Tuesday 05 December 2006
HARARE - An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission on Monday
started consultation talks with the embattled government of President Robert
Mugabe, with analysts saying the team would press for greater economic
reforms but that there would be no quick resumption of financial support.
Zimbabweans are grappling with the country's worst economic crisis
since independence in 1980, which is marked by hyperinflation, rocketing
unemployment, a shrinking gross domestic product and shortages of foreign
exchange, food and fuel.
The economy has shrunk by more than a third in the past seven years as
the country suffers a deep recession exacerbated by the withdrawal of
foreign aid over Mugabe's policies such as that of seizing land from whites
to redistribute among blacks.
"The message (from IMF) will be that you will not get onto our
programme if you do not change your policies," John Robertson, a leading
private economic consultant told ZimOnline. "But the government has not done
much that will see the IMF resuming a lending programme."
"We should take the Article Four report very seriously because it
might prove unfavourable for us in the long term," Robertson added.
During its 10-day visit, the IMF team is expected to scrutinise the
government's fiscal and monetary policies, with last week's 2007 national
budget presented by Finance Minister Hebert Murerwa coming under review.
Critics have dismissed the budget as a non-event.
Zimbabwe has on three occasions survived expulsion from the global
lender. Last year the country made last minute payments to the critical
General Resources Account, which it has since cleared.
The country now owes US$127 million as of end of October this year.
Analysts said Murerwa's pledge to halt quasi-fiscal spending by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and a promise to stop relying on central bank
loans were positive moves but that the IMF would call for even bolder
reforms to save the economy from total meltdown.
The government's reliance on central bank funds has seen the RBZ
printing money to sustain fiscal expenditure, a move that has pushed money
supply growth and inflation into record territory.
The IMF and other key Western donors have urged the government to
respect the rule of law and sanctity of private property rights, cut excess
state expenditure, end price controls and to ease tough foreign exchange
regulations seen driving a thriving black market for hard cash.
The Zimbabwe dollar is officially pegged at 250 to the United States
dollar, a rate 10 times less than what is being offered on the black market.
Murerwa on Monday told international media that the government was
unlikely to clear the remaining arrears with the Fund since it had no
guarantees of having new aid or its voting rights restored.
This, despite Murerwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono having earlier promised the IMF that Harare would repay all it owed by
the end of this month. Mugabe had also on February 19, 2006 during an
interview with the national broadcaster, ZBC, said Zimbabwe would pay all
its dues to get "the IMF off our back".
But Murerwa appeared to backtrack, saying the IMF had taken a
political stance against Zimbabwe. "What help is it to us when we square up
with the IMF and we do not get our voting rights back and any help?" he said
in remarks that reflected Harare's disappointment with the Bretton Woods
institution. He would not say when the arrears would be paid.
"Our view is that the majority shareholders of the IMF have taken a
political standing when it comes to the Zimbabwe issue," Murerwa added. He
however said the government would continue to engage the IMF.
Mugabe has previously branded the IMF a "political monster" and
accuses Western powers of using their influence to deny Zimbabwe
Harare says it is being punished for its controversial seizure of
white-owned land for redistribution to landless blacks. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 05 December 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwean businesses face a tough time in 2007, with some
being forced to shut down completely as President Robert Mugabe's government
intensified its bid to enforce price controls, a populist move meant to
appease a hard pressed population, analysts said.
Last week a Zimbabwe magistrate court jailed two executives from
Lobels Bakeries, the country's largest bread maker on charges of increasing
prices without official authority.
Magistrate Faith Mushure accused the two of bringing "undue hardship
to the masses of Zimbabwe (that) caused an outcry throughout the nation" and
jailed them for four months each.
Analysts said the court had set a bad precedent and gave ammunition to
a government that is increasingly relying on heavy state policing of the
economy to keep a lid on dissent, as the economy teeters on the brink of
"Yes we will see many companies closing down, that is exactly what is
going to happen," said Eric Bloch, a private economic consultant who is also
an adviser to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. "Price controls have never
worked anywhere in the world," he added.
Mugabe's government is battling to contain price increases as the
country goes through its worst economic crisis, shown by the highest
inflation rate in the world at 1 070.2 percent, shrinking gross domestic
product (GDP), shortages of foreign currency, food and unemployment above 80
An Incomes and Price Commission Bill has already been tabled in
Parliament as the government seeks to "develop pricing models for goods and
services with a view to balancing the viability of producers and incomes and
welfare needs of workers."
But critics see the move as part of a greater strategy by Mugabe's
government to have greater control in an economy which critics say has been
savaged by his controversial policies such as the often violent seizure of
white-owned commercial farms for redistribution among landless blacks.
Analysts said the farm seizures have mainly affected commercial
farming, whose output has plunged by 60 percent, hitting exports and
contributing to declining GDP since 2000.
Companies are already battling to survive Zimbabwe's hostile operating
environment, with industrial production having dipped to around 30 percent.
Nearly a thousand companies have in the past six years folded,
throwing thousands of workers on to the streets as a result of soaring
costs, foreign currency shortages and uncertainty over the country's future.
"Price controls are actually inflationary not dis-inflationary because
they cause shortages and result in the black market trade," Bloch said.
Mugabe at the weekend hit out at industrialists, criticising them for
"unilaterally increasing prices" and adding that the government was working
on comprehensive measures to curb price hikes.
Industry executives say increases are inevitable in an environment of
hyperinflation and foreign currency shortages. They said come 2007, many
companies would be unable to re-open if they are forced to operate in an
environment of price controls.
"The court grossly overreacted and that has sent a very bad signal in
the industry. Yes, the jailing of Lobels Bakeries executives will deter
anyone wishing to increase prices, but the magistrate has certainly done
more harm to the economy," an official with the Confederation of Zimbabwe
"Effectively we will see some businesses being unable to operate while
those who can will begin to seriously look at the export market as the only
means to survive," added the CZI official, who chose not to be named.
Zimbabwe has experienced food shortages since 2001, which critics
blame on the government's land reforms but which Mugabe says is a result of
Analysts said the government had not drawn lessons from its control of
the foreign exchange and fuel markets, which have sparked a thriving black
market where foreign currency and fuel are abundant but costing several
times more than the government prescribed rate or price.
The foreign currency black market accounts for the bulk of the country's
foreign currency trade because rates are more in line with inflation,
analysts said although the central bank charges that the market is being
fuelled by speculative activities.
"What the government needs to do is to address the fundamental
structural weaknesses and rigidities in the economy because this shift
towards populist policies will not work," said Eldred Masunungure, a
lecturer in the University of Zimbabwe's department of politics and
"You only need to look at how we have managed the issue of foreign
currency and fuel," he added. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 05 December 2006
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe Health Minister David Parirenyatwa has accused
students at the country's universities and other tertiary colleges of
fuelling the HIV/AIDS pandemic through promiscuous behaviour.
Addressing delegates at a function to mark World AIDS Day in Bulawayo
at the weekend, Parirenyatwa said he was disappointed by the risky behaviour
of students at tertiary institutions.
"I am very disappointed about the youth programmes particularly in
universities and in our colleges. The consciousness, the awareness and the
behaviour there need to be revisited," he said.
Parirenyatwa said although Zimbabwe had managed to reduce the HIV
prevalence rate from 30.1 percent in 1999 to 18.1 percent in 2006 among the
15-41 year age group, more still needed to be done to address risky
behaviour by students at colleges.
But on Monday, student leaders hit back accusing President Robert
Mugabe's government of pushing students into prostitution through its skewed
"Students are engaging in these (promiscuous) activities because the
government has neglected them.
"The current economic crisis is pushing students into destitution and
prostitution and government should shoulder most of the blame," said Paul
Sixpence, an executive member of the Zimbabwe National Students Union
Zimbabwe is among countries with the highest HIV/AIDS infections in
sub-Saharan Africa with at least 3 000 people dying of the disease every
An unprecedented seven-year old economic collapse that has seen
inflation hitting over 1 000 percent has forced the government to cut down
funding at state universities forcing thousands of students to resort to
prostitution to make ends meet. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 05 December 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe's cricket body on Monday pleaded guilty to
breaching the country's tough foreign exchange laws after it paid a foreign
television firm cash without first seeking approval from the central bank.
State prosecutor, Obi Mabahwana told the court that between
November 2004 and September last year, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) made
unauthorised payments amounting to US$1.3 million to Octagon CSI, a
television production company based in Britain.
ZC had also sold advertising space at Harare Sports Club to 7cs,
a South Africa-based company in May 2005. But the cricket body later
cancelled the deal and entered into another agreement with Gameplan Limited
which is based in India.
The Zimbabwe cricket authorities then directed that Gameplan
Limited pay $75 000 to 7cs for breach of contract without first seeking
permission from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as is required under the
country's exchange laws.
Wilson Manase, who is representing ZC told the court that the
association had breached the law unknowingly since they had to comply with
agreements they had sealed with the various companies.
The case was adjourned until Friday for sentencing.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe seven-year old economic
crisis which has manifested itself in shortages of fuel, essential medicines
and foreign currency. - ZimOnline
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Meat waste from abattoirs and commercial dog food are now a major source of
protein for an impoverished population.
By Jimmy Moyana in Harare (AR No. 85, 1-Dec-06)
While Kenyans took offence at the offer of dog food for hungry children
earlier this year, Zimbabweans are queuing up at meat suppliers and
abattoirs to buy pet food. They crave any kind of meat, and quality products
are now far beyond the means of ordinary people.
Not only is pet food popular among poor families, but pigskin and discarded
fat from beef also sell well in the country's teeming working class suburbs.
Kenyan officials dismissed as "culturally insulting" the offer of powdered
dog food to feed starving children made by the founder of a dog biscuit
company in New Zealand.
The offer might have received a warmer welcome from poor Zimbabweans, who
had been forced to adopt a vegetarian diet before they discovered packaged
Beef and pork now cost between 4,000 and 6,000 Zimbabwean dollars (16 to 24
US dollars) a kilogram in the supermarkets. A family of six which would have
consumed 12 kilos of meat a month in the days before Zimbabwe's economic
implosion began would now need to spend 72,000 Zimbabwean dollars (288 US
Eighty per cent of the population is unemployed and the majority of people
in work earn less than 20,000 Zimbabwean dollars a month.
People buy pet food even though the packaging clearly states that it is not
for human consumption. A 500-gram packet of branded pet food costs around
1,250 Zimbabwean dollars - five US dollars - and a kilo of "meat sawdust"
which contains meat gristle and bone and is sold as dog meat by abattoirs
costs 1,200 Zimbabwean dollars.
Those who cannot afford pet food have to be content with flavouring boiled
rape leaves with animal fat cut from beef or pork.
Dignity is a luxury few can afford these days in a country which until seven
years ago was the breadbasket of southern Africa. At Colcom Foods in
Harare's Willowvale area, there are long queues at the department where pet
food is sold.
Out of curiosity, this reporter approached some of the people waiting and
asked them what they were planning to buy. One woman from the densely
populated Mbare suburb, one of the poorest residential areas in Harare, said
softly, "Pet food. What else?"
Upon further probing, the woman, who asked not to be named as she felt
ashamed, said the pet food was for her family.
"Pet food is food and it is perfectly edible by human beings," she said.
"What can I do when I cannot afford to buy meat? Have you ever tasted it?
It's like minced meat and is very tasty. We boil it or fry it and mix it
with vegetables. We go through a 500-gram packet of pet food in three to
four days. We only eat the whole packet all at once if we want to give
ourselves a treat."
This woman is a widow with three children, who sells bananas at Mbare
Musika, the biggest vegetable market in Harare. On a lucky day she makes 600
Zimbabwean dollars, enough to buy two loaves of bread.
"I feel so humiliated. I never dreamt in all my life that I would queue up
to buy dog meat. I feel worthless - and what is dignity in Zimbabwe? We have
all been reduced to nothing, to worthless human beings," she said. "At least
when I cook the dog food or meat shavings, if I am lucky to get them at our
nearby butchery, I can taste meat. It gives the vegetables a different
flavour and I get the protein that has been lacking in my diet."
She is not alone in her humiliation. Harare resident Patrick Kaseke told
IWPR he felt it was important to provide a "balanced diet" to his family.
In what people now regard as the golden past - just seven years ago but
seemingly a lifetime away - most people, even the poor, ate well. Now the
most important thing is to ensure that the family has something eat.
"Tell me what is better: eating boiled covo [a spinach-like leaf] or rape
every single day, or eating meat shavings or dog meat on some days and covo
or rape on other days?" asked Patrick. "At my house we call the pet food
'minced meat' because I don't want my children growing up knowing that they
had been reduced to the level of a dog. It kills their spirit.
"To us pet food is a relish we look forward to. It gives us the feeling of
the old days when we had chicken and rice at Christmas."
An unscientific IWPR survey of abattoirs dealing in meat sawdust revealed
that it is the fastest selling product and can only be found before 10 am,
because housewives queue up early to make sure they get some.
One worker at a slaughterhouse close to the city centre said there was now
such a high demand for sawdust, pigskin and fat that they had to put some
aside for their own families.
"It is meat," he said. "Sawdust is the remnants when slicing meat. So there
is really nothing wrong in eating it. They are cheap products but taste just
like minced meat. You must try them."
Both consumers and their government are paying little heed to the long-term
implications of a poor diet - particularly among children.
As the government grapples with the huge economic challenges facing the
country, nutrition is not on the agenda.
Jimmy Moyana is a pseudonym for an IWPR reporter in Harare.
Mon Dec 4, 2006 4:45 PM GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is unlikely to clear arrears with the
International Monetary Fund this year as promised since it has no guarantee
of having aid or its voting rights restored, Finance Minister Herbert
Murerwa said on Monday.
President Robert Mugabe's government, which is presiding over a worsening
economic and political crisis, says it was unfairly treated by the IMF when
it was denied its voting rights in March, despite paying major arrears.
Zimbabwe's crisis has shown itself in an inflation rate of over 1,000
percent, unemployment above 80 percent and crippling shortages of food, fuel
and foreign currency, which have been worsened by a foreign donor flight.
"We have met our obligations but of course we continue to engage the IMF
under the article four consultations," Murerwa told Reuters.
"What help is it to us when we square up with the IMF and we do not get our
voting rights back and any help?" he said when asked whether Harare would
clear arrears by year-end.
He did not say when the arrears would be paid.
"Our view is that the majority shareholders of the IMF have taken a
political standing when it comes to the Zimbabwe issue," Murerwa said as an
IMF delegation started 10 days of annual consultations.
Zimbabwe cleared its general resources account in March but remains indebted
to the Fund's poverty reduction and growth facility, which it promised to
pay up by the end of this year.
Shunned by key Western donors over controversial policies such as
government's seizure of white-owned farms for blacks, Zimbabwe has accrued a
total of $2.2 billion in arrears, $127 million of which was due to the IMF
Zimbabwe paid $145 million to the IMF between September last year and
February this year to clear the critical general resources account, narrowly
avoiding expulsion from the Fund.
The IMF has previously said even if Harare managed to pay what it owes, it
risked accumulating arrears again without fundamental policy changes to put
the economy on a sustainable path.
Analysts have urged the government to respect private property rights, cut
excess state spending, end heavy state policing in the economy and to ease
tough foreign exchange controls seen driving a thriving black market for
Murerwa said last week during a national budget presentation that the
economy would grow in 2007 on the back of improved agriculture and mining
performances, but analysts disagree.
"We are moving in the right direction but we have unique challenges. We are
under sanctions and even as IMF members we cannot access any resources,"
Murerwa told Reuters.
Mugabe rejects criticism that he is responsible for the country's woes and
says the economy is a victim of a Western sabotage campaign over the land
ZIMBABWE HUMAN RIGHTS NGO FORUM - PRESS RELEASE
Some 18 months after launching a brutal campaign of urban demolitions
and forced evictions, the government of Zimbabwe has ignored all the
recommendations contained in a highly critical United Nations report, the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said in a report entitled "Political
Repression disguised as Civic Mindedness: Operation Murambatsvina One Year
Later" which it published on 30 November 2006.
The Forum, in a 45-page audit of events since the so-called Operation
Murambatsvina or Operation Clean Up Filth, urged international action over
the Mugabe government's long record of disregarding international
conventions. Zimbabwe must be discussed at the UN Security Council, it
``It can legitimately be asked of the international community, how
long will it accept that this is the behaviour of a responsible member of
the community of nations?'' the Forum said. ``And, furthermore, what action
of the Zimbabwe government will finally invoke the doctrine of the
Responsibility to Protect imposed on the international community?''
UN Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka, in a report released in July 2005,
said the demolition of thousands of dwellings and makeshift stalls was a
``catastrophe'' which had robbed 700,000 people of their homes and
livelihoods. She made 12 recommendations, including prosecutions of those
responsible, a proper reconstruction programme, compensation for victims,
and that the Zimbabwe authorities facilitate humanitarian operations.
The Forum said that none of this has happened: the authorities have
obstructed humanitarian aid; the official reconstruction programme is a
``complete fiasco'' riddled with corruption and nepotism; hundreds of
thousands continue to live in deplorable conditions in camps; and evictions
The Zimbabwe government's argument that the operation was for the
benefit of the people is shown to be false, said the report. The informal
sector remains as it is, corruption has increased at all levels, there is no
meaningful rehousing, and the economy has worsened.
But, said the Forum, if the real motive was to suppress opposition,
then it had succeeded by making it more difficult to organise
``For the ordinary Zimbabwean, it matters little whether the Zimbabwe
government is malevolent or incompetent, or both; all that they can look
forward to is a life of extreme hardship, and the certainty that any
complaint about their lot will be met with brutal repression and denial from
a government that few believe has a legitimate right to be in power,'' the
The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum is a coalition of 16 human rights
NGOs working towards the elimination of organised violence and torture in
December 4, 2006
By Savious Kwinika (CAJ)
ZANU PF designs pieces of legislations to steal private properties in
By Tsepo Livombo CAJ News Harare Bureau HARARE: ANALYSTS have labelled
and dubbed some acts passed through the Parliament of Zimbabwe as "Satanic
Acts" . A number of Acts were cited and these included the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Also strongly criticised by the analysts was the Reconstruction of
State-Indebted and Insolvent Companies Act (Chapter 24:29) which the
analysts said should be used on the state companies other than any other
company. These pieces of legislation respectively muzzle constitutionally
granted freedoms of association, speech, the right to inform and access to
information, and are an abuse on property rights. Economically, the
afore-mentioned Act provides those who control the state with a fortified
paper to selectively cripple those it considers to be malcontents through
their financial muscle. One does not need to be proved beyond a reasonable
doubt in his guiltiness as the principle of natural justice demands. In the
face of the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,and by the
stroke of a pen, any person or his economic linkage can be as dangerously
indebted to the state in his capacity as an individual or as a company
according to the crafted definition. Also the insolvency standing of the
person or his company provides the same minister with a required arsenal to
grab that culpable person and place him under prison, custody or to seize
that business entity, appoint a pro-government apologist to manage it- full
stop. Caleb Moyo, a University of Zimbabwe Law Student specializing in
Company Law picks up the story. "The Reconstruction of State-Indebted
Insolvent Companies Act 27/2004 is not only a silly piece of legislation
but, present a circus face of the government. " The government is itself
very broke and insolvent. It can no longer fulfill its economic obligations
" State enterprises remain burden-some to the nation. Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA) is broke. Hwange Colliery can not supply coal. The
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) is broke. ZUPCO buses are parked. The
Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) can not supply fuel. Zisco Steel has been
looted. All these are indications that the Act is insolvent itself because
it cannot be enforced on real-matters of national magnitude," he said.
Another Economist who chose to remain anonymous for fear of being classified
as anti-state said business people like Mutumwa Mawere, Mthuli Ncube, the
Intermarket investors and all those with finance institutions which were
placed under curator-ship by the Reserve Bank Governer were not poor
administrators. "The victims were deemed to be politically incorrect and
nothing else.," he said. To fortify the already known view, Professor Eldred
Masunungure of University Of Zimbabwe's Politics and Administrative
Department said the Act on Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent
Companies Act was one of the state's spears to check on the state's
perceived and imagined enemies. "People are aware who is domestically and
internationally indebted. The world is aware who is insolvent. If companies
had the capacity to adopt the same stance, parastatals could by now falling
under government appointed administrators. The Act is being managed the same
way as POSA and AIPA. Apologists are affectively at the helm" said
December 4, 2006.
By Savious Kwinika (CAJ)
Zimbabwe blind escape from Mugabe's hell, flood SA
By Philip EvansCAJ NewsMusina Bureau BEITBRIDGE:THE number of visually
impaired Zimbabweans crossing the border to South Africa is rapidly
increasing in a development that reflects the deepening socio-economic
crises in Zimbabwe.
In interviews with CAJ News it emerged that others risk life and limb
crossing the crocodile infested border with the hope to maintain their
survival across the Limpopo.
The situation also mirrors the collapse of the once-vibrant social
services sector that Zimbabwe once boasted of.
Blind people from the country are now a familiar sight at major
intersections and upmarket malls mainly in Johannesburg where they beg under
unfavourable weather conditions.
In separate interviews, the disabled pointed out that the grants they
received from the Zimbabwean government were not sufficient for their
survival hence the need to 'search for greener pastures elsewhere'.
Shorayi Manho, a mother of two children she begs with near Eastgate,
an upmarket shopping mall east of Johannesburg said she came to South Africa
early this year to seek refuge owing to the collapse of the social services
sector back home.
"The grants I was receiving back home in Bulawayo were not sufficient
to cater for our basics such as food and accommodation. It is then that I
considered crossing to South Africa, with the help of a well wisher, to fend
for my family and myself. The situation is terrible back home I am not sure
how I would be faring if I had stayed at home," she said, adding that with
the 'little' they got from begging was enough to ensure they did not sleep
on empty stomachs.
Runaway inflation, which the Zimbabwean government has failed to tame,
continues to erode grants that the disabled members of society receive.
Jairos Jiri, founder of an institution with the same name that catered
for the blind during Zimbabwe's heyday should be turning in his grave over
Timothy Dube used to stay at the famed institute during those days but
now begs in the train plying the Johannesburg- Springs route. The
institution is a shadow of its former self due to neglect.
"Then, things were normal. The blind were given loans to start income
generating projects and participated in the economy. It is contrary to the
vision of Jiri that we have been neglected and have to eke a living in
communities that are largely hostile to us,' he says solemnly.
Locally, such organisations as Zimbabwe Pastors Forum and the Southern
African Women's Institute of Migration Affairs say they strive to help the
disabled settle in South Africa with regards to refugee status -CAJ News.
By Lance Guma
04 December 2006
Police and Central Intelligence Organisation officers are being
accused of trying to block a countrywide initiative known as the Radio
Communication Project. The project launched some years ago by several NGO's
is meant to penetrate the remotest rural parts of Zimbabwe via the
distribution of radios for locals to be able to listen to independent news
broadcasts from outside the country. Attempts to distribute 8 radios in
Mberengwa East have attracted the attention of the CIO who are allegedly
following up on some of the recipients and taking the radios away.
A statement from Sekai Holland the Secretary for Policy Research in
the Tsvangirai MDC says communities in the area 'have organised themselves
and taken time to train, and to take turns as groups, to listen to local and
external broadcasts of their choice. Radios are being distributed to local
focal persons, identified as such by communities themselves, at the local
level, even in these remote areas.'
Thomas Shoko one of those who received a radio under the project, had
this taken away from him by CIO officers at Mataga growth point on Thursday
last week. Shoko is a well-known activist who has been severely tortured by
youth militia in the past. Sarudzai Dube the local Women's Clubs Trainer
also had a radio taken away from her over the weekend. Security agents came
to her house while she was away and threatened her child into handing over
Dube is also a well-known activist in the area and had been identified
as a key team leader for the project. Just like Shoko she has been harassed
by the state in the past and had her home burnt down during the run up to
the 2000 parliamentary election by ruling party thugs. The press statement
says witnesses in both cases have identified the Mataga police and CIO as
having taken both radios.
Sicino Dube, the Midlands South Province Chairperson for the
Tsvangirai MDC, told Newsreel the police and CIO are telling the club
members that they believe the radios have 'suspicious' contents and that
they will return them after completing their investigations.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
News has just come in that Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
members, identified by rural communities in Gokwe District, the Midlands
North Province, as focal persons for their Radio Communication Project had
their radios seized by local CIO operatives. Raymond Majongwe is the
Secretary General of PTUZ. When teachers explained that their radios were
distributed by their Union, they were asked to produce their Union
membership cards. Having done so, CIO still took away the radios.
Radios were distributed to them last week. However news is that communities
whose radios were removed are responding with displeasure.
The Radios are a popular phenomenon in rural life. They provide the latest
news, local and international and link up these isolated areas to one
another, and with the rest of the world.
Mberengwa was the first district to raise an alarm this afternoon after the
Mataga CIO operating from Mataga Police station took away 2 radios, one from
Thomas Shoko, last Saturday and the other from Mrs Sarudzai Dube, late last
The alert has been raised nationally that this is the latest CIO project.
Signed: Sekai Holland
By Jonga Kandemiiri
04 December 2006
The Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has filed an appeal seeking to overturn a ruling
by the Canadian justice minister saying the country does not have the legal
right to pursue President Robert Mugabe for alleged serious violations of
A spokesman for the civic group said it filed an appeal three days ago and
is waiting for a judicial ruling on the question.
Canadian Justice Minister Vic Toews told Canadian parliamentarian Keith
Martin, a Liberal, that Canada has no jurisdiction to indict Mr. Mugabe for
crimes against humanity because he has immunity as a sitting head of state
and because the crimes which he is alleged to have committed have no direct
link with Canada.
The expatriate group says Mr. Mugabe is responsible for the deaths of at
least 20,000 people in Matabeleland in the early 1980s, among other alleged
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum Executive Director Gabriel Shumba told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that his group is also looking at
the possibility of legal action against Mr. Mugabe in New Zealand.
From The Herald, 4 December
(extract from a longer article)
President Mugabe yesterday said there should be an inventory of the more
than 400 tractors the Government released about 18 months ago to support the
agrarian reforms. Some of the tractors have reportedly been stripped of
parts while others cannot be accounted for. The President said this during a
briefing with Mashonaland Central political and traditional leaders at Nyava
Secondary School in Musana where he handed over 100 computers and 20
printers to 10 secondary schools in the province. Mashonaland Central
Governor Cde Ephraim Masawi had told the President that the province needed
to know what would happen with the latest consignment of tractors, which
were allocated to the province by the Reserve Bank. Cde Masawi said there
was confusion regarding the consignment as his office had been asked by the
RBZ to compile a list of beneficiaries yet Agribank had also been collating
another list. The Deputy Minister of Youth Development and Employment
Creation, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, suggested that the tractors be transferred
to the District Development Fund so that it would assist communal farmers
under its tillage programme. He further recommended that commercial farmers
access the machinery through DDF.
Cde Mugabe then asked about the condition of the 400 tractors. Brigadier
General Douglas Nyikayaramba, who is involved with Operation Maguta, told
the President that some of the machines, which had been put under the
Agricultural Rural Development Authority, had been cannibalised while others
had gone missing. President Mugabe said Arda was "rotten" and needed a
complete overhaul as its operations and administration were in shambles.
"Arda yakaora karekare. Matractor ose akaparara," the President later told
the thousands of people gathered to witness the hand-over of the computers.
In his address to the crowd, Cde Mugabe said the Government wanted to see
farmers doubling yields through maximising production. He said this could
only be achieved through heeding advice from Agricultural Research and
Extension Services officials. The Mashonaland Central leadership needed to
ensure that there were enough agricultural inputs in the province and report
back to the Zanu PF Annual National People's Conference to be held in
The Government was working on ways to empower Zimbabweans to venture into
the mining sector where some companies, the President said, had been letting
the country down through under-declaring profits and externalising foreign
currency. He, however, urged indigenous businesspeople to be patient and not
expect to reap instant wealth, saying a get-rich-quick mentality led to
corrupt practices. "Vamwe vanoti vavamba nhasi, voti zvinhu ngazvinake
nhasi. Aiwa, hatidi chikuruku isu," he said. He praised people of
Mashonaland Central for overwhelmingly voting for Zanu PF during the last
rural district council elections in August, saying only through the ballot
were leaders selected. It was only Zimbabweans who had the legitimate and
sole right to change the Government through the ballot, and not Western
powers, he said. "Vana Blair vakamboedzawo kuita regime change as vakati
fototo. Tikati asi munopenga? Simba rekuchinja hurumende munoriwanepi?
Chionai zvavakaita kuIraq. The golden key of regime change is in the hands
of Zimbabweans and we will not let it go." The President urged politicians
to respect the people who vote for them and to constantly come back to them
to hear their grievances. He warned those who neglect voters, saying the
people will reject them come election time. He also spoke about the
presidential succession issue, saying some politicians were consulting
spirit mediums to enhance their chances. Some had been given snuff to
sprinkle at State House so that they would be the next President, he said,
to laughter from the crowd. He, however, said this was not how it should be
done, as leaders were chosen by the people according to their deeds.
From Zim Online (SA), 4 December
Civic group refuses to give up on Mugabe prosecution
Harare - Zimbabwean human rights group says it will appeal against Canada's
refusal to indict President Robert Mugabe over human rights violations. The
Pretoria-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), which has been pushing for
Mugabe's indictment in Canadian courts, says they are seeking a judicial
review on the ruling. Last week, Canada refused to charge Mugabe over human
rights violations saying it had no jurisdiction to prosecute the veteran
Zimbabwean leader. Canada also said Mugabe enjoyed immunity as head of state
and the crimes he is alleged to have committed had no direct links with
Canada. But Gabriel Shumba, the executive director of the ZEF said: "We are
going to get a judicial review of the decision on Mugabe and we have thirty
days in which to appeal. I am already working on this with some lawyers in
Canada. Presidential immunity for crimes against humanity is a moribund
excuse. We are not going to rest until justice is achieved. By this same
token, we are also studying other jurisdictions in which Mugabe can be sued
even through private prosecution like New Zealand. Secondly, as part of our
appeal, we are going to press the Canadians to at least indict some of
Mugabe's ministers, since they don't enjoy head of state immunity," said
Shumba, a human rights lawyer who fled Zimbabwe in 2003 after being tortured
by state security agents. Shumba said there was enough evidence to charge
Mugabe for crimes against humanity citing the murder of at least 20 000
minority Ndebeles in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces in the early
1980s. Several local and international human rights groups have often
accused Mugabe of committing serious human rights violations against
political opponents. Mugabe denies the charge.
4 December 2006
The arrested Women of Zimbabwe Arise and supporters did not appear in court as expected because Bulawayo police reportedly failed to come up with arresting affidavits. 40 people from the pressure group, including four members from Men of Zimbabwe Arise, who were released into the custody of their lawyer on Friday, reported at Bulawayo Central Monday. But group coordinator Jenni Williams said the police could not take the group to court to officially charge them because they could not provide arresting statements. They were released after the police said they will proceed by way of summons.
She said; “A police officer called us and said it seemed he was not getting any affidavits from the arresting details and as a result he agreed to release us and to proceed by way of summons.”
Williams believes the police knew the case would be thrown out of court saying; “Normally WOZA wins all its court cases…you cannot criminalise freedoms of expression and assembly, so they know it’s a futile cause. And the most important reason is because of the brutality that we experience at the hands of those riot police on Wednesday.”
The security forces unleashed an orgy of violence against the pressure group who were launching their People’s Charter outside the government’s offices in Bulawayo last week. Scores were beaten and arrested, including children. WOZA said several sustained serious injuries, including an 18 month old baby and an elderly woman from Insiza.
Williams said most of the injured are doing well but expressed concern for the elderly woman. “Initial medical help sought was that they couldn’t treat her and they may have to amputate her leg,” she said.
The WOZA coordinator said the woman is being monitored regularly saying; “We pray that she won’t lose her leg although the doctor has indicated to us that she will be disabled for the rest of her life.”
The way police treated the demonstrators has led the
group to believe this is the reason they have not been taken to court. “They
know that once they prepare these statements and putting names forward and
saying that they arrested us knowing that they brutalized us as they arrested
us, we will then be suing them. But what they don’t know is we have other ways
of getting their names and we will be proceeding to sue them anyway.”
Police Spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena refuses to comment.
By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 12/04/2006 13:38:23
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe will stay on for a further two years when
his term expires in 2008, his spokesman said Saturday.
George Charamba, writing as under the pseudonym Nathaniel Manheru in the
official Herald newspaper announced that the next Presidential elections
will be held in 2010.
The revelations are a final confirmation that Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party
will be making constitutional amendments to bring the Presidential elections
in line with the parliamentary elections which are set to be held in 2010.
Zanu PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira has previously denied that the party is
seeking to postpone the elections to 2010 to buy more time for the ruling
party to deal with its succession politics.
Shamuyarira, who is writing Mugabe's memoirs, is Charamba's senior in the
But Charamba is seen as more closely in touch with Mugabe, and his word is
likely to strike a cord with the President and his advisers.
He wrote in the Herald: "When Zimbabweans go to the polls in 2010, polls to
choose their president and members of parliament, our repining private
media, the British and the Americans will have died from confounded
"That is my prediction. I mean these people - no - these institutions have
built as many scenarios as they have cared to demolish. And each demolition
opens the way for a new round of frenzied speculation, in fact installs a
whole new generation of "knowing" speculators. It has become an obsession."
There has been frenzied reporting in the media that Zanu PF, using its huge
majority in parilament, would push for a constitutional change that will
allow Mugabe's successor to rule for 18 months before the elections are
This, said reports, would also see Mugabe exiting the political arena which
he has dominated for 26 years.
But the latest revelations by his spokesman and trusted lieutenent are
likely to cause consternations within the ruling party's ranks and maybe
scuttle negotiations between churches, Zanu PF and the fractitious
Zanu PF is reeling from serious internal power struggles as a result of the
unresolved succession issue.
Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe's deputy, Joice Mujuru,
are seen as front runners to succeed the veteran leader.
Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo, former Finance Minister Simba Makoni and
central bank governor Gideon Gono are seen as dark horses in the race to
succeed Mugabe who turns 83 next February.
The date for the Presidential elections is likely to be finally agreed when
Zanu PF holds its annual conference in Goromonzi from December 13.
By Sheila Ochi
HARARE - Post-election violence continues to affect supporters of the
main opposition party in Zimbabwe with the MDC claiming that ruling ZANU-PF
supporters and state security agents were stalking its candidates, polling
agents and known sympathizers following the recent rural elections.
Nelson Chamisa, the spokesman for the larger wing of the splintered
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said many of his party's
officials in rural areas where elections were held had been forced into
ZANU-PF won the majority of seats contested in rural district council
elections held recently. The party also won Kadoma town mayoral polls
conducted on the same day. The opposition has said violence against its
supporters and vote rigging robbed it of victory.
But even after the elections, violence against the opposition has
escalated and our reporters witnessed some of the opposition supporters
limping from heavy assaults.
Chamisa said: "ZANU-PF knows it stole the election. It knows that it
has no support in the rural areas as it publicly claims using stolen
elections as proof. It has since embarked on a drive to completely seal off
the rural areas from us. We had made great strides in these areas and even
our democratic resistance program had gathered momentum in the rural areas.
Now our supporters and officials can't even sleep in their own homes because
of the violence."
The post election violence, said Chamisa, was mainly concentrated in
Manicaland and Mashonaland Central provinces.
"Why would a party that genuinely won elections go on a retribution
exercise? The fact is that ZANU-PF knows the true picture, that people, even
the rural folk are tired of its failed policies, hence the move to weed the
areas of the most vocal activists. The police have been unhelpful because in
some instances, they are aiding the ruling party by detaining our supporters
who would have gone to a police station to make a report," he said.
It was not possible to get a comment from ZANU-PF spokesman, Nathan
Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman for Manicaland province said the
party's candidate for Ward Nine in Chipinge North constituency, Philemon
Mupeta, was currently in hospital in the eastern city of Mutare after he
suffered life-threatening injuries.
Muchauraya said Mupeta was assaulted by a mob, which was hired by the
legislator for the area, Morris Sakabuya.
"Sakabuya spotted Mupeta in Mundanda Village and hired some youths who
assaulted our candidate with stones and other objects. He is battling for
life. In Tanganda, Chipinge, the police arbitrarily arrested, detained, and
harassed our polling agents on the voting day. The poling agents were
released after some hours without charge but they could not go back to
monitor the voting process because of fear. We are sure this was all done to
facilitate vote rigging by ZANU-PF. This is a clear case where the taxpayer
is paying state security agents to facilitate vote rigging," said
Muchauraya said several MDC supporters in Nyamajura, a resettlement
area in Odzi, 250 kilometers east of Harare, had fled their homes after
gangs of ZANU-PF supporters began a witch-hunt.
"These families have abandoned their homes because they fear for their
lives. They have young children who are supposed to be attending school and
writing exams, but because of ZANU-PF, they have had to flee. It is like
during the colonial ear when those accused of aiding the liberation struggle
were haunted. Mugabe seems to have learnt well from Ian Smith," said
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 12/05/2006 05:15:34
ZIMBABWE'S central bank governor has been subpoenaed to testify in the
corruption trial of deputy information minister Bright Matonga and former
Zupco chairman, Charles Nherera, it emerged Monday.
The Attorney General's office, meanwhile, is set to drop Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo as a state-witness in the same trial after a
magistrate questioned his credibility during the trial of Charles Nherera,
the former chairman of the United Passenger Company (Zupco), now serving a
three-year jail term.
Nherera is now being jointly charged with Matonga on fresh charges.
Gideon Gono has been called to testify after state witness, Jahesh Shah, the
businessman who stirred trouble for Matonga after recording him while
apparently demanding a bribe, alleged that he first reported the corruption
The central bank chief is said to have foiled an attempt to inflate the
price of the buses.
It is not known when Gono will testify, but legal sources say that will
become clearer next week when a magistrate rules on an application by
Nherera contesting that he has already been tried for the same allegations.
Sources said papers had been sent to Chombo to testify in the same case but
the Attorney General's office is mulling dropping him.
Chombo is already under investigation after another of Shah's tapes emerged.
On the tape, Chombo is heard allegedly soliciting for a bribe from the
businessman who wanted a tender to supply buses to Zupco.
Matonga faces charges of soliciting for bribes from Shah while he was still
Chief Executive Officer at Zupco. A newspaper printed a transcript of what
it says was a taped phone conversation between Matonga and Shah in which the
former demanded bribes for every bus supplied by his company to Zupco.
By Dr Stanford Mukasa
4 December 2006
Dr. Mukasa focuses on the remarkable resemblance between Mugabe and
ZANU PF, with the settler colonial and apartheid regimes in Rhodesia and
South Africa. Dr. Mukasa argues that the best strategy for dealing with
Mugabe is to examine how he came to power and what his real agenda is.
Mugabe the Centaur
The brutal treatment of members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise or WOZA by
the police showed a remarkable similarity between the Mugabe and the
apartheid regimes in South Africa.
On June 26, 1995, at a town called Kliptown in the heart of apartheid
South Africa, nearly 3,000 delegates from all opposition movements came
together under the auspices of the African National Congress . They declared
the Freedom Charter which proclaimed that South Africa belonged to all who
lived in the country. The Freedom Charter also sounded the prophetic voice
that the people shall govern and democracy shall dawn in the land of
apartheid. The Charter declared : Let all who love their people and their
country now say, as we say here: 'These freedoms we will fight for, side by
side, throughout our lives, until we have won our liberty.'
The freedom Charter was one of the most powerful and influential
rallying points for the cause of freedom in apartheid South Africa.
Fifty one years and six months later, on November 30, 2006, a group of
very courageous WOZA issued the People's Charter which declared their
commitment to fighting for justice, equality for all and democracy from the
oppressive regime of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF. WOZA women have proved that
they will back their charter with acts of civil protest which they had waged
bravely for a number of years now.
In apartheid South Africa the regime's police dispersed the delegates
by force. But the delegates had had a chance to declare their Freedom
In the case of WOZA the women never had a chance to proclaim in public
their Charter. Mugabe 's ruthless police broke up the crowd and in the
process ended up arresting women and children. One two -year -old child
suffered a broken leg.
In the case of apartheid South Africa the regime of D.F. Malan and
Hendriek Verwoerd and J. B. Vorster had declared right from the day the
Nationalist Party won in 1948 their intentions to subjugate Blacks whom they
called nonwhites or Bantus.
In the case of Mugabe ZANU PF won the 1980 elections on the promise of
giving Zimbabweans their full democratic rights.
While the actions of the apartheid regime in suppressing the Freedom
Charter proponents will come as no surprise, the suppression of WOZA women
by Mugabe regime's police will be looked at with disbelief, surprise and
Here is a Mugabe who came to power on the credentials of his reported
struggle in the liberation movement to free Blacks from the oppressive
regime of Ian Smith. Now the very same Mugabe is behaving just like, if not
worse than Ian Smith, in depriving people's rights and creating an
oppressive atmosphere that perpetuates the tradition of colonialism and
Where does one begin to understand this mindset and this perpetuation
of the culture of oppression and violence by Mugabe? This is the task for
the opposition movement in Zimbabwe - to closely analyze Mugabe and his
politics in order to come up with the appropriate strategies for dealing
with this dictator. A key question here is: At what point does a hero of the
war for liberation turn into a ruthless dictator?
The WOZA demonstration was peaceful. The WOZA People's Charter was a
non controversial demand for the rights and needs for the people of
Zimbabwe - the very same human rights demands that Mugabe had, in his
liberation war credentials, agitated for. Mugabe had gone to jail under the
Smith regime for advocating exactly what WOZA women were peacefully
Yet Mugabe turns his ruthless police on women and children! In the
process Mugabe had shown a very close resemblance to the apartheid and Ian
Smith regimes. To all intents and purposes, Mugabe and ZANU are the new
apartheid and the new settler colonialists in Zimbabwe. This brings
Zimbabweans back to square one, namely, the situation of colonial
The reality of the Mugabe regime and how he came to power can be
explained within the traditional context of the post colonial state in
Researchers and scholars have argued the classical Marxian view that
the state in a post colonial Africa is, in fact, a private club for the
ruling elites. The intellectuals and other so- called black elite never had
the tradition of agitating for the people's rights with the intention of
giving the people those rights.
The founder of the Italian Communist Party Antonio Gramsci, in his
thesis of hegemony, captures very well the underpinnings of Mugabe's regime.
According to Gramsci intellectuals and elites generate popular goodwill by
virtue of their positions in society, leading them to victory in elections.
But once in power they use it to solidify their positions by invoking the
Machiavellian notion of the Centaur, that is a half- man half- beast,
configuration in which they liberally use ruthless violence against
opposition supporters to perpetuate their so called democratic rule. Mugabe
is a classic case of a modern -day Centaur.
The reality of Mugabe's rule was never based on promoting democracy in
Zimbabwe. Mugabe's so called struggle for liberation was misinterpreted as a
struggle to restore human rights and democracy. On the contrary, Mugabe's
liberation struggle was aimed at giving him power to rule Zimbabweans with
or without their consent.
Before the Lancaster House talks in 1979 Mugabe had always seen
himself, like Fidel Castro or Mao Tse Tung, storming Harare with his freedom
fighters and taking over Zimbabwe by force. But knowing that such a
protracted struggle could eventually have its own dynamic and possibly see
an increasing challenge to his controversial leadership Mugabe had a Plan B
which looked at seeking alliances with the economic elite, normally
commercial farmers, industrialists and manufacturers in the then Rhodesia.
Plan B prevailed in April 1980 when Zimbabwe obtained its
independence. It was indeed a flag independence because it left the colonial
economic structures as well as the repressive legislation intact.
There was a joke among the economic elite, mainly whites, that quoted
them as saying "If we had known the blacks were fighting only for flag
independence and not our wealth we would have given it to them many years
Political economists and historians who have studied patterns of
behaviour among post colonial regimes have observed predictable trends
towards using the state as a basis for self aggrandizement or personal
enrichment. They use the ruling party as a de facto state. In other words,
decisions that affect the nation are taken within the party hierarchy, i.e.
Politburo for Mugabe. In this sense the government and state are seen as
implementers of the party decisions.
Mugabe's strategy in the Zimbabwean political theatre has
traditionally and historically been to balance two interests: economic
support from the business and economic elites, on one hand, and some
political support from the masses. This tenuous balance was nearly
destabilized in the late 1990s when masses started protests against Mugabe's
policies. In 2000 Mugabe took a risky decision to redefine his strategy by
creating or boosting the size and capacity a new economic elite from his
Mugabe is constantly reinventing himself, consolidating his hold on
power through all kinds of strategies regardless of their adverse impact on
the population. He has been inspired by the Chinese model of economic growth
without democracy. He is hoping that his "look East" policy will reap
rewards that will mitigate the suffering of the masses leading them to think
there is a light at the end of the tunnel in Mugabe's regime.
The opposition movement needs to constantly review their strategies
and tailor them to the prevailing geopolitical realities. Old strategies
that did not work should be abandoned in favour new strategies that show
promise of effectively confronting Mugabe. It is in this context that the
WOZA strategy of a public declaration of the People's Charter and their
demonstrations must be seen as a model for opposition agitation for
democracy in Zimbabwe.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By a Correspondent
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday told his party's supporters
in his stronghold of Mashonaland Central that colleagues in the Zanu PF
party and government were trickling to sprinkle snuff (bute) at his official
residence in an effort to take over from him when he eventually leaves
Mugabe is widely expected to live in 2008 but there seems to be moves
from within his party to extend his term to 2010. He said the succession
issue was reaching extremes with those who seek to take over from him
sprinkling snuff (powdered tobacco) in the grounds of his official
residence, Zimbabwe House, and offices, State House so things can come out
in their favour.
Snuff, which is made by selecting tobacco leaf and stalk, is used by n'angas
or traditional doctors, many of whom Mugabe said are reporting brisk
business as his colleagues line up to have their chances of leading Zimbabwe
after him bolstered.
Many in Africa believe traditional healers or n'angas have the power
to help people ascend into positions of authority. The late Malawian
dictator, Kamuzu Banda, was widely believed to possess mysterious powers
thought to have been used to strengthen his position for a long time and
also of other African leaders he was in good books with. Those who do not
possess the same powers as Banda allegedly had, have chief traditional
healers behind them as their sources of power. Tales have been told of how
presidents had to be ordained by n'angas before they sought the people's
vote and many more continue to be told of how those in top government
offices consult traditional leaders from time to time.
Mugabe talked about the snuff at a ceremony where he commissioned an
audit into 400 tractors that were acquired by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
to help the newly resettled farmers. Most of the tractors have reportedly
been striped by senior Zanu PF and government officials said to be
benefiting from such schemes at the expense of the ordinary people. Some of
the tractors are missing and cannot be accounted for.
Praising the people of Mashonaland Central for overwhelmingly
supporting his party in this year's rural elections, Mugabe attacked the
British government and Prime Minister Tony Blair for "attempting to
influence regime change" in Zimbabwe. He said the West should have no say in
Zimbabwean politics, adding only Zimbabweans had the legitimate and sole
right to change their government as and when they saw fit.
"The golden key of regime change is in the hands of Zimbabweans and we
will not let it go."
He doled out computers to rural schools in the province and 11 high
schools from Harare.
Obstacles to the freedom of assembly / Ill-treatments / Arbitrary arrests /
Judicial proceedings - ZWE 002 / 0206 / OBS 015.2
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources, including Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), of new arrests and ill-treatments of
members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA).
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint
programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new
information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation
According to the information received, on November 29, 2006, more than sixty
WOZA members and four MOZA members were arrested, as they were marching
peacefully through central Bulawayo to the government offices at
Mhlanhlandlela, in order to mark the launch of the People's Charter and
the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence", an international campaign
running until International Human Rights Day on December 10, as well as to
protest against the Public Order Security Act (POSA).
The repression of the march was particularly violent insofar as 30 riot
police officers began to assault the peaceful group with baton sticks,
forcefully dispersing most of the group, composed of over 200 participants.
Many people were beaten, including a young baby. Six members were taken to
Mpilo Hospital for medical attention, including one woman whose leg was
broken and who was later transferred to a private hospital for treatment.
According to the information received, 41 persons were taken to Drill Hall,
where they were beaten and harassed by police officers, before being
released without charge on the same day. The others, including WOZA leaders
Mrs. Jenni Williams and Mrs. Magodonga Mahlangu, were taken to Bulawayo
Central Police Station.
Thirty-six members of WOZA and MOZA, including six mothers with babies,
spent the night from November 29 to 30, 2006 at Bulawayo Central. Advocate
Dube, lawyer for WOZA, was also threatened with arrest for "interfering with
the course of justice" whilst trying to attend to her clients. She only
managed to see the group on November 30, 2006, in the afternoon.
On November 30, 2006, the six mothers with babies were released. As of
December 1, 2006, 34 WOZA/ MOZA members remained in police custody, being
illegally detained as they have been arrested since over 48 hours.
The WOZA and MOZA members, including the six mothers released on November
30, who reported back to the Bulawayo Central Police Station on December 1,
2006, were charged under two separate sections of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act: Chapter 46 section 2 (v) - "employing any
means whatsoever which are likely materially to interfere with the ordinary
comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public, or does any act which is
likely create a nuisance or obstruction" and Chapter 37 - "participating in
a public gathering with the intent to cause public disorder, breach of peace
or bigotry". If found guilty, the members could be fined or imprisoned for a
period not exceeding six months or both.
At noon, on December 1, 2006, it still remained unclear whether they would
be taken to court today as the arresting officers had not yet given their
statements for fear of being sued for assault.
The Observatory, recalling that these facts occur in a context of systematic
repression against human rights defenders who try to defend economic and
social rights in Zimbabwe, expresses its deepest concern about those acts of
violence and arbitrary detentions against peaceful marchers, all the more as
they took place on the occasion of the first International Day on Women
Human Rights Defenders, which was celebrated on November 29, 2006.
As a consequence, the Observatory urges the Zimbabwean government to put an
immediate end to such acts of repression.
Background information :
On February 13, 2006, approximately 181 persons, mainly women, who were
demonstrating under the banner of the NGO Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA),
were arrested along with 14 children in central Bulawayo, as they were
dispersing from a peaceful protest against the human rights violations. Four
WOZA leaders, Ms. Jennifer Williams, Ms. Magodonga Mahlangu, Ms. Emily Mpofu
and Ms. Maria Moyo, were among the persons arrested. The detainees were
charged with "organising an illegal gathering" and "obstructing the free
flow of traffic", before being released on bail on May 17, 2006.
Furthermore, on February 14, 2006, more than twenty heavily armed police
officers arrested from 60 to 100 women from WOZA, in Harare, while they were
participating in a peaceful protest against economic and social inequalities
faced by women in Zimbabwe. The women were rounded up and callously loaded
into Harare municipal police trucks, and taken to the police station. Mr.
Tafadzwa Mugabe, a lawyer from the ZLHR rapid reaction unit, was harassed,
insulted and then detained for several hours with his clients, before being
released without any charge being held against him.
On August 28, 2006, the 63 WOZA members were found not guilty by the Rotten
Row Magistrates Court. The trial lasted 14 days.
Nonetheless, harassment of WOZA continued. On August 21, 2006, police
arrested 153 WOZA members, who organised a demonstration in the city of
Bulawayo to protest against the implementation of the Government's Reserve
Bank's monetary policy. They were taken to the Bulawayo, Saucitown,
Mzilikazi, Queens Park and Barbourfields police stations. Several hours
later, their lawyers were able to get 39 of them released on the condition
that they report to the police station everyday until their initial
appearance in court.
In the course of the arrests, Ms. Ephy Khumalo, a WOZA member, fell from the
police van and broke her arm. Several young women complained of beatings
while being interrogated by officers of the Bulawayo Central Police Station.
On August 23, 2006, WOZA members appeared before the Court and were charged
with violating section 37 (1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act. On the same day, all WOZA members were granted free bail and
remanded out of custody.
On October 10, 2006, 152 WOZA members (men and women) appeared in remand
court. The Magistrate then set the trial date for November 7, 2006, at the
Bulawayo Magistrates Court.
Furthermore, 101 other WOZA members, who were prosecuted for the same
charges after having been arrested on September 11, 2006, in Town House,
Harare, whilst protesting against poor service delivery in the capital,
appeared in remand court in Harare on October 5, 2006. The hearing was then
postponed to October 23, 2006, at the Rotten Row Magistrate's Court.
Action requested :
Please write to the Zimbabwean authorities, urging them to :
i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity
of all WOZA and MOZA members, as well as of all human rights defenders in
ii. Order the immediate and unconditional release of all WOZA/MOZA activists
as their detention is arbitrary;
iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment against WOZA/MOZA members and all
human rights defenders in Zimbabwe;
iv. Conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders, in particular its article 1 which states that "Everyone has the
right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive
for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms
at the national and international levels", and article 12.2, providing that
"the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the
competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with
others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure
adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a
consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in
the present Declaration", as well as to comply with the African Charter on
Human and Peoples' Rights, in particular articles 9, 10, 11 and 12, which
guarantee the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association;
v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and
international instruments ratified by Zimbabwe.
* President of Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert G. Mugabe, Office of the President,
Private Bag 7700, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 708 211 * Mr.
Khembo Mohadi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 11th
Floor Mukwati Building, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax :
+263 4 726 716 * Mr. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and
Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs,
Fax: + 263 4 77 29 99 * Mr. Augustine Chihuri, Police Commissioner, Police
Headquarters, P.O. Box 8807, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 253
212 / 728 768 / 726 084 * Mr. Sobuza Gula Ndebele, Attorney-General, Office
of the Attorney, PO Box 7714, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: + 263 4 77 32
47 * Mrs. Chanetsa, Office of the Ombudsman Fax: + 263 4 70 41 19 *
Ambassador Mr. Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the
United Nations in Geneva, Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy,
Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org *
Ambassador Mr. Pununjwe, Embassy of Zimbabwe in Brussels, 11 SQ Josephine
Charlotte, 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 762 96 05 / + 32
2 775 65 10, Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the embassies of Zimbabwe in your respective country.
Geneva - Paris, December 1, 2006
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of
Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time
The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line: Email:
Appeals@fidh-omct.org Tel and fax FIDH: 33 1 43 55 55 05 / 01 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
 November 29 was selected as the day to launch the People's Charter,
which is a result of a yearlong countrywide consultation, demand social
justice for all Zimbabweans, and in particular calls on the State to provide
affordable housing, education and healthcare.
December 04, 2006, 17:15
A new report on female Zimbabwean refugees living in South Africa is to be
released on Thursday. The report was done by three NGO's - the Zimbabwe
Torture Victims/Survivors Project (ZTVP), the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
and the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation.
A recent report also by the ZTVP claimed these women had been subjected to
state violence and torture in Zimbabwe. The report was written to coincide
with South Africa's 16-day campaign against women and child abuse. The
earlier report shows that 15% of these women reported of being raped, while
others say they were subjected to beatings, burnings, electric shocks, and
'falanga', or beatings of the soles of the feet.
This violence was reportedly inflicted by supporters of Zanu(PF), war
veterans, Zimbabwean police, the army, and the country's Central
Comment from The Sunday Mail, 3 December
By Munyaradzi Huni
For a moment, let us turn a blind eye to the source of the money that's
turning Zimbabwe, and especially Harare, into some sort of New York in
Africa. The cars, the houses, the fashion, the lavish spending and the
appetite for the good life are just incredible. It's as if tomorrow will
never come. Some Zimbabweans are just in love with the good life and they
will stop at nothing to spoil themselves. This group of fun-loving
Zimbabweans makes it difficult for one to imagine that this country is under
sanctions, they make it difficult for one to understand that inflation is
hovering above the 1 000 percent mark and they make it difficult to
understand that the country has scarce foreign currency. If you come across
these Zimbabweans, it is difficult to imagine that the majority of the
working class is getting salaries that are far below the Poverty Datum Line
and it is difficult to imagine that the country is facing numerous economic
challenges. Their lifestyles tell the story of a people with what some call
"excess liquidity", and to them the motto seems to be "haikona kuchengeta
mari, mari ngaikuchengete".
Watching the flow of traffic from the balcony of one of the high-rise
buildings in Harare, one gets the impression that there is a vehicle scheme
somewhere where some people are getting the latest cars for free. The latest
Mercedes-Benzes, the BMWs, the Pajeros, the Lexus, the new Mazda and Toyota
double cabs that appear like "oversize beasts" and many other luxury models
cruise the streets giving the city an expensive look. These latest "babies",
as those with an obsession with cars call them, are not only expensive to
maintain but are fuel guzzlers with reports that some of them require two
full tanks for a one-way trip to Bulawayo. One insurance company in Harare
last week confirmed that the monthly insurance for one of these latest
"babies" is enough to buy a modest house in the medium-density suburbs. And
now listen to this - some of these latest vehicles are being imported from
as far as Germany and the UK. Talk of foreign currency shortages!
Away from these latest beasts on the road, if one takes a drive around some
of the leafy suburbs in Harare, he or she would be tempted to think that the
country has some stadiums hidden in these suburbs, yet these are residential
properties. In posh suburbs like Borrowdale Brooke, Glen Lorne, Kambanji,
Umwinsdale and many others, contractors have to destroy some little
mountains in order to build the palatial homes that from a distance look
like a block of flats at a tertiary institution. Most of the materials used
to build and furnish these houses are imported from as far as Egypt, Dubai,
China and Italy. Thousands of US dollars are splashed on the purchase of the
materials and the owners seem immune to the high costs. The "Houses for
Sale" column of the daily and weekly newspapers are dominated by adverts of
residential properties that are going for a minimum of $500 million. A quick
check with some estate agents shows that these houses are being bought
almost on a daily basis. "You think these properties are expensive, but we
have clients that buy them almost daily," said one sales executive with a
leading estate agent. Do things really need to get to a point where one
builds a house that is so big that he or she needs about an hour to walk
from one end to the other?
As if the beasts of the road and the stadium-like houses are not enough,
these people live expensive lifestyles that see them spending up to $10
million in just one weekend. When such people hold their parties, they buy
canned beer, they buy expensive wine and sumptuous food so much that one is
tempted to think that after the party, they will be broke for months, but
see them the morning after the party, they will be pushing at least four
trolleys full of foodstuffs. That's how cheap life is to these people. Or
the next day you could see the whole family eating out at an expensive
restaurant where they could go on to chew another $5 million on food and
drinks. As they go out, members of one family could be wearing clothes whose
price tag is enough to buy a residential stand in the high-density suburbs.
And for what they call contingent measures, about $10 million would be
stashed in the boot of daddy's car and out they go to have the time of their
lives. But before all that, the wife and daughters will pay a visit to the
hair salon where a hairdo will reduce their bank balance by $100 000 or more
while the manicure and the pedicure would require about $50 000. That's how
much it costs to look good.
And for the sake of communication daddy has two mobile phones that cost
about $400 000 each while each family member has a cellphone that cost not
less that $150 000. Such families get worried when their gardeners and maids
have cellphones that cost less than $50 000. During days that daddy decides
to go out with the boys, he will have to leave the "official beast" of the
road that is meant for trips to work and jump into a "small baby" that's
meant for pleasure. Buying the "small baby" would have also cost a fortune.
Some people would have to work 24 hours a day for 50 years to be able to buy
this "small baby". Daddy and friends will go to a show where the cover
charge is $15 000 and where a pint of beer costs no less than $2 500. On
most occasions, daddy will pay entrance fees for his six or so friends and
foot the beer bill the whole night. In just one night, $150 000 will be
blown with no regrets. The temptation here is for some people to say, "Well
that's the lifestyle being lived by very few people", but just visit any of
the nightclubs and restaurants during the weekend and they will be packed
with such lavish spenders. Some are even extending their spending sprees to
Sunday and Monday.
And now that the festive season is upon us, the thinking among those outside
our borders is that Zimbabweans must be surviving on roots, wild fruits and
so on, but the reality is that some Zimbabweans are having the time of their
lives. They have taken their spending habits to new levels and soon the
party will roll until next year. Some Zimbabweans just love their fun and
they are spoiling themselves so much that the devil must be speechless. Of
course, not all Zimbabweans are living a lavish life but there is a sizeable
clique that has made it their business to just live large. The million
dollar question is: Where are these people getting all this money? But that
is another story that deserves to be told another day. Who said it's all
doom and gloom in Mother Zimbabwe?
By Sheila Ochi
HARARE - The conviction of Saddam Hussein on crimes against humanity
charges should send warning bells to President Robert Mugabe, a rights group
fighting for the indictment of the 82-year-old leader on similar charges has
Hussein, toppled by the United States in 2003, was sentenced to death
by hanging by an Iraq court for ordering mass killings of rivals in the
1980s when he ruled Iraq with a strong arm. He is appealing against the
judgment, which his lawyers have described as political.
Gabriel Shumba, the ZEF executive director said the fact that Saddam
was convicted on crimes that he committed while still in power meant Mugabe
and his cronies would have to answer for the human rights abuses, torture
and mass killings they have committed over the past 26 years.
"ZEF believes that together with the Augustino Pinochet, Charles
Taylor, and other recent cases, this case sends an unequivocally clear and
resounding message to dictators and perpetrators of serious crimes under
international and national laws. ZEF hopes that this loud message will not
escape the ears of tyrants like President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and all
those who serve under him in the commission of torture and other crimes
against humanity," read part of Shumba's statement.
The statement said Shumba was in Canada to urge that country to study
the feasibility of invoking its universal jurisdiction and international
laws towards the possible prosecution of those who are committing widespread
atrocities in Zimbabwe, in particular those atrocities affecting women and
Shumba, a human rights lawyer, fled Zimbabwe in 2003 after being
tortured by intelligence officers and the police for representing an
opposition MP, Job Sikhala.
Shumba also has a pending case at the African Commission, in which he
is suing the Zimbabwe government for torture.
He has joined other activists calling on Mugabe to be charged with
crimes against humanity.
Observers have noted that Mugabe might be driving to die in office to
escape being charged for crimes against humanity. Ruling ZANU-PF party
spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira told state radio last month that presidential
elections set for 2008 might be pushed further to 2010.
This has fuelled observers to say Mugabe wants to use his party's
Parliamentary majority to stay in power till his death and escape possible
punishment for his repressive rule.
The former guerrilla is accused of sending a crack army brigade into
Midlands and Matebeleland province in the 1980s where 20 000 people,
including children and pregnant women, were butchered and buried in shallow
graves and mine shafts.
Mugabe then claimed that he was pursuing dissidents, but has since
said he regretted ever taking that decision. The man who actively commanded
the brigade responsible for the killings, Perence Shiri, has since been
promoted to head the country's air force.
Calls for Mugabe's indictment grew louder last month when he endorsed
the torture of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders while
they were in police custody. Mugabe said the ZCTU leaders, some who suffered
serious head injuries, deserved the beatings for daring challenge his
authority. This was after the ZCTU had organized street protests to press
for better salaries and access to HIV/AIDS drugs for workers.
Shumba said: "Although we deplore the death penalty as a method of
punishment, we welcome this news as a triumph for international law and
trends. Saddam`s conviction is somewhat a vindication of the Iraq judicial
system at a time when that country is still in transition. It indeed signals
that country's return to the rule of law and is an emphatic warning to
people like President Robert Mugabe and those who serve him in the
commission of gross human rights violations. It heralds and end to the age
of impunity for grave crimes and offers succor for victims of state
sanctioned atrocities. Heads of State can now not claim immunity for crimes
committed while they are in office, and President Robert Mugabe and others
should be warned."