Anglican archbishop calls Zimbabwe a police state – The Mercury (SA) – 9 Jun 08

Johannesburg – Zimbabwe was a police state and the levels of intimidation showed the importance of deploying large numbers of election monitors, said Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba on return from the country yesterday. “There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is a police state,” he said after making a pastoral visit to Zimbabwe’s Anglican bishops. “The levels of intimidation I witnessed on a visit to Zimbabwe last week underline the crucial importance of deploying large numbers of both international and local election monitors…for the June 27 presidential run-off,” he said. On a four-hour trip from Harare to Masvingo, the bishop passed nine police roadblocks and was stopped at every one. He said he witnessed along the road to Masvingo derelict once-prosperous farms, and queues of people stretching from shops. “Hyperinflation, poverty and hunger is their daily reality,” he said. In Harare yesterday, opposition officials accused ruling party militants of preventing the Movement for Democratic Change from holding a rally, a day after a court lifted a ban on opposition rallies. MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said President Robert Mugabe’s supporters cordoned off the area where opposition leaders were to speak in a Harare suburb, forcing the opposition to cancel the rally. However, two other gatherings went ahead as planned in Harare despite militants threatening and intimidating supporters at the venue, Chamisa said. “The people are so strong and so courageous. It was very successful,” he said. However, the MDC said that police attacked supporters in Bulawayo and prevented them from putting up election campaign posters. Comment from the police was not immediately available. A court on Saturday had struck down a police ban on opposition rallies. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was campaigning in Bulawayo yesterday, his spokesman George Sibotshiwe said. A court yesterday ordered police to release opposition politician Eric Matinenga, who was taken from his home on Saturday and detained at a station outside the capital. He was accused of fomenting violence, lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said. A medical association in Zimbabwe said doctors had treated nearly 3 000 victims of political violence in the past two months. A total of 2 900 victims had been recorded throughout the country, it said, adding that about 200 among them had to go to hospital.



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