Democracy Activists Arrested in Zimbabwe

After Egypt, activists around the world have had the wind at their backs and the state at their throats. In Libya, Bahrain, Jordan , and from Wisconsin to South Africa, the streets have become – more conspicuously than usual – battlefields. Governments have struck back. In Zimbabwe, some of the finest activists have recently been rounded up and detained. Below, a call for solidarity. Here, a facebook page to keep up to date.

Dear friends

52 people representing students, union members and workers were arrested yesterday afternoon at 4:30pm and are being detained at Harare Central prison. Munyararzi Gwisai, Director of the Labor Law Center, and my husband, is amongst those detained.They are probably going to be charged on Tuesday with conspiring against the state. The state can detain them for 48 hours without laying charges. They were hosting a closed door meeting at the Labor Law Center in down town Harare when the police raided the premises. The meeting was infiltrated by CIO. They were discussing the events in the middle east and the fall of Egyptian dictator Mubarak and had just shown a film of the uprising.

They are being individually interrogated and, according to one comrade who saw them briefly this morning, the ring leaders are being beaten.

They have legal representation from the Zimbabwe Association of Human Rights, who should have answers about the exact charges that will be laid against them tomorrow morning.

Any pressure or media enquires you can apply would be most appreciated. I will keep you posted as I get more details. Unfortunately I am in the US at the moment so trying to figure out how best I can assist.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Kind regards, Shantha

Please fax statements of protest directly to the Zimbabwean embassy and or the Zimbabwean government, or send them to us to fax. If you fax them yourselves please send a copy to us anyway:,, and

Or get on skype urgently and start harassing the regime:

-Wayne Bvudzijena (police spokesman): +263 11 801 172 (mobile)

-Happyton Bonyongwe (Director of the Central Intelligence Organisation): +263 4 497 849 (home)
-Patrick Chinamasa (minister of “Justice”): 263 4 860 006 (home)
-President’s Office: +263 4 252 440 or +263 4 700 071
-Police Commisioner Augustine Chihuri: +263 4 250 008 (office) or +263 11 808 290 (mobile)
-Home Affairs (police) Minister Kembo Mohadi: +263 11 605 424 (mobile) or +263 4 794628 (office)
-State Security (C.I.O.) Minister Didymus Mutasa: +263 11 200 532 (mobile) or 263 4 774189 (office)
Other forms of solidarity welcome

Two terrific pieces have come by way, one on Zimbabwe, one on Egypt. Enjoy.

6 Replies to “Democracy Activists Arrested in Zimbabwe”

  1. Brother Raj,

    i am happy to hear your opinion on the assembling and subsequent protests going on overseas, specifically in the ME, where dictatorships are often disquised as democracies. The people in these countries must take back their countries from those who purposefully impoverish them to keep their spirits beaten.

    However, one cannot possibly compare what is going on in those countries to what is happening with the US govt unions. (WISCONSIN)
    People in america, even at the very minimum wage, without any benefits, live a lifestyle well beyond those in those ME countries where they cannot even safely follow a religion except Islam.
    The unions in america are part of the root cause of the inflation we resist, because when those unions bargain for more money or benefits, it is the taxpayers who suffer as our govt borrows more and more money to help our needy who rely on entitlement benefits to survive.

    Something must be done on a global scale to level the playing field, but unions don’t do much more than make a very small percentage of the workforce rich, comparatively speaking of course.

  2. Alas, I see the Koch brothers have taught Charles well. Ah yes, he has been verily indoctrinated. And the ignorance that makes him vulnerable to such dupery shines through his unlearned tract like a rainbow through the mist.

    In every instance where the needy and entitled billionaires in this country feel the need to expropriate more funds and strip more rights from common working-class folks (“purposefully impoverish them to keep their spirits beaten”}, they can rely on good ol’ Charles and throngs of like-minded (read: hapless) patriotic characters to go all gung-ho and do their greedy bidding for them. Without even soliciting a ‘thank you’ for the effort. Yes, tireless and true, these soldiers, to a program which safeguards their own crippling impoverishment.

    I have to admit, the “unions cause inflation” thing is a new one, though. He must’ve come up with that chestnut on his own.

  3. @off broadway

    Firstly, I agree that the Koch brothers control the Wisconsin legislature. But their grip ends there. What of Ohio, what of Vermont, what of KY. Yes, some billionaires have their sticky fingers in there as well, but it is not the billionaires who are paying the taxes to support these outrageous benefit packages. It is the little guy. The one earning less than 50K.yr supporting a wife or husband and 4 kids.

    There should be some worker protection in place, sadly the protection we have is given by the same who are picketing. If i am hurt on the job, a workers comp(govt employee) fights me tooth and nail for my benefit. In the end, had I earned 3000K/mo before the injury, the govt employee find a way to see to it that I receive $123/wk. Yet I am supposed to get up and support this same greedy worker who requires a 52:1 pension matching program.
    Let’s be real. Americans are the most spoiled bunch on the planet, and the picketing over paying their fair share in Wisconsin only proves that the Koch’s arent the only greedy bastards in Dairyland.

  4. Charles, Charles…

    Let’s get real, huh?

    Okay, here goes…

    Um, where did you hear that the Koch brothers’ ‘grip’ ends in Wisconsin? Please read more newspapers. Actually, you see, their influence extends far far beyond Wisconsin state politics. People know this. You should too. Because one of the other ways they exert their influence is by spending enormous sums of money to try to convince average working Americans that there’s no problem with billionaires not paying their taxes… no problem with a government handing out hundreds of billions of dollars of its citizens’ tax money to the richest corporations on the planet in the form of subsidies… the same corporations who pay no taxes in return, what with the loopholes they’ve lobbied for and all… no problem with the Wall Street shenanigans that landed the entire planet’s economy in the trash heap… No problem with any of that. Course not. The REAL problem, they would have you believe, can be found in those ‘outrageous’ benefits packages that public employees enjoy. Yes, those decadent, irresponsible public servants with their lavish, opulent unions! The root of all our financial woes! Goes to figure!

    And you bought it hook, line and sinker, didn’t you?

    To the extent that you passed right over the part in your comment where the billionaires weren’t paying taxes – you did so without even emitting a whinny of grievance… No, your issue is with those crazy, freewheeling unions, right?

    To the extent that here you are belly-aching about the Wisconsin protests (which isn’t a picket line, by the way) in the comment section for an article about democracy activists getting arrested in Zimbabwe. As if, y’know, it would be the appropriate place for that.

    And whose website do you think you’ve happened upon, anyway? This is no watered-down neo-lib apologist bullshit here, bub. We’re at the address of one Dr. Raj Patel. This shit cuts glass. Have you looked at the books on his LibraryThing? Or even the books he’s written? No, you won’t find much union-busting sympathy in these parts. No, indeed. Because most of us are learning a thing or two… And the Doctor (ahem) is IN.

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