By Associated Press, Published: March 31 | Updated: Sunday,
April 1, 12:26 AM
HARARE, Zimbabwe — A Zimbabwe violence monitoring
group said Saturday there has been an upswing in violence in the past month
since the president said he will call elections this year even if called-for
democratic reforms are not made.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project said
monitors reported a 15 percent increase in human rights violations that were
“directly linked” to the new push for polls in 2012.
independent peace monitoring project said President Robert Mugabe’s efforts
to force elections this year resulted in 413 reported cases of people’s
rights being violated in February alone, compared to 365 cases reported by
witnesses in January.
The peace project said party infighting led to one
death in eastern Zimbabwe last month.
It said traditional and
community leaders have been recorded as the major perpetrators of human
rights violations in most rural districts.
Voters were also being coerced
to attend political meetings and emergency food supplies were again being
used as a political weapon in several hunger-prone districts, the project
State media loyal to Mugabe on Saturday reported that he reiterated
what he said in a broadcast marking his 88th birthday in February that he
can call elections this year with or without democratic
Mugabe said if reforms are not adopted by May, he will proceed
to polling to end a shaky three-year coalition with the former opposition,
the state Herald newspaper said Saturday.
It said Mugabe was
addressing party leaders on Friday. He told them he wanted a referendum on a
new constitution to be held by the end of May.
An all-party panel of
lawmakers in charge of constantly delayed rewriting of constitutional law
says it won’t be ready for a referendum before August at the
The Herald said Mugabe told members of his party’s policymaking
central committee to advise colleagues in the coalition with Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s party — known as Zimbabwe’s “inclusive government” —
that constitutional and electoral reforms must be quickly completed or he
will go to elections unilaterally.
“Let’s conclude the process,
whether we agree or disagree. The dance we have had ... is over. Let us have
an election and end this animal called inclusive government,” he said, The
He said he would call the poll under the existing
constitution and accused reformers of delaying tactics.
delaying the process arguing on small matters, but we are saying no, no,
no,” he said. “They are out of step. If they haven’t finished in time, we
will do it our way.”
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe issued his ruling coalition partners
an ultimatum on Friday: conclude the new constitution by May or Zimbabwe
holds elections under the Lancaster House constitution.
Mugabe told a
meeting of his Zanu PF party’s central committee that elections would
certainly be held this year to end what he called a “government of
“Let’s conclude the new constitution, whether we agree or
disagree. The dance we have had for the past four years is over. Let us have
an election and end this animal called inclusive government,” Mugabe
Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC-T’s co-chair of a parliamentary committee
leading the process to draw up a new constitution, said earlier this week
that he envisaged a referendum in September.
Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, leaders of the MDC factions
in the ruling coalition formed after disputed elections in 2008, are
demanding a raft of media, security and electoral reforms before a new
But Zanu PF is increasingly concerned that its candidate Mugabe, 88
this year, will not handle the rigours of campaigning if elections are
delayed even by as little as a year. On Thursday, Mugabe warned some
within his party who were opposing his election push to “go and join the
He thundered: “They [MDC factions] are delaying the constitution
arguing on small matters, but we are saying no, no, no. They are out of
step. We must conclude this process. If they haven’t finished in time, we
will do it our way.
“If they reject the constitution, we will go back
to the Lancaster House Constitution, which gave us our independence. That is
what we are going to tell the facilitator [South African President Jacob
“Their days are numbered and one should expect that by May we have
a referendum. It is this referendum that should give us the way
forward.” Mugabe fired advance warning to Zuma in anticipation of opposition
to his renewed election push.
“We are a sovereign State and we cannot
be led by the government of South Africa,” he vowed.
So determined is
Mugabe to push through with elections that he has offered to complete the
draft constitution over a roundtable with Tsvangirai and Ncube.
want to move on unhindered by little thoughts and in some cases sheer
ignorance. This government is a government of negatives. It’s a government
of people who do not want to do things for the people,” said Mugabe, who
chided Finance Minister Tendai Biti for failing to deposit US$200 million
with a fund to revive industries in Bulawayo.
“Bring the document
[uncompleted draft constitution] we will complete it ourselves. We have done
it before,” he said.
Harare - March 31, 2012 - The long
overdue first draft of the new constitution for Zimbabwe will be out in ten
days time, a senior COPAC official has revealed.
Speaking at a Mass
Public Opinion forum on Thursday in Harare Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T
“We are just ten days only before we give you a draft
constitution for the people of Zimbabwe to see whether it contains what they
want or not…once we have finished, it will not be a secret it will be given
to all stakeholders and given time to analyse the document.”
whether elections should be held this or next year, Mwonzora said there is
need to create a level playing field.
"You need to address the super
structure first, you need to put conditions and rules right first before you
play the game. Rules of engagement are contained in a document called the
constitution," he said.
Mwonzora lashed at Madhuku’s proposal of a people
driven constitution saying it has never worked the world over.
said "The alternative that Professor (Lovemore) Madhuku proposes has never
worked anywhere in the world. Tried in Kenya and it failed, tried in Zambia
and it also failed".
The COPAC co-chairperson said elections are
beneficial in that it will see the removal of dictatorship, termination of
ruinous policies and practices of Zanu PF, the commencement of genuine and
meaningful elections, bringing of better days for college students and the
return of constitutionalism and rule of law.
Also present at the
function was Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart who
said elections in Zimbabwe anytime soon will not benefit Zimbabwe calling
for the distribution of resources to humanitarian issues.
‘I tried to
scratch my head for the whole night to try and find the possible benefits of
an election in the country but I could not find one,” Coltart
Zanu PF sympathiser Goodson Nguni said Zanu PF is going to pull
out of the GNU and go ahead with the elections with or without a new
"Like the president has said we will have elections this
year,” Nguni said.
Zanu PF has vowed that they want elections to be held
this year with or without a new constitution while the other parties - MDC
formations and Mavambo - are saying elections should be held only after a
ROBERT Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba
says the whole constitution making process has been hit by what he called
irreconcilable political differences among the GPA parties after COPAC
failed to come up with a draft constitution despite having been given many
Charamba, who is also the Robert Mugabe Spokesperson and his
views often reflects those of his boss, revealed that the constitution
making process has become inconclusive as COPAC has only managed to produce
what can be described as drafts of drafts which cannot be presented to the
He said this while presenting a public lecture
to the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 25, in Harare.
drafters have done so many attempts, what they produced is just a document
which reflects COPAC interests way away from the people’s view; it has
nothing clear to hand to the management committee, they are just drafts of
drafts, and the thinking in those drafts get one to wonder why the national
thinking, if one it is, seems so susceptible,” said Mr
Charamba told officers drawn from the region that parts of
the so-called COPAC draft is so contaminated with frightening clauses which
puts the country’s sovereignty at stake.
He said it is his
personal belief that President Robert Mugabe is right by always insisting on
elections without a new constitution since the constitution making process
"When faced with such a situation when you want to
connect things that cannot be connected, the whole thing is prone to a dead
end and it will be a miracle to try to invent a constitution that can be
made in 21 days. Surely, elections is the way to go and whoever emerges the
winner must then deal with the issue of the constitution,” said the
Turning to the role of the media in nation
building, Charamba expressed concern over attempts by COPAC to gag the media
from covering constitutional issues saying such threats should be
Mash Mallow · 1 day
ago Urimbwa yemunhu, kutu chaiyo iwe Charamba, what is in the draft is what
we gave during the outreach. Why do you want to say it is not the people's
views, is it because the powers are being given to us povo that you feel so
frightened? This is what we want, it is better than the one you want whereby
you withhold election results for 6 weeks without anyone questioning and
where you have a results centre stuffed by Munangagwa and the lot. Gore rino
hamulume nomatter what even if you try to sway people's minds for chakatanga
ndochakachenjedza. We shall overwhelmingly vote "Yes" for this constitution
just wait and see. Where in that draft is the sovereignity of Zimbabwe at
stake, Zanu PF is not Zimbabwe as it is the one that feels powers are
slipping from their noses. Loot for the last time George for power now
belongs to the people. ---------------------- Madden · 1 day
ago Agreed 100%. No further comment! ------------------------ Dewa sai
· 21 hours ago I totally agree with you , enough is enough
. ----------------------- dhebhukai · 13 hours ago Taurai zvenyu.
Magona. --------------------------- yaya · 1 day ago But who is
charamba panyaya dzecopac? -------------------------------- Chinese
Puppets · 22 hours ago You can rest assured that anything in the draft that
Charamba finds objectionable will definitely be good for democracy and good
for the people of Zimbabwe.
Thats why tyrants like Mugabe and his
Military dictatorship will use every trick in the book to ensure he retains
his autocratic powers.
They simply will not accept anything other than a
government in which one person possesses unlimited power.
criminal like Mugabe is almost invariably an inveterate egotist, with a
massively overinflated opinion of himself, who can only see his own point of
view, listens but doesn't hear, and likes to be surrounded by yes
Underestimate Mugabe and his JOC parallel government thugs at
your peril. ------ dhebhukai · 13 hours ago Takazvona izvozvo kare
kare. Kutya ndiko kwakatiputira
SuperT · 12 hours
ago Zimbabweans have all the reasons in the world to be frightened especially
when the supposedly creme -de-la-creme of Zimbabwe's constitutional and
legal minds haplessly allow foreigners to draw up the draft for us under the
cover of COPAC. This is unheard of all over the world that foreigners, no
matter how brainy they may be, dictate what goes into a draft constitution
of a country. In its current form, the draft is an affront to the
aspirations and dignity of the great nation of Zimbabwe and hence
progressive minds will reject it. The worst insult of all is that COPAC
opted for a South African expert to direct the drafting ahead of our very
own brainy and world renown Madhuku, who could have done better. What is it
that this expert from SA has that son of the soil Madhuku does not have? I
wonder. The love of everything alien will be Zimbabwe's downfall. When it
comes to constitutional matters, in my opinion, local is definitely better
A Harare magistrate, Mr.
Kudakwashe Jarabini has ruled that Welcome Zimuto, and five civic society
activists Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antoneta Choto, Tatenda
Mombeyarara and Edson Chakuma should perform community service while they
wait for the High Court to hear their appeal against both conviction and
sentence. 31.03.1212:05pm by Student Solidarity Trust
were sentenced to twenty-four months in custody of which twelve months were
suspended for five years on condition that they don’t commit a similar
offence. The other twelve months were suspended on condition that they pay a
US$500 fine and perform four hundred and twenty hours of community service
at their nearest government institution. Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini last
week found the six guilty on charges of Conspiracy to commit public violence
as defined in section 188 as read with section 36 of the Criminal Law
(codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23].
The six had argued that It
would be prejudice should their appeal be granted since the appeal process
takes long and the grounds of their appeal are highly prospective of an
overturn in the high court. The six also felt that the state would not
suffer any prejudice since even if their appeal is thrown out; they will
still would go for the community service.
Today’s ruling means that
Welcome and five others will start their community service tomorrow .Zimuto,
a former Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Deputy Secretary General
will be doing his community service at Chinhoyi Provincial
The SST condemns in the strongest terms the heavy handedness
shown by Mr. Jarabini. We conclude that the political message is that
Zimbabweans are not expected to freely and peacefully associate, even in the
confines of their private and protected spaces; they are not expected to
freely express their views, legitimately critique public officers, or
express their dissent. Zimbabweans will not be allowed to question the
authority of those who hold national and political office even where such
officers may have failed to deliver on their mandate and obligations.
PHILLIP Chiyangwa’s bid to run for MP in Chinhoyi suffered a
major reversal this week after the Zanu PF politburo and central committee
nullified his election as the party’s vice chairman in Mashonaland
The property tycoon beat Reuben Marumahoko on March 16 in an
internal Zanu PF vote, and many thought that marked the end of his
rehabilitation after his expulsion in 2006.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare
Gumbo said: “There were reports recently that Comrade Chiyangwa was elected
as the vice chairman for Mashonaland West province.
“The politburo on
Wednesday reviewed that case and nullified the election. The decision was
endorsed by the Central Committee on Friday. “Comrade Chiyangwa will remain
as an ordinary member of the party until further notice.”
expelled Chiyangwa on March 20, 2006, exactly two years after he was charged
with espionage, although he was acquitted by a High Court judge in
The Zanu PF constitution says a member cannot be re-admitted
into the party until after five years have lapsed since their
Chiyangwa’s expired last year and he was re-admitted into the
party last November as an ordinary member, but it appears Zanu PF is
determined to extend his pain by blocking him from holding
After his purported election, Chiyangwa had set his eyes on the
Chinhoyi parliamentary seat, but those plans now appear in jeopardy.
Often in times of political unrest, the most severe
casualty is the shortage of basic human needs. Currently the most severe of
these basic shortages is the fresh supply of drinking water in the capital
Locals in this
urban area queue for hours for a bucket of water from manmade boreholes, often
extracting tainted water. In August 2008 the country faced a major Cholera
outbreak that threatened to bring the entire country to its knees (WHO Report:
2008). Over 10 billion US dollars was donated from the international community
to overhaul and rebuild the country’s, especially it’s urban areas’ water supply
chains (UNICEF:2009). Now, four years later, the ruling party has done little to
repair the problem as locals in highly populated areas still queue for water and
disease runs rife.
concerning discovery brought to light by the World Health Organisation’s weekly
disease report in Zimbabwe shows that there is a startling spike in the
prevalence of preventable water-borne diseases such as Typhoid and Malaria,
assumedly aggravated by excess stagnant water causing a steady rise in the
parasite carrier’s birth (WHO Epidemiological Report, 5-11 March
illustrates the mounting frustration and helplessness of locals who are forced
to queue for water even in urban areas like Harare. Fights break out as locals
desperate for water try and get their
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The future of Zimbabwe's coal mining
industry depends on the government's commitment to construction of more
power stations to create demand for low grades of coal, an industry
executive said on Friday.
"As far as I am concerned, power stations
are a pre-requisite for any future mining in Zimbabwe," Bob Henson, managing
director of CoalZim told a Zimbabwe coal conference.
The country is
currently wasting tonnes of low-grade coal by backfilling it into mining
pits because there are no takers.
Henson said Zimbabwe's industries have
yet to recover from near collapse during its years of hyperinflation, and
demand for coal has yet to recover.
Coal production at 2.5 million tonnes
in 2011 is half the more than 5.5 million tonnes produced at the industry's
peak in 1991, and there is very little chance of production returning
despite coal mining being deregulated.
"I don't think there is big
potential for further mine development. Where there is potential, the
capital will not come in until there is a promise of a market," Henson
Zimbabwe's economy is showing signs of a fragile recovery after a
decade of contraction, and while the government has acknowledged that mining
is a lifeline to a prosperous future, investment in the sector has
Nineteen coal exploration projects are underway, But Themba
Hawadi, a director at the Zimbabwe Geological Survey, said the country must
open up to more investment.
Red tape and resource nationalism mean
that an application for an exploration permit could take a year or longer to
be processed, he added.
"We are at the stage where we think more
(awarding of grants) should be considered," Hawadi said.
Geological Survey has a mandate to monitor and supervise mineral exploration
activities under President Robert Mugabe's government and it has recently
increased the application fees from $5,000 to $100,000.
VERDICT/FINDINGS These are the findings in
respect of the inquest held regarding the death of the late
Retired General Solomon Tapfumaneyi Mujuru. The late General is alleged to
have died between the night of the 15th of August and the morning of the
16th of August 2011.
Background The factual background leading to
the death of the Retired General is as follows: On the 15th of August
2011, the deceased left his Chisipite home in the afternoon alone, driving
his white Double Cab Isuzu KB250 registration number ABT 0266, going to
his farm called Ruzambo Farm in the Beatrice area. Ordinarily the deceased
was supposed to be driven by his personal driver, Enoch Talapenzi, but on
this day he went alone because he sent Talapenzi to Mr Savanhu's farm
to collect a ridger, which was later taken to the farm.
On his way
to the farm the decease passed through Beatrice Motel where he drank four (4)
tots of Johnnie Walker Black Label Old Scotch Whisky mixed with soda
water. At the motel the deceased was in company of various and regular
patrons. The deceased later left the motel alone, and arrived at this farm
at around 2000 hours. Upon arrival at the farm he drove though the
first security gate that was manned by a security guard called Clemence
Runhare and he also drove through the second security gate that is manned
by officers from Zimbabwe Republic
Police, VIP Protection Unit. This
second gate is the farmhouse gate that leads to Ruzambo farmhouse where
the decease used to reside whilst at the farm. He drove past the gate,
after briefly conversing with one of the police officers and went to the
farmhouse. It is pertinent to highlight that during that time from around
1701 hours there was no electricity around the Beatrice area, including at
Ruzambo Farm, due to Zesa load-shedding. Electricity was only restored at
After spending about five (5) minutes at the farmhouse, in
the yard, the deceased drove out of the first gate guarded by the police
officers and told them that he was going to get the farmhouse keys from
one Rosemary Short, his maid, who resided at the farm compound which is
situated about three (3) kilometre's from the farmhouse. After leaving the
first gate, in order to access the farm compound, the deceased had to
pass through another security gate, which is situated east of the farm and
which on the day was guarded by a security guard called Samuel Lewis.
He passed through this gate and went to Rosemary Short's dwellings at the
The deceased met Rosemary Short and from whom
he requested one (1) key that opens the kitchen door of the farmhouse. He
was given the key by Rosemary, after having explained to her that he had
left his in Harare and he then drove back to the farmhouse. On the way to
the farmhouse, the decease passed though Ruzambo shop complex gate which
was manned by one Ernest Nyamanja, the eastern gate which was manned by
Samuel Lewis and the inner farmhouse gate which was manned by three
Zimbabwe Republic Police police officers - Augustinos Chinyoka, Obert Mark
and Lazarous Handikatari. The three are all constables. The deceased
parked his motor vehicle in the farmhouse yard and retired to bed. He never
came out of the farmhouse or yard again.
On the morning of 16 August
2011 at around 0140 hours, one of the police offices, Constable Chinyoka,
who was on duty that time, noticed smoke coming out through the roof of
the farmhouse. He went to the house to investigate and he discovered that
the farmhouse was on fire. He immediately alerted his colleagues who
were asleep and they together with other farm labourers, whom they had
awaken and called, and battled to fight the fire in order to put it
out and at the same time make efforts to locate the deceased.
house was engulfed by fire which was so intense to the extent that at one
time the heat in and around the house reached 530 degrees. They also
informed Beatrice Police Station who in turn summoned the Harare Fire Bridge
and Zesa to the farmhouse to attend to the fire. The body of the deceased
was only located after 0345 hours as it was still burning in the
mini lounge of the farmhouse. The body was later conveyed to One
Commando Barracks mortuary where it was certified dead by Doctor
Annamore Jamu and a post-mortem was carried out by Dr Gabriel Gonzalez,
a forensic pathologist.
These are the circumstances surrounding the
death of the deceased, which will now be looked at in detail in an
endeavour to comply with the provisions and requirements of the law, that
is the Inquest Act, Chapter 7:07 together with
THE LAW This inquiry was done in terms of the
provisions of the Inquest Act, of which Section 6(1) (b) provides as
follows: (1) Upon receiving the report mentioned in Section five, the
Magistrate may (a)ŠŠŠŠŠŠŠ.. (b) If in his opinion the circumstances of
the case require it, hold an inquest for the purpose of ascertaining the
cause of the death or refer the report to such other
Magistrate as the
Attorney-General may direct in order that such an inquest may be
Section twelve (12) of the same Act provides as follows: "The
Minister responsible for Justice, after consultation with the Chief Justice,
may make rules for regulating the practice and procedure at or in
connection with inquests".
These rules were indeed made by the Minister
and are provided for in Statutory Instrument Number 129 of 1998 and are
referred to as: "Inquests Rules 1998"
Rule 6 (a) and (b) of these
rules is pertinent and it provides as follows: "The proceedings and evidence
at an inquest shall be directed solely to ascertaining:
(a) Who the
decease was? (b) How, when and when the deceased came to his
Rule 7 goes further to provide limitations on what the court
should do, as follows: "The Magistrate shall not express any opinion
or any matter other than those mentioned in rule 6". A lot of evidence was
adduced during the hearing, some of which had nothing to do with the four
issues stated in the rules. The court will not comment on such evidence, as
it is not relevant and also because of the restrictions clearly stated in
rule (7) of the rules.
The provisions of the law as stated above are
the ones that will guide the court in the findings that the court will
make. The purpose of the inquest was as provided for in section 6 (1)
(b) of the Inquest Act, that is "ascertaining the cause of death
ascertaining the cause of death the court is required to find out as to who
the deceased was, how, when where the decease came to his death"
as provided for by rule 6 (a) and (b) of the inquest rules.
now deal with the issues as highlighted in the rules.
(A) WHO THE
DECEASED WAS Evidence was led in court that as people who were at he scene
were battling to put the fire out, they were also looking for the deceased
who they could not locate. The three Police Officers who were guarding
the farm house and who first discovered the fire informed the court that
as they were putting out the fire with others they were making efforts to
try and locate the deceased. They believed that the deceased was in the
house the last time they had seen him was when he passed the gate entering
the yard into the farmhouse. When he was coming from collecting keys to
the farmhouse from Rosemary Short, he had told them that he was going to
retire for the night and never came out of the house or from the yard
Rosemary Short, who is the maid of the deceased, and one
of the last people to talk to the deceased, told the court that after she was
told about the fire, her first question to the Police Officers was whether
or not they had located the deceased. When she herself reached
the farmhouse, her pre-occupation was to look for the decease. This was
because the deceased had come to her to collect keys to the farmhouse and
the deceased had told her that he was going to retire to bed at the
farmhouse. The deceased had even intimated to her that he might even
consider to sleep in his motor vehicle that night and to her this was
neither strange nor surprising as he at one time or another slept in his
When Rosemary arrived at the house, therefore, she was
certain that if the Police and Security Guards had not seen the deceased
leaving the premises for the second time after he had collected house keys
from her then the deceased was in the house and it was critical that
they looked for him. Even the widow, the Vice President, after being
informed of the fire, spoke to, amongst other people, Albert
Alufandika the gardener and Rosemary Short, over the cellphone and urged
them to locate the deceased. Upon his arrival at the scene
besides co-ordinating efforts to put out the fire, Inspector Dube, the
Officer in Charge of Beatrice Police Station exerted efforts and
directed people to peep through the windows so as to try and locate the
deceased. All this occurred because as far as everyone was concerned at
the time the fire started, the deceased was in the house.
hours of battling with the fire when the fire had somehow died down but not
completely, a body which was burning was discovered along the passage
leading into the mini lounge from the main bedroom. This body was described
by witnesses like Inspector Dube, Constable Handikatari and his
colleagues, Alufandika the gardener, Rosemary Short, Investigating
Officer Chief Superintendent Makedenga, experts like Police Forensic
Director Mutandiro and Forensic Pathologist Dr Gabriel
others, as a charred body that had been extensively burnt beyond recognition.
It was therefore necessary for proper identity to be done since the body
had been burnt beyond recognition. From the evidence that was adduced the
court made the following observations in regards to the identity if the
deceased. There was no direct evidence of the fact that the body which
was discovered in the house is that of the Retired General Solomon
Mujuru. The body was burnt beyond recognition, hence there was no one
who could positively assert and identify the body as that of the Retired
General. There was, however, the use of circumstantial and scientific
evidence to identify the body as that of the
(1) Circumstantial evidence
alluded elsewhere above, the deceased was seen by witness leaving his
Chisipite residence alone. He arrived at Beatrice Motel alone and left
the Motel alone. This was stated in court by the bar lady of Beatrice
Motel, namely Portia Kamvura and patrons at the Motel like Blessing
Madzimure, Tongai Chimuka and Douglas Nyakanga. When he left the Motel he
was accompanied to his vehicle by Portia, Blessing and Douglas and they
saw him driving off alone. The Retired General also arrived at the
farm alone as was stated by Security Guard Samuel Lewis and the Police
Officers, Constables Chinyoka, Mark and Handikatari. I am aware there is
evidence of one witness Clemence Runhare who stated that he was in the
company of someone when he arrived at the gate that he was manning.
I will be commenting on Mr Runhare's observations in detail
The Retired General was also seen by Earnest Nyamanja another
Security Guard and Rosemary Short alone. He conversed with Rosemary and
he never intimated that he was in the company of someone. The perception
that the court got from the evidence adduced is that the
relationship between the deceased and Rosemary was such that if the
deceased was in the company of someone, he would have told
Clemence Runhare is the only witness who stated that when he
saw the Retired General he was in company of someone else whom he identified
as his driver Talapenzi. The court has reservations in the observations
made by Mr Runhare on this day. This is so because of the following
reasons: Firstly he identified that person who was with the General as Mr
Talapenzi, his personal driver, but it is common cause that Mr Talapenzi was
at Chisipite at that relevant time. He was definitely not in the company
of the Retired General as he himself confirmed that and he is the one who
received a telephone call from Rosemary about the fire whilst he was
at Chisipite. This clearly shows that Mr Runhare's observations in this
respect is totally faulty. Mr Talapenzi is the one who also drove
the Honourable Vice President to the farm on the morning of the 16th,
after hearing the news of the fire. Secondly, it has been accepted
from evidence that there was no electricity at the farm because of load
shedding by Zesa and the witness himself admitted that when the
General arrived it was dark, there was no source of lighting,
General did not light the interior of his motor vehicle and he was
standing at a distance of about two metres from the General's
motor vehicle, surely for him to have made some observations in the
circumstances as described above, is in the court's view not possible.
The cumulative effect of these factors, that it was at night, there was no
electricity, the interior of the vehicle was not lit, there was
a considerable distance from where the witness was standing and the
driver's door let alone the passenger side of the vehicle and that
the deceased spent very little time at the gate, are such that they
effected the accuracy of the witness's observations. No wonder why he
failed to see a suit that was hanged in the vehicle and he identified this
so-called person as Talapenzi when evidence is clear that Talapenzi had
been left at Chisipite by the deceased.
Thirdly, as already alluded to
above evidence has been led that there was a suit that was hanged inside
the deceased's motor vehicle. Constable Mark told the court that when the
deceased arrived at the gate, he noticed that there was a jacket that was
hanged inside the motor vehicle. Rosemary Short also told the court that
besides the groceries, this jacket was one of the items she removed from
the motor vehicle of the deceased on the morning of the 16th after
the fire. In its analysis of the evidence it is, further, the court's
finding that in view of the darkness, and the other factors that affected
Mr Runhare's observations as described in (two) above, the witness might
have possibly mistaken the hanged jacket which was in the vehicle to be a
Fourthly all the witness who interacted with the deceased
from the time he left his Chisipite house, to the time he went to Beatrice
Motel and later ended up at the farm, insisted that the deceased was
travelling alone. Even the other Security Guards whom he saw at the eastern
gate (Samuel Lewis) and the other one who guards the gate leading to the
farm shop (Earnest Nyamanja) both also saw the deceased alone. It
therefore boggles the mind how Mr Runhare and him alone observed that the
deceased was in the company of the someone. That obviously make the
court conclude that it is either the witness is not telling the truth, or
his memory is failing him or his observations were faulty for he
reasons illustrated in three above.
For the four reasons I had given
above I am not convinced at all that the observations made by Mr Runhare
on this day were correct. His observations and perceptions of events on
that day are faulty, hence the court will not accept them. Even if,
however, the court was to accept that indeed Mr Runhare saw the deceased in
the company of someone, that person did not enter the farmhouse. There is
a distance of about three hundred metres (300) between Mr Runhare's
outer gate and the farmhouse gate guarded by the Police.
deceased reached the farmhouse gate guarded by the Police Officers, he
stopped his motor vehicle, he lit the interior of his motor vehicle and,
according to Constable Mark, he even conversed with the Police Officers
asking them if everything was well at the farm. The Police Officers did
not see anyone in the motor vehicle, the deceased was alone. What they saw
was a jacket, which was hanged in the motor vehicle. These officers had
clearer and better observations and perception of the events than
Mr Runhare. This is because the deceased lit the interior of his vehicle
hence they were able to see clearly what and who was in the vehicle,
the deceased spent more time in their sight between 10 and 30 seconds)
unlike with Mr Runhare as they conversed with him and they were three of
them who all agreed that the deceased was alone. Constable Mark who was
closer to the deceased was standing a distance about 30 cm from
the deceased's door, a distance which is much closer as compared to
Runhare who made his observations at a distance of one to two
The court is therefore convinced that at the relevant time
when the deceased entered the farmhouse yard for the first time arriving
from the Motel and for the second time coming from Rosemary's house, he
was alone. Even if one is to argue that Mr Runhare saw him with someone,
that is neither here nor there because when he entered the farmhouse he
was alone, he was not in the company of anyone. He would not have even
told Rosemary (the maid) about the possibility of him sleeping in his
motor vehicle on that day if he was in the company of another
One would note that the court has dedicated more time on this
aspect because it is important and it has a bearing on the identity of the
burnt body that was found in the house. This is because if there were two
people who entered the farmhouse that day, then it will obviously
be difficult it not impossible to conclude that the body that was burnt
beyond recognition is that of the deceased.
The farmhouse is guarded
24 hours a day by trained Police Officers. There were three
Police Officers who would be on the twelve (12) hours duty. At the
relevant time Constable Chinyoka was on duty whilst Constables Mark
and Handikatari were asleep as they were not on duty. Unfortunate
insinuations were made against the Police Officers that they were asleep on
duty, which is not true. The two who were asleep were not on duty at
all. Constable Chinyoka is the one who was on duty, no wonder why he is the
one who discovered the fire at 0140 hours and later alerted his
colleagues. Constable Chinyoka stated in his evidence that the perimeter
fence was well secured and no one entered the farmhouse or farmhouse yard
besides the deceased.
In light of the above observations the court
can safely make a finding that the only person who entered the farmhouse
at the relevant time and who was in the house at the time of the fire
was the Retired General, the deceased. This explains why when the fire
was discovered everyone involved made frantic efforts to locate
the Retired General. It is because they knew that he had entered the
farmhouse on returning from Rosemary Short's house and he had entered
From the evidence adduced the court noted that this is the
basis upon which the Police concluded that the charred body which was burnt
beyond recognition and which was found in the house belonged to the
Retired General Solomon Mujuru. The use of circumstantial evidence is a way
of reasoning which draws probable conclusions from facts that are known.
It is a process of inferential reasoning which is based on facts that
would have been proved in court and such inference must be reasonable and in
criminal law, the requirements go further to state that it must be the
only reasonable inference.
What is before the court is that the
Retired General had been seen travelling alone when he left Chisipite. He
arrived alone at Beatrice Motel. He left Beatrice Motel alone heading
for the farm. The last people to see him when he retired to bed were the
Police Officers who guard his premises and who confirmed that he was
alone when he retired to bed. No one entered his premises, after he
retired to bed. He is the only person who was inside the farmhouse at
the time that the fire started.
All these facts point in a particular
direction and all these facts are in harmony with the hypothesis being
analysed that the body that had been burnt beyond recognition is that of
Retired General Solomon Mujuru. This is an inference which is based
on facts adduced in court and one which is reasonable in the
The conclusion therefore made by the Police that the
body belonged to that of the Retired General was reasonable, as this is the
only conclusion that one could arrive at in the
The Police also confirmed the identify of
the deceased through forensic evidence by doing a DNA analysis. DNA
evidence is at times referred to as an example of circumstantial evidence,
but there are others who argue that it is a form of direct scientific
evidence. This, however, is not relevant for the purposes of this
Evidence was adduced in court from the Police in the form of
Investigating Officer Makedenge and Police Forensic Director Mutandiro that a
sample of flesh was removed from the body of the deceased for purposes of
extracting a DNA sample. When this sample of flesh was removed from
the deceased's body one of the deceased's relatives, his nephew called
Mudiwa Mundawarara, was present. A comparison blood sample was
obtained from Kumbirai Rungano Mujuru, the female child of the deceased.
Again Mr Mundawarara was present when this was done. i) The samples were
sent for DNA analysis in the Biology Section at the Forensic
Science Laboratory of South Africa Police Services in Pretoria. The DNA
analysis was done by a Warrant Officer in the South African Police
Service called Dumisani Porcia Chauke. She concluded after the analysis,
that the probability of the person discovered burnt beyond recognition
of being the father of Kumbirai Rungano Mujuru is 99.90 percent. This,
according to her, is a strong statistical calculation of the
evidence. This therefore confirms that the body discovered in the house is
that of the Retired General Solomon Mujuru. Refusing to accept this
evidence would lead to the improbable coincidence that the person who was
burnt in the house is Kumbirai Mujuru's father who was not General
The court, however, noted that the DNA analysis was done well
after the burial of the deceased. This in the court's view was inappropriate
on the part of the Police. I do appreciate that there was strong
circumstantial evidence, which I have already analysed above, which pointed
to the identity of the body as that of the Retired General Mujuru. If the
Police felt that they needed even stronger evidence regarding the identity
of the body in the form of DNA analysis, then it made no sense for them to
authorise burial before that issue was cleared. The Director of Forensic,
Mr Mutandiro, admitted in court that it was an oversight on their part
and fortunately the DNA results were consistent with the factual
conclusions that they had already made.
In conclusion therefore having
analysed the circumstantial evidence and the forensic evidence as stated
above, the court can safely conclude in answering the first question of this
inquest as to "who the deceased was," that the charred body that was
discovered in the farm house, is that of the Retired General Solomon
(B) WHEN THE DECEASED CAME TO HIS DEATH The next issue
that requires to be ascertained by this court is as to when the deceased came
to his death. The evidence before the court is that the now deceased
arrived at the farm on the night of 15 August 2011, around 2000 hours.
According to the Police Officers who were manning the gate,
namely Constables Mark and Handikatari, after the deceased had entered the
farmhouse yard, he stayed there for five minutes and later came out. When
he arrived at the gate he told them that he was going to Rosemary Short's
house to collect keys to the farmhouse. He later came back after about
fifteen (15) minutes, the gate was opened by Constable Chinyoka whom he told
that he was now going to retire to bed. According to Rosemary Short, the
Retired General Mujuru came to her house around 2000 hours and requested her
to give him keys to the farmhouse because he had forgotten his in
It is also around this time that the Security Guards who are
namely Samuel Lewis (guarding the eastern gate that leads to the farm
compound) and Ernest Nyamanja (guarding the gate that leads into the farm
shop), also saw Retired General Mujuru. The sequence of events in terms of
time on the movement of deceased are as follows, the deceased first
entered the farmhouse around 2000 hours, he went out after five (5) minutes
(around 2005 hours) going to collect the farm house keys from Rosemary
Short. He came back and re-entered the farmhouse after fifteen (15) minutes
whereupon he informed Constable Chinyoka who opened the gate for him that
he was now retiring for the night. This was the last time the deceased was
The last people to see the now deceased, therefore are the
Police Officers who were manning the farmhouse gate. They last saw him
on the night of 15 August 2011 at around 2020 hours. The fire was first
discovered by Constable Chinyoka on morning of the 16th August 2011
at around 0140 hours.
It is not known at that time whether the
Retired General Mujuru had died or not, because no such evidence was
brought before the court. It is also not known from the time the fire was
first discovered around 0140 hours up to the time the charred body was
discovered around 0345 hours, whether he was dead or alive because, again,
no such evidence was brought before the court. What is, however, clear to
the court from the analysis of evidence before it, is that as at around
2020 hours on 15 August 2011, the Retired General Mujuru was alive and as at
03454 hours on the morning of 16 August 2011 he was dead. The court can
therefore, safely conclude that the Retired General Mujuru died between the
hours of 2020 hours on the night of 15 August 2011 and 0345 hours on the
morning of 16 August 2011.
(C) WHERE THE DECEASED CAME TO HIS
DEATH The law also requires the court to make a finding as to where the
deceased met his death. This obviously refers to the place and or
position where the deceased met his death.
This issue has already been
exhaustively discussed elsewhere in this ruling. The deceased entered the
farmhouse at around 2020 hours on the night of 15 August 2011. His burnt and
charred body was later discovered in the farmhouse. The position where the
body was discovered in the house was clearly marked in exhibit three
(3), that is the sketch plan, in the passage of a room called the mini
lounge. This mini lounge is the room next to the main bedroom, where
the deceased is believed to have gone to sleep.
The answer therefore
to the third issue the court is required to ascertain on, is that the
deceased met his death inside the farmhouse, on the passage of the
mini-lounge at Ruzambo Farm in the Beatrice area.
(D) HOW THE DECEASED
MET HIS DEATH The fact that I have alluded to elsewhere in the ruling is
that after the Retired General Mujuru entered the farm house purportedly to
retire for the night as stated by Constable Chinyoka, he never came out
Constable Chinyoka is the Police Officer who was on duty.
During the course of the night he would make regular patrols in an around the
farmhouse yard. According to his evidence, the purpose of these patrols
was to protect the person of the deceased and his property and further to
ensure that there were no intruders. After the deceased had entered the
yard to retire for the night as stated above, the next event that occurred
is that Constable Chinyoka when carrying out one of his regular patrols
observed that the farmhouse was on fire. It is after that fire that the
deceased's charred body was discovered, burnt beyond recognition.
order to inquire and find out how the deceased died and how the fire started
the court analysed the following forms of evidence, I) Evidence of
witnesses who interacted and met the deceased just before he went to
bed. II) Investigations by the Police III) Investigations by the
Fire Brigade IV) Investigations by the Police Forensic Unit V)
Investigations by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authrity (ZESA)
official VI) Findings of the Doctor who conducted the
postmortem VII) Findings of the South African Forensic
The court will now analyse the nature of evidence of the
group of witnesses stated above in an effort to ascertain what caused the
death of the deceased.
i) The last witnesses to meet the
deceased The last witnesses to meet the deceased were as follows, Clemence
Runhare (Security Guard), the three Constables Chinyoka, Mark and
Handikatari, Samuel Lewis, Rosemary Short (the maid) and Ernest Nyamanja
(the Shop Security Guard).
Mr Runhare first met the deceased the first
time as he entered the farm arriving from Beatrice Motel. The court has
already dealt at length with his evidence when he met the deceased at that
time. What is pertinent is what transpired after the deceased had retired for
the night. He told the court that at around 0220 to 0225 hours in the
morning as he was at his point of guard he heard some noise which sounded
like explosion of bullets. It is at that same time that he also met
another guard who l From Page 8 came to where he was and told him that had
also heard some sounds. The court noted the confusion the witnesses had.
At one time he changed and stated that the time he heard bullet
explosions was around 11pm and the other time 12 midnight. Every time he
was asked a question he would come out with a different time.
generally not an impressive witness. He is also the same witness and the only
one for that matter who claimed to have seen the General in the company of
someone when he arrived at the firm. What is pertinent about this witness'
evidence in relation to the cause of death are his assertions that he
heard some noise which sounded like explosion of bullets.
It is in the
context that his evidence will be considered together of Samuel Lewis, the
other security guard, who also told the court that he heard some sounds of
something bursting and that made him to run to the point of guard
where Runhare was situated. They heard the same sound together and they
ran towards the farmhouse where they discovered that the house was on
It is important at this juncture to point out that at no point
in Runhare's evidence did he state that he heard sounds of gun shots
but instead he said he heard sounds of explosion of bullets. It is further
important to clarify that at no point during his evidence did Samuel
Lewis state that he heard sounds of gun shots but instead he indicated
that he heard sounds of something bursting.
Even when it was put to
him that in his statement he had written that he heard sounds of gun
shots he refused to confirm that by keeping quite. The court is in fact
more comfortable in accepting what he said in court because he is not the
one who wrote his statement as he can neither write nor read. Upon his
arrival at the house, Runhare told the court he discovered that the sound
which initially he had assumed to be of bullets explosion was in fact
caused by asbestos sheets that were cracking and exploding. The basis
of him to make such a conclusion was because that same sound he had heard
whilst still at his point of guard at the gate, is the same sound that
was being produced by the exploding asbestos sheets.
Samuel Lewis also
told the court that when he arrived at the farm house in the company
of Runhare he established that the bursting sound he had heard whilst at
this point of guard was in fact caused by asbestos sheets that were
cracking and bursting. From the evidence of these two witnesses, it
is clear that at no time did anyone of them hear sounds of gun shots
because none of them ever said than in their evidence. The notion
therefore that Runhare told the court that he heard sounds of gun shots is
not true as it is at variance with the evidence contained in the record.
What Runhare said he heard are bullet explosions and not gun shot. The
sound of a bullet explosion is different to the sound of a gunshot, as was
well explained by the Police ballistic expert, Assistant Inspector
This distinction is critical because in house as illustrated
by Assistant Inspector Mtizwa, they recovered about six (6) kg of ammunition
that had exploded. This ammunition had been caused to explode by the heat
from the fire. Assistant Inspector Mtizwa was quite categoric that
their tests had shown that none of the ammunition had been fired from a
gun but all had exploded because of the heat. The evidence of
Assistant Inspector Mtizwa is therefore consistence with that of Mr
Runhare. It might be possible therefore that the explosion of bullets that
Mr Runhare heard was coming from the ammunition which was in the house and
which was exploding because of the heat or it was caused by the asbestos
sheets which were cracking and exploding because of the fire. This is the
same explanation given by Samuel Lewis.
The two witnesses were in
agreement that they heard sounds whilst they were still at their points of
guard and at the time they were now together, to Runhare it sounded like
bullets explosion and to Lewis they were just bursts. The same witnesses
were also in agreement that upon arriving at the house they observed that
asbestos were cracking and bursting because of the heat. The two's
evidence further agreed that the same sound they heard at their point of
guards is the same sound that was being produced by the cracking and
exploding asbestos. They agreed in their conclusion that the sound they had
heard before whilst at their point of guards and at the time they were
going to the house was in fact the sound of cracking and exploding
In light of the analysis of evidence of the two witnesses I
have made above, the court makes a finding of fact that the issue of gun
shots sounds being heard by the two witnesses is not true. This is because
the evidence adduced does not reflect that fact at all. There is also the
evidence of Rosemary Short in which reference is made to gunshots. It
is important to highlight that when evidence was led from her by Mr
Chimbari from the Attorney General's office, she never talked about
hearing sounds of gunshots. When questions were later put to her by the
family lawyer Mr Kewada, she again never mentioned the issue of hearing
sounds of gunshots. I highlight these facts because Rosemary had a close
relationship with the deceased, the nature of her evidence was so
vivid and detailed such that she took a long time on the witness stand.
One would therefore not have expected her to leave out such a relevant
and important piece of evidence, if at all it existed.
It was only
when she was questioned by Tendai Mundawarara, the deceased's nephew that the
issue of gun shots came into being. And her first response was that the
only time she heard gunshots was sometime back, in June or July, prior to
his day and she had inquired with the Police Officers, who told her that it
is them who had fired the gun shots into the air in order to scare off
would be intruders or at times they would explain that they would be killing
It was upon a lot of insistence and persistence by Mr
Mundawarara for her to explain what she heard on the night of 15 August or
morning of 16 August, that she told the court that there were sounds
coming from the direction of the house that were akin to gun fire. She
inquired from the Police Officer, Constable Mark who was present and he
explained that the sound was caused by exploding asbestos.
Short already new what the sound of gun fire was like because she heard it
when Police fired in the air or when killing snakes prior to this day.
Considering the relationship that she had with the deceased and the nature of
her involvement in this case, if she had heard the same sounds, surely
this should have been the first thing she would have told the Police
but she did not. This should have been one of the first issues she would
have told the court, again, she did not. It needed some
persistent questioning for her to make reference to it.
therefore concludes that she acted in this way because, she was sure that the
sound came from exploding asbestos, as she was told by Constable Mark. In
any case this is the same exploding sound of asbestos that was referred
to by Runhare and Lewis. No allegation was made against the Police that
they were malicious or they were telling lies to mislead court. The
only allegations against them was that they were incompetent. The court
therefore find no reason to doubt Constable Mark when he told
Rosemary that the sound was caused by exploding asbestos, more so, when it
is the same sound that was also heard by other witnesses.
regard it is farfetched to conclude that Rosemary Short heard sounds of
gunshots on the day in question.
FIRE BRIGADE REPORT The Fire
Brigade investigations and report were done by Clever Mafoti. When they
arrived at the scene the fire had almost subsided, there were only some
isolated pockets of fire left. They then, using water which was in the bowser
at the farm, extinguished the fire. He told the court that they were no
table to establish the cause of the fire because by the time they arrived
most of the leads had been disturbed and interfered with by people who had
been fighting the fire.
He, however, observed that there might
be possibly two sources of fire (the points where the fire started) in the
bedroom and in the main lounge. He explained that this could have been
caused firstly by arsonist, secondly by a short circuit within the
function of electricity power of thirdly by the pre-mixture and convergence
of heat and dust in the ceiling which would have created a ball of fire
that is then thrown to the other end of the house.
Evidence from the
Fire Brigade expert was not of any assistance to the court as they were
unable to establish the cause of fire. What, however, was noted by the
court is that the Fire Brigade is heavily under-equipped and have no capacity
at all to react to an emergency. They had no vehicles, the only vehicle
they had had leakages such that if they had put water in its tanks, by the
time they arrived all the water would have leaked out. It further took them
more than thirty minutes to leave the station after receiving the report
and more than one and half hours to arrive at the scene. Their attendance at
the scene therefore became merely academic and cosmetic.
Officer from Beatrice called Constable Garikayi had initially told the court
that after the discovery of the dead body in the passage of the mini
lounge, he noticed that he body was still burning and a blue flame was coming
out. Asked to explain the cause of this bluish flame, Mr Mafoti told the
court that, in a fire accident and if the temperatures reach above 500
degrees as what happened in this case, what would happen first is that
some fluids from the body will ooze out, thereafter fat will come out as
well. That will create what is called a triangle of combustion. This
triangle consists of hot air combustible materials coming from the body
and then heat. A combination of these three items would then cause a
spontaneous ignition of fire with a blue flame. This explanation
is consistent with what the Polio Forensic Scientist Mr Mutandiro told the
court which was to the effect that one time the temperatures in the house
reached 520 degrees celsius.
The witness further explained why people had
to continue pouring buckets of water on the body but the fire would not be
extinguished. He stated that water boils at 100 degrees celsius and
the temperature in the room was way, above 100 degrees celsius. When water
was poured, because of these very high temperatures, it vapourised, the
hydrogen in the water would then explode and cause intense burning of flames.
There was need therefore to continuously pour water so as to reduce the
temperature, when this temperature falls down, the water would become
effective and fire would be extinguished.
Mr. Mafoti is an experienced
fire fighter with 27 years experience. He is well learned in this field
with various courses to go along with. Whilst he was not of much value in
telling the courts how the fire started, his expert knowledge assisted the
court in his explanation of two very pertinent issues, firstly the bluish
flame coming from the body and secondly as to why a lot of water was
poured on the body but the fire would not be extinguished.
REPORT The Zesa investigations were carried out by its Customer Service
Officer for Beatrice Area called Douglas Nyakungu. After being told of the
fire accident at the farm, he attended the scene at around 0730
hours. In his investigations because of the extensive damages that had
been caused by the heat, he could not establish whether or not an
electrical fault had caused the fire.
POLICE INVESTIGATIONS The
evidence of Forensic Scientist Mr Mutandiro dealt with the examinations he
made when he reached the scene. He observed that the house had been
extensively damaged by fire. He observed that the body was completely burnt
beyond recognition and it was charred as well, with the feet and the right
arm burnt out. He also observed that the carpet beneath the body was
not burnt and he explained that this indicated that the body was
protecting the carpet from the fire and also that the body had been on that
position before the fire.
Mr. Mutandiro also collected debris
from identifiable position in the house and pieces of burnt curtains which
he packed and later sent for forensic examination in South Africa. The
places where he picked the debris are the places he suspected to have been
the seats or sources of fire (where the first started). The purpose
of sending debris to South Africa was in order to determine as to what
caused the fire.
They placed these exhibits in an exhibit plastic bag
which was then packed in a container and later transmitted to South
Africa. It is pertinent to note that after examining the above stated
exhibits, Officers from the South African Police Service, Forensic Science
Unit could not determine the cause of the fire. It was the evidence of
Warrant Officer Jack Maine that various reasons caused this result. Firstly
the method of packaging of the exhibits used by the Zimbabwean authorities
was wrong and not in accordance with international standards. The exhibits
were supposed to be packed in an oven packaging material or metal tin with no
The way the exhibits were packed exposed them to
contamination. Secondly the method of gathering the debris was also not
good enough and was too subjective. Mr. Mutandiro had picked debris from the
area he assumed were the sources of fire. If he made a mistake in choosing
these areas and left out a relevant area, again it affected the
results. Warrant Officer Jack Maine told the court that there are
specialised machines or even dogs that can be used to detect possible sources
of fire. The court no doubt, considers his evidence highly including the
decisions that he made on that day. But human errors are part of human life
and should never be ruled out.
Mr Mutandiro is a highly qualified
Forensic expert with more than 20 years experience. Whilst the court has
no reason at all to doubt the decision of Mr Mutandiro on that day,
it would have been more prudent and more perfect to have sought the South
African expertise in determining the source of fire, so that debris could
have been picked on the basis of the identification made by such
The effect of what transpired is that if the fire started
at a place which Mr Mutandiro failed to detect, then no debris from that
place was taken. Because no debris from that place was taken South African
examination could obviously not determine what caused the fire. The court
appreciates the economic quagmire that this country has been exposed to
for so many years and this has resulted in serious lack of resources in
the majority of our public institutions and the Zimbabwe
Police has not been spared. That is the reason why the communication radios
of the three Constables who were guarding the farmhouse were not working.
It is unfortunate and in deed unfair that the fact that the radio was
malfunctioning was being blamed on the three Officers. That is also the
reason why Beatrice Police had no motor vehicle at the station and had to
borrow a vehicle from one of the local farmers. This is again why experts
like Mr. Mutandiro did not have proper packaging material for exhibits
and machines to use in their trade unlike their South African
This in the court's view cannot be blamed on
the individuals like Inspector Dube, the three Constables who guarded the
farmhouse or Director of Police Forensic Mr. Mutandiro. It is
an institutional challenge that is far much bigger than what transpired.
It is rather worrying that a fire brigade takes more than thirty minutes
to leave the station in order to go and attend a fire because they have no
machinery, it is further surprising that the Fire Brigade takes more than
an hour to reach a place that is hardly sixty kilometres away and it sounds
unbelievable that the same Fire Brigade reaches the farm house without
water because the only road worthy vehicle they had only carries four hundred
litres of water and its leaking like at sieve to the extend that by the
time they reach the house all the water would have been lost.
the court's view should not be blamed on people like Mr Mafoti who try to do
their best under very difficult conditions. It simply speaks volumes of
the state in which our institutions are found in and it's a cry for major
and immediate interventions. It was further the evidence of Mr Mutandiro
that he observed that the fire was so intense to the extend that it caused
metal bars to bent and windowpanes to crack and melt. He
therefore concluded that at one time the temperatures reached 520 degrees
Celsius. He described this fire as complex and one that could not be
judged as ordinary. By the end of their investigations both
the Zimbabwean and the South African experts failed to determine the cause
of the fire. This is the same conclusion reached by the Officer In-charge
of the scene and the Investigation Officer, Chief
Superintendent Makedenge. Chief Superintendent Makedenge is the one who
led the team of investigators. They interviewed all the witnesses, gathered
all the exhibits and coordinated all the investigations but at the end he
did not get any evidence that would show that there was foul play in the
death of the now deceased. In fact in his own words he commented on this
aspect as follows at page 557 to 558 of the record: - "We got no any
tangible evidence that indicated that foul play might be suspected. No one
ever came forward with any information that we were supposed to
investigate as to whether there was any foul play and what we investigated
there wasn't, there were no indications of foul play. And with the report
that I got from ZESA, the Fire Brigade, then Forensic Science there were
no indications and the postmortem that was conducted by Doctor Gabriel
DR GABRIEL GONZALEZ (FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST) Dr
Gonzalez is the one who conducted the postmortem. He is a Cuban national
whose English is not good, hence a Spanish interpreter had to be hired
when he gave evidence.
It was alleged that the doctor is not
registered to practice in Zimbabwe by the Medical and Dental Council of
Zimbabwe, hence he was not qualified to practice in Zimbabwe, nothing was
however shown to the court to show that the doctor was not allowed to
practice in Zimbabwe. The court, however, takes judicial notice of
the fact that the Zimbabwean Government entered into a government to
government agreement with the Cuban government in which Cuba agreed to
assist Zimbabwe by sending Cuban Doctors who would then work in our
hospitals. This was cause by the shortage of Doctors in
is the reason why in most Public Hospitals in Zimbabwe one would find these
Cuban Doctors working in those hospitals. This is also the same
explanation that was given by Dr Gonzalez which was to the effect that he did
not have a practicing certificate issued by the Dental and Health
Professional Council but he was a member of the Cuba Medical Brigade and he
was authorised to work in Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Health and
based on the agreement between Zimbabwe and Cuba.
These are facts
which are notorious, which the court accepted on the face of it. That
obviously explains why the Police did not hesitate to give him such an
important task of performing the post-mortem of a person in the stature of
the Retired General Mujuru. This is not surprising if one considers his
qualifications and the fact that he has 29 years experience as a
If therefore someone has doubts or is of the belief that Dr
Gonzalez is not authorised to work in Zimbabwe, the court would obviously
require information much more concrete than mere bald allegations. It
would have been much more acceptable if those making these
allegations would have produced proof in the form of a letter from the
Ministry of Health and or Health Professional Council confirming that Dr
Gonzalez was not authorised to work in Zimbabwe. The court therefore
accepted and did not see any reason to doubt the credentials of Dr Gonzalez,
in the same way it did not have any reason to doubt the credentials of Dr
Fusire who extracted blood from the deceased's daughter.
came out with the following findings after carrying out the
postmortem: i) That death was caused by open fire origin is
unknown. ii) That there was carbon in the trachea of the deceased,
which is a vital sign of smoke inhalation.
He further explained in his
evidence that the presence of carbon in the trachea area of the deceased
was indicative of the fact that at one time the fire had started the deceased
was alive because the deceased could only have inhaled smoke through
breathing. A lot of questions were put to the Doctor challenging the
manner in which he conducted the postmortem but he adequately explained
his actions. He agreed that an X-ray is normally taken at postmortem but
he could not do so in this case because of the condition of the
body, which was heavily charred. He further agreed that the body is
normally cut open from top to bottom for purpose of examination
this case he could not do so because the body had been destroyed by the fire,
it was heavily charred with bones breaking. He also agreed that ordinarily
the head is opened in order to examine the brain but in this case it was
not possible because the skull was heavily burnt and the brain was damaged by
the fire, in fact there was no more brain to talk about. He further agreed
to the suggestions that the organs are normally removed one by one for
examination, but explained that this was one way of doing it, the other
acceptable way was to do the examinations without necessarily removing
the organs. In this case most of the organs, like kidney, bladder,
prostate, spleen, pancreas and lungs were all absent as they had been burnt
out by the fire. The liver and gall bladder were present but severely
burnt and charred.
It was argued that the Doctor should have extracted
blood from the body for tests but the Doctor explained that this was not
possible because the body was charred and there was no longer blood in the
Finally the doctor carried out a thorough examination of the
body and concluded that the body did not have any external or
internal injuries caused by anything else other than the fire. The
family was assisted to put questions to the Doctor by a pathologist from
South Africa called Doctor Perumel. The court noted that a lot
of criticism was directed at the Doctor in the manner he carried out the
postmortem but the court does not share this criticism. The criticism
directed at the Doctor is what one would term as textbook criticism. The
family lawyer was comparing what Doctor Gonzalez did to what is written in
textbooks. But this is not the situation, which was prevailing on the
ground. One would fail to understand how they expected Dr Gonzalez to
extract blood from a heavily charred body which did not have blood.
Similarly it is difficult to comprehend how Dr Gonzalez was expected to
remove organs like lungs, kidneys and others for examination when these
organs were not there as they had been destroyed by heat or how they
expected the Doctor to cut the head and examine the brain when the brain had
been destroyed by fire. Yes that's what the text books and the so called
international standards required but the situation on the ground
was different, this was a heavily charred body which had been destroyed by
a fire of extra-ordinary magnitude.
In my analysis of the manner the
doctor conducted the postmortem I am left in no doubt that all that what
he did was the best in the circumstances. Even if one is to agree to
a second postmortem as was suggested, I would wonder what value this would
add because there is no blood to extract, there are no organs to examine
and there is no brain to examine.
No value at all will be derived from
that. That is the reason I have already concluded that the criticism
levelled at Dr Gonzalez is merely "text book criticism", as the situation on
the ground required some innovative approach. In the circumstances,
therefore, the court finds no reason at all to reject Dr
Gonzalez's findings. From all the evidence that I have analysed above it
is clear that no witness was able to tell the court as to what caused the
fire and no expert or scientist who carried out tests and examinations was
also able to tell the court on what caused the fire. What the court was
told and in-deed what the court agrees with is that this fire was out of
the ordinary in view of how it started, the way it spread and the heat
it generated. It was to some extend a strange
WHETHER OR NOT THERE WAS FOUL PLAY From the
evidence that was adduced no one was able to tell the court whether or not
there was foul play that caused the death of the Retired General Mujuru.
The Investigation Officer told the court that his conclusion was that there
was no foul play. The Police Forensic Scientist Mr Mutandiro told the
court that he could not tell whether or not there was foul play. In
other words his investigations failed to reveal anything. The forensic
scientist from South Africa Police Service also failed to come out with
The court has taken note as already alluded to elsewhere in
this document, that there are various factors that compromised
investigations. Firstly the failure to adequately and properly cordon the
areas of the fire (farm house) made it impossible for fire experts like Fire
Brigade to properly examine the scene and investigate the cause of fire.
As a result Fire Brigade were not able to determine the cause of the
fire. It has further been observed by the court that the way the forensic
scientists in Zimbabwe gathered and packed the exhibits which were sent to
South Africa was flawed.
Errors could have been made in identifying
areas where the debris were to be taken from the errors were certainly
made in the manner the exhibits were packaged. All this could have
compromised and in the end affected the results of
The question which one would ask is whether it
is necessary to recommend further investigations. In its view the court
does not see the necessity and no value will be derived from that.
The scene has already been tempered with and evidence is contaminated
because it now more than six months after the death of the deceased.
must further comment that this is a case in which there was and continues to
be a lot of suspicion over the death of the now deceased. So many people
and even relatives of the deceased believe that there is amiss in the death
of the now deceased but from the forty one witnesses who testified no one
was able to point to the court as to the basis of such suspicion and
what it is that is amiss. Even the relatives of the deceased were given
an opportunity in addition to the family lawyer to question each and
every witness who testified. This was done in order to bring out
everything which they thought could have caused the death of the deceased but
still nothing was specifically pointed to the court.
raised on the fact that the deceased did not have the farm house keys but
had to borrow from the maid, Rosemary Short. But it came out clear from
Rosemary's evidence that she gave him one key only to the door which leads
to into the farm house, the rest of the keys he had and these were
recovered in the bedroom by the Police. He specifically told Rosemary that
he had left his key in Harare. With this explanation from the deceased to
Rosemary and the fact that the rest of the keys were found in the house,
the court would wonder where the hullabaloo over missing keys was coming.
The only person who would know why he left the other key in Harare is the
deceased. Besides that ,however, no one pointed to the court how
the missing key could be linked to the death of the now deceased or to the
cause of the fire.
The motor vehicle keys were missing and up to
now they are yet to be recovered. The Investigating Officer confirmed
this fact and further explained that they carried out thorough investigations
but could not find the keys. This again is a cause of suspicion but again
nothing specific was drawn to the attention of the court. The court is
not even able to recommend further investigations in that regard firstly
because the Police have thoroughly investigated that issue and secondly
I do not see how this will assist in finding out how the fire
In the final analysis the court summarises its findings as
follows: The name of the deceased is Retired General Solomon Tapfumaneyi
Mujuru. This fact is clear from the factual evidence presented before the
court and the DNA analysis done in South Africa. They all point to the
same direction as regards to the identity of the deceased. The court also
concludes that the deceased met his death between the hours of 2020 on the
night of 15 August 2011 and 0345 on the morning of 16 August 2011. This is
because at around 2020 and 0345 hours that was the time his body was
discovered inside the farmhouse. It is in this regard also that the court
has concluded that the deceased met his death in the farmhouse. This is
because that is where his body was discovered.
A postmortem was
carried out by Dr Gonzalez who concluded that the cause of the death
was carbonisation due to open fire. There is no other evidence before the
court to show to the contrary and the court has no reason at all to doubt
the findings of the doctor. This is the basis upon which the court makes a
conclusion that death was caused by carbonisation due to open
The doctor even went further in his examination to find out
whether there were some other injuries on the body of the deceased caused
by something else other than those caused by fire and he did not find
any. The court analysed evidence of all the forty one witnesses to
determine what caused the fire to start but could not get any
answers. Experts were called to testify from Zesa, Fire Brigade, police
and South African Forensic experts, all of them for one reason or
another could not furnish the court with an explanation on how the fire
started. This therefore is the basis upon which the court concludes that
the cause of fire could not be determined.
Despite the suppositions,
speculations, conjectures and suspicions by various people including the
deceased's relatives, nothing concrete and no evidence at all was placed
before the court to show that there was foul play in the death of the
deceased. In addition to that there is evidence from the doctor that
deceased did not suffer any other injuries besides that caused by fire and
there is also the evidence from the lead, Investigator, Chief
Superintendent Makedenge to the effect that they carried out exhaustive
investigations but there was nothing to show that there was foul play
leading to the death of the now deceased.
The facts and evidence
presented before the court, therefore, do not show that there was
foul play and consequently the court concludes that there was no foul
A WEEK-LONG search for a missing tourist has been called off
in the Victoria Falls Rainforest, but police say the investigation will
remain live. Tinashe Chitambo, 25, disappeared on a visit to the falls on
March 25. He was travelling with his sister, Michelle.
The pair took
a brief tour of the densely-wooded Rainforest on the banks of the Zambezi
River at 10AM before breaking off for lunch at the Shearwater
The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, which is in
charge of the Rainforest, says Tinashe went back for a solo tour and never
Michelle raised the alarm around 2PM after failing to hear
from her brother, sparking a desperate search which had not yielded anything
by Friday. At the start of the search, one witness had told rangers that he
had seen a man loitering around the falls.
Parks spokeswoman Caroline
Washaya-Moyo said Friday that they had scaled back the search and they now
feared for Tinashe’s life.
“A full scale search has been suspended and at
this point our rangers and the police have found no leads to explain
Tinashe’s disappearance. It’s been a desperate search, but with every
passing day hopes of finding him alive fade,” she said. The missing man’s
family insist he was not suicidal.
Victoria Falls police say the
investigation will remain open and they will chase down all leads.
Unsatisfied following their maiden visit to Marange diamond
fields this week, lawmakers from the mines committee call on the
anti-corruption commission to probe goings-on in Chiadzwa
Gonda | Washington
Following their maiden tour of Marange diamond
fields this week, some Zimbabwean lawmakers are calling on the
anti-corruption commission to investigate operations in the controversial
area saying they were not satisfied with responses from some of the mining
The parliamentary mines committee concluded their week-long
fact-finding mission on Friday, but some legislators allege “sinister
operations” are going on there, adding that if Zimbabwe had “a normal
government” some of the mining companies would have been shut down, or
prosecuted by now.
Chiredzi West lawmaker Moses Mare of the MDC formation
led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai charged that management at some of
the companies, in particular Mbada Diamonds, deliberately withheld
He said managers were hostile, even shutting down their
plants and sending workers away so the lawmakers could not see the
ZANU PF legislator and committee chairman Edward
Chindori-Chininga was quoted in the state-run Herald newspaper as saying
there was a protracted argument with Mbada management, prompting him to tell
them the committee was not on a witch-hunt but was merely performing its
“We were surprised by the manner in which they behaved,"
Mare told VOA’s Violet Gonda. "Mbada Diamond Mines is not a normal company
that is operating under the supervision of the government. They do things
the way they want.
"They switched off their machines and asked their
employees to run away. So we just saw a ghost company. We didn't’t even see
a single diamond. They were really hostile and very stubborn.”
said public hearings with the affected community, which had been organized
by the MPs also failed to materialize, alleging people were told not to talk
to the parliamentarians.
While it was evident that major production was
going on, Mare said, this did not match with the amount of money being sent
to the fiscus from diamond sales.
He added that the Chinese-dominated
Anjin Mining Company has seven processing plants which produce 5 000 carats
of diamonds per day translating into more than a million carats a month,
which are not accounted for.
This is a staggering amount considering
there are four other mining companies in Marange, Mare said.
was a normal government the anti-corruption unit was supposed to descend on
Mbada as soon as yesterday."
But Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told VOA's
Sandra Nyaira government had nothing to hide in Marange, arguing that is why
lawmakers and other interested groups were being cleared to tour the mining
By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer Saturday, 31 March
HARARE - Lawyers representing former Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC) chief executive officer Dominic Mubaiwa in
his $2 billion fraud charge say Mines minister Obert Mpofu personally
engaged potential investors in the Marange diamond fields joint
Mubaiwa is jointly charged with Core Mining boss Lovemore
Kurotwi for allegedly defrauding the state potential revenue through alleged
misrepresentation of investment information to the Mines
Kurotwi is alleged to have said Core Mining was a special
vehicle for Benn Steinmeitz Group Resources (BSGR); an international company
based in South Africa that would invest $2 billion dollars in the
This led to the signing of a joint venture company called
Canadile Mining between Core Mining and the State’s Marange
Advocate Lewis Uriri, Mubaiwa’s lawyer when cross examining
Godwills Masimirembwa, the key witness in the matter, said Mpofu was privy
to all what was happening pertaining to joint ventures with ZMDC and even
provided names of other potential investors.
According to Uriri,
Mpofu was aware that BSGR was prepared to back Core Mining upon satisfaction
of certain conditions in the Marange project. It was also clear to the
minister that the Marange joint venture agreement would be concluded between
ZMDC and Core Mining since BSGR chose to be anonymous for political reasons,
citing fears of victimisation from the Western countries.
“On May 15
2009, Mubaiwa wrote a letter to minister Mpofu raising concern over the use
of an anonymous investor saying there could be obvious difficulties in
dealing with a Shelf Company whose principles were not
“Mubaiwa also said there could be a risk of
misinterpretation if the investor chose to be anonymous. From this, it
showed that no information was misrepresented to the minister. The minister
was aware of what was really going on,” Uriri said.
Mubaiwa also advised Mpofu of the need for multiple investors in Marange, to
which Mpofu responded by giving him names of other investors, a move Uriri
said clearly explained that Mpofu had established a trend to become the port
of call for all investors.
According to Uriri, Mpofu was in constant
contact with the potential investors and while negotiations where still
going on with the ZMDC, the minister asked to meet BSGR at a “shareholder
level” to understand their “shareholder perspective.” Uriri said the fact
that one is negotiating does not mean they are shareholders.
“You just want to be naughty, he called the meeting
to understand their perspective as potential investors,” Masimirembwa
According to a letter presented in court by Uriri, Mpofu
introduced Mubaiwa to Gem Diamonds which was associated to new Reclamation
Group (Reclam) which later pulled out in unclear circumstances and Namakwa
Uriri said Masimirembwa chose not to produce some documents as
exhibits in court because they confirmed what Mubaiwa said, which showed
that the minister was directly interacting with the potential
Masimirembwa said investors approached the minister but as
procedure required, were referred to the ZMDC where they would first make
formal expressions of interest and signing of confidentiality agreements
that would lead to a due diligence exercise on the Marange fields and formal
The case continues on May 8 with Uriri expected to
continue with his cross examination of the state’s star witness,
HARARE- The Israeli pilot who was allegedly found with US$2
million worth of diamonds yesterday pleaded not guilty to unlawful
possession of the gems and entry into Zimbabwe by evasion. Shmuel Kainan
Klein (58) appeared before a Harare magistrate and denied being in unlawful
possession of diamonds and contravening Section 12 (1) of the Immigration
Act Chapter 4:02, which criminalises entry by evasion.
court session, Klein was re-arrested by immigration officials who were under
the impression that he was in the country illegally. His lawyer Mr Jonathan
Samukange had made an application seeking to bar immigration officials from
arresting his client and interfering with his bail conditions. The order was
granted with the State’s consent by regional magistrate Mr Clever
In his defence outline Klein said that he was in lawful
possession of the diamonds and police had stolen some of them. However, an
official from the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, said the
diamonds were from Marange and conceded that the diamonds were being
smuggled out of the country. Klein denied committing the offence claiming he
was an agent for Masri diamonds.
“He advised them that he would be
flying that afternoon to Tel-Aviv, Israel, where he would be handing the
diamonds to the owner. He also said that he carrying the diamonds on behalf
of Masri diamonds and was to hand them to Mr Nisim Masri. He told them that
he was acting as his agent for the purpose of possessing and carrying the
diamonds to Tel-Aviv,” read part of Klein’s defence outline.
Samukange told the court that some of his client’s diamonds were missing.
“He will state that he has been shown a copy of the affidavit by Mr Clever
Sithole, which shows that the total carats were 8 486.66 and further state
that there is missing about 2 140.34,” submitted Mr Samukange. He further
submitted that police must have stolen them since the diamonds were in their
Mr Samukange also submitted that when the diamond parcel was
opened by the assayer, Klein was not represented. He argued that the
valuation of the diamonds was “extremely exaggerated” valuing them at US$220
000. The first witness in the case a Civil Aviation Authority security
officer, Ms Wendy Gomo, who was being led by prosecutor Ms Tracy Mundanga,
said Klein was shaky when he presented himself at the passenger screening
point prompting her to request a further search of his luggage.
said when she discovered the diamonds Klein told her that they were objects
used in a plane. During cross-examination, Ms Gomo said she was not in a
position to comment on the shortfall as she did not conduct a physical
search. Another witness Detective Shamiso Tashu of the Police Border Control
and Minerals Unit said when she counted the stones they totalled 1 446
although she did not know the caratage.
In cross-examination she
conceded that some of the evidence was missing. Mr Sithole of MMCZ said when
he was given the diamonds he noticed that they were Marange diamonds after
seeing the texture adding that every diamond has a trace element. He said
the Marange diamonds were brownish. He said the diamonds in question weighed
1,7kg with a caratage of 8 486 and valued at US$2 437 708 22.
Samukange doubted his qualifications saying, “the court needs to rely on a
qualified person not someone who has gone for a seven day crash course
programme”. After the hearing, Mr Samukange tried to prevent immigration
officials from arresting his client since the court had made an order
barring them from arresting the Israeli. Mr Samukange pulled his client’s
left hand while an immigration official pulled his right hand.
parties went to the police post at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts and three
immigration officials finally emerged from the post holding Klein by his
belt before whisking him away in a white Mazda pick-up truck. The Herald
MASVINGO - A 100-year-old traditional leader and his
son have lost property worth thousands of dollars after their huts were set
ablaze by Zanu PF youth militia accusing them of receiving maize seed from
Village head Muranganwa whose real name is Zimunya Muonde from
Mutikizizi in Bikita, and his son had their huts reduced to ashes by Zanu PF
supporters who accused them of being traitors.
Their crime was to
accept maize seed from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.
village head, who could hardly speak because of advanced age, said he feared
for his life after the incident as the arsonists could hit back.
wife, aged 88, said the family was served with an anonymous letter warning
of impending danger for receiving maize seed from “sell-outs”.
She said a
hut used to keep farming equipment was destroyed by the arsonists on
“We were asleep and awakened by the barking of dogs.
When I went out to see what was happening I was shocked to see the hut we
keep our farming equipment in flames and there were some people running
“This was hardly a day after receiving the warning letter,” said
It was worse for her daughter-in-law, Jane Muonde,
who was sleeping with her toddler son.
Muonde said she woke up to see
flames engulfing the hut and managed to escape with her son.
have perished in the house with my two children after they set my house on
fire while we were asleep. I was awakened by my small baby who was crying
and that is when I saw that the roof was on fire and about to collapse. I
quickly took the children out but all the property my husband bought in
South Africa where he has worked was gone,” said Muonde.
She added that
they were paying for accepting maize seed from MDC but denied being
The family reported the matter at Ngorima police
base where officers told them they would investigate the
Although police in Masvingo declined to comment referring the press
to Harare, the family fears that the arsonists could get away with
MDC in Masvingo condemned the attacks.
“We condemn such
cowardice and barbaric acts by Zanu PF on innocent villagers. To us this
shows that Zanu PF people are not repentant and are not ready for elections.
We, however, urge the police to apprehend the perpetrators and if they do
not do their job and Zanu PF fails to reign in its supporters then the
people of Zimbabwe will be left with no option than to defend themselves,”
said MDC Masvingo spokesperson Harrison Mudzuri.
Efforts to get a comment
from Zanu PF provincial chairman, Lovemore Matuke, were fruitless as he was
Bulawayo March 31, 2012–Police in
Lupane in Matabeleland North province on Friday defied a High Court order
and arrested National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) senior programmes’
officer Bhekimusa Moyo.
Moyo, who is also the author of Gukurahundi
theatre play ‘1983 The Years before and After’ was arrested at Lupane
Business Centre while conducting a skills training workshop, despite a High
Court order that gave a green light to the meeting.
Lupane police had
initially banned NYDT workshop last week but the youth organisation through
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) this week secured a High Court
order to proceed with the meeting on Friday.
However armed police
officers stormed the NYDT training workshop being attended by over 30 youths
at Lupane Business Centre before arresting Moyo.
“Police in Lupane have
arrested the NYDT Senior Programs officer, Bhekimusa Moyo for conducting a
life skills training workshop in the area.
“The police disrupted the
workshop that was attended by 30 young people drawn from different wards in
Lupane, saying they do not recognise the High Court clearance. The law
enforcement agents also stated that the NYDT did not follow the correct
procedures for acquiring clearance for such meetings,” said NYDT
information department said in statement Friday night.
department added that Lupane police also barred Moyo’s lawyer Lison Ncube of
ZLHR from seeing his client before dragging him out of the police station
and locking all the gates.
“Police officers have locked the gate to the
station denying entry to anyone visiting the Moyo. Despite managing to gain
entry to the station through tactful means, the lawyer was dragged out of
the station and warned not to visit the station in connection with NYDT
cases by the Officer in charge, before being locked outside,” NYDT
information department said.
Matabeleland north province is now regarded
as the most hostile province for human rights organisations and opposition
political parties as police there have arrested their members and blocked
several meetings in recent months.
According ZLHR police in Matabeleland
North have so far arrested or harassed more than 40 politicians and human
rights activists since January 2011.
By Wonai Masvingise, Staff Writer Saturday, 31 March 2012
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has accused top
government officials of sabotaging the economy by looting the country’s
Calling them “economic saboteurs”, Tsvangirai, who was
addressing the Harare Metropolitan Water Summit yesterday, said people in
high offices assisting in the collapse of parastatals by engaging in rampant
looting and failing to pay their bills were bringing down the country’s
President Robert Mugabe and several Government ministers were
recently exposed by the Daily News for owing the country’s sole electricity
supplier Zesa astronomical bills.
The premier said top officials had
institutionalised looting and were refusing to pay for water and electricity
at their farms and houses.
“I am appalled by those in high offices’
penchant for free goods despite their opulence voluntarily displayed in a
poor country such as ours,” said Tsvangirai.
Recently, Vice President
Joice Mujuru was reported as confirming that government ministers were
looting farming inputs at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB). She said she had
reported the matter to Mugabe.
Mujuru is also alleged to have said Zanu
PF members were being seriously divided by these free agricultural inputs
meant for the poor.
At the water summit, Tsvangirai called on the top
officials who were recently named and shamed by the Daily News to pay their
outstanding electricity bills.
“We must pay our bills. Refusal to pay
for services provided is not different from economic sabotage. Zimbabwe’s
power sector has been seriously compromised by the big chefs’ failure and
outright refusal to pay their electricity bills.
“This cancer has
however, spread to almost all sectors of the economy. I am aware of the huge
water bills run by ministers and senior government officials."
worrying trend is that most of those who are refusing to honour electricity
bills also owe several thousands to Zinwa (Zimbabwe National Water
Authority) and local councils. The hullabaloo about bills having been
released to the public and questions of client confidentiality is much ado
about nothing. “It is hiding behind the finger. Pay your bills and you
will save the country."
“The sad thing is where an old widow, who is
looking after several orphans has her electricity and water disconnected for
arrears of just as little as $30, the big chefs enjoy these services all the
time but still refuse to pay up.”
The Premier added that the country
could not continue with a situation where the poor subsidised the rich by
bearing the brunt of load-shedding and water cuts.
and parastatals are in need of funds to recapitalise and improve service
delivery but cannot succeed when we have some in high offices refusing to
pay for services rendered,” he said.
The executives, mostly from Bulawayo where over 80 firms
collapsed between 2009 and 2010 leaving 20,000 workers jobless, said it is
unthinkable that the government is failing to pay $20 million as promised
while Old Mutual Insurance (Pvt) Ltd has already met its financial
Gibbs Dube | Washington
Some Zimbabwean company
executives have reacted angrily to revelations that the long-awaited $40
million Distressed and Marginalized Areas Fund launched last October is
non-existent as government has failed to provide part of the money to bail
The executives, mostly from the second city of Bulawayo,
where over 80 firms collapsed between 2009 and 2010 leaving 20,000 workers
jobless, said it was unthinkable that government is failing to pay out $20
million as promised while Old Mutual Insurance (Pvt) Ltd has already met its
They said failure by government to act was an
indication it lacked commitment to rescue collapsing industries in the
region, neglected over the years by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF
Kevin Terry, Central African Building Society managing
director, told Parliament this week that the fund is not only for Bulawayo
companies but meant to benefit distressed firms countrywide.
said from the $20 million deposited into CABS by Old Mutual, $43,96 million
has so far been disbursed to six companies and “we have additional
applications for $17,9 million from 31 institutions”. Seven applications
have so far been rejected.
Bulisani Ncube, Bulawayo manager of the
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce said company executives are concerned
by lack of government commitment in rejuvenating industries in the
“Despite these drawbacks we hope state bureaucracy will not force
treasury to take another six months to release the funds to CABS,” said
The Chitungwiza resuscitation team has been castigated
for employing delaying tactics in a bid to prolong its tenure at the
satellite town so that they can continue lining their pockets.
term of office for the Chitungwiza resuscitation team is expected to expire
on the 27th of April.
However, there are allegations that the team is
delaying the completion of the set terms of reference in a bid to prolong
its stay whilst at the same time looting council
Chitungwiza mayor, Alderman Philemon Chipiyo, who could not
hide his disappointment in the team set up to resuscitate the town,
described the state of affairs in the town as institutionalised
“I am not happy with the state of affairs, I have been in the
local government sector for many years and what is happening here is
deplorable. Initially, the team was good but now it is delaying the whole
process so that it stays longer and loot,” said Alderman
Alderman Chipiyo said after raising eyebrows at the way the team
is running council, he has since been barred from using his office at the
Chitungwiza Municipality head office, alleging that they do not want him to
scrutinise their operations as he is bound to expose them.
not want me here at the offices. They say I should only come by invitation.
That is not right, government knows we have offices here and this should be
respected. They know that if I am stationed here, I will be able to
scrutinise their deals,” he added.
The team which was appointed by
government to revive Chitungwiza Municipality is alleged to be costing
council thousands of dollars in salaries and allowances and has not made any
significant progress in reviving service delivery which had collapsed in the
The team, led by Manicaland provincial administrator, Mr
Fungai Mbetsa was appointed by Local Government, Rural and Urban Development
Minister, Ignatius Chombo in January this year to take over from the Godfrey
Tanyanyiwa leadership which is being accused of corruption and
The first whisps of winter are beginning to drift over our
horizon. The days are getting shorter and the sunsets more copper. Early
these mornings the mist lies thick in the dips and valleys, often not
burning away until eight or nine o’clock. Visiting a friend when the dew was
still thick on the grass one morning this week, there was neither
electricity nor water and the chat soon turned to how unpredictable
everything in the country still is.
It’s hard to believe that just three
years ago the new MDC Finance Minister announced that we had become a multi-
currency economy and we began using US dollars and South African Rands.
It’s like a bad nightmare remembering that in January 2009 we were buying
one single US dollar for five hundred billion Zimbabwe dollars. The
scrapping of the Zim dollar and introduction of the US dollar caused a
national sigh of relief. In a single move one man put a stop to the
horrific mismanagement which had caused a decade of financial insanity and
economic collapse. Almost overnight super-hyper inflation crashed from
multiple billions of percentage points to zero. Vast supermarkets and
wholesalers whose shelves had been completely empty were suddenly full of
food – all imported of course. The black market which had controlled the
country and all of our daily needs from bank notes to food, fuel, equipment
and medicine, disappeared within weeks. Within a few months the world, and
many of our new leaders, stopped following the huge daily struggle of
ordinary people, we were back on track they said. On the surface of things
Zimbabwe is getting back to normal, but not for everyone.
unnoticed horror continues to unravel for pensioners in Zimbabwe this April
2012. Three years ago, in April 2009, it cost a family member living in the
diaspora less than US $100 dollars a month to support their parents or
grandparents who were over 65. These were parents and grandparents who had
lost everything to hyper inflation. They had lost their life savings when 25
zeroes were removed from the currency and turned upright citizens into
destitute paupers. Desperate pensioners first sold their assets, jewellery,
treasures and family heirlooms in order to buy food and medicines, then they
sold their cars. When that money had been gobbled up by hyper inflation,
they sold their houses in order to stay alive. With no government support,
no subsidies in recognition of their age and no way of replacing their lost
assets, pensions or life savings, and when they had nothing left to sell,
Mums and Dads, Gogos and Sekurus had no option but to hold out their hands
and say: please help.
The 100 US dollars that supported a pensioner three
years ago was enough to pay their rent, water and electricity in a one
bedroomed cottage for a month and leave 30 or 40 dollars for food. Three
years later, despite the government’s stated inflation rate of less than
5%, the rent, water and electricity for the same pensioner in the same
cottage now costs 450 US dollars a month and that’s before they’ve had
anything to eat or gone to the doctor.
“The prices are never going to
go down are they,” my friend asked as we had tea while the mist lifted and
melted under the morning sun. We both knew the answer and that the prices
will continue to go up but we said nothing. What can you say to someone who
worked all their life, planned and saved so carefully for their retirement
and then had it all stolen in front of their eyes by their very own
government. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy
It’s nothing new, dishonesty and petty corruption, but
like a rash it definitely seems to be spreading. True, good news hardly
makes for riveting reading and that may be the explanation for the current
crop of bad news stories but the impression gained from a look at the daily
Zim Situation reports is that honesty and straight dealing are on the
decline in Zimbabwe. And that applies from the very top right down to the
man in the street.
Last Saturday there was a report that VIPs were
receiving agricultural inputs, seed and fertiliser, intended for ‘new’
farmers. Individuals who could well afford to buy their own inputs, such as
the Commissioner of Police, the Mashonaland West Governor, the Minister of
Agriculture and the Vice President, they were all named.
revelation of the names of top people who had not paid their Zesa bills
provoked an outpouring of anger from the debtors over who had leaked the
details to the press; not shame over unpaid bills, just anger at who had
leaked the story! Then came the news that top Zesa executives had paid
themselves huge pay rises but slashed the allowances paid to non-managerial
staff. Just as shocking was the news that Robert Mugabe himself and his
other Zanu PF cronies are majority share-holders in Zesa. While all this is
going on, the ordinary citizen is subjected to massive power cuts lasting
for days; the water supply is no better and Harare City Council announces it
needs $100 million to fix the city’s water problems. The news of the
expansion of Hwange and Kariba power plants later this year will be precious
little comfort to those affected by power cuts now. It’s rather like
promising ‘Jam tomorrow but never jam today’!
On the streets of
Harare this week, school text books donated to the country by UNICEF were
openly on sale. The Ministry of Education promises to probe the scandal but
one wonders how these donated books got out on the streets in the first
place? For parents, desperate to provide their kids with the right school
equipment, the temptation to purchase these books is very understandable,
even though parents must know that UNICEF books are donated and thus not
intended for sale. Set that story against the revelation by the Minister of
Education himself that pupils in Mat North are sitting 20 to a desk because
there are too few desks and you see how innocent children are the unintended
victims of this petty corruption and dishonesty.
While the whole country
is suffering from hunger in varying degrees, the food crisis in prisons is
much worse. When the Red Cross offered to help feed prisoners, the
government in its arrogance told the Red Cross their help was not needed.
They could feed their own prisoners, thank you very much! One meal a day of
sadza and beans was the government’s answer – occasionally sadza with boiled
cabbage we are told. There was a time when going to prison at least meant
you got three square meals a day! What is it they say about the way a
country treats its children and prisoners?
Petty corruption and
dishonesty make day-to-day living hard but it is the unchecked activities
of criminal gangs like chipangano that rots the body politic from the
inside. This gang of young thugs has reportedly taken over council
properties in Harare and is said to be collecting huge sums of money on
properties and whatever else they have taken over. The police do nothing to
stop this illegal activity because the gang is known to be pro-Zanu PF,
perhaps even run by a Zanu PF biwig. There is worrying evidence that
chipangano’s activities are spreading to other towns, such as Karoyi and
Chinoyi. And if that isn’t worrying enough, the MDC reports that Zanu PF is
reviving the Top Six terror gangs that wreaked such havoc in Chinoyi back in
2008. Residents of the town report that they have seen gang members around
the town again
There may be a new coalition government in Zimbabwe
but very little has changed. Politicians and lawmakers continue silent as
petty corruption and dishonesty spreads across the country.