Two activists who were badly beaten in last weekend’s prayer rally were arrested and taken from their ambulance to prevent them from flying to South Africa for more specialized medical care. The women were told they needed papers from the Board of Health to leave the country, their passports were confiscated and they were taken to the police station, although they were later released.
The second photo is Grace Kwinje’s bruises.
These women were prevented from being evacuated by air
ambulance to South Africa
In another incident, Arthur Mutambara, head of a faction of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, was arrested by police at Harare International Airport as he was leaving for South Africa,
And the body of Gift Tandare, who was killed in an incident related to last Sunday’s protests, was confiscated by the police and buried away from his ancestral village.
Although many Democracy protesters say that the combination of police thuggery and the arrest and beating of opposition leaders may be a turning point in that country’s search for democratic rights, others are not sure.
Many of those who would lead the revolution have sought refuge and jobs in South Africa rather than stay in Zimbabwe, where unemployment is no 80% and inflation over 1500%.
Some in Mugabe’s ZANU PF party are already upset that Mugabe plans to run again for president, and has no clear successor. And there have been incidents of discontent among poli ce and military about inadequate pay.
This may be why Mugabe has given a speech to his party’s youth brigades, known as the “green bombers”. They already are infamous for their beatings of opposition supporters and intimidation of voters in rural areas. There is worry that if demonstrations continue, that instead of the police or military, who have some professionalism left in their ranks, will be replaced by these brownshirt type thugs, who have been indoctrinated in Mugabe’s camps and often sent out under the influence of drugs to terrorize people.
The US, UK and European Union are pressuring Mugabe to retire and allow reforms in the government. However, until the South African government and the African Union applies pressure, it is unlikely that change will occur.
Archbishop Tutu and African Trade Union representatives are pressuring that government, and exiled Zim citizens have held demonstgrations in Johannesburg, but so far there is no official government action in South Africa in response to the meetings.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. She has a website about Zimbabwe at MakaipaBlogspot