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of Terror Win Appeal To Zimbabwe Supreme Court
01 July 2009
court Wednesday handed down a crushing blow to the
government's case against
a group of Movement for Democratic Change
Seven people who were accused of terrorism will have their
referred to the Supreme Court to decide whether their
were violated when they were allegedly abducted and
tortured last year.
High court judge Charles Hungwe on Wednesday
reprimanded state prosecutors
for failing to prepare their case adequately,
saying he had no alternative
in allowing the seven accused to have their
case referred to the Supreme
The seven accused argued that the
terrorism charges against them should be
dismissed because their
constitutional rights were violated when they were
abducted from their
homes, held incommunicado and tortured into making
The Zimbabwe government claims the seven people - most of them
supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change - were
involved in plots
against President Robert Mugabe.
Their lawyer Alex
Muchadahama told the court there was no evidence against
any them beyond one
confession extracted under torture.
In a related case, a senior official
in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
party will stand trial in Zimbabwe in
October on terrorism charges, his
lawyer said on Wednesday.
Bennett, the MDC's treasurer-general, was arrested in February, accused
plotting against the Mugabe government. He will go on trial in the
city of Mutare, charged with illegal possession of arms for purposes
terrorism and banditry. He denies the charges but faces life in jail if
Bennett is also deputy agriculture minister designate in
the four month old
government of national unity but Mugabe says he will not
be sworn into
office until he is cleared of all charges.
defense laywers say the cases against MDC officials and supporters
slowly crumbling, fear persists.
Freelance journalist Andrisen Manyere,
who was in court Wednesday, said he
has been visited late at night by groups
of plain clothes state security
agents eight times in the last three
Sekeramayi denies CIO involvement in abductions
HARARE - State Security Minister, Sydney Sekeramayi has denied the
involvement of State security agents in the abduction last year of six
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists and a freelance journalist.
(Pictured: Sydney Sekeramayi State Security Minister)
activists - Kisimusi Dhlamini, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Chinoto
Nkomo, Regis Mujeye, Mapfumo Garutsa and journalist Andrison
Manyere - were
granted their application to have their matter referred to
the Supreme Court
by the High Court.
The seven were due to stand trial on terrorism charges
this week but their
lawyers filed an application for referral to the Supreme
They are seeking a permanent stay of prosecution saying their
rights were violated when they were seized from their different
year by State agents and kept in secret detention for
The activists also allege torture at the hands of the secret
were trying to force them to admit to committing acts of bombing
Harare police stations, a railway line and a bridge near the town of
between August and November last year.
Charles Hungwe on Wednesday dismissed the State's attempts
to block the case
from being referred to the highest court in the land.
He berated State
prosecutor, Chris Mutangadura for "wasting the court's
time" by proffering
what he found as ridiculous reasons in his attempt to
stop the Supreme Court
Mutangadura contended that the allegations of torture by State
agents made by the accused persons should not be viewed adequate
stop their prosecution.
He further suggested the court
should institute a parallel process to look
into the claims by the accused
persons while their trial was in progress.
In an attempt to support his
case, Mutangadura produced an uncommissioned
affidavit which he claimed was
"It is denied that the applicants were kidnapped or
abducted at all by State
Security Agents," Sekeramayi's affidavit
"I therefore cannot be obliged to have the so-called 'kidnappers
abductors' identified, because there are no kidnappers and abductors to
Sekeramayi, who was defence minister at the time, went
further to accuse the
MDC activists of claiming they were abducted and
tortured in a bid to
prevent their prosecution in the alleged
"The applicants are therefore deliberately and desperately
security agents as 'kidnappers' in order to whip up emotions
attention of the court from the substance of criminal
"It is denied that the Ministry of Security ever admitted that
kidnappings ever took place," he said.
Sekeramayi's was referring
to an affidavit filed by his predecessor, Didymus
Mutasa early this year
when he ordered the State not to reveal the names of
the said State security
agents for fear of compromising the clandestine
operations of the
He said nowhere in Mutasa's affidavit was it mentioned that State
agents were responsible for the abductions.
summarily dismissed the assertion by Sekeramayi.
Makoni launches new political party
DR Simba Makoni with wife, Chipo, at launch of party on
Wednesday. Behind Mrs Makoni is Fay Chung, education minister from 1988 to
By Our Correspondent
HARARE – Former Finance Minister and Zanu PF politburo member, Simba Makoni,
launched his Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn party on Wednesday morning in Harare.
Makoni’s promised to bring what he called “real
change” at the launch ceremony attended by about 300 people at the Stodart Hall
“We promise you real change not the one where people bicker over cars and on
what document should be used as the basis for change,” said Makoni.
Makoni was flanked by his wife Chipo and former Mavambo-Kusile-Dawn party
spokesperson and now interim chairperson Godfrey Chanetsa.
Makoni said he believed that there is urgent need to open up the democratic
space in Zimbabwe.
“We believe it is necessary to open the democratic space some more,” said
Makoni drawing applause from a crowd that also included a handful of diplomats
from both African and western countries.
“We yearn for truly competitive politics, we want to do away with the era of
the de-facto one party state which led to a decade of a two horse race which has
not served the people of Zimbabwe well and has not brought the democracy,” said
He said the people of Zimbabwe are being starved of political choices
following the formation of the all inclusive government.
“We believe that our coming will offer the people of Zimbabwe more democratic
choices because there is now a choice of two in one,” said Makoni referring to
the formation of a unity government between MDC and Zanu-PF.
He referred to his former party Zanu-PF as the former ruling party while he
derided the MDC as the ruling party. He then made a mockery of a party he
referred to as MDC-PF.
Makoni paid tribute to Joshua Nkomo whom he described as a “towering
visionary” saying he led the struggle for Zimbabwe. He also had kind words for
Edgar Tekere, Enock Dumbutshena and Morgan Tsvangirai whom he said paved the way
for the Zimbabwe of today where multiple political parties exist.
“They prepared the ground for the contest to further advance the frontiers of
democracy,” said Makoni.
“We are committed to the raising of the contest from the contest of power to
that of participation and cooperation.”
Makoni said his party’s envisages a Zimbabwe that respects the rights of
“Our vision is of a Zimbabwe where rights of every Zimbabwean are respected
and protected,” said Makoni.
He added that his party will ensure that property rights and rights of people
living in the Diaspora to participate in issues of the country are
He said he will work to depoliticize the civil and security sectors.
Turning onto the five-month old all inclusive government, Makoni said the two
political parties must immediately work towards national healing, restoration of
civil liberties and economic and social viability.
“I believe this is the platform for real change for Zimbabwe, we in MKD offer
ourselves to work towards the success of this transitional government,” said
With the launch, Makoni has set himself on a collision course with his
disgruntled colleagues who recently took him to court over accountability
He refused to take questions saying he was to hold a press conference later
in the day.
Bennett remanded to October for trial
By Violet Gonda
1 July 2009
Mutare magistrate remanded Roy Bennett, the MDC Deputy Agriculture
nominee to 13 October, for the commencement of his trial. Bennett,
also the MDC Treasurer General, was arrested in February and spent a
in a Mutare remand prison. This was following allegations he conspired
jailed Peter Hitschmann in 2006 to possess dangerous weapons with the
intention of using them for purposes of banditry, insurgency, sabotage and
terrorism. Bennett denies the charge. Ironically Hitschmann gave his own
evidence about this in court, and was acquitted on the firearms
On Wednesday Bennett's lawyer, Trust Maanda told SW Radio Africa
he was not
happy with the date given for the commencement of trial. He
State of using delaying tactics by coming up with a date that
was too far,
'to keep his client on remand forever.'
The defence team
had warned the State it was going to apply for refusal for
further remand if
the prosecutor did not come up with a trial date prior to
hearing. Maanda said his client should go to trial at a
reasonable time to
remove this spectrum of prosecution over his head.
The lawyer said: "The
State was not ready for trial and they did not want
him to be removed from
remand and so they had to come up with a trial date -
which they know that,
if they were to put it so far away they will try to
put their house in
order. But we are not happy with this long period
between now and the trial
Meanwhile, the Magistrate agreed to relax Bennett's stringent bail
conditions because of the lengthy period before the commencement of trial.
Maanda said instead of reporting to the police once a week, his client will
now only report twice a month.
Bennett is the MDC's Deputy Minister
of Agriculture designate but is yet to
be sworn in. The MDC has said Mugabe
is refusing to swear him in saying he
faces serious charges.
party said in a statement: "The MDC is concerned by the continued
and arrests of its MPs and officials by the State on trumped-up
fact that his case has been remanded further by almost four
this is just political persecution and the State has no
linking the Deputy Minister designate to any crime."
The MDC called for
the immediate swearing-in of Bennett as the Deputy
saying he is innocent until proven guilty.
says Zwizwai diamond killings denial 'unfortunate and inaccurate'
1 July 2009
Last week Murisi Zwizwai, the MDC Deputy Minister of
Mines and Mining
Development, told a meeting of the Kimberley Process in
Namibia there were
no killings in the Chiadzwa diamond mining area. In spite
accounts the official told the international scheme, that
tries to curb the
sale of 'blood diamonds,' that claims of massacres that
took place in the
diamond fields were a result of 'unsubstantiated
But on Wednesday his own party distanced itself from the Deputy
comments. The MDC said in a strongly worded statement that
were 'unfortunate and inaccurate'.
Zwizwai had told
delegates at the Namibian conference: "Contrary to
allegations in the media,
nobody was killed by security forces during an
operation at Marange, where
about 30,000 people descended onto the alluvial
people comprised of cunning, die-hard illegal diamond diggers. This
compelled government to conduct a special operation to flush out the illegal
diamond miners and to bring order and sanity to the area."
his MDC party said in their statement: "We view the remarks as
inaccurate in the absence of an investigation into the murky
dealings in the
Chiadzwa diamond fields where a lot of things happened out
of the public
eye. Hon Zwizwai's claims are therefore fact-hostile and
The party called for a thorough investigation by the
and Parliament into the goings-on in Chiadzwa. "We
believe that a thorough
investigation will enable the inclusive government
to come clean on what
really transpired before senior government officials
seek refuge in denial,"
the statement said.
Human rights groups have
called for Zimbabwe's expulsion from the Kimberley
Process, as a result of
gross rights abuses that took place in Marange's
diamond fields. The
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights estimates that 5,000
people were arrested
by soldiers, some of them tortured and there were even
claims that scores of
people were buried in mass graves 'to hide the regime's
Most recently, Human Rights Watch issued a detailed report of
including hundreds of cases of child labour.
At the same
time Marange MDC MP Shuah Mudiwa, who has been jailed for seven
reportedly ready to reveal the location of a mass grave site -
victims of the massacre were allegedly buried.
In Wednesday's statement, the
MDC said whatever happened at Chiadzwa remains
shrouded in secrecy as there
is 'no public information as to how much the
country has accrued from the
diamond fields where ordinary Zimbabweans were
displaced to make way for
politically-connected fat cats and politicians.'
The party reiterated
that there are unconfirmed allegations of mass graves
and massive looting
which cannot be easily dismissed in the absence of an
We were not able to reach the Deputy Minister for a
PF militias back in action in rural areas
By Tichaona Sibanda
There are reports suggesting ZANU PF backed militias have been
to play a pivotal role in mobilising people in rural areas to
participate in the constitution making process.
might have 'laid down' their weapons, their mere presence has
tensions and fears that they might be resuming the type of violence
plagued the MDC during last year's presidential elections.
correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us most militias have been deployed in
areas where the MDC made major inroads in last year's polls. He said ZANU PF
fears if its supporters do not particpate in the reform exercise, the
consequences could be dire for the party.
"Already there have been
skirmishes involving these militias and officials
from the MDC in Mutare,
Masvingo and some parts of Mashonaland central. The
militias are forcing
people to attend local or provincial conferences and
push for the Kariba
draft to be used as a reference point in drawing up a
Since last month authorities in the country have started
the process to draw
up a new constitution under the shaky unity government,
amidst a widespread
political climate of fear and mistrust, and a devastated
Since independence the country has followed the Lancaster House
constitution, but since then the ZANU PF led government has added 18
subsequent amendments to the Constitution, strengthening presidential powers
and turning Zimbabwe into an authoritarian country.
In 2001 an
attempt to introduce a new constitution was voted off in a
a fierce campaign by civil society to oppose the
repressive regime. Yet,
even though the opposition successfully led a
NO-vote, important issues such
as the unlimited term of the President,
powers of the executive and land
reform remain unresolved.
under fire for glossing over unity govt problems
By Lance Guma
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is facing criticism from his own
who accuse him of playing down simmering tensions and cracks
within the 4
month coalition government. Harrison Mudzuri, the MP for Zaka
complained to journalists in Masvingo that the Prime Minister was
violations of the unity deal being perpetrated by ZANU PF. Mudzuri
Tsvangirai was not listening to complaints emanating from party
regarding political violence and harassment in their
"Our Prime Minister and party leader is just pretending that
right in the country when nothing has changed. In fact our members
harassed and arrested everyday, and when you try to tell the Prime
he will say that such complaints will undermine the inclusive
Mudzuri claimed. He said party supporters are being beaten up
particularly in areas like Zaka. The remarks come in the wake of
of Marange MP Shuah Mudiwa, and insurgency and banditry charges
Bennett and other opposition activists, among other
MDC ministers boycotted a cabinet sitting unilaterally brought
Monday. They argued this was an attempt to prevent Tsvangirai
the regular Tuesday meeting since Mugabe was traveling to
Libya on the day.
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe issued a statement
expressing her party's frustration with ZANU PF's attitude. Khupe
that although they were committed to the unity deal they had a
'constitutional right to consider disengagement.' Her statement seemed to
suggest an MDC pull-out from the coalition was imminent.
Tuesday Tsvangirai poured cold water on those threats by telling
the MDC would not pull out of the coalition government. "There
is no pulling
out of the agreement. That is why we have to follow-up on our
letter to SADC
so that they can come and talk over these matters. There is
no reason to
fear that the government will collapse or that the MDC will
pull out of the
agreement," he said. Several months ago Tsvangirai made a
after his Secretary General Tendai Biti issued a party
ultimatum over the
outstanding issues. A few days later Tsvangirai told the
newspaper there was no deadline.
Commentators are haggling over why
Tsvangirai has adopted this 'softly
softly' approach to dealing with Mugabe.
Some MP's in his party are worried
the strategy will weaken the party's
bargaining power and consolidate Mugabe's
grip on power. His advisors
however argue that confrontation will not
produce any results. Tsvangirai
told a private meeting of MDC structures in
Bulawayo several months ago that
he would not adopt 'mega-phone diplomacy'
in his dealings with
Meanwhile the state media has continued its onslaught on the
and his overseas trip. They maintained that Tsvangirai had
failed to get
Western countries to remove targeted sanctions placed on the
and that this was the 'assignment' given to him by Mugabe. The
was particularly peeved that Finance Minister Tendai Biti
million in aid from the Chinese. They accused the MDC of
hijacking ZANU PF's
look east policy after failing to get enough money from
to fund reconstruction efforts.
complaints from the MDC about this 'hate speech' from the
nothing has changed. The Prime Minister has meanwhile defended
publication of a 4-page newsletter from his office saying this was in
with modern technology.
"What's wrong with that? I have a website, these
are communication tools.
Who is complaining? If there are any complaints,
they will be raised in
Cabinet and I will respond," he said.
Relatives to help in prisoners' upkeep
Chirinda Wednesday 01 July 2009
Zimbabwe's cash strapped government has asked family and relatives
inmates in the country's overcrowded jails to help provide for their
by donating food, blankets, clothes and other essentials.
Minister Jessie Majome, told ZimOnline yesterday that the
to allow relatives of prisoners to buy essential
necessities to improve
their stay behind bars.
"We are trying to do everything humanly possible
to take care of our
prisoners but the government has no money and the state
of prisons is
disastrous," said Majome in an interview.
"We have since passed a resolution allowing relatives of
prisoners to buy
them prison clothes, blankets, jerseys, food and many other
long as they meet prison requirements."
Zimbabwe's prisons have long been
considered virtual death houses with
hundreds of inmates reportedly dying in
the jails because of diseases and an
acute shortage of food.
rights watchdog, Amnesty International reported two weeks ago that 1
prisoners have died since the beginning of the year.
According to local
prisoner's rights group Zimbabwe Association for Crime
Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) at least two inmates
die everyday due
to hunger and disease at Chikurubi and Harare Central - the
Harare, which earlier this year allowed the Red Cross
access to jails to
help feed and clothe inmates, admits dire conditions in
But the government blames the situation in jails on Western
imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle that it
damaged the economy and crippled the government's ability to carry
functions, including providing for prisoners. - ZimOnline
International Jurist Visits Zimbabwe to Assess Human Rights
By Jonga Kandemiiri
The deputy secretary general of the International Commission of
week launched a three-day mission in the country to assess
Wilder Tayler arrived in Harare late Monday
and immediately met with members
of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions and other non-governmental
Tayler was also expected to meet with members of the
Attorney Otto Saki of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Taylor's purpose in
Zimbabwe was to directly
gather information on the state of human rights.
Many Zimbabwe Lawmakers
of PM Tsvangirai's Party Face Charges; Bias Alleged
Though Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reassured the country on
Tuesday that the government was not in danger of falling apart over differences
among its partners, Monday's broadside from a top official of his Movement for
Democratic Change made clear that prosecutions of MDC officials are deeply
troubling the partnership.
The list of members of parliament or other senior officials of Mr.
Tsvangirai's formation of the MDC is a long one - and could get longer,
political and legal sources say.
- Member of Parliament Shuah Mudiwa for Mutare West,
Manicaland province, was convicted last week on a kidnapping charge and
sentenced to seven years in prison;
- Legislator Lynette Karenyi of Chimanimani West, Manicaland
province, has appealed her conviction of electoral fraud;
- Parliamentarian Blessing Chebundo of Kwekwe, Midlands, and
House of Assembly Member Trevor Saruwaka of Mutasa Central, Manicaland, both
face rape charges;
- House Member Meki Makuyana of Chipinge South, Manicaland,
faces kidnapping charges;
- And Tsvangirai MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett, designated deputy
agriculture minister but never sworn in, is due back court next month on weapons
Reports this week said the Office of the Attorney General is ready to charge
MDC Finance Minister Tendai Biti, secretary general of the Tsvangirai formation,
And Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma is expected to face kidnapping
The MDC says all of these cases are politically motivated with ZANU-PF
officials seeking to chip away at the parliamentary majority the MDC claimed in
the 2008 general elections.
Human rights lawyer Tinoziva Bere told reporter
Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that most of the cases target
lawmakers in Manicaland, where MDC politicians unseated a number of ZANU-PF
incumbents in last year's elections.
Washington-based political analyst Briggs Bomba,
acting campaigns manager for Africa Action, said such charges undermine the
unity government's capacities as members must expend energy defending themselves
- though some need to address the
Study belies 'myth' Zimbabwe is kept afloat by diaspora cash
JOHWA Published: 2009/07/01 06:38:05 AM
AGAINST the general belief
that Zimbabweans in exile were keeping their
country afloat, a study in the
southern Matabeleland region has found that
most families with members
living outside the country received no money and
barely any meaningful food
items last year.
Conducted earlier this year, the study by
Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT), says
76% of those with family in the diaspora
did not get any money sent to them
The little money
sent home failed to alleviate the already dire food
among the rural poor.
Many of those who sent any money at all
remitted less than R100. "Goodies"
sent home were as little as 2kg of sugar
- often only at Christmas time.
Only 18% of the families with a member in
the diaspora received the
equivalent of R100 a month last
Before the demise of the Zimbabwean dollar,
more goods than cash were sent
home, but the research found that 51% of
families with a member in the
diaspora did not receive any goods at all last
It says the low remittances may have been due to the disruptive
the xenophobic attacks in SA last year, and the saturation of the
The younger the exiles - who
ironically were the largest group among those
who left the country - the
less likely they were to send anything home.
"We're not seeing
remittances on a grand scale," said SPT director Shari
Eppel at the release
of the research findings in Johannesburg yesterday.
many in Zimbabwe had a negative perception of "diasporisation".
associated it with the bodies of relatives coming home to be buried,
experienced it as lack of labour to till the fields and failed
While, historically, southern Zimbabwe had
strong labour ties with SA, the
rate of migration had shot up since the end
Among the 142 families in the target group, the study found
a 100- fold
increase in diasporisation between 1990 and 2000 - with SA as
In another report, the SPT warns
that failure by the international community
to engage with the unity
government forged in January could threaten the
fragile state, whose
collapse would lead to another round of violence and
SPT research director Brian
Raftopoulos said a key question was at what
point sanctions - which were
preventing major international finance
institutions from supporting Zimbabwe
- should be removed.
He said there was a need for Zimbabwe to have
its own discussion on the
issue, which to date had been largely externally
ZESA fails to meet debt deadline
July 01, 2009
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority failed to meet
deadline to pay more than US$57 million owed to regional power
electricity imports, ZESA chief executive officer Engineer Ben
He said the parastatal was yet to raise the US$57 million
needed to settle
its regional debts.
Eng Rafemoyo said the power utility
had so far managed to raise much less
than the accumulated debt.
US$57 million debt is a lot of money to raise locally and the amount we
raised is far from total debt," he said.
However, Eng Rafemoyo would not be
drawn into revealing the amount the
parastatal had raised so far towards
settling the debt.
"I am not prepared to give the figures of the amount that
we have raised
because it will not be good for our suppliers to see the
discussed in the Press," he said.
Eng Rafemoyo said if the
power utility did not get sympathy from its
regional suppliers that would
have a negative impact on the country as
supplies might be cut, plunging the
country into darkness.
He said ZESA would continue negotiations with its
suppliers over payment of
"We have been talking with our
suppliers over the debt payment and we hope
talks will continue," he
Besides the US$57 million debt, ZESA is accumulating between US$6
and US$7 million in monthly bills from the regional powerhouses that
continued to supply power to the country in spite of debts.
the utility meet its monthly bills obligation, it is hoped that this
allow the company to renegotiate for more supplies.
ZESA imports power mainly
from Mozambique's Hidroelectricia De Cahora Bassa,
which is owed more than
It also imports power from SNEL in the Democratic Republic of
Congo and at
times ESKOM of South Africa.
should know his currency is a stale joke
July 1, 2009
"inclusive" government is in two minds whether to reintroduce its
currency. President Robert Mugabe said on Friday that he would bring
the old Zimbabwe dollar, which traded at Z$7.6 billion to the US dollar
before it was phased out at the start of this year.
But a day later,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said no chance.
By the time the currency
was declared officially dead, the authorities had
removed 25 zeroes between
July last year and February this year.
With the dollarisation of the
Zimbabwean economy, hyperinflation disappeared
overnight. When it was last
officially measured last July, it was more than
200 million percent, but it
was estimated to be in the "quadrillions of
percent by the third quarter",
according to a report from the Imara Group,
which hosted an investor
conference in Harare over the past two days.
Official access to foreign
currency transformed the situation. Once it was
possible for importers to
import, goods returned to the shelves. At the same
time, the limited
quantities of hard currency made consumers resistant to
The result: increased competition, which brought falling
According to the International Monetary Fund, the economy
percent last year, following a 40 percent cumulative decline
and 2007. The current account deficit rose to 28 percent of
product last year from 11 percent in 2007.
By the end
of the year, Zimbabwe had US$6 million (R46m at yesterday's
in international reserves. External debt was US$6bn.
Tsvangirai Denies Violating Media Laws
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday dismissed claims
Media, Information and Publicity permanent secretary George Charamba,
he could be breaking the country's media laws by publishing his
without a licence. (Pictured: PM Morgan Tsvangirai)
is nothing illegal about a newsletter," Tsvangirai told journalists
news conference, 24 hours after returning from a tour of Europe and
to source for relief aid for Zimbabwe.
"I have a website. This is the
modern age. I have to communicate. You cannot
keep things to yourself and
still say you are communicating. Let the people
Charamba told the State controlled Sunday Mail newspaper during
absence that his ministry was investigating the legality of the
"We have seen the publication, which purports to
be from the Prime Minister's
Office, noted its circulation figures and we
are looking at what the law
says," he was quoted as saying.
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
not obliged to register with the country's media regulating
With a print run of "400 000" copies distributed free of
charge every week,
government was anxious this surpassed the print run of
most newspapers in
Africa and should as such, be subject to the operations
of Zimbabwe's strict
media laws as it was "clearly an organ of mass
The bulletin, whose actual circulation is 40 000, was
Tsvangirai's absence to counter claims by the State media
that his tour was
intended to raise monies for local Non Governmental
Government has long accused NGOs of harbouring a
regime change agenda
against President Robert Mugabe.
together with his ministry, were last month barred by the High
interfering with the affairs of the media, now faces contempt of
charges following his refusal to abide by the ruling.
challenged government officials accusing him of leaking
through the newsletter, to officially present their
This was after the same issue of The Sunday Mail had
also quoted unnamed
government officials accusing the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC)
leader of "undermining cabinet" and violating the
"Oaths of Secrecy" by
publishing in the bulletin details of his official
trip before briefing
"They know what channel to use," he
said, "The only channel where anyone in
government can raise or any minister
can lodge a complaint of that nature,
if it exists, is in cabinet and I will
answer that. Let them raise it in
Most stories published in
the fist issue of the newsletter were already in
the public domain.
leaders convene in Libya
By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU Associated Press
Posted: 07/01/2009 02:12:07 AM PDT
Updated: 07/01/2009 12:08:11 PM
SIRTE, Libya-African leaders and Brazil's president called for
cooperation to boost peace and development efforts as the 13th
summit of heads of state opened Wednesday.
The leaders had
a host of issues to address, including coups and civil wars
to the backlash
of the economic crisis and the challenges of global warming.
high-profile guests to the summit stayed home at the last minute,
Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak and Iranian
A visit by Ahmadinejad would have been one of his
first major public
appearances since his troubled re-election in June, which
was marred by
turbulent streets protests, police violence and claims of
The AU summit's host, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, said
"friend" had called up to excuse himself. He made no comment on
and Iranian's absence.
African diplomats at the summit
in the coastal town of Sirte, east of the
Libyan capital, Tripoli, said
several delegates had been frustrated with
Gadhafi for inviting Ahmadinejad
without consulting the AU's managing
bodies. Some complained the Iranian
leader would have diverted the
conference's attention from Africa's pressing
Though the summit's official theme is agriculture, "unfolding
events tend to
catch up with us," AU executive chairman Jean Ping told The
"Our works are taking place amid an unprecedented
global economic crisis and
an increase of grave political tensions and
persistent conflicts in Africa,"
Ping also said in his speech at the opening
Africa's situation is "worrying," Ping said, listing recent
Madagascar and Guinea-Bissau, as well as unrest in Niger, a crisis
Mauritania, tensions between North Sudan and the South as well as the
western Darfur regions.
On Tuesday, the AU Executive Council
announced it was lifting sanctions
against Mauritania despite the coup there
10 months ago. The sanctions could
be enforced again if the presidential
election due July 18 isn't considered
fair. Mauritania has been ruled by a
military junta since August.
African diplomats also say the AU is
considering an increase of the
4,300-strong force it sent to Somalia, where
the peacekeepers are struggling
to contain a civil-war, Islamist radicals
and increased piracy.
Gadhafi's answer to these challenges has been a
drive in recent days to
jump-start African unity and boost the AU's power,
aiming at the creation of
a "United States of Africa." Among his other
proposals was an offer for
Caribbean island nations with large populations
of African descent to join
Propped by vast oil reserves,
Gadhafi has a history of intervening
throughout the continent. The founding
figure of the AU-launched 10 years
ago in Sirte, his native town-and
Africa's longest serving head of state,
the Libyan leader was addressed as
"king of kings" by the traditional rulers
and tribal chiefs he'd invited to
the summit Wednesday.
His proposed creation of an African Defense Council
is one of the items on
the summit's official agenda. Other items include
boosting agriculture, and reaching a common
position before the U.N.
negotiations on climate change.
diplomats say the continent's wealthier states, led by South Africa,
weary of the large powers Gadhafi wants to give the AU.
Ping, the AU
chairman, denied there was any tension. "The United States of
an ultimate goal accepted by all; the debate is simply how
fast to reach
it," he told The AP.
He also played down another item on the summit's
agenda regarding the "abuse
of the principle of universal jurisdiction."
This issue is believed to have
been raised by Sudan's President Omar
al-Bashir, who faces an arrest warrant
by the International Criminal Court
in The Hague on charges of crimes
against humanity in Darfur.
said that the AU summit's final statement would certainly not reach
"dramatic or binding conclusions" for African states who are party to the
ICC. "Though it is true that African heads of state are tired are being the
only ones targeted" by the ICC, Ping said.
The AU chairman also
announced during the opening session that Africa would
cooperation agreements with Brazil during the summit, focusing on
agriculture and social development.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da
Silva was among the most high-profile guests,
along with the emir of Qatar
and the head of the Arab League, who both
called for enhanced cooperation
between Africans and Arabs.
In his speech to delegates, he said Brazil
would help deliver a "green
revolution" in African agriculture and drive
efforts to boost cooperation
between southern countries.
"This is the
only way we (developing nations) will become major players and
victims of the changes under way" worldwide, Lula da Silva told the
Lord Malloch-Brown discusses African Union Summit on 5 Live
Foreign Office Minister, Lord Malloch-Brown, discussed the objectives of
the African Union Summit during an interview with 5 Live. He is attending the
Summit from 1-2 July 2009.
Shelagh Fogarty (SF): The Foreign Office
Minister Lord Malloch Brown will meet world leaders later at an African Union
summit in Libya.
Robert Mugabe and Omar al-Bashir, the indicted President
of Sudan, are among the guests, though the Iranian President, Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, has just announced that he is cancelling his trip. He was due to be
there. Lord Malloch Brown joins us now. Good morning.
Lord Mark Malloch
Brown (LMMB): Good morning.
SF: I suppose the difficult question in, when
it comes to Africa is, is where do you begin? Is Somalia high on the agenda I
LMMB: Yes, Somalia’s really high on the agenda. The Government
there is under real pressure from rebels. It’s fighting going on as we speak and
we’re all racing to do what we can to support it, because if you remember a few
years ago the country had really slumped under the control of hard line Islamist
elements. And we’re just anxious to see a decent Government there that
represents everybody, that protects people’s human rights and just offers a
decent living to people. And that hangs in the balance at the moment.
What about the cancellation by President Ahmadinejad? Was that to be expected as
things are, are at the moment?
LMMB: Well I’m not sure. I mean I think it
would have been typical of him to have shown up here and in a sense flaunted his
success to the world, or at least here to an audience where there would have
been some sympathy for his position. But I think red faces are saved all round
by the fact he’s not coming. I mean I think probably to the majority of people
here it’s a relief.
SF: What’s the latest from the Foreign Office on
those remaining British Embassy employees? Iranian employees, but of the British
Embassy, who were arrested?
LMMB: Well look, as you would expect I’m
going to be very careful what I say about them. We’ve still got four who are
being held and we just are being very, very sensitive about what we say publicly
about them. But we’re making every effort inside Iran to secure their release.
We consider they’ve done nothing wrong and this is a terrible breach of normal
diplomatic protocols and laws.
SF: Away from that, Robert Mugabe, the
President of Zimbabwe, is going to be at this, at this summit meeting. It’s out
of the headlines in the UK papers at the moment, but how far has it come down
the line since this degree of co-operation between the Mugabe regime and Morgan
Tsvangirai of the opposition?
LMMB: Well we had Morgan Tsvangirai in
London just recently with people from Robert Mugabe’s party, Zanu PF, in his
delegation. We allowed them in, we treated them with full respect. We’re giving
an increasing amount of humanitarian assistance to the Government. I’ve been
meeting with people on both sides of the Government. I met with Robert Mugabe’s
Vice President last week in New York, met with his Foreign Minister in South
Africa a week or two before that.
So we’re really trying to increase the
tempo of contact while continually saying in every encounter that we’re going to
judge them by their deeds and actions. If this Government really can do the
reforms it’s promised to do and can secure the reconciliation that it’s
committed to, then the amount of support from the UK, Europe and the US will
grow to reflect that.
SF: It was interesting and revealing in a way to
see you mention that visit by Morgan Tsvangirai to London recently. He was
heckled angrily by ex-pat Zimbabweans at an event in the UK wasn’t it who seemed
to think that he was no more than a puppet of the Mugabe regime now that he had
come from the outside to the inner circle.
LMMB: I think it was a little
bit more complicated than it was reported because I think people inside Zimbabwe
share some of that frustration and worry, is his good nature getting the better
of him, is he being out manoeuvred by Mugabe. But equally they understand that
the country was at such a low point that he had to do something, he had to
engage, because so many people were going without food, there was the cholera
crisis, basic services were breaking down, the schools were closed. And he’s
been remarkably successful in turning a lot of that around.
I think the
protesters at Southwark Cathedral were also in part motivated by the fact that
there are quite a few so called illegal asylum seekers, those who’ve had their
asylum seeking requests refused in the UK who once things are normal in Zimbabwe
would have to go home. So I think there was a lot going on in that church
meeting and it wasn’t just a commentary on Morgan Tsvangirai’s performance in
Zimbabwe. It had a lot to do with asylum and refugee issues as well.
Thank you Lord Malloch Brown, Foreign Office Minister, for talking to us this
No winds of change at the Grain Marketing
HARARE, 1 July 2009 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean
government has announced new measures to boost local cereal purchases through
its crisis-ridden Grain Marketing Board (GMB), but farmers are not convinced the
plan will work.
In early June the finance ministry said it had secured
US$100 million for a revolving fund to support the GMB's procurement of rain
through its countrywide depots.
The board had a long-standing monopoly
on cereal purchases until March 2009, when private traders were allowed into the
market - a response to the GMB's inability pay decent prices to farmers, which
fuelled a parallel market.
"The availability of resources to the GMB
should facilitate timely payments to farmers for their maize deliveries," said
the finance ministry, adding that farmers would, as a result, be shielded from
"exploitation by unscrupulous buyers".
Good and bad
A recent joint crop
assessment report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the
World Food Programme (WFP) described the liberalization of the grain market as a
"very positive development" that would encourage farmers to produce commercially
and improve grain reserves.
The GMB has announced a floor price for
grain of US$265, while private buyers are offering between US$180 and US$200.
But the crop assessment report noted that the move was "largely ineffective at
the moment, due to GMB's inability to function with virtually no liquidity".
Local farmers are adopting a wait-and-see approach.
|They are still not confident that the GMB
will pay them adequately, and are still smarting from the failure by the
parastatal to pay them in past years |
president of the Grain and Cereal Producers Association (GCPA), told IRIN the
GMB needed a far larger financial injection. "The move by the finance ministry
to give assistance to the GMB is noble, but it is difficult to see how it will
help the country - that money will buy less than 400,000 tons of cereals, a far
cry from what we need in grain reserves."
Zimbabwe requires about 1.7
million tons of cereals to adequately feed itself; this year, according to the
FAO/WFP report, it harvested just 1.14 million tons, an increase of 130 percent
from the previous disastrous season.
"As far as I know, the majority of
our members and the subsistence farmers are not surrendering their produce to
the GMB ... They are still not confident that the GMB will pay them adequately,
and are still smarting from the failure by the parastatal to pay them in past
years," said Chimbwanda.
television quoted a GMB spokesperson as saying on 30 June that the grain board
would only be able to pay cash for the first 40 tons a farmer delivered. "That
does not sound as though much has changed," said Chimbwanda.
no guarantee of timely payments for the remainder, so that farmers can be well
prepared for the summer farming season that starts in September." Better
financing for the GMB was unlikely, he added, as the government was still
battling to get funding from donors to run the country.
government of three rival political parties was formed earlier in 2009 to tackle
Zimbabwe's political andhumanitarian crisis, but its efforts to convince the
international community to come to the rescue with aid have had mixed results.
Chimbwanda said lack of confidence in the GMB would force farmers to
sell to stock feed producers and dairy farmers, reducing the amount of cereals
available to the public.
John Robertson, an economic consultant, told
IRIN: "It is unclear why the GMB has decided to buy at US$265 when imports can
be made at cheaper prices - this will force the grain utility to sell its
products at unaffordable prices. In any case, I have spoken to a number of
people in the milling industry and they ... favour importing rather than buying
Robertson warned that the GMB might be tempted to use some of
the money from government to bankroll its operations and offset its debts.
Initial forecasts by FAO/WFP estimate that about 2.8 million people will
require food aid by March 2010, a substantial decrease from the 7 million
beneficiaries during the March 2009 "lean season" - the month prior to the main
harvest in April.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
By Eddie Cross
There can be little
doubt that the "fast track land reform programme"
launched by Zanu PF in
2000 has been an unmitigated disaster. Not only has
it resulted in
agricultural output declining over 70 per cent but all the
were built up to supply agriculture with its many needs and
that depended on farm output for raw materials, have
While the target of this unlawful and unjust campaign were 4000
Zimbabwean large scale commercial farmers, the impact was felt across
whole economy - small scale farmers suffering even more than their large
scale counterparts because they were less able to protect themselves from
the side effects. Whatever the protagonists of this campaign might say, this
was just an act of wholesale piracy with the State offering the booty to
their thugs in compensation for doing their will.
Where was God while
all this was going on? The Bible teaches that He is the
"defender of the
poor" and that He will bring justice to those treated in
this way. But this
is little compensation or comfort for the thousands of
families whose lives
were torn apart and homes destroyed. Farmers, whose
lives had been invested
in their farms and who know no other occupation and
who now live a much
diminished existence in towns and foreign lands.
In Genesis we read about
how and why God set up the world and then brought
mankind into existence. We
read that He put us in charge and made us
collectively responsible for the
welfare and management of this tiny globe
He has hung in space to act as our
abode. He watches with sadness when we do
crazy things - but He seldom
intervenes, that is our business and He leaves
us to create or destroy the
creation we are a part of.
However He always acts to protect the
interests and lives of those who are
His children and follow His teaching.
In addition He often turns a bad
situation to good in unexpected ways. So it
is with this particular human
Among the farmers
displaced are many fine Christians. Their faith calls on
them to forgive
those who did these awful things to them and in most cases
they have done
so. However at the same time He has often called them to
devote their skills
to helping the small farmers to make a better living for
One farmer has become the largest ostrich producer in the
world - using
small growers to produce the birds while he organises all the
markets their production. Another has taken all he learned
4000 hectares of dryland crops employing what he felt were
to train farmers how to use their land more effectively.
This system now
guides tens of thousands of small farmers in Zimbabwe and
the technology and
systems are being adopted in over 20 countries across
I sat in a meeting this past week where we were looking at how to
the small scale sector this coming summer. I happen to think that we
unlikely to get another good season this year, the Indian monsoons are
and light, Europe and the USA are having a very wet summer. The El Nino
South America is strengthening, all point to a lousy season. Since it
that Zanu PF is intent on destroying what is left of commercial
this winter, we have no choice but to target our whole effort on
It was quite an experience for me to see
those dispossessed farmers sitting
around a table and putting their ideas
and vision together. Some have made
remarkable progress and they will reach
several hundred thousands small
scale farmers this year. In particular I was
impressed by the zero tillage
concepts being taught with mulching and the
use of organic forms of
Would this have happened if the
farm invasions had not taken place? Perhaps
not but my most immediate
thought was that here was God turning another
human disaster into good,
almost despite ourselves. Many of the large scale
farmers that I talk to say
they would not go back to business as usual on
their farms if they got the
chance to go back. They talk about using their
operations as a base for
helping out the smaller producers in their
this, we started the constitutional consultative process this
week when 10
meetings were held at Provincial level to meet stakeholders and
delegates to attend the stakeholder's conference in Harare in mid
PF is doing all they can to stop the process. They have stated
that there is
"no need" for the whole exercise - "after all we have a draft
in the form of
the Kariba Constitution" which was signed at Kariba in 2007.
None of us had
any say in that draft. What the negotiators thought they
were doing when
they did that I have no idea, but we are never going to
accept a draft that
we had no hand in drafting.
Then they said we could not go ahead because
there was no money. We went out
and found the money for the first phase and
will probably raise the funds
for the whole process. Zanu then said we could
not use donor funds for this
process! What claptrap - this is the most
important job that the
Transitional Government has to do in its short life.
We are going to do it
Morgan is still being criticised on
every front for his remarks while on his
recent trip abroad. Just look at
these headlines in Fridays Independent
newspaper: "Mugabe dispatches team to
counter Tsvangirai trip"; "Tsvangirai
call on exiles ill-thought out"; "In
defence of Tsvangirai"; "Tsvangirai
loosing touch with reality"; "Wake up
call for naïve Tsvangirai";
"Scepticism dogs Tsvangirai tour"; "Warm welcome
but little cash for
The actual facts about this three
week tour are in fact quite different.
When he was sworn in, he was urged by
Diplomats in Harare to visit their
home capitals. He at first said he would
not travel for six months. However
pressure built up for this trip and it
was decided to try and do as many
capitals as he could in a short time. Bear
in mind that no Zimbabweans
leader has been received in major capitals for
over 12 years. The objectives
were quite simple - to re-establish contact
with major western leaders and
start the process of reengagement. The issue
of additional money was not a
major objective. Donor budgets are set well in
advance and we already have
had a doubling of foreign aid in the first half
of 2009. We knew well in
advance that new money was unlikely - certainly not
in any quantum.
Was the trip a success - by any measure it was. In every
capital he visited,
he was seen by the Head of State and given a warm
reception. He was able to
brief these leaders on the problems of the
Transitional Government and of
the needs we have to get through to a new
election in 2010. I am sure there
is a much better understanding of the
Zimbabwe situation and that we will
get the strategic support we need to
craft a new constitution and
re-establish service delivery to our people.
They will also have understood
what we need to do to get free and fair
conditions for the next elections.
The tour gave no comfort to the Zanu
PF leadership at home. In country after
country, our team was told, in no
uncertain terms, what we as a country have
to do to regain their confidence
and support. Free up the media, stop
abusing our legal system, respect
private property rights, restore
fundamental freedoms. Even the famous
booing in that Cathedral in the UK
bore no comfort - what those exiles were
saying is "we want no compromise;
Mugabe and his henchmen must go". We
agree, but we are locked into a deal by
the region and must simply live with
it and try to overcome the obstacles
they will put in our way to a new
Morgan is home today - next week he resumes the fight for
freedom in Zimbabwe. Rested and I hope strengthened in his
resolve to do the
right thing for all Zimbabweans. Please note that trip to
the East by
several Zanu PF heavyweights on a "fund raising tour". I happen
to know that
negotiations are well under way for a US$700 million line of
China. Watch the State press when they claim that this facility
result of this trip. I just hope that China and Russia are too savvy
used in this way.
Rights: 'No one feels safe in Zimbabwe. No one.'
By Nat Hentoff
BBC's Mike Thomson, in a series of reports from Zimbabwe in early June,
spoke to "a Zimbabwean mother and (13-year-old) daughter who are still too
afraid to return home after being abducted and repeatedly raped by
militiamen from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party a year ago." (Its
symbol is a clenched fist.)
Their fear has not lessened despite the
new alleged "power-sharing"
coalition between Mugabe and the Movement for
Democratic Change's Morgan
Also still fearful is a woman,
Patience, whom Thomson described as carrying
a large book with "the names of
people tortured, killed, raped or maimed by
Zanu-PF mobs last year."
Mortuary officials, hospital officials and court
clerks covertly helped
compile the list.
Thompson asked Patience what would happen if she
brought this crimes list to
the police or the Ministry of Justice so that
those responsible would be
In this "coalition"
government, Mugabe is still in tight personal control of
the police, the spy
service, the criminal justice system and the media.)
straight in the eye, Patience answered his question: "I
would be killed,
even torn to pieces. I definitely believe that."
Explaining the sureness
of her conviction, Thomson explained: "She believes
they are desperate to
destroy evidence like this, which, she says, could put
them in court should
President Mugabe eventually be forced from government."
rapists and murderers do not feel safe in Zimbabwe.
Thomson, who had
reason not to feel safe himself in this police state, spoke
incriminating evidence to the Movement for Democratic Change's
Holland, whose rawly ironic title in this coalition government is:
of State for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration."
has had acute personal experience in the need for healing since
had been beaten so viciously by Mugabe's Zanu-PF surrogates that
hospitalized for weeks.
"No one feels safe in Zimbabwe. No one," she
said, adding that, "different
members of the MDC are getting phone calls
from people who give the names of
people who are going to be assassinated
(by clench-fisted Zanu-PF
"I think," the minister of
State for National Healing, Reconciliation and
"there is a department which meets to plan the
survival of Zanu-PF as a
ruling party. We are told they do have a list of
people they will
There have been many such fulfilled execution lists in the 29
Robert Mugabe's reign of horror.
Also interviewed by Thomson
in his report was Harare University professor of
"If the inclusive government does not work,
we are going very close to
Somalia. We are going into the scorched earth
policy. That is what Mugabe is
going to do. Destroy everything in the name
of ideology, destroy everyone."
Who is going to stop him? The United
Nations is as preeningly hollow as
President Obama is
concerned. On June 12, meeting with the Zimbabwe's
prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai at the White
House, Obama -- as described
in a June 13 New York Times headline --
mildly, Obama said of Mugabe that he "has not acted oftentimes in the
interest of the Zimbabwean people and has been resistant to the kinds
democratic changes that need to take place."
Obama added that he was
expecting Tsvangirai to "continue to provide us with
direction in ways that
he thinks we can be helpful."
But, as Robert Rotberg -- president of the
World Peace foundation and
director of the Harvard Kennedy School's Program
on Intrastate Conflict --
says bluntly (Boston Globe, June
"Mugabe, insufferably confident and arrogant at 85, hardly wants to
upstaged by his much younger prime minister. He seeks to protect himself
his security cronies from being investigated for corrupt dealings and
"The destruction of a prosperous, largely
democratic Zimbabwe happened on
their watch. The blood of thousands is on
Back in Zimbabwe, Thomson is told by a 20-year-old
survivor, Tapfuma (who,
with his mother, had been beaten unconscious by the
Zanu-Pf and will not go
home under the new coalition government): "Zanu-PF,
the people who did this,
are still out there. They are still wearing their
Even Tsvangirai, desperately seeking foreign investors in his
country, is so fearful they will reject any aid reaching Mugabe that
PBS's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" (June 11), Tsvangirai said:
think that the new political dispensation represents a new Zimbabwe,
is looking forward to reconstruction, to reconciliation, and economic
How Mugabe must have smiled when told about that painfully
Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First
the Bill of Rights. He is a member of the Reporters Committee
for Freedom of
the Press, and the Cato Institute, where he is a senior
(July 1, 2009)
When the Truth Becomes a Casualty
Ben Freeth - Mount Carmel farm,
30 June 2009
utterances by the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe about farm invasions
"isolated", "blown out of proportion" and most recently, "I can count
are a disturbingly false reflection of the reality on farms in
While I write this at the end of June 2009, I look back a
full year to when
I was very badly beaten up and abducted with my
parents-in-law. It was on
Sunday 29 June, the afternoon that President
Mugabe was being sworn into
office yet again. They made my mother-in-law
sign a bit of paper, while she
had a gun to her head, saying that we
wouldn't go to the SADC Tribunal in
Windhoek, Namibia to try to get justice
in the chaotic farm situation.
We went to the Tribunal anyway,
hoping that justice would prevail. We got a
judgement on 28 November 2008;
but the Zimbabwe Government was earlier this
month found to be in contempt
of it and is doing nothing about putting a
halt to the
This does not bode well for the future. And so I would
like to invite the
Prime Minister to join me for a drive through my district
so that he can see
why this is the case. Perhaps we could start in the
rather dusty, desolate
little town of Chegutu where hundreds of hawkers sell
oranges which they
have obtained from people who never planted the orange
trees from whence the
oranges came. We could proceed to Harare past Mount
Carmel farm where we
still cling on tenuously. It is important that our
Minister sees first hand the persecution and destruction
and feels the fear
and uncertainty on these few remaining commercial farms.
If he did, he
would undoubtedly question his current state of
A short drive out of town on the main Chinhoyi road will
him to Senator Madzongwe's latest prime acquisition -
Estate. Interestingly, before the formation of the
Government of National
Unity (GNU), the Senator's best efforts at evicting
the Etheredges were
never fully successful. The ink was barely dry on the
GNU papers before the
Etheredge families were hounded from their homes and
access to their property. It was a fortunate
coincidence that the trees on
this farm were dripping with over 6 000 tons
of citrus immediately ready for
harvesting for the important export market.
Despite reports to the contrary
in the State media, the Etheredges, after
irrigating, spraying and
fertilizing their crop, haven't reaped a single
orange and all the state of
the art equipment owned by them has been
earmarked by the Senator for her
As the Prime
Minister will come to understand on all the subsequent farms on
drive, the Zimbabwe Republic Police have been the main players in
eviction and harassment of the farmers and their workers in these take
overs. On this, the first farm of the tour, the Etheredges and their
workers have had a homestead broken into by police; they have been arrested
and jailed; and they have even been shot at by police, with some of their
workers being hit. Despite the SADC Tribunal ruling in the Etheredges'
favour, trigger-happy policemen with AK 47s still guard the property for the
illustrious new "owner." I would welcome the Prime Minister's thoughts
regarding the loss of investment, jobs and production in the face of such
illegality before we move on.
A book was recently written
about Rainbow's End farm which is the next farm
that we would come to on our
drive. It is owned by the Beattie family and
is usually buzzing with
farming activity. Large citrus orchards and
hundreds of hectares of
irrigated row crops are the basis for production on
this property. For the
mathematically minded, it would be simple to work
out that from the 800
hectares of irrigated winter cereals which the
Beatties would normally have
the capacity to produce, ten million loaves of
bread could be made This
year, well past the wheat planting date, not a
single ton of wheat will be
converted into bread as all the lands are lying
fallow. Mr Beattie is being
prosecuted by the State and is undergoing a
lengthy trial for the unique
Zimbabwean crime of farming. He has already
lost tens of thousands of
orange trees to Minister Bright Matonga, who,
after reaping the available
oranges, left thousands of trees to die
untended. The Beatties now face a
new invasion on Rainbow's End farm and
have to run the daily gauntlet
through the rent-a-mob in their yard, and
battle to pass through their
homestead gates that the invaders often lock.
Ten kilometres out
of Chegutu the melancholic sign post for none other than
tells a story in itself. It is the road to our farm. The
sign is bent and
faded and tired looking. Maybe it looks a bit like us. If
Minister were to turn off here, the first white-owned farm he
would come to
belongs to Retief Benade. This farm, like every other, is
siege. There is no chance of police assistance for the farmer
here as the
invader is a senior policeman himself. What else can one expect
in what has
become a police state? Mr Benade realised he would not win. In
last month, he sold his entire beef and dairy herd of a few
including his breeding cows. They did not go to another
breeder, they went
for slaughter. No one buys breeding herds in countries
where investments are
not protected. Breeding herds are long-term
investments - phenomena that
have become obsolete in the Zimbabwe of today.
Mr Benade has taken his
expertise to Zambia. To go elsewhere in Zimbabwe
would be asking for
trouble. The farm invasions are wide-spread. That is
Next door is Northleigh farm belonging to the
Bronkhorsts. The Prime
Minister will learn that this was until recently the
biggest dairy farm in
the Chegutu district. Earlier this year, policemen
and the lands officer
assisted invaders who broke into the main house and
took possession of the
house and farm. They had no authority from a court
to do so, but who needs
authority from courts in a lawless state? Mr
Bronkhorst eventually moved
off. What belongings he could salvage, he
managed to get off two weeks ago.
Despite the taking over of a dairy farm
with its entire infrastructure,
there is no longer a single cow being milked
on Northleigh farm.
Next up, this time on the left, is Balclutha
farm. This was a well-run
cropping farm, perhaps one of the most productive
in the country, employing
about 300 workers. It has produced thousands of
tons of seed maize, seed
wheat and soya beans each year and did so again
this year. The
brother-in-law of the controversial Reserve Bank Governor,
Gideon Gono, has
the offer letter for this farm. The owner managed to reap
his crops last
month but hasn't planted a winter crop. Like almost all the
white farmers he has recently received a notification from
the Ministry of
Lands ordering him to "cease cropping." Like all the other
white farmers we
pass on the tour, he is also being prosecuted in the
courts. It's just too
risky for him to take the chance and sow food crops.
If money is invested
into a crop and the new "owner" moves on just before
the harvest, the police
will not help and the farmer will stand to lose
everything. Besides which,
he will probably join the other criminals in
jail for having the audacity to
commit the dastardly crime of
On the neighbouring farm, Mount Carmel, where we are,
the whole harvest has
been looted by the people who represent the offer
letter holder. This was
the largest mango producing farm in Zimbabwe until
ZANU PF octogenarian
Nathan Shamuyarira moved "Landmine" and his people on
in April this year.
It is certainly profitable to move on to a farm at
harvest time in a lawless
country if you are a chef. Farm workers were
beaten and bones were broken.
One of our workers was left with a fractured
skull and another with a broken
foot. Some were imprisoned and further
beaten by police. At a court
hearing the magistrate ordered that a medical
examination of these police
beatings be done but this was never actioned.
Our workers currently live
without water or electricity at their dwellings
as the invaders have cut
them off. This is part of their unbridled attempt
to harass them out of
their houses in the same manner as they have evicted
my parents-in-law, Mike
and Angela Campbell, from theirs. Despite two High
Court orders in April
this year ordering the invaders off Mount Carmel, the
harvesting of all the
Mike Campbell (Pvt Ltd) crops by the invaders
continues unabated, even
A drive to the Campbells'
house would be as ill advised here as at
Stockdale. Invaders with guns
zealously guard the road to the homestead.
The deputy Prime Minister, Arthur
Mutambara, along with both Ministers of
Home Affairs, witnessed this dire
situation first hand on a fact-finding
mission back in April but other than
a bit of talk, no concrete action was
taken and the situation has been
allowed to deteriorate.
Alongside the High Court order we also
have the final judgement by the SADC
Tribunal which said that Mike Campbell,
his family and his workers should be
allowed to live in their homes
undisturbed and be permitted to continue
farming. Nothing is being done to
effect the judgements. Even when the
Zimbabwe Government was found to be in
contempt of the SADC Tribunal on 5
June 2009, nothing was done or even said
about rectifying their contempt;
and so police inaction continues. Losses
of export crops due to this
continued state-condoned illegal activity amount
to hundreds of thousands of
Past Mount Carmel
farm there is a significant absence of white farmers.
They were chased away
by police, army and invaders long before the GNU came
into being despite the
fact that there were no eviction orders to authorise
these actions. Both
the Reochs' and the Lilfords' homesteads have since
been burnt down and the
settlers are frequent recipients of food and other
aid on these derelict
The next white farm on this rather depressing trip will be
Here the Chegutu lands officer, Clever Kunonga, is trying to
take the farm,
this time for himself. This lands officer faces a recent High
barring him from the property. He has not adhered to it so he
is now facing
contempt of court proceedings as well. His relentless
persecution of the
occupants of Reydon still continue. Last week he had
eviction notices served
on some of the workers. One of them had no means to
oppose the eviction and
found himself and his belongings transported off the
farm. His belongings
were unceremoniously dumped on the roadside while he
was thrown into jail
for understandably trying to resist the eviction. He
had nowhere else to
go. Bolstered by this triumph, the lands officer is
trying to evict more
workers from their homes on "his" farm while the white
farmer is away.
Over the road from Reydon on the right is
Wakefield farm. Downsized but
still remarkably productive, this was perhaps
the biggest tobacco producing
farm in the country this year. A couple of
months ago it was invaded by men
with guns. The owner is again being
prosecuted for farming and a number of
his workers have been evicted by the
invaders. He was left with a small
handkerchief-sized piece of land that
had not been allocated. He went to
the Minister of Lands earlier this month
to get confirmation that he could
grow his tobacco crop on this unallocated
land; but was immediately
afterwards faced with people clutching offer
letters for the piece in
question. Another 300 workers there stand to lose
their homes and
After that the Prime
Minister would see no farms still occupied by white
people until we would
get to the main Harare-Bulawayo road and turn left to
Harare. There at
Selous we will pass Colin Cloete's farm. He is yet
another farmer going
through a tedious and hugely expensive trial for
committing the crime of
farming. The deputy Prime Minister also visited him
in April with the
Minister of Lands. It was then discovered that the
Mr Mariga had part of the farm allocated to his
brother, but that the farm
had never been listed. Just last week, the new
Minister of Lands, Herbert
Murerwa, listed the farm and on a signature, it
was acquired. The laws of a
dictator are disturbingly simple. They are not
complicated by a judicial
process. At the stroke of a pen, homes,
livelihoods and often a life time's
work can be acquired. Those are the
laws that the SADC Tribunal have struck
down. It is distressing that the
Prime Minister has said nothing about
recognising the judgement and has made
no move in parliament to change any
of these draconian laws of acquisition -
or any of the other draconian laws
for that matter.
In the last 70 km - from Selous to Harare - the
ethnic cleansing of the
farms has now been successfully completed. The
Prime Minister will see no
farms still occupied by white people. Although
the last white farmer on his
land in this once productive Norton farming
area, Richard Price, was swept
away through the condoning activities of the
GNU earlier this year, it hasn't
stopped the Unity Government from
proceeding with prosecution against him.
This all-consuming passion for
prosecutions has reached absurd proportions.
Proceedings were started
against the late father of Deon Theron, the vice
President of Commercial
Farmers' Union, earlier in the year. The papers
were drawn up despite the
fact that the man in question passed away four
There has been only one case of farms actually being paid
for in this area.
This was by Gideon Gono. He had had the 'genius' to
irrefutable importance of title deeds. It is interesting to
note that not
one of the many farms that Gono has bought has since been
acquired by the
So on this 120 km drive, the Prime
Minister will note that the situation is
very bleak indeed. All ten of the
farms that were occupied by white people
when the GNU came into being, have
since come under siege. Five of the ten
farmers in question have already
been pushed off their farms. On all ten
farms the farmers are facing
prosecution. On these farms over 500 workers
have become unemployed since
the GNU came into place. There will be
approximately 1400 workers on the
ten farms that will be without jobs if the
situation is allowed to carry
on. If their dependants are included, there
will be over 5 000 more hungry
mouths to feed in a country which has become
the most food aid dependent in
the world. Millions of US dollars of
productive capacity have already been
lost since the GNU began, from these
ten farms alone. Already orchards that
took years to establish are dying.
And all this at the hands of a handful of
individuals with offer letters,
and less than a hundred thugs who have been
given carte blanche to act with
Are these really
"isolated incidents"? Are they really being blown "out of
most critically, are the other roads through the
commercial farms in the
rest of the country any different?
As the land is wiped "clean",
the stage is being set for another violent
election where the people will
without exception in the rural areas be under
the control of the Presidents'
men. Despite all this there seems to be no
urgent move by the Prime Minister
to initiate the much talked about land
audit; no urgent move to recognise
property rights and Zimbabwe High Court
orders; and most disturbingly for
anyone concerned with justice and human
rights, no urgent move to even
mention the SADC Tribunal and its judgement,
let alone call for its
implementation. There is no country in the world
that has ever fed itself
and thrived in any way where farmers and their
employees have had to live
under such perniciously adverse circumstances.
Was it any wonder
that the Prime Minister was booed in Southwark Cathedral
for allowing the
truth to become the casualty? If we do not face the truth
on the farms and
in our country and deal with it, the stalking spectre of
fear which casts
its long shadow over every farmer and farm worker family in
only become darker.
The Bible says "the truth will set you free;"
and so it will as we all
strive to stop the unforgivable compromising of the
truth. The alternative -
allowing truth to be swallowed up - is to face more
years of bondage,
destruction and fear for our people and our country. Only
when we face the
truth and grapple with it, will we see the people of
Zimbabwe set free from
the yoke of oppression under which we all
Ben Freeth - Mount Carmel Farm,
For further information:
Cell: +263 912 241 477 (on
Cell: +263 913 016 880 (off the farm)
full implementation of unity govt pact'
by Ntando Ncube
Wednesday 01 July 2009
- The Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT) on Tuesday called on
SADC and the African
Union (AU) to ensure that Zimbabwe's power-sharing
agreement is fully
implemented to guarantee human rights in the troubled
The South African-based SPT - which brings together
southern Africa and other organisations involved in campaigning
rights, freedom and democracy in the region - also called on
civic groups to discuss the impact of sanctions on the
"Strong steps must be taken by the guarantors of the GPA
political agreement) - SADC and the AU - to ensure that the
human rights reforms of the GPA are implemented with greater
research director Brian Raftopolous said at a launch of two
The SPT reports are entitled: "Walking
a thin line: The political and
humanitarian challenges facing Zimbabwe's GPA
leadership - and its ordinary
citizens"; and "Gone to Egoli: Economic
survival strategies in Matabeleland".
"The continued abrogation of
the elements of the GPA by the ruling
party must come under censure,"
The Southern African Development Community (SADC)
September's power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe of ZANU PF party and Morgan
Tsvangirai of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that led to formation
of a unity
government in February.
The MDC has said it is
unhappy with ZANU PF's refusal to finalise
outstanding issues from the GPA,
among them Mugabe's unilateral
reappointment of central bank governor Gideon
Gono and appointment of
Attorney General Johannes Tomana.
set up an agreement that must be reviewed in six months; they
responsibility on this matter. We have to take it back to them as a
that is responsible. We have to refer the mater back to them . . . to
else should we refer this issue?" Raftopolous said.
Tsvangirai, who returned on Monday from a three-week
tour of the United
States and European capitals appealing for support for
the unity government
said early this month that his MDC party is expecting
regional leaders to
meet to discuss problems bedeviling the power-sharing
However the SPT director said that sanctions
imposed by Western
countries against Mugabe and his ZANU PF party inner
circle must be scrapped
for the coalition government in Zimbabwe to
Raftopolous urged Zimbabwean civic groups to come together
the impact of sanctions on the country.
society does not have a clear position when it comes to
sanctions . . . We
haven't had a proper debate on sanctions as civic
organisations in Zimbabwe.
I am saying let's debate it . . . it's a public
policy issue lets debate
it," he said.
"We need to talk about the role sanctions are playing
in the country,
will sustained sanctions help to deal with outstanding
issues. I can't see
any strategic link between these sanctions and
The US and its European Union allies have
promised more humanitarian
support for Zimbabwe but continue to hold back on
direct financial support,
saying Harare must implement more reforms and
uphold human rights.
SPT said the international donor community
must complement its
humanitarian efforts in Zimbabwe by direct financial
assistance to the unity
government, adding that conditions for support
needed to be aligned to the
milestones set by Harare deriving from the
"The current humanitarian interventions must be complemented
developmental support in order to assist in developing the material
for a national reconciliation process in Zimbabwe," said SPT chairman
Rubin Phillip, adding: "Conditions for international support must be
on the benchmarks set by the transitional government itself, which
turn be based on the central democratic demands of the GPA." -
Walking a thin line: The political and humanitarian challenges
facing Zimbabwe’s GPA leadership - and its ordinary citizens
Trust released two new reports yesterday. Download ‘Walking a thin line’
from the SPT
website, or from Sokwanele’s
The Global Political Agreement signed on 15th September 2008 was an uneasy
compromise between the two MDCs and Zanu PF, and was the result of a combination
of factors: the weakening of both Zanu PF and the opposition, together with the
social and civic forces that supported the MDCs; the disastrous economic and
humanitarian descent in the country; pressure from SADC; and growing
international isolation of the Mugabe regime. Moreover while for Zanu PF the GPA
was a modality to claw its way out of the economic crisis and to begin a
normalistion of international relations, the MDCs accepted the agreement as
their only viable route to power, and a vital opportunity to begin a process of
national political and economic revival.
The Transitional Government will continue to manifest the challenges of the
Zimbabwe crisis, demonstrating the complexity of the national, regional and
international dimensions of the situation. The new government has to face the
challenges of dealing with overlapping legacies of colonial inequalities and
post-colonial authoritarian rule, while attending to the post Cold War demands
of North-South relations. In such a context the wrong forms of international
interventions could well encourage divisions in the democratic movement, as well
as a new convergence around nationalist questions of sovereignty across party
lines, in the face of mounting frustrations caused by limited international
support. In the absence of sound alternatives to the current political
arrangement, the slow international response to the needs of the new government
could strengthen the hand of the more regressive elements of the ruling party in
the military and security, while frustrating the democratic forces within the
transitional state. This risks around limited engagement with the transitional
arrangement are much greater that a more substantive engagement by the
A major obstacle to the GPA has been the continued failure of the new
government to create a situation in Zimbabwe where there is total respects for
human rights and the rule of law, notwithstanding the fact that the scale of
harassment of civic and opposition members has been reduced from the extreme
repression of 2008. The international community is unlikely to engage with any
meaningful financial assistance until there is a clear return to the rule of
law, respect for property rights and the genuine opening up of the media.
However, the failure of the international community to engage could well
threaten the fragile state of the GPA, which if it were to collapse, would lead
to another round of violence and repression.
An uneasy calm prevails in some parts of the country, while in others
tensions remain high in the wake of the horrific violence of 2008. This serves
to underline the need for healing in Zimbabwe and it is commendable that a
Ministry of National Healing has been established. There is need for this organ
to allow for the encompassing of a variety of approaches. It is unlikely that
the compromised space of the GPA will allow for high level prosecutions or for
the establishment of an effective truth commission, but debates about the future
possibility of such processes should begin. To facilitate such processes and to
deepen democratic debate in the country media reform needs to be speeded up.
Access to Humanitarian resources and
coping strategies in Matabeleland.
In focusing on the access to humanitarian resources and the coping strategies
in one part of the country, Matabeleland, the following major findings were
- In 2008 families were largely excluded from access to both health and
education. While over the last six months there has been some improvement in
access to education, and some erratic improvement in rural clinic delivery, the
situation in rural Zimbabwe in 2009 remains generally dire.
- The majority of families interviewed (65%) have not harvested more than a
few months of grain, and will be in need of donor food relief again by September
2009. This food security is already being undermined by the fact that families
in rural Zimbabwe do not have access to foreign exchange, meaning that they are
being forced to pay school fees, bus fares and grinding mill fees with their
meager harvests. Bartering and the loss of able-bodied people to the Diaspora
continue to impoverish rural Zimbabweans, increasing the already heavy burden on
- Because most rural families have little or no access to foreign exchange, it
is not financially viable for small business owners in rural business centres to
restock, given the limits of the local market.
- Political violence is not apparent in rural Matabeleland. Democratic spaces
have opened up and people are able to meet more freely and debate contentious
issues without interference. However in Bulawayo itself problems persist, with
students and members of WOZA arrested and assaulted this year when conducting
- One of the central factors in ensuring the success of the GPA is to put in
place economic policies that will provide more security of livelihoods for
Zimbabwean citizens. This can only be done though a combination of effective
mobilisation of national resources, with support from SADC and the international
- It is vital for the international donor community to carefully calibrate its
interventions with the transitional government. The current humanitarian
interventions must be complemented by key developmental support in order to
assist in developing the material basis for a national reconciliation process in
- Conditions for international support must be based on the benchmarks set by
the transitional government itself, which must in turn be based on the central
democratic demands of the GPA.
- There must be a more open debate within the democratic forces in the country
over the continued basis for Sanctions in the current context. There are too
many mixed messages emerging around this problem.
- Continued ways must be found to fund the transitional government without at
the same time perpetuating the dual authority in the current state structures,
which have the potential to provide the more regressive actors in Zanu PF with
basis to derail the GPA.
- Strong steps must be taken by the guarantors of the GPA, SADC and the AU, to
ensure that the democratic and human rights reforms of the GPA are implemented
with greater speed. The continued abrogation of the elements of the GPA by the
ruling party must come under censor.
- All parties to the agreement must ensure the constitutional review process
is not hindered by the obstructive interventions of any party to the agreement,
and that, as much as possible within the framework of the GPA, the concerns of
civil society are attended to around this process.
- From the findings of the Diaspora study it is clear that many families in
the rural areas are not being sustained by remittances. This adds urgency to the
need for sustainable economic reforms that will provide greater security for the
livelihoods of the majority of Zimbabweans.
This entry was posted by Sokwanele on
Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 at 1:01
to Egoli”: Economic survival strategies in Matabeleland - a preliminary
The second report released yesterday by the Solidarity Peace
Trust is titled ‘Gone to Egoli’. Download the full report from the SPT website, or
from Sokwanele’s document
There is not much likelihood that the formal economy in Zimbabwe will recover
any time soon. It is likely to take over a decade before industry begins to
recover in any meaningful way, and in the interim, Zimbabwe will continue to
lose her youth to the diaspora, and those left behind will struggle to survive.
Particularly in rural areas, grinding poverty is likely to be a factor for the
Diasporisation is escalating exponentially, with our sample families
reporting a one hundred fold increase in the rate at which family members are
leaving, between 1990 and 2009. However, there is not proving to be a
corresponding return in remittances for rural families in Matabeleland.
While 59% of Zimbabweans in the diaspora are under the age of 30, only 4% of
these send goods or money home on a regular basis – three times a year or more.
Goods and money sent home do not lift families out of desperate poverty. 76% of
families with members in the diaspora received NO money at all in 2008, and many
of the remaining 34% received less than R100 a month. Goods sent home could
amount to as little as 2 kg of sugar. When asked to describe the impact of
having family members abroad, only 20% spoke of remittances. Most people
referred to death, disease, criminal habits, broken marriages and diaspora
Families have been driven to bartering in the almost total absence of foreign
exchange and goods for sale in rural areas. This has been ruthlessly exploited
by the unscrupulous and at the end of last year, people in some parts of
Matabeleland had to barter cows for 50kg maize meal each. Urban families have
also resorted to barter as poverty overwhelms them.
The prospects are bleak for Zimbabwe’s poorest citizens, and for the nation’s
youth. The next few years are unlikely to see the massive growth nationally that
is needed to create the jobs that could change this reality. What is more
likely, is that Zimbabweans will continue to stream across the borders – to be
confronted in turn with the hardship of life on the streets in South Africa.
Zimbabwe’s poor are getting poorer, and the degree to which remittances from
abroad can mitigate against this, has been overestimated when judged against the
findings of this study.
This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Wednesday, July
1st, 2009 at 1:27 pm.