'We were the sex slaves of Mugabe's men' By Brian Latham and
Philip Sherwell in Harare (Filed: 31/03/2002)
THE terror began at
eight in the evening and lasted until dawn for Felicia Matamure. In tears,
the young trainee teacher described last week how she was captured by
government youth militia in north-eastern Zimbabwe and dragged to their camp
near Mt Darwin.
There she was gagged and gang-raped by a gang of 10 young
men high on drink and drugs in a horrifying night of sexual abuse and
beatings. "They tied my legs and arms to poles," the distraught 23-year-old
told The Telegraph from a safe house in Harare. "The men took turns to rape
me while the others watched and sang liberation songs."
untied at dawn, but threatened with death if she fled the camp. Undaunted,
she escaped the next night and tried to report the case to the police, only
to be turned away. "They were not interested," she said. "The war vets and
the militia are above the law."
She said there were dozens of other
abducted women at the former school that has been turned into a militia camp.
Some were made to wash and cook, others were forced to sleep with the
gang-leaders. Most were too scared to flee because of the retribution that
their family or village would face.
Lilian Nzirawa's ordeal was just as
appalling: the militia forced her into their camp, ripped off her dress and
slashed her underwear with knives.
"I was tied, gagged and blindfolded
while they raped me," she recalled. After about an hour, her abductors
removed the blindfold, but took it in turns to rape her again as their
comrades cheered and sang revolutionary songs.
With tears rolling down
her face, Lilian, in her early twenties, said she recognised some of her
assailants as local men from her home area near Bindura, 60 miles north of
Harare. "All I want is justice and all I can do is cry," she said
Both Felicia and Lilian are now in hiding but risked their lives
to reveal the horrors they endured; their names have been changed at their
request. Their revelations come as the militia and war veterans indulge in a
new wave of political violence.
After resorting to rampant electoral
fraud in this month's election, President Mugabe is desperate to ensure that
the MDC can never again mount such a strong political challenge to his
regime. Across the country, opposition activists have been attacked, forced
to pay heavy "fines", hounded from their homes and - in at least six cases
since the election - killed by Zanu-PF mobs.
White farmers are also
being targeted: in Zanu-PF's Mashonaland strongholds, dozens have been forced
from their homes in revenge for backing for the MDC, while Terry Ford was
shot dead on his farm at Norton.
It is local black MDC activists who are
bearing the brunt of the anti-opposition crackdown, however. Laina Marowa,
Tsanangurai Marowa and Dorcas Maneni fled into the bush in the eastern
Manicaland province after serving as MDC polling agents. Mobs had turned up
outside their houses and local Zanu-PF leaders had ordered them to pay
"fines" of almost £50, a small fortune in rural areas.
country, the MDC estimates that 1,200 of its election agents are on the run
and there are countless reports of abuse at militia torture camps.
Photographs obtained by The Telegraph reveal that new recruits are still
being trained in the Bindura area, 100 miles north of Harare.
assault has also been used as part of this new strategy of terror: one
15-year-old girl was repeatedly raped by youth militia shortly after
the election because they could not find her parents, both MDC
According to Dewa Mavhinga, a research officer with the
Zimbabwe Women Lawyers' Association (ZWLA), there are more than 1,000 female
sex slaves being held in 56 militia camps.
"These militia are now in
celebration mode," he said. "They act like they're unafraid of
The victims fall into three categories. "Some are promised
money," he said. "Others go in because they're ordered to and they're too
frightened to disobey. The last group are taken into the camps as punishment
for supporting the opposition MDC."
The fear that they will be
discovered and killed by their former tormentors is common among escaped sex
slaves, according to Mr Mavhinga. "They have been told that they will be
hunted down and killed by the militia and the war veterans," he
Even once they have escaped, the stigma attached to rape in rural
areas means that women's suffering continues. "They can't just admit they've
been raped because they fear their husbands will not have anything more to
do with them," said Mr Mavhinga.
Felicia confirmed the problem as she
broke down in tears and explained that she was married with a small child.
"My husband works in South Africa. When I escaped I wanted to phone and tell
him but I just couldn't do it. By the time I spoke to him, he had heard. When
he answered the phone, he just said: 'I know'. That was it."
she will ever see her husband again, Felicia smiled sadly and shook her head.
"I don't think so," she said.
white farmers have demanded government protection to stop premature evictions
and looting of their belongings and land.
The farmers have reported an
upsurge in violence, evictions, and looting of their property after Robert
Mugabe's victory in disputed presidential elections.
representing the farmers said they fear the violence was part of a campaign
of retribution against them by Mugabe.
He who accuses whites of
supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in the
Since the election on March 9-11, 19 farmers have been
illegally evicted and there have been 31 cases of looting in the Mashonaland
East province southeast of Harare, one of eight rural provinces.
least 2,000 farm workers have been driven from their homes and jobs in the
corn and tobacco province.
White farmers became targets of violence two
years ago when armed militants loyal to Mugabe began occupying their farms
with tacit government approval.
The militants demanded the farms be
seized and distributed to the country's millions of landless blacks. Whites
make up less than one percent of the Zimbabwe's population but own most of
Critics say Mugabe has used the land issue to garner
support and deflect attention from the country's crumbling economy. Despite
promises to redistribute the land to poor blacks, many of the farms have been
given to loyal lawmakers and confidantes of Mugabe.
In the latest
attack on a white farmer, Charlie Brans, a man in his 50s, was beaten with a
chain on Friday on his farm near Beatrice, 35 miles south of Harare. Mr Brans
received emergency treatment for wounds on his back after a group of about 20
ruling party militants stormed his farm office, smashing windows and doors,
the union said.
HARARE, March 31 — Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on
Sunday celebrated his controversial re-election with a warning to rivals that
he will deal with protests against his government with an iron
In a clip broadcast by Zimbabwe state television, Mugabe
told hundreds of guests at a victory party at his Zvimba rural home, 100 km
(65 miles) northwest of Harare, there was no question of a re-run of the
March 9-11 presidential poll, which critics say he won
fraudulently. ''The people made their choice...and that choice must be
respected. We will not brook any protests, any attempt to cause problems,''
he said, in a speech which alternated between the local Shona language and
English. ''This is a post-election period and no nonsense will be
tolerated. Those who want to rebel and to cause lawlessness will be beaten to
the ground like they have never been beaten,'' he said. Mugabe was
cheered by his supporters as he made the threat at a party which was attended
by Zimbabwe's Defence Forces chief General Vitalis Zvinavashe.
PHASE ''If they (the opposition) think we will be soft, that's gone.
We are in a new phase, a new chapter and we have a very firm government,
very firm,'' he said. Mugabe said he had large national support and
the opposition supporters in the capital Harare and the second city Bulawayo
were behaving like islanders with no idea of what was going on around
them. ''They are better advised to carry on with life than pretend
they represent a national programme,'' he said. In a preliminary
report on the presidential poll last Tuesday, the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) charged Mugabe had only beaten its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai after inflating voter turnout in rural areas, stuffing ballot
boxes and locking out voters in the opposition's urban strongholds.
Tsvangirai has branded Mugabe's victory ''daylight robbery'' and has spurned
suggestions from southern African leaders that he should join a government of
national unity. Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth for a
year on March 19 after the group's election observers accused Mugabe of
electoral fraud. The Zimbabwean government dismisses the fraud
accusations, saying they are being pushed by Western powers who want to see
Mugabe ousted because he is seizing white-owned farms for landless
blacks. Mugabe's governing ZANU-PF party on Wednesday ruled out a
re-run of the presidential election, saying the poll had been conducted in
''a free and fair manner.'' The party's top politburo said Mugabe
-- Zimbabwe's ruler since the former Rhodesia gained independence from
Britain in 1980 -- had been legally elected for a six-year term and ZANU-PF
''will not tolerate the talk and whisper in subversive circles about a re-run
of the presidential election.''
Most African leaders, among them die-hard dictators, have often
justified their continued grip on power by arguing that they were duly
elected through the "one person, one vote" system and that therefore there
was no need to question their style of government. Some even go further and
try to convince the rest of the world that Africa has its own type of
democracy, quite different from the way it is perceived by the rest of the
According to these leaders, the murder, plundering of the
economy, corruption, inefficiency in the public sector, misinformation of
the electorate, suppression of opposing views and elimination of opponents
are all supposed to be our brand of democracy.
Is it any wonder
therefore that the majority, if not all, of the so-called independent and
democratic SADC and OAU countries do not see anything wrong with the way the
Zimbabwe government has been behaving towards its people since
Without going into the intricate details of what constitutes a
democratic society, allow me to dwell on this often abused phenomenon of "one
person, one vote" and the attendant sovereignty that derives from such a
In my opinion, no nation in Africa (or indeed anywhere else), can
claim to be democratic and sovereign if the process through which that nation
was born, does not take into consideration some of the basic tenets that
are supposed to accompany this process.
Of paramount importance, is
the need to educate the electorate on what they should not only expect, but
demand, from those they put into power through their votes.
should be made aware of what their responsibilities are towards
their government, and equally, what they should expect in return. If a
government that is voted into power does not respect those who sustain the
economy of a country through payment of taxes and other forms of
contributions, and instead prefers to value some individuals' loyalty to the
party, then that government does not deserve to be in power.
are not free to change their minds on any party that they might have voted
for before, then there is no point in holding elections. If people are herded
like cattle to attend political meetings or rallies, then whatever comes out
of these people at the ballot box is bound to reflect the same fear that was
instilled in them in the first place. If people are forced to attend
"reorientation classes" in some absurd and entirely foreign doctrine that
does not identify with our own backgrounds, again, when they cast their vote,
they are merely expressing the wishes and views of their 'mentors' and not
Which brings in the issue of foreign 'observers', whose role
is supposed to be that of adjudicators during elections. Do these observers
play any meaningful role, especially considering that they come only a few
days before the elections and in some cases, as happened in this country,
they are from countries perceived to be friendly to the ruling
In any event, what will these people observe in such a short
period of time? Is this not like a prison inspector coming to inspect the
conditions under which prisoners are kept after four years, at which time the
poor souls might be in in such a state that they cannot say how they have
been treated over that period, or they may have been thoroughly subjected to
such physical and mental torture that they are beyond repair. In the presence
of the guards, everything will appear normal to the inspector and he is
bound to go back to his superiors with the wrong impression.
agree that these 'observers' cannot be a permanent feature in foreign
countries, I however feel that the approach they should adopt should be one
of studying the political culture prevailing in the country and of particular
importance, watch out for any signs of fear and uneasiness among the people.
This task would require psychologists-cum-politicians, and not ordinary
They should also observe the type of rhetoric and language
used, particularly by the ruling party, because this is the one that can make
any election free, that is, if it is not afraid of something. They have all
the security apparatus and public funds at their disposal, and therefore,
are the ones most likely to influence the vote one way or other. They can
also carry out their threats in the knowledge that they have the backing
of "security" agents at their disposal.
Opposition parties may try to
cause trouble, but the effectiveness of such a campaign strategy will not
result in flawed election results, because the effect of the terror campaign
How many so-called "democratic republics" in Africa came into
power through the vote? Have people once asked themselves what is so
sovereign about being oppressed and denied a voice?
What is supposed
to be the top priority of any country with more than 3/4 of its citizens
living below the poverty datum line? Is it the formation of a huge army that
is purported to 'safeguard' the interests of the people and defend it from
imaginary enemies? Or is it the amassing of deadly weapons and luxury cars
for the leaders that makes the people proud of their country?
the elections are over, do the leaders ever consult the people on any crucial
decisions they take, or when they change a constitution? How many black
governments conduct referendums during their terms of office to gouge public
opinion of themselves and their style of government? Are members
of parliament really relevant in a country where leaders claim to be more
equal than those who voted them into power, and in situations where loyalty
to a party is considered to be patriotism? Why do most, if not all leaders
prefer to have their "savings" in the so-called former colonial countries
instead of their own?
Why do they expect the people to be patriotic
when they themselves do not lead by example? Why do they send their children
to schools outside the country and expect ours to endure all the hardships of
a poorly run educational system? How many ministers are ever fired for
corruption or outright inefficiency? Or, alternatively, how many are
honourable enough to resign with an apology to the nation? Indeed there are
more questions than answers.
It is only when the electorate is aware
of what constitutes a good government, that Africa can start to earn the
respect of the rest of the world. Presently, the developed world does not
have much respect for our governments, not because of colonial hangovers as
we are continually reminded, but because they have studied the way our
leaders govern us and they know that we are not yet serious about developing
Loyalty to the country should come before loyalty to a
political party or government that comes and goes. This is an important area
of democracy and patriotism that the electorate needs to be made aware
Many governments, particularly in Africa, feel threatened by an
enlightened electorate, hence the reluctance by most of these to educate the
people about good governance. They will continue to hold elections every five
or six years just to hoodwink the people and the rest of the world
into believing that they are practising democracy.
of us in Africa will never experience what it means to be independent and
democratic for a long time to come unless and until we learn to insist on a
high calibre of people we put into power. We should all know that it suits
them to have an ignorant, docile and poverty-stricken electorate and if the
majority of the people are poor, the better their prospects of remaining in
power and continuing to give promises that are never fulfilled.
view, a government that comes or remains in power through a mandate derived
from an uneducated, misinformed and intimidated electorate is not legitimate
and therefore cannot lay claim to sovereignty.
It is only when the
electorate is free to vote and elect a government of its choice, without
undue influence, intimidation, deliberate misinformation and with clear
objectives that we can say we have reached the level of political maturity
that we should strive to attain, as well as match those systems obtaining in
other truly democratic countries.
In the final analysis, can we say our
leaders and governments are legitimate when voters go into elections under
fear and ignorance of what is expected of them except putting an "X" on an
otherwise useless piece of paper?
Judging by the above, how many
governments can really say they are worthy of being called independent,
democratic and sovereign in Africa?
GERMANY is to freeze aid to Zimbabwe following President Mugabe's
disputed victory in the 9-10 March presidential elections, The Standard has
Wieczorek-Zeul, the German minister of Economic Development,
was recently quoted by a German newspaper as saying his country would review
all aid programmes to Zimbabwe following the re-election of Mugabe. Zeul said
only programmes for the combating of Aids and the relief of poverty would
Germany's deputy ambassador to Zimbabwe, Werner Koehler,
confirmed these latest developments. "We are in the process of reviewing all
existing aid. Since 2000, we have frozen government cooperation. We have
increased assistance to non-governmental organisations. There has been no
money coming in since 2000," said Koehler."
He said before its
decision to freeze aid, his country had taken into account the Zimbabwean
government's departure from the criteria underlying the rules of German
development cooperation worldwide, criteria such as respect for human rights
and the rule of law, active participation of the people in the political
process, commitment to a market-oriented economy and to development-oriented
"Shortcomings in these areas have led to considerable reduction
in official German-Zimbabwe development cooperation. We are phasing out a bit
faster," said Koehler.
On existing projects which are currently under
implementation, Koehler said his country doesn't want to leave behind a
country in ruins. "We don't want to pull out of a project we have already
The deputy ambassador said the cut back on aid would not affect
funding for programmes of a non-governmental nature. "All the new money that
has come has been channelled to NGOs. It is the state-to- state cooperation
that is going to be affected," said Koehler.
He said basic health
programmes, humanitarian and food aid could remain unaffected if an agreement
was reached. Over 600 000 people face mass starvation in Zimbabwe.
German move comes in the wake of reports this week that the country
was expected to lose more than $4 billion in development aid this year
following moves by major donors and trading partners to sever ties with
Harare after the country's defective presidential poll. Those severing all
assistance to Mugabe include Norway, Japan, Canada and
Germany's programmes in Zimbabwe include: the Programs for
Biomass Energy Conservation (PROBEC); the World Peace Service which supports
grassroots initiatives in the building up of a sustainable and productive
environment; the German Development Service which provides funds for the
promotion of NGOs and for micro projects. There are other programmes
including those run by foundations such as Friedrich Nauman and Friedrich
Mugabe's fraudulent victory has been condemned by the
international community and described internally as a massive fraud. The
Commonwealth observer team led by former Nigerian president Abdusalam
Abubakaar, produced a damning report on the conduct of the elections. The
Commonwealth, a body comprising mainly former British colonies has now
suspended the southern African country from the Commonwealth.
after the presidential poll, the European Union parliament announced that it
had rejected President Mugabe's victory and appealed to the international
community to do likewise.
CHICUALACUALA-Five years ago, Ferenando watched helplessly as
Zimbabwean police impounded his treasured bags of used clothing (mazitye) and
locked him up in a filthy cell at a station in Chiredzi, the agricultural
capital of the south-eastern Lowveld.
He joined several other
Mozambican nationals who had been arrested for illegally entering Zimbabwe to
sell their wares. Life in their own country, ravaged by years of bitter civil
war between the Frelimo government and the Mozambican National Resistance
army (MNR), had become so unbearable that they decided they could not just
sit around doing nothing.
Their survival came to depend on trips into
Zimbabwe where used clothing was in great demand. But the Zimbabwean police,
eager to stem the entry of the despised Mozambican, known locally as
makarushu-proved to be a hindrance as they harassed them constantly and
confiscated their goods forcing faint-hearted people such as Ferendando to
give up these lucrative trips.
But all that is history. He's back in
business, thanks to the presidential election.
thousands other Mozambicans, is now assured of entry into Zimbabwe as and
when he wants. Three weeks before the elections, word reached his village
which is close to the Sango border post that anyone not in possession of a
Zimbabwean national identity card could get one easily so long as he was
prepared to vote for President Robert Mugabe.
So Ferenando quickly
crossed into Zimbabwe where in the Sengwe communal area he and his three
brothers and sisters, who are domestic workers, easily acquired birth
certificates and national identity cards.
As part of the deal, the three
stayed with relatives at Mabalauta in Chiredzi South constituency until
election day when they took part in the crucial election.
election was important because we had been told that we would lose our newly
acquired Zimbabwean citizenship if president Mugabe lost the election to
Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC. So we were duty-bound to give our benefactor,
Mugabe, the extra vote he needed to ward off the challenge," recalls
Ferenando who is now a common feature at Sango border post, some 250km from
Chiredzi town. He now goes up and down the two countries conducting business
without fear of harassment by Zimbabwean police.
This and similar
stories are the kind a visitor to the south eastern part of Zimbabwe is
likely to hear from people who, only a few years ago, were regarded as aliens
in a country in which they had formerly been despised as hoarders of scarce
The Mozambicans who survive on the sale of goods in Zimbabwe
are making a killing in the country as they bring in that hard-to-find US
dollar and trade it on the black market. They then buy goods to sell back
"It is no secret here that many makarashu obtained Zimbabwean
identity cards and voted in the presidential election. Some of them are
stalwarts of Frelimo and needed no persuasion to vote for Mugabe.
fact, we cannot blame them because it was a deal which benefited all
the parties," said a villager at Malipati Secondary School.
Detained Journalist Freed In Zimbabwe Ananova Sunday March 31, 2002 8:42
A Daily Telegraph journalist being held in Zimbabwe under a new
security law has now been released.
Peta Thornycroft was arrested last
week under the new Public Order Security Act and led to believe she had been
charged with "publishing false statements prejudicial to the
She was later charged with the lesser offence of possessing a car
with an incorrect number plate and was held under allegations that she had
worked illegally as a journalist.
She has now been freed after a High
Court in Zimbabwe ordered her release.
A Daily Telegraph spokesman said:
"We have confirmation that she has been released and is spending the night
with her family in Harare."
He added that the news had come from the
paper's Africa correspondent, Tim Butcher, who has been monitoring the
situation from over the border in South Africa, but no further details were
Staff at the paper had earlier expressed concern
that despite the High Court directive Mrs Thornycroft might not be released
A spokesman said: "The release has been ordered, there is no
doubt about that, but there is sometimes a gap between what is ordered and
what actually happens.
"She was originally told she had violated the
Public Order Security Act but they (her lawyers) built a case undermining
that, so they then invoked the new media law called the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act saying she hadn't registered her work as a
He added: "But details of the Act have only just been
announced and it takes three months before it fully comes into force, so it
was rather a weak case. It did not take a judge long when the case came
before him to decide she should not be held in custody."
Reporter In Zimbabwe Ordered Freed
Sunday March 31, 2002
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - A High Court judge on Sunday ordered
police to free a British newspaper reporter being held on the charge of
violating Zimbabwe's severe new media laws.
Judge Mohammed Adam said
he found no reason for the detention of Peta Thornycroft, 57, a correspondent
for the Daily Telegraph and two South African newspapers.
never any grounds for her arrest. The accusations she is not entitled to work
as a journalist are absolute nonsense,'' Adam said in his ruling.
was not immediately clear when the journalist would be
Thornycroft was arrested Wednesday in Chimanimani, 300 miles
southeast of Harare, her lawyer Tapiwanashe Kujinga said. She was
investigating reports of reprisal violence by ruling party militants against
opposition supporters following presidential elections earlier this
President Robert Mugabe was declared the winner in the widely
criticized election being marred by political intimidation, violence, and
Thornycroft had been warned she could not work as a
journalist without proper government accreditation. Working without state
accreditation was made illegal under the sweeping Access to Information Act
signed passed in February.
She was the first journalist arrested under
the media act that has been criticized as a government tool to muzzle the
Thornycroft, a British-born Zimbabwe citizen, had some
30 years of experience as a reporter and under the media laws had not yet
been officially required to seek official government accreditation by the
state media commission.
As part of its crackdown on the independent
media, Mugabe's government also threatened to prosecute Geoff Nyarota, the
editor of the country's only private daily newspaper, on a story his paper
ran about a presidential election run-off.
Jonathan Moyo wrote Nyarota asking him to correct what Moyo termed
``deliberate falsehoods'' or face legal action under the new media
The Daily News reported last week that the African
Caribbean Pacific-European Union Joint Assembly in Cape Town had passed a
resolution calling for a fresh election.
Jailed journalist 'is tired of Zimbabwe' By Brian Latham in Harare (Filed:
THE lawyer acting for Peta Thornycroft, the Telegraph's
jailed Zimbabwe correspondent, said yesterday that he was submitting papers
demanding her release. Tapiwanashe Kuchinga said he was "mustering all the
hope he could" that Thornycroft would be released today.
Tendai Biti [a trial lawyer and the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change's shadow foreign minister] to make an urgent application to the High
Court in Harare," said Mr Kuchinga.
Thornycroft, 57, speaking from a
police cell in Zimbabwe's eastern border city of Mutare yesterday, said that
she was "bored and very tired" and that prison conditions were "absolutely
Thornycroft has been charged under Zimbabwe's new draconian
media law - the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. She was
arrested last week in the south-eastern district of
Thornycroft tripped in her cell last night, injuring her
foot and knee. "There's no light in here," she said, adding that she had
otherwise been well-treated "with one or two exceptions".
armed forces and the Unita rebel movement signed a ceasefire pact yesterday
with the aim of ending a 27-year-old civil war, the Portuguese news agency
Lusa reported. Government troops killed Unita's long-time rebel leader Jonas
Savimbi last month, raising hopes for an end to the fighting.
Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo has admitted he was reluctant to
suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth but said the grouping's report on the
country's March elections had been "impossible to ignore," Sunday
Obasanjo, speaking on local radio Saturday, charged
that many minds had been made up on Zimbabwe before the controversial March
9-11 election was held.
Referring to a Commonwealth summit in early
March, just ahead of the Zimbabwe vote, Obasanjo said: "Before we went to
Australia, many heads of state of Commonwealth nations had made up their
minds on Zimbabwe."
"I warned the prime minister of Australia (John
Howard) before the meetings that their position was capable of dividing the
Commonwealth and that was when he slowed down," Obasanjo added.
the elections, the Nigerian government initially said they had been flawed
but basically "legitimate".
However, Commonwealth observers headed by
former Nigerian military ruler Abdulsalami Abubakar issued a damning report
on the elections saying they were conducted in an atmosphere of fear and
intimidation and did not reflect the free will of the people.
later, a "troika" formed of Howard, Obasanjo and South African President
Thabo Mbeki agreed to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for
"Unfortunately, the Commonwealth Monitoring Group returned a
verdict which we could not ignore," Obasanjo said.
The comments are
among the first Obasanjo has made publicly on the Zimbabwe issue, which has
proved embarrassing for African leaders.
At the London press conference
where Zimbabwe's suspension was announced, both Obasanjo and Mbeki declined
to speak to reporters.
has erupted within the police force following the exclusion of some police
officers from promotions effected last week, despite their involvement in
campaigns for President Mugabe in the recent
Police sources told The Standard last week that
the promotions had led to serious discontent within the force with some
officers, including war veterans, feeling that they had been
According to the sources, a number of police officers had
anticipated rewards for their campaigns for President Mugabe in the 9 and 10
March election which Mugabe won under highly controversial circumstances.
During the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary election as well as the
recent presidential election, the police force was turned into a virtual Zanu
PF wing, harassing opposition supporters and officials at will and forcing
the MDC to cancel several rallies.
The new draconian Public Order and
Security Act, gave the police the power to stop meetings and
"The promotions have left a sour taste in the mouth. Most of us
who campaigned for Mugabe did not benefit and it is unfair. Mugabe won
the election and naturally we expect our efforts to be recognised. Some of
us were at the forefront of the campaign and we cannot be treated like
junk. What is disappointing is that there are people who we know did not
campaign for a single day, but were promoted. They were sitting in their
offices while we were out there in the field. It is not fair," complained
one policeman who did not benefit from the largess.
understands some officers, mainly war veterans, took the issue up with police
commissioner, Augustine Chihuri. It was not, however, clear at the time of
going to press how Chihuri had reacted to their complaints.
spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, is believed to have been
left out of the promotions, much to the surprise of
According to sources, war veterans in the force
expected to be automatically promoted following interviews which they
regarded as a mere formality : "The members of the interview board did not
ask us much and we were interviewed in our vernacular languages to make
When contacted for comment, Assistant Commissioner Wayne
Bvudzijena had this to say: "In any promotion exercise, there are those who
are promoted while others are left out. We cannot promote the whole
organisation. You should know that we do not deal with politics. We deal with
Dear friends around the world, many of you
have asked for an update on the situation here in Zimbabwe. We have
been deliberately trying to keep a low profile. Avoiding even watching
the news helps us to manage the stress. The farm situation seems
unchanged. I have no news on the Baileys who were being kept hostage in
their home. They too are trying to play things down in an attempt to let
the situation cool down. Our area near Gweru is relatively quiet, but many
other farming areas continue to be subjected to ongoing violence and
lawlessness. It seems that the authorities here are adept at ignoring
world opinion, court rulings and even the will of
Food is critically short. One can still buy
meat, bread, milk, flour etc if you have the financial means, but
the mass of people who need maise meal to survive cannot find it to buy!
The people of Zimbabwe are a peace loving and gentle people. They have
accepted the rigged outcome of the elections and seem resigned to
a hopeless future. We hope that the world doesn't mistake this lack of
'mass objection' as a sign of legitimacy for the elections.
latest personal headache for many is having to apply for a new
birth certificate. I spent the day in Bulawayo to get mine. If one of your
parents was born anywhere outside of Zimbabwe, it seems that the
authorities are denying renewal of passports etc. This is unconstitutional
and can be fought in court, but who has the resources to pay lawyers ?
After my day spent in lines queing for papers, many asked me " So Chris,
what do you think is going to happen here now? Will we make it?
Will Zimbabwe survive? Will we be here to see democracy triumph?" I
didn't have an answer, so I turned to the Lord and prayed: " Lord, you've
gotta help me! What do I tell everyone? What do YOU think? What is going
to happen here in Zim? Is there a future for peace-loving people?" Then
I turned to our daily bible reading called 'Daily Light' and read
the passage for the evening. WOW! Talk about a rhema of God's word! He
truely spoke to me through those scriptures. Let me share some of
1 Cor 10:13 "God is Faithful!" 1 Peter 4:19 "So then, those who
suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their
faithful Creator and continue to do good." 2 Cor 1:20 "For no matter how
many promises God has made they are all 'Yes' in Christ."
And so we
continue to trust Him! We continue to believe that the prayers of God's
people around the world WILL prevail and that righteousness and
justice WILL be established in Zimbabwe soon.
BULAWAYO-Opposition political party, Zapu, has added its voice to
the growing calls for a re-run of the disputed presidential elections. It
is advocating the creation of a transitional government to see the
country through fresh elections conducted under the auspices of the United
In a strongly-worded statement released last week, Zapu
said it regarded President Mugabe as a mere pretender to the
"People of Zimbabwe refuse to recognise the legitimacy of
Mugabe's presidency which he clings to in spite of and despite the people,"
reads part of the statement which further asserts that within the
ever-declining Zanu PF membership structures, Mugabe continued to be assisted
only by "his cronies and criminal elements such as war vets, youth brigades
and corrupt women's league members."
Zapu said it welcomed the support
given by the international community to the long-suffering people of
Zimbabwe, belated though it was.
"The stand taken by the EU, US and now
the Commonwealth is a positive move and is in solidarity with the Zimbabwean
Zapu took a swipe at the OAU and Sadc for endorsing Mugabe's
victory, saying the organisations had taken the view that Mugabe's oppression
of the masses of Zimbabwe was a democratic dispensation to Zimbabweans in the
"The attempt by the African leaders, surprisingly led
by South African president Thabo Mbeki, and the ANC, to redefine democracy to
encompass floggings, hangings, executions and genocide as essential elements
of democracy in the African context, is most shameful to say the
"The lowering of the democratic standards to accommodate, protect
and legitimise African dictators should be resisted by all democratic
and progressive forces in Africa and worldwide," the party said.
statement goes on to say that the 9 and 10 March presidential election was
It said the United Nations or a body delegated by
it should supervise the electoral process including the process of voter
registration and the compilation of the voters' roll as it had done in
The main opposition political party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), citing electoral irregularities, has also called for
a re-run of the polls.
The United States and Britain have unreservedly
condemned the presidential polls saying they were flawed.
CHINHOYI member of parliament, Philip Chiyangwa, has attacked the
United States government for imposing targeted sanctions on himself and his
Zanu PF colleagues.
"Why are they interested in Chiyangwa? I do not
need anybody to tell me which country I should or should not visit. Is
America our God? To hell with them. All Zanu PF members will take appropriate
action against this move as we have not committed any crime. We will respond
"We are going to take steps to match their actions, steps
against the American, British and Swiss nationals working here. We are busy
consulting others so we can chart the way forward," he told The
"My journeys are confined to countries in Africa. I have banned
myself from other countries in the past five years. They will never see me
landing on their soil."
Chiyangwa flatly denied that he had recently
been denied an entry visa into Australia.
"I have heard this rumour
are making the rounds in town and it is not true. These are malicious
allegations by people who want to tarnish my name and image. You can find out
from the Australian high commission whether I have applied for a
"I have never visited Australia in my life, let alone made attempts
to get a visa from their offices."
Chiyangwa is on a list of
businessmen and individuals targeted for personal sanctions by the US
government for allegedly benefiting from their links with a corrupt Zanu PF
administration which has abandoned the rule of law, perpetrated human rights
abuses, and stolen the recent presidential election.
Embassy spokesman in Harare yesterday said the US government has not and will
not divulge the names of persons subject to travel restrictions.
are attempting to notify the individuals affected. We strongly advise those
who believe they may be affected by travel restrictions to make
an appointment to meet with a US Embassy counselor official prior to
departing for the US. The embassy telephone numbers are 250593/4, 703169,
703378 and 703478."