By Alex Bell
28 February 2011
The loyal ZANU PF security forces intensified their presence in Harare on
Monday, ahead of a planned public protest against the Robert Mugabe regime.
Heavily armed soldiers and riot police were seen arriving in military
vehicles in the city centre near Harare gardens on Monday, while
water-cannons were also seen on the streets. The increased security presence
is widely believed to be an attempt to discourage participation in a public
protest, which has been scheduled for Tuesday.
As violence and intimidation continue to sweep across the country, support
for protest action has slowly begun to grow, with the public being
encouraged via an online campaign dubbed the ‘Million Citizen March’. Plans
of the march are being circulated by email and on the social networking
website Facebook, calling for demonstrations to start on Tuesday. The
protests are set to start at the Harare gardens and the public are being
encouraged to keep up the action, spreading the protest countrywide, until
Robert Mugabe resigns.
The planned protests are being driven by recent events in Egypt and Tunisia,
where civil uprising has led to the fall of the oppressive administrations
in both countries. Similar protest action is also underway in Libya, where
ruler Muammar Gaddafi has been in power for over 40 years. But at the moment
he is clinging on, using brutality and with the help of mercenaries and
troops sent by Robert Mugabe.
The events in North Africa have, to a large extent, been coordinated by
online campaigns through Facebook and Twitter, and as dictatorships continue
to fall it is widely hoped that Zimbabweans can achieve the same results.
Veteran journalist Angus Shaw told SW Radio Africa on Monday from Harare
that tensions are high ahead of the planned protest. But he called it a
“wait and see” situation, explaining that Zimbabwe “does not have the same
large social networking community as in North Africa.” He said that it is
mainly business people in Harare who are talking about the protest, voicing
concerns about how a protest, and any police crackdown, will affect their
“We have seen riot police today (Monday) so the authorities clearly are
aware that there is a protest being planned and they will want to try and
nip it in the bud if it goes ahead. So business people are particularly
worried about trouble,” Shaw said.
Shaw continued by saying that businesses are more worried that ZANU PF
members will be bussed in by their hundreds on Wednesday, for Mugabe’s ‘two
million signature’ rally. The rally, also set to take place in Harare, is to
launch Mugabe’s anti-sanctions campaign, and is expected to see thousands of
ZANU PF members massing in the capital. Shaw explained that this is a very
real threat to businesses.
“There will be many ZANU PF youths and there is the potential that things
will flare up and business will be looted. So they are to ready to close on
Wednesday,” Shaw said.
Mugabe’s campaign is an attempt to get two million signatures calling for
the end of Western imposed targeted sanctions, against him and key members
of the regime. The campaign, which is only being officially launched on
Wednesday, has been in full swing for several weeks, with many people being
forced by ZANU PF militia to add their names. Mugabe meanwhile this week
threatened to take over foreign owned companies, including Nestle and
Zimplats, in retaliation for the Western ‘sanctions’.
Support meanwhile is growing for Tuesday’s ‘Million Citizen March’, with
solidarity demonstrations set to get underway in both South Africa and the
UK on Tuesday. The UK based Zimbabwe Vigil will be holding a demonstration
outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London, coinciding with the Harare march.
At the same time, in Cape Town, refugee rights group PASSOP has organised a
demonstration outside parliament, calling for South Africa to condemn the
violence and intimidation by ZANU PF.
PASSOP’s Anthony Muteti told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the protest is
also in solidarity with the 45 activists who were arrested over a week ago,
for watching footage of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions.
“We are demonstrating against the unacceptable detention of these 45
activists in Harare by the ZANU PF regime. We believe that South Africa is
seen by the continent as a role model, it is a key player in solving the
Zimbabwean situation and it must once and for all step up to the plate and
make demands based on the will of the Zimbabwean people,” Muteti said.
Harare, February 28, 2011 – The treason case of 45 human rights activists
failed to take off on Monday after the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe summoned
the magistrate hearing the matter amid reports that armed soldiers had been
deployed in Harare's streets to thwart any Egyptian style demonstrations.
The 45 activists were arrested at a meeting in the capital Harare and were
accused of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe’s government using
the ‘Egyptian’ mass uprising style which saw former Egypt president, Hosni
“The presiding magistrate is meeting with the Chief Justice. You are
remanded in custody to tomorrow (Tuesday),” Harare magistrate, Memory
Chigwaza told the court.
Reasons were not given why the magistrate, Munamato Mutevedzi went to have a
meeting with Justice Chidyausiku. Chigwaza could not listen to appeals by
the defence lawyer, Alec Muchadehama to have his client’s access private
doctors after they testified last week that they were tortured by law
enforcement agents in custody.
Muchadehama last week told the court that his clients have no case to answer
as videos they are accused to have seen that showed uprisings in Egypt and
Tunisia were also seen by millions of Zimbabweans on television.
Mugabe’s ally Muammar Gaddaffi of Libya is facing off with massive protests
that are threatening his 42 year iron fist rule after ordinary people
followed uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Gaddaffi and his regime were
slammed with sanctions by the United Nations, after thousands of people
protest against Gaddaffi’s rule was killed by the army and security forces
for marching in the streets.
Meanwhile armed soldiers were on Monday deployed in Harare's streets.
observers suspected the soldiers had been deployed to deal with anyone
wanting to start an Egypt-style uprising.
Hordes of heavily armed soldiers, and anti-riot police disembarking from
military tankers were seen in the city centre near the Harare gardens.
“I know for sure that these soldiers are up to no good. They can do anything
at any time, “ an eye witness told Radio VOP. "We don't feel safe," said a
This comes after a circulation of emails which alerted the public that there
would be demonstrations to force Mugabe to resign.
“The protest is intended to demand the immediate cessation and an end to the
dictatorial regime misruling Zimbabwe ,"read the email. "In addition, the
mass demonstrations countrywide will convey anger and concern about the
suffering of Zimbabweans from brutal economic, military, political and
social repression under the regime of Robert Mugabe, who has been in power
Zanu (PF) secretary for legal affairs and the country’s Defence Minister
Emerson Mnangagwa last week warned that the army would not allow
anti-government protests inspired by the mass revolutions that have occurred
in Tunisia and Egypt during the past month.
“Those who may want to emulate what happened in Egypt and Tunisia will
regret. Everybody is warned to keep peace in the country," Mnangagwa told
army officers in comments broadcasted by the state-owned Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation last week.
By Lance Guma
28 February 2011
Munyaradzi Gwisai and the 44 activists arrested on the 19th February for
watching video footage of protests in Egypt and Tunisia, will spend a 10th
night in custody after the trial magistrate failed to turn up for a
scheduled hearing on Monday.
Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama told SW Radio Africa that his clients went
to the Harare Magistrates Court as scheduled, only to be told by the Public
Prosecutor that Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi had failed to turn up,
claiming he was attending a meeting somewhere else. It was left to a
stand-in magistrate to postpone the matter to Tuesday 11:15am.
Gwisai, a former MP in Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC party, was arrested
alongside 45 other student and trade union activists for holding a meeting
at which footage of protests in the Middle East and North Africa was shown
and later discussed. Last week Wednesday they were charged with treason or
alternatively plotting to ‘overthrow a constitutionally elected government.’
One of the activists arrested was released on Thursday after apparently
‘defecting’ and deciding to write an affidavit as a state witness. This
meant the number of those charged went down from 46 to 45.
Muchadehama struggled to contain his frustration, telling us; ‘The matter
has been characterized by delays right from the start. Today the matter has
not been heard adding to the delays by the police and the prosecutors.” He
said his clients had been severely tortured, but the longer the matter took
to be heard, the more time for the medical evidence of torture to disappear
as the wounds healed.
Last week Thursday Gwisai testified in court about how he and 5 other
detainees were subjected to torture by 9 state security agents at Harare
Central Police Station. He said they were tortured in an effort to secure
confessions implicating them in treason, a charge they are facing in court.
During torture sessions, recorded on video, the detainees were asked to
recount what happened in their meeting.
Gwisai said each of the 6 detainees received a series of lashes administered
while they lay down on their stomachs. He added that he received between 15
and 20 lashes as the police and his tormentors sought to obtain confessions
from him and the other detainees. Gwisai said the pain which he endured and
suffered as a result of the torture sessions was “indescribable, sadistic
and a tragedy for Zimbabwe”.
Muchadehama said they are trying to get the court to order that his clients
see a doctor but the magistrate has so far said they should only see a
prison doctor, but even this has not happened. Some of the activists
detained are also on anti-retroviral medication and while being denied
medication their health is said to be deteriorating.
Feb 28, 2011, 18:14 GMT
Harare - Prison authorities in Zimbabwe have ignored court orders for 12
activists accused of planning an Egyptian-style uprising against President
Robert Mugabe to receive medical treatment for torture-inflicted injuries,
their lawyer said Monday.
The dozen accused were part of a larger group of around 45 lawyers, students
and trade unionists who were raided by police on February 19 during a
private meeting on the situation in Egypt - during which they were watching
a DVD of newsclips of the unrest.
All now stand accused of treason, which carries the death penalty. They have
been in custody for 10 days, and complained of various abuses and torture.
A Harare magistrate was told last week that the 12 were lashed on the soles
of their feet with broomsticks by secret police interrogators attempting to
force them to admit they were plotting Mugabe's overthrow by mass
He halted the hearing and ordered that they be examined and treated, and for
a report to be submitted when the court reconvened on Monday.
However, the men have not been treated, beyond being given general
painkillers, their lawyer Rose Hanzi said.
Human rights lawyers say there has been a spate of arrests around the
country for alleged political offences since the overthrow of Tunisian
strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Mugabe has been in power for 31 year, presiding over a country which
descended into economic chaos and hyper-inflation, and widespread
intimidation, brutality and killings after the presidential election of
Written by WOZA
Monday, 28 February 2011 15:18
FOUR members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were arrested by plain
clothed police officers from Western Commonage police station. The police
officers arrived at the home of Sitshiyiwe Ngwenya and found her and 3
colleagues dealing with burial society accounting. The four activists,
namely Joyce Ndebele, Moreblessing Dube and the male member Kholwani Ndlovu
were then loaded into a white van and taken to the police station. Lawyers
have been deployed to attend to the arrest of the human rights defenders.
by Irene Madongo
28 February 2011
Job Sikhala, the leader of the MDC-99, has been severely beaten and tortured
in police custody as part of a wider plan to prevent him and others from
participating in a planned anti-government march on Tuesday, a party
spokesman has said.
Following the revolt against dictators in Tunisia, Egyt and Libya,
Zimbabweans in and outside the country have been using social networks to
call for a protest march against Robert Mugabe. The ‘Zimbabwe Million
Citizen March’ was launched two week ago, and calls for a mass protest under
the theme ‘Power in numbers to remove dictatorship’.
On Monday, MDC-99 spokesman Aaron Muzungu explained that Sikhala was picked
up by members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) on Friday, who
claimed they wanted him to give a statement on minor issues. However, on
Sunday he was told that he was being charged with kidnapping someone in
Mutare, which was a surprise to him as he had not travelled out of Harare
during the period the kidnap was meant to have taken place.
Muzungu explained what had happened to Sikhala over the weekend; “On
Saturday night he was tortured using electrical cables and beaten with an
iron bar, which led to dislocation of his pelvis. Police are refusing for
him to go to hospital; they are saying they are waiting for a command from
someone from ‘up-there. Right now he can’t walk. He has been brutally
assaulted. It’s a pity that they are denying him the right to get
It’s understood that the police have now signed a warrant for Sikhala to be
held for a further 48 hours, meaning he would only be released after the
planned million-man march.
Muzungu claims they have been reliably informed that Sikhala’s arrest and
mistreatment is part of Mugabe’s plans to clampdown on activists so as to
prevent the march on Tuesday.
“Some of the people in Mugabe’s intelligence tell us; ‘Guys, this is a
Mugabe’s way of trying to destabilise so that your march will not succeed
and (he is) trying to get rid of all these vocal people,” Muzungu said.
He denied that Sikhala had organised the million-man march, but said that
people in Zimbabwe are so fed up with Robert Mugabe that they could
“Throughout the country people are ready to participate, but they are being
scared (off) by the police. If you move in the locations today, you can
actually see that they have deployed soldiers throughout the locations so as
to instill fear to the masses who are ready to demonstrate tomorrow,” he
On Monday there was a heavy police and army presence in various parts of
Harare, an indication that the government is ready to arrest anyone who
might try to protest.
Last week the coordinator of the International Socialist Organisation, and
former MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, plus 44 other activists, were arrested and
charged with treason for holding discussing the civil strife and protests in
north Africa. They could face the death penalty. Like Sikhala, a number of
them were tortured.
By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Monday, 28 February 2011 16:17
HARARE - Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is to appear before
the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs, on
Wednesday, to brief them on the on-going violence in Harare.
Chihuri had been expected to appear before the committee on Monday but
Committee chairman Paul Madzore told Daily News that Chihuri had informed
the committee that he was busy and had a meeting with President Robert
“Chihuri will be coming this week, and we look forward to his oral
evidence,” said Madzore.
Parliament two weeks ago summoned Chihuri to explain to them on the role
the police curbing the ongoing political violence.
Zanu PF supporters have been on the rampage victimising and harassing MDC
supporters in the high density areas and in Nyanga, Masvingo and Mt. Darwin.
Many MDC supporters have been evicted and attacked in their homes in Mbare,
Budiriro and Kuwadzana high density areas, with hundreds fleeing their homes
to seek shelter at safe houses in the capital.
The police have been accused of arresting MDC supporters on frivolous
accusations, letting Zanu PF members scot-free.
A report from the Zimbabwe Peace Project for the period December to February
this year, fingered police in violence and said they were working hand in
hand with the Central Intelligence Officers (CIO) in the harassment of the
Harare, February 28, 2011 – Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri on
Monday absconded from attending a parliamentary portfolio committee on
Defence and Security to explain why police are failing to curb the upsurge
of violence in the country.
Chihuri was summoned by the parliamentary portfolio committee mid-February
after violence rocked Harare surbubs resulting in the death of one Movement
for Democratic Change supporter. The Defence and security portfolio
committee wants Chihuri to explain why the police has been partisan in
handling political violence cases.
The police have been accused of being partisan and have not been arresting
Zanu (PF) supporters perpetrating violence in across the country. Chihuri
and other service chiefs declared their allegiance to President Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party.
According to a member of the Defence and Security committee, Chihuri told
the Defence and security parliamentary committee chaired by Paul Madzore
that he is busy today as he is attending a meeting with Mugabe and promised
to attend the hearing on Wednesday.
"The police commissioner general, Chihuri advised the committee this morning
that he could not attend the hearing today but promised to come on
Wednesday," a member of the committee who did not want to be named told
Violence broke out in Harare suburbs that include Budiriro,Mbare and
Mufakose while villagers in Nyanga North constituency are reportedly fleeing
into neighbouring Mozambique in fear of their lives after violence
disturbances in the constituency.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is also the leader of the larger
formation of the MDC told Zimbabweans at a public forum in the capital this
month that the country has witnessed the deployment of 'soldiers and armed
vigilantes' in the country side since the announcement by Zanu (PF) and
Mugabe that elections might be held this year.
"We have seen in the past few months the deployment of soldiers and armed
vigilantes in the countryside to recreate the terror of June 2008. We have
heard treasonous talk from senior officials in the police and in the army,
all speaking against the freedom of every Zimbabwean to elect new leaders of
their choice in an atmosphere of peace and security," Tsvangirai said.
Political tensions have risen in the country at the prospect of holding
polls this year after the constitution making process is completed. The MDC
has said that they will not participate in an election that is marred by
violence and irregularities.
The MDC has said over 200 people were killed by the 2008 violence which
resulted in the party making a decision to pull out of the presidential
run-off in June the same year.
Chitungwiza, February 28, 2011 - Zanu (PF) youth militias ran riot in
Chitungwiza beating up people and revellers at Makoni Shopping Centre
accusing them of ignoring President Robert Mugabe’s birthday celebrations
held at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) held last
Other victims of the attacks were vendors, shoppers and shop owners at the
town’s largest shopping centre.
The youths dressed in 21 st February Movement T-Shirts beat Tinashe Mawoyo
together with scores of other people who were drinking at Dande Bar at the
“They were eight of them and they beat me up because I was not wearing a
Zanu (PF) T-shirt. They accused me of being an MDC-T supporter and I had to
run for my life,” said Mawoyo.
A woman who did not want to be named said: “The Zanu (PF) youths were drunk
and my husband was very lucky to escape unharmed since he is visibly sick.
They had to let him go after one of the youths begged the others to live him
since he was sick.”
Chitungwiza has been gripped with sporadic cases of political violence. In
Unit O in Seke, Zanu (PF) supporters have been forcing residents to buy
party cards for US$2.
The people are also being forced to attend party meetings by a Zanu (PF)
leader in the area identified as Makonese. The Zanu PF leader is accused by
the residents of being behind the wave of terror in the area.
Over the weekend Makonese told residents that they should all travel to
Harare and sign an anti-sanctions petition at the national launch at Harare
President Mugabe is billed to officiate at the launch of the campaign where
Zanu (PF) is expecting a massive crowd in protest of the West imposed
sanctions on Mugabe and his allies.
The old Harare Suburb of Mbare has been the worst hit as more cases of
political violence have been reported. Residents in the suburb are no longer
playing parties or engaging in family social gathering as Zanu (PF) youths
disrupt them interrogating them on why they are enjoying themselves.
By Alex Bell
28 February 2011
Forty families from a village in central Buhera have been left with nothing,
after their homes were looted and burned by ZANU PF thugs over the weekend.
The MDC MP for Manicaland province, Pishai Muchauraya, told SW Radio Africa
on Monday that youth militia and war vets rampaged through the Mapfurutse
village on Friday night, destroying homes and looting property, accusing
people of being MDC supporters. He said the youth militia were organised and
led by a Colonel Mzilikazi, while the war vets were sent by notorious war
vet leader Joseph Chinotimba. The MP said both the marauding groups were
also taking orders from the local traditional leader (a senior ZANU PF
official) who was directing the mob to attack any suspected MDC supporters.
“At least 34 homes were destroyed, and the families are now homeless, with
no shelter and no food. Some are staying with relatives in nearby areas, but
many are sleeping in the open. It is very serious,” Muchauraya said.
Parts of Manicaland province have been under siege by members of Robert
Mugabe’s party for several weeks, with intimidation and violence
intensifying ahead of possible fresh elections this year. Last week saw
hundreds of people fleeing the Nyanga region, where ZANU PF militia have
unleashed serious violence. Muchauraya said on Monday that villagers in
Nyanga continue to stream into neighbouring Mozambique and others areas.
“Militia are roving with guns, machetes, spear, knobkerries, iron bars and
guns. They are still terrorising people and stealing from innocent
civilians,” Muchauraya said.
Last Wednesday, three truckloads of ZANU PF militia stormed the Nyakomba
district and started going house to house looking for MDC supporters. The
trucks are thought to have been supplied by ZANU PF’s Hurbert Nyangongo, who
is trying to wrestle the Nyanga North constituency from Douglas Mwonzora,
the incumbent MDC-T MP.
Mwonzora is currently locked up at Mutare remand prison following
allegations that he ‘instigated violence’ in his constituency. He is being
held together with 24 other MDC activists who were also arrested almost two
weeks ago. The group was granted bail last week, but the state immediately
invoked a controversial legal act which is repeatedly used to keep suspects
behind bars. MP Muchauraya said Monday that Mwonzora will now spend at least
another week behind bars, after the state filed a bail appeal with the High
Recent outbreaks of ZANU PF violence have mainly targeted Manicaland and in
Masvingo, where the party suffered its biggest electoral losses in the last
elections. With fresh elections suspected this year, observers say the
targeted violence is a deliberate campaign to force people into voting for
ZANU PF. MP Muchauraya agreed that ZANU PF “is trying to instill fear ahead
of elections, because they are well aware that the chances of losing more
seats in elections this year are high.”
Muchauraya meanwhile expressed concern that the situation continues to
deteriorate and said he is particularly worried by “the level of abuse of
the law by magistrates and the police.” The police have continued to display
their partisan nature, by only arresting MDC members and other human rights
This was once again on show on Monday when four members of the pressure
group, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), were arrested by plain clothed police
officers from Western Commonage police station. WOZA said in a statement on
Monday evening that the police officers “arrived at the home of Sitshiyiwe
Ngwenya and found her and three colleagues dealing with burial society
accounting. The four activists, namely Joyce Ndebele, Moreblessing Dube and
the male member Kholwani Ndlovu were then loaded into a white van and taken
to the police station.”
Harare - Zanu (PF) members want President Robert Mugabe to confront Movement
of Democratic Change Secretary General and Finance Minister Tendai this week
to force him release funds for the completion of the new constitution,
failure of which Mugabe should declare elections.
“We told the President that he should confront Biti and use his powers to
order him to release funds for both civil servants and the constitution,"
said Zanu (PF) spokesman Rugare Gumbo. "This is going to be done by the
President this week. We are tired of being in the inclusive government. We
are the owners of this country and no other party should and will rule
this country,” he said.
President Mugabe told about 5 000 of his party supporters at his 87th
birth day celebrations in Harare at the weekend that Biti was seating on
at least US$2 million dollars from diamond proceeds.
Biti is on record saying that diamond sales are not remitted to treasury.
“He is sitting on monies; he is not releasing money to COPAC in order to
delay the holding of elections. They are playing with fire, he should
release money to COPAC and secondly, to civil servants,” said Gumbo.
COPAC is a parliamentary committee set up to spearhead the constitutional
process and last year gathered views from the public amid chaos and
Biti was not immediately available for comment when Radio VOP tried to
contact him as his mobile phone was unreachable.
Meanwhile Zanu (PF) youths on Sunday force marched a congregation of the
apostolic sect from their Sunday service they were holding at an open space
in Eastlea to a political rally in Highlands.
The rowdy youths under the instruction of Zanu (PF) Highlands chair. a one
Mangemba, approached members of the apostolic sect and ordered them to
follow them to Highlands community hall for a political rally.
The congregation which had more than 30 church members in their white
garments walked for about five kilometres to the rally venue under tight and
close supervision of Zanu (PF) youths.
Mangemba who works in Highlands as a gardener is being used by Zanu (PF) to
mobilise support for the party through terrorising residents. He is
reportedly been moving from door to door threatening war to residents who
refuse to attend daily meetings.
“Mangemba is telling us that soldiers are coming very soon to address
residents on daily evening meetings, “said one Highlands resident.
Harare, February 28, 2011 - Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) joint
chairperson and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Douglas Mwonzora and
23 villagers will remain in Mutare Remand Prison until Friday when the High
Court passes a determination on an appeal against their bail order which was
filed by the Attorney General’s Office.
Mwonzora, the legislator for Nyanga North constituency and the 23 villagers
who were arrested two weeks ago and charged with violating section 36(1)(a)
of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for public violence were
granted bail by Nyanga Magistrate Ignatio Mhene last Monday. Mhene had
granted a US$ 50 bail each for Mwonzora and the villagers after ruling that
the State had failed to overpower the assurances given by the applicants in
their application for bail.
But their bail order was suspended after State prosecutor, Tirivanhu
Mutyasiri invoked the notorious Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act (CPEA) to put aside the bail order.
Edmore Nyazamba, a law officer in the AG’s Office filed the appeal papers
which were only served to Mwonzora’s lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Tawanda
Zhuwarara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Monday.
The invocation of Section 121 of the CPEA, which suspends the bail order for
suspects for seven days pending the filing of an appeal by the State in the
High Court has already been condemned by ZLHR which said such actions were
“malevolent and unjustified”.
ZLHR said the persecution of Mwonzora and the villagers was testimony that,
despite the guarantees for free political activity enshrined in the Global
Political Agreement, there remained some elements within the transitional
coalition government who are dead set against the dawn of democracy in
By Maxwell Sibanda
Monday, 28 February 2011 16:55
HARARE - Workers at the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel (Ziscosteel) are living in
extreme poverty as the giant steel maker has not paid its employees for
Last month, the workers were paid 300 rand each - less than US$30 - as the
deal between government and Essar, a Mauritian company that wants to invest
in thesteel maker has not yet been finalised. Negotiating parties differed
on the value of the assets and whether the latter would buy the Kwekwe
foundry alone and not its iron ore resources.
Essar representatives have since gone back to their headquarters in
Mauritius to consider whether or not it is feasible to acquire Ziscosteel
without its iron ore reserves.
Edgar Nyoni, executive director at State Enterprises Restructuring Agency
appeared before the State Enterprises and Parastatals Management
parliamentary portfolio committee last week and said the hold-up had been
caused by differences in evaluating how much Ziscosteel was worth.
“The Zisco-Essar deal has not been completed after Essar went back to
consult its parent company. It will take a little longer to tie up the
deal,” Nyoni said.
Workers at Ziscosteel, in the mining town of KweKwe, had hoped the signing
of the deal would bring in the much needed investment and their outstanding
The continued delay in signing means that the workers will go without
salaries for more months as the company is not productive.
An executive with the Ziscosteel Trade Union, who preferred to remain
anonymous said poverty had reached alarming proportions for the 2 500
“Ziscosteel owes workers nine months’ salaries and the last time they paid
us was in December when they gave each worker the equivalent of $US50. Last
month they said they were giving workers an advance salary of 300 rand.
Everyone was paid in cash at the company premises but that money fizzled out
before it even got home,” said the trade unionist.
The trade unionist said until August last year, the lowest paid employee at
Ziscosteel used to earn 1 300 rand which was only increased to 2 600 rand
after protracted negotiations that began in March.
The non-payment of salaries has reduced Torwood suburb, the Ziscosteel
compound that houses most of the company’s workers, into a ghost village
with electricity to houses disconnected for non-payment.
“They cannot pay Zesa and the few that remain with electricity have
negotiated a fixed bill of US$30 each month. Water has been disconnected at
several houses. There is no money for food, school fees and medical
treatment. It is living hell,” said the trade unionist.
The only hospital in Torwood which was owned by the company is now being run
by a private company while the Medical Centre in Redcliff, another
Ziscosteel suburb is now run by a private doctor.
These properties no longer belong to Ziscosteel. Redcliff Hotel is now
owned by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, according to Redcliff
The union had devised a way round school fees by writing supporting letters
for workers’ children to school heads.
“We write accompanying letters to say that this child belongs to a
Ziscosteel employee and cannot pay in the meantime since the father or
mother is not being paid. So it means parents owe schools huge amounts,”
said the trade unionist.
While the same supporting letters were being written for workers to take to
Zesa and the municipality, these institutions have become tired and were
disconnecting those in debt.
The only relief the workers have is accommodation as the company sold most
of the houses to sitting tenants.
“Workers who are renting accommodation have been affected as they can’t pay
rentals. Most have been moving from one lodging to another after landlords
issued notices because of their failure to pay,” said the trade unionist.
Harare, February 28, 2011 - The president of the smaller faction of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Professor Welshman Ncube has threatened
that his party will ask the court to imprison President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai if they continue to defy a court order that
ruled Arthur Mutambara should stop acting as the party President.
Ncube said that they got reports that Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara met
on Friday in disregard of a High Court order that Mutambara is no longer
president of the party. Ncube said this when he addressed villagers, in
Garanyemba 30k outside Gwanda town at the weekend.
“We understand a meeting of principals took place Friday and that Mutambara
was invited and its clear that if that happened all of them were acting in
contempt of court and it is possible for us to apply for the committal to
prison for anyone in contempt of court”, said Ncube. “But we will have to
seek advise from our lawyers first” , he added.
The Professor who took power under controversial circumstances earlier this
year has been refused the position of Deputy Prime Minister despite him
being the President of the party.
“You can’t be a Principal unless you are the President of a party, the
agreement involves Zanu (PF), MDC T and us and Mutambara has no party,”
Ncube said his party will contest elections with or without reforms to avoid
conceding too much space to Zanu (PF).
“We will contest Zanu (PF) whether that fora is fair or unfair, we can’t let
them go without a fight”, said the Professor.
Meanwhile the South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team which
was in Zimbabwe last week will return to Zimbabwe in March for a series of
meetings aimed at resolving the current political problems in Zimbabwe and
to come up with a roadmap to democratic elections.
Elton Mangoma, a member of the Tsvangirai led MDC in the negotiations told
RadioVOP the team had agreed to return for a series of meetings, one which
will be with the GPA (Global Political Agreement) review team that has
recently been set up. They will also meet JOMIC, a commitee composed of
members from Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations which receives complaints
and find solution to issues affecting the GPA. The team will also meet
selected people to talk about the roadmap.
He added: “We met with facilitation team and we talked first to get them to
understand their responsibility. Then we talked to them about issues of the
roadmap to elections and the violence that is bedevilling our country and
what steps need to be taken.”
Political parties selected two members from each party to deliberate on a
roadmap that President Zuma has drafted. The political party representatives
will be making contributions on Zuma’s draft.
The GPA review team is expected to look into issues regarding non-compliance
with and breach of the agreement.
Tsvangirai has complained about Mugabe’s unilateralism in the appointments
of senior government officials.
Mugabe unilaterally appointed RBZ governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana in breach of the agreement. The agreement requires that
Mugabe and Tsvangirai agree before any senior government appointments are
Mugabe also appointed provincial governors from his Zanu (PF) party without
The embattled leader has also threatened to unilaterally call for elections
this year but Tsvangirai has said that according to the amended constitution
Mugabe has no power to act unilaterally.
Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:53pm GMT
By Wangui Kanina and Abraham Archiga
NAIROBI/ABUJA (Reuters) - Kenyans and Nigerians fleeing unrest in Libya said
on Monday they faced attacks and hostility from Libyan citizens and
officials who branded them as mercenaries supporting Muammar Gaddafi's rule.
A Kenya Airways flight landed in Nairobi with 90 Kenyans on board, and 64
other people from South Sudan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Rwanda,
South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone and
Burundi, officials said.
Nigeria said it had flown 1,035 of its citizens back to the capital Abuja on
two chartered flights on Sunday, with about 1,000 more to follow in the
"We were being attacked by local people who said that we were mercenaries
killing people. Let me say that they did not want to see black people,"
Julius Kiluu, a 60-year-old building supervisor who arrived back in Nairobi,
"Our camp was burnt down, and we were assisted by the Kenyan embassy and our
company to get to the airport."
Libya's former ambassador to India, Ali-al-Essawi, told Reuters last week
African mercenaries were being used by Libya to crush protests, prompting
some army troops to switch sides to the opposition.
Another Kenyan worker said government officials were confiscating mobile
phones, tearing open bags and throwing their contents on to piles at the
packed airport in Tripoli.
"When they saw a black person, they immediately saw a mercenary, and if you
dared use your telephone in public, it was grabbed and the SIM card removed.
If your telephone was cheap you got it back, but if it was expensive it was
pocketed," said Kenyan worker Francis Ndung'u.
Nigerians arriving in Abuja told similar tales.
"We are all slaves in the hands of the government over there," said one
returnee, James Ugochuku.
"Nigerians are hiding inside the bush. They don't eat, they die because if
they come out, they kill them."
Libya is a stepping stone on one of the oldest and most dangerous migration
and smuggling routes to Europe.
Thousands of people from countries including Senegal, Mali, Ghana and
Nigeria have tried in recent years to cross the desert in the hope of
reaching Italy or Spain's southern shores, a perilous journey of about 40
days by truck from Agadez in northern Niger to Sabha in southern Libya.
Besides being a gateway to Europe, the north African country offers higher
wages for low-skilled work and higher prices for tobacco smuggled through
Benin or Nigeria, and there is still a thriving black market trade along its
ancient desert routes.
The Nigerian authorities suspect some of the returnees may have travelled
illegally, and NEMA has set up a camp in Abuja where they will be
accommodated and screened for valid travel documents before being
Muhammad Sani-Sidi, head of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency,
told Reuters it was a voluntary evacuation and the 2,000 were Nigerians who
had registered a desire to leave with their embassy in Tripoli. He estimated
there were 10,000 Nigerians in Libya.
Antony Mwaniki, Kenya's ambassador to Libya, was among those on the flight
"The situation in Tripoli right now is calm ... but it would be difficult to
know what will happen today, tomorrow or in a few days' time, so it was
paramount and critical that we leave," he told reporters at Nairobi airport.
Many Kenyans said they would return to Libya if it stabilised because they
were earning good money in the North African country's construction sector.
"If there is peace tomorrow I will go back, there are no jobs here and I was
making a good salary," Kiluu said.
February 28 2011 ,
Zimbabwe's struggling power utility said Monday it has secured 100 megawatts
of electricity from the Democratic Republic of Congo to reduce a perennial
"ZESA holdings is pleased to advise that it has managed to secure an
additional 100 megawatts of power from SNEL of the Democratic Republic of
the Congo effective March 01, 2011," the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) said in a statement.
"Fifty megawatts of the power will be supplied on a firm basis, meaning that
the power will be supplied on a continuous basis, and the other 50 megawatts
will be supplied on a non-firm basis, meaning that power will be supplied as
and when available."
ZESA has been battling to meet the country's electricity needs, often
resorting to cutting supplies to some areas for up to 10 or 12 hours in a
desperate measure to conserve scarce electricity.
ZESA has attributed the erratic power supplies to ageing equipment at major
plants and low tariffs. The government has also not invested in new
electricity generation and transmission equipment over the past three
The power utility also blames its woes on failure to collect $400 million it
is owed by customers. Currently ZESA is generating 1300 megawatts against a
demand of 2100 megawatts. - Sapa-AFP
by Tobias Manyuchi Monday 28 February 2011
HARARE – Zimbabwe's feuding coalition partners have shelved key economic and
political reforms and are likely to concentrate on an election charm
offensive that would entrench their divergent positions ahead of polls
tentatively set for this year or early 2012, an investment banking group has
Renaissance Capital said President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF and the rival
factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minster
Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube were no longer
pushing for economic and political reforms they promised under a
power-sharing pact signed by their parties in 2008.
In an outlook for 2011, the banking group noted that the global political
agreement (GPA) signed by Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur
Mutambara in 2008 was as good as dead, with no hope of resolving the
coalition partners’ current differences over government appointments and
"As such, politicians are no longer pushing for the reforms initially sought
under the GPA and are simply looking forward and positioning themselves for
the next electoral race, which will free them from this unhappy political
marriage,” Renaissance said.
Nearly 30 months after the Southern African Development Community
(SADC)-sponsored GPA came into existence, Zimbabwe’s coalition partners are
yet to agree on how to implement 24 contentious issues drawn from their
Mugabe’s ZANU PF has made it clear that it had no intention of fulfilling
the agreement, with the veteran leader stating that he would make no
“concessions” to Tsvangirai’s MDC-T until targeted Western sanctions against
his party are lifted.
ZANU PF wants the MDC formations to push for the removal of visa
restrictions and an asset freeze imposed by the West on Mugabe and about 200
of his close allies.
The MDC formations, however, insist that ZANU PF brought the targeted
sanctions on itself and should therefore change its policies to earn the
removal of the restrictions.
ZANU PF is however adamant that there will be no movement on any of the
outstanding issues until the sanctions are lifted.
Governorship appointments have been one of the contentious issues
threatening to choke life out of the fragile inclusive government after ZANU
PF took an entrenched position not to prematurely terminate the contracts of
the officials appointed by Mugabe on 24 August 2008.
More than a year after the three popular parties agreed to a 5:4:1 formula
for the appointment of the governors, the agreement has failed to be
consummated due to ZaANU PF’s intransigence.
Under the formula, it was proposed that the MDC-T would take charge in five
provinces, while ZANU PF governs in four and the smaller MDC in one.
Other reforms likely to suffer include the opening up of the electronic
media and reforms of the security sector.
Renaissance Capital noted that, with elections looming in the next two
years, the feuding parties are likely to dig in on their divergent views,
leading to the collapse of the GPA.
Signs of the conflicting signals have been seen in the past few months, with
ZANU PF hinting it would slide back to its populist policies of the
pre-unity government era that led to hyperinflation and unprecedented
Mugabe and other hardline ZANU PF elements have even threatened to
nationalise foreign companies in retaliation to the imposition of Western
visa restrictions and an asset freeze on party officials. -- ZimOnline
7:41 AM Tuesday Mar 1, 2011
Tatenta Taibu's man-of-the-match performance in Zimbabwe's 175-run World Cup
win over Canada showed Indian Premier League sides what they passed up when
they failed to pick the wicketkeeper batsman in auction.
The Kolkata Knightriders picked up Taibu's contract for $125,000 in 2008
alongside players including Sourav Ganguly, Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum
and Ricky Ponting.
Among the unsold players this year, Taibu got the chance to impress Monday
at Nagpur's VCA Stadium with Zimbabwe stumbling. Taibu scored 98 from 99
balls to build a 181-run third-wicket partnership with Craig Ervine, giving
his team a winning platform.
Taibu also took two stumpings to help dismiss Canada for 123 and continued
success on the subcontinental pitches could persuade an IPL side to take a
chance on the 27-year-old player when the next opportunity arises.
"When I was selected to play IPL for the first year, I was really happy with
that," Taibu said.
"Obviously playing in a competition like the IPL, it helps a lot and you
learn a lot. I have played under the wings of Ricky Ponting and Sourav
Ganguly, to mention but a few.
"I would be really happy to play again in such a tournament."
With Gayle, Mark Boucher and Andre Nel also among those passed over,
omission from the IPL squad lists was no disgrace for Taibu.
His opponents Monday were certainly impressed with his composed shot
selection and alert rotation of strike.
"He probably got the best of the conditions, but that won't take anything
away from his batting under pressure," Canada captain Ashish Bagai said. "He
switched the momentum around for the Zimbabweans and took the game on their
With Group A matches against New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Kenya to
come, Zimbabwe will need Taibu to maintain such composure under pressure.
"It is always a responsibility to score runs," Taibu said. "I told Craig we
should get into the zone, but yes it was my responsibility. If you get into
the zone as a batsman, it is easy to score. We were lucky we kept getting
boundaries in the middle overs. Because we kept getting boundaries and
singles, we thought we could get 290.
"They realized a bit too late they were bowling to my strength."
Justifying his place in a squad packed with four players able to keep
wicket, Taibu's performance behind the stumps was also strong. The spin of
Ray Price, Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer means he has to stand up to the
wicket for most of the opposition innings, constantly alert for stumpings
and close catches.
"I am a big fan of Price and Utseya," Taibu said. "They are very accurate
and it is a joy keeping wicket to them."
Feb 28 2011 21:59
It was a stifling 35 degrees when we arrived in Musina, the kind of dry,
dusty heat that makes every movement slow, even when you think you should be
in a hurry. But then there is no need to dawdle in a border town.
It was my first time in Musina and Grace's* fourth. The first time she
crossed the border was in January 2002. She was 16 years old and her
half-sister, Thuli, who had arrived in Johannesburg a few years before,
organised a taxi-driver friend to fetch Grace from their cousin's house in
Bulawayo and ferry her across with other Zimbabweans, some legal, some
She had no papers then. No birth certificate, no ID, no passport. Her
grandmother, who raised her in a dusty rural village in Matabeleland after
her mother died when she was nine, her father following her mother to the
grave a year later, didn't really see the need for official documents such
as birth certificates or ID books, much less passports.
When Thuli offered to look after Grace, her grandmother packed up the few
things the teenager owned and sent Grace on her way.
"You'll get pregnant here," she said by way of letting go and crossed her
fingers for better things.
Grace, a domestic worker in Johannesburg, is the responsible type. She is
basically law-abiding, respectful of authority and rightly scared of the
South African police, as much as any Zimbabwean without papers - and some of
those with -- should be.
Although the department of home affairs implemented the Zimbabwean
documentation process between September and December last year, it has been
seeped in confusion for many.
The department, which expected to process a good number of what has been
estimated to be the 1,5-million Zimbabweans living in South Africa in just
three months, shifted and changed procedures as it went along to meet its
gargantuan task. But those who work with migrants say the time frame seemed
set up for failure, or at least to exclude the majority of those whom it was
meant to serve.
The department has, meanwhile, claimed victory, saying it has accepted 275
762 applications and will meet its July deadline to finalise decisions. But
for many of those who have applied, their status continues to be wrought
Grace has been anxious about her documents for years. But it wasn't until
her daughter was born in September last year that she got the fear. She and
her husband, also a Zimbabwean, took the birth certificate issued at
Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and went to home affairs to register their baby.
The official at the Harrison Street office took the form with her address,
phone number, the number from her fraudulently obtained ID book and that of
her husband's and threw the documents back at her.
"Go away," the official growled as she waved them out of the office. "We'll
check your ID." The official, who refused to register the child, had to have
known what was coming. A week later the documentation process was announced.
And that was when Grace really began to panic. In October she left for
Zimbabwe to get a passport. Like many Zimbabweans, Grace knew quite well
that the Zimbabwean consulate in Johannesburg wouldn't process their papers
In Bulawayo it took nearly two months and R6 000, enough for travel, express
passports, birth certificates and a bit for "cold drink" for some select
She came back in early December and headed for home affairs, where she
declared her South African ID book - which came courtesy of a corrupt
Mpumalanga home affairs official -- and her new Zimbabwean passport, with a
letter, signed by her employer, and a copy of her employer's ID, saying she
had held a regular job as a domestic worker since 2005.
African Centre for Migration and Society
In return she was given a photocopied receipt, with no instruction from the
department other than that she would hear from it. Grace's passport was left
untouched, as was the expiration date of her 90-day visa: February 11 2011.
It was on February 10 that I dropped Grace off at the border just next to
the string of food stalls and the taxi rank, unsure of what would happen.
She assured me that her brother-in-law had crossed a few months ago and got
his three months' visa, just as he has done every three months for the past
two years. Besides, we both knew that trying to get a straight answer out of
home affairs wasn't going to happen.
A study on the documentation process by the African Centre for Migration and
Society (ACMS), which was released in January this year, found out what
Grace and her compatriots already know: that everything from the application
process to the department's own communication on the issue was mired in
confusion from the start.
At the Mail & Guardian we had difficulty following the story. Crucial
communication to employers letting them know that they would not be
penalised if they signed a letter stating they employed an illegal was
released weeks into the process. Although the department eventually spelled
out relaxed documentation requirements for work, study and business, no
specific criteria were put forth on who would be approved and who would not
based on what they had submitted.
As the ACMS report notes, although at the beginning of the process you had
to have a valid Zimbabwean passport to apply, by the end of it any
documentation was accepted. It was a commendable gesture on the part of the
department to recognise the hurdles of those who wanted to register, but it
came at the last minute and most didn't hear of it until it was too late.
The documentation required, the ACMS found, shifted every few weeks or
appeared to depend on the individual department office or official who was
seen. The only thing that was steadfast was the December 31 deadline.
In the right place
So, as Grace made her way across the border, I pulled up to 5 Frost Street
in Musina, a single-level, mustard-yellow home, a few blocks from the N1, to
see if I could find out what, exactly, was going on with other Zimbabweans
who were crossing. The Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) sign clinging to the
fence was the only evidence I was in the right place.
I was there to meet Ariane Bauernfeind, the head of mission for MSF in South
Africa, who was in Musina that week. It was after 4pm and the MSF workers
had begun to stream into the office from their day in mobile clinics out at
local farms, lugging boxes of files, coolers filled with patient samples and
canopies collapsed and folded into black carrying bags.
Bauernfeind arrived, pulling me into a makeshift office with a leaky air
conditioner. She told me that although MSF had been operating in the area
since 2007, at first they couldn't find a single Zimbabwean to administer
healthcare to, even though they were streaming across the border in their
Things changed dramatically by 2009. A month after the Zimbabwean elections,
in April that year, the home affairs department enacted the special
dispensation, which suspended the deportation of Zimbabweans and introduced
a three-month, visa-free entry system. (The ACMS noted in its report a third
element -- a special permit that would enable Zimbabweans to remain in the
country - which they say never came into effect.)
By July that year thousands of Zimbabweans were crowding the border,
sleeping in the dirt of the Musina showgrounds; at the end of the year the
cholera epidemic had exploded, making international headlines and creating
plenty of work for MSF.
But by early February this year it was clear to MSF workers that their
patients -- many of whom are on long-term TB and HIV treatment -- were no
longer around. Picking season had begun, Bauernfeind told me, and the
farmers were complaining that their workers had not yet returned from the
December holidays. And now it doesn't look as if they will.
Section 23 documentation
Those with emergency travel documents, which had previously allowed farmers
to employ Zimbabweans under corporate permits, are reportedly being turned
away unless they have passports, which the majority of farm workers don't
Those working with migrants were also hearing that the Section 23
documentation, issued to asylum seekers and giving them 14 days transit so
they can report to a refugee office and officially apply for asylum, is no
longer being issued at the home affairs department in Musina.
Now, it appears, they are being told to return to the border to get their
Section 23, something that would put potentially vulnerable people in a
difficult position: return to the border where there was a good possibility
you would be denied entry and shipped back to where you came from, or go
While Grace and I were in Musina, the home affairs portfolio committee was
meeting in Parliament to hear public comment on proposed amendments to the
Immigration Bill. These included recommendations that Section 23 be reduced
from the current 14-day time limit to five days (in spite of the fact that
many who responded to the public comment process, including the ACMS, said
14 days was not long enough), with pre-screening procedures for asylum
seekers, which a high court has previously found unlawful and
Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma spoke vigorously in defence of
the amendments, which would clamp down on the unmitigated flow of
Zimbabweans into the country.
But government has for years been remarkably silent on the issue at the root
of the migration: President Robert Mugabe's rule, which has left the economy
in turmoil, a populace in fear following mass election violence and a
power-sharing agreement in which Mugabe clearly holds all the power.
"They seem to be adopting various measures to make it more difficult for
Zimbabweans, who they view as economic migrants, to enter the country," said
the ACMS's Roni Amit, who oversaw the Zimbabwean documentation report.
"People who have proper asylum claims, and who are not economic migrants,
may also be turned away under these measures."
Right now, all that is clear is that much continues to be unclear to many.
According to Jacob Mamabolo, the project manager of the documentation
process for the department, there shouldn't be any confusion at all. He said
it was from June last year that emergency transit documents were no longer
accepted without passports, and that all the department was doing
differently now in regard to the Section 23 documents was finally to enforce
a long-standing policy of issuing them at entry points and that prescreening
potential applicants was part of that process. Right now, all MSF can say
for sure is that their patients aren't around anymore.
"In the South African Constitution it says everyone has to have access to
medical care," Bauernfeind told me. "But you think these people are going to
go into a public building? They won't go. They think: the police might be
here and if they find me, I'll be deported. It makes our work here
difficult." How their work could be more difficult is hard to wrap your head
In May of 2010 MSF produced a briefing paper highlighting the risks of those
crossing the border, focusing on, among other things, the increasing levels
of rape. In the report a 27-year old man told his story about crossing the
Limpopo River, where he was met by a gang of thugs -- guma guma -- who were
armed with knives and guns.
"They forced me to have sex with the women in my group and I refused," the
man told the researcher. "Then one of the guma guma forced his penis into my
anus and ejaculated inside. I don't actually know how many of them forced
themselves upon me because I was confused by the whole incident. I fainted
and when I woke up they were nowhere to be found."
Such reports have not slowed. The Friday before I arrived six rape cases
were reported to MSF, all in one day. Even those who make it past the armed
gangs and the swelling Limpopo River, which has been sweeping away
Zimbabweans crossing by the dozen of late, are targeted by everyone and
anyone looking to make a buck off their desperation.
"It's disgusting," Bauernfeind said. "People are taking advantage of
disadvantage. Everyone makes a business out of this." Just then, Grace
phoned. She had made it over to the Zimbabwe side and was heading back
across the bridge. She had heard she had to stay seven nights in Zimbabwe to
get back, but there was a guy telling her he could help her. He wanted R80.
I explained to the MSF people what was happening and one of the researchers
got wide-eyed. "She's got papers? She's not supposed to leave the country."
I told Grace what I knew. She drew a deep breath and put down the phone. As
the sun was beginning to set, I went to a shelter in Nancefield, the
township on the outskirts of Musina, to get an idea of what it's like for
those not lucky enough to have papers.
At one shelter -- which usually accommodates 40 women, with their small
children, who stay an average of three or four days, every night of the
week -- women sat in the dark, smoky night eating pap from paper plates. A
teenager wearing a patent leather red belt and a denim skirt stared into the
light of her cellphone looking for an answer as another woman sobbed
I turned to the woman next to me, who gave her name only as Charmaine, and
asked how long she had been here. "Three days," she told me as we sat in the
dark on a cool concrete slab. "I'm waiting to get my Section 23. But I don't
know what's happening." Then she narrowed her eyes to make a fine point of
all this. "You know," she said, slowly moving some pap from her plate into
her mouth. "They treat us like animals."
It was after 9pm when Grace called to say she had crossed back. I drove
along the unlit N1 and found her right where I had dropped her five hours
earlier. She hopped into the car and told me how she did it.
Talking to another Zimbabwean woman in the queue as they were leaving South
Africa, she found out about the seven-day stayover, something she knew about
but neglected to tell me -- after all, there are ways around small problems
like these. That was when the guy approached and offered to help.
He walked with Grace across the bridge to Zimbabwe, somehow without getting
his passport stamped either way. On their way back across the bridge, she
showed her new friend the paper from home affairs.
"You can't have your passport stamped now," he warned her. "You're going to
spoil your permit. You shouldn't have come." He then offered to take her
under the bridge for R200. But Grace knew about the guma guma; her younger
sister crossed illegally last year with her boyfriend and they were relived
of their cellphones and R1 700 but were not hurt. She told the man she'd
make her own way and left him, heading for the border processing area to
join a queue, where she showed her passport and the receipt.
"You didn't stay for seven days," the official offered and tossed her
documents back. Grace joined another queue and did the same thing. That
official sent her to a supervisor. By the time she reached him, she was in
tears, explaining she had made a terrible mistake.
A short balding man in uniform leaned into the conversation: "You are not
listening to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. You are not listening to her on the
radio, on the TV." But maybe the supervisor knew that not everything
Nkosasana-Zuma was saying was so clear. The supervisor told her that, from
now on, she should stay in South Africa with the receipt and wait to hear
from home affairs. She was given another 30 days on her visa.
It took numerous phone calls and emails to the department this week to get
clarity on various issues around Zimbabwean immigrants. In the end the
response came so late and in so many bits and pieces it meant that much
valuable information was kept out of our print newspaper story, and is
available only online. (See link below).
Meanwhile, Grace's brother-in-law, a gardener, was contacted by the
department. He now has a work permit valid for four years. Grace is still
waiting to hear about her fate. I called to ask her what the most difficult
part of all of this was. "They must just tell us what they want," she said.
"If they want us to go, they must just tell us."
Her husband, on the other hand, knows exactly what it is the department
wants and he'll have nothing to do with it. He's sick of this place, sick of
the xenophobia, sick of the dangerous Hillbrow highrise where they live.
When they come for him, he'll go quietly. And that may be just what the
department is aiming for.
*Grace is not her real name
Mugabe to be hanged outside Zimbabwe Embassy, London
Zimbabwean exiles are to stage a demonstration outside the Zimbabwe
Organisers of Tuesday’s
Date & time: Tuesday 1st March from .
Scenario: Zimbabwean in a Mugabe
mask will be shown being hanged by people wearing bandanas reading ‘Robert
Mugabe for the sake of
Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 28/02/11
There are signs that fear rather than logic about the North Africa, Middle
East and Gulf region (NAMEG) protests has gripped Mugabe’s propaganda
machine. Judging by Jonathan Moyo’s latest installment ‘Zimbabwe not Tunisia
or Egypt’ published on the Zimpapers and New Zimbabwe websites, one can see
unconcealed trepidation of ‘what if it happens here’? Elsewhere he talks
about vigilance being the order of the day. Is it that bad?
As if to confirm what we have said before that since the jasmine
revolutions, the regime’s spin-doctors are having nightmares, Jonathan Moyo
makes a shocking admission when he says: ‘…there’s no national leadership
in the Third or Developing World that has not been exercised by the
geopolitical implications of the NAMEG protests and which has not pondered
the possibility of those protests erupting at home at the slightest pretext.
No doubt vigilance has become the order of the day all round.’ Hear hear! He
might not be the only one sleeping with one eye open.
Occasionally in his article, Jonathan Moyo wears the Attorney General’s hat
like when he warns ‘these hopeless would-be copycats, whose death wish is to
be arrested at the Harare Gardens and be charged with treason…’ And Finance
Minister Tendai Biti is not spared the tongue-lashing either for his
‘treasonous intent’ to audit the diamond money and helping in the drawing up
of the sanctions list as well as for his ‘treasonous stance’ in his silence
on what Moyo claims are missing millions of dollars for fuel.
Despite Jonathan Moyo’s obsession with treason, almost all Zimbabweans who
have been accused of treason by the Robert Mugabe regime have been acquitted
or had charges withdrawn. They include Dumiso Dabengwa, Lookout Masuku,
Isaac Nyathi, Masala Sibanda, Nicholas Nkomo, Tshaka Moyo, Morgan
Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti and Roy Bennett. Ndabaningi Sithole was convicted of
a plot to kill Mugabe and was sentenced to 2 years however he did not plead
guilty and died while awaiting appeal.
Realities of life
What Jonathan Moyo does not know is that what is mobilizing and radicalizing
the people of Zimbabwe are not necessarily social networking sites and
mobile phones, though instrumental, but everyday realities of life in the
country. For example the reported stench of human waste and uncollected
garbage at Shabanie Mine’s residential compound, cut-off water supplies, the
plight of widows, the disabled and those living with HIV and Aids since the
mine closed. ‘Underground, no mining has been taking place since September
last year and the tunnels are flooded and electricity has been cut off owing
to a ballooning debt accrued over the years’ (Zimbabwe Standard, 26/02/11).
Some people have gone unpaid for two years, according to some reports. These
are no conspiracy theories.
Practical problems like countrywide unemployment in the face of 75, 000
ghost workers exposed by auditors, the rising cost of living now said to be
close to US$500 for a family of five against an average monthly income of
US$150 while there is only 47% industrial capacity utilization and political
violence are not imperialist fantasies.
What will drive the people to the streets is not the US or EU countries but
hunger and misrule on their door-step. Foreign countries have no influence
on the people in Shabanie, Domboramwari, Chitakatira, Mutapa, Magwegwe,
Masvingo, Dangamvura, Zvishavane or Chegutu which is said be now resembling
a ghost town.
The countries Moyo is relentlessly blaming for Zimbabwe’s problems are
actually giving humanitarian and development aid which Zanu-pf allegedly
grabs and distributes on partisan lines. These countries are very far away
from Epworth, Porta Farm or Hopley Farm. Sadly in some parts of Harare there
are reports of open sewage and disease outbreaks.
These are the real issues that are polarizing Zimbabwean society. Blame it
on poor governance, poverty and corruption and not the US, EU or Britain.
They have their own challenges to contend with. Fortunately, they don’t
blame developing countries. Moyo should look closer to home at the widening
gap between owners of fuel-guzzling 4-wheel drive vehicles and the hungry
two feet travelers from Epworth who can’t afford US$2 a day for commuter
omnibuses to the Gulf Complex to sell Kapenta on street corners.
When pro-democracy activists criticize Mugabe, Jonathan Moyo won’t have that
but he once said that there are ‘compelling reasons why Mugabe must follow
the constitutional exit door by resigning now’, therefore he should know
better why the situation has not changed.
‘First, Mugabe is now leader of a shelf political party that exists only in
name with those seemingly high numbers in parliament because, in real terms,
the hearts and minds of the bulk of its members have ideologically emigrated
to a new all-inclusive third way beyond current party boundaries, the
so-called third force which is a people’s movement, such that Zanu-pf
membership is now only for strategic survival purposes in practical and not
ideological terms which are temporary,’ Moyo said (New Zimbabwe.com).
In a typical tit-for tat, Robert Mugabe was quoted by the Chronicle as
suggesting that Moyo had plotted a coup in his final days as information
minister, meeting with senior military commanders and doing “terrible
things”. ‘When Moyo was privately confronted with evidence of his
duplicity, the president said, “tears started flowing down his cheeks” (New
I just can’t imagine Jonathan Moyo crying !!!!
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,
I spoke to a friend who works for one of the aid agencies in Harare and
asked if we had succeeded in confusing her at last. She laughed and said
that we had. Now if she is confused by Zimbabwe, with all her resources and
information and the analytical capacity available to a person in her job,
then the rest of us should be stumbling in the dark.
But the reality is actually quite simple in its basic elements. The GPA
government is not working, economic recovery has slowed and we simply cannot
go on much longer like this. That is a fact, we either resolve our
differences, work together to find a solution, or we start to slide
backwards into the anarchy we left behind in 2009. The second reality is
that we are all out of time. Suddenly Mr. Mugabe is mortal; the implications
are far reaching for all of us and especially for Zanu PF, which is
hopelessly fragmented. Thirdly, we are all tied into the GPA process by our
leader’s signatures and the political commitment of the region and the AU as
a whole. This means that whether we like it or not we either walk across the
GPA Bridge or abandon the process and jump off into the gorge below.
The one thing is sure for all of us – we are on the GPA Bridge and our
collective future depends on our willingness to continue the walk to the
other side that we started on in February 2009. We cannot go back, none of
us; this is the only way forward if the jump into the gorge is out.
The only group here that wants to risk the jump are those who know that once
we get across the bridge there is no future for them there, only total
uncertainty and insecurity. This group includes all the real hardliners in
Zanu PF as well as key military and security figures. They want an Egypt
solution – chaos on the streets, an ungovernable State, a leap off the
bridge and if they survive the fall into the river below, regroup and form a
new government that will be a flimsy disguise for a military Junta.
They do not give a damn about the welfare of the people, they fear and
despise democracy and trust only themselves. They think that in an unholy
alliance with international crooks and thugs and the rich natural resources
here, they can get by very well. Those who do not like it can and will
leave, eventually resulting in a tiny population governed by an oligarchy
like Burma or Guinea, protected by powerful friends who profit by exploiting
our isolation and resources.
As I write, the South African facilitators are in town again. They are
talking about how to get this collection of arguing, infuriating people to
stop quibbling and get on with the walk across the bridge. Their efforts
have been complicated immeasurably by Mr. Mugabe’s sudden frailty and there
is a new sense of urgency. A changing of the guard is now more certain than
ever and it is only a question of how and when, and perhaps, who?
Despite all our efforts we are still only about one third of the way across.
The GPA road map envisaged that by now we would be over the bridge and
conducting elections for new leadership for a new era. Instead we are stuck
and not even in the middle.
Let’s just have a quick look at what we have to do before we can say we have
crossed over this Jordan. First is the issue of a new constitution to
determine the shape and operations of the new State. We have consulted the
people, a flawed process but nevertheless, it did clearly state certain
fundamental national requirements – a devolved State, perhaps with five
Provincial Governments, reduced powers for the President who will govern
without a Prime Minister, a stronger, more independent Parliament and
greater independence for key Commissions. I think the two main Parties can
agree on most of this and a new constitution should not be difficult to
negotiate – and it will be negotiated, the idea of a people driven process
is simply not going to work, that is for next time. What we will almost
certainly end up with is a compromise document that will form the basis of a
new transitional government to be formed after an election.
By itself, the constitution will not deliver a free and fair election that
is not open to dispute. This is the stated goal of the South African team
and is attainable. What is needed is for the new Electoral Commission to be
given full control of the process, sufficient funding for what is required
and for a new staff at the Commission to replace the CIO/Military
establishment that has run elections here for the past decade.
If it is decided to go for a harmonised election, then we will need a new
voters roll. The present roll is totally and irrevocably compromised. The
Registrar Generals Office has been playing games with the roll for so long I
do not think even they know who is on the roll anymore. It has six million
voters recorded – at least two million are dead (my father is still on the
roll and he has been dead for 20 years) and goodness knows how many are
absent from the country – we have at least 4 to 5 million Zimbabwean adults
abroad or in other African States. Urban and young voters are understated
and thousands of people who qualify as Citizens under the amendments to the
present constitution have been deregistered.
Once we have a new roll, then we need a new delimitation exercise conducted
by an independent and apolitical authority under the guidance of ZEC. I am
quite sure that this will reverse the relationship in numbers between urban
and rural constituencies – in my view the present ratio of rural to urban
voters is one third/two thirds. Such a shift would have a profound impact on
the electoral outcome as every Zanu PF leader understands.
We need peace and total control of political violence. Believe me, Zanu can
turn on and off the violence in five minutes. They have done it in the past
and only they have the mechanism to do so. The recent upsurge in violence is
totally at the behest of Zanu PF leadership and they must be persuaded that
this is not only unacceptable, but it’s unproductive and not in their
We need international observers in here – months before and after the
elections. Then we need a decent election, observers in every polling
station, a transparent ballot, counting and reporting system as laid down in
new electoral regulations that are under discussion right now.
The trouble with such a road map is that it has nothing for Zanu PF after
the bridge has been crossed. They would be defeated in such an election and
by such a wide margin that they might cease to exist as a viable political
entity. The only way to avoid that is to go for a Presidential election
only. This would leave Zanu intact in the House and force a new President to
work with them in the formation of a post GPA Government.
The adoption of a road map that leads to such an outcome would have many
advantages – Zanu would be more prepared to work with the MDC on a new
constitution that was compliant with the people’s wishes. It would take less
time – we would not need a new voters roll or delimitation and the interests
of Zanu PF, including security, would be met by negotiation on the
composition and shape of the new administration.
Bulawayo, 25th February 2011
Property dispute aided by extreme corruption in Harare, Zimbabwe
I am writing to you as a last ditch attempt to raise some awareness to the
situation my family is currently enduring.
My parents were forcibly evicted from their home two years ago by an illegal
settler who used a falsified offer letter to gain access to the property (
which is classified as residential property with in the city of Harare). My
father has been involved in two high court cases, both of which were bought
by this illegal settler. on both occasions my father gained successful
judgements which stated that this settler should leave the property for my
family to return.
To date absolutely no action has been taken against this settler, as it now
turns out she is related somehow to the secretary for the minister of lands.
As I'm sure you can appreciate we're all entirely flabbergasted by the fact
that the high court system of a nation can be made null and void because
someone in an office of authority has a cousin who fancies some free land.
I am not sure where to turn or where to go, but I definitely feel that this
story warrants some attention to possibly shed some light on the levels of
corruption taking place in Zimbabwe.
My family have been without a home or an income for the last two years
because someone has illegally managed to worm their way on to the property
without hinderance, or interference by the law.
I am not sure what i hope to achieve by getting this story out in the open
but it's the only thing I feel I am capable of doing.
Veritas apologises for the late delivery of this bulletin, due to connectivity problems.
BILL WATCH 5/2011
[21st February 2011]
The House of Assembly sat last week and adjourned until 22nd February
The Senate did not sit
Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO]
At its meeting on Monday 14th February the CSRO made decisions on:
Prime Minister’s Question Time Once a month there will be Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Assembly [Wednesday afternoon] and the Senate [Thursday afternoon], probably on consecutive days.
Right of Audience in Both Houses for Introducer of Private Member’s Bill CSRO approved in principle an amendment to Standing Orders to allow a member responsible for a Private Member’s Bill to speak to his or her Bill in both Houses. This will, for instance, allow Mr Gonese to speak to his current POSA Amendment Bill in the Senate even though he is not a Senator. [The general rule is that a member of Parliament may sit and speak only in the House of which he or she is a member. A Vice-President or a Minister may sit and speak in both Houses, but may only vote in the House of which he or she is a member. This allows a Minister responsible for a Government Bill to pilot it through both Houses. But there is no current rule allowing a backbencher responsible for a Private Member’s Bill to speak to that Bill in the House of which he or she is not a member.]
In the House of Assembly Last Week
The House sat on Tuesday and Wednesday 15th and 16th February. It did not overwork, sitting for just under two hours on Tuesday and under one and three quarter hours on Wednesday.
General Laws Amendment Bill This was introduced on 16th February, read the first time and referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee. [Electronic version available] [See Bill Watch 44/2010 of 31st October for an opinion that the Bill’s clause imposing copyright protection on the texts of Acts, statutory instruments and court judgments is unconstitutional.]
· On Tuesday the House approved a motion formally ratifying Parliament’s membership of the SADC Organisation of Public Accounts Committees [SADCOPAC].
· The chairperson of the portfolio committee on Small and Medium Enterprises presented the committee’s report on the Status of SMEs in Harare. The report’s conclusion is that Government has failed to provide adequate capital for the SME growth that is vital for economic growth and reduction of poverty. [Electronic version available]
Also on Tuesday, the Minister of Finance made a statement on the implementation and management of the 2011 Budget and dealt with follow-up questions raised by members.
Question Time [Wednesday]
Questions responded to included:
Failure to appoint Anti-Corruption Commission The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs acknowledged there had been a delay in appointing new members to the Commission but said the matter was being attended to. The Government was looking for people “who will be objective and will not use corruption as a political weapon”, and there had been wide-ranging and deep consultations. [Note: Under the Constitution the Commission has 4 to 9 members appointed by the President in consultation with Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.]
Public Service Audit The Minister of Public Service said the audit, by Ernst and Young India, had been submitted to but not yet considered by Cabinet. The party principals had been given the report last November. He undertook to make a full statement to the House once Cabinet had dealt with the matter.
Convention against Torture Asked to explain why Zimbabwe has still not ratified this Convention, the Minister of Justice said that in discussions with the United Nations Geneva Office he had undertaken to conduct workshops in Zimbabwe to ensure understanding of the Convention before it was ratified. The workshops had not yet been conducted “because of the busy schedule of our work”.
Impounding of vehicles for failure to pay “spot fines” Co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone expressed the opinion that it is unacceptable and unlawful for the police to impound a vehicle where the driver does not pay a “spot fine”.
New Vacancy in Senate
The death of Senator Chief Chimombe of Manicaland on 26th January created a second vacancy in the ranks of Senator chiefs. The first arose from the death of Senator Chief Bidi of Matabeleland South in 2009. A vacancy of this sort should be filled by a chief from the province concerned elected by the provincial assembly of chiefs at a meeting summoned by Presidential proclamation gazetted within 14 days of notification of the vacancy. The Government has to date failed to hold, not only an assembly of chiefs to replace Senator Chief Bidi, but also by-elections to fill the many vacant constituency seats in both Houses.
Government Gazette of 18th February
No Bills and no Acts were gazetted
Statutory Instrument New fees for registration of factories SI 16/2011 gazetted new fees for the annual registration of factories under the Factories and Works Act.
Requesting documents from Veritas
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BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[26th February 2011]
Parliamentary Committee Meetings: 28th February to 3rd March
Hearing on Violence Rescheduled to Wednesday The meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs to hear from the Commissioner-General of Police on recent violence in the Harare area will now be on Wednesday 2nd March. Information on time and venue, and whether the meeting will be open to the public, will be given in a separate bulletin as soon as it becomes available from Parliament.
The following meetings will be open to members of the public, as observers only, not as participants
Monday 28th February at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Transport and Infrastructure Development
Oral evidence from Permanent Secretary for Transport, Communications and Infrastructure Development on toll gates
Committee Room No. 1
Chairperson: Hon Chebundo Clerk: Ms Macheza
Portfolio Committee: Higher Education, Science and Technology
Oral evidence from Ministry of Science and Technology on policy matters
Committee Room No. 3
Chairperson: Hon S. Ncube Clerk: Ms Mudavanhu
Monday 28th February at 2 pm
Portfolio Committee: Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
Oral evidence from Public Service Commission
Committee Room No. 1
Chairperson: Hon Zinyemba Clerk: Ms Mushunje
Thematic Committee: Gender and Development
Oral evidence from the Men’s Forum
Committee Room No. 3
Chairperson: Hon Chitsa Clerk: Ms Masara
Tuesday 1st March at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement
Oral evidence from Agricultural and Rural Development Authority [ARDA]
Committee Room No. 4
Chairperson: Hon Jiri Clerk: Ms Mudavanhu
Wednesday 2nd March
To be advised
Thursday 3rd March at 10 am
Portfolio Committee: Media, Information and Communication Technology
Oral evidence from Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Committee Room No. 413
Chairperson: Hon S. Moyo Clerk Mr Mutayambizi
Thursday 24th February at 11 am
Thematic Committee: Indigenisation and Empowerment
Briefing from Ministry of Mines on implementation of policies and programme targets at indigenous mines
Government Caucus Room
Chairperson: Hon Mutsvangwa Mr Ratsakatika
Public Attendance at and Participation in Committee Meetings
· Open to the public to attend as observers only: Portfolio and thematic committee meetings where oral evidence is being heard. Members of the public can listen but not speak. [As listed above.]
· Stakeholders by invitation: At some committee meetings stakeholders [and those who notify Parliament that they consider themselves stakeholders] are invited to make oral or written representations and ask questions. [These meetings will be highlighted in these bulletins.]
· Not open to the public: Portfolio and thematic committee meetings in which the committees are doing private business – e.g. setting work plans, deliberating on reports and findings, or drafting reports for Parliament, or when the committees make field visits. [Veritas does not list these meetings in these bulletins.]
· Public Hearings: When committees call for public hearings, members of the public are free to submit oral or written representations, ask questions and generally participate. [Veritas sends out separate notices of these public hearings.]
Note: As there are sometimes last-minute changes to the meetings schedule, it is recommended that you avoid possible disappointment by checking with the relevant committee clerk that the meeting is still on and still open to the public. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 or 252936-55. If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament. IDs must be produced.
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