
Democratic Change (MDC) MP, Learnmore
Police are blaming the attack on opposition
supporters and have made 16 arrests.
Mr Bvudzijena said the
attack appeared aimed
at "provoking political
violence on a wider
MDC officials say it is
the work of militant
They say Zanu-PF is
waging a violent
campaign to win the
seat in the Kuwadzana constituency by trying
to intimidate voters. The MDC won almost all
urban seats in parliamentary elections in June
Widespread political intimidation and
persecution of opposition supporters has been
reported in recent months.
Last week, MDC MP Job Sikhala and human
rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba said they were
tortured by police while being held in police
Both appeared in court over the weekend and
were then released on bail.
At a news conference in Harare, Mr Sikhala
said he was severely tortured all over his body
"for a solid eight hours" including having
electrodes attached to his genitals.
"They also used planks to beat under my feet
and over the entirity of my body... I am still in
He said he was then forced to drink poison
which they said was urine.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a major food crisis
affecting more than half of the country's
President Mugabe's government is accused of
withholding food aid from opposition
Zimbabwe distances itself from Moyo's
January 2003 12:40
The South African government has "noted and
accepted" the Zimbabwean
government's explanation of remarks by its
information minister -- who
described South Africans as "filthy, recklessly
uncouth and barbaric".
Foreign Affairs representative Ronnie Mamoepa said
on Sunday the South
African government had requested an explanation
authorities regarding Jonathan Moyo's remarks.
Moyo's outburst followed a story in the Sunday
Times of January 12 about
his shopping trip to South Africa, when he spent
large sums on luxury items
while millions of his compatriots face starvation.
In his response to that story, Moyo criticised the
South African media and
South Africans in general, and clearly implied that
President Thabo Mbeki
was not fit to lead the African Renaissance.
"If these people believe they can lead an African
renaissance, then God help
them," Moyo said.
Pretoria's request -- on Tuesday -- for an
explanation from Harare can be
seen as a demarche, in diplomatic terms an extreme
form of criticism.
Harare's reply to that demarche criticises the
Sunday Times for its
"invasion" of Moyo's privacy and "disregard" for
his status as a cabinet
However, it goes on to distance itself from
"inferences" that "cast
aspersions on President Thabo Mbeki's impeccable
credentials as a Pan
"Nothing could be further from the truth," the
Zimbabwean government says
in the statement.
"The Zimbabwe government respects and supports the
role and efforts of His
Excellency President Thabo Mbeki to bring about the
dawn of a new
Mamoepa said the South African government accepted
the reassurance "in
as far as it pertains to the government and people
of South Africa."
Zimbabwe was suspended from the councils of the
Commonwealth -- a
lesser penalty than outright suspension -- after
President Robert Mugabe
was returned to office in 2002 in elections marred
by violence and widely
regarded as rigged.
Mbeki is a member of the "troika" delegated by the
Commonwealth heads of
Government Meeting to consider whether that
suspension should be
continued is to meet again in March.
Mbeki's representative Bheki Khumalo said on
Sunday Moyo's remarks
"would have no bearing on that meeting."
He emphasised that Mbeki would approach the
question with an open mind.
Meanwhile, Moyo blamed the opposition and
disgruntled civil servants on
Sunday for spreading reports of a retirement plan
for Mugabe, accusing
them of treason and agitating for a coup.
"If there is anyone who has hatched a plot to
force the president to step
down they should face the full wrath of the law,"
Moyo told the state Sunday
Moyo said the debate on Mugabe's future was,
"tantamount to plotting a
coup in the glare of the media."
He blamed the economic crisis gripping the southern
marked by massive shortages of food, fuel and hard
government bureaucrats fumbling what he termed
factors, and not ruling party policies.
"There is a lot of inefficiency, let alone
corruption," he said.
"Our greatest challenge at the moment is that we
have a civil service that is
Moyo suggested some members of the civil service
may be serving "hostile
The economic disruptions in the country --
partially blamed on the
government's often violent seizure of thousands of
farms -- and erratic rains have caused the
unprecedented shortages and
spurred record inflation and unemployment.
An estimated 6,7-million people face starvation in
coming months. Analysts
say the unravelling of the economy is likely to
intensify demands for
In his comments, Moyo made no mention of two of the
most powerful figures
in the ruling party, Parliament speaker Emmerson
Mnangagwa and military
commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe, who have been
cited in reports as
favouring Mugabe's retirement.
Moyo also denied any rifts in the ruling party.
"You will not find in the party any significant
elements that want to act
unconstitutionally and undemocratically in favour
of coup plotters and
electoral cowards," said Moyo.
The South African government, meanwhile, faced
criticism on its Zimbabwe
policy from another quarter on Sunday. Zimbabwe's
main opposition the
Movement for Democratic Change accused Mbeki of
"dishonesty" in his approach to the situation in
"The South African government frankly, is
secretary-general Welshman Ncube was reported as
saying, in the Sunday
"It is not surprising, really, because it is the
same SA government which is
saying to the rest of the world: 'Don't do anything
about Zimbabwe. Let
(Mugabe) go on with his torture and abuse. Let
bygones be bygones'," he
said. - Sapa
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