The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 12 March

The police just don't want us to talk

Wilson Johwa

Bulawayo - With few obvious hassles, a local pressure group, Bulawayo
Agenda, kicked off a string of public meetings late last year. Twenty-nine
gatherings, held as part of its "township series", provided residents of
townships with a rare platform to speak out on issues of concern. Recurring
complaints included poverty, the hijacking of food aid by ruling party
functionaries and rising transport fares that were forcing commuters to walk
long distances daily. Although most expected the absence of official
interference to end, particularly after the grievances repeatedly pointed
towards mis-governance, organisers admit they were caught off guard when
police turned down their application for an evening meeting last Thursday.
Under the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), the police have to approve a
public meeting in advance. Last week officers simply said they no longer
allow public meetings after 5pm. Gorden Moyo, coordinator of Bulawayo
Agenda, says by insisting that meetings are held during the day, authorities
plan to minimise attendance. After all, people can't leave work. "It's
tantamount to incapacitating us," he adds. "The police's motive is people
should not attend these meetings; they should not voice - or hear - other
views."

Bulawayo Agenda is not the only organisation at the receiving end of the new
police directive. Tabitha Khumalo of the constitutional change pressure
group, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), says the organisation
applied for permission to hold a public meeting on February 26. Police
turned down this request too, citing the new regulation. "They just don't
want us to talk," Khumalo says, adding: "We are telling people the country's
problems stem from the Constitution." The NCA - which includes civic
organisations, unions and churches - maintains it is self-defeating for
Zimbabweans to participate in another election before a new constitution is
in place. It maintains the outcome of future elections is pre-determined,
thanks to a skewed electoral playing field that allows the ruling party to
dominate. Moyo adds that, when combined with the closure of the independent
newspaper, The Daily News, the meeting ban is part of a wider strategy to
stem debate ahead of next year's parliamentary elections. "The police are
trying to gag us," he says. The organisation believes participation leads to
democracy and is gearing up for more "debate, discussion and dialogue" in
Bulawayo and the two Matabeleland towns of Gwanda and Hwange.

In the meantime, Bulawayo Agenda rescheduled its cancelled Thursday meeting
for Saturday afternoon. The topic - "Is the government's anti-corruption
crusade a genuine policy or a mere political calculation?" - remains
unchanged. But chairperson Peter Khumalo is not excited. "When you choose
the time for a meeting you're considering the audience. Usually people are
ready towards the end of the week because they want to relax, to chat." On
weekends, however, he says most people are away. When contacted for an
explanation, provincial police spokesperson Inspector Smile Dube referred
questions to his superior, who was not available. Inspector Shepherd Phiri,
of the police's national press office, says deciding who can hold a public
meeting, and when, is at the discretion of the officer commanding an area.
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From The Mail &Guardian (SA), 12 March

When Mugabe travels in Zim ...

Mail & Guardian Reporter

It is a spectacularly entertaining sight, but, while it may resemble the
grotesque extravagances of a Hollywood set, there's nothing fictional about
it. Although it is two decades since he took office, President Robert
Mugabe's security still takes Zimbabweans by surprise. When Mugabe travels
all traffic comes to a stand-still. Motorists, rudely forced off the road by
speeding motorcyclists, watch in stunned awe as the presidential cavalcade
speeds past. If the motorcade is meant to frighten then it succeeds, even if
only because of its size and overbearing bodyguards' use of brute force.
When the president is moving around Harare he is usually accompanied by no
fewer than nine vehicles including four police bikes, an ambulance and, at
times, an additional top-of-the-range Mercedes. The cavalcade can get twice
as big, particularly when Mugabe's travelling outside the capital, when
larger crowds increase the perceived security threat. Typically the
motorcade consists of several Mercedes Benz vehicles, half of which are
likely to be unmarked. Anonymous security personnel occasionally shove
automatic rifles beyond the luxury cars' tinted windows. Clearly modesty and
discretion are the least of their concerns. The mainstay of the motorcade is
two open Land Cruiser trucks. Each transport about a dozen helmeted men,
brandishing an assortment of heavy weapons. Machine guns gleaming in the
sun, the men often hang onto the trucks as if they're ready to swing into
action. It is a sight unlikely to leave even the most lion-hearted observer
untouched.

The president's own ride, a new US$2,5-million custom-built Mercedes Benz,
arrived in the country in April 2002, just before the presidential election
that the 80-year-old is accused of stealing through intimidation, violence
and rigging. The vehicle's importation from Germany (at a time when
Zimbabweans needed food aid and the country was battling severe foreign
currency shortages) met with whispered disapproval. The purchase was made
shortly before the European Union slapped targeted sanctions on the former
freedom fighter and his close associates. Apart from its ample security
features, the five tonne limo serves as a mobile office that offers the
president luxuries including access to the Internet. So far, however,
there's no evidence that the president spends any of his time on the road
exploring the world wide web. Cyberspace may be less thrilling than the
actual world he inhabits. At the December World Summit on the Information
Society, in Geneva, Mugabe accused the Western media of using new technology
for espionage to weaken the Third World.

A local security expert says Mugabe's lavish motorcade is not inconsistent
with security practice in dictatorships. "Go to Libya and you'll see the
same thing. If you'd been to Pakistan during Zia's time it was similar," he
adds. "I understand Saddam [Hussein] was the same as was [Nikolai]
Ceausescu." A MP with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
Giles Mutsekwa, contends that Mugabe's motorcade is so large because the
president is preparing himself for the possibility that, fed up with his
oppressive rule, Zimbabweans might do the unthinkable. "This is what Mugabe
is readying himself for," notes Mutsekwa, who is also the MDC's secretary
for defence. "It's not normal for someone who claims to have been
democratically elected not to want anyone near him." Officially, however,
justification for Mugabe's seemingly excessive security could be that he,
while prime minister, survived three assassination attempts. Curiously, the
president has a history of accusing political foes of plotting to
assassinate him.

In 1982 Mugabe charged the rival nationalist leader, Joshua Nkomo, and other
Zapu party officials of plotting to topple him. Although acquitted they were
imprisoned for seven years without being charged. In December 1997 another
opposition leader, Ndabaningi Sithole, was convicted and sentenced to two
years' imprisonment for conspiring to assassinate the president. He was
accused in 1995of plotting to blow up the motorcade with a claymore mine.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai currently faces two treason trials for
allegedly plotting on two separate occasions to eliminate Mugabe . The
charges against the MDC leadership are based on a disputed Australian TV
documentary, broadcast in February last year, where it appears the
opposition was planning to have Mugabe assassinated. In a meeting with
Canadian consultants, Tsvangirai is said to have discussed how to proceed
"after the head of state has been eliminated." The MDC, on the other hand,
claims the video footage is based on a trap, set by the Mugabe regime under
the supervision of a government lobbyist and former Israeli secret service
officer, Ari ben-Menashe. Since June Tsvangirai has also faced another
treason charge for allegedly backing a violent overthrow of the government
when he called for a five-day national strike.

It is therefore not unreasonable that Mugabe's security personnel could
justify the extravagant motorcade as a necessary assassination-deterrent.
But that explanation may not assuage the concerns of many Zimbabweans, who
marvel at the fact that the motorcade does not, for example, reflect the
erratic fuel supply that has resulted from foreign exchange shortages that
some attribute to the president's mismanagement. He, however, has blamed it,
in part, on the West. "We have never noticed Mugabe minimise himself on
fuel," says Mutsekwa. "You can imagine how much fuel that motorcade
gobbles." The presidential limo alone guzzles about 45 litres per 100km.
Mutsekwa says his party believes in more reasonable security for the
president. "We'd go for a motorcade that is purely ceremonial as opposed to
fortifying your head of state." According to Professor Mike Hough, the
director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the University of
Pretoria, VIPs face many obvious threats, such as kidnapping. "In the case
of Zimbabwe, the reactions to possible threats seem, however, to verge on
hysteria."
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JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: justice@telco.co.zw; justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw
Internet: www.justiceforagriculture.com

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
justice@telco.co.zw with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

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Prelude text JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 12TH MARCH 2004 - OLF 244

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Letter 1: Re: JAG SITUATION REPORT 10TH MARCH 2004

This simply serves to confirm that there is no negotiation as the thug
element will insist on 100% compliance to their selfish, criminal wishes.

Simon Spooner
Letter 2: Re: JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 10TH MARCH 2004 - JAG OLF 243

Dear Sir,

Re two letters in OLF 243 (10.3.2004) on AgricAfrica, and Bed Freeth's
summarized letter to AgricAfrica. The most useful thing
would be if those responsible for "AgricAfrica" would enlighten all readers
as to:
1. The founding members, directors, and constitution of the organisation;
2. The purpose of the organisation;
3. Details of who gets the other 96% of the compensation;
3. A general letter to canvass support openly for the organisation.

Until now, these three letters are the first sign of any "new"
organisation,
with few to no facts available to readers to assess it. Am interested in
"original documents" from AgricAfrica.

Regards

Alex Hangartner

All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.

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Business Day

Zimbabwe's inflation rate slows to 602.5%

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HARARE - Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate slowed slightly to 602.5% in
February from 622.8% in January, official figures showed.
The drop in consumer prices is the first this year, a year that the central
bank is certain inflation will drop to below 200%.

The decline in inflation figures, cited by state television "has been
largely due to the drop in non-food inflation".

Despite the drop the rate remains one of the highest in the world,
translating to almost three times the January 2003 rate of 208.1%.

The government in November last year predicted the southern African
country's inflation rate would hit 700% in the first three months of this
year before climbing down.

Zimbabwe has in recent years been in the throes of political, economic and
social instability.

AFP

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News24

Soldiers of stupidity
JIMMY SEEPE

A WALKERVILLE plot, south of Johannesburg, was the headquarters of the
activities of the mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe while on their way to
oust the government of Equatorial Guinea, City Press can reveal.

The 70 men in Zimbabwean custody are mainly black former members of 32
Batallion, a mainly-black special unit in the old SA Defence Force (SADF)
that was used to track down and torture freedom fighters.

These black members of the expedition were paid R3 000 for the two weeks of
training and as part payment for the coup; the white members got R5 000. One
of the men told his wife he would be paid R16 000 a month and be allowed two
weeks leave to return home.

The mercenaries were being interrogated in Zimbabwe yesterday, with South
African officials on hand to help with translations.

After a wide-ranging investigation and interviews with police, defence force
personnel and diplomatic sources into the arrest of the mercenaries in
Zimbabwe, City Press has established that:
SA intelligence had been monitoring the plot in Walkerville because the
owner is a known rightwinger with ties to the Boeremag. A raid on the
premises is imminent.
The group boarded the plane at Wonderboom airport outside Pretoria but had
to land in Polokwane to clear customs. All of them were travelling on
genuine SA passports, Home Affairs director-general Barry Gilder said.
The leaders of the expedition, Simon Witherspoon and Simon Mann, had sourced
arms and ammunition, including AK47 rifles, mortars and grenade launchers,
from Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI), apparently because of the low price.
They said the arms were to be used for the defence of mining operations in
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
ZDI had informed Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), which
encouraged the sale in order to ensure an arrest. By the time the plane
landed in Harare, the Zimbabwean security operation was in place to effect
the arrest.
The black members of the expedition had not been told where they were going,
but it has since been established that the plane would have flown to DRC
before heading for Equatorial Guinea.
SA intelligence were unaware of the movements of the men, but once they got
the information of the arrest from Zimbabwe, they were able to make the
connection with the Walkerville activities. They informed President Thabo
Mbeki, who then told the president of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema.
Fifteen men were then arrested in that country, including Nick du Toit, who
has since made a confession.
City Press understands that the coup in Equatorial Guinea was backed by a
Lebanese man known as Elly, a US citizen known only as Grant, the Sher
Foundation and Simon Mann. These four would constitute the nerve centre of
the new finance department in the post-coup government.
Exiled opposition leader Severo Moto Nsa, who is said to have paid
Witherspoon and his co-leaders US$10 million (R67 million) would arrive
hours after the coup and declare himself the new leader. Nguema would be
exiled to Spain.
The Spanish government, and particularly Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar,
has been linked by the mercenaries to the coup. He was alleged to be in line
to get oil concessions from Moto.
A debate is raging between SA, Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea about where
the men should be tried. SA is known to be unwilling to bring them back as
they would face a lesser charge here of contravention of the Foreign
Military Assistance Act, with a fine of R6 000.

Zimbabwe can only charge the pilots and flight operators for false
declaration of cargo, as the mercenaries had no plan to try to topple the
Zimbabwean government.

Government sources said South Africa was unwilling to intervene and wanted
the men's treatment to be an example for other would-be soldiers of fortune.

Police Commissoner Jackie Selebi said yesterday that Equatorial Guinea has
formally asked for assistance with their investigation, and this would be
provided.

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For white farmers, hope in Zambia
Sharon LaFraniere/NYT

CHISAMBA, Zambia Douglas Watt is part of a most curious diaspora in southern
Africa - prosperous white farmers, vilified as greedy racists and driven out
of Zimbabwe, looking for a home.
.
Watt left the county of his birth almost a year ago after what has become a
common encounter there: the husband of a worker in President Robert Mugabe's
office politely told him that he was taking over his farm and that Watt had
90 days to get out.
.
He is one of as many as 140 white Zimbabwean farmers who have relocated to
neighboring Zambia, hoping, many say, for a mix of racial harmony and
political stability that will enable them to prosper and contribute to black
Africa.
.
Both for the farmers and for the Zambian government, the migration amounts
to a new experiment on an issue central to the whole region: How do whites
fit in?
.
While Zimbabwe has been uprooting its white farmers in an aggressive attempt
to redistribute colonial-era landholdings, Zambian officials, if a trifle
warily, have rolled out the welcome mat.
.
They are hoping that farmers like Watt will breathe new life into the
nation's moribund farming sector, which has been mired at the rake-and-hoe
level since the mid-1970s.
.
For their part, some of the transplanted farmers say Zimbabwe has taught
them that they need to integrate, not just prosper.
.
Watt drove around Zambia for three weeks before he found 650 hectares, or
1,600 acres, to lease near this one-street village, with a post office,
police station and food market north of Zambia's capital, Lusaka.
.
Pasture and brush just 11 months ago, the gently rolling land is now about a
meter and a half, or about five feet, high in green tobacco plants tended by
240 workers. Huge yellow sheaves of tobacco are hung to cure in 15 shiny
sheds by a new blocklong warehouse.
.
Watt has sunk $900,000 into his new farm, most of it borrowed from a bank
and from Universal Leaf Tobacco, based in Richmond, Virginia.
.
"I have put every cent I have into this," Watt, 38, said, sitting in the
dining room of his new ranch style house. "I've got more invested here than
I ever did in Zimbabwe. We will be an asset to the country."
.
Watt's move continues a long pattern of whites, increasingly uncertain of
their welcome, who have hopscotched around the southern end of the continent
over the past four decades.
.
His shift reverses that of his parents, 40 years ago. Back when this country
was still called Northern Rhodesia and chafed under colonial rule, Roy and
Ria Watt comfortably raised tobacco and corn on 1,600 lush hectares. In
1964, when white-minority rule crumbled and the country became Zambia, the
Watts, fearful of their future under a new black-led government, fled to
Zimbabwe.
.
Today their son is convinced that his parents bet on the wrong country.
.
Douglas Watt describes Zambia as everything that Zimbabwe is no longer:
racially tolerant, law-abiding, moderate and desperate for investment after
disastrous post-independence economic policies reduced the nation to a
beggar for foreign handouts and loans. Critics say Mugabe's policies are
accomplishing much the same in Zimbabwe today.
.
Also unlike Zimbabwe - or South Africa, for that matter - Zambia has good
land in abundance: about 60 percent of the countryside is arable, but less
than 10 percent is actively farmed. In a country of 10 million, there are no
more than 450 commercial farmers, including the Zimbabweans.
.
"We think there is a large vacuum to fill," said Chance Kabaghe, deputy
minister for agriculture, in an interview in a dilapidated office building
in Lusaka. "That's why we have been so open."
.
For Zambia, the money and know-how of white farmers could help the nation
climb out of the hole it fell into with the decline of its copper mines and
nationalization of land after independence.
.
Aided by open government policies on leasing and investment - and by
America's tobacco industry, which is underwriting much of the
farm-building - farmers like Watt are already creating a more modest version
of Zimbabwe's once mighty tobacco industry, which has been left in ruins
after three years of land seizures.
.
One of the world's leading exporters of tobacco in the 1990s, Zimbabwe's
output has fallen by three-fourths. Only about 500 of its 4,500 white
commercial farmers are still in operation.
.
Most of the rest are waiting out Mugabe's reign in Zimbabwe's cities;
perhaps a third have fled to neighboring countries like Zambia or Mozambique
or have left the continent altogether.
.
Zambia is taking up some of the slack, doubling its tobacco production this
year alone. By 2008, analysts predict it will produce 37.2 million
kilograms, or 82 million pounds, of flue-cured tobacco a year. That is twice
the yield than in the mid-1970s, before farmland was nationalized - although
still far less than Zimbabwe and Malawi each produce now.
.
Government officials see a new revenue stream of fees and taxes, plus the
potential for fertilizer stores, irrigation equipment and even a tobacco
processing plant like the one now operating at a quarter of its capacity in
Zimbabwe.
.
"We think we have benefited from the farmers who have come in," said
Kabaghe, the deputy minister for agriculture. "We are very proud of them.
Our tobacco industry is now booming."
.
At the same time, no official here wants the success of white farmers to be
too visible, lest it irritate Mugabe, whom Zambia's leaders have publicly
supported. Even more importantly, they do not want to engender the sort of
racial backlash here that has helped spur Zimbabwe's land takeovers and that
is building in both South Africa and Namibia.
.
Nor do the tobacco companies want to be seen as the benefactors of only
whites. Universal Leaf says it wants to develop 40 to 50 smaller,
black-owned commercial farms near the white-owned farms.
.
The New York Times
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Provide Security During Campaigning, Voting

The Herald (Harare)

EDITORIAL
March 13, 2004
Posted to the web March 12, 2004

Harare

CAMPAIGNING ahead of the Zengeza parliamentary by-election is gathering
momentum.

Four political parties - the ruling Zanu-PF, National Alliance for Good
Governance, Zanu and the MDC - have fielded candidates for the poll, set for
March 27 and 28.

The by-election is being held to fill the seat left vacant when MDC
parliamentarian Mr Tafadzwa Musekiwa who joined scores of economic refugees
in Britain after claiming that his life was in danger in Zimbabwe.

Mr Musekiwa now lives in self-imposed exile.

Already there have been reports of minor skirmishes between supporters of
some of the parties vying for the seat.

Indications are that those who have been involved in these deplorable
skirmishes are from the MDC and Zanu-PF.

We call upon supporters of all parties involved in this by-election to
immediately stop this horseplay and campaign peacefully.

Violence, known in MDC circles as jambanja, begets violence and does not win
votes. Rather than try to clobber people into submission, those that have
been tasked with campaigning should explain what their party or candidates
have to offer and let people make their own choices freely.

We are, however, heartened by the fact that all those that have been seen to
be fanning violence in the Zengeza by-election campaign are misguided
miscreants who do not seem to be acting on orders from their leaders or
candidates.

To their immense credit, Zanu-PF and MDC candidates, together with their
campaign officials, recently held a meeting with officials from the
Electoral Supervisory Commission during which they deplored violence and
pledged to campaign peacefully.

Several progressive recommendations were adopted during the meeting to
ensure that campaigning and voting proceed in even tenor.

Among the recommendations was that no outsiders would be allowed to worm
their way into the constituency for the purposes of campaigning. Any
outsider caught doing this would be shown out of the constituency.

We challenge the electorate in Zengeza to take a cue from their leaders in
ensuring that violence does not mar the poll.

The whole nation watched with admiration and respect as Zanu-PF'S retired
Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai and MDC's Mr Crispa Musoni - both
candidates in the Gutu North parliamentary by-election - embraced each other
after the former had trounced the latter by about 14 000 votes last month.

The Gutu North by-election was remarkably peaceful and fair, prompting the
losing candidate to pledge to work with the winner.

The same can happen in Zengeza.

We call upon the police and other law enforcement agencies to deploy
sufficiently in Zengeza and to act decisively against all perpetrators of
violence so that people can exercise their right to vote without fear.

Tolerance during the campaign and unity after the poll is what we expect in
Zengeza.
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News24

Boeing crew 'knew of no plot'
12/03/2004 22:44 - (SA)

Erika Gibson

Pretoria - Three flight crew of the Boeing 727-100 seized in Harare at the
weekend and who are in jail for an alleged coup plot, knew nothing about it.

Deon van Wyk, legal representative for captain Niel Steyl, co-pilot Hendrik
Hamman and flight engineer Ken Payne, said on Friday the men were involved
in a business transaction.

"They had to fly the passengers to Burundi, nothing more."

Van Dyk said the flight plans, clearance documents and cargo bills
correlated with the official versions in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

He said the crew and the 64 passengers were different entities. The
so-called coup was not discussed with the crew.

Van Dyk said the crew's Zimbabwean lawyers were denied access to the men
despite a promise by the attorney-general.

An urgent high court application to allow the lawyers access to the crew was
denied. Another application will be lodged on Monday.

Will be charged in three groups

Acting attorney-general Bharat Patel said the men would appear in court on
Monday. They have not yet appeared as statements still have to be taken from
all those in custody.

Only once statements have been taken, can the Zimbabweans formulate charges
against the men. It is understood they will be charged in three groups.

Chris Maroleng of the Institute of Security Studies said on Friday the men
had clearly committed no political crime in Zimbabwe.

The only transgressions were linked to aviation, weapons and immigration
laws.

Despite this, Kembo Mohadi, Zimbabwe's minister of home affairs, said the
men would be charged with trying to destabilise an independent country and
threatening its sovereignty.

But Maroleng says the threat carries no weight as the men did not mention
anything about a coup after being arrested.

But, apparently, there were plans to carry one out.

He said there was a difference between intelligence reports and proof beyond
reasonable doubt in a court.
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The Herald

Makamba's winding, complex journey to gain back liberty

By Alfred Chagonda
BUSINESSMAN and politician James Makamba has had a winding and complex
journey to gain back his liberty in the courts, but this has so far been a
case of so near and yet so far away.

Makamba, who is languishing at Harare Remand Prison on allegations of
externalising billions of dollars in both local and foreign currency, has
made six attempts to be released on bail but to no avail.

The courts' hands are tied by the recently gazetted anti-corruption
regulations.

Besides staying in custody, the businessman will have to fork out millions
of dollars in legal fees.

Senior lawyers charge an average of $80 000 an hour for bail applications,
but this depends on the nature of the case, the time the lawyer is handling
the case and also the time required to prepare the case's papers, among
other varying factors.

After making those bail attempts that last at least four hours each, the
businessman's legal bill could now be approaching the figure of $10 million.

Since February 9 when the former radio disc
jockey-turned-businessman-cum-politician was arrested soon after arriving
from South Africa, life has not been rosy for him.

Makamba became the second prominent businessman and politician after
Chinhoyi Member of Parliament Phillip Chiyangwa to be arrested as police
continue to clampdown on corruption and illegal economic activities.

He has been to the Harare magistrates' courts, the High Court and the
Supreme Court in a bid to be freed on bail but without any success.

Through his defence team of Mr Godfrey Mamvura, Mr Thakor Kewada and Mr
Joseph Mafusire led by Mr Sternford Moyo, all of Scanlen and Holderness,
Makamba has challenged the constitutionality of the anti-corruption
regulations.

He said the provisions purporting to bar judicial officers from admitting a
person to bail were not applicable in his case.

The Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations of 2004 were gazetted on February 13
to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of crimes affecting the
economic interests of the country.

Under the anti-corruption regulations, a person charged for corruption,
money laundering, laundering of proceeds of crime, externalisation of
foreign currency whether directly or through pricing, unauthorised dealings
in gold or other precious stones may not be granted bail by the courts.

His lawyers argue that he could deposit $40 million with the court,
surrender title deeds of immovable property, report to the police daily and
surrender his travel documents as his bail conditions.

They said Makamba was not likely to face a custodial sentence and there was
no way he could flee Zimbabwe because he had investments worth billions of
dollars in real estate, apart from owning a farm and running supermarkets.

Makamba first appeared at the Harare magistrates' court on February 14 and
he was remanded in custody to February 27 to give police more time to
investigate the allegations levelled against him.

On February 16, he made an urgent chamber application before Justice Antonia
Guvava of the High Court but the judge dismissed his application citing the
Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of Criminal Procedure
and Evidence Act) Regulations of 2004.

Justice Guvava dismissed Makamba's bail application saying it was clear that
having found that the businessman was placed in detention in terms of the
regulations, the court has no jurisdiction to determine the application for
bail in such cases.

The State, represented by Mr Vincent Shava, opposed bail saying Makamba
could only seek his liberty if there is a change of circumstances to warrant
the court to release him.

On February 24, Makamba made another bid, this time in chambers before
Supreme Court judge Justice Vernanda Ziyambi.

However, the State opposed bail saying there was no basis for him to
challenge the new regulations.

Justice Ziyambi on February 26 ruled that the regulations were patently
unconstitutional, but referred the matter back to the High Court.

She said both the State and Makamba's defence lawyers could submit evidence
that another judge could use to make a ruling on whether it was practical or
not to release him on bail.

She said that the Statutory Instrument amending the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act removed the discretion of the presiding law officer to decide
on bail.

Justice Ziyambi said she could not strike down the provision as that
required a ruling by the full bench of the Supreme Court.

Makamba challenged the constitutionality of the regulations before a full
bench of the Supreme Court on March 3, but his case was referred back to the
High Court because of procedural irregularities.

Justice Alphas Chitakunye who heard the submissions in his chambers on March
8 dismissed the bail application saying Makamba might interfere with State
witnesses.

The judge said Makamba could, however, come back to court after three or
four weeks to make another fresh bail application.

Last week, Makamba whose next routine remand hearing in the magistrate court
is March 15, was summoned to the High Court after the police indicated to
the court that they could level fresh allegations of possession of two valid
Zimbabwean passports against him.

Makamba agreed that he possessed the two passports, but said the older one
that was issued in 2001 was full. He said he still travels with it because
it had multiple United States and British visas that were valid for five
years.

He told Justice Chitakunye that he operated a Nedbank account in Sandton,
Johannesburg, which had about R5 000 and a Bank of Ireland account with
about 25 000 British pounds that was donated to his family by the late
Lonrho boss Mr Tiny Rowland.

Makamba said if granted bail, he would not abscond because he owned a house
in the posh Kambanji suburb whose address was Number 8 Rowland Close valued
at more than $2 billion and six other properties worth a combined $15
billion, apart from running supermarkets in the country.

He said he did not own property outside the country but for the past seven
years, he had been getting interested in finding how much houses in other
countries fetched on the open market.

His lawyer suggested to the court that he could deposit $40 million with the
court, security in immovable property, surrender travel documents and report
everyday to the police.

That was vehemently rejected by Mr Chengetai Gwatidzo who represented the
State who said Makamba was looking for houses to purchase outside the
country and the likelihood that he would abscond if granted bail was real.

"Telecel, where he was chairman, has already been convicted of similar
charges of externalising foreign currency and investigations are still in
progress, so he can not be released on bail," said Mr Gwatidzo.

Makamba, a founder member of Telecel, the country's third biggest cellular
operating company was ousted in a boardroom coup while in detention.

Justice Chitakunye later dismissed his bail application saying Makamba might
interfere with witnesses.

The judge, however, said Makamba could come back to court after three or
four weeks to make a fresh bail application.

"Considering that the onus is on the applicant to show that the interest of
justice would not be compromised in the circumstances, investigations have
to be carried outside the country and such investigations should not be
tempered with.

"There is risk of applicant interfering with investigations," said Justice
Chitakunye.

But Makamba's lawyers on Thursday filed a notice of appeal at the High Court
seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court for the businessman's liberty.

They are arguing that Justice Chitakunye misdirected himself when he
dismissed Makamba's bail application.

Mr Moyo said the judge was not entitled, without any evidence to come to the
conclusion that the police required three to four weeks before another bail
application could be considered in the matter.

Legal experts said under the anti-corruption regulations it would be
difficult for the courts to grant Makamba bail.

"If you put a close eye on those regulations, it is clear that no court has
jurisdiction to grant bail, except in special circumstances, lets say if the
State fails to establish a prima facie case against the accused," said a
leading Harare lawyer who declined to be named.
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Murky tale of a mercenary adventure

Speculation grows as Equatorial Guinea claims plot to kill president was
foiled

David Pallister
Saturday March 13, 2004
The Guardian

The light was beginning to fade over Harare international airport last
Sunday when the 40-year-old white Boeing 727 with a US registration number
landed and taxied to the cargo area. With its cabin lights dimmed, the pilot
indicated he wanted to refuel before flying on. He declared a crew of three
and four cargo handlers.
The Zimbabwean authorities were suspicious, not least because their
intelligence told them that some interesting characters were to meet the
flight. The South Africans, too, appeared to know what was afoot. Within
hours an extraordinary story unfolded to mirror the intrigue of Frederick
Forsyth's Dogs of War, in which a multinational company hires a bunch of
mercenaries to overthrow an African dictator - based on a 1973 coup attempt
in Equatorial Guinea.

This was not just a case of life imitating art; it seemed as if history was
repeating itself. Could the dogs of war that plagued the African continent a
generation ago be back? The Zimbabweans found 64 men on the plane - 20 South
Africans, 18 Namibians, 23 Angolans, two Congolese (from the Democratic
Republic of Congo) and one Zimbabwean with a South African passport - as
well as "military material". This turned out to be camouflage uniforms,
sleeping bags, compasses and wire cutters.

Notorious

Some of the men were said to have been former members of the notorious 32
Commando of the South African defence force, a clandestine unit of the
apartheid regime who went on to join the equally controversial private
military company Executive Outcomes, which carried out military operations
for the governments of Sierra Leone and Angola in the 1990s. It was formally
disbanded in 1999, largely in response to South Africa's Foreign Military
Assistance Act, which outlaws mercenary activities.

As speculation about mercenary adventurers grew, Zimbabwe also announced
that it had arrested a former British SAS soldier, Simon Mann, who had
arrived at the airport to meet the plane. He had helped to establish EO and
its British associate, Sandline International - the military company that
helped Sierra Leone beat the rebel group RUF.

Mr Mann, ministers said, had been in Harare in February with a South African
called Nick du Toit, apparently seeking to buy arms. The pilots were
identified as Niel Steyl, a South African commercial pilot, and Hendrik
Hamman, a Namibian. Both had in the past worked for Executive Outcomes.

As the revelations accelerated, the plot spiralled into the surreal. On
Tuesday the information minister of Equatorial Guinea, Agustin Nze Nfumu,
dramatically announced that 15 men - from South Africa, Armenia, Kazakhstan
and Germany - had been arrested for "plotting to kill the president",
Teodoro Obiang, and that their ringleader had confessed.

He said one of the men had claimed the group was acting on behalf of Ely
Calil, a Lebanese businessman close to Severo Moto, self-proclaimed
president of a so-called Equatorial Guinean government-in-exile in Spain,
who had tried to mount a coup in 1997.

Mr Calil, who has British and Senegalese citizenship, lives in a high-gated
mansion in one of the more exclusive areas of Chelsea, west London. He is an
adviser to the Senegalese president and reportedly carries a diplomatic
passport.

Two years ago he was arrested in Paris and interrogated by the magistrate
investigating the Elf oil scandal about his role in handling commissions for
the late Nigerian strongman Sani Abacha.

Mr Calil declined to be interviewed by the Guardian. But he told the
London-based newsletter, Africa Confidential, that he had no connection to
the coup plot. However, he agreed that he was a friend of the opposition
leader and had given him "modest" financial support.

Mr Moto has also vigorously denied the allegation, accusing Mr Obiang of
being "an authentic cannibal". He told Spanish radio: "Obiang wants me to go
back to Guinea and eat my testicles. That's clear."

As the allegations swirled, the company that owns the plane, Logo Logistics,
was desperately trying to put its side of the story. An Englishman, Charles
Burrow, a senior executive, told the Guardian that the men had been
travelling to the DRC to guard several mineral concessions. They had stopped
off in Harare to buy some "ancilliary mining-related equipment". Zimbabwe,
he said,was "one of the cheapest places on the planet".

The plane's flight plan did show that it was heading to Bujumbura in Burundi
on Congo's eastern border. Mr Burrows explained that Logo had been set up
three years ago, registered in the British Virgin Islands and administered
from Guernsey. He himself was based in Dubai. He conceded that Mr Mann was
an executive of the company.

"My first priority is the safety of these men," he said. As for the coup
allegations: "I haven't the foggiest idea what they're talking about."

Death penalty

Events then took a dramatic turn. On Wednesday evening, as the Zimbabweans
said the arrested men could face the death penalty and accused the secret
services of Britain, the US and Spain of being behind the plot, Equatorial
Guinea television broadcast an interview with Mr Du Toit.

Translated from his English into Spanish, he said: "It wasn't a question of
taking the life of the head of state but of spiriting him away, taking him
to Spain and forcing him into exile and then of immediately installing the
government-in-exile of Severo Moto. The group was supposed to start by
identifying strategic targets such as the presidency, the military barracks,
police posts and the residences of government members.

"Then it was supposed to have vehicles at Malabo airport to transport other
mercenaries who were due to arrive from South Africa. But at the last minute
I got a call to say that the other group of mercenaries had been arrested in
South Africa as they were preparing to leave the country."

Contacted again by the Guardian, Mr Burrows acknowledged that Mr Du Toit
worked for Logo. "We have five people in the country working on three
contracts for the government," he said. He also acknowledged that he knew Mr
Calil, but denied having any commercial relationship with him.

Back in Harare the allegations were becoming firmer. Zimbabwe's home affairs
minister, Kembo Mohadi, told a news conference that the heads of the police
and army in Equatorial Guinea had gone along with the plot against the
government. "The western intelligence services persuaded Equatorial Guinea's
service chiefs not to put up any resistance, but to cooperate with the coup
plotters," he said.

He claimed that the leader of the group, Mr Mann, had allegedly been
promised cash payment of 1m and oil mining rights and that Mr Moto had
hired them. And in an aside which will delight 007 fans, he said one of the
conspirators who had carried out surveillance in the Guinea capital of
Malabo was called "Bonds".

Then came the bombshell. Mr Mohadi claimed that, in what appears to have
been a Zimbabwean sting, Colonel Tshinga Dube, director of Zimbabwe Defence
Industries, had accepted $180,000 (100,000) from Mr Mann for a consignment
of AK-47s, mortars and 30,000 rounds of ammunition. A more murky
interpretation, however, was provided by the Afrikaans daily, Beeld, which
reported that Col Dube had been "enraged" that the aircraft was impounded
and the transaction scuttled.

Whatever the truth of that, it now seems clear that both South African and
Zimbabwean intelligence had wind of a suspicious operation, which explains
why President Obiang praised Thabo Mkbeki in his television address.

"We spoke with the South African president, who warned us that a group of
mercenaries was heading towards Equatorial Guinea," he said.

Yesterday Mr Mohadi said the 67 men would be charged with destabilising a
sovereign state.

Indiscreet

The Guardian understands that some of the alleged plotters had been
remarkably indiscreet about their plans. Rumours of a coup have been rife in
Malabo for weeks, according to several sources familiar with the territory.
So the questions remain: Why Equatorial Guinea? Why now? And in whose
interests?

The answers can be summed up in one word: oil. Until 1995 Equatorial Guinea,
a former Spanish colony, was an impoverished backwater with a population of
less than half a million. After independence in 1968, it was ruled by Mr
Obiang's uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who acquired as vicious a
reputation as any of the other murderous African dictators.

In 1975, over Christmas, he ordered his militia to kill 150 political
prisoners in Malabo stadium as loudspeakers played Those Were the Days, My
Friend. During his reign of terror a third of the population fled.

Mr Obiang seized power from his uncle in 1979 and, although he introduced a
consitutional democracy, elections have been widely regarded as fraudulent
and opponents often end up in jail.

The discovery of oil in the mid-1990s transformed the country's finances,
and provided the president and his family with funds to acquire multimillion
dollar properties in the US. With American oil companies in the lead,
production last year at 350,000 barrels a day made Equatorial Guinea the
third largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa.
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IOL

SA men denied access to lawyers and families

March 12 2004 at 09:26PM

Fears over the well-being of the South Africans held in jails in Zimbabwe
and Equatorial Guinea continue to increase as they are denied access to
their families or lawyers.

Adding to these fears is information received that of the 15 South Africans
arrested in Equatorial Guinea, eight are businessmen from major South
African construction companies.

They had been invited by that country to help build up its infrastructure.

The 15 South Africans, along with 20 of their countrymen in Zimbabwe, were
arrested after a planned coup to take over the government of Equatorial
Guinea was discovered on Sunday.

Amnesty International was worried whether they would be granted a free
and fair trial
The coup is believed to have been organised by former members of Executive
Outcomes, a firm which hired out mercenaries across Africa, Simon Mann,
Simon Witherspoon and Nick du Toit.

The 15 South Africans in Equatorial Guinea were arrested hours before Mann
and the 64 passengers on board the Boeing 727-100 were arrested at Harare
International Airport.

A source within the construction industry has revealed that two groups of 20
people each had departed for Equatorial Guinea during the past month. The
second group, along with five members of the first party, returned last
week, 48 hours before the arrests took place.

It is believed that the eight remaining members of the group, who were
involved in in-depth discussions with Equatorial Guinea's president and
ministers of minerals and energy, agriculture and land development and
transport, are among those who were rounded up with Du Toit and his advanced
group of suspected mercenaries on Saturday.

It is believed that the group, who are under house arrest and have been
prevented from contacting their families in South Africa, were rounded up as
part of a prevention plan to stop the coup.

Amnesty International spokesperson Samkelo Mokhine said they were concerned
that the South African government had not yet been granted access to the
prisoners. He said Amnesty International was worried whether they would be
granted a free and fair trial.

"We are also worried about the businessmen who were rounded up with the
other men in Equatorial Guinea. Amnesty International is investigating
allegations that the men's families and lawyers have not been allowed access
to them as well."
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The Scotsman

England to Discuss Zimbabwe Issue with Players

"PA"

The England and Wales Cricket Board will meet with players next month before
deciding whether this autumn's tour of Zimbabwe will take place.

A decision over whether England should visit the strife-torn country has
been put off as the ECB test both the legal position and the depth of
feeling at home.

The ECB hope to justify pulling out on moral grounds but are under pressure
from their fellow members of the International Cricket Council to fulfil
their obligations to tour.

ECB chairman David Morgan, who attended the ICC's autumn meeting in New
Zealand this week, told Sky Sports News: "It was very clear that all members
of the ICC are keen that we should fulfil our commitments to tour Zimbabwe.

"We shall be discussing the issue over the coming months. We have to take
many things into account.

"The players are a very important element in this and I shall be in Barbados
for the third Test (against West Indies) and shall be talking with the
players and the management about the tour (to Zimbabwe).

"We are not dithering. We undertook to postpone any decision on the tour
until after the autumn meetings (of the ICC).

"We shall be discussing it at our board meeting at the end of this month and
at the board meeting in April.

"We want to evaluate all the issues and test the legal position."

The ECB can avoid penalty for withdrawing from the tour if they can prove a
case of 'force majeure', whereby the Government order them not to travel.

The British Government have made clear their opposition but Morgan admits
they are unlikely to go as far as issuing an order.

"It is quite clear that the Government is against the tour going ahead," he
said. "They have the support of the two opposition parties.

"In our political system it's unlikely that the Government is going to issue
an instruction to a body like the ECB that they shouldn't tour.

"It's clear the Government doesn't approve of the tour going ahead. Our
legal advice is that this could provide a force majeure and we may have to
test that."

The ECB would look to provide financial assistance to the Zimbabwe Cricket
Union to soften the blow if they decided not to go ahead with the tour.

Morgan said: "We would wish to provide some assistance to Zimbabwe. If force
majeure was proved we would not have to pay a fine
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