By Alex Bell
13 May 2010
There has been shocked reaction to a presidential decree handed down by
Robert Mugabe, that two of every animal species in the Hwange National Park
should be sent to North Korea.
The animals include two eighteen month old elephant calves, that Mugabe is
giving as a ‘gift’ to his Korean counterpart. Zimbabwean conservationists
have warned that the babies will not survive that trip to Korea, with
elephant experts stating that elephants so young cannot survive without
their family group.
According to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, capture and spotting
teams have already been seen in the Park. There have also been reports of
armed men standing around waterholes waiting for game, apparently so they
can radio the information to capture teams. The Task Force’s Chairman,
Johnny Rodrigues, said in a statement that captured animals are being kept
in quarantine in bomas in the park. It’s understood that the animals’
removal and transportation to North Korea will happen very soon, although
National Parks authorities have denied any such activity.
Activist Simon Spooner expressed his concern to SW Radio Africa on Thursday,
saying: “It is relevant to the current situation in Zimbabwe in that one
immediately suspects that something irregular is happening.” He echoed
warnings by animal welfare experts that many of the animals being removed
from the park will not survive.
Zoo conditions in North Korea, where animal welfare is notoriously low on
the list of national priorities, are not up to the standards of taking on an
‘Ark’ full of wildlife. Two rhino, a male known as Zimbo and a female called
Zimba, given to the North Korean leader in the 1980s by Mugabe died only a
few months after their relocation. Other animals handed out as ‘gifts’ by
Mugabe have previously suffered horrendous, cruel journeys, often not
surviving. Another Zimbabwean rhino sent to the Belgrade zoo in the former
Yugoslavia died after contracting foot rot, in the unfamiliar and unsuitable
damp and snowy winter conditions there.
The cross-continent transportation of wild animals meanwhile is a
scientific, exact process that needs to be overseen by vets and other animal
experts. It’s believed that endangered animals, like rhino, will also be
part of the ‘gift’ to North Korea. Spooner on Thursday questioned what kind
of experts are on board with this plan, calling them “complicit in this kind
of illegal behaviour,” if they are involved.
Observers meanwhile have commented on Mugabe’s “God-delusion”, with him
decreeing, as God biblically did to Noah, that animals be rounded-up by
two-by-two. Some observers have called this a sign that Mugabe is heading
further into the realm of total megalomania.
The Conservation Task Force has also expressed its concern that a large
group of wildlife from the Hwange National Park has been transported to a
Mutare farm. The farm was apparently allocated to a senior official in the
Central Intelligence Organisation. The Task Force’s Rodrigues explained in
his statement on Thursday that no environmental impact assessment was
carried out to ascertain whether or not the habitat is suitable for the
May 13 2010 ,
Thulasizwe Simelane, Harare
Zimbabwe's MDC party is to convene a meeting of its supreme decision making
body - the national council this weekend. This comes amid fresh tensions in
the country's unity government. The meeting will consider among others the
MDC's response to prosecutors appealing a High Court ruling that had cleared
party treasurer Roy Bennett of terrorism charges. The MDC accuses President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF of pulling the strings in the prosecution in an
attempt to sideline Bennett.
For a moment, it seemed the Roy Bennett chapter was finally closed. A High
Court judge affirmed his innocence paving his way into the unity government.
"On Monday, the country's top prosecutor had no qualms with the ruling -
justice has been done. The Court had decided. That's binding - we should all
accept that," says Attorney General Johannes Tomana.
But then something happened to change his mind. On Tuesday, Zanu-PF's legal
guru was quoted as saying the judgment is appealable. By Wednesday, Tomana
was knocking on the Supreme Court's door.
"We thought that we had actually subtracted from the outstanding issues, but
clearly that's not the case. Zanu-PF has exposed themselves that they are
actually neck-deep in persecuting Roy Bennett, says MDC's Nelson Chamisa.
Tomana's appeal reportedly argues that Justice Bhunu erred by considering
pieces of evidence against Bennett in isolation. Thereby, the state
contends, he failed to connect the dots and see the bigger picture of a
prima facie case against Bennett.
The appeal also flies in the face of president Zuma's assurances to
Parliament, that Bennett's acquittal marked yet another step forward in the
The last time the MDC convened its national council in reaction to a legal
development involving Roy Bennett, the party ended up temporarily
withdrawing from the unity government.
Party officials aren't keen to discuss whether that option will be on the
table this weekend. But it is clear the state's appeal has stirred a
political hornet's nest.
There has been yet another twist in the Roy Bennett saga in Zimbabwe.
The controversial opposition member’s passport was removed from the Mutare
magistrate’s court where it had been deposited as a bail condition.
The state confirmed yesterday that it had decided to contest the high court
ruling acquitting Bennett, effectively putting on ice any possibility of him
being sworn in as a government minister in President Robert Mugabe’s
After his acquittal in the Harare High Court on Monday, Bennett travelled to
Mutare (about 250km east of Harare) on Tuesday to collect his bail money,
property title deeds and passport.
Upon arriving at the magistrate’s court at Zimbabwe’s eastern border town
where his case was first heard, Bennett was told by the clerk of court that
his passport had been signed out by one Michael Mugabe, believed to be a
regional prosecutor and the president’s nephew.
Bennett’s bail money (US$5?000) was also missing but he had been advised
that he could collect it at a later date.
Bennett told City Press: “They told me at the court that Michael Mugabe
could not be located in Mutare and no one seems to know where he is or where
my passport is.”
Beatrice Mtetwa, the lawyer who represented Bennett during his trial accused
the attorney-general’s (AG) office of illegally removing Bennett’s passport
from the clerk of the court in Mutare.
She said what made the issue more curious was the fact that the passport had
been taken away two days before the high court was due to rule on the
Bennett case on March 31, before it was postponed.
Mtetwa said: “It is not only unprocedural, but also criminal for the AG’s
office to have done that.
Anything that is deposited with the clerk of court as bail surety can not by
any means be removed from there except by a precise court order or upon
(AFP) - 7 hours ago
HARARE - Thousands of mine workers in Zimbabwe went on strike for better pay
Thursday after negotiations with employers collapsed, union officials said.
"This is a national strike which covers the whole country and so far 25,000
workers have heeded our call to go on strike," Tinago Ruzive, president of
the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe, told AFP.
"The chamber of mines has refused to negotiate with us."
The strike began a day after a deadline set by the unions for employers to
raise their salaries expired, he said.
Ruzive said a labour tribunal had already awarded a 140-dollar wage increase
to mine workers, but the national chamber of mines has instructed its
members not to pay out the full increase.
"This is a violation of the law. We understand that the industry is not yet
out of the pit, but workers are suffering," he said.
The workers are demanding 290 dollars a month for the lowest-paid employees,
who currently earn 140 dollars a month.
Zimbabwe's mining sector, which employs 40,000 workers, is showing signs of
recovery after an economic crisis that saw hyperinflation erase the value of
the local currency, which was abandoned last year.
The country has deposits of gold, platinum, diamonds, coal and a variety of
metals, but production had plunged to almost nothing.
The gold sector has so far produced 1,667 tonnes during the first quarter of
the year, compared to zero production during the same period last year.
Chris Hokonya, chief executive of the chamber of mines, said the strike was
premature as negotiations were still on.
"It is very unfortunate that they have decided to go on strike. This has
resulted in man hours lost, which will obviously affect the companies'
positions to pay them," Hokonya told AFP.
In 2008, most of the country's mines were either placed under care and
maintenance or closed down due to hyperinflation and stringent export
regulations that compelled companies to sell minerals through the central
Zimbabwe's economy has been stabilising since a power-sharing government,
formed last year between President Robert Mugabe and former opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, ditched the local dollar in favour of the US
May 12, 2010
By Our Correspondent
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s total debt including domestic and external arrears now
stands at US$5, 8 billion, figures from the Reserve Bank revealed Wednesday.
According to the central bank, the debt as at March 31 was US$5,84 billion
from US5,7 billion in January.
Of the debt, US$5,3 billion is external while US$513 million represents
domestic liabilities. The external debt of US$5,3 billion includes total
arrears of US$3,6 billion.
Zimbabwe currently needs up to US$10 billion for economic recovery. It is
officially estimated the country needs US$45 billion for the next 10 years
to recover to 1997 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) levels.
The debt is said to have divided cabinet, with Biti proposing that Zimbabwe
should adopt Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt initiatives because
it has some advantages which could reduce the debt burden by 90 percent
after full delivery of debt relief.
He says the conclusion is based on experiences of 35 countries for which
packages have already been approved and debt servicing declined by 2,5
percent of GDP between 1999 and 2007.
Biti argues debt relief would reduce constraints on economic growth and
poverty reduction imposed by the debt-servicing burden.
He argues that before adopting HIPC, eligible countries were on average
spending slightly more on debt than on health, education and other social
Biti further says the huge debt is increasing Zimbabwe’s credit risk profile
while undermining investment and growth.
However, Zanu-PF ministers said they are determined to oppose the proposal.
Their resistance is apparently informed by advice they have received from
senior Reserve Bank officials.
The central bank officials’ advice note has found purchase among Zanu-PF
ministers now mobilising to shoot down the proposal.
The rise in government domestic debt levels, which is now being kept secret
by the Reserve Bank, was sparked by huge interest payments.
With government’s continued reliance on borrowing from the local market,
domestic debt has been rising.
The mismatch between fiscal revenues and expenditures also opened a
significant funding gap resulting in government utilising the overdraft
window at the Reserve Bank, while at the same time borrowing from the
The Reserve Bank’s advances to government have over the past five years
accounted for about 80 percent of total debt, a situation bank economists
say was evidence that government was broke and had no other source of
revenue other than the domestic market.
Johannesburg, May 13, 2010 - As many as 300 Zimbabweans are arriving in
South Africa per day to apply for asylum at Musina in Limpopo, Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) said on Wednesday.
"We have been told by the DHA (department of home affairs) that there are
300 people per day arriving at the DHA to apply for asylum (in Musina),"
said MSF head of mission Mickael le Paih.
He described them as "newly arrived".
Le Paih said that many of the migrants are too poor to afford a passport
which costs as much as R1 100 to acquire. They then have to attempt to cross
the border illegally.
"While the (DHA) promised a year ago to create a special dispensation permit
to ease the process for migrants crossing the border, this has never been
implemented." MSF said.
It also said the number of sexual assaults reported on the Zimbabwean border
had also increased by a third.
'A waste of resources'
"From March 1 to May the number of cases treated was 71," said MSF nurse
This meant about 20 people were raped each month, an increase from an
average of 15 the previous year.
Of these victims, 45 were female and 26 were male. Four of these were
children, three of them girls.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Nelufule.
Those treated by doctors had all indicated that they knew many more victims
who had been attacked but had not sought treatment.
MSF said that police were not opening cases of sexual assault because they
claimed the attacks were happening on the Zimbabwean side of the border and
that the victims did not stay in Musina long enough for follow-up
investigations, amounting to "a waste of resources".
Women and children
"It looks like nothing has been done to avert that situation," said Le Paih.
"It's well known but it's not recognised," he said.
Nelufule said that most of the victims of rape did not receive treatment to
prevent the contraction of HIV.
Rather than go to the authorities, they opted to continue on to their
destinations, whether they be local farms or distant cities.
She also recounted several gruesome stories of women who were victimised by
thugs as they crossed the border.
"When they cross they will meet the gangs that take their money, belongings,
sometimes even their clothes," said Nelufule.
"One woman, they stripped her down, and searched inside her vagina." All
this took place in front of children.
One of the thugs ordered a 4-year-old to use his smaller hands to search
inside the woman's vagina for valuables and money.
"Then they raped her one by one," said Nelufule.
MSF is currently treating over 2 000 patients a month from its Musina
location, which is next to the local home affairs office. In addition to
clinic care, they have begun taking mobile clinics to local farms.
Most of the people treated were migrants, not only from Zimbabwe but also
South Africans from other parts of the country.
Le Paih said that his organisation was beginning to co-operate with the
provincial department of health. SAPA
By Tichaona Sibanda
13 May 2010
A storm is brewing over the role played by an executive member of the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) in the arrest this week of Masvingo
Mirror Editor, Golden Maunganidze.
SW Radio Africa can reveal that the ZUJ executive at the centre of the
controversy is freelance journalist Grail Kupakuwana. His involvement in the
arrest of Maunganidze on Monday will raise suspicions that ZUJ is
infiltrated by scribes who are collaborating with state agencies to spy on
Maunganidze was on Monday interrogated by police in Harare for six hours,
over a story he wrote about a senior ZANU PF official, linked to the
disappearance of gifts meant for Mugabe. It's widely believed that the
official is Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi.
Hundreds of tonnes of sugar donated to Mugabe on his 86th birthday, by party
activists in Masvingo province, reportedly went missing and have never been
found. The 'theft' triggered a massive upheaval in the province with certain
top officials accusing each other of the disappearance.
Minister Mzembi immediately filed charges of criminal defamation against
Maunganidze. This is where the plot thickens. In a bid to unmask his
detractors Mzembi allegedly sought the help of Kupakuwana to use his
position to trap Maunganidze into revealing his sources.
It is believed Kupakuwana, in the company of fellow journalist Josiah Dimbo,
travelled to Masvingo on the 17th April at the behest of Mzembi. The duo
stayed at the Chevron hotel in room 35 and it's also alleged their
accomodation was paid for by the Ministry of Tourism.
While in the town Kupakuwana sent Maunganidze several text messages,
implying that he also wanted to write about the 'sugar-gate' story, almost
pleading with Maunganidze to sign post him towards his ZANU PF sources.
Maunganidze to his credit, did not reveal any names but suggested to
Kupakuwana that he approach a rival faction ZANU PF in the province.
It emerged that when Maunganidze was under interrogation at the Harare
central police station, officers there showed him a number of the text
messages that he exchanged with Kupakuwana. The ZUJ executive allegedly
forwarded the texts to Mzembi, who in turn sent them to the police.
The text messages form part of the evidence police are using against
Maunganidze, who has been charged with criminal defamation. When the case
goes to court Kupakuwana might be summoned to testify as a state witness,
but that would completely blow his cover.
The leaking of the texts provides 'smoking gun' evidence that some
journalists are colluding with ministers and state security agents to spy on
Maunganidze told us he was 'shell shocked' that a fellow journalist would
stoop that low to spy on him in an effort to collate information that would
be used to settle a political feud.
19 journalists from Masvingo province wrote a petition to ZUJ on Wednesday,
demanding that they suspend Kupakuwana from the executive, pending
dismissal. ZUJ Secretary-General Foster Dongozi told us he could not comment
now as these were still allegations leveled against Kupakuwana.
'To be honest I'm hearing this story from you now, but if a petition has
been sent to ZUJ I will see it and deal with the matter as an executive.
What I know about the Maunganidze case is that he wrote a story linking
Mzembi to the theft of Mudhara's (Mugabe) sugar in Masvingo. We will
certainly look into the case,' Dongozi said.
Many journalists in Zimbabwe have compromised themselves in the past decade
while working for the state controlled media. They became the voice of the
ZANU PF oppression, and unfortunately that continues today.
Written by Gift Phiri
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 14:25
HARARE - At least 2,000 carats of Zimbabwean diamonds are being smuggled out
of the country each day from South African mining company Canadile's plant
This contravenes the Kimberley Process, a diamond watchdog reported this
week. The Mutare-based Centre for Research and Development warned that large
quantities of Chiadzwa diamonds were finding their way to local and foreign
Given the militarisation of the diamond fields and continued reports of
violence in the area, these illicit movements of diamonds compromise the
legitimate international trade in KP-certified diamonds, and are a clear
signal that Zimbabwe is no longer able to control its diamond exports.
"Security loopholes at Canadile's plant in Chiadzwa are costing Zimbabwe
about 2000 carats per day," the CRD said in a statement to The Zimbabwean.
"Company employees have overtaken illegal panners and soldiers in supplying
diamonds to local and foreign buyers, who descend on Chiadzwa daily in
search of the precious stones. Many of the stones are stolen at the Density
Medium Separator, popularly known as The Plant. There are no security
cameras on the Density Medium Separator that separates diamonds from the
soil," read the statement.
A British company, African Consolidated Resources plc (ACR), is the legal
leaseholder of the Marange diamond fields, now being exploited by Canadile
Miners and Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd, working in joint ventures with the
parastatal, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
The ZMDC is one of the Zanu (PF)-aligned businesses linked to top army
generals, and has a complex list of shareholders, which include trusts and
South African and Mauritian companies and individuals, among them the
Johannesburg company New Reclamation Group. Canadile is 50 per cent owned by
a shadowy South African firm called Core Mining.
CRD identified in its report Ephraim Moabi, a South African national
employed by Canadile, who operates the Density Medium Separator, as having
"a field day" looting diamonds from the machine.
"The CRD observed that on average 60 buyers are descending on Chiadzwa to
buy diamonds daily," the report said. "The buyers gather at Mashukashuka,
Muchena and Tenda business centres where company employees and syndicates
operated by soldiers sell their diamonds. We also witnessed that at every
shift, buyers descend on Hot Springs resort and Mutsago business area where
they intercept Canadile employees who have smuggled diamonds. Diamonds are
being sold as parcels of clear and rough stones between 10 and 30 carats.
"Bothwell Nhlanhla, the most prominent dealer who has established
connections with security officials around Chiadzwa, was spotted buying
diamonds from Canadile employees and soldiers. Staff at the plant are
constantly being fired for stealing diamonds."
In January, said CRD, two Canadile bosses Komalin Pakirisamy and V Naidoo
were arrested after they were allegedly caught with 63 gems of clear
diamonds in their car. They reportedly paid a US$10,000 bribe to get
through, according to CRD.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has staunchly refused to allow a Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to inspect the diamond fields.
"It may be a long time before Marange diamonds can start contributing to the
national economy," the CRD said.
Written by John Chimunhu
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 14:14
HARARE - The man accused of aiding President Robert Mugabe (pictured) to
steal the 2008 presidential vote, George Chiweshe, is set to be appointed
Judge President of the High Court, according to high-level government
Senior officials at the justice ministry confirmed that Chiweshe was going
to be sworn in by Mugabe on a date yet to be officially announced, taking
over from Rita Makarau. The move has raised consternation in political
circles as there was virtually no consultation between the parties to the
Global Political Agreement, which encourages, but does not prescribe
consensus on all high-level government appointments, it has emerged.
As chairman of the now-defunct Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Chiweshe was
accused by the MDC of having participated in Mugabe's phenomenal rigging by
delaying announcement of the results of the March 2008 presidential
elections by more than a month.
He then allegedly gave Zanu (PF) official Emmerson Mnangagwa and a band of
senior army officers access to the results, which they tampered with to
force a run-off vote.
The MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa could not be reached for comment on Tuesday
as he was said to be in a cabinet meeting.
Written by Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 13:45
HARARE - Zimbabwe will come under the spotlight next Monday when the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) executive board meets to discuss Harare's
overdue financial obligations, the Fund announced this week.
A notice on the IMF website said the institution's powerful executive board
had set May 17 as the tentative date of its meeting to discuss Zimbabwe. On
the agenda will be the report of an IMF team led by Vitaliy Kramarenko which
visited Zimbabwe in March for Article IV Consultations as well as Harare's
overdue financial obligations to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust.
Zimbabwe owed the IMF about US$133 million in outstanding loan repayments as
of the end of last month. In an interim report published soon after its
visit, the Kramarenko mission warned that Zimbabwe's economic recovery
remained fragile and called for the
urgent address of "significant policy challenges" to restore stability.
It was referring to the government's heavy dependence on imports and
increasing wage demands from unionists at a time the country does not have
access to balance of payment support. The IMF mission however commended the
progress made since the adoption of a multi-currency system in early 2009
which helped restore price stability, restart financial intermediation and
impose fiscal discipline by precluding the option of budget deficit
It noted that Zimbabwe's budget revenue had increased significantly which
helped finance improved delivery of public services, while the fiscal
position was broadly balanced.
Written by John Chimunhu
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 07:06
HARARE - International observers must be deployed to Zimbabwe to monitor the
constitution-making process amid reports of growing violence and threats by
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF), aided by the military the former Irish
President and past United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson
(pictured) has said.
Robinson, who met Mugabe and his coalition government partners, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara here recently, said a constitution in which
the majority of people were excluded by violence and sexual discrimination
would not be legitimate.
"A point I must stress in the strongest terms possible concerns the security
of all those who participate in the constitution-making process. Women and
men must be allowed to operate in an environment free from violence and
intimidation. These acts must be prevented and such violence must be
effectively prosecuted in Zimbabwe's domestic courts," Robinson said. "I
further encourage that members of the international community be invited to
serve as observers of the constitution-drafting and outreach process,
particularly in rural areas."
Robinson said she found it 'disheartening' to discover during a week-long
visit that women in Zimbabwe continued to be subjected to political
"I was saddened at the picture relating to women I saw. I learned that one
in three women in Zimbabwe has experienced physical violence, and 25 per
cent of women reported experiencing sexual violence at some point in their
lives," she said.
"Reports of torture, harassment and politically-motivated prosecutions of
human rights defenders are extremely worrying."
Local civic organisations which met Robinson, who now leads a lobby group
called Realizing Rights, expressed fears that Zanu (PF) violence would
escalate further before the adoption of a new constitution which should form
the basis for fresh elections
From ROHR Zimbabwe Infromation Department
With the unheralded outbreaks of violence and intimidation campaigns linked
to the envisaged constitutional making process in some parts of the country
particularly in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, a
delegation of ROHR Zimbabwe and VAC team paid a solidarity visit to Shamva
to access the human rights situation after some families where displaced
last month following threats of violence by ZANU Pf supporters.
The gruesome predictable findings are that the victims of the reign of
terror in 2008 bloody elections are not only denied justice but have become
even more vulnerable and susceptible to further victimisation. Members of
Honzeri family in ward 13 of Zhanda village in Shamva represent the anecdote
of solitude and fear deeply stricken in the divided community between the
victims and the perpetrators of political violence.
Their case is a smoke screen of many innocent man, women and children who
are being persecuted for being supporters of the Prime ministers party MDC,
against the principled position agreed by the three political parties in the
Global Political Agreement that there should be free political activity
throughout Zimbabwe within the ambit of the law in which all political
parties are able to propagate their views and canvass for support, free of
harassment and intimidation.
The voices of victimised families have been rendered utter desolate as any
attempt to work towards the upkeep of their livelihoods is either met with
contempt or repressive action amounting to destruction of property and
livestock. Should i uproot my houses? Where should i take them where i can
leave in peace because i am being chased away from our God given country of
our fore fathers? cried Mrs Honzeri.
We cannot rebuild our houses because we are in a war situation. War brings
suffering and destruction to some people and yet to others they will be
enjoying the status quo. For us it is endless.
The latest of the series of systematic harassment and intimidation is the
barring of the Honzeri family from praying in the nearby bushes or risk
being confronted with hell breaking loose from the threats of violence which
Ishmael Jena boost of, a self confessed notorious liberation war veteran who
also leads a Masowe sect.Mai Honzeri said praying is their only solace in
which they get a platform of asking God to heal their broken hearts and
fight the enemy on their behalf. She also informed ROHR Zimbabwe that she
was told vaguely to seek permission to pray in the mountains from Harare by
At the backdrop of the continued relentless persecution of victims of
political violence, nothing has come out of the organ of National Healing to
address their plight. The culture of impunity rages on, following the
admittance by MDC minister Sekai Holland that the GPA did not state clearly
the mandate of the organ.
Paradoxically the victims have been at the wrong side of proceedings
stirring only more hostility from the police who have been slammed of being
partisan and protecting perpetrators from being tried. ROHR Zimbabwe has
received reports of controversial cases in which victims of political
violence have been severely punished for complaining to the people who
vandalised and stole property during the reign of terror in 2008.
It is clear that defiant intransigent supporters of ZANU Pf are not ready to
welcome the transition agenda and will do anything to throw spanners. No
acknowledgement has been made to those who suffered immensely from the past
man-made injustices. The coalition government has not only failed to protect
the voice of the victims in freely expressing their plight through truth
telling but it has mobilised the police to suppress and stifle public
freedom of expression as witnessed on the arrest of Zimrights staff and
confiscation of photos of victims of political violence during public photo
exhibitions held across the country by Zimrights.
The antagonistic pressure that has been put on the people by ZANU Pf
supporters to coerce the nation into adopting the Kariba draft constitution
and silence the free engagement leaves a lot to be desired provoking
speculation among critics on the way forward. Central to the debate on how
the nation can progress forward has been premised on the holding of a free
and fair election under a democratic new constitution in the presence of
Wadzanai Mupandawana a human rights activist in the Diaspora strongly blames
the coalition government for condoning corruption by government officials,
the looting of diamonds at Chiadzwa and selective application of the law.
She said the country is not free if journalists, human and political
activist are still being harassed for carrying out their duties. She further
castigated the unprofessionalism and non reformist stance of the police on
law enforcement in matters involving politicians loyal to Mugabe.
In the event of elections being held, ROHR Zimbabwe's founder Ephraim Tapa
has expressed fears that with or without a new constitution the likelihood
of violence is very high since the infrastructure of violence is still
intact across the country.
For Peace, Justice and Freedom
Thursday, 13 May 2010 06:43
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has noted the "media release"
purportedly issued by a ZINASU spokesperson, one Grant Tabvurei, on 11 May
2010 and circulated by e-mail. We further note that this emanates from the
e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org under the name ZINASU INFORMATION
despite the fact that at a press conference held on 4 May 2010 it was
advised that all formal publicity would be undertaken using the e-mail
Be that as it may, this "media release" goes on to allege in relation to a
court hearing in Bindura on 11 May 2010 that "The lawyer who is supposed to
handle the case Tawanda Zhuwarara from ZLHR failed to turn up for the second
time but had a replacement today in the form of Jamela. The President Obert
Masaraure expressed apprehension on the manner in which ZLHR is operating
and avowed that it is not proper for the lawyer to inform the accused
students on the trial day that he will be absent for the trial (sic)."
ZLHR wishes to note its strong disapproval in relation to this "media
statement". The organisation has, for more than a decade, committed itself
to being the leading defender of human rights defenders. Student activists
have been the most frequent beneficiaries of the free legal support services
offered by ZLHR and its members throughout the country, and we have never
lost a case in which we have represented their interests.
The correct facts in this matter are that ZLHR was aware of the matter,
having responded to provide initial emergency legal support upon arrest of
the 26 individuals and follow-up services. Despite the misleading
information provided by Tabvurei, ZLHR sent not one, but two, of its
lawyers - namely Mr. Lizwe Jamela and Mr. David Hofisi - to represent their
interests in court on 11 May 2010. Tabvurei himself was one of the
beneficiaries of ZLHR's free legal support services in Bindura yesterday, as
was Joshua Chinyere, who has been successfully and freely assisted several
times in the recent past. Obert Masaraure - who seems at pains to seek to
tarnish the image of ZLHR - was recently also a beneficiary of our services
when university authorities were forced to reinstate him after suspension
due to the intervention and efforts of ZLHR.
It is a thankless and dangerous job which human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe
take on when interacting with state agents who do not find it difficult to
attack such professionals in the course of their duty with impunity.
Statistics of such attacks are freely and publicly available for any person
who has the slightest concern for the continued assault of the human rights
legal profession in Zimbabwe.
ZLHR project lawyers and members willingly put themselves at risk daily to
defend the rights of human rights defenders due to our belief in a free and
just society where the rights of all are protected equally and without fear
or favour. We do not expect thanks for this, but we also do not deserve
insults, insinuations, threats and defamatory characterisations such as
those contained in the aforesaid e-mail.
ZLHR expects that a retraction shall be issued in the same form, and with
the same speed and gusto with which the original e-mail was mass circulated
on 11 May 2010, before the close of business on 12 May 2010, failing which
we shall have no option but to take further action.
Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
asylum seekers arriving in South Africa
"My passport expired two years ago and even though I made an application for a replacement, I am yet to get it. I have, instead, been using temporary travel documents to carry on with my business," said Mary Muzondo, 30, who imports electrical goods and blankets and sells them in the capital, Harare.
Like thousands of others, she was denied entry into South Africa. "I have two school-going children and I have failed to pay their school fees because of this confusion over TTDs. Cross-border trade is my only source of income, and if it were not that I have managed to collect some money from people who had not paid me for the goods I supplied to them, my family would be starving," Muzondo told IRIN.
Passports cost US$170, making them too expensive for many people; they are also difficult to obtain because of the huge backlog that arose when hyperinflation made manufacturing them unaffordable. A new TTD, costing US$37 and valid for six months, was introduced earlier this year.
The registrar-general's office said the new document would be more difficult to forge, and had been used successfully for entering Botswana, or by people flying into South Africa.
Joint home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi blamed the registrar general's office - which falls under his ministry - for failing to notify the relevant South African authorities about the travel document changes, although Tobaiwa Mudede, the registrar-general, claimed his department had followed the correct procedures.
"When we started, we brought all the stakeholders together and they agreed that [the TTD] met all international requirements," Mudede told a parliamentary committee, adding that the issue of the document was being dealt with "at government-to-government level".
The other co-minister of home affairs, Giles Mutsekwa, said resolution was expected soon, following a Zimbabwean delegation's visit to South Africa.
"The discussions we have had so far [with South African authorities] show that the TTD problem will soon be a thing of the past. They have promised to give us a response soon."
However, a government-supporting daily newspaper, The Herald, quoted Charles Gwede, the South African assistant regional immigration officer, as saying that "The situation has remained unchanged and we understand that it is not yet resolved."
Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist and former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), said many people had to travel to South Africa to earn a living.
"Commodities might be back on the shelves and there is relative stability in the economy, but hundreds of Zimbabweans cross into South Africa on a daily basis to buy goods for sale here, or to sell commodities that are manufactured here and are in demand in the other country," Makwiramiti told IRIN.
Zimbabwe's economy is still very fragile, despite the formation of a unity government in 2009, and has been ravaged hyperinflation, extremely high unemployment, scarcity of commodities, a shrinking industry, and the collapse of social services.
An old dejected man passes with a basket full of madhumbe (a starchy tubal
crop which belongs to the potato family and is common in Manicaland
province, Zimbabwe), selling for US$ 1 each.
Wearing a pale face and torn pants, the man pleads with a Radio VOP crew to
buy from him because his family needs the money.
"I am living with my four orphaned grand-children. These children were under
the custody of my late wife. The eldest of them is in grade seven. I have
nothing and no one to turn to. I had four beasts which were stolen. We
survive on madhumbe. I sell for one dollar each," Kindness Busangavanye,
told RadioVoP at Checheche business centre.
"We are hungry here. We did not plant any crops because I did not have seed.
Besides the scorching sun has wilted crops in this area," said Busangavanye.
He is one of the estiimated five miilion Zimbabweans who will require food
aid, as a protracted dry spell and poor rainfall this year and the collapse
of the agricultural sector due to the invasion of productive farm land, has
resulted in food shortages.
At Gudyanga shops in Chimanimani West, food shortages are looming because
most crops wilted.
In other parts like Mberengwa, food aid is urgently required.
Casper Tokwani told RadioVOP recently that the situation was "bad" and they
had turned to gold panning.
"We have nothing to eat and our fields have wilted. We have turned to gold
panning for survival but it's not easy," said Tokwani.
A recent crop assessment tour by Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
showed that the situation was getting dire in most provinces. Tsvangirai was
told by villagers that without aid they will not see the middle of the year.
The villagers also told the Premier that wildlife such as elephants were
causing havoc by damaging crops.
Once the doyen of southern Africa in terms of agriculture, Zimbabwe has, in
the last decade, seen a catastrophic decrease in food production. forcing
many locals to survive on food hand-outs from international partners and
Intervention attempts by government to save the situation and raise funding
for food imports seem to hit a snag owing to Zimbabwe's human rights record.
The troubled southern African country has managed to command only US$105
million from the targeted US$379 million from international partners.
The government's Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for aid has not yielded
much support although very little has trickled into the fund.
Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said recently that from the total funding request for
CAP 2010 of US$379 million only US$105 million or 28 percent of required
funding had come.
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe appealed to donor organisations led by
the United Nations, to consider revising the appeal from US$379 million
because more "people will once again require food assistance this year".
"Despite the support that was extended to farmers through inputs,
preliminary crop assessments show that the country is headed for another
drought year. So far indications are that a third of the country was
affected by the dry spell," said Khupe.
Apart from the natural problems, food aid being channelled by
non-governmental organisations and international donors to people was being
Dorothy Mudariki told RadioVOP in Chiweshe recently food, seed, and any form
of aid was being distributed along political party lines.
"They share among themselves. As long as you are not from Zanu (PF) you do
not get it. We need serious help," she lamented.
Despite the formation of the transitional government last year political
polarisation still exist and the use of food as tool for support continues
to divide communities.
But for Busangavanye, what is immediate to him is food aid at whatever cost.
13 May 2010
The Combined Harare Residents Association in conjunction with the residents of Mabvuku and Tafara will be holding a massive clean up campaign on Friday the 14th of May 2010. The clean-up campaign is aimed at removing huge illegal dumpsites that have sprouted in the streets and shopping centers of the suburb. Participants will first gather at Kamunhu Shopping centre at 9am where the different stakeholders will give brief speeches on the role of residents in waste management. The clean up exercise has received overwhelming support from Lafarge Cement, Spar Mabvuku and the City of Harare Waste Management Department.
Lafarge Cement has become a traditional sponsor to clean up campaigns held in the high density suburbs of Mabvuku and Tafara. The cement company has pledged support by providing earth moving equipment and trucks while the City of Harare will be showcasing their newly acquired fleet of refuse collection trucks to the cause. SPAR Mabvuku will be providing refreshments to volunteers.
The campaign has been prompted by the recent typhoid outbreak which claimed more than 8 lives and infected more than 400 residents in Mabvuku and Tafara. The bacteria that causes typhoid was detected in a refuse dump at Matongo Shopping Centre in Tafara and this will be the first port of call for the clean-up. The City of Harare Waste Management department has acknowledged that removal of huge dumpsites is a challenge as the Council does not have earth moving equipment. Mr Sakupwanya, the Acting Superintendent in the city’s Waste Management Department, said that the Council would need to hire earth moving equipment at a rate of $60 per hour from private companies in order to remove the dumpsites, which is a mammoth task as Council does not have that kind of money. Mr. Sakupwanya also cited the shortage of plastic and metal rubbish bins as a challenge and appealed to well-wishers to offer their support in the form of used 200 litre drums that can be placed at shopping centers for use as rubbish bins.
The clean-up campaign has been welcomed by motorists and police officers in Mabvuku who said that most roads were now closed due to mounting refuse that is dumped by residents along roads and at street corners. Such roads include Dande and Shashe Crescent, Kariyana Avenue opposite Batanai Primary school and corner Chingwezi and Nyamuzuzi streets. Meanwhile CHRA and the residents of Mbare are planning to hold another Clean up exercise in a bid to clear huge dumpsites at Matererini, Matapi and Shawasha Flats which have become a health time bomb to the residents.
CHRA remains committed to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality municipal services on a non partisan basis.