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Zimbabwe tense over anti-Mugabe protests call

http://af.reuters.com/

Tue Mar 1, 2011 11:32am GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Internet campaigns calling for protests against the
31-year rule of President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday did not lead to any mass
gatherings in Zimbabwe, where police have threatened to crush any
"Egypt-style" protests.

The two campaigns, on Facebook and Twitter, were trying to start popular
uprisings similar to ones that toppled the long-serving leaders of Tunisia
and Egypt and are threatening Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Although there was no unusual security deployment in Harare on Tuesday,
private newspaper NewsDay reported that soldiers in armoured troop carriers
had been "sighted" on Monday in traditionally restive townships in the
capital.

The Facebook campaign calling for a million citizen march and a separate one
on Twitter were aimed at bringing down Mugabe, 87, leader since independence
from Britain in 1980.

Zimbabweans in London were planning to burn an effigy of Mugabe outside of
the country's embassy in London in support of the Facebook campaign.

But by mid-morning, there was no sign of any gathering in the large park in
Harare named as the protest venue by the organisers operating under the
banner FreeZimActivists.

Other parks, normally packed with people, were largely empty, apparently
over people's fears of being caught up in any protest.

Zimbabwe's dominant state media made no reference to the planned
demonstration against Mugabe, who rights groups say has used violence and
intimidation to crush any challenges.

Tensions have been running high in the past weeks, with Mugabe's ZANU-PF
pushing for early elections that officials from the rival and governing
partner MDC party have said could lead to a bloodbath.

Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing government with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change after the controversial 2008
vote that led to violence and hundreds of thousands fleeing the country.

Police officials -- who said they would crack down on any protest -- were
not immediately available for comment.

Ordinary Zimbabweans are fearful of speaking publicly about the call to
protest, mindful of tight security laws with sweeping provisions against
anything that could be viewed as inciting violence or rebellion against a
constitutional order.

Last week, police arrested 46 people in Harare as they watched videos of
protests in the north African countries and discussed possible
demonstrations in Zimbabwe, where Mugabe plans to run for another five
year-term in elections he wants to call later this year.

ZANU-PF has deployed massive shows of force, including using helicopter
gunships, against previous protests.

Critics say Mugabe has used tough policing and vote-rigging to keep his grip
on power despite an economic crisis in the past decade that many blame on
his mismanagement.


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Security crackdown deters Zim protests

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
01 March 2011

Security crackdowns in Harare and Bulawayo have deterred any mass action
against the ZANU PF regime, with no sign of the mass protests that have been
encouraged over the past two weeks.

Online campaigns that have been circulated by email and on the social
networking website Facebook, called on Zimbabweans to take part in a
‘Million Citizens March’ on Tuesday. The protest was meant to start at
Harare Gardens and spread countrywide. The aim of the protest was to call
for Robert Mugabe to step down from power, just like similar civil uprisings
in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

But Harare was quiet on Tuesday, with only one report emerging of attempts
at protest action. The report sent by email, said police had foiled the
start of a small protest by trying to detain the leaders. No arrests were
reported. Facebook users supporting the ‘Million Citizen March’ meanwhile
wrote that protest action was foiled by the presence of soldiers. One man
wrote on Tuesday afternoon that “it looks like most uniformed troops have
been withdrawn from the streets. Just a few left in isolated corners. It
however remains very risky to attempt anything now as we are not sure if the
other people loitering in civilian clothes are truly civilians.”

SW Radio Africa’s correspondent in the capital, Simon Muchemwa, said that
the day was “just a normal day,” explaining that “the heavy police presence
we have seen this week has clearly discouraged people from protesting.”

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. Muchemwa said there were less
security officers on the streets on Tuesday, but explained how a number of
police officials had been patrolling the streets overnight.

“The intimidation has been going on for some time. So I think people are not
confident about protests at the moment. It would be tantamount to putting
themselves in serious danger,” Muchemwa said.

An increased number of military and police officials have also been
witnessed in Bulawayo. SW Radio Africa’s Lionel Saungweme reported on
Tuesday that armed riot police and military personnel have been patrolling
in high density areas, and on Monday intimidated a number of street vendors.
Saungweme said that “this is all in response to talk of Egypt style
protests.”

Meanwhile according to the Bulawayo Agenda civic group, two people were
called in by Gwanda police for merely discussing events in Libya. The two
were driving from Bulawayo to Gwanda when they picked up a passenger along
the way while discussing the subject. The passenger went on to report them
at Gwanda Police Station, leading to them being called in.

“The two were also called in to explain why they were playing a Kwaito Music
Tune called ‘Imot’ etshontshimali’- meaning a car that steals money. This
name has been given to the infamous BMW cars being driven by traffic cops
who are known for their asking for bribes,” Bulawayo Agenda said.


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Jittery Mugabe puts security on high alert

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

By Reagan Mashavave, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 18:15

HARARE - Zimbabwe's security forces were put on high alert on Tuesday,
mounting road blocks in major roads leading into the city centre where they
conducted vehicle and body searches to thwart a “mass protest” organised by
civic society to demand freedoms.

Plain clothes security agents and uniformed police details manned road
blocks stopping buses, cars and private vehicles to conduct vehicle and body
searches.

The massive security checks came as suspected members of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) questioned officials from Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition (CiZC) whom they  suspect could be organising an Egyptian style
uprising in Zimbabwe.

But CiZC denied that they had organised such a demonstration.

“We were visited by four members of the police force from Avondale. We are
not aware of any demonstration by the organisation and I don’t think there
is anything like that. We have not been informed by the leaders of Crisis
about the demonstration. As secretariat, I think it’s just panic by a
repressive regime.

“The police claimed that they wanted to understand our operations but we
clearly told them that we knew they suspected us of organising demos against
the regime,” said a senior official of the organisation, Pedzisayi Ruhanya.

CiZC spokesperson Phillip Pasirayi said they had never organised a demo for
Tuesday. He said probably the state panicked over e-mails which originated
from the United States and United Kingdom which claimed that there was going
to be a massive demonstration to force President Robert Mugabe out of
office.

“We are still consulting on a demonstration against violence and human
rights abuses. We are not aware of the one pencilled for Tuesday,” said
Pasirayi.

At a police roadblock mounted opposite the entrance to the Harare
Agriculture show along Samora Machel Avenue, four people were taken away by
security agents for allegedly carrying a catapult and a screw driver, a taxi
driver at the scene told the Daily News. The Daily New saw the four being
driven away

The taxi driver said: “The four people seated under the tree were arrested
after being found with a catapult, while the other one was caught with a
screwdriver.”

A police armoured vehicle with police details was seen by Daily News
patrolling around the Africa Unity Square garden opposite parliament at
midday.

The police also mounted road blocks searching people along Seke Road,
opposite ABC auction and along Second Street extension. Scores of people
disembarking from public transport expressed concern as police conducted
body and vehicle searches.

Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, however expressed ignorance of the
presence of roadblocks around the capital or body searches that were being
carried out by the police and plain clothes security agents.

“I am not aware of any roadblocks in the capital. I am not aware of that, I
have to check,” Bvudzijena said adding he was not aware that four people who
were arrested by police and plain clothes security details at a roadblock
along Samora Machel Avenue.

On Monday, hordes of soldiers patrolled the streets of Harare after being
dropped off by armoured vehicles at the Harare Gardens in the capital, the
proposed venue for the demonstration.

International Socialist Organisation co-ordinator, Munyaradzi Gwisai, and 44
activists were arrested and charged with treason last week for allegedly
watching videos showing mass uprisings that ousted former Egypt’s President
Hosni Mubarak and Ben Ali of Tunisia.


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More activists arrested as Mugabe hits panic button

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
01 March 2011

Robert Mugabe’s regime appears to have hit the panic button, having ordered
the arrest of a total of 93 activists in the last 2 weeks alone. With street
protests having toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, the ZANU PF leader,
who has been in power for over 30 years, seems determined to pre-empt any
people driven revolution in Zimbabwe.

It started in Nyanga North two weeks ago when police arrested the local
MDC-T MP and joint chairman of the national constitution making exercise,
Douglas Mwonzora, plus 23 villagers aligned to his party. The cooked-up
charges related to public violence, but even though all 24 were granted bail
the Mugabe regime invoked controversial legislation to suspend the bail
order.

On Friday MDC-99 faction leader Job Sikhala was arrested by heavily armed
police who initially claimed they wanted to question him over statements
made on his Facebook page. The former MP for St Mary’s was then accused of
being behind planned street protests set for 1st March. Police later charged
Sikhala with kidnapping, alleging this is linked to a diamond deal that went
wrong.

On the 19th February police units broke into a meeting in Harare and
arrested former MDC MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 activists who were watching
video footage of protests in the Middle East and North Africa. A discussion
on the protests was later held before police disrupted the meeting. The
regime charged them with treason last week and promptly tortured the alleged
ring leaders, including Gwisai.

Meanwhile MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa was in court on Tuesday to show
solidarity with Gwisai and the 44 activists being detained. A scheduled
hearing for Monday was cancelled after the trial magistrate failed to show
up. The meeting he cited as an excuse was in fact held with Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku, who allegedly ‘summoned’ the magistrate for unexplained
reasons. On Tuesday the case was postponed to the 7th of March.

Chamisa told us “As the MDC we are totally opposed to the harassment of
citizens. In as much as we don’t agree with Gwisai and his views, Sikhala
who has his own views, possibly his own party, we feel there is no
justification for persecuting them for holding their views. In fact this is
what makes the garden beautiful. When you have different flowers, different
colours that make politics much more glorious.”

On Monday the pressure group Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA & MOZA)
released a statement saying 21 people including 7 of its members were
arrested from their houses in Bulawayo while two were badly beaten. The
charges are not clear and they are being denied medical treatment. Some of
the activists were loaded into a white van and taken to Western Commonage
police station in Mpopoma south.

Also on Monday there was the case of MDC youth activist Patrick Kamanga, who
his party says was abducted Monday morning by a group of ZANU PF thugs in
the Magaba area of Mbare in Harare. “Kamanga was at work in the area when
ZANU PF youths, armed with an assortment of weapons, pounced on him and
started attacking before they abducted him and took him to a secluded place
in the area.”

There was relief for the MDC-T on Tuesday with reports that Kamanga was
released in the evening; “Working on a tip-off, Mbare’s Matapi police
officers made a follow up, tracking down the thugs from their base in Mbare.
However, no one was arrested,” the MDC-T statement said.
Kamanga reports being moved from Mbare 3 Musika to Koffman plot where the
youths further assaulted him on the feet telling him to give them
information on the whereabouts of the Mbare district executive members.

So February and March of 2011 seem to be continuing with the violence and
intimidation that has been evident around the country since the beginning of
the year, and which was also unleashed on Harare in January. ZANU PF youths,
bused in from rural areas, created chaos in Mbare assaulting perceived MDC-T
supporters and ZANU PF MP and Youth Minister, Savior Kasukuwere, was
implicated as organising the violence from his house.


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Another Zim dissident arrested, tortured, lawyers say

http://www.mg.co.za

Mar 01 2011 21:45

Police have arrested and tortured another dissident critic of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe's regime as the government escalated a clampdown
against a perceived plot to stage mass demonstrations against the leader,
lawyers said late on Monday.

Job Sikhala, the leader of a small offshoot of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was arrested on Friday in
connection with an alleged plan to stage demonstrations like those in Egypt
in a bid to overthrow the 87-year-old Mugabe, a statement from Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights said.

Sikhala had a dislocated pelvis following assault by police interrogators
and had been denied medical treatment, the group said. He was allegedly
being held in filthy and degrading conditions in a police station on
Harare's outskirts.

Observers say Mugabe and the small coterie of supporters around him have
ordered a countrywide operation to squash any signs of unrest they fear
could spread from the turbulence in North Africa.

The lawyers group said the charges against Sikhala had been changed from
fraud to kidnapping and mobilising people for revolt, and his case was being
prosecuted by a police unit that had nothing to do with ordinary criminal
prosecutions.

Lawyers filed an urgent application on Monday for his release, saying there
was no basis for his arrest and he was unlawfully detained.

Defied court orders
Earlier on Monday, the organisation said police had defied court orders to
provide medical help to 12 activists accused of planning an uprising against
Mugabe.

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.

They 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. Western envoys in the country have denounced the charges as
manifestly excessive.

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
demonstrations.

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.

Lawyers are also pressing for the release of Douglas Mwonzora from two weeks
in custody, a lawyer and MDC Member of Parliament who is also the
co-chairperson of the national committee to draft a new constitution. He and
23 others were arrested in eastern Zimbabwe where they were holding a rally.
Mwonzora had not been tortured, the group said.

Mugabe has been in power for 31 years, presiding over a country which
descended into economic chaos and hyper-inflation, and widespread
intimidation, brutality and killings after the presidential election of
2008. -- Sapa-dpa


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WOZA members arrested, beaten

Press statement

Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

Seven members, two beaten, all spending night in custody in Bulawayo and
were denied food brought in by relatives.

At noon, today 28 February 2011, three Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA) members
were arrested in Entumbane at a member’s house. Police came into the house
where the members were meeting. They made the men present; numbering about
15, hold out their hands. They then arrested Proud Pandeya, Noah Mapfuma who
they said had black hands, and according to them this is a sure sign that
they smoke cannabis. At this point Gift Nkomo walked in and was also
subsequently arrested. They were taken by these plain-clothes police
officers to their local police station. One of the police officers fisted
Proud four times in the face when they were arrested. They were released
them after 2 hours. At five pm, police officers then came to re-arrest them
and tried to arrest a fourth member who was not at home. The were said to be
being taken to Bulawayo Central Police station for questioning but the
feeding team could not locate them there.

At 4pm today, another 4 members were arrested, three women and one male.
They were arrested in the Mabutweni suburb of Bulawayo at the home of
Sitshiyiwe Ngwenya. They were sitting in the house and counting burial
society contributions. The four who include Joyce Ndebele, Moreblessing
Dube, one a nursing mother, and the male member Kholwani Ndlovu were
arrested by plain clothed police officers from Western Commonage police
station. They were loaded into a white van and taken to Western Commonage
police station in Mpopoma south. The lawyer, Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights was unable to see them as they were being relocated
to Bulawayo Central police station.

Relatives, who sacrificed to buy food at a food outlet, as there was no
electricity to cook food, arrived at the police station to give the food to
the activists but were detained for an hour. Police Officer George Levison
Ngwenya, threatened to arrest them for bringing ‘bought’ food but another
police officer told them to leave with the food. Kholwani was obviously in
pain from being severely beaten and him and the three women arrested at
Mabutweni were seen by their relatives in the Law and Order department and
were being made to answer profile questions and were due to be relocated for
a third time to Sauerstown police station along the airport road.

WOZA leaders wish to express concern for members arrested and for the two
male members beaten by police. We also express concern about the whereabouts
of the 3 members arrested in Entumbane who were not to be found at Bulawayo
Central police station.

WOZA is currently consulting members on the introduction of a development
programme to be entitled Demand Dignity - Demand Development. This programme
is based on the works of Mahatma Ghandi who combined an obstructive and
constructive programme to mobilise independence to the Indian people. The
CONSTRUCTIVE (productive and practical) Program emphasises on "cooperating
with good" whiles the OBSTRUCTIVE (disruptive and defiant) Program's
emphasis is on "resisting evil."

Ends

28 February 2011

For more information, please call Jenni Williams on +263 772 898 110 or +263
712 213 885 or Magodonga Mahlangu on  +263 772 362 668 or email
info@wozazimbabwe.org or wozazimbabwe@yahoo.com

Note about the Demand Dignity – Demand Development Programme

History have shown us that while nonviolent movements have successfully
liberated people from repressive regimes in almost all cases the same
problems of poverty and other forms of structural violence have returned to
undermine the gains of the struggle. This is not because Nonviolence doesn't
"work" but because Nonviolence campaigns or obstructive campaigns need to
have a Constructive Program to make them complete and deliver permanent,
constructive change.

So WOZA/MOZA have resolved to begin a Constructive Program for members so
that they can see positive alternatives to oppression, let them begin to act
out the future, become productive and practical. As we do this we will also
escalate our demand for social justice. WOZA and MOZA have been conducting
some of these activities as part of our fight for freedom and our demand for
social justice, a new constitution and a better life – we have been trying
to see the Zimbabwe of our dreams.


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Zimbabwe court orders treason suspects, alleged plotters to stay in jail another week



By The Associated Press (CP) – 3 hours ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A Zimbabwean court says 45 suspects facing treason
charges must stay in jail until their hearing next week to give prosecutors
time to prepare the case against them.

State prosecutors said Tuesday they were not ready to present their case
against the group arrested last month for attending a lecture on North
African anti-government protests. They are accused of plotting an
Egyptian-style uprising in Zimbabwe. The group says it was an academic
lecture and denies wrongdoing. Treason carries a possible death sentence.

Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba says he needs more time to prepare before the
March 7 hearing.

Defence lawyers say the suspects are not guilty and should be released
immediately. Lawyers say some suspects were tortured in police custody.


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Lawyers Fight For Sikhala's Release

 

 

HRD’s Alert

28 February 2011

 

 

 

LAWYERS FIGHT FOR SIKHALA’S RELEASE

Lawyers representing MDC 99 leader Job Sikhala have filed an urgent chamber application in the High Court seeking his release from police custody where he has been incarcerated since his arrest on Friday 25 February 2011.

Sikhala was arrested while at his shop in Chitungwiza by four uniformed police officers and two unknown men in plain clothes who advised him that the police wanted to re-record statements in a fraud matter which he reported early this month.

Upon arrival at St Mary’s Police Station in Chitungwiza, Sikhala was then advised that he was under arrest and was detained in connection with minerals and that statements would be recorded ON Saturday 26 February 2011.

At the time of his arrest, the MDC 99 leader was informally told that his arrest was linked to a purported one million men march which the police said was scheduled to take place on 1 March 2011 in a bid to topple the government through the “Egyptian style “and  that Sikhala was going around the country mobilising people to participate.

But on Saturday 26 February 2011, Sikhala was advised that he was being charged with kidnapping or unlawful detention as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, and was taken to CID Minerals Unit for the recording of a warned and cautioned statement and thereafter returned to St Mary’s Police Station for his continued detention. The alleged kidnapping is said to have happened at Zengeni Shopping Center in Mutare, Manicaland Province on 19 February 2011 but was only reported six days later in Chitungwiza, Mashonaland East Province

It is still not clear as to why the matter is being handled by CID Minerals Unit as the kidnapping offence has nothing to do with minerals.

It is further not clear as to why the matter was reported in Harare and not Mutare where the offence is alleged to have been committed.

In the urgent chamber application which was filed at the High Court on Monday 28 February 2011, Sikhala’s lawyers of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni cited the co-ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and the Detective Superintendent Churu, the Officer In Charge of CID Minerals Unit.

In their application, the lawyers argued that the MDC 99 leader was unlawfully arrested and detained and continues to be in unlawful detention.

The lawyers say Sikhala has been charged with trumped up charges of kidnapping or unlawful detention as defined in Section 93(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 and there is no reasonable suspicion that the former St Mary’s legislator committed any criminal offence and his arrest was premeditated with the sole intention to harass him.

In a startling disclosure, the lawyers revealed that Sikhala dislocated his pelvis when he was assaulted during his arrest by one of the police detectives and is in need of urgent medical attention.

Despite requests for medical treatment the lawyers say the police have denied their client such services.

The lawyers also protested against the deplorable cell conditions under which Sikhala is being detained which they said were filthy, inhuman and degrading such that no human being should be incarcerated in such conditions.

 

In their draft order the lawyers want the police to immediately release Sikhala or alternatively place him before a Magistrate sitting as a remand court to determine his fate failing which they should forthwith release him from custody and thereafter no Magistrate should entertain the matter.

                 

                                                                                                ENDS

 


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Police Take Aim At Madhuku And Student Leader

HRD’s Alert

1 March 2011

 

 

 

 

 

POLICE TAKE AIM AT MADHUKU AND STUDENT LEADER

Police on Tuesday 1 March 2011 summoned National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson Lovemore Madhuku to stand trial for allegedly organising a demonstration in 2006.

Two unidentified plain clothes policemen served Madhuku with the summons at Harare Magistrates’ Court, where he was attending the case of 45 social and human rights activists who have been charged with treason.

The police want Madhuku to appear in court on 16 March 2011 to answer charges of contravening Section 24 (1) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) [Chapter 9:15] in that he allegedly failed to comply with an order given by the regulatory authority.

The police allege that Madhuku unlawfully organised a demonstration on 1 November 2006 at Africa Unity Square without notifying the police.

Meanwhile, lawyers were on Tuesday night searching police stations in Harare to locate the whereabouts of student leader, Tafadzwa Mugwadi, who was reportedly arrested by the police on yet unclear charges.

ENDS


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U.N. urges Zimbabwe to release detained activists

http://af.reuters.com/

Tue Mar 1, 2011 12:49pm GMT

* Activists say they were beaten in detention

* U.N.'s Pillay says Zimbabwe democracy far from assured

GENEVA, March 1 (Reuters) - The United Nations' top human rights official
called on Tuesday for the release of dozens of activists arrested in
Zimbabwe for discussing the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said some of those
arrested and charged with treason, from the International Socialist
Organisation and other social justice and human rights groups, had alleged
they were beaten in detention.

"The arrests appear to be part of a growing crackdown on civil society and
members of the political opposition, and are a clear sign that the
establishment of a consolidated democracy in Zimbabwe is still very far from
assured," she said in a statement .

Police in Zimbabwe said they arrested 46 people in Harare last month as they
watched videos of North African protests and discussed possible
demonstrations in Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe, 87, has held
power for 31 years.

Pillay, a former United Nations war crimes judge, has spoken out in support
of protesters in North Africa and the Middle East and said a crackdown
against demonstrators in Libya could amount to crimes against humanity.

She said on Tuesday the uprisings had made it clear "there is no true
democracy without freedom of expression and assembly".

"It is therefore both deeply ironic and disturbing that, in Zimbabwe,
activists are being arrested and mistreated simply for discussing North
Africans' efforts to bring about change through largely peaceful protests,"
she said.

Calls via social media websites for protests on Tuesday against Mugabe's
31-year-old rule did not lead to mass gatherings in Zimbabwe, where police
have threatened to crush "Egypt-style" protests.

The campaigns on Facebook and Twitter were aimed at starting popular
uprisings similar to those that toppled the presidents of Tunisia and Egypt
and are threatening Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.


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Zimbabwe court orders treason suspects, alleged plotters to stay in jail another week



By The Associated Press (CP) – 3 hours ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A Zimbabwean court says 45 suspects facing treason
charges must stay in jail until their hearing next week to give prosecutors
time to prepare the case against them.

State prosecutors said Tuesday they were not ready to present their case
against the group arrested last month for attending a lecture on North
African anti-government protests. They are accused of plotting an
Egyptian-style uprising in Zimbabwe. The group says it was an academic
lecture and denies wrongdoing. Treason carries a possible death sentence.

Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba says he needs more time to prepare before the
March 7 hearing.

Defence lawyers say the suspects are not guilty and should be released
immediately. Lawyers say some suspects were tortured in police custody.


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Cops secure release of MDC activist

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Written by MDC Information & Publicity Department
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 16:40

HARARE -  MDC activist, Patrick Kamanga, 26, who was abducted and assaulted
by Zanu PF thugs at a torture base yesterday morning, was released in the
evening after the police’s intervention. Working on a tip-off, Mbare’s
Matapi police officers made a follow up, tracking down the thugs from their
base in Mbare.  However, no one was arrested. Kamanga said he was abducted
and kept hostage at Mbare 3 market stalls where he was interrogated on the
whereabouts of the MDC members. He said they asked him where he was staying
and why he disappeared from Mbare in the last two weeks. He said they moved
him from Mbare 3 Musika to Koffman plot where they further assaulted him on
the feet asking him to volunteer information on the whereabouts of the Mbare
district executive members. The police from Matapi Police Station rescued
him later in the evening and he managed to receive treatment for injuries
sustained.
Meanwhile, Rowdy and drunk Zanu PF supporters today disrupted a meeting
being chaired by Bulawayo Central MP, Hon. Dorcas Sibanda at Bulawayo hotel
where the MP was collecting oral evidence on the operations of Mpilo General
Hospital. There were disturbances at the hotel when Zanu PF supporters
stormed the hotel and started disrupting the proceedings.
The police arrived after some minutes but did not chase the mob.  Instead
they took the MP to Bulawyo Central Police Station and accused her of
holding a political meeting at a public institution, without notifying the
police or Zanu PF’s Cain Mathema. Hon. Sibanda was detained for an hour
before being released without any charge and told that the police had saved
her from the Zanu PF mob.
"The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr. Henry Madzorera was aware of
the meeting. What is surprising is that the police did not treat me as a
complainant because they detained me in and left the Zanu PF youths without
question,” said Hon. Sibanda.

The MDC Today - Issue 158


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Mugabe ‘executed’ outside Embassy

 
– 1st March 2011

 

 

      

 

President Mugabe was strung up from a tree outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London today at a Vigil in support of an attempt to stage an anti-Mugabe demonstration in Harare.

 

Security forces were beefed up to deter protesters from gathering at Harare gardens but in London some 50 people attended our mock execution of the aging tyrant.

 

We were joined by a Reuters news team, apart from other journalists, and passers-by stopped to take photos with their mobile phones. Bus drivers hooted in solidarity as Terence Mafuva in our Mugabe mask and a white shroud dangled from the branch of a maple tree (discreetly supported by a small stool).

 

Vigi supporters wore yellow bandanas saying ‘Robert Mugabe for the sake of Zimbabwe: Please hang’ and displayed posters reading ‘Mugabe must go!’ and ‘87 years old – 31 years in power’ while singing songs mocking the despot, to the accompaniment of drumming.

 

There were passionate speeches denouncing him. Martin Chinyanga of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Focus Group said to applause that Mugabe’s time was coming to an end. For his part, Takwana Jonga of the Zimbabwe Action Group said Zanu PF was the enemy of the people of Zimbabwe responsible for the death of more than 5 million Zimbabweans since 1980 (by violence, neglect and poverty).

 

The Vigil was pleased to get a message of encouragement from Passop, the Zimbabwe support group in South Africa, who were holding a solidarity demonstration outside Parliament in Cape Town.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check http://www.zimvigiltv.com/.  

 

FOR THE RECORD: 47 signed the register.

 

Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 

 
Vigil co-ordinator
 
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
 
 
 


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Jabulani Sibanda shuts down schools for ZANU PF rally

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

by Irene Madongo
01 March 2011

Notorious war vet Jabulani Sibanda has forced a district to shut down its
schools and made teachers attend his pro-ZANU PF rally, where he said
members of the MDC would be killed, the local MDC-T spokesman has said.
Sibanda had reportedly been to Zaka and Bikita intimidating locals, before
appearing in Gutu.

MDC-T spokesman for Gutu West district, Stanley Manguma, said Sibanda
resorted to forcing teachers and school children to attend his rally after
two others were poorly attended.

It’s understood only 12 ZANU PF supporters attended the first meeting, and
around 20 people attended the following one. Fed up with this Sibanda
approached a local chief who is a staunch ZANU PF supporter, who then
instructed headmen and headmasters to close schools, Manguma explained.

The teachers and school children then attended the rally at Matizha Business
Centre on Monday, and the numbers of those present ballooned to around 600.
The school children were then dismissed and Sibanda began making dangerous
threats, including saying that people will be killed this year.

“This shows ZANU PF is already in the mood for an election. They are telling
people ‘we are going to have an election whether the MDC wants it or not ,’”
Manguma explained.

Sibanda’s remarks have left locals and MDC members in the area living in
fear. His campaign is a roll-over from last year where he went about
disrupting learning, by ordering teachers and school children to attend his
rallies in other parts of Masvingo province. He also operated a terror tour
of Mashonaland Central and Manicaland.

Despite calls by the MDC-T for Sibanda to be arrested, Zimbabwe’s partisan
police have instead been accompanying him on his operations and he remains
free to intimidate locals and cause havoc.


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Zanu (PF) Bus In Supporters For Mugabe Anti-Sanctions Launch

http://www.radiovop.com

01/03/2011 15:31:00

Harare, March 01, 2011 - A major bus company in Harare has suspended its
regular trips to South Africa after it was hired by Zanu (PF) out to ferry
the thousands of party supporters expected to attend the anti-sanctions
lobby campaign by President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday.

Pioneer Bus Company suspended its Harare-Messina service to accommodate the
Zanu (PF) request.

“We don’t have the Harare-Messina service this week, all our buses have been
hired for the sanctions event,” said a bus official who would not give his
name.

Asked whether this was done voluntarily or it was a case of business
coercion.

The official said, “I wouldn’t know but we have an instruction to
communicate to our passengers that the service has been suspended because
buses are on hire.”

Pioneer buses have regular clientele which travels on a daily basis to
Messina to buy goods for re-sell in Harare.

Mugabe is expected to launch the anti-sanctions lobby campaign On Wednesday
morning in Harare. Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo told Radio VOP that his
party had “activated its machinery” to ensure that people get to Harare for
the launch.

When asked to explain what he meant by that, he said, “We are going to use
the regular means of transport that we have used in the past and we have
also hired buses to ferry people.”

Mugabe is also expected to announce a wide range of retaliatory sanctions
against companies owned by the US, EU and other western countries as a
measure of forcing to remove the targeted sanctions imposed on him and his
inner circle.

Mugabe threatened takeover moves on Nestle and Zimplats in an address on the
occasion to mark his 87th birthday last weekend.


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SA court defers ruling on Zim farms case

http://www.zimonline.co.za/

by James Mombe     Tuesday 01 March 2011

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday postponed
ruling on an appeal by the government against an earlier court order that it
compensates a South African farmer for farms lost in Zimbabwe.

The farmer, Crawford von Abo, lost his 14 farms in Zimbabwe when they were
expropriated under President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reform
programme.

The High Court ruled last year that Pretoria should have provided diplomatic
protection for Von Abo’s properties and that because it had not done so it
should compensate the farmer for his loses.

Mugabe has over the past eight years seized white-owned farms for
re-distribution to landless blacks in a programme he says was meant to
correct a colonial and unjust land tenure system that reserved the best
arable land for whites while blacks were crowded on poor soils.

But veteran leader’s chaotic and often violent land reform programme also
saw several farms owned by foreigners and protected under bilateral trade
agreements between Zimbabwe and other countries seized without compensation.

However South Africa and Zimbabwe only signed an investment protection
agreement in November 2009, well after Von Abo had lost his properties. -- 
ZimOnline


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Chihuri to face MPs who want answers on violence

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
1 March 2011

A much anticipated standoff between the Police Commissioner General and law
makers will take centre stage on Thursday, when the country’s top cop is
expected to appear before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and
Home Affairs.

Augustine Chihuri is set to be grilled by MPs about the political violence
that has rocked many parts of the country, including some parts of Harare,
since the beginning of 2011.

While legislators from ZANU PF are expected to go easy on Chihuri, he is
certain to get a hard time from MPs from the two MDC formations. The MDC
parties allege the police force, under Chihuri, has been executing it’s
duties in a partisan manner when dealing with cases of politically-motivated
violence, arresting only members of their party.

The police Commissioner General was initially expected to appear before the
committee on Monday but postponed it to Wednesday as he was meeting with
Robert Mugabe.

Committee chairman Paul Madzore, an MP from the MDC-T is quoted as saying
Chihuri has now been in touch requesting a further postponement to Thursday.

On Wednesday Chihuri will attend the launch of ZANU PF’s anti-sanctions
drive, where Robert Mugabe is expected to once again warn British, Dutch and
US companies that they risk their businesses being seized in retaliation for
the targeted sanctions on the ruling elite.

An MDC-T legislator told us he would be interested to see if Chihuri does
finally make it to parliament to be quizzed by the MP’s.

‘If he decides he is above the law and refuses to appear before the
committee, he will face charges of contempt of court and can be sent to
prison,’ the MP said.

There is a precedence to this when in 2004 Roy Bennett, the MDC-T
treasurer-general, was jailed for 15 months by parliament for pushing
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa during a heated debate.

‘The country needs answers to this senseless violence and Chihuri’s
appearance will give the committee an opportunity to ask him why he has
failed to deal with this rot. We hope for his own good he will appear or
parliament will be forced to take action against him,’ the MP added.

But observers say the chances of Chihuri facing any punishment is extremely
remote, given that the MDC have no real power in the government and that
Mugabe is firmly in control of all the security services.

Analyst Luke Zunga said in terms of violence, Chihuri has got no defence as
to why the police force is not protecting life and property or enforcing the
laws and maintaining peace in Zimbabwe.

‘The ZRP is still largely vicious and corrupt. Political opponents of ZANU
PF continue to suffer excessive and recurrent waves of brutalities,
abductions, unwarranted violations of privacy and extra-judicial killings,
bodily injury and intimidation.

‘Many of these incidents have been documented and there is hard evidence
against the way the partisan police operate. I hope the MPs are up for the
task to get to the bottom of this violence,’ Zunga added.


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Senior U.S. State Department Official Visits Zimbabwe

 
Embassy of the United States of America

Public Affairs Section

 

STATEMENT: SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL VISITS ZIMBABWE

 

Harare, March 1, 2011: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs, Ms. Susan Page, is in Zimbabwe for a four-day visit.

 

During her visit, Page will be in Harare and also Bulawayo, meeting separately with senior government officials, representatives from the business community, and civil society leaders. Her visit to Zimbabwe reflects the importance the United States Government places on engaging a broad array of Zimbabwean leaders to foster bilateral economic and diplomatic relations.

 

# # #


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Go-ahead for Gukurahundi monument

http://www.swradioafrica.com

by Irene Madongo
01 March 2011

A group representing victims of political violence has received permission
to erect a monument to commemorate the deaths of thousands that were killed
during the Gukurahundi massacres in the eighties.

Last month, the Zimbabwe Victims of Organised Violence Trust (Zivovt), made
an application to the Matobo Rural District Council (MRDC) for the monument.
They said it is something that is badly needed, because the story needs to
be told after the many years that ZANU PF has been fighting to silence the
Gukuranhundi issue.

Zivovt wants the structure to be built at the former Bhalawge army camp in
Matobo, which was used as a torture base during the era. Having now received
the approval, the organisation will meet to discuss details. They have
already said they want to approach local artists to work on the creation.

SW Radio Africa Bulawayo correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, says if the statue
is set up it will be an unprecedented development and a thorn in the flesh
of Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF.

“It will mean that the Gukurahundi victims will have a remembrance in the
lifetime of a party that has actually caused the demise of those people,” he
said, “I think they will get resistance from ZANU PF and the resistance will
be against both MRDC and Zivovt. This is because ZANU PF has failed to
acknowledge or show remorse on the atrocities of the Gukurahundi victims,”

The monument will be a test for the government. Last year it outlawed a
Gukurahundi art exhibition by Bulawayo artist Owen Maseko, saying it was
prohibited because it was a ‘tribal-biased event’.

The Gukurahundi massacres saw tens of thousands of innocent Zimbabweans
killed by soldiers loyal to the Mugabe regime, in the mid eighties. Last
year, the Gukurahundi massacres were officially classified as genocide by
the internationally recognized group Genocide Watch.


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Banned Exhibition Finds Reception In Europe

http://www.radiovop.com

01/03/2011 14:14:00

Harare, March 1, 2011—Reflections, a photo exhibition banned in Zimbabwe,
has found audience in Europe and is being exhibited in Geneva, Switzerland
during the 16th session of the UN Human Rights Council which started
Tuesday.

The session runs up to March 25.

Reflections is a collection of photos of people brutalized in the political
violence during the period 2007—2008.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights); Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition regional office in South Africa and the Geneva based Zimbabwe
Advocacy Office have teamed up to exhibit the photos warning the
international community of the violence that will grip the country in the
event of elections.

By bringing the Reflections Exhibition to the UN and international
organizations in Geneva, Zimbabwe’s NGOs aim to provide direct evidence of
the state-sponsored human rights violations in the last decade.

In the run up to the Geneva exhibition, the photo exhibition was held in
European capitals such as London (UK); Dublin (Ireland); Budapest (Hungary)
and Brussels (Belgium) among others. The exhibition was well received
according to Dewa Mavhinga, Crisis regional coordinator.

The exhibition comes at a time there has been a new wave of violence across
the country and will provide a visual reminder to the international
community of the continuing need to remain engaged in supporting democratic
reform and transitional justice in Zimbabwe.

ZimRights has been struggling to exhibit the photos in other parts of the
country with the police saying the images have a potential of inciting
violence.

Last year, police raided the Gallery Delta in Harare and seized photographic
material that ZimRights has been collecting since 2007.

The photos were returned after the High Court ordered the police to release
the pictures.


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Zimbabweans Turn to Indigenous Medicine

http://www.ipsnews.net

By Ignatius Banda

BULUWAYO, Zimbabwe, Feb 28, 2011 (IPS) - Zimbabwe's government recently
announced that the country had run out of the critical painkiller morphine.
It was just the latest development in a debilitating health care crisis that
has seen hospitals turn away patients because of drug shortages.

An underfunded health sector has been in rapid decline in Zimbabwe, where
shortages of medicines are the rule and health professionals have left the
country in droves over the past decade to seek better salaries abroad.

In the absence of even a basic drug such as paracetamol, desperate patients
like 44-year-old asthma sufferer Susan Pamire have turned to traditional
herbs.

While traditional healers have long retained a rural client base, urban
residents are now also turning to them.

"Traditional herbs have become the sole alternative for me, even though I
still prefer medicine from the clinic," said Pamire, who has also battled
hypertension for years.

"Better these visits to the inyanga [the local name for a traditional
healer] than wait for tablets from the clinic, which I know are not
available, or else I would die waiting," the mother of five told IPS.

People like Janet Dliwayo, who has long experience harvesting herbs in rural
Matebeleland, are able to operate in a thriving herbal market in Bulawayo’s
Makokoba township.

"The medicines I sell here come from my rural area, where not everyone knows
which tree or herb treats what," Dliwayo says.

Sibangilizwe Dube, a member of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers
Association (ZINATHA), says the government's admission that it is failing to
provide medicine points to a need to take traditional healers more
seriously.

"There is still cynicism among some doctors who think we cannot fill the gap
by providing life-saving herbs and medicines," Dube said.

"Yet we know there are researchers who come into the country and steal our
knowledge to make drugs overseas. I do not understand it," Dube said.

International researchers have over the past decade looked to the use made
of the rich biodiversity by traditional healers in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in
Southern Africa, for promising leads to develop treatments for some of the
world’s deadliest diseases.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which has taken an active role in
facilitating communication between medical scientists, public health
authorities and traditional healers, estimates that up to 80 percent of
Zimbabweans rely on herbal remedies for their health care.

These numbers are true for many countries across Africa, says Dr Banele
Gama, a Zimbabwean medical practitioner working in South Africa.

"What people generally want is better access to medicine and health care. If
they can get this outside of hospitals and at a low-cost, I believe
governments should encourage the traditional practitioners whose indigenous
knowledge of herbs cannot be dismissed," Gama told IPS.

The near-absence of standardisation and proper regulation means the use of
traditional medicines poses some risks. Professional health bodies in
Zimbabwe have decried the illegal importation of alternative medicines from
as far afield as China.

This month, the Traditional Medical Council of Zimbabwe which is registered
under the Ministry of Health announced that it was pushing for the
toughening of laws that govern the importation of traditional medicines, as
it had noted an alarming increase in the smuggling of medicinal herbs into
the country.

Healers within the country also need to regulation. Dr Rashai Mbudzi, head
of the Traditional Medical Council of Zimbabwe, told state media this month
that there is a need for traditional medical practitioners to formalise
their operations if they are to effectively participate in the health
services sector.

"We encourage traditional medical practitioners to register with us to carry
out research on their operations. This will enhance the quality of their
practice and also encourage them to have areas of specialisation so that
they can easily network with hospitals," Mbudzi said.


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Banks to return SA coins

http://www.herald.co.zw

Monday, 28 February 2011 20:18
Herald Reporters

LOCAL banks are set to return R8 million worth of coins to South Africa that
they have been holding onto since last year because retailers have resisted
buying them to ease change shortages that consumers have long complained
about.
President of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe Mr John Mushayavanhu
yesterday said they had been sitting on the coins for nearly eight months
now.
A shortage of rand and US coins in circulation means people often spend more
than they intend to in shops so that their bills can become round figures.
Shops also give out credit notes indicating how much change customers are
owed, but these are only redeemable in the specific branches where they are
given.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has said this has contributed to the high
cost of living in Zimbabwe as people spend more than they want to.
Banks had sought to ease the problem by buying coins in South Africa, which
they offered retailers at prevailing rand-US dollar exchange rates, but the
latter appear not to be interested.
Said Mr Mushayavanhu: "We have already received app-roval from the South
African Central Bank and we will be returning the coins anytime now."
Mr Denford Mberi of the Retailers Association of Zimbabwe is on record as
saying the banks were trying to profit from the coins by selling them higher
than the exchange rate.
Many Harare retailers have maintained an artificial rand-US coins exchange
rate of 10:1.
This means R5 is equivalent to 50 US cents.
The actual rate would have R5 at around 71 USc as the South African currency
has long since gained on the greenback.
Oddly, Harare's informal traders apply more realistic rates and even
commuter omnibus operators have tried to give people value for their money
in coin terms by charging a normal trip at R4 or 50 USc.
Street vendors also have coins and these are easily changing hands, a
development that has stoked people's fury as to why formal establishments
cannot give them a fair deal as well.
Harare retailers have failed to explain why they can apply the prevailing
rate quite easily on notes, but not on smaller denominations and for change
purposes.
AfroFood Julius Nyerere Way branch said they only applied prevailing rates
to amounts of R50 or more, but would not explain why this was so.
TM Mbuya Nehanda Street, OK Robson Manyika and Spar Joina City also had no
reason as to why they undervalued South African coins.
Some of these retailers have branches in Bulawayo where similar problems are
not being experienced.
Mr Mberi referred all questions to a Mr Ndebele at Truworths' headquarters
in Harare, who was not available for comment.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has for months said Zimbabwe will soon get US
coins, but these have not been seen.
People have also questioned why the finance minister is prepared to bring in
coins from across the Atlantic Ocean when the South African option is
readily available much closer home.
The public has called for legislation to be put in place to force retailers
to be fair.
"The Government must make it illegal for this daylight profiteering which
these shops are practising.
"They are forcing us to buy useless things like sweets and if you add up all
the money that people are forced to use, you will find that they have extra
sales of over US$100 in each shop a day," railed Mr Cosmas Dumba of Warren
Park who had been forced to take lollipops as change after buying a cough
mixture in OK First Street.
The situation is much better in Bulawayo where the actual exchange rate is
applied.
For instance, kombis in Bulawayo generally charge R3 per trip and coins are
readily available as change in just almost every shop.


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Villagers benefit from wetland conservation

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

By Midlands Correspondent
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 18:21

ZVISHAVANE - Villagers in Chebvute in Zvishavane district are reaping from
benefits from conserving a wet land for nine years.
They planted a maize crop on five hectares  and  the maize  is almost ready
for harvest.

The revelation came at a belated  World Wetlands Day provincial
commemorations at Chebvute vlei last week.

In a speech read on his behalf by Zvishavane-Ngezi MP, Obert Matshalaga,
Environmental Management Agency Board member for Environment protection,
Devious Marongwe commended the Chebvute commnity for preserving the wetland.

He said it is not the community which only benefits but the environment as
well.

"The community at Chebvute vlei have learnt the concept of co-existence and
hence managed to restore the status of this wetland with areas around it
benefitting from its conservation.

"An integration of management practice such as the one designed and
implemented at Chebvute sustains the environment and the local beneficiaries
not only thrive but also benefit downstream populations," said Marongwe.

Marongwe said EMA gives its full support to Chebvute for their initiative to
protect wetlands. He called upon traditional leaders, local authorities and
all environment friendly citizens to partner with EMA and Forestry
Commission to conserve the wetlands and forests around Chebvute vlei and in
Zimbabwe at large.

Matshalaga, who is the MP for the area promised to assist the community add
other projects to Chebvute vlei like bee keeping, fish farming, citrus
growing and a dairy project so as to diversify from crop cultivation.

Wetlands offer a diverse of benefits like water purification, flood
mitigation, water provision, medicinal plants and as habitats for animal and
plant species.


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High Court To Preside Over Ag'S Appeal Against Mwonzoraand Villagers' Bail Order

HRD’s Alert

28 February 2011

 

 

 

HIGH COURT TO PRESIDE OVER AG’S APPEAL AGAINST MWONZORA AND VILLAGERS’ BAIL ORDER

Nyanga North Member of Parliament and Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) co-chairperson Hon. Douglas Mwonzora and 23 villagers will remain incarcerated at Mutare Remand Prison until Friday when the High Court will consider an appeal against their bail order which was filed on Friday 25 February 2011 by the Attorney General’s Office.

Hon. Mwonzora 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 on Monday 21 February 2011.

But Magistrate Mhene’s bail order was vetoed after State prosecutor, Tirivanhu Mutyasiri invoked the notorious Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) to suspend the bail order which had been granted to Hon. Mwonzora and the villagers.

Edmore Nyazamba, a law officer in the AG’s Office filed the appeal which was only served on Hon. Mwonzora’s lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Tawanda Zhuwarara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Monday 28 February 2011.

ENDS

 
 


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Free the Forty-Five Now!



Munyaradzi Gwisai, co-ordinator of the Internationalist Socialist Organisation organised a meeting on Saturday, 19th February, to discuss the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Gwisai and 44 others (including a Kubatana member of staff) were arrested. Subsequently they are being charged with treason.

That means YOU, ME, Gwisai, Mugabe himself, the ice cream seller and the airtime vendor could all be charged with treason.

Why? Because hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have been watching the events in North Africa unfold on satellite TV. We’ve been reading about it in a number of newspapers and magazines freely available in Zimbabwe. We've been following news on the Internet, and we have been listening to radio broadcasts. We have been talking about the political events in North Africa in supermarkets, pubs, on the soccer fields and in our homes. We’ve been writing about Tunisia and Egypt in emails, in blogs, in columns on web sites and on FaceBook pages.

In other words we are an integral part of the Forty-Five unjustly incarcerated.

Speak out now. Join the campaign to Free the Forty-Five.

ACTION:

Please text or email Kubatana a message of support and solidarity for the Forty-Five and we will deliver these messages to them to keep their spirits up. Join Us. Share the Word. Get your fingers working for freedom.

At every opportunity we must protect our right to free speech, and challenge any attempt to silence us.

Text us on: +263-772-452201
Email us on:
info@kubatana.net

Please let us know if you would like to remain anonymous.

Here is a list of the detainees. Each one is more than just a name. They are a mother, a sister, a brother, a father, and a friend.

Munyaradzi Gwisai, Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Michael Sozinyu, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo, Welcome Zimuto, Philip Magaya, Prolific Simbarashe Mataruse, Godknows Biya, David Mupatse, Douglas Muzanenhamo, Reki Jimu, Ganizani Nunu, Josphat Chinembiri Terenyika, Strutton Nyaya Muhambi, Trevor Chamba,
Clarence Mugari, Munyaradzi Maregedze, Willie Tinashe Hlatswayo, Ian Muteto, Tinashe Mutazu, Pride Evidence Mukono, Lenard Kamwendo, Tinashe Chisaira, Trust Munyama, Peter Garanewako, Elizaberth Chipo Makume, Megline Malunga, Daison Bango, Malvern Hobwana, Tashinga Mudzengi, Ednar Chabalika, Thokozile Mathe,
Francesca Thomson, Masline Zvomuya, Nhamo Kute, Annie Chipeta, Tabeth Chideya, Charles Mbwandarikwa, Thomas Chibaya, Fatima Manhando, Blessing Muguzaya, Robert Muhlaba, Tinashe Muzambi
________________________________________________________________
 
The Kubatana Trust of Zimbabwe and
The NGO Network Alliance Project
PO Box GD 376
Greendale
Harare
Zimbabwe

Tel: +263-4-776008/746448
Fax: +263-4-746418
Email: mailto:admin@kubatana.org.zw
Website: www.kubatana.net

Visit www.kubatana.net Zimbabwe's civic and human rights web site incorporating an on line directory for the non-profit sector



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Zimbabwe Inclusive Government Watch : Issue 24

http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/6399
 

ZIG Issue 24 - Pie ChartNearly two and a half years since the formation of the inclusive government Zimbabwe seems no closer to finding and establishing a unity government. On the one hand, President Mugabe and Zanu-PF are calling for an end to the troubled political union, and pushing for early elections while the MDC-T led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai perseveres for the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Zanu-PF, with the support of the armed forces, is seemingly gearing up for a brutal pre-election campaign of propaganda, intimidation and violence, largely funded through misused government funds, profits from illegal diamond mining and sales, aided by well-wishers Libya and China.

In the month of January 2011, 90 media articles were catalogued for this edition of the Zimbabwe Inclusive Government (ZIG) Watch. Each recorded article signifies a unique breach of the terms set out in the GPA. By categorising these articles according to the nature of the breach, we have generated representative statistics.

Violations in the form of intimidation, hate speech, threats and brutality remains in first place, but with a significantly higher percentage of 38 reports  (42.2% of total). In second place are cases of corruption, or efforts to entrench corrupt practices, with 14 instances (15.6%). Cases of legal harassment were third, with 9 articles (10.0%) and subversion of legal processes came fourth with 8 articles (8.9%). In total, these four categories of breaches accounted for 76.7% of the total analysed.

Within these categories, Zanu-PF were accountable for 94.2% of the violations thereby placing Zanu-PF as agents that were either responsible for, or involved in, 95.6% of all breaches recorded. 34.1% of those breaches involved preparations by Zanu-PF for control and manipulation of a possible election in 2011, with 60.0% of those involving violence and / or intimidation.

Below we list ten articles that are representative of this month’s media activity. Summaries of all 90 articles and all previously captured articles, as well as new entries can be seen at http://www.sokwanele.com/zigwatch.

Starting with cases of violence, abductions, intimidation, and hate speech, our first article records that Zanu-PF plans to embark on an onslaught against NGOs ahead of national elections, possibly later this year. In its Committee Report to the party’s conference in Mutare recently, Zanu-PF said it would silence NGOs critical of the party and  step up its propaganda apparatus as it builds momentum towards the elections. Zanu PF sees many of the 2 500 NGOs operating in the country as supporting Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s  MDC-T party and by default trying to facilitate regime change. NGOs provide food and other humanitarian assistance to half of the country’s population, of which over 85% live below the poverty datum line (PDL).

In our next case covering violence, more than 80 000 youth militia, war veterans and soldiers are to be deployed across the country in an army-led drive to ensure victory for President Robert Mugabe in the next elections that look set to be the bloodiest ever witnessed in Zimbabwe. A three-month investigation by ZimOnline including interviews with Cabinet ministers, senior military officers and Zanu-PF functionaries, revealed the military’s intention to frustrate Tsvangirai through violence and terror. Should Tsvangirai win the next poll, it is unlikely that the security sector will accept him as leader of the country. The Joint Operations Command (JOC) plans to be on the ground well before foreign or local observers, raising fears of another bloody election.

Surprisingly Zipra war veterans have come up with a new strategy to counter Zanu-PF violence. The war veterans, who fought during the war for independence, have urged Zapu supporters in Mashonaland West province to join Zanu-PF and attend that party’s rallies for their own safety. The Zipra war veterans have split from the main Zanu-PF-controlled War Veterans Association headed by Jabulani Sibanda and are currently re-organising their party structures in resettlement areas east of Karoi in preparation for elections. They also confirmed the deployment of the army in the rural areas of Mashonaland West.

Looking at intimidation and threats, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono warned multinational banks with operations in Zimbabwe that they would “suffer consequences” if they refuse to give loans to Zanu-PF officials or others on the Western sanctions lists. In a monetary policy statement, Gono said such banks are unfairly extending what he called illegal Western sanctions. Gono accused the banks of paralyzing Zimbabwe’s money markets by holding domestic deposits rather than recycling them into productive sectors in the form of loans.

Moving to corruption, our first report shows that Zanu-PF legislator for Mwenezi, Kudakwashe Basikiti, is using children in Mwenezi to campaign for the lifting of sanctions imposed on his party members by the West.. Basikiti has mobilised hundreds of mostly orphaned children in his constituency and made them sign a petition demanding the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed on his fellow Zanu-PF members. The petition which was being forwarded to the American and British Embassies read: “The suffering we are having today is a result of the debilitating sanctions which led to the deaths of our parents because they could not afford proper medication.” The abuse of child minors in political matters must not go unnoticed by the international community.

ZIG Issue 24 - Line Chart

In our second article dealing with corruption, the global diamond industry has inadvertently cleared the way for President Robert Mugabe’s regime to raise millions of dollars from exports according to campaigners. A University of Zimbabwe political science professor, John Makumbe, said: “We have just seen the appearance of £20-million worth of farming inputs — tractors, seeds, tools and fertiliser. That can only have come from underhand diamond deals. Zimbabwean pro-democracy campaigners are divided over Kimberly Process certification. In November, Mugabe’s minister of mines, Obert Mpofu, admitted that diamonds to the value of £100-million had been sold to India despite the KP ban in force at the time…Without the KP agreement Mugabe and his people sell diamonds anyway”.

The issue of the formation of a Matabele state has suddenly come to prominence, with Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri ordering police to monitor and arrest activists who have launched a campaign to breakaway from the rest of the country. This follows the launch of the militant and radical Mthwakazi Liberation Front, a movement calling for the independence of the region claiming that its people have been marginalised for too long and face discrimination everyday at work places and tertiary institutions.

Turning our attention to matters legal, the secret panel appointed by Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, to examine the possibility of criminal conduct by individuals named in the WikiLeaks cables is comprised oflawyers connected to Zanu-PF. Tomana refused to name members of the team, “to protect their professional integrity and … independence”. However, it has emerged that four of the five-member team (Terence Hussein, Simplicious Chihambakwe, Farai Mutamangira , and Gerald Mlotshwa) have connections with Mugabe and senior Zanu-PF officials –thereby subverting the legality of the grouping.

Zanu-PF has started registering local members for the allocation of sugar cane fields in the Triangle and Hippo Valley estates. It appears preparations are under way for a takeover of the agricultural assets on the estates under the Indigenization Act. Business Forum Secretary Roy Magosvongwe said the move to take over the properties would be economically damaging given the importance of the sugar plantations.

Lastly we note an article showing Zanu-PF’s disregard of the right to Freedom of Speech in which President Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba ordered all state media editors to go all out and attack Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of elections which he insisted will be held this year. Charamba reportedly urged editors to continue with propaganda in support of Mugabe saying Tsvangirai should never be allowed to rule Zimbabwe.


Onslaught on NGOs ahead of elections
Zimbabwe
Standard, The (ZW): 02/01/2011

Zanu-PF has resolved to embark on an onslaught on NGOs sympathetic to Prime Minister Tsvangirai as well as oiling its rusty propaganda machinery ahead of national elections likely later this year. In its Committee Report to the party’s conference in Mutare recently, Zanu-PF said it would silence vocal NGOs and at the same time step up its propaganda apparatus as it builds momentum towards the elections. President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF accuses most of the 2 500 NGOs operating in the country of supporting Tsvangirai (MDC), to facilitate regime change. NGOs provide food and other humanitarian assistance to half of the country’s population, of which over 85% live below the poverty datum line (PDL).

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE III : RESTORATION OF ECONOMIC STABILITY AND GROWTH
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XVIII : SECURITY OF PERSONS AND PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE
  • ARTICLE XIX : FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION

Military plot to keep Mugabe in power
ZimEye: 20/01/2011

More than 80 000 youth militia, war veterans and soldiers will be deployed across the country in an army-led drive to ensure victory for President Robert Mugabe in the next elections that look set to be the bloodiest ever witnessed in Zimbabwe. A three-month investigation by ZimOnline that including interviews and discussions with Cabinet ministers, senior military officers and Zanu-PF functionaries, revealed that Zimbabwe’s top generals intend to thwart Tsvangirai through violence and terror, some bragging they would topple the Prime Minister should he somehow emerge the winner of the polls. The Joint Operations Command (JOC) plan to intervene at an earlier stage in the process, well before foreign or even local observers are on the ground.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE VIII : RESPECT FOR NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND EVENTS
  • ARTICLE X : FREE POLITICAL ACTIVITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XIII : STATE ORGANS AND INSTITUTIONS
  • ARTICLE XVIII : SECURITY OF PERSONS AND PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE

Join Zanu-PF For Your Protection-Zipra veterans
RadioVOP: 22/01/2011

TENGWE – War veterans who fought under Zipra during the war for independence have urged Zapu supporters in Mashonaland West province to join Zanu-PF and attend that party’s rallies for their own safety. The Zipra war said they have split from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Associations (ZNLWVA) headed by Jabulani Sibanda and are currently re-organising their party structures in resettlement areas around Tengwe 50 km east of Karoi town in preparation for elections. The war veterans also confirmed the deployment of the army in the rural areas of Mashonaland West. During the liberation war Zipra guerrillas who had military bases in Zambia operated in Hurungwe, Makonde and Kariba tribal trust lands.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE X : FREE POLITICAL ACTIVITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XVIII : SECURITY OF PERSONS AND PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE

Zimbabwe Central Banker Demands Foreign Banks Lend to Sanctioned Persons
VOA News (USA): 31/01/2011

Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono has warned multinational banks with operations in Zimbabwe that they would suffer consequences if they refuse to make loans to Zanu-PF officials or others on Western sanctions lists. In a monetary policy statement posted to the RBZ website, Gono said such banks are unfairly extending what he called illegal Western sanctions. He said such banks have been refusing loans to sanctioned individuals and companies since the current government of national unity was formed in 2009. Gono accused the banks of paralyzing Zimbabwe’s money markets by holding domestic deposits rather than recycling them into productive sectors in the form of loans.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE III : RESTORATION OF ECONOMIC STABILITY AND GROWTH
  • ARTICLE IV: SANCTIONS AND MEASURES
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XIII : STATE ORGANS AND INSTITUTIONS

Zanu-PF MP Using Children To Campaign Against Sanctions
RadioVOP: 04/01/2011

Mwenezi – Zanu-PF legislator for Mwenezi, Kudakwashe Basikiti, is using children here to campaign for the lifting of sanctions imposed on his party members by the west for human rights abuses. Basikiti early this week mobilised hundreds of mostly orphaned children in his constituency and made them sign a petition demanding the immediate lifting of sanctions imposed by the west on his fellow Zanu-PF members. The petition which was being forwarded to the American and British Embassies read: “The suffering we are having today is a result of the debilitating sanctions which led to the deaths of our parents because they could not afford proper medication,” much to the applause of the party supporters.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XIII : STATE ORGANS AND INSTITUTIONS
  • ARTICLE XIX : FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION

Mugabe being helped by diamond industry
Mail and Guardian Online, The (RSA): 30/01/2011

The global diamond industry has controversially cleared the way for President Robert Mugabe’s regime to raise millions of dollars from exports, according to campaigners. ‘Underhand deals’ A University of Zimbabwe political science professor, John Makumbe, said: “We have just seen the appearance of £20-million of farming inputs — tractors, seeds, tools and fertiliser. That can only have come from underhand diamond deals.” Zimbabwean pro-democracy campaigners are divided over KP certification. In November, Mugabe’s minister of mines, Obert Mpofu, admitted that £100-million of diamonds had been sold to India despite the KP ban in force at the time. Makumbe said: “Without the KP agreement Mugabe and his people sell diamonds anyway”.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE III : RESTORATION OF ECONOMIC STABILITY AND GROWTH
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS

Police Ordered To Crackdown On Matland Secessionists
RadioVOP: 26/01/2011

Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has ordered police to crack down on political activists in Matabeleland who have launched a campaign to breakaway from the rest of the country. Chihuri has ordered his commanders in the province to arrest the pro-independence activists. Chihuri’s order follows the launch of the militant and radical Mthwakazi Liberation Front, a movement which advocates for the independence of the region claiming that its people have been marginalised for too long and face discrimination everyday at work places and tertiary institutions. A radio signal from Police Headquarters in Harare to Matabeleland police stations, ordered them to be on high alert to monitor and arrest activists calling for a breakaway state of Mthwakazi.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE X : FREE POLITICAL ACTIVITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XIII : STATE ORGANS AND INSTITUTIONS

Tomana’s WikiLeaks panel revealed
NewZimbabwe.com (ZW): 22/01/2011

The secret panel appointed by Attorney General, Johannes Tomana to examine the possibility of criminal conduct by individuals named in the WikiLeaks cables is packed with lawyers connected to Zanu-PF. The attorney general refused to name members of the 5-man team, claiming this was necessary to protect their “professional integrity and … independence”. However, it has emerged that four of the five-member team have connections with Mugabe and senior Zanu-PF officials. Terence Hussein, Simplicious Chihambakwe, Farai Mutamangira have worked for Mugabe and Zanu-PF officials before while Gerald Mlotshwa is said to be related to Presidential Affairs Minister, Didymus Mutasa.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XIII : STATE ORGANS AND INSTITUTIONS

Officials of Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF Party Eye Sugar Plantations for Takeover
VOANews (USA): 19/01/2011

Zanu-PF party have started registering local members for the allocation of sugar cane fields in the Triangle and Hippo Valley estates. Correspondent Irwin Chifera reported on the apparent preparations for a takeover of the agricultural assets on the estates under the Indigenization Act. Triangle Sugar Ltd. is owned by Tongaat Hulett of South Africa, which also holds a controlling stake in the Hippo Valley Estate. Business Forum Secretary Roy Magosvongwe said the move to take over the properties would be economically damaging given the importance of the sugar plantations. Magosvongwe said he sees an emerging threat to businesses and hoped the pattern would not repeat that of the farm invasions that began in 2000.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE III : RESTORATION OF ECONOMIC STABILITY AND GROWTH
  • ARTICLE V: LAND QUESTION
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS

State Editors urged to attack Tsvangirai
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 20/01/2011

President Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba has ordered all state media editors to go all out in attack against Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai ahead of elections which he insisted will be held this year. Charamba was addressing the editors at a strategic meeting held in Nyanga two weeks ago. He reportedly urged the editors to continue pouring out propaganda in support of Mugabe saying Tsvangirai should never be allowed to rule Zimbabwe as he is a sellout. A senior editor from one of the state media newspapers said Charamba had called the meeting to ensure that all of them understood the need to ensure that they campaigned for Mugabe during elections this year.

  • ARTICLE II: DECLARATION OF COMMITMENT
  • ARTICLE VII : PROMOTION OF EQUALITY, NATIONAL HEALING, COHESION AND UNITY
  • ARTICLE X : FREE POLITICAL ACTIVITY
  • ARTICLE XI : RULE OF LAW, RESPECT FOR THE CONSTITUTION AND OTHER LAWS
  • ARTICLE XIII : STATE ORGANS AND INSTITUTIONS
  • ARTICLE XIX : FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND COMMUNICATION


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BILL WATCH 6/2011 of 28th February [Parliament adjourns to 8th March]

BILL WATCH 6/2011

[28th February 2011]

Both the House of Assembly and the Senate met on 22nd and 23rd February,

then both Houses adjourned until Tuesday 8th March

Inclusive Government Update

The President returned to the country on 20th February after a week away for a medical check-up.  He had a brief meeting with the Prime Minister the next day. 

Cabinet did not meet while the President was away, but did meet on Tuesday 22nd February. [The only other Cabinet meeting this year was on 8th February.]  No extra Cabinet meeting was scheduled although there is a backlog of work awaiting Cabinet attention. 

South African facilitation team members arrived in Harare on Tuesday to work with representatives from each of the three GPA parties and others on the “roadmap” to the next elections. They met JOMIC , MDC-T, MDC, ZAPU, ZANU-PF and, on Friday, the party principals.

The GPA principals [Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara] met on Friday morning.

The Mutambara/Ncube dispute has still not been resolved and will not be until the end of the court case brought by dissenting MDC-M members challenging the validity of the leadership changes made at the party’s congress in January.

Rising violence in the country is causing further rifts between the two main parties.

Parliamentary Update

In the House of Assembly Last Week

Bills  The Deposit Protection Corporation Bill did not come up for Second Reading.  The Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion has asked for more time to consider the Bill in the light of representations made to it by the banking sector. 

Two Bills are under consideration by the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC]:

·      General Laws Amendment Bill  [Electronic version available]  [See Bill Watch 41/2010 of 2010 for an opinion that the Bill’s clause imposing copyright protection on the texts of Acts, statutory instruments and court judgments is unconstitutional.]

·      Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill.

Both Bills have had their First Reading, but there will be no further proceedings until the PLC has reported on their consistency or otherwise with the Declaration of Rights and other provisions of the Constitution.  The PLC meets on Tuesday 1st March.

Motions  Tuesday’s sitting might have ended without debate on any of the 16 agenda items had not Hon F.M. Sibanda made a brief contribution to the take-note motion on the Education Portfolio Committee’s report on early childhood development.  On Wednesday there was brief debate on portfolio committee reports on Air Zimbabwe, the Civil Aviation Authority and the operations of NSSA.

Question Time  [Wednesday]

Questions Without Notice  Standing Orders restrict questions without notice to questions seeking information on matters of Government policy, although the Speaker occasionally allows some relaxation of this rule if a Minister is prepared to answer a question seeking factual information.  When members want factual information, questions should be submitted in writing and they are printed in the Order Paper.  This gives Ministers time to obtain the required information.  Topics covered last week included:

·      Cabinet responsibility for Budget  Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara confirmed that formulation of the national Budget is a collective Cabinet responsibility and that if individual Ministers have problems with Budget allocations the proper forum to air them is Cabinet rather than political platforms.

·      Security forces personnel and Constituency Development Funds  The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs stated that security force personnel should not be playing any part in the administration of CDFs. 

·      Political activities at schools  Asked about political harassment of teachers, the Minister of Education said he had issued a circular banning the use of schools for political purposes.  Later this would also be covered by regulations.

·      Alleged presence of Zimbabwe National Army personnel in Libya  Asked whether press stories about ZNA personnel being in Libya in support of Colonel Gaddafi were true, the Minister of Defence did not answer directly, but said the Minister of Foreign Affairs might know whether there are “African mercenaries” in Libya; he did, however, concede that the Defence Act does not allow serving ZNA members to participate in “events outside this country where they use arms”.

Written Questions With Notice  There were 25 questions on the Order Paper for reply by Ministers, 12 of them dating back to last November.  Only one was dealt with, by the Minister of Education.  The other Ministers concerned were not present.  Both the Speaker and MPs expressed dissatisfaction with the absentee Ministers’ cavalier disregard of the House, and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara undertook to ensure their presence in future.  Both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have given similar undertakings previously.

In the Senate Last Week

The Senate resumed on Tuesday after a one-week break.

Ruling Excluding Ministers and Deputy Ministers from Participation in Private Motions

On Tuesday the President of the Senate ruled that Ministers and Deputy Ministers cannot introduce or debate private motions in the Senate, saying this is the preserve of backbenchers.  Following this ruling Senator Tapela [MDC], Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, was not allowed to give notice of a motion, although Senator Georgias [ZANU-PF], Deputy Minister of Public Works, had proposed an anti-sanctions only two weeks before.  The President of the Senate said this had been a mistake.  The ruling is regarded as controversial, given that Standing Orders are silent on the issue and that in the past Ministers and Deputy Ministers have taken part in debates on private motions.

Motions

On violence  On Tuesday Senator Komichi [MDC-T] introduced his motion condemning the “unabated incidents of violence in Mbare, Budiriro and surrounding areas and calling on the police to maintain law and order professionally and bring the culprits to book.  Debate continued on Wednesday.  There were some heated exchanges when members accused each other’s parties of responsibility for fomenting the violence.

On Inclusive Government’s achievements and failures  Deputy Minister Tapela’s notice of this motion was disallowed [see above], and notice of the motion was then given by Senator S Ncube [MDC].

The anti-sanctions motion was withdrawn by Deputy Minister Georgias following the Senate President’s ruling [see above] and it was removed from the Order Paper.

POSA Amendment Bill 

The Second Reading debate on Mr Gonese’s Private Member’s  Bill to amend the Public Order and Security Act [POSA] did not commence.  It is unlikely to come up until Parliament completes processing the amendment to Standing Orders which will permit Mr Gonese to speak to his Bill in the Senate – the amendment was approved in principle by the Standing Rules and Orders Committee on 14th February [see Bill Watch 5/2010][Electronic version of Bill available]

Requesting documents from Veritas

Requests for electronic versions of documents listed as “available” in this bulletin should be emailed to veritas@yoafrica.com

Update on Bills

Bills Passed and Awaiting Presidential Assent and Gazetting as Acts [Printing of these Acts for the President’s signature is not yet complete.]

Criminal Laws Amendment (Protection of Power, Communication and Water Infrastructure) Bill

Attorney-General’s Office Bill 

Zimbabwe National Security Council Amendment Bill 

Energy Regulatory Authority Bill

Bills in House of Assembly [See In the House of Assembly This Week, above]

Bills Gazetted and Awaiting Introduction

National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill [gazetted 5th November 2010][Electronic version available]  This Bill provides for the downgrading of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission to a board with much reduced powers and functions.  Powers to fix prices and pricing standards and control rentals, incomes and service charges are repealed.  The board will be an advisory body tasked with research and monitoring functions.  Price control will be covered by regulations and orders under the Control of Goods Act, as it was before 2007. 

Bills being printed for presentation in Parliament – None

 

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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