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May 18th, 2008

HARARE (Reuters) - Supporters of Zimbabwe's main opposition party gathered for a rally on Sunday after a court overturned a police ban, although presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai won't be appearing because of assassination fears.

The venue, a sports stadium in the second city of Bulawayo, was packed with Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters from as early as mid-morning, some wearing party T-shirts, although no officials had arrived by midday.

Police set up a security checkpoint on the main road leading to the stadium, stopping and searching vehicles for weapons. At a nearby police camp, four water canons were on standby.

Police had initially banned the rally, but the MDC won a court ruling compelling the authorities not to interfere with the meeting.

Zimbabweans vote next month on a presidential run-off election between Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

Tsvangirai, who left Zimbabwe for South Africa shortly after the first vote on March 29, had been scheduled to return to home on Saturday to relaunch his campaign, but the party said it had received information about a planned assassination attempt.

"Mr Tsvangirai will not be going to Zimbabwe today. We are still assessing the security situation," his spokesman George Sibotshiwe said from Johannesburg on Sunday.

The MDC insists Tsvangirai won enough votes against Mugabe to avoid a run-off, but the electoral commission said he had not.

The June 27 election re-run will be held against the backdrop of a political and economic meltdown in which Zimbabweans have grappled with 165,000 percent inflation, 80 percent unemployment, chronic food and fuel shortages which have seen millions flee to neighbouring countries. 

The March vote was followed by violence, which the MDC says killed at least 40 of its supporters and which it blames on Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. ZANU-PF in turn accuses the opposition.

Zimbabwe remains in a political stalemate over the presidential poll, although the opposition won enough votes in March to end ZANU-PF's parliamentary majority for the first time since independence from Britain in 1980.

On Sunday state media said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) would only allow voters registered for the March election in the run-off.

Zimbabwe's government has said Tsvangirai should report security concerns to the authorities, and suggested the charges of an assassination plot could be "grandstanding".

Darfur News May 2008

By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Khartoum must sit down to Darfur peace talks by the end of the year or face all-out war, the leader of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) who launched an unprecedented attack on the capital this month said.

In an interview on Sunday, Khalil Ibrahim, who has a $250,000 (128,000 pound) price on his head after the attack on Khartoum, in which more than 200 people were killed, also urged Egypt to release three JEM officials it arrested in Cairo afterwards.

"Within this year, we have to end the suffering of our people of Darfur either by war or by negotiating a political solution," he told Reuters by satellite telephone.

"Whichever the government accepts we will do."

The rebels were only stopped at the bridges over the Nile to the heart of Khartoum from the western suburb of Omdurman, a few kilometres from the army headquarters and the presidential palace on May 10.

It was the first time rebels from Sudan's marginalised regions managed to bring their war to the capital.

The attack was condemned internationally and by most political parties inside the country.

"There will be no peace in Khartoum without peace in the marginalised regions, in Darfur," Ibrahim said, warning he would attack the capital again if the government chose war instead of talks.

"We are people of one nation," he said. "Part of us cannot enjoy peace in Khartoum while others are dying. Either we are all at war or we are all at peace."


International experts estimate 200,000 have died in Darfur, with 2.5 million driven from their homes. Washington called the conflict genocide, a term European governments are reluctant to use, but which has sparked a massive U.S.-led activist movement.

Khartoum blames the Western media for exaggerating the conflict and puts the death toll at 10,000.

Khartoum has boomed from a massive injection of foreign investment and rising oil revenues since signing a 2005 north-south peace deal ending a separate conflict. That deal did not cover Darfur. Analysts fear investors will think twice about pouring money into the capital with the threat of attack.

Sudan had asked world leaders to list JEM as a terrorist movement and extradite all members to Khartoum for trial.

Ibrahim urged Egypt to release three JEM officials they arrested after the assault. "They are civilians not military."

Darfur's peace process has stalled under joint U.N. and African Union mediation, appointed at the beginning of 2007. Ibrahim said the two envoys, Jan Eliasson and Salim Ahmed Salim, should resign.

"These men should be changed and a serious mediation who is interested to bring peace (should be appointed)," he said. "The international community failed to find a solution ... so they left us no choice other than to go to war." 

Ibrahim's JEM is an Islamist movement whereas other factions from Darfur's fractured rebels support secularism. They launched their revolt in early 2003 accusing central government of neglecting the remote west.

JEM's agenda has always been more national while other groups want a fairer deal for Darfur. Analysts agree with Khartoum's assessment that JEM's newly acquired military power was provided by Chad. In the early part of the conflict, JEM was militarily weaker than the other main Darfur rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

Sudan cut diplomatic relations with Chad after the assault. Chad denies links to JEM.

Click this Link to visit the Homepage for "Save Darfur". You can organize a group from this website to begin activism and begin helping the people of Darfur!


White Nationalism Put U In Bondage

White nationalism is what put you in bondage

Pirate and vampires like Columbus, Morgan, and Darwin

Drank the blood of the sheep, trampled all over them with

Steel, tricks and deceit.

Nothing has changed take a look in our streets

The mis-education of she and Hegro – leaves you on your knee2grow

Black lands taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse

They took the gold, the wisdom and all of the storytellers

They took the black women, with the black man weak

Made to watch as they changed the paradigm

Of our village

They killed the blind, they killed the lazy, they went

So far as to kill the unborn baby

Yeah White nationalism is what put you in bondage

Pirates and vampires like Columbus, Morgan, and Darwin

They drank the blood of the sheep, trampled all over them with

Steel laden feet, throw in the tricks alcohol and deceit.

Nothing has changed take a look at our streets

— Autum Ashante



The Library page 'Whats News' is not the opinion of everyone at the Library, but rather, the opinion of the person who happened to write the column/article at that time! Give thanks for visiting. This page is meant to provoke some thought, provoke the desire for reasoning and discussion and ultimately get you the reader to come to the library to read and discuss.



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