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Simon's Hinds letter magnifies Richard Carver's earlier assertions about the West's hypocrisy in the treatment of Robert Mugabe's leadership record. However, the bulk of his message appears to be a repeat of the many assertions that Zimbabweans can never be independent of the West or Rhodesians - which is a serious misconception of the reality of the Zimbabwean situation.

For the record: Police assaulted human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa after she had called them to report the attempted hi-jacking of her motor vehicle. Last week, three MDC personnel were shot by a local businessman - they are in hospital under police custody as the accused. Over 200 National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) members are in police custody after demonstrating for a new Constitution. Settlers in Mashonaland West held the South African High Commissioner, Jeremiah Ndou, hostage. Ndou was later summoned to Zimbabwe's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, "where it was discovered that he had not been given clearance to visit the area" (State television). Fifty-three members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) were arrested before they could start protests over taxation. The unionists were released from custody after being cautioned and told that the police might press charges later. All the above events occurred in the first three weeks of October!

There is clear state collusion in all the above. The target is clear - to suppress individual and collective rights - or anything considered a threat to Mugabe's rule - yes - even elections!. To claim that the 2002 presidential elections were a true reflection of the will of the people of Zimbabwe by merely repeating the conclusions of foreign observer missions is incorrect. Simon and others may take a cue from the observations of the South African observer mission and the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) whose conclusions are quite the opposite of what they observed. The SADC parliamentary forum felt that the "electoral process could not be said to adequately comply with the Norms and Standards for Elections in the SADC region".
The international community, mainly the West, has been feeding millions of starving Zimbabweans. We are only grateful.
Those that have listened to the oppressed voices have only echoed them to distances far and wide. We salute them.