Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai Takes Refuge in Dutch Embassy
After months of violence and the raid of his headquarters today, where 60 people were arrested, Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced he would not run in the election and took refuge at the Dutch embassy in Harare.
Fearing more violent repercussions, Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal from the presidential runoff on Sunday, saying the actions of the army and current government made peaceful elections impossible.
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Officials in Amsterdam say Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has taken refuge at the Dutch embassy in Harare.
The Dutch foreign ministry has confirmed Dutch media reports Monday, that Mr. Tsvangirai is in the embassy.
Mr. Tsvangirai announced his withdrawal from Zimbabwe's presidential runoff on Sunday, saying politically-motivated violence against his supporters made the election impossible.
Less than a week before Zimbabwe's presidential runoff election, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai announced yesterday that he is pulling out of the race. In his announcement, Tsvangirai suggested a continuation of his campaign could become too costly to the well being of his supporters.
She shouted to Morgan Tsvangirai as his convoy drove past, but the opposition leader could never stop for long -- the authorities prevented him from doing so.
"Please, don't let us down," the woman yelled as she ran alongside other residents in the poor township of Mufakose. "We are suffering."
Before Tsvangirai announced on Sunday he was pulling out of the presidential run-off and later took refuge in the Dutch embassy, he faced severe restrictions on his campaign and was detained five times by police.
He was forced to engage in a kind of speed-rally, where he would exit his car for two or three minutes and shake a few hands, then take off again to avoid breaking laws on holding public meetings without police authorisation.
Throughout his career, the courts provided hope against a repressive state. A few independent magistrates fought for their profession in a country where most other state institutions - from the military to the media - were simply extensions of the ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), run by longtime President Robert Mugabe.
But today, at the greatest crisis moment in Zimbabwe’s history of crises, the courts have been entirely commandeered by ZANU-PF. And the fate of Mr. Matinenga, a man who devoted his life to ensuring the court’s impartiality, is growing increasingly tied to the fate of his nation.
Mr. Matinenga now sits behind bars in a cold, cramped cell without his glasses, shoes or socks. His gray suit has been replaced with a tattered beige prison uniform (the photo above is of him in holding, before changing clothes). His family worries it’s not enough to keep him warm. They are just thankful he has not been tortured.
At Rusape Prison where Mr. Matinenga is held, the wardens do not feed their prisoners. This is common. There is no money.