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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Supreme Court bars Mugabe e-mail snooping

16/03/04
THE Supreme Court, sitting as a full bench, declared last week as
unconstitutional legal provisions that gives the president powers to
eavesdrop, including the powers to intercept mail, telephone conversations
and other such electronic telecommunications devices.

The superior court upheld contentions by the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LCZ),
a grouping of lawyers who had filed the constitutional application arguing
that the presidential powers provided for by the Posts and Telecommunication
(PTC) Act violated section 20 of the Constitution.

The lawyers were challenging section 98 and 103 of the PTC Act, which gives
president powers to intercept mail, telephones, e-mail and any other form of
communication.
The Act also gave powers to the president to give any directions to a
licensee requiring him or her to do or not to do a particular specified
action.

Section 20 of the Constitution provides for freedom of expression, freedom
to receive and impart ideas and freedom from interference from one's
correspondences.

LSZ's lawyer, Advocate Adrian de Bourbon had argued that the PTC Act allowed
the president to act in his opinion in the interest of "national security"
and "in the maintenance of law and order" and need only to consult his
Minister, whose views he is not obliged to take into account.

"In effect, the legislation gives to the President an unfettered ability to
intercept mail and communications with absolutely no safeguard whatsoever to
protect the innocent," said De Bourbon. "The absence of any restrictions and
in particular the absence of any judicial determination points beyond doubt
to the over-breathe of the power given to the president. There is no arbiter
as to whether a matter is subject to national security other than the
subjective view of the president."

It was also submitted that the norm was so imprecise that no person could
regulate his conduct to avoid running the risk that the president would
subjectively form the opinion that mail or other communication from that
person should be intercepted in the interest of national security.

The lawyers submitted that the provisions under challenge interfered with
the lawyer-client privilege, which would put at risk the privilege of such
communication.

They said they feared that legal practitioners could prejudice their clients
and betray confidence if they used the postal system and yet the legal
practitioner-client privilege was fundamental in the proper administration
of justice.

In response, Yvonne Dondo of the Attorney General's Office submitted that
while it was conceded that the provisions interfered with one's enjoyment of
the freedom of expression, it was a permissible derogation.

She submitted that the Constitution authorised derogation of freedom of
expression in the interest of defence, public safety, public health,
economic interest, public morality and public health.

She said the test for constitutionality of permissible derogation in terms
of section 20 of the Constitution was whether they were reasonably
justifiable in a democratic society.

Dondo had drawn the court to observations once made by the court with regard
to what was reasonably justifiable in a democratic society, where the court
had this to say:

"What is reasonably justifiable is an elusive concept. It is one that defies
precise definition by the courts. There is no legal yardstick save for the
quality of reasonableness of the provision under attack is to be adjudged on
whether it arbitrarily or excessively invades the enjoyment of the
guaranteed rights according to the standards of a society that has proper
respect for rights and freedoms of the individual."

Dondo submitted that the present case passed the test set out above.
"The legislative objective to allow the president to intercept mail or give
directions to licensee in terms of the Act is to ensure that national
security is preserved," she said.

"Maintenance or preservation of national security is sufficiently important
to justify limiting a fundamental right."

The case was heard before Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, Vernanda
Ziyambi, Misheck Cheda, Luke Malaba and Elizabeth Gwaunza - Daily Mirror

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

UN rights body to tackle Mugabe

By Staff Reporter
16/03/04
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's atrocious human rights record will come under the
microscopic gaze of the UN Human Rights Commission which is meeting in
Geneva for the next six weeks.

It will be the second time that the UNHRC considered the crisis in Zimbabwe
after South Africa in 2002 blocked an attempt by the British to pass a
resolution calling on President Mugabe to reform.

The move comes in the same week that the US State Department released a
devastating report detailing extra judicial killings and
government-sanctioned violence in Zimbabwe.

The 26-page report seen by New Zimbabwe.com accuses police, the army and
intelligence services of participating or providing transport as well as
other logistical support to the perpetrators of political violence

"Security forces committed extra judicial killings..government youth
militias tortured, beat, raped, and otherwise abused people and some persons
died from their injuries," said the report titled Country (Zimbabwe) Reports
on Human Rights Practices - 2003 and released by the US Bureau of Democracy,
Human Rights and Labour.

The UN commissioners' 60th annual meeting in Geneva will home-in on the
situation in Zimbabwe and a strong statement of condemnation is expected
after human rights groups warned the body risked irrelevance if it continued
to ignore Zimbabwe.

"Time and time again, the Commission has turned a blind eye to human rights
violations and allowed perpetrators to operate with impunity," Amnesty
International secretary-general Irene Khan said ahead of the meeting which
opened Monday.

"And if it is not willing to confront the major human rights challenges of
the world, it will be sidelined," she said.

Adrien-Claude Zoller of the Swiss NGO, Geneva for Human Rights said the UN
body - which is charged with upholding and denouncing human rights
violations - had lost sight of its mandate.

"The Commission has become a chamber of impunity, with the judges and the
accused sitting on the same bench," Zoller thundered.

But Zoller worries that suggestions put forward by developing countries to
move away from "naming and shaming" countries - in favour of a slap on the
wrist and more technical and cooperative assistance - could weaken the
Commission's position.

"Condemnation is a must when massive human rights abuses have been
committed. Without it, the Commission will no longer have a raison d'Ítre,"
Zoller said.

"It's ridiculous that members of the Commission might even consider no
longer adopting resolutions on countries," he added. "The only way for them
to uphold their mandate is to denounce violations, while at the same time
providing support."

The human rights groups have demanded a debate on the human rights record of
several other individual countries.

"When you look around the world, you see a battering of human rights in
Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, China, Chechnya, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and
now Haiti," Khan said. "And where is the Commission in all of this?"

The British Conservative party led by its foreign secretary Michael Ancram
has urged the government there to make another attempt at getting a
resolution on Zimbabwe. But while the response from the UK government has
been lukewarm, the US quietly released its damning report to coincide with
the UNHRC session which opened Monday.

The report also accused Mugabe's government of restricting freedom of the
Press by shutting down the country's sole independent daily paper, The Daily
News, academic freedom, right of association for political organisations and
viola-ting worker rights.

During the course of the year, a number of journalists, mostly from the
privately-owned media and foreign correspondents, have been harassed and
arrested for publishing articles perceived to be anti-government.

"The government continued to restrict freedom of speech and the Press;
closing down the only independent daily newspaper, beat, intimidated,
arrested and prosecuted journalists who published anti-government articles,"
it said

The report said the judiciary was not spared as judges and magistrates have
been attacked for handing down judgments against the ruling party while
detained persons were not allowed prompt or regular access to their lawyers.

"Several attorneys were denied access to their clients during the course of
the year ... They complained that police officers were obstructive and
verbally and physically abusive," it says.

The report notes that during the year, Zanu PF supporters and war veterans,
with material support from the government, expanded the occupation of
commercial farms, "and in some cases killed, abducted, tortured, beat-up,
abused, raped and threatened the farm owners, including anyone believed to
be sympathetic to the opposition".

The farm invasions by war veterans and Mugabe's supporters are largely
blamed for the current food crisis facing the country, once the breadbasket
of Southern Africa.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Xinhua

††††† Chinese armed forces to enhance cooperation with Zimbabwean army

††††† www.chinaview.cn 2004-03-16 23:36:54

††††††††† BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese army will continue
its efforts to enhance the friendly cooperative relations with Zimbabwe's
armed forces, said Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan here Tuesday.

††††††††† Cao, also vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and a
state councilor, made the remark in a meeting with C.G. Chiwenga,commander
of Zimbabwe's defense forces.

††††††††† Cao said China and Zimbabwe had carried out fruitful cooperation
in various fields since they forged diplomatic relations.

††††††††† China appreciates the Zimbabwean government's adherence to the
one-China policy and its consistent support for China on the humanrights
issue and other international issues.

††††††††† Chiwenga said the Zimbabwean government and people will continue
to adhere to the one-China principle.

††††††††† Earlier, Liang Guanglie, chief of general staff of the Chinese
People's Liberation Army (PLA), held talks with Chiwenga.

††††††††† Liang, also a member of the Chinese Central Military
Commission,said the Chinese army attach importance to its friendly
cooperative relations with the Zimbabwean army, and will actively promote
the exchanges and cooperation between the two sides in various fields.
Enditem
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

General Nyambuya's workers desert farm

By Our Correspondent
16/03/04
ABOUT 40 workers have fled from a farm owned by Manicaland governor and
retired army general General Mike Nyambuya citing low salaries, poor working
conditions, hunger and substandard accommodation.

The mass exodus of staff from the Nyamagura farm in Odzi follows a
demonstration by the workers on Wednesday during which workers complained
that they were repeatedly assaulted by the general's bodyguards each time
they complained.

The events in Odzi come barely a week after workers at a farm in Norton
nearly beat up their employer, Masvingo governor Josiah Hungwe for
underpayment of salaries and poor working conditions.

Speaking to our correspondent in Odzi Sunday, some of the 40 workers
demonstrated said they had resolved to leave the farm after Nyambuya refused
to up their salaries from the $38 000 he has been paying them.

The farm workers said they were buying maize from Nyambuya at $10 000 per
bucket when the Grain Marketing Board is selling a 50kg of maize at $ 8 500.
They complained that the houses at the farm were substandard and not
suitable for human habitation. The houses have no roofs and water pipes,
which were damaged during the scramble for occupation of the farm.

There is a shortage of books and furniture at the farm school and pupils are
asked to work in the fields in exchange of books from Nyambuya, they said.

"Nyambuya is always guarded by about 10 soldiers who are usually asked to
beat us when we complain about any ill treatment on the farm," one of the
ex-workers Leonard Pangani said. "When I enquired the issue of better wages
Nyambuya asked his men to beat me up as a way of intimidating the whole
community. Everything at this farm is definitely wrong, as there is no
electricity, water, and roofs on the houses."

On Friday last week, Nyambuya held a field day at Machiri plot where he
addressed his audience to the fact that GMB has lowered the price of maize
per bag to $8 500. He further indicated that wages for farm workers have
been hiked from $38 000 although that is not the case on his farm.

Initially there were about 70 families at Nyagura farm, the majority of whom
were taken from Clare farm, formerly owned by a Mr Bannard. The workforce at
the farm has been severely depleted with the exodus of about 40 workers to
neighbouring farms.

Skeleton staff had been put in place when a New Zimbabwe.com team visited
the farm. Efforts to get a comment from Nyambuya failed as his office
repeatedly said he was in meetings.

Tobacco at Nyambuya's farm has ripened and is ready for reaping. However
with the current developments the Governor is likely to face problems and
probably a huge loss due to the poor grade his tobacco is likely to get.

The many black workers, the eviction of white commercial farmers should have
heralded a new era of fairness and equality. But government officials have
been accused of abusing the land resettlement programme by seizing vast
expanses of land and exploiting workers to maximise their profits.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Reuters

IMF team in Zimbabwe for economy review
Tue Mar 16, 2004 02:03 PM ET
WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) - An International Monetary Fund team is in
Zimbabwe for a routine economic assessment and consultations with the
government, struggling to pay overdue debts to the global lender, an IMF
source said on Tuesday.

The visit is part of Article IV economic consultations, the source said,
which refers to annual reviews of IMF member country's to assess economic
and financial stability and policies.

"The discussions with the authorities will cover everything," the source
said.

In December the IMF began procedures to expel the southern African state as
a member for failing to pay its debts to the fund. It also said President
Robert Mugabe's government had not adopted "comprehensive and consistent
policies" to address Zimbabwe's growing economic crisis.

The IMF said Zimbabwe has been in continuous arrears since February 2001,
with arrears amounting to $273 million or about 53 percent of its IMF quota
as of November 2003.

The IMF source said Zimbabwe had resumed quarterly payments to the fund
since the December meeting of the 24-member executive board. According to
the IMF Web site, Zimbabwe made $1.48 million in payments to the fund this
year.

"The payments have not been at a level that can change the course of
action," said one IMF official said.

The IMF and the World Bank led Western donors in halting lending and balance
of payments support to Zimbabwe in protest against government policies,
including its seizure of white-owned land for redistribution to landless
blacks.

The IMF said in December that economic and social conditions in Zimbabwe,
once the region's breadbasket, had deteriorated, with gross domestic product
falling by about 40 percent between 1999 and 2003 and inflation at about 526
percent in October 2003.

Mugabe has accused the financial institutions of pandering to the whims of
the West, which he says have sabotaged Zimbabwe's economy over the land
reforms, leading to record inflation and unemployment, as well as shortages
of foreign currency, fuel and food. (Additional reporting by Stella
Mapenzauswa in Harare)
Back to the Top
Back to Index

VOA

††††† Zimbabwe Central Bank Closes Major Financial Institution
††††† Peta Thornycroft
††††† Harare
††††† 16 Mar 2004, 16:30 UTC

††††† Zimbabwe's Central Bank has closed down one of the country's oldest
building societies, leaving tens of thousands of depositors uncertain about
the status of their money. The building society is the most significant
financial institution to be closed since the Central Bank pledged economic
reforms last December.
††††† The Intermarket Building Society has been lending money to homebuyers
for more than 50 years. It has branches all over Zimbabwe and is a major
processor of salary deposits for civil servants, in particular teachers. The
Central Bank closed the Society on Monday, and lines of people formed
outside its main branch in central Harare.

††††† Several people in the line, although reluctant to talk to reporters,
said they were trying to access their salaries. Others said they are due to
be paid on Friday and wanted to speak to company officials to find out if
alternate arrangements have been made. They got no answers because no one
from Intermarket was in the office and its telephones went unanswered
through Tuesday.

††††† The Central Bank says it has placed Intermarket Building Society under
the control of a special curator to protect depositers' money, and that it
hopes to be able to sort out the company's problems as soon as possible.

††††† Experts say Intermarket, like many banks, appears to have loaned large
sums of money to speculators, rather than putting it into safer investments.
With interest rates now between 250 and 300 percent, the speculators cannot
repay the loans.

††††† As part of its reform drive designed in part to crack down on currency
speculation, the Central Bank has closed at least two asset management
companies in the last three months, and some of their executives now face
accusations of massive fraud. Several other banks have been forced to lower
interest rates. But Intermarket is the first major consumer bank to have its
doors closed.

††††† Many Zimbabwean banks are in trouble due to the plunging economy and
the shortage of cash. Economist John Robertson says the daily cash shortfall
in the banking system is about $Z100 billion, or $US30 million.

††††† Analysts blame Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation, super-high interest rates
and high unemployment and poverty on a series of government policies,
including political repression and a disastrous land reform program. The
government blames foreign countries for interfering in its internal affairs.

††††† On Tuesday, a seven-member team from the International Monetary Fund
arrived in Zimbabwe to review the economy. Zimbabwe owes the IMF almost $300
million, and its membership has been suspended. Zimbabwe could be forced out
of the fund by June 3 if its economy does not stabilize by then.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

RBZ to Probe Fuel Industry

The Herald (Harare)

March 16, 2004
Posted to the web March 16, 2004

Harare

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will institute an investigation into the fuel
industry to ascertain whether the different pump prices being charged by oil
companies are justified.

The RBZ Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, said the central bank was interested in
those companies that were securing their foreign currency through the
auction system.

"We are not seeking to reintroduce price controls but we are simply going to
check whether a fair price is being charged for fuel," he said.

Dr Gono was responding to inquiries by army officers when he addressed them
at the Zimbabwe Staff College in Harare last Friday. They had queried the
different pump prices that are being charged by different companies in the
fuel industry.

Fuel prices shot up last year following the deregulation of the fuel
industry, which resulted in oil companies sourcing their own fuel.

The deregulation saw fuel prices initially rising to above $3 000 per litre
before they stabilised between $2 500 and $2 800 per litre after the fuel
supply situation improved during the first two months of the year.

However, the prices shot up again to above $3 000 per litre late last month,
after uncertainty over a possible increase on duty.

The oil companies reduced their fuel prices below $3 000 after the
Government announced a reduction of duty on petroleum products from over 40
percent to between 0 and 5 percent.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Cape Argus

††††† Mugabe could set 'coup plot' punishment
††††† March 16, 2004

††††† The maximum sentence at present faced by 67 alleged mercenaries in
Harare is two years' jail - but a state newspaper reports today that they
could be tried under an obscure law that would allow President Robert Mugabe
to decide their fate.

††††† They will be photographed and fingerprinted today. Tomorrow they would
appear on immigration and firearms charges, their lawyers said.

††††† They are accused together with three alleged ringleaders of planning a
coup in tiny, oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.

††††† Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge has said they could face the death
penalty. But none of the charges mentioned so far are
††††† serious offences.

††††† The flight crew and passengers are accused of making a false
declaration about the number of people aboard the Boeing cargo jet seized at
Harare airport, and its destination.

††††† They also face charges of "attempting to conspire to acquire
firearms", while their alleged accomplices were accused of attempting to
acquire the weapons, a charge with a possible 10- year penalty, their
lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, said.

††††† But the state-owned Herald reported yesterday the group could also be
charged under a law banning activities of "foreign subversive organisations"
in Zimbabwe.

††††† A conviction would carry a penalty of up to five years in jail - or a
more severe punishment as decreed by Mugabe on the advice of law officers,
the paper said.

††††† The government is investigating whether it has jurisdiction to
prosecute the suspects for conspiring to destabilise a sovereign government
other than Zimbabwe.

††††† The investigators allege Equatorial Guinea's exiled opposition leader,
Severo Moto, offered the group $1.8 million and oil rights for helping to
overthrow President Teodoro Obiang Ngeuma.

††††† Fifteen other alleged mercenaries were arrested in Equatorial Guinea
last week, also on suspicion of plotting a coup.

††††† But lawyers say the suspects were headed to the eastern DRC to handle
diamond mine security.

††††† One of the alleged coup leaders, Nick du Toit, appeared on TV in
Equatorial Guinea to "confess". - Sapa-AP
Back to the Top
Back to Index

News24

Buthelezi won't visit Mugabe
16/03/2004 18:06† - (SA)

Donwald Pressly

Stellenbosch - Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said on
Wednesday it had been suggested to him that he visit Zimbabwe to talk to
President Robert Mugabe, but he had declined.

At a joint rally with official opposition Democratic Alliance leader Tony
Leon at the University of Stellenbosch on Tuesday - as part of their joint
"Coalition of Change" - Buthelezi was asked about his party''s stance on the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.

Buthelezi said one should have no illusion that South Africa's economy "is
strong and the most developed country in Africa", but Zimbabwe too had been
viewed as "a jewel" of Africa "until recently".

He did not spell out the metaphor further, but he said it was easy "to (go
down) the slippery path taken by those who are running a country... very
easy to destroy a country as is the case in Zimbabwe".

"Some people suggested to me when people were to-ing and fro-ing from
Zimbabwe that because I was at university (Fort Hare, Eastern Cape) with
(President) Mugabe I should go and see him, too (to help mediate in the
economic and political crisis)."

Loud roar of approval

"I declined. I said I did not want to go to Zimbabwe and be feted by the
president.

"I said I did not want to return to say to the press at the airport: 'The
president (Mugabe) explained to me and I understand'." There was a loud roar
of approval from the crowd.

Leon was specifically asked by an English-speaking student if he thought
South Africa "would go the same way (as Zimbabwe)" if there was no change of
government in South Africa.

The opposition leader said conditions in South Africa and Zimbabwe were
different.

However, when the opposition led by Joshua Nkomo's Zapu PF (the Zimbabwean
African People's Union) - joined to form one party with Mugabe's ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu-PF) "at that moment the opposition
died in Zimbabwe".

This had followed on the heels of the bloody massacre of Matabeleland
"instigated by Mugabe and the (parliamentary seaker) Emmerson Mnangagwa".

It had taken 17 years after democracy in Zimbabwe for opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai to leave the trade union movement and form the Movement
for Democratic Change.

'Been in power too long'

Leon said the transition from Rhodesia to Zimbabwe "was a positive
affirmation of what reconciliation was about" at the time of independence in
1980.

But, Mugabe and Zanu-PF had been in power too long.

"What I can tell you is give one man and one party power for too long, it
ends up in a one-party situation. (If a similar situation occurred in South
Africa) the Zimbabweanisation of South Africa becomes a possibility. "

But, he pointed out that African National Congress MP and deputy general
secretary of the South African Communist Party, Jeremy Cronin, had already
warned against the "Zanufication" of the ANC - the strangulation of debate
within the ruling party''s ranks.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Scotsman

††††† Ecb Challenged on Zimbabwe Tour

††††† By Andrew Evans, Lords Staff, PA News

††††† The England and Wales Cricket Board was urged by a minister today to
"shoulder the responsibility" of withdrawing from this autumn's tour of
Zimbabwe.

††††† Foreign Office Minister Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean said: "The
Government is not on a fence. If it were our decision, we would not go. That
is quite clear.

††††† "But we have no power to stop this tour. It is a matter for the ECB to
reach a decision. That is their decision. In all these issues there are
responsibilities and we all have to shoulder a responsibility.

††††† "It's too easy just to turn aside and say, 'That's nothing to do with
us because we are a cricket association.' There are responsibilities for
everybody."

††††† Tory Earl Peel had spoken of the board's "intolerable dilemma". He
urged the Government to "get off the fence and to make it clear with an
unequivocal statement to the effect that, due to the deeply unsatisfactory
political situation in that country, the tour should not go ahead".

††††† Lady Symons told him: "If you feel as passionately about it as you
clearly do, I hope you will get in touch with the cricket board and tell
them what your views are.

††††† "And I am perfectly prepared to say what our views are. I have been
unequivocal about that."
Back to the Top
Back to Index