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Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 21:43:11 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: Summary of Violence in Zimbabwe
Cc: "Canadian government":;, Press:;, "South African government":;

Hi everyone,

The report below came from the MDC. It's a little old, but very telling.



Zimbabwe is in the lead up to a general election, and levels of violence and intimidation at the hands of the Government and their supporters continue to rise. It is clear that the necessary conditions for any election in 2000 to be considered free and fair already do not exist. The major challenge at this stage is to try and salvage what courage and resilience still remains among ordinary Zimbabweans, so that they have at least some space in which to cast their votes without fear, regardless of which party they choose to support.

What is happening is not chaos; it is carefully orchestrated: it is State organised violence. The violence has little to do with land, legitimate issue though this is the violence is about the destruction of the first real threat to ZANU-PF in 20 years, the MDC. The violence must be put in the context of President Mugabe's threat made, at the opening of the Pungwe Water Project several weeks ago that opponents would face death and that white farmers were "enemies of the State". The violence is a direct result of these statements.

There is a clear strategy behind these events, which has seen the Government shifting its targets over time, from peaceful occupations of farms, to violence on farms, first against the farmers themselves, then against their workers. The strategy then shifted to encompass civilians in rural areas, rural business centers, rural-based black businessmen and their enterprises, MDC candidates and their communities, and now to large rural industries. The violence is designed to look like the spontaneous uprisings of land or resource-hungry peasants, but is in fact reported as being overseen by a Third Force of hard line army, police and CIO staff, headed by and answerable to President Mugabe.

The following summary of violent incidents is far from exhaustive, and includes only those incidents that have been well documented and reliably sourced. The reality is that daily brutal intimidation is taking place throughout the country including in remote rural areas, and most of the possibly thousands of victims do not have access to human rights organizations or other safe parties to whom they can make reports and seek assistance. At other times, reports reaching the cities lack sufficient detail to qualify as reliable, and exact numbers of victims of beatings and type of injuries sustained cannot be verified. Such reports are not included here in quantifications.


It is also hard to convey to outside parties how effective verbal threats can be in silencing and terrifying rural civilians, particularly in Matabeleland, where before the 1985 election, hundreds of prominent ZAPU supporters were picked up at night and have never been seen again. Merely to threaten to make people disappear, is a powerful weapon against defenseless people who have personal memories of witnessing executions and of being tortured by this government in the recent past. Psychological torture of this nature is widespread and underestimated in its power to reduce entire populations to silence.


The accounts of violence have been gathered from multiple sources, and are backed up by a formal running database of victims which is being updated daily. The sources include human rights organizations in Bulawayo and Harare, political parties, the CFU, the Catholic Church, media reports, and victims in rural areas. Those affected are predominantly those suspected to be MDC supporters. The exact ratio of MDC and ZANU-PF as victims and\or perpetrators is summarized at the end of this brief. As the CFU has its own comprehensive system of daily reporting, incidents on commercial farms are not given much space in this summary, but are presented as total figures of farms so far occupied and assaults recorded.

Much of this violence has already been well documented elsewhere, but this account specifically includes mention of incidents in Matabeleland which are perhaps less well known. Human rights violations range from interference with freedom of movement, speech and association, to death threats, destruction of property, serious assaults and premeditated murder.

The violations referred to below have been documented by an independent human rights NGO, Amani Trust.


TOTAL RECORDED VIOLATIONS: 5078 (as documented on Amani Trust's data).


Includes with blunt weapons, gunshot wounds, burns, attempted stranglings: 1012

Rape: 8


Includes beating, shooting, strangling: 19 (N.B.: Of these 15 were either MDC members, supporters or sympathizers. Not one ZANU (PF) supporter has been killed.)

TOTAL PROPERTY DESTRUCTION: Houses and property destroyed: 417

Other violations include threats of violence and death, interference with freedom of movement, speech and association, refusal to register voters.


Unknown (farm workers and civilian casualties): 50,7% (N.B.: Most of whom are thought to have been MDC sympathizers.)

MDC clearly known (rally casualties etc): 41,2%.

ZANU-PF clearly known (rally casualties etc): 6,7%.

Policemen: 1,4%.


ZANU-PF supporters (incl. youths and veterans): 86,3%.

Government employees (police, registrars etc): 5,8%.

MDC supporters: 4,3%.

Unknown (farm workers and civilians): 3,6%.

It will be clear from the above that ZANU (PF) members and supporters are overwhelmingly responsible for the violence. Whilst the President of the MDC has repeatedly affirmed the MDC's commitment to non violent democratic elections, no such undertaking has been forthcoming from President Mugabe. On the contrary his statements have initiated, condoned and inflamed the violence. The violence is clearly State sponsored and targeted at the members of a specific political party, the MDC, and a specific ethnic minority. Accordingly the political violence is a crime against humanity and the international community should now investigate whether President Mugabe and those also involved in directing and perpetrating the violence should not be indicted for these crimes.


10th May 2000


14 FEBRUARY 2000

Please note: farm invasions are not dealt with here in detail, although verified cases of violence on farms are mentioned in general terms.. The CFU's figures for farm invasions on 3 May 2000, were that 1190 farms have so far been invaded at some point, and that on 4 May 753 were currently still occupied. In spite of agreements with the war veterans and government officials that invasions wold halt, they are clearly continuing, as is the violence. The CFU figures for violent incidents on farms are that there have been over 100 such incidents, some involving scores, or even hundreds, of workers. Exact figures are not more accurately available from them.

- 20 Feb violence, Chiweshe: ZANU-PF youths with iron bars beat MDC supporters, incited by Governor of Mashonaland Central

- 22 Feb violence: Kwekwe, clashes between ZANU-PF and MDC leave 6 injured and 4 houses burnt.

- 23 February: police ban political meetings and marches in Kwekwe between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm.

- 28 February: first reports of land invasions in Mashonaland. This is exactly two weeks after the Constitutional Referendum result: white farmers had been blamed for the "No" vote.

- 6 March: violence by ZANU-PF supporters against MDC in Masvingo and Harare, one woman abducted and 4 MDC cabins destroyed

- 11 March: MDC youths stone ZANU-PF offices: youths in Chegutu prevent people from registering

- 12 March: Dep Min leads attack on MDC members, resulting in one serious injury

- 19 March: Gweru and Kwekwe, 10 people injured in clashes between MDC and ZANU-PF in 3 incidents

- 21 March: Magwegwe, Bulawayo: brutal attack on the chairman of MDC for this suburb: he was beaten and left for dead by his front gate at night. He later required emergency brain surgery (medical records).

- 23 March, Muchakata: commercial farmer beaten by 8 youths for meeting with MDC supporters

- 28 March, Kwekwe: clash between ZANU-PF and MDC: MDC attack war vets office, 16 people injured

- 28 March, Bindura: MDC supporter killed by stone while leaving a rally on a truck.. Trucks used at rally petrol bombed and destroyed

- 29 March: Bubi farming area: the head of the war veterans, Chenjerai Hunzvi and around 70 of his supporters brought in from Mashonaland made an intimidatory propaganda visit to a white game rancher, together with television cameras from the government sponsored media. They proceeded to bully this man and confiscate his licensed weapons in front of the cameras. Property was destroyed and stolen. This was clearly a propaganda stunt the farmer was accused of supporting MDC. The weapons were all later returned by the police, after Hunzvi's departure.

- 29 March: Bubi farming area; the above group of war veterans also beat up the black manager of the local bottle store.

- 29 March: youths wearing stolen MDC tee shirts stone the Globe and Phoenix Mine, causing $1 million damage

- 29 March, Mash Central: MDC support center petrol bombed, trucks burned, vehicle stoned

- 29 March, Kwekwe, MDC burn down building

- 31 March, Muzarabani: ZANU-PF supporters destroy bus carrying MDC posters

- 1 April, Harare: a peaceful NCA march of estimated 4000 civilians is attacked by 150 armed war veterans, resulting in at least 12 serious injuries

- 1 April, countrywide: most cities that had planned marches for this day have marches banned, although an NCA march goes ahead without incident in Bulawayo

- 1 April; bus set on fire in Gweru

- 2 - 5 April, Murewa, Mahusekwa, Marondera, Chuta, Guruve, Glen Norah, Wadzani and Gweru: in all these areas, MDC supporters are attacked and intimidated

- 2 April, Centenary: MDC supporter shot and killed in scuffle with war vets

- 2 April, Mvurwi: pregnant woman dies after attack on MDC supporters coming from a rally

- 3 April: commercial farmer Ian Kay brutally beaten: farm drivers and farm workers also beaten on same day on other farms

- 4 April: Const Chikwenya is killed by war vets, while conducting police investigations

- 5 April: commercial farmer assaulted

- 7 April, Daily News crew held hostage for two hours

- 7 April, Gweru: bus set on fire

- 7 April, Harare: MDC supporters kidnap schoolboy and burn two vehicles. MDC supporters house is damaged and MDC supporter injured

- 9 April: Zvishavane business center: brutal attack on 20 unarmed MDC supporters, including women, by 100 war veterans and armed youths. There was no dialogue MDC T-shirts were ripped off peoples backs and they were beaten with stones and sticks. One supporter was left for dead, with a head injury and seriously fractured femur. He required emergency transfer to Bulawayo and had stitches in front and back of his head and his elbow, in addition to surgery for his leg. He can personally identify his attackers, but no arrests have been made.

- 9 April: commercial farmer assaulted by farm invaders

- 11 - 13 April, Mashonaland: 4 separate reports of assaults of worker on commercial farms, and two farmers held hostage, and one assaulted by invaders

- Week of 12 April: civilians living on communal farms near Empandeni Mission, Matabeleland South, were woken at 2 am and forced by armed war veterans to leave their homes and stake land claims on two white-owned commercial farms, against their will. They are being forced to remain on these farms, and told to build new homesteads there, but they are concerned about their crops at their original homesteads, as they now cannot harvest them, or protect them from monkeys.

- Week of 12 April; army units wearing red berets were seen in Bulawayo, and also in Matabeleland North and South: this in intimidatory, as it reminds people of the murderous 5 Brigade, who wore red berets in the 1980s.

- 14- 15 April, Arizona Farm: brutal murder of Dave Stevens, a member of the MDC and brutal assault and detention of 5 other commercial farmers, after Stevens workers attack war veterans

- 15 April, Buhera: MDC workers Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika were killed in a petrol bomb attack on their vehicle by ZANU-PF supporters. Another man escapes after assaults.

- 17 April, Midlands: farm worker found hanged, circumstances unclear

- 20 April, Mashonaland: Stevens foreman found murdered18 April Shamva: five farms have their workers severely attacked by invaders, and other farms are also affected. One farm foreman has his foot broken in Mashonaland, by invaders.

- 18 April, Bulawayo: MDC rally broken up by armed men

- 18 April: intimidation of people at Maphisa Business Centre by Shona speaking ZANU-PF supporters, who forced party card buying. People were told that if they did not support the government, "Gukurahundi would return", a reference to the mass murdering that took place in the 1980s. This has continued since that date.

- 18 April: The murder of Martin Olds an MDC sympathizer on his farm in Nyamandlovu, by 120 armed "war veterans" who were bused in to Matabeleland from Mashonaland the day before, presumably partly for this purpose. A convoy of armed war veterans headed out of Bulawayo in organized fashion in the early hours of Tuesday morning and proceeded to Olds farm. The State is complicit in this murder, which was clearly entirely orchestrated by Government, for the following reasons:

- it took a three hour gun battle before Olds was killed, as he single-handedly kept a hundred armed men at bay from his house, while repeatedly radioing for help, and an early Police response would have saved the situation
- the Police refused to go to the aid of the farmer in spite of repeated requests to do so
- the Police road block turned back an ambulance trying to reach Olds
- the same Police road block allowed through armed war veterans to carry out the murder
- the same Police road block allowed two injured war veterans to be ferried through for treatment while the shooting was still in progress
- the same Police road block allowed the war veterans to leave the scene of the shooting and return entirely unhindered to Bulawayo
- no arrests have been made, and two war veterans wounded by Olds in the lengthy shoot out that led to his death, were treated at a government hospital and released without questioning

- 22 April, Harare: Daily News office has bomb thrown at it, destroying an art gallery 22 April, Bindura: farm owner assaulted by ZANU-PF supporters 23 April, Wedza: farm worker set alight by ZANU-PF supporters, others beaten, barn destroyed

- Week of 25 April: eyewitness accounts of the ZANU-PF MP for Gwanda District conducting his election campaign mainly around the statement that those who did not vote for him would be murdered and their bodies thrown into the nearby dam.

- 23 April, Harare: 2 white women raped by war veterans 10 km from Harare

- 24 April, Mashonaland; six reports of rapes of farm labourers families.

- 24 April, Shamva: one MDC supporter killed and chairman assaulted with an axe, 16 houses of MDC supporters destroyed.

- 25 April, Mashonaland: labour forces assaulted on two farms

- 25 April, Kariba: Rex Jesus, a war vet, abducts 8 people, brutally assaults them, resulting in 2 deaths of MDC supporters and three hospitalizations

- 26 April, Mashonaland: reports of Red Brigade style intimidation, severe beating and indoctrination of farm work forces taking place regularly at night. Also reports of intimidation of school teachers

- Week of 25 April to the present, Matabeleland: many first hand accounts given to AMANI Trust staff of gross intimidation including death threats, threats of assault, and most ominously threats of disappearance, being repeatedly given at ZANU-PF rallies, and people feeling coerced into buying ZANU-PF membership cards. These threats have been widely recorded in Gwanda, Matobo, Tsholotsho and Lupane Districts so far, and it is rural civilians who are being targeted.

- 28 April, Mashonaland: serious assaults of work forces on 5 farms, 10 hospitalised

- 28 April, Mutoko: ZANU-PF supporters burn down 4 MDC houses and beat workers at a quarry

- 29 April, Mashonaland: serious assaults on 5 more farms: in Masvingo, vehicle smashed, two assaulted, worker missing. Houses of 100 farm labourers destroyed by farm invaders

- 1 May, Manicaland: farm labourer beaten, and in Mashonaland, 3 staff abducted on a farm

- 1 May, Gweru: Shop and business of Timothy Mukahlera, MDC candidate, are bombed and burnt.

- 2 May: confirmed report of two black businessmen from Maphisa, a small business center in Matobo District, having been illegally detained and taken to Gwanda. They are known MDC supporters. They were held for several days and then released.

- 2 May: report of an attempted petrol bomb raid on a business in Maphisa, confirmed by the state media

- 2 May, Mashonaland: incidents of violence reported on 6 farms, resulting in hospitalization of 9 people

- 2 May, Bulawayo: reports of door to door intimidation by ZANU-PF supporters in North End, who threaten to note down house numbers and send the Youth back to "sort you out", if people cannot produce ZANU-PF cards

- 3 May, Bindura: Matthew Pfebve brother of MDC candidate is murdered and other relatives severely beaten and houses burnt, by several hundred ZANU-PF supporters

- 3 May, Mashonaland: 8 assaults on labour forces, 5 death threats to farmers

- 3 May, Filabusi: the MDC candidate is very seriously assaulted by ZANU-PF supporters

- 4 May, Bulawayo: war veterans try to force civilians off buses at Renkini Bus Terminus, to board buses for the airport to welcome Presidents Mugabe and Mbeki to Bulawayo. Civilians object strongly, violence threatens to erupt, but the police control the situation

- 4 May, Bulawayo: a street vendor selling herbal products that carry a warning in Ndebele that touching the product makes the palm of the hand hot, is accused of supporting MDC, on the grounds that his product mentions the palm of the hand! (Tshisa Isandla). His wares are confiscated, and when he resists, he is severely beaten on the street, then taken to nearby ZANU-PF headquarters where he is further beaten. He is hospitalized at Mpilo.

- 4 May, Harare: MDC candidate has his hammer mill petrol bombed 5 hours after MDC president addresses a rally there.

- 4 May, Mashonaland: farm labourers assaulted on one farm

- 5 May, Masvingo: game scouts abducted and assaulted. Politically inspired labour unrest immobilises operations in Hippo Valley, a major cane growing area.

- 6 May, Harare West: rival factions of land invaders have a brutal confrontation with each other

- 7 May, Beatrice: Allan Dunn MDC supporter is beaten to death by people believed to be war veterans

- 7 May, Beatrice: assaults on farm labourers reported on 4 different farms

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
Offers of help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org