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Reform before readmission

http://www.timeslive.co.za/

SIMPLICIUS CHIRINDA in Perth | 30 October, 2011 01:27

The Commonwealth says Zimbabwe will be readmitted into the 54-member group
of former British colonies only after restoring "genuine" democracy and
holding transparent elections.

Secretary general Kamalesh Sharma said the organisation was keeping an eye
on Zimbabwe and Fiji.

"We are watching the situation very closely as well as their readiness to
promote genuine democracy through a free, fair and transparent electoral
process.

"When they restore democracy to their countries, the leaders will take the
necessary decision on their return," Sharma told journalists at the Perth
Convention and Exhibition Centre with Australian Prime Minister Julia
Gillard, whose country is taking over the leadership of the grouping from
Trinidad and Tobago.

Sharma's comments come amid criticism that the grouping was not doing enough
to push suspended members to restore democracy. Some have even argued that
the organisation needs a massive overhaul if it is to remain relevant.

Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Wednesday said the Commonwealth
had failed on Zimbabwe and Fiji. He said the group should continue to put
pressure on them to reform, otherwise their suspension would have been
meaningless.

British Foreign Minister William Hague also said the Commonwealth had over
the years done well in protecting the rights of its citizens but had been
found wanting on Zimbabwe and Fiji. He said the body had failed to act
decisively to take stronger action against human rights abuses in both
countries.

Kenya, which is pushing for the reform of the organisation, fell short of
describing it as a "tea party" complaining over why it had to pay the
$500000 a year membership fee if Kenyans don't see any benefits.

But Sharma said the Perth meeting should bring a "new sense of purpose and
promise" to promote traditional values of democracy, human rights and the
rule of law.

The heads of states gathered here, who include British's David Cameroon,
Canada's Stephen Harper, New Zealand's John Key, Nigeria's Goodluck
Jonathan, SA's Jacob Zuma and Namibia's Hifikepunye Pohamba, among many
others, have to deal with the controversial issue of the group's reform.

The Eminent Persons Group and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group
havesuggested a raft of measures needed to reform the group. They have
recommended the appointment of a human rights commissioner to deal with
problem areas such as Zimbabwe and Fiji. They have also recommended setting
up a Commonwealth Electoral Commission and India, an influential member of
the grouping, has offered to fund the commission, which will help member
countries organise free and fair elections.

However, many countries have so far resisted some of the suggested reforms,
saying they will interfere with their sovereignty.

The general sentiment in Perth is that the leaders of Zimbabwe and Fiji have
not been missed.

They are yet to discuss Sri Lanka, whose president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has
been accused of committing human rights abuses against former Tamil Tiger
rebels.

At the time of writing, heavily armed police and security details had locked
down central Perth as Sri Lankan protesters calling for Rajapaska's arrest
took to the streets, demonstrating against his presence in Australia.
Rajapaska is wanted by the International criminal Court.

But the Australia government cannot hand him over because he is protected by
diplomatic immunity.


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'Zim has worst conditions'

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Tonderai Kwenda in Australia
Sunday, 30 October 2011 14:19

PERTH - Zimbabwean workers work in some of the world’s worst conditions due
to state repression and lack of enabling labour laws, according to the
Commonwealth Trade Union Group (CTUG).

The CTUG is an association of trade unions in 50 Commonwealth countries
representing over 30 million members.

It is administered by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
which has 175 million members in 151 countries.

The Brussels-based trade union group’s survey of violations of workers’
rights in commonwealth countries found Zimbabwe badly wanting.

“The labour laws pertaining trade union rights are lacking. Although private
sector workers enjoy freedom of association, public sector workers do not
have the right to form and join trade unions, to bargain collectively or to
strike,” the trade union group said in its survey handed over to
Commonwealth leaders at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
(Chogm).

“The right to strike is also limited as the procedures that must be
exhausted prior to a strike are excessively long. Employers are not
prohibited from hiring replacement workers during a strike and also have the
right to sue for liability during unlawful strikes. The penalties for
participating in an illegal strike include harsh prison sentences of up to
five years.”

“Strikes are banned in “essential services”, the list of which exceeds the
International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition. The minister also has
discretionary powers to decide what constitutes an essential service,” said
the group.

The report also cites cases of personal attacks against labour leaders and
workers.

Last year the General Agricultural Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe
(Gapwuz) leader and known activist Getrude Hambira were forced into exile
after threats and harassment by the police.

Her President Manjamanje Munyanyi  and assistant secretary-general Gift Muti
were also harassed by the police in connection with Hambira’s case.

Police also disrupted an educational workshop organised by the ZCTU for its
regional women’s advisory council based in Mutare in March.

They also tried to ban a ZCTU Hwange Colliery 1972 mine disaster which left
427 mine workers dead.

The event only went ahead after the intervention of the High Court.


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New panic over Mugabe's health

http://www.timeslive.co.za

JAMA MAJOLA | 30 October, 2011 01:27

Fears that President Robert Mugabe will not be able to stand in the next
elections due to worsening ill health and old age mounted this week after
the veteran ruler went back to a hospital in Singapore for the second time
in as many weeks for medical checkups.

Mugabe's frequent visits to Singapore for medical reasons have generated a
state of uncertainty and panic within his deeply divided Zanu-PF party ahead
of its annual conference in Bulawayo from December 6 - 10, where he is
expected to be endorsed as the presidential candidate for the next polls
amid infighting.

Senior Zanu-PF politburo officials expressed concern this week that Mugabe
might falter when it matters most, due to mounting health problems and old
age. He is 87.

"The president is back in Singapore again on medical grounds. He was there
as recently as two weeks ago and this shows his condition is deteriorating,"
a senior politburo official said.

"Since the beginning of the year he has been shuttling between Singapore and
Harare for medical reasons and this has created uncertainty, fear and
insecurity within the party. It's clear all is not well and that is why
there is need to address the situation at the annual conference in Bulawayo
or on some other platform."

Another senior official said Zanu-PF feared it might be forced to find a new
candidate in the middle of the polling campaign. The official said Mugabe's
health was "causing sleepless nights for us".

"Imagine a situation in which your leader of the party and presidential
election candidate falters during a campaign due to health problems . That
would be a disaster. This is one of the biggest challenges the party has had
to face in its history and something momentous has to be done to resolve the
situation," the official said.

Insiders said Zanu-PF officials and state security service chiefs were
panicking and had been holding informal meetings to discuss the situation.

Mugabe is under growing pressure to ensure that the Bulawayo conference is
transformed into a congress to elect a new party leadership before the
elections.

Mugabe this week travelled to Singapore for the eighth time this year after
he cancelled his trip to the International Telecommunications Union summit
on information communication technologies which is under way in Geneva, when
Swiss authorities refused visas to senior members of his delegation,
including his wife Grace.

He was initially expected to travel to Geneva for the summit and then to
Singapore.

Mugabe returned from Singapore only two weeks ago, claiming he was on family
business, but officials close to him insisted he had gone there for medical
treatment.

After years of controversy over what he is suffering from, it has now been
virtually confirmed that Mugabe has prostate cancer which has metastasised,
spreading to other organs of the body and creating tumours. But he has in
the past apparently consulted United Nations officials based in Harare over
other ailments.

Attempts to convince the nation that he only has eye problems have failed.
His security aides now always stick close to him to act timeously if he
falls.

Doctors have reportedly advised Mugabe to retire to avoid straining himself.


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Mugabe should strategise on relinguishing power

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

By Margaret Chinowaita, Staff Writer
Sunday, 30 October 2011 14:13

HARARE - Margaret Dongo, the former president of the Zimbabwe Union of
Democrats (Zud) said President Robert Mugabe should come up with a strategy
of relinquishing power starting with discussions on his succession at the
Zanu PF congress in December.

Speaking to the Daily News on Sunday, Dongo said: “Mugabe should come up
with a clear strategy of leaving office.

The strategy should include retirement to pave way for the young. The
problem is that the young people are not honest so he has to be very careful
on the plan.”

Dongo added that the question around Mugabe’s succession should be central
at the coming Zanu PF congress but she does not see any of the Zanu PF
stalwarts raising the question.

“I am yet to see a man-and-half who would raise the succession question.
Outside the politburo when they speak and to foreigners as we saw with
WikiLeaks, they talk against Gushungo (Mugabe) and they all want him to go
but no-one is bold enough to speak against him in his face.”

Dongo once caused an uproar in Parliament when she said all men were Mugabe’s
wives for failing to stand up and say their views in his presence.

Zanu PF stalwarts do not dare speak openly about their leader’s succession
or on issues including the decay of the economy and social services caused
by misrule.

“Gushungo (Mugabe) should have a chance of seeing his successor while he
still lives. This would enable him to evaluate the new leader and give
advice where he could,” said Dongo.

But is there a suitable successor in Zanu PF.

“Leaders are anointed by God and they can come up from anywhere. You might
find one or nobody in Zanu PF because politicians have different ways of
conducting themselves. Every leader has his style. How the nation views the
individuals would determine their popularity.”

Dongo said leaders are groomed within a political party but this was lacking
in Zanu PF.

She said the succession debate has been stalled in the ruling party and this
has led to lack of grooming of a successor.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo was recently quoted in one weekly
newspaper saying the succession debate is a preserve of the politburo adding
that the subject could be raised by those who are courageous.

Mugabe allowed a little debate on his succession but quickly extinguished
the discussion as this had caused divisions in Zanu PF.

In 2003, a Zanu PF succession committee headed by Vice President John Nkomo
was disbanded after it fuelled in-fighting over who was the most suitable
candidate to take over from Mugabe.

Press reports say in May 2009, the politburo set up another succession
committee chaired by Nkomo and comprising Emmerson Mnangagwa, the late
Retired army commander General Solomon Mujuru, Oppah Muchinguri, Sydney
Sekeramayi and Didymus Mutasa.

This committee never took off and was dissolved last year without any
seatings to its credit.

Some senior party officials said free debate on succession was impossible
due to fear of retribution.

The issue of Dzikamai Mavhaire quickly comes to the fore. He was expelled
from the party after daring to say Mugabe must go.


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Tired Mugabe wants out: Tsvangirai

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

30/10/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai claimed on Sunday that President Robert
Mugabe told him he is tired and wants to step down from office.

According to the privately-owned Standard newspaper, Tsvangirai told
supporters at a rally in Binga that the 87-year-old President was ready to
quit but officials in his Zanu-PF party were blocking his retirement.

“On Monday during our meeting, Mugabe said he is now tired and wants to quit
and rest but he said elements in Zanu PF do not want him to step down,”
Tsvangirai told villagers who attended the Binga meeting.

“He (Mugabe) said further, there are divisions (in Zanu PF) and if he goes
now the party will collapse.”

Tsvangirai’s claims follow unconfirmed reports that Mugabe last week
travelled back to Singapore for a medical check-up, which would be his
eighth visit to the country since January.

Mugabe – who has led the country since independence in 1980 and his party
for much longer -- is Zanu PF’s candidate for elections expected to be held
next year.

But senior party officials are said to be restive amid reports the President’s
health continues to deteriorate following claims he is battling advanced
prostate cancer.

Zanu PF will hold its annual conference in Bulawayo between December 6 and
10 and finalise preparations for the polls which Mugabe insists must be held
early next year to replace the coalition government.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai told supporters in Binga the MDC-T would not allow a
repeat of the 2008 electoral debacle when, in his view,  “the people’s will
was not respected”.

“The MDC will not allow a similar affair as that of 2008 where the people’s
will was not respected. We shall defend your vote and ensure that your vote
means something,” he told supporters.
The MDC-T also claimed that police had blocked another rally by Tsvangirai
at Lupane.

“35 police officers all in riot gear and guns besieged the venue at St Paul’s
and disrupted proceedings. The officers ordered the women who were preparing
food to evacuate the place and dismissed 968 members who were already at the
venue,” the party said in statement.

“Police also blocked President Tsvangirai’s tour of St Paul’s Mission
Hospital.”


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Bob's 'disgraceful legacy'

http://www.timeslive.co.za

Sapa-dpa | 30 October, 2011 01:27

Zimbabweans know October as "suicide month" - when the blazing sun drains
everyone's mood. Earlier this week, thermometers hit 36°C - the hottest for
any October on record.

In the townships of the capital, Harare, long lines mostly of women, with
20-litre plastic containers on their heads shuffle wearily for their turn at
the well. It was the ninth day without water for most of the city.

It has meant business for those who have dug back-yard wells, and sell
20litres for a US dollar.

Those waiting in queues are exhausted and frustrated, their tempers frayed.
Last week police reported that a man was stabbed in the forehead in a fight
over a place in a queue in Glen Norah township.

During the 2008/9 summer rains, over 4000 people died in one of Africa's
worst cholera outbreaks, most of them in Harare. The primary source was the
township's hand-dug wells, which are usually unprotected and into which
contaminated water flows from burst sewers.

"It needs one case and it could set off a huge chain reaction again," said
Plaxedes Makoni, a nurse at a municipal clinic.

Nine days is one of the less serious breakdowns Harare has suffered. Earlier
this year, there was a three-week shutdown at the pump station. While people
in the townships queued, people in the better-off suburbs drew water from
their swimming pools and filtered it for drinking.

The city council says the city of three million needs 1400megalitres daily,
but the best it can do is 650megalitres - less than half. Lake Chivero, the
sole major dam serving Harare, has thousands of litres of raw effluent
pumped into it daily from the city's sewage farm.

"Twenty years ago, the Ministry of Water Affairs produced plans for a new
supply source, the Kunzvi dam," said Ger Christiaens, an engineer working
for a city pride organisation.

At the time, the ministry warned the government of Presi-dent Robert Mugabe
that the city's population was increasing exponentially and new water
resources were urgently needed.

"They did nothing," Christiaens said. "What we have is a water system in a
critical state. If anything happens with Lake Chivero, it affects the whole
city."

Observers say under Mugabe's rule, the same happened with the electricity
utility, the railways, the road network, the health and education systems,
and the entire economy.

"The rot began as soon as he was threatened by a viable democratic
opposition in 2000 and sacrificed everything to stay in power," said a
Western diplomat. Now 87 and reportedly ailing, Mugabe is in a coalition
government, his own party showing signs of fracturing.

"It will take any new government decades to sort out," she said.

"Power cuts, water shortages, the threat of cholera, they're an integral
part of the foreseeable future. It's a disgraceful legacy."


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PM, Mugabe collide

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Thelma Chikwanha, Community Affairs Editor
Sunday, 30 October 2011 12:30

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will this week confront President
Robert Mugabe over the partisan manner in which police have been disrupting
his government business and rallies, as tensions in the loose coalition
government intensify.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe are set for showdown talks during their meeting
tomorrow if Mugabe manages to come home today from Singapore, where he has
reportedly gone for medical checks.

Armed riot police attempted to stop Tsvangirai’s tour of St Pauls Hospital
in Lupane yesterday and later dispersed crowds who had gathered for a rally
he was to address.

The MDC leader was said to have been seething with anger after the police
barricaded the entrance to the hospital with chains to prevent the tour from
taking place.

Tsvangirai confronted police after they chased away staff at the hospital
leaving patients unattended.

According to eye witnesses, the police officers, some who were reportedly
singing Mugabe praise songs, dispersed the crowd that had turned up in their
numbers by instilling fear and intimidation.

Police had tried to bar Tsvangirai’s tour of the region but the MDC
successfully challenged the ban in courts.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai was
supposed to address a rally after the tour but the plans had to be shelved
after armed police descended on innocent citizens.

He said Tsvangirai has been left with no option except to confront Mugabe
over the issue which might also attract the attention of Sadc which is
closely monitoring events in Zimbabwe. Zanu PF thugs have also been on a
crusade causing violence in most parts of the country.

Said Tamborinyoka in a statement: “Armed riot police today attempted to
disrupt Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s tour of Matabeleland North when
they locked up a hospital, dispersed nursing staff and threw away food meant
for villagers who wanted to attend a rally in Lupane.

“PM Tsvangirai later confronted the senior police officer at the scene and
told them to respect the rule of law and allow Zimbabweans to exercise their
basic freedoms of assembly, movement and association.

“The drama started when three truckloads of police officers heavily armed
with guns, teargas, canisters, and batons chased away staff and locked up
the gate at St Paul’s Clinic where the Prime Minister wanted to assess the
dire situation at the health centre.”

According to Tamborinyoka, the clinic staff wanted the PM to assess the
critical situation at the health institution which services more than 18 000
villagers but has no mortuary, no doctor and no maternity ward.

“The armed police further went to a nearby venue where the Prime Minister
was later scheduled to address a rally.

They violently dispersed the crowd that included elderly men and women who
had come to interact with the PM.

“They overturned pots of food and threatened to shoot donkeys that had
ferried some of the elderly to the rally. When the PM arrived at his
scheduled time, the police had already violently chased everyone from the
venue of the rally and ordered nursing staff and patients out of the
clinic."

“He (Tsvangirai) said he would discuss the deplorable conduct by the police
with the co-ministers of Home Affairs and the President,” reads part of the
statement."

When contacted for comment over the matter, police spokesperson for
Matabeleland North Trust Ndlovu said he was not aware of anything.

“I am not in there right now, I do not know what is happening there,” Ndlovu
said.

Tamborinyoka condemned police for being partisan.

“The police were behaving in a partisan manner. It is a poisoned environment
ahead of the elections and the Prime Minister is taking the matter seriously
and he will definitely raise it with the President,” Tamborinyoka added on.

The Daily News on Sunday also heard how the officers threw away meat that
had been prepared for invited guests on the muddy ground in their efforts to
disperse the crowd.

“Old women who had travelled using scotch carts were turned away hungry and
can you imagine they watched as police threw the meat away. Where are we
going, it seems like we are slowly turning into a police state,”
Tamborinyoka said.

Sadc has repeatedly castigated Mugabe for selective application of the law
in which police treat MDC members and human rights fighters as second rate
citizens.


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Respect People’s Rights: Tsvangirai Tells Police Officers

http://www.radiovop.com

Nompumelelo Moyo, Victoria Falls, October 30, 2011- Prime Minister, Morgan
Tsvangirai has told the police at St Paul’s in Lupane to shun the culture of
impunity and to respect people’s rights.

Tsvangirai confronted the senior police officers and told them to respect
the rule of law and allow Zimbabweans to exercise their basic freedoms of
assembly, movement and association.

Speaking to Radio VOP in Victoria Falls Tsvangirai said he would discuss the
deplorable conduct by the police with the co-ministers of Home Affairs and
the President.
“The riot police closed St Paul’ Hospital and ordered the nurses to go home,
they further went to disrupt a rally were l was scheduled to address the
community at St Paul’s Business Centre,” said Tsvangirai.

He said that he is touring government projects in Matabeleland North
province and St Paul’s was one of the hospitals in his artillery.

St Paul’s Hospital services more than 18 000 villagers but has no mortuary,
no doctor and no maternity ward.

The drama started when three truck loads of 21 police officers heavily armed
with guns, teargas, canisters and batons chased away staff and locked up
gates at St Paul’s Hospital were the Prime Minister wanted to assess the
dire situation at the health centre.

The law enforcement agents further went to St Paul’s Business Centre where
the Prime Minister was later scheduled to address a rally. They violently
dispersed the crowd, overturned pots of food and threatened to shoot donkeys
that had ferried some of the elderly to the rally.

This week, MDC-T has run battles with the police over their banned rallies
and the Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khuphe describe their banned
rallies as absurd and uncalled for.


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Mass arrests of MDC activists in Matebeleland

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

The attacks on MDC supporters in Matabeleland North, which began with the
visit by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week, have continued this
week, with widespread arrests.
30.10.1112:59pm
by Staff Reporter

A dozen or more people have been taken into police custody, with many being
denied their constitutional rights to be charged or released, or to have
access to a lawyer. As well as being part of the general harsh crackdown on
the MDC countrywide, the arrests in Mat North of district leaders are widely
thought to have an additional link to the clashes between Tsvangirai and Mat
North Police Commander (ProPol) Edmore Veterai, an overzealous Zanu (PF)
supporter.

The recent events began on Thursday with the arrival of Tsvangirai.

The PM had fierce run-ins with the police. Several MDC district organisers
were rounded up for hosting the MDC leader. On Saturday in Victoria Falls,
at 4 am, the MDC reports that about 15 uniformed police officers conducted a
dawn raid on the homes of Thembinkosi Sibindi, the Matabeleland North
provincial organising secretary and the Hwange West district chairperson,
Bernard Nyamambi armed with search warrants for subversive materials. Police
reportedly turned the properties upside down.

Nyamambi said: “These are efforts to frustrate the party’s programmes in
this province. As you have observed, for all our rallies to take place, we
have had to approach the courts just to get approval.”

Earlier police had tried to stamp out all of Tsvangirai's rallies despite
court orders okaying the rallies.

The Prime Minister's Office has said it was now clear to all Zimbabweans and
the world at large that there was selective application of the rule of law
in Zimbabwe. The ZRP is certainly not an impartial investigator. The police
force is clearly under the manipulation of Zanu (PF) for political gain.

On Thursday, the MDC youth chairperson for Hwange West, Innocent Ndlovu was
arrested by police in Victoria Falls on what the MDC claims were "frivolous
charges" of public nuisance. He was supposed to go to court on Friday, but
he was still held in police custody this week.

Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said the PM will adress concerns
about the appalling police conduct to President Mugabe.

"The Premier told the police to shun the culture of impunity and to respect
people’s rights," Tamborinyoka said. "He said he would discuss the
deplorable conduct by the police with the co-ministers of Home Affairs and
the President."

All that has been done so far during Tsvangirai's visit, part of a
government work program, is far from conforming with Zimbabwean law. The
PM's Office said the police and their Zanu (PF) masters seem to have
considerable difficulty in distinguishing between the application of the law
and its abuse. There has been repeated abuse of the law on criminal
procedure and the treatment of suspects.

In Lupane on Saturday police blocked Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
rally in open contempt of a court ruling overturning the ban The PM's Office
said it was concerned with increasing intimidation, harassment and unjust
arrests of MDC members in Mat North. Whereas those who have repeatedly
attacked MDC members and destroyed MDC property in the last week have been
left to roam the streets free to commit further crimes against the MDC,
innocent MDC activists were being arrested, Tamborinyoka said.

A group of provocateurs used extreme violence to attack the MDC party
headquarters in Harare last Thursday morning, leaving extensive damage to
the premises.

The group that attacked the MDC HQ in central Harare used catapults and
shouted slogans against the MDC. They destroyed windows with stones and
tried to violently enter the building. The party reports that during the
more than an hour-long assault, the police were not present.

The entire MDC leadership in Mat North is currently under attack and many of
them have gone into hiding. They have not received any semblance of
protection from what passes as our police force, the MDC said. The PM's
Office has called on the police to do their job without fear or favour.
Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done, Tamborinyoka
said.


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SA link as Gaddafi’s son ‘flees to Zim’

http://www.iol.co.za

October 30 2011 at 11:26am
By WEEKEND ARGUS REPORTERS AND AGENCIES

South African mercenaries may have helped Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s son,
Saif al-Islam, cross the Libyan border into Niger and he may be on his way
to Zimbabwe.

Gaddafi was killed 10 days ago after his convoy was hit by Nato forces in
his home town Sirte, in Libya.

Three of his sons were killed in the war.

A senior official in Libya’s National Transitional Council told the Daily
Mail that contacts from South Africa, Mali and another neighbouring country
helped to arrange the 39-year-old Al-Islam’s escape to Niger.

However, this could not be verified at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court has said Al-Islam was
negotiating to surrender for trial, while at the same time trying to secure
entry to an African nation.

Reuters reported on Saturday that ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo had said
people connected to the ICC were in contact with Al-Islam’s group, through
intermediaries.

London-educated Al-Islam, who was most likely to have succeeded his father
as the Libyan leader, along with former Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah
al-Senussi, are both the subject of ICC arrest warrants, charged with crimes
against humanity for their response to February’s uprising.

ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said: “It depends where the suspect is and
how we can get into contact with him, and what would be necessary to bring
him to The Hague. There are different scenarios.”

Al-Islam reportedly wants to hand himself over to the authorities to avoid
being captured by Libyan interim government forces, and possibly meeting the
same fate as his father.

A source with the NTC told

Reuters that Al-Islam and Al-Senussi were together and being protected by
Tuareg nomads.

Meanwhile France, a key backer of the NTC, reminded African states that they
were compelled to hand Al-Islam and Al-Senussi over.

“We don’t care whether he (Saif al-Islam) goes on foot, by plane, by boat,
by car or on a camel, the only thing that matters is that he belongs in the
ICC,” France’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.

Al-Islam may be in the company of mercenaries from elsewhere in Africa,
possibly including South Africa, NTC officials said.

There have been claims that South African mercenaries were with Gaddafi and
his son, Mot’assiem, when they were captured and that South Africans were
among those killed when Nato planes attacked Gaddafi’s convoy.

Some South Africans were reportedly killed shortly before the former Libyan
leader was killed while other South Africans were apparently wounded and
have been stranded in Libya.

Planes have reportedly been standing by at Gauteng’s Lanseria airport as
well as in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates to rescue the South Africans
as well as Al-Islam and Al-Senussi.

Moreno-Ocampo said Al-Islam was trying to reach a country that would not
hand over suspects to the ICC.

South Africa’s International Relations and Co-operation department spokesman
Clayson Monyela said last night that it was impossible to independently
verify rumours of the involvement of South Africans in attempts to get the
two men out of Libya.

“By the very nature of such illegal activities, which will never be
sanctioned by the South African government, it would be difficult, if not
impossible, to confirm such activity,” he added.

“We know he has a different option because apparently there is a group of
mercenaries willing to move him to another African country, probably
Zimbabwe,” Moreno-Ocampo was quoted as saying. - Weekend Argus


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Biti distances himself from Airbus deal

http://www.timeslive.co.za

JAMA MAJOLA | 30 October, 2011 01:27

Air Zimbabwe's alleged deal to buy two Airbus 340-500 planes from France
despite European Union (EU) targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe,
his cronies and selected companies, plunged deeper into controversy this
week when Finance Minister Tendai Biti distanced himself from it.

Biti's move will further complicate Air Zimbabwe's attempt to circumvent the
EU's restrictions to secure the planes.

Biti told the Sunday Times on Friday he was not aware Zimbabwe was buying
the Airbuses because treasury was not involved. He said government could not
afford to buy planes which would cost up to $500-million, almost a quarter
of the budget, when it was failing to adequately pay civil servants.

"The Ministry of Finance is not involved in the deal," Biti said.

"I heard this was a Zanu-PF deal that involved diamonds and shady
characters."

Details of the Air Zimbabwe deal show the airline has bought the planes
through China Sonangol, a Chinese-controlled oil company based in Angola,
which has interests in Zimbabwe. The deal involves diamonds and Sonangol was
reportedly roped in to circumvent the sanctions.

French aircraft manufacturer Eads was expected to supply the planes, through
Sonangol. The Chinese company would then advance payment to Reliance
Aerospace Solutions, an aviation consulting firm, which would transfer the
funds to Airbus.

The deal has put France, a key member of the EU, under the spotlight as it
amounts to an attempt to circumvent sanctions through China.

It is widely seen as a test of the EU's resolve to maintain restrictions on
Zimbabwe. The EU has removed measures against a few individuals and eight
state enterprises, which do not include Air Zimbabwe. The airline is still
struggling to get spares for its Boeing fleet due to sanctions.

The conflict over the sanctions and Airbus planes deal is expected to
intensify when Zimbabwe government lawyers leave next week for Brussels,
Belgium, to file a lawsuit against the EU on "illegal sanctions".

Attorney Johannes Tomana said this week government attorneys had finished
putting together their papers and were awaiting visas to Brussels, the seat
of the EU, to file an application at the General Court of the European Court
of Justice.

Senior government officials told the Sunday Times on Friday the lawsuit
would almost certainly ruin Air Zimbabwe's deal. The airline, saddled with a
debt of about $138-million, needs the planes for long-haul routes to China
and London to revive its fortunes.

Air Zimbabwe CEO Innocent Mavhunga refused to comment on the deal. Mavhunga
last week told MPs Air Zimbabwe was fast collapsing.

"Our cost of operating the business sits at about $6-million to
$7.5-million. Our income is between $2.5-million and $3.5-million," he said.

Mavhunga said the airline's debt profile was $137.7-million. Of this,
$112.7-million was owed to local creditors.


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Tsvangirai takes gay crusade on the road

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

30/10/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has taken his gay crusade to Matabeleland
North, even as he insisted that the debate over relaxing anti-homosexual
legislation was “not useful”.

The MDC-T leader touched off a storm after telling the BBC in London that a
new Zimbabwe constitution must respect gay rights.

Since then, his party has been in damage limitation mode after a fierce
backlash from many Zimbabweans who have condemned his U-turn – just a year
after he endorsed President Robert Mugabe’s attack on gays.

But despite his party’s best attempts to explain away his remarks as his
personal views and kill the debate, Tsvangirai thrust the matter back into
the top of the news agenda at a rally in Pashu, Binga, on Friday.

“I am not gay,” Tsvangirai said. “I’m not going to prosecute anyone who is
gay. I will protect their rights. I will not persecute them.”

Tsvangirai's suggestions gays are persecuted in Zimbabwe would appear to be
off the mark. Although homosexual acts are illegal in Zimbabwe, the Gays and
Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe has an office in Harare. Chesterfield
Samba, the organisation's director, said the police generally left them
alone.

Zimbabwe’s new constitution has gone to the drafters, and a referendum could
be held before the new year. Tsvangirai insists on one hand that whatever
Zimbabweans decide on gay rights, he will be guided by it, but on the other
he has become lead advocate for homosexual liberties.

“It is shocking that Zanu PF want to pursue issues which are not useful and
which do not bring bread and butter to the table,” said Tsvangirai, clearly
stung by Zanu PF criticism over his volte-face.

Some of Tsvangirai’s aides have been privately expressing their puzzlement
over his exuberance in pushing an unpopular policy and almost turning it
into an election issue.


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Cotton centre evicts 13 famlies

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

By Helen Kadirire, Staff Writer
Sunday, 30 October 2011 06:15

HARARE - Thirteen Kadoma families were evicted from the town’s Cotton
Training Centre (CTC) following a labour dispute a fortnight ago in what the
National Education Union of Zimbabwe  (Nuc) says is a violation of the
Labour Relations Act.

Nuc Zimbabwe secretary-general Headman Mangwadu said CTC acted in bad faith
by evicting its employees without notice.

In a letter to the Ministry of Labour and Social services, Mangwadu said
because the evictions were conducted illegally, the union will now directly
contest them.

“They were unfairly dismissed on January 3 and while they were contesting
the dismissal in court the employer went ahead to evict them before the
court process had finalised the case. Finalisation is only after the
superior court ruling,” Mangwadu said.

CTC chairman Duncan Kenniard could not be reached for comment; his office
said he was in South Africa while the other director was not reachable on
the mobile phone.

Most of the evicted families have been lodging outside the gate of the
centre which is situated some six kilometres out of Kadoma along the tarred
Sanyati road.

“Since the eviction we have been using a tap that is outside of the workers
compound and relieve ourselves at the bushes nearby. As for bathing we
resorted to cleaning up at night because there is no privacy for that,”
Denson Shapeta one of the evicted employees said.

The centre is the only one of its kind in Zimbabwe that offered farming
training to cotton farmers throughout the season for a fee.

Shapeta who has lived at the training centre for close to 30 years told the
Daily News on Sunday that household property was scattered everywhere
following their eviction by the messenger of court on October 14, 2011.

“Last year the EU told our employer that they will be withdrawing funding at
the centre but did not give reasons as to why they were doing so.

As a result CTC said that they could no longer sustain the workers and had
to resort to yearly contracts for employees and we agreed as they told us
that it would be most beneficial especially to those who had served a longer
time at the centre,” Shapeta said.

Shapeta was employed as a senior training officer.

He said employees were told to take advantage of the contract service by the
centre’s director Afios Mseva.

He said that during a meeting Mseva informed them that their chairman Duncan
Kenniard had been contemplating abandoning the centre after finding out
about the EU situation.

“It was all a lie from the beginning as we later realised that Mseva was
acting as a front for Kenniard” Shapeta said.

Another evicted CTC employee Christopher Matiya said that they took the
benefits on condition that they were to be put on the yearly contracts and
stay at the centre’s houses, however, the company did not honour their
promises.


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Chinamasa: You are wrong about the ICC

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

Is Minister Chinamasa suggesting that African leaders who commit massive
crimes should not be punished and that African victims do not merit justice?
28.10.1107:58am
by STEPHEN LAMONY & BRIGITTE SUHR

Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, stated in the
Zimbabwe Mail that Zimbabwe rejects the notion of ratifying the Rome
Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, because he
believes that the Court is biased against some regions—Africa in this
case—and leaves others untouched. This not a new argument, but it continues
to be difficult to understand.

The ICC was established in 2002 with the goal of ending impunity for the
worst crimes known to humankind: crimes against humanity war crimes and
genocide. African states played a key role in the 1998 Rome Conference which
culminated in the adoption of the treaty.

They did not want a repetition of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda or of the
other grave crimes committed in Africa and other regions around the world
throughout the 20th century. That commitment—shared by the 119 states that
so far have joined the Court—to ending impunity wherever it may be is why
African states have remained active participants at the ICC.

The 119 ICC state parties include the strong, the weak, the rich, the poor,
the big and the small. Each state that has joined is making a commitment to
fight against the commission of grave international crimes and to ensure
their investigation and prosecution should they occur.

It is true that all of the ICC’s seven current investigations—Central
African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya,
Darfur (Sudan), and Uganda—are taking place in Africa. But it is equally
true that some of the worst crimes in the world are being committed on
African soil and African victims are calling out for justice whether by the
Courts of their land or by the ICC.

By focusing on the perpetrators, is Minister Chinamasa suggesting that
Africans who commit these massive crimes should not be punished and that
African victims do not merit justice?

If this is his suggestion then it defeats the purpose of Article 4(h) of the
constitutive act of the African Union which explicitly rejects impunity for
crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide and further defeats the
objectives of the African states who met in Rome in 1998 to make that
historic contribution to the principle of accountability in establishing the
ICC.

It must also be highlighted that the ICC is undertaking preliminary
examinations in Colombia, Afghanistan, Georgia, Honduras, Guinea, Nigeria
and the Republic of Korea and is analyzing whether it has jurisdiction over
the Palestinian territories. A close assessment of how the ICC came to open
its first seven investigations makes it clear that they all came in part
through recommendation of states themselves and in part through the
recommendation of the UN Security Council.

The OTP used its power to self-initiate an investigation twice: in Kenya and
Ivory Coast. Far from being biased against Africa, the Court has shown
itself to be on the side of victims of violent conflict in Africa. It is
working toward a future in which all parts of the world, Africa included,
can thrive with societies based on justice and the rule of law, rather than
being mired in conflict and impunity.

The Coalition for the ICC, the organization that we represent, is made of
likeminded civil society organizations around the world (800 strong in
Africa) who have come together to support the idea that justice can and
should be done for grave crimes. We advocate for all states to join the ICC
and to keep strong their commitments to justice.

Minister Chinamasa may not support the notion of Zimbabwe joining the
growing majority of states in Africa (33 out of 55) and around the world in
rejecting the idea of impunity and signing up to the ICC. But we are
patient. We look forward to the day when Zimbabwe’s leaders will have
changed enough so that they no longer fear justice. Minister Chinamasa, the
citizens of Zimbabwe are waiting.

Stephen Lamony is the Situations Adviser & Outreach Liaison for
Africa and Brigitte Suhr is the Director of Regional Programs at the
Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a global network of 2,500
civil society organizations in 150 countries advocating for a fair,
effective and independent International Criminal Court.


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Forced to follow a leader who’s going the wrong way

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

I have the feeling of a man who knows that he is being forced to follow a
leader who is going the wrong way. It is that feeling of being a follower
who knows that at some stage, he will have to go all the way back to the
starting point in order to find the right way.
28.10.1107:22am
by DAVID MUTORI

There is something about the government of Zimbabwe’s ideology that is out
of sync with reality. Someone seems to be bent of fighting wars of
yesteryear and refuses to accept today's reality. As a result we have such
discord that Zimbabweans do not know whether they are being led into the
future or dragged into the past. Sadly, our president will never be the best
judge in a case where he is a respondent – he will keep pulling the country
the wrong way

On one hand the country has signed up to many international bodies such as
SADC, the AU and the UN. Membership of these organisations is purportedly to
enhance the status of the country but in some ways it is an acceptance of
the reality of today. It is an acceptance of the fact that the world has
become one huge market place – the global village. We are in age where one
can consume products from the ends of the earth.

When goods and products cross borders at the click of a mouse, the
old-school quasi-Marxist closed state suffers a severe cold. Mobile
technology means that the telephone exchange staffed with secret agents to
listen into our private conversations is directly challenged.
Globalisation

Growth in globalisation in the past few decades has brought with it great
governance challenges for the old-school nation state. The pace of change
means that nations like Zimbabwe that have not been able to adapt to keep
pace with the changes have a major dilemma - they are seeking to manage a
political environment that no longer exists.

The global village has moved on leaving the Zanu (PF) element of government
behind. Some of the so-called comrades in the inner circle know this and
they have mentally left the president on his own in the dark ages trying to
fight against today's global reality using sovereignty as a weapon.

Globalisation has challenged Zanu (PF)’s political strategies such as
shutting the borders, brutalising journalists, media black outs and
revolutionary jingles. The population has alternatives. We use the internet,
we have satellite dishes and therefore do not have to watch your jingles.
Denial of reality

The government's denial of reality has led to an estimated 35% of the
population leaving to explore opportunities in the global village. The
nation state of yesteryear is an endangered species. Even the president and
his inner circle emotionally accept the global integration reality, they
send their children abroad for education and seek medical attention abroad.
They now accept that they have to ask SADC for permission to hold elections
in `my Zimbabwe'!

Seeking absolute power where economic and social realities dictate otherwise
is ill advised. The recent aggressive form of nationalism shows that they
have no strategy to deal with reality - they will use the same old tried and
tested tactics of unleashing waves of violence onto the population at the
next election

The people of Zimbabwe have long since decided that globalisation is here to
stay. As a nation we should seek to influence it as players in the field
rather than armchair supporters. Our great nation has a unique selling
point, the global village will maintain an interest in us. We need to
position ourselves so that we can get the best value out the resources that
we can produce.

We are being coerced into following an ideology that belongs to the last
century.

But one this is certain - Zimbabwe will go global. We may take backwards
steps while Zanu (PF) still clings to power, but we will make huge strides
once we have a government in place that shares the reality with its
citizens.


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Religion and Politics Should Not Mix

http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/archives/7077

October 30th, 2011

There has been much news in the press about the Anglican church, and it is a
undoubtedly a nightmare, but I am getting more and more concerned and
outraged over the direction being taken by ZanuPf in their move to use
Apostolic church gatherings as venues for political rallies.

One of the more infamous and vocal supporters of the Mugabe regime, Nzira,
was released on a Presidential pardon early this year, having sat only seven
years of twenty year sentence for seven counts of rape and one count of
assault.  This type of abuse is rife in the Apostolic Church and instead of
deploring such behaviour, Zanu rewards the sect’s criminals for their
support of the party.

Despite Zanu’s lip service to women’s rights they turn a blind eye on the
sect’s attitude to women and the abuse suffered by its female members. The
system is characterized by a patriarchal dictatorship and does not allow
women to challenge authority, with any calls for female empowerment
silenced.

Apostolic women are forced into polygamous marriages at a tender age. The
girl child is often forced into marriage with older men in the church, and
they are left with no option but to drop out of school.  Once a girl reaches
puberty they are considered to be ready for marriage and often married to
men who are older than their fathers, possibly as the fourth or even the
fifth wife.  Imagine the trauma that these young girls are going through as
well as the risks of diseases such as  HIV and AIDS.

What I also find abhorrent and archaic is that many people from these
churches

refuse to go to hospitals to seek medical attention as they believe that it
is unholy.  I hear many stories of Apostolics dying because of this.  Last
year there was

an international outcry when hundreds of children died from measles because
the parents were not willing to have the children immunized.  Expectant
mothers also suffer as they are forced to deliver at home and when
complications occur, they and their infants die.

Fortunately a fairly new Non governmental organization, called Union for
Development of the Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe Africa,(UDACIZA) has just
initiated a outreach program for the members of the apostolic sect to
educate them on the importance of human rights, and health issues.  In
addition, the United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has also indicated that
it was going to research and establish best ways of engaging members of the
apostolic sect in health education.

Political party interfere and support for dangerous religious practices is a
clear indication of their refusal to support basic and fundamental human
rights and also shows how desperate they are to force the population of
Zimbabwe to vote for them.

Tapestries of Hope Video - Betty and two girls rescued by GCN are talking
about the apostolic church, a powerful and private religion of Zimbabwe.

This entry was posted by Beven Takunda on Sunday, October 30th, 2011 at 1:41
pm


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‘Awesome Semantic Redolence’ – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 29th October 2011

Reports from the International Criminal Court that Gaddafi’s son and designated successor Saif Al-Islam was considering refuge in Zimbabwe shows what a pariah country we have become. Zimbabwe has, of course, not signed the worldwide agreement to send indicted people to face trial at the ICC in the Hague. Saif no doubt thinks he can join the Ethiopian mass murderer Mengistu living it up in Harare and try to get his hands on the $200 billion looted by his father (see: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-kadafi-money-20111022,0,5740812.story – As Libya takes stock, Moammar Kadafi's hidden riches astound).

 

Zimbabwe now has a well-deserved reputation as a lawless state and our leaders are treated with the exasperated contempt reserved for bombastic no-hopers. The Vigil was delighted by the Swiss refusal to grant visas to Grace and others in the bloated shopping expedition to Geneva masquerading as attendance at the UN telecommunications summit – a delegation of more than 60 to a meeting at which no other country would send more than a couple of technocrats (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/oct27_2011.html#Z1 – Officials denied visas, Mugabe cancels UN trip).

 

The depth of corruption in Zimbabwe is reflected in a parliamentary motion submitted by Eddie Cross MP calling for the nationalization of the Marange diamond deposits, which he says are the biggest diamond find in the past century. Mr Cross accuses the Mines Minister of understating the diamond yield by billions of dollars. He says the money is going to ‘unknown political and military figures in Zimbabwe’ when it could transform the state coffers (see: E Cross: Presentation to Parliament on Marange – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/oct28_2011.html#Z18).

 

The Vigil believes the ‘unknown political and military figures’ Mr Cross speaks of are determined to undermine any move towards democracy and accountability so that they can hold on to their loot. Their use of criminal gangs of deluded, drugged and drunken youths such as Chipangano to wreak havoc on request leaves no room for doubt.

 

The Vigil holds South Africa responsible for this situation – as indeed does Morgan Tsvangirai in his recently-published book. The Vigil appeals to President Zuma to take action against these gangsters. Otherwise he will face the consequences – not least the contamination evidenced by the lunatic demonstration by ANC Youth leader Malema and his supporters outside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange demanding the takeover of white-owned farms – all the while singing the banned racist song ‘Shoot the Boer’. We note from photographs that they were wearing pro-Gaddafi t-shirts! (see: http://zimdiaspora-gaddafishirts.notlong.com – Shock as ANC Youth display pro-Gaddafi T-shirts).

           

But the Vigil is encouraged by the attitude of the South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela who has complained that Mugabe’s treatment of South African farmers in Zimbabwe violates the bilateral investment agreement. Mugabe’s spokesman on the Herald Nathaniel Manheru said the Ambassador’s reproach revealed ‘awesome semantic redolence’. Whatever that is the Vigil wants more of it (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/oct29a_2011.html#Z9 – SA envoy breaks mould on invasions).

 

Other points

·         Our condolences to long-time supporter Geraldine Takundwa whose sister died this week.  The Vigil made a collection for her and several supporters went to visit her after the Vigil.

·         We prayed for our supporter Shamiso Kofi who is still in detention. She tells us that two Zimbabweans from Yarl’s Wood detention centre were deported back to Harare this week.

·         The first UK branch of the Zimbabwe We Can movement has been set up in Woking at a meeting held on Saturday 29th October.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 72 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·         The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·         ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·         The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

·         Zimbabwe We Can Movement Public Meeting. Saturday 5th November in Wolverhampton. Venue and date to be finalised – check: http://www.zimbabwewecan.org/izevents/?izc-event-id=6.

·         ROHR Manchester Meetings. Saturday 12th November (committee meeting from 11 am – 1 pm, general meeting from 2 – 5 pm). Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Road, Manchester M13 9UB. Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future meetings:  10th December. Same times / venue.

·         ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 26th November from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353. Future demonstration: 31st December. Same time and venue.

·         Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

·         Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

·         ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to ngwenyasr@yahoo.co.uk and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.

 

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.

 


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Statement by Mr. E G Cross

Statement by Mr. E G Cross

 

Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South Constituency

 

30th October 2011

 

On the 25th of October I tabled a motion in the House of Assembly, calling for the diamond mines at Marange to be nationalised. In my subsequent presentation to the House I detailed the background to the situation prevailing at Marange, the geological basis of the discovery and previously unknown production and sales figures. The conclusions reached were that production and sales in 2010 were in excess of US$4 billion and that the State had been prejudiced of USD2,7 billion dollars in the process.

 

In the subsequent debate Members did not question the basic facts and some colleagues provided additional information. This revealed widespread human rights abuse and the actual names of some beneficiaries.

Following the debate, the Motion was put to the House on the 27th of October at 16.00 hrs and adopted. Following this development and immediately after the House was stood down, I was approached by a Member from Zanu PF who said to me “we will investigate and come after you”. I assumed that was a threat.

In the following three days I have had several threats and warnings, but today, Sunday the 30th of October, I left Harare to return to Bulawayo to attend to my Constituency affairs after an absence of two weeks on Party and Parliament business. My wife and I drove out of Harare at 04.30 hrs and proceeded to Umvuma Town in the Midlands.

We stopped just outside the Town to have breakfast at 07.00 hrs and a car, an unmarked, rather battered Sedan, Registration number ABL 7794 passed and turned into the same location where we were having breakfast. Three men and a woman got out of the vehicle and approached us. The woman greeted me by name and walked past to the toilets nearby, one of the men carrying a beer bottle and very much under the influence, came to the vehicle and spoke to my wife who handed him two newspapers and a copy of the MDC news letter Changing Times. This is our standard practice in small rural centers like Umvuma.

 

He then walked to where the others were standing and handed them the front page of Newsday dated the 28th of October in which my presentation to Parliament was shown on the front page of the paper. He read the article and pointed it out to his colleagues. With the rest of the papers in hand he returned to the motor vehicle and spoke directly to me for the first time.

 

He stated in the hearing of my wife that “he was from the CIO, the Presidents Office in Harare and that I was being monitored”. His language became more abusive and threatening and my wife asked him not to use such language. He ignored her and then told me that he came from (the name of a very senior Zanu PF Minister) and that he could do anything he wanted to me including to “snipe” me, at any time. I took that to be a direct threat to shoot me from a hidden location.

 

At no stage were we abusive ourselves or even angry. Certainly we exhibited no sign of fear at these remarks. I asked him for his name and force number and he duly gave it to me claiming that his name was Nyoni and his force number was 329741X. I asked him where his home was (Kumusha) and he replied Mwenezi District.

 

At this time my wife suddenly realized that we were being threatened and I became concerned that we might be detained. I also thought that in his present state the CIO officer was unpredictable and difficult to manage. I showed him my Parliamentary ID and he said that he knew who I was. He then asked my wife to explain why she was handing out newspapers and “this” he said, pointing to the Changing Times. She responded that we did that all the time and he said that this was illegal. He then turned back to me and said, “Zimbabwe is black and born in blood”, and repeated his threat to “snipe” me. I was polite to him and said that we were leaving.

 

They regrouped at a nearby lorry and we reversed and proceeded to drive to Bulawayo. We had no further incidents on the rest of the way.

I have no doubt that this was a direct death threat by the CIO and that the operation was authorized and ordered at the highest level. The information about Marange was and is extremely sensitive and politically explosive. However, given the situation in Zimbabwe I remain convinced that it is of vital national importance to get these resources under proper control and working for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. These threats will not deflect us from that goal.



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