By Violet Gonda
19 April 2010
The four activists from the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA),
who were arrested in Harare last week, spent the Independence Day
celebrations in police custody for protesting against the poor service
delivery by the country's power utility, ZESA.
The pressure group said the harassment of human rights defenders continues
unchecked under the government of national unity and makes a mockery of the
The four are Clara Manjengwa, Celina Madukani and WOZA leaders Jenni
Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu.
WOZA spokesperson Annie Sibanda told SW Radio Africa on Monday the police
had tried to force the four women to pay admission of guilt fines - which
they refused to do as no offence had been committed - and 'as punishment
they were left in custody over the long weekend'.
Sibanda said they are yet to be formally charged but hopes the four will
appear in court on Tuesday, after the public holiday in Zimbabwe. She said
the detainees are in good spirits but the conditions in the police cells are
filthy and of course, they have no electricity.
The group also said in a statement: "Detention in appalling conditions is
the reality for human rights defenders in Zimbabwe. 30 years of independence
from colonial rule is an achievement worthy of commemoration. How much
sweeter would it have been if the party that helped to liberate the people
of Zimbabwe was now not actively involved in their oppression? It is time
that the promises of the liberation war be delivered to the people of
Scores of protesters including residents of Harare took to the streets last
Thursday against poor electricity service and high tariffs by the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority. Riot police broke up the gathering that had
taken place at the ZESA headquarters.
At least 65 people were initially detained, after most of the group handed
themselves in, in solidarity with their leaders who had been arrested. But
they were released on the same day, except for the four who remain in police
The WOZA spokesperson said the protests to ZESA in Harare and Bulawayo were
to serve the power utility with 'yellow cards' - a warning to the supplier
to improve the system or WOZA will mobilize a nationwide boycott of the ZESA
Zimbabweans are frustrated with the shambolic billing system, exorbitant
high tariffs and extremely poor service delivery by the electricity
By Alex Bell
19 April 2010
The South African government is yet to make any move to condemn the invasion
of a game ranch in Zimbabwe, protected by a bilateral investment protection
agreement signed by the two countries last year.
A lodge on Denlynian Game Ranch, which lies just 46 km from the South
African border, was invaded by eight men last Wednesday, who then gave the
owners of the farm up until Thursday night to vacate the property. The chief
game guard on Denlynian Game Ranch was later forced by invaders to leave the
ranch and take refuge nearby. A truck then arrived at the ranch and the
occupants began stealing items of value from the lodge.
Last Wednesday night the ranch owners son, Arthur Ferguson, was arrested in
front on his young children at their home next door to the ranch. He spent a
night behind bars at Beitbridge police station without charge before being
released on Thursday. Ferguson, a horticulturalist on Benfer Citrus Estate,
has still not been charged, although the President of the Commercial Farmers
Union (CFU) Deon Theron, said on Monday that it is likely he'll face charges
for "refusing to leave the property." The citrus estate is owned by Ian
Ferguson, who built up Denlynian Game Ranch into a prized tourism
Since the owners are South African citizens, both properties are protected
by a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed
by South Africa and Zimbabwe on November 27 last year. That BIPPA was
recently ratified in Zimbabwe's parliament, making it enforceable and
binding both countries to respect it. The Zimbabwe government's refusal to
respect it is not surprising, given the many numbers of BIPPAs that have
already been ignored in order to seize profitable land. But there is growing
anger over South Africa's silence.
"We've appealed to the South Africa authorities in Zimbabwe and they've said
they will write letters, but publicly that government won't condemn what is
happening," the CFU's Theron said on Monday. He added: "It is very
concerning because it is setting a precedent that this kind of thing can
happen in spite of a BIPPA, and neither government will do anything to stop
The BIPPA meanwhile was lauded as key to unlocking millions of rands worth
of investment from South Africa. Theron said the open defiance of this BIPPA
is a critical threat to investment relations with South Africa, which is
Zimbabwe's main trading partner.
There is still no proof to claims that co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi
is involved in the Denlynian ranch invasion, although ZANU PF's involvement
is confirmed. Ferguson's lawyer has said that ZANU PF vehicles were seen on
the property, where widespread looting has been taking place since last
Denlynian's owners and their employees have been subjected to ongoing
harassment. In February, the police were instructed by the National Land
Inspectorate to prosecute the son of one of the owners, although there was
no official case against him. And then in March, a young guard on the
property was arrested without warning and placed in custody. He was
subsequently taken to the public prosecutor, who admitted there was no legal
reason to prosecute, and he was finally released a few days later.
By Lance Guma
19 April 2010
Police are still refusing to investigate allegations of corruption leveled
against local government Minister Ignatius Chombo and businessman Philip
Chiyangwa, in a major scandal that saw them illegally acquire council land.
A report compiled by a committee of Harare City councilors exposed how the
two, with help from two council employees, illegally grabbed vast tracts of
prime land from the city on the cheap, without following proper procedures.
Despite Harare's acting Mayor Charity Bango reporting the matter to police
last week Monday, police are still to record a statement 7 days later. Bango
said the police are dragging their feet and keep referring her from one
officer to another. The delay is in stark contrast to the swift mass arrest
of councilors who compiled the report after Chiyangwa lodged a complaint of
'criminal defamation' after several newspapers had picked up on the scandal.
Journalists Stanley Gama, Jennifer Dube, Feluna Nleya and Vincent Kahiya
were also detained on Chiyangwa's orders.
Newsreel spoke to Warship Dumba the councilor who chaired the investigation.
He told us 'these allegations are not coming from our heads. They have to do
with things contained in council files. The issues which are criminal have
been referred to the police while others will be dealt with in-house.' He
confirmed that all the councillors arrested last week will be reporting to
the police station or court on Tuesday to answer the charges from Chiyangwa.
The mayor and councilors have refused to be intimidated and are pressing
ahead with plans to put Chombo and Chiyangwa in the dock. Last week Thursday
Bango wrote a letter of complaint to the officer in charge of the criminal
investigations department, asking him to intervene. Developments so far
suggest police have been given instructions from the top hierarchy in ZANU
PF not to do anything. Chiyangwa is Mugabe's nephew while Chombo is a key
minister from Mugabe's home area of Zvimba.
Meanwhile in a sign of their determination, the Harare City council is
reported to be pushing ahead with plans to repossess land in the plush
Borrowdale area, irregularly acquired by Chombo and Chiyangwa. They also
want senior council employees Psychology Chiwanga, the director of urban
planning services, and Cosmas Zvikaramba, the finance director, arrested for
conniving with Chiyangwa and Chombo in the illegal land deals.
When BBC reporter Sue Lloyd-Roberts recently produced a piece on the
economic progress made by Zimbabwe's coalition government, ZANU PF was eager
for her to speak to Chiyangwa, holding him up as a success story of black
empowerment. The latest revelations show how the system works. A syndicate
of connected crooks line their pockets, by plundering state or council
resources with absolute impunity, and the police and everyone else is
powerless to do anything about it.
Masvingo, April 19, 2010 - Zanu (PF) heavgweight and Higher and Tertiary
Education Minister, Stan Mudenge, has succumbed to pressure from boisterous
war veterans and abandoned his Chikore farm, south of Masvingo.
The liberation fighters had been camping on the farm for sometime, demanding
that the minister co-exists with at least 50 families.
Mudenge, has since given in to the war veterans and packed his bags from the
farm which he grabbed with the help of war veterans from its previous white
owner, Tim Buncan.
Sources revealed to Radio VOP how Mudenge, was forced to bow in to pressure
from the combative war veterans led by the self-proclaimed Masvingo
provincial chariman, the goat-bearded Isaaih Muzenda, who spearheaded the
siege on the minister's farm.
The Minister is believed to have agreed to pack his bags and allow at least
50 families from Chraumbira communal lands on condition that he is allocated
A triumphant Muzenda, charged that war veterans would continue to deal with
greedy politicians who wanted to take advantage of the masses.
''To us its a great victory that he has agreed to move out of the farm
because he wanted to use the people and dump them and we said no.There were
two options, either to co-exist with the families or to leave the farm, and
he was too proud and chose to leave the farm. To us it's a victory for the
people because we have always wanted to have a one man one farm
He added that war veterans would continue invading farms where some powerful
politicians were using their political muscle to elbow out the people.
''The land is for the common people not the poweful elite, we will continue
to show our power and might to greedy politicians wqho want to grab
everything while the majority suffer,''he added.
Asked for a comment Masvingo provincial governor Titus Maluleke, who chairs
the provincial lands committee that allocates land, said:
' 'Go and talk to the war veterans who claim they have forced the
Minister(Mudenge) out of his farm. If they are your source why are you
asking me? Just write what you want,''said Maluleke before switching off his
Mudenge ran down Chikore farm after grabbing it from Buncan who ran a
successful flower-grwoing venture under greenhouse. After the take-over by
Mudenge the greenhouse was razed down to the ground due to neglect.
Monday, 19 April 2010 14:54
Staff Reporter in Harare
Jamaican Reggae superstar and new Mugabe praise singer Sizzla Kalonji has
been offered a farm in Mashonaland West province in exchange of doing Zanu
PF public relations worldwide, Zimdiaspora can reveal.
Sources at the ministry of lands and resettlement told Zimdiaspora that
Sizzla who is currently in Zimbabwe and is on the run from Jamaican
authorities for gun related and robbery cases in Kingston is preparing to
set base in Zimbabwe after he was offered a farm.
"We have been instructed by our bosses to locate an appropriate white owned
farm, preferably in Chegutu, for compulsory acquisition. Sizzla will then be
reallocated the farm and already efforts are being made to mobilise tractors
and other equipment for him," said the Lands official.
He said Media, Information and Publicity Minister, Webster Shamu who claims
to be a patron of musicians in Zimbabwe, is leading the campaign to have
Sizzla allocated a farm in a prime agricultural area in the country.
The official said Zanu PF is allocating a farm to Sizzla so that the
Jamaican star would do international public relations for the former ruling
party whose fortunes are fast waning following its drubbing at the March
2008 harmonised elections by the Movement for Democratic Change.
"Sizzla has not been paid for the performances he has done in Zimbabwe and
allocation of a farm to him is part of Zanu PF's way of settling what it
owes the Reggae star," he said.
Sizzla is in the country to perform at various 30th Independence anniversary
celebrations and indications are that he will not be returning to his native
Jamaica where he is under investigation for several violent crimes which
include armed robbery and murder. The Jamaican star also recently performed
at Mugabe's 85th birthday celebrations and since then Sizzla has become a
praise singer for the ageing dictator.
Written by ITAI MABASA AND TONY SAXON
Monday, 19 April 2010 07:22
CHIWESHE AND NYANGA - Villagers in Chiweshe are being beaten by Zanu (PF)
militia for wearing anything red while those in Nyanga are living in fear
as torture bases remain firmly in place in the two areas.
In Chiweshe in Mashonaland east, villagers are being victimised for putting
on red, which is the official colour of the main Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) faction led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The Zanu (PF)
party is allegedly using the infamous Green Bombers in the name of youth
officers to identify MDC supporters and new faces in the areas,
interrogating them before torturing them at their bases. MDC supporters, who
spoke to The Zimbabwean, said they were now living in fear as the 2008
replica of violence appeared to have resurfaced.
"We will see a replica of the 2008 violence this year as Zanu (PF) youth
officers are re- introducing the violent strategies they used. These include
identifying MDC supporters and trying to isolate them from the rest of the
community and instil fear. "We have seen a number of MDC supporters being
summoned to the bases for putting on the MDC regalia or anything red," said
a villager. About 12 MDC supporters died at Chaona in Chiweshe after being
tortured during the 2008 violence. The Chiweshe violence report comes amid
widespread reports that the violent revolutionary party has re-engaged its
violent tactics countrywide in a bid to force the electorate to forcibly
accept the Zanu (PF) favoured Kariba Draft, as the constitution of Zimbabwe.
The same situation is prevailing in Nyanga north where villagers are also
living in perpetual fear. MDC-T Nyanga North legislator, who is also
Parliament's constitution select committee co-chair, Douglas Mwonzora,
confirmed the establishment of terror bases in his constituency. "I have
personally seen the militia bases in my constituency and have told the
police to dismantle them," Mwonzora told The Zimbabwean. The Kariba Draft
constitution was agreed to by the three principals in the inclusive
government, namely President Robert Mugabe of Zanu (PF), Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara of the two MDC factions. The Zanu (PF) party, however,
is urging its supporters to endorse the draft as it is, while the two MDCs
want people to add their views to make it a truly representative document.
"As the parliament constitution select committee co-chair, I am worried by
these sad developments in the country. We are saying people's opinions
should not be manipulated at this crucial process, " said Mwonzora. An MDC-T
councilor David Sanhewe added: "We are aware that some youths are already
being sponsored by Zanu (PF) to terrorise villagers. They are trying to
manipulate the people not to freely contribute to this democratic process."
"It's like we are approaching an election again," said the councillor.
"There is a base near Kazozo Primary School where some youths are camping
while soldiers who were urging villagers to adopt the Kariba Draft
constitution are still in the area."
Masvingo, April 19, 2010 - Chivi-Mwenezi Senator and Masvingo provincial
governor, Josiah Hungwe, was heckled by followers of Johane Masowe Apostolic
sect on Sunday afternoon when he tried to convert their church service in to
a political rally.
The church members were meeting at their traditional Maranyanga worshiping
camp- about 20 kilometers out of Masvingo town.
Hungwe, who registered his intension to be part of the Apostolic sect last
weekend, pleaded to have time to share some message but 'abused' the
opportunity and started to campaign for his Zanu (PF) party.
"We thought he was genuine when he said he had something burning that he
wanted to share with us but unfortunately he started to tell us that we must
vote for Zanu (PF) because it's a party from God," said Elder Raphel
"He started to attack other political parties saying they have evil
intensions of reversing what was gained 30 years ago."
Maponda said followers started to heckle the embattled sanator before Elders
of the church intervened and asked the governor to stop.
"We had no option, we stood up and told him to sit down. However, instead of
observing orders, he did not wait for us to finish the service, he just
drove off," said the Elder.
Hungwe, however, denied the incident.
"My message was well received, they liked it. I was never booed. I did not
stay longer because I was tired," he said. Hungwe said he was tired because
of his earlier involvement with the Independence celebrations in the city.
But church followers said they will never allow him to preach to them about
By Alex Bell
19 April 2010
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has urged civil society organisations to drop
plans for protests against the arrival of the North Korean football team
next month, saying 'politics' should not be mixed with sport.
Government officials revealed earlier this month that North Korea had agreed
to set up camp in Zimbabwe in late May, ahead of the June football World Cup
in South Africa. The Koreans are also scheduled to play a series of friendly
matches against Zimbabwe teams in both Harare and Bulawayo. But the
scheduled presence of a team under the dictatorship of President Kim Jong Il
has seen an angry response from civil society, because of North Korea's role
in training the notorious Fifth Brigade responsible for the Gukurahundi
Activists and civil society groups have warned this month that places like
Bulwayo's Barbourfields Stadium will be a "centre of resistance" should the
North Korean team venture into the region, where some 20,000 civilians were
killed by the Fifth Brigade in the 1980s. The Robert Mugabe loyal army unit
was trained by North Korean experts, before being deployed in the
Matabeleland and Midlands regions by Mugabe, who accused the Zimbabwe People's
Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) of planning an insurgency against his
Civil society groups have condemned the move to host the North Korean team
as "an insult" to both the dead and the survivors of the ethnic-cleaning
Gukurahundi 'exercise', which saw the exclusively Shona Fifth Brigade
massacre mainly Ndebele civilians. The opposition group ZAPU, whose
supporters from the Ndebele minority in the region were the main victims of
the Fifth Brigade, has said it is "anxious" to know the real motive behind
the invitation of the North Korean national soccer team. Methuseli Moyo,
ZAPU's spokesman, said: "Should the authorities decide to go ahead with
their plan (to allow North Korea to visit), no one should blame the people
if they decide to demonstrate their feelings in any way they may choose to."
Effie Ncube, an activist with the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda
in Bulawayo, said last week that more than 30 church and civil society
organisations concerned with human rights issues have begun mobilising
against the invitation by Zimbabwe's tourism minister. Ncube is quoted by
South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper as saying that protests have been
planned during the North Korean team's stay in Zimbabwe and as well as at
all their matches during the tournament in South Africa. Ncube said the
protests would go ahead if the lobbying of political parties and the
"We've had no response from government yet. But we don't expect them to
respond, especially on the issue of Gukurahundi, which nobody is allowed to
really speak about," said Ncube, loosely referring to the recent forced
closure of an art exhibition in Bulawayo about the Gukurahundi killings.
Tourism minister Mzembi meanwhile was quoted this weekend as appealing to
the rights groups not to mix politics with sport and to allow national
healing to take place.
"Sport must remain the bridge for people-to-people contact, probably the
only bridge that has remained standing even when nation states are in a
state of fall-out," he said.
"I wouldn't want to make this a political issue. It's purely a sports
issue." He said he had extended invitations to the major teams in the World
Cup, including Brazil, England and the United States, but North Korea was
the only team that had responded.
by Own Correspondent Monday 19 April 2010
HARARE - A coalition of Zimbabwean election observers says the country needs
an effective violence early warning system to avoid a recurrence of bloody
clashes that accompanied disputed presidential polls two years ago.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) said political tension was
simmering in parts of the country, particularly in rural areas which have
been declared no-go areas for civic organisations and members of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T party.
It said Mashonaland Central province was particularly volatile, with "some
political parties" barred from conducting meetings while people are
forbidden from reading independent newspapers in the province's Mbire
"ZESN observers in Mashonaland Central have noted that while there is a
sense of calm in the environment, there are underlying tensions that are
simmering, hence the need to have effective violence early warning systems,"
the coalition said in a report released at the weekend.
Human rights groups have reported the resurgence of political violence in
rural areas controlled by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party.
ZANU PF youth militias and so-called war veterans have reportedly set up
torture camps where they harass MDC-T supporters.
Reports of simmering tension raise fears of a repeat of the 2008 deadly
clashes that saw more than 200 MDC-T supporters murdered by ZANU PF militias
ahead and after the disputed presidential run-off controversially won by
Tsvangirai, who had won the first round elections held in March of that
year, withdrew from the run-off poll after accusing Mugabe of unleashing the
army and ZANU PF party militia to beat, torture and murder his supporters.
However, ZANU PF denied the charges and alleged that MDC-T supporters were
the ones behind the campaign of political violence.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a unity government last year after protracted
power-sharing talks but the union has been shaky, marred more by tensions
over how to equally share power.
The two leaders have on different occasions called for a fresh vote in 2011,
saying this is the only way to resolve the dispute.
At his party's congress in December, Mugabe told supporters to be prepared
for a vote he said was imminent.
Tsvangirai also said in February that an election should be held next year
because the parties had reached a deadlock in power-sharing talks.
But ordinary Zimbabweans say they are, for now, more worried about
government restoring the economy, creation of jobs and food security than a
vote that could tear the fragile country further.
Zimbabwe's economy grew for the first time last year but is not yet creating
jobs for a country with unprecedented unemployment and hopes that the unity
government would improve social services have been dashed by the
administration's failure to win financial support from Western donors who
insist on more democratic reforms before they can loosen the purse
strings. - ZimOnline
Harare - A visitor to Zimbabwe some four years a-go, would have mistakenly
thought the country was hosting the World Cup games to be held in South
Africa between June and July.
Such was the euphoria that the tourism industry was ready to welcome several
teams that would camp in Zimbabwe and visitors who were expected to commute
from Zimbabwe to watch the games.
It was a dream-come true.
However, with Zimbabwe’s political bickering going on and failure to raise
much needed financial assistance to re-build Zimbabwe’s shattered economy,
it has recently dawned on most Zimbabweans that the hope of attracting teams
or visitors for the World Cup is just but a pipe dream.
Zimbabwe had hoped England and Brazil teams would camp in Zimbabwe and fly
to South Africa only for matches.
There were even plans of building stadia in Bulawayo, Mutare and Beitbridge.
Such was the obsession with the World Cup that when hoteliers rejected, as
unsustainable a proposal by FIFA to reserve 80 percent of the rooms stock in
Victoria Falls without immediate payment for the showcase, they were branded
It was envisaged that an endorsement by FIFA would help in the branding of
Zimbabwe as a destination.
An inter-ministerial taskforce, with 19 cabinet members, was set up to look
at the spill over that could be derived from the soccer showcase.
The committee was formed to oversee the Sports Tourism and Image
Communication Taskforce (STIC), an all encompassing body that recommended on
areas that needed improvements for the country to be a good host.
So far only the North Korean team has expressed an interest in camping in
the country for training. Even then, there has been an up-roar, especially
from Matabeleland, where some political activists are protesting against the
team’s plans to camp in Zimbabwe. They are saying the team’s presence in
Zimbabwe will bring back bad memories of the Gukurahundi era, which saw
thousands of innocent people in Matabeleland massacred by the North Korean
trained 5th Brigade army, on the orders of President Robert Mugabe.
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi, said the country
was expecting to get US$200 million from the World Cup through a third of
the visitors to the showcase.
Local football fans may also be disappointed to learn that the much-talked
about fan parks, that are being planned by the government in selected parts
of the country, to enable people to watch the games, may fail to be
Many fans had welcomed the idea, as it was going to give an opportunity to
most people in the country who do not own television sets, to watch the
But government has warned that the idea contravenes broadcasting laws of the
country. The state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), which
enjoys radio and television transmission monopoly, is said to have written a
letter to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) warning them of the fan
parks. The letter, written through Media, Information and Publicity
secretary, George Charamba, warned of dire consequences for establishing
mini broadcasting stations in the fan parks.
Charamba said he had told the ZTA’s CEO that ZBC was a player in
broadcasting not a referee.
Football fans are now worried that this project may fail to see the light of
“We have been talking, talking let’s make things happen. We need things to
start moving,” said a prospective fan park operator.
In addition, the fan parks require a change in municipal by-laws so that
recreation zones are identified, a process which may drag.
Government has pledged US2 million for the importation of equipment for
rural public view areas.
“We are in active discussion with Chinese companies to see if they can do an
emergency airlifting of the equipment because it has to be manufactured
before 20 May, that’s our deadline,” said Mzembi.
Government, Mzembi said, had extended its begging bowl to South Africa to
assist the country in connecting it to the event. Government in February
asked for R60 million from South Africa to help set up public viewing areas
across the country.
“It is very difficult for us at the fiscal level to justify any substantive
expenditure on World Cup 2010 because we have other bigger priorities day to
day that we are chasing,” said Mzembi.
There had been concern that South Africa was monopolizing the US$ 1 billion
it was given by FIFA to prepare for the event but Mzembi said the criticism
Shingi Munyeza, African Sun Limited CEO, told analysts in January that there
had been so much talk and less action on the World Cup in South Africa and
without proper planning the event could turn out to be just a sporting
rather than a tourism event.
According to FIFA’s rotational system, the next World Cup would next be held
on African soil in 2034.
By Tichaona Sibanda
19 April 2010
The Independence Day celebrations were, once again, attended mostly by those
keen to watch the soccer match put on for their entertainment.
Speaking at the occasion Robert Mugabe ‘appealed’ for an end to political
violence. An appeal that rang very hollow, as disturbing photos went around
the world, showing tiny children taking part in the public displays, dressed
in full camouflage and wielding fake automatic weapons.
Mugabe has always had a knack for being able to confuse the world by using
rhetoric that appeals to the occasion or the time.
Keen to have the targeted sanctions on him and his ruling elite lifted he
used the 30th anniversary of independence to sound reasonable and tolerant;
‘The leadership of the inclusive government urges you to desist from any
acts of violence that will cause harm to others and become a blight on our
‘As Zimbabweans, we need to foster an environment of tolerance and treating
each other with dignity and respect, irrespective of age, gender, race,
ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation,’ Mugabe said.
Simon Muchemwa, our Harare correspondent who attended the celebrations, told
us; ‘Many people will take his appeal with a pinch of salt because he has
said this before while his party has never stopped its violent tendencies,
especially towards election time. Cases of political violence are on the
rise in Muzarabani, Buhera, Epworth and Masvingo where huts have been
torched and MDC activists beaten up and displaced.’
Observers have noted that Mugabe has on many occasions urged his party to
shun violence. But one day he can be speaking peace and the very next day
threatening violence against any opposition.
It is well documented that the majority of the political violence is
committed by ZANU PF and what people really want to hear is Mugabe calling
on his own party to stop the violence.
In an interview with the British Guardian newspaper MDC spokesman Nelson
Chamisa also remained cautious about Mugabe’s call for peace.
‘When dealing with politicians, the best thing is to not just read the words
but read the actions. As much as the statement is meant to paint optimism,
it's just half the journey. The full journey is to be completed when we see
positive action so the perpetrators of violence are dealt with and we see
the state being the real custodian of peace and stability in the country,’
Political violence and brutal human rights abuses continue in Zimbabwe and
were at their worst during the 2008 elections. A military campaign led by
senior officers in the army, aided by the CIO and ZANU PF militias, resulted
in a dramatic increase in violence against MDC activists. Hundreds were
slaughtered, tens of thousands badly tortured and an estimated half a
million were internally displaced in the three months between the March 29th
vote and the June 27th runoff election.
Impunity, already endemic, was further entrenched with the appointment of
Johannes Tomana as the Attorney-General, who regularly declared his
allegiance to ZANU PF and Mugabe.
Although the extent of the violence has lessened, the MDC are still under
threat – as is anyone perceived as an opponent to ZANU PF – ‘irrespective of
age, gender, race, ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation.’
Apr 18, 2010 11:03 PM | By The Editor, The Times Newspaper
The Times Editorial: For the first time since the formation of that
country's unity government, Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe appealed to
his followers to end politically and racially driven violence.
"The leadership of the inclusive government urges you to desist from any
acts of violence that will cause harm to others and become a blight to our
"As Zimbabweans, we need to foster an environment of tolerance and treating
each other with dignity and respect irrespective of age, gender, race,
ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation," Mugabe said during a
rally to celebrate Zimbabwe's 30 years of independence.
It was a significant appeal from a head of state whose 30-year-rule is
largely due to the use of violent force against political opponents.
It would be folly, however, for the world to naively believe that the
remarks herald a new era of non-violence in Zimbabwean politics.
The troubled country, which is now run by a unity government that came about
as a result of a political deal brokered by South Africa, is scheduled to
have national elections some time next year.
It is usually in the period running up to election day that the world
witnesses a spike in political attacks against Mugabe's opponents.
It is for this reason that, despite Mugabe's latest pronouncement, South
Africa and the rest of the world should be more vigilant.
As facilitator in the talks between Mugabe and his rival, prime minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, President Jacob Zuma's government should insist that the
ongoing negotiations include agreements on how peace is going to be enforced
and promoted between now and election day. Only under peaceful conditions
can the democratic will of that country's citizens be truly realised.
BILL WATCH SPECIAL
[19th April 2010]
Parliamentary Committee Activities during Recess
Most portfolio and thematic committees have suspended operations to allow members to play their part in the Constitution Select Committee’s outreach programme, meaning that normal committee activity will not resume until after the Houses resume sitting in June. This position may be reviewed if the commencement of the outreach programme is delayed much longer.
There is, however, some committee activity taking place and persons wishing to make submissions to the three portfolio committees mentioned below can still do so during the recess [see below for further information on how to get submissions to committees].
Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to Visit Chiadzwa
The Mines and Energy Portfolio Committee will meet on Tuesday 20th April to chart the way forward on its investigation into the Government’s arrangements for the exploitation of the Chiadzwa diamond field. After being turned back when it tried to visit Chiadzwa some weeks ago, the committee has tentatively scheduled another visit for 21st and 22nd April [including a possible public hearing for residents of the area] and has asked the co-Ministers of Home Affairs for clearance for this visit. The Minister of Mines has passed the issue of clearance to Home Affairs because the diamond field is a protected area under the Protected Places and Areas Act, and this Act comes under Home Affairs. As a large ministerial delegation headed by Vice- President Nkomo visited the area last week, it is difficult to believe that the Parliamentary committee will be denied access again. The committee will eventually produce a report on its investigation and this report will be tabled in the House of Assembly. The committee is still open to written submissions.
POSA Amendment Bill
The Second Reading debate on the POSA Amendment Bill commenced on 18th March, just before the House of Assembly adjourned until the 30th June. After contributions by the private member introducing the Bill, Hon. Gonese, and his seconder, a member of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs presented the committee's report on the Bill [electronic version of report available on request]. The report details the views expressed by civil society organisations and members of the public at the several public hearings on the Bill that were held around the country and sets out in full a new clause put forward by Veritas.
“Where one or more police officers use force in order to disperse a gathering or to prevent disorder at a gathering, the police officer or the senior police officer concerned, as the case may be, shall without delay, and in any event within four days thereafter, prepare a written report detailing−
(a) the circumstances in which the force was used; and
(b) the nature of the force that was used; and
(c) the identity of the police officers who used the force; and
(d) any deaths, injuries or loss of or damage to property resulting from the use of force;
and shall cause copies of the report to be forwarded without delay to the Minister and to the convenor of the gathering”.
It is not too late for interested organisations and members of the public to send in written submissions on the Bill; these will be circulated to members of the committee, and members who have not yet contributed to the Second Reading debate will have an opportunity to make use of helpful submissions during the continuation of the debate after the House resumes.
Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion: Indigenisation Regulations
This committee has not yet concluded its consideration of the Indigenisation Regulations. It hopes to hold further public hearings in Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland in addition to the well-attended meetings already held in Bulawayo and Harare. So it is not too late for interested organisations and members of the public to send in written submissions on the regulations for the information of the committee.
Getting Submissions to the Relevant Committee
Submissions can be:
· sent by post to The Clerk of Parliament [clearly marked for the attention of the relevant portfolio committee], P.O. Box CY298, Causeway, Harare, or
· delivered to Parliament, using the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue entrance, between Second and Third Streets.
New Arrangements for E-Mail Submissions
As a result of enquiries from people round Zimbabwe and in the Diaspora who are unable to post or deliver submissions in time to reach Parliamentary committees while they are holding hearings on various matter of public interest, Veritas has approached Parliament and Parliament has agreed that e-mail submissions will be accepted. They should be sent to the Clerk of Parliament [email@example.com] and clearly marked for the attention of the relevant Parliamentary Committee; the Clerk will ensure that they are passed on to the committee in question.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.