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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
Zimbabwe arrest: What happens next?
Morgan Tsvangirai speaks at a news conference in Harare, before his arrest, Friday, 6 June 2003
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's opposition leader is to spend a sixth night in custody after his bail hearing was again adjourned.

Heavily armed riot police were present outside the High Court as Mr Tsvangirai appeared wearing leg-irons and a khaki prison uniform.

Earlier his wife, Susan Tsvangirai told the privately-owned Daily News of her fears about her husband's continuing detention on treason charges.

On Tuesday, Mr Tsvangirai had been remanded in custody for a month by a magistrate's court but given permission to seek bail from a higher court.

Does the MDC stand a chance of effecting a change of government following the seeming lack of success of previous protests? What can be done to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

Sooner or later Mugabe and his regime will go
Alex, UK/ Zimbabwean
For those (usually a non-Zimbabwean) who continue to view the land grab as some sort of virtuous programme, it may interest you to know that black commercial farmers lost their farms too. It should be no surprise to you that these farmers were supporters of the opposition. The situation is quite clear. Mugabe and his cronies want to stay in power, and the suffering masses want a change. Sooner or later Mugabe and his regime will go, but it is the damage caused to get him out that concerns me.
Alex, UK (Zimbabwean)

Mugabe should just go. Enough is enough, we are sick and tired of his brutality.
Tendai Zinyowa, Zimbabwe

I think Zimbabwe needs dialogue not confrontation. The Zim issue is not a complicated one to solve.
John Imani, Zimbabwe

With Morgan Tsvangirai's arrest and the house arrest of the Burmese leader it is obvious that the war in Iraq did precious little for the growth of democracy. These dictators know that provided they have no oil then Bush and Blair won't care less.
Simon O'Brien, UK

The more Mugabe is pilloried by the former colonial powers, the stronger he will become. The more we show support for the MDC, the more they will be presented as being "white-men's puppets".

Let Southern African diplomacy take its course
Stuart W, UK
No African leader will dare to turn against Zanu PF under these circumstances as to do so would be political suicide at home. Difficult though it is, it may be necessary for the rest of the world to back-off a little and let Southern African diplomacy take its course. Because at the moment, all our self-righteous indignation at Zimbabwe's fate is simply making things worse.
Stuart W, UK

The MDC will be able to effect a change of government in Zimbabwe only if the same international pressure exhibited against the former apartheid regime in South Africa is evident. Robert Mugabe is perhaps the most corrupt of the old style communist leaders left in the world, and it is simply not plausible to believe that any "constructive engagement" is possible.
Joseph Constance, USA

Zimbabweans, even if you are saying Mugabe is useless, what he has done is for your own good and your children, do not blame Mugabe, blame Blair, John Howard and Bush. Let him finish his term and for sure I know he will not stand. Tsvangarai is a puppet tail of Blair tamed by Bush. Look for his replacement; he is not worth being a leader.
Max Muselela, Zambia

It would be wise to follow the ways of the United States when dealing with tyrants and dictators
Matt Judge, USA
Typical Europeans. Perhaps if you wait long enough, Mugabe will see the light and change his ways. This is the same liberal-pacifist mentality that has plagued the world for centuries. It would be wise to follow the ways of the United States when dealing with tyrants and dictators. Oh, I forgot, you guys actually prefer to stick up for those guys.
Matt Judge, USA

Mugabe has proved himself to be racist, dictatorial and unfit to rule. Time we forced Mugabe out of power by applying the same rules as we did to S.A. during Apartheid. "Soft" sanctions don't work.
Richard Murray, UK

What annoys me the most about the Zimbabwean situation is how Zimbabweans continually complain about Mugabe yet seem half-hearted in their efforts to address this. Instead, they criticize the West for doing little to exert pressure on this regime. Action starts at home. And how quick many are to castigate Morgan Tsvangirai as an ineffectual opposition leader. At least this man has the courage to stand up in defiance, facing incredible danger in the process. All most Zimbabweans seem to do is find fault with him, they sit back and complain. Mugabe knows that Zimbabweans live under fear of his rule. He also knows that Zimbabweans generally lack the courage of their convictions, so he will continue to get away with his despotic rule until he dies in office. It's about time Zimbabweans faced the cold fact that the only people who can sort out Mugabe and his cronies are Zimbabweans themselves!
Sean Gallagher, Zimbabwe

When did peaceful protest become a form of treason?
Adrienne, USA
I am horrified at these latest charges against Morgan Tsvangirai, who could face the death penalty if convicted... When did peaceful protest become a form of treason? And how can free and peaceful expression of one's beliefs and political views be punishable by death?
Adrienne, USA (ex Zimbabwe)

It is time for the commonwealth to send troops and policemen back into the country to oversee a free and fair election, which they failed to do in 1980. Then we should make sure that Robert Mugabe stands trial for his serial crimes. Unless the outside world intervenes, Robert Mugabe will cling to power and Zimbabweans will continue to die, either at the hands of his police, army and party thugs, or of the starvation he has engineered.
Geraint Jones, Kent

There is no better description that mirrors Tsvangirai than the one provided by Mugabe - "a pathetic puppet". I wonder whose interests this man is championing. More so, I don't believe a desperate upstart of his stature knows the history of Africans as a people. Our fore-fathers were deprived of that land forcefully and they remained with the Bible while their land was grabbed mercilessly by the invaders. Much as I do not approve of the method applied by Robert Mugabe in this land restoration process, at the same time I do not believe that there could have been a better approach to it considering its complexity amid all sorts of legal driftnets of our time. The MDC must reflect and reconstruct themselves towards the next election instead of resorting to anarchy!
Ndona, Zambia

South Africa fought a long and hard struggle for human rights issues and should be a role model for the entire African Continent , they should be getting involved here but Mbeki and Mandela choose to ignore the Zimbabwean crisis because of the support that the ANC received from Mugabe during the apartheid era. There are British citizens having their human rights abused by the Mugabe regime, what is Britain doing about this? NOTHING! An utter disgrace!!
John R Leach, UK

Let Mr Tsvangirai tell us in concrete terms how he hopes to address this issue
Tom Ayeni, Nigeria
Let us for one moment step aside and look at this issue dispassionately. The hard issue here is the uneven distribution of land. The MDC has not said anything about this burning issue nor is it leaving it until it gets into power. Let Mr Tsvangirai tell us in concrete terms how he hopes to address this issue. If not let him and his rabble roosters keep quiet.
Tom Ayeni, Nigeria

The immediate threat to the country's stability is hyperinflation. The quickest way to solve this problem is to have some sort of negotiated settlement that will help us to reengage the rest of the world. Failing this, I fear the situation may spiral out of the control of the politicians.
Zimbo, Zimbabwe

Yes the crisis can be resolved and fast. No WMD in Iraq, no WMD in Zimbabwe. We now need to turn our attention to a nation crying out for our help, where not only the indigenous Zimbabweans are under threat and suffering, but so too are MANY British nationals. It is now time for the Blair government to step in and do something about Zimbabwe, whether that is putting more pressure on SA and other surrounding countries to talk to Mugabe, or to directly send in UN peace keeping forces and aid. Mugabe either way has to go, now.
Vince, UK

The next thing we shall hear is that the UN is begging member countries to volunteer troops to keep a non existing peace in Zimbabwe
Pascal Bessong, France
This is the time for those African leaders who carry some international respect such as Mr Thabo Mbeki and Olusegun Obasanjo to stand up and speak for the common Zimbabwean. When this is done Mr Mugabe will no longer have the excuse that MDC is foreign driven. And where are the AU and the UN? Where are your conflict prevention strategies? The next thing we shall hear is that the UN is begging member countries to volunteer troops to keep a non existing peace in Zimbabwe.
Pascal Bessong, France

The situation in my country is desperate and to have Mugabe and Tsvangirai on different sides of the political divide does not help the situation at all. Both have an insatiable desire for power at the detriment of the country. Look at how Tsvangirai has been calling for sanctions and his never ending stay-aways, and how Mugabe has stubbornly refused to step down although it is apparent that he is senile and no longer fit to manage the country. Zimbabwe's hopes lies in anew breed of politicians who are willing to listen to wise counsel.
Aaroniv Chemvurasky, Zimbabwe

If Tsvangirai is on charge of treason, he must be dealt with by the court. Being a leader of the opposition does not exempt him from being charged and arrested. Everybody must be obedient to the rule of law. As long as the British interfere in Zimbabwe's internal affairs, the chance to resolve the problem in Zimbabwe will be affected.
Eric, UK

The MDC should be working on grass-roots support right now
Munya, Zimbabwe
We have parliamentary elections soon so the MDC should be working on grass-roots support right now rather than just waste time clamouring for power. They will lose the parliamentary elections again if they are not careful. Zimbabwe is not just Harare and Bulawayo.
Munya, Zimbabwe

The problem is that the people of Zimbabwe do not have the passion to defend democracy and demand good governance. Until the people are willing to unite against abuse of power and bad governance, nothing will change. While people accept corruption as being part of the way of life, leaders like Mugabe thrive.
Learnmore Ndlovu, Zimbabwe

I was initially glad to see that finally the opposition had decided to get up and do something. But by about Wednesday, I began to wonder what the MDC were going to do as it looks as though their efforts have failed. I mean what happens now? People striked, they got beat up and killed and on Monday everything goes back to "normal"? The opposition has a strong following of frustrated Zimbabweans but no strategically thinking leaders. Mugabe had outwitted Tsvangirai all the way. I don't understand why the international community is not helping the MDC and the Zimbabwe people to tackle Mugabe.
Mwana Wevhu, RSA

What is needed is leadership organisation from the grassroots
Cecil N. Mbolela, Chicago, Zambia
Leaders come and leaders go. No need to vandalise Zimbabwe through riots just to get rid of one man-Mugabe. What is needed is leadership organisation from the grassroots. Zambia has shown that it is easier to get rid of a local dictator through good grassroots political organization, and that's what been missing in Zimbabwe.
Cecil N. Mbolela, Chicago, Zambia

I don't think either of these men is fit to lead the country. Both are hooligans and no different from all other dictators in Africa. If the MDC only leads the uprising against Mugabe's oppression then that is good, but they, the MDC, must not rule. They are liberators, that is all. The people must rule.
Sefefrican, RSA

What Zim needs is an opposition that is home grown, that has the mandate of the people. What we have is an opposition that is foreign driven and which in its quest to satisfy its financiers has made serious blunders.
Michael Ndlovu, Zimbabwe

I feel almost mortified in embarrassment for what we are doing to each other
Sekai, USA
It is disheartening to see that we Africans can not get along and think of our countries first. It seems that us getting our independence from our former "oppressive" colonialists was a farce. I do not know what to tell my child. I feel almost mortified in embarrassment for what we are doing to each other. I will always remember Mugabe and others for their contribution to our independence but I cannot forgive them for what those in power are doing to destroy our own country. Listen to the people. Do not le them go hungry. Everyone at home is your mother, sister, father, brother. That is our culture. Never forget who you are.
Sekai, USA

Africa needs to solve what is essentially an African problem. Zimbabwe is surrounded by democracies in S. Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, and even Zambia and Malawi. These countries need to intervene to restore order and democracy to Zimbabwe.
C Swyer, Los Angeles, Calif, USA

If you want Mugabe out of power them, wait your turn, then go to the polls when his term is over. There is no point in trying to oust him when he is legitimately the elected president of this country. If you think he has ruined this country, I urge you to reconcile your conscience with the reality of sanctions and who is behind them.
Spencer, Zimbabwe

Please help Zimbabwe now
Tendai, UK/ ex Zim
How many Zimbabweans must die before action is taken against this horrible, murderous, dictatorship government? Come on Britain, you showed you had the guts to help the Iraqis. Please help Zimbabwe now.
Tendai, UK/ ex Zim

Harare this week could easily be mistaken for a soldier's barracks. There is a shortage of everything in Zimbabwe apart from arms and ammunition. Support from the international community, especially from African brothers, is imperative for an end to the Mugabe regime.
Chidhuma Chidhuma, Zimbabwean in South Africa

How long will the world watch a people's sense of hope dignity and prosperity disappear through the money hungry mismanagement and oppression of the country, by a group of money hungry men. What was once called "the jewel of Africa" is now as worthless as a piece of dirt.
Simba, South Africa

We need a change, Mugabe must go. We have suffered enough. Can the international community, especially other African countries, help us to remove the Mugabe regime? What we only need is a change of government in Zimbabwe. Please, help us before it's too late.
Chrispen Mawasa, Zimbabwe

The solution to our problems lies here in Zimbabwe
Charles Mutama, Zimbabwe
As long as the British and Americans keep on supporting this puppet-Morgan Tsvangirai we will continue having problems. First he is for violence then next he claims to be seeking dialogue. He is one of the most confused chaps to ever have existed in this country. The solution to our problems lies here in Zimbabwe. His puppet actions are causing more suffering to those he purports to be helping.
Charles Mutama, Zimbabwe

The west is exaggerating the problems in Zimbabwe because Mugabe refuses to budge. Tsvangirai is clamouring for power now. However, he should remember that how it looks is not always how it tastes. Those who are backing him now like they did Mugabe before will turn their backs as soon as they get what they want.
Opara Victor, Nigerian in Estonia

I strongly believe that the situation is now ripe for the international community to actively get involved in what is now happening in our beloved country. The government has so far shown its potential in using military muscle to oppress the masses.
Joegidza, Zimbabwe

Mugabe has failed Zimbabweans
Tabeth Mushonga, Zimbabwe
The obvious repressive force by Mugabe against Zimbabweans is now at a climax. His party has bussed unemployed youths from Shamva and Bindura to beat and kill people in Harare. The army and police are on the rampage. Whatever the outcome of the march, whether resisted or not, the success story is that people are prepared to be shot and run running battles with the police. Mugabe has failed Zimbabweans.
Tabeth Mushonga, Zimbabwe

Before the MDC was formed Zimbabwe never had a shortage of anything. With Tsvangirai constantly calling on the international community to sanction Zimbabwe because he lost an election whose result 12 out of 15 observer missions said was legitimate.
Kenneth Jonga, USA/Zim

When will the international community exert real pressure on Mugabe? If the world's leaders really cared about human rights he and his cronies would have been subjected to effective sanctions.
RES Cook, Zimbabwe

Yes, I do agree totally with the notion that Mugabe must go but we should look critically at his opponents. The people clamouring for his blood are the very people who used to refer to him as the darling of Africa. Anyone who thinks that Tsvangirai will be any different is very mistaken.
Buzibwa Kizito, Uganda

The situation in Zimbabwe shames every African Government. Of course it is possible to bludgeon the opposition into some form of submission but that will make the inevitable retribution all the worse. South Africa must share much of the blame for not having the morality or courage to speak out against Mugabe and the persecution of the poorest and most vulnerable of black Africans. How is it the UN has not voted to remove THIS bad leader? And the G8 summit - what hypocrisy.
K Budden, England

I do not think demonstrations aiming at toppling the government of President Mugabe will really get the opposition what they wanted. Instead such demonstrations will only heighten the tension that is already building. Therefore, the MDC should collaborate with the civil populace and not as a party seeking for power, and rally around the African Union, SADDEC and UN. The best that can come from such a move will be a possible sanction on the president with his family and ministers.
Rev. Paul Bala Samura, Sierra Leone\Nigeria

The rot has spread too far
John Smith, UK
This was country that used to be a food exporter... now it's suffering from famine. It used to be an industrial power in the region, now its economy is in ruins. It used to have a legal system that was fair and free from corruption, now it's a human rights disaster zone. The rot has spread too far; the MDC cannot change everything acting alone. The rest of the world needs to help.
John Smith, UK

I think Mugabe should just leave government for the sake of political and economic improvement of Zimbabwe before he is booted out. The man is a wicked and selfish man. We are tired of these kind of rulers in Africa. Let him go!
Opeyemi Adeseyoju, Nigeria

The future of Zimbabwe still belongs to Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC as long he survives and patiently resists forces of repression, totalitarianism and authoritarianism in Zimbabwe. An ageing, autocratic, discredited, dysfunctional oligarchy is desperately fighting its last battle in Zimbabwe. The outside world (including Britain) should give logistic, financial and organizational support to MDC to enable it build a bigger, nationwide, party organization; to mobilize, unite, convert and integrate with ZANU-PF deserters who put its disintegrating nation's interests above the corrupt, egotistical, megalomaniacal ambitions of the current leaders in power who have bankrupted the nation chased away foreign investors and destroyed a once-flourishing, exemplary, agro-industrial, economic system of Zimbabwe due to politics of anti-white racism, xenophobia and self-aggrandizement of public officials.
Igonikon Jack, USA

I am proud to see that the people of Zimbabwe are finally making a stand against the government that has left them destitute due to its corrupt and often racist policies. There needs to be some sort of intervention by the international community soon, before it is too late. Human rights violations are rife, the greater part of the population is in need of food aid, the economy is crashing and there are shortages of many basic necessities (including cash).
Adrienne, USA (ex Zimbabwe)

It's about time other African leaders called for Mugabe to step down
Kirsty Clarke, Scotland
Having witnessed the demise of the country and the ruins of the tourist industry first hand. I am amazed that the rest of the world just sits by and lets it happen! This crisis will not be solved by a government that fires at protestors. There is nothing but misery for the people of Zimbabwe with no food, rising inflation and shortages for almost everything. It's about time other African leaders called for Mugabe to step down, maybe then this beautiful country will have a chance.
Kirsty Clarke, Scotland

I think this week of protests will be a defining one for Zimbabwe. They have more support than ever with the mountain of problems Mugabe has created. There are only two ways to resolve this crisis. Mugabe must step down now, and fair elections must be called or he will have to be removed by force.
Matt, UK

Although the situation is now desperate in Zim, I think in Tsvangirai we are at risk of putting someone in power who is exactly like Mugabe (power hungry). Tsvangirai never talks about the importance of a new and better constitution, all he wants now is to be president in 90 days. He wants to use exactly the same constitution which has caused us numerous problems. We need an opposition that is sensitive to the needs of the people.
Tapiwa, Zimbabwe




SEE ALSO:
Zimbabwe protests dispersed
02 Jun 03  |  Africa


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