Sunday, June 28, 2009

Burundi are being forcibly repatriated from Tanzania

This report is based on interviews conducted over five days in Burundi with returned refugees and four days in Tanzania with refugees still residing in Mtabila camp.  Interviews were conducted with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) implementing partners in Burundi and Tanzania – Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Lutheran World Federation and another that spoke on the condition of anonymity, as well as Human Rights Watch and anonymous international observers in Tanzania.  Tanzanian authorities were consulted as well as officials from UNHCR in both Tanzania and Burundi.  See also the attached notice in Swahili that was handed out to all refugees in Mtabila by UNHCR (unofficial translation follows).

The Mtabila refugee camp in western Tanzania is scheduled to close by 30 June 2009.1 The camp is home to some 37,000 Burundian refugees, many of whom fled ethnic violence and armed conflict in their country in 1993.  According to UNHCR, since 2002 360,0002 Burundian refugees have been repatriated from Tanzania, however, those remaining in Mtabila camp have persistently refused return.  Tanzanian authorities have employed coercion and intimidation to force the remaining refugees out.  In the last six months, they have closed the refugees’ markets and businesses, restricted crop cultivation, burned houses, arrested camp leaders and threatened the use of force by the army.  UNHCR has yet to publicly condemn the actions of the Tanzanian government, and moreover, rights groups contend the agency has stood by while refugees were forced to return based on threats of force while uninformed of their rights.FINAL_Mtabila_report.pdf

Posted by Firoze Manji on 06/28 at 02:27 PM

Friday, February 13, 2009

MDC MP abducted

MDC media alert: Roy Bennett, MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate has just been abducted by Police from the Law and Order section at Prince Charles airport just outside Harare. The police were led by one Assistant Commissioner Nyongwe.

He was taken in a white Toyota with registration number is AAP 4851. We understand that they are taking him to Marondera, where there is notorious torture and interogation base, the same place MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti was taken upon his return from South Africa. Details to follow .

(SW Radio Africa: We believe arrest warrants have been issued for election expert Topper Whitehead and MDC MP for Marondera, Ian Kay. We also believe the leaders of the three political parties are in an emergency meeting and the swearing in of the Cabinet is delayed.)

Posted by Joshua on 02/13 at 01:56 PM

Friday, February 06, 2009

Judge frees MDC’s Biti

A Zimbabwean judge has dropped charges of treason against the secretary general of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Tendai Biti. He had faced a possible death sentence after being accused of plotting a coup against President Robert Mugabe. But Magistrate Olivia Mariga said prosecutors appeared unprepared to proceed against Mr Biti. 

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Posted by Joshua on 02/06 at 03:02 PM

Mugabe to sign unity deal bill

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe is due to sign into law a constitutional amendment allowing his rival Morgan Tsvangirai to become prime minister. It paves the way for the men to share power, as agreed last September. Meanwhile, a judge has dismissed treason charges against a key opposition MDC figure, removing another obstacle to forming a unity government. 

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Posted by Joshua on 02/06 at 02:50 PM

Thursday, February 05, 2009

U.S. statement on Zimbabwe unity government

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has agreed to join a unity government with Robert Mugabe under the conditions called for in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) January 27 Communiqué. The success or failure of such a government will depend on credible and inclusive power sharing by Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party. 

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Posted by Joshua on 02/05 at 01:39 PM

Cholera crisis worsening

Zimbabwe’s cholera crisis has reached unprecedented levels with nearly 63,000 people being infected by the epidemic, according to a report by a United Nations agency. The epidemic, which began in August, has already killed more than 3,000 people - the deadliest outbreak in Africa in 15 years, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said. The report said lack of awareness about the disease, inaccessibility to clean water and medicine shortages have made stopping the spread of cholera impossible.

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Posted by Joshua on 02/05 at 01:37 PM

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Zimbabwe dollar sheds 12 zeros

Zimbabwe is revaluing its dollar again, removing twelve zeros from the currency with immediate effect. The country’s central bank is introducing seven new notes in an effort to stave off economic collapse. The country is in the grip of world-record hyperinflation. The most recent estimate in July 2008 put it at 231m%. Only last month, a Z$100 trillion note was introduced and the government moved to allow people to use foreign currencies alongside Zimbabwe’s dollar. 

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Posted by Joshua on 02/03 at 07:07 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sadc forces Zim leaders

President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai have been ordered by the Sadc leaders to form a unity government this comes after a summit which was aimed at solving the Zimbabwe crisis. The emergency summit decided that Tsvangirai should be sworn in by 11 February to rule Zimbabwe alongside Mugabe, said Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao.

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Posted by Joshua on 01/28 at 10:15 AM

President Obama leads US drive to topple Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

President Obama wants a fresh approach to toppling Robert Mugabe and is discussing with aides an unprecedented, US-led diplomatic push to get tough new UN sanctions imposed against the Zimbabwe regime, The Times has learned. During talks Mr Obama has had with his top Africa advisers in recent weeks, the central idea they focused on was taking the issue of Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council, but for the first time to combine such a move with an intense diplomatic effort to persuade Russia and China not to block the initiative. 

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Posted by Joshua on 01/28 at 10:07 AM

President Obama leads US drive to topple Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe

President Obama wants a fresh approach to toppling Robert Mugabe and is discussing with aides an unprecedented, US-led diplomatic push to get tough new UN sanctions imposed against the Zimbabwe regime, The Times has learned. During talks Mr Obama has had with his top Africa advisers in recent weeks, the central idea they focused on was taking the issue of Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council, but for the first time to combine such a move with an intense diplomatic effort to persuade Russia and China not to block the initiative. 

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Posted by Joshua on 01/28 at 10:07 AM

Mugabe wants ‘new chapter’

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday he hoped that a power-sharing agreement with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would lead to a “new chapter.” “We hope that this will open a up a new chapter in our political relations in the country and in structures of government,” Mugabe said in remarks at Harare airport on arriving from a regional emergency summit on Zimbabwe held in South Africa.

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Posted by Joshua on 01/28 at 10:03 AM

Mugabe wants ‘new chapter’

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said on Tuesday he hoped that a power-sharing agreement with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would lead to a “new chapter.” “We hope that this will open a up a new chapter in our political relations in the country and in structures of government,” Mugabe said in remarks at Harare airport on arriving from a regional emergency summit on Zimbabwe held in South Africa.

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Posted by Joshua on 01/28 at 10:03 AM

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SADC sets 5 Feb deadline for Zim constitutional amendment

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders have given Zimbabwe political leaders until 5 February 2009 to pass Constitutional Amendment 19. Constitutional Amendment 19 makes provision for the creation of the post of prime minister and deputy prime minister for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, respectively. Addressing local and international media early Tuesday morning after over 12 hours around the negotiation table, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao said the people of Zimbabwe are faced with very difficult challenges that require an inclusive government.

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Posted by Joshua on 01/27 at 08:06 AM

Motlanthe gets tough

“We cannot continue talking and talking and talking without concretely proceeding to the implementation stage,” said South African President Kgalema Motlanthe at the latest round of Sadc-sponsored Zimbabwe talks. Southern African leaders remained locked in marathon talks early on Tuesday in a fresh push to end Zimbabwe’s political deadlock between President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai. 

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Posted by Joshua on 01/27 at 08:03 AM

Monday, January 26, 2009

Violent protest near Zimbabwe summit venue

Police in South Africa fired rubber bullets at hundreds of people protesting outside government buildings over the crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe, injuring at least one. The protest took place around a kilometre from where Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was meeting with his southern African counterparts and his arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai about the political impasse in his country. 

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Posted by Joshua on 01/26 at 01:50 PM
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