By Alex Bell
23 April 2012
Zimbabwe’s government is set to face some tough discussions with a
delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is set to
arrive in the country for talks next month.
The IMF team is expected in Zimbabwe to assess the country’s economic
situation with it’s overall debt said to be more than US$9 billion. The IMF
delegation is set to evaluate how Zimbabwe is abiding by its agreements
towards paying off its debts, as part of its Article IV consultations, which
will also see the global financial lender attempting to assess Zimbabwe’s
The IMF visit comes at a time when Zimbabwe’s economic growth is said to be
once again slowing down, amid concerns about local, controversial
indigenisation policies and ongoing political turmoil. Analysts have warned
that these issues are adding to already low investor confidence, in turn
making unemployment a major economic downfall.
Analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW Radio Africa on Monday that there will be
“very difficult discussions” at the upcoming IMF talks, particularly
because, at face value, the country is in a better state than it was.
“The IMF will say: ‘we know you are generating income from diamonds, we know
the economy is growing slightly, how come you’re unable to meet your debt
obligations?’” Mhlanga said.
He said these and other sticky issues, like government inefficiency, low
civil servants wages and tax leakages will likely be tackled by the IMF.
On more controversial issues like the ZANU PF led indigenisation drive and
the political stalemate in the country, Mhlanga said these issues will also
likely be raised. On indigenisation, Mhlanga explained that the IMF “will
probably accept it is a law of the country, by they will advise about how it
should be implemented.”
Meanwhile, on the political front, Mhlanga explained that the IMF will take
a non-interfering, advisory approach.
“The IMF will say: ‘you (Zimbabwe) need to get your house in order, because
the whole big picture of your politics will determine you economic future,’”
He added: “The IMF won’t interfere on the country’s politics, but they will
say: ‘Get it right’.”
Written by Pindai Dube
Monday, 23 April 2012 12:35
BULAWAYO - Corruption and political interference in the distribution of a
government grain loan scheme meant for the poor has left starving villagers
in parts of Matabeleland and Midlands provinces reeling.
Deputy Agriculture minister Seiso Moyo said cases of villagers going hungry
because grain meant for them is hijacked by corrupt officials along the
distribution chain are rising.
Human rights organisations such as the Zimbabwe Peace Project have also
reported cases of politicising food distribution, with supporters of
President Robert Mugabe benefitting most.
Moyo admitted to the Daily News that his ministry had received reports of
such cases, adding the practice is illegal.
The Grain Marketing Board (GMB), a failed parastatal, is in charge of the
distribution of the grain loan scheme.
“GMB has been rocked by corruption in the past months and this has adversely
affected vulnerable people who should benefit from the scheme. Midlands and
Matabeleland are examples where villagers have failed to access grain under
the scheme,” said Moyo.
Households, especially in rural areas, facing food problems because of last
agricultural season’s failure are supposed to be the primary beneficiaries.
GMB has been hit by serious corruption allegations of late, with company
officials being arrested or fired at some of its branches.
Moyo said part of the solution lay in intended beneficiaries blowing the
whistle on corrupt activities.
“What I want to say to those people failing to access grain from GMB under
the grain loan scheme is that they should report this to our ministry
officials, councillors, MPs and to members of the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic),” said Moyo.
Jomic is a cross party organ formed to monitor the performance of the
three-year-old fragile coalition government.
“We want everybody who failed to get a good harvest this year to receive
grain under this government programme. Also, the maize should not be
distributed along political party lines,” said Moyo.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appointed Moyo to the post after coalition
partner Mugabe refused to allow his first choice, Roy Bennett to work in
According to a crop assessment done by government, close to a third of the
staple maize planted on 1 600 000 hectares are a write off because of poor
rains and inadequate resources.
United Nations agency World Food Programme, whose intervention has saved
Zimbabwe from mass starvation over the past decade, says more than one
million people are in need of food aid.
Zimbabwe has struggled with massive food shortages since 2000 when Mugabe
began mass seizures of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks, most
of whom lacked resources and expertise.
Zimbabwe tuned 32 this week still frozen in a transition which seems
interminable . Peta Thornycroft looks at where the country is now.
So Robert Mugabe was talking peace again on independence day, which has
become, over the last couple of years of the inclusive government, a regular
part of his prepared speeches at national events.
Can anyone believe that Mugabe was sincere, particularly as he fails to
acknowledge that the overwhelming violence he was talking about over the
last decade was committed by his supporters, organised by some of his
closest aides, and that without violence he would not have survived as
Did he mean Zanu PF must stop killing, beating, maiming Movement for
Democratic Change supporters when he said: “We have done wrong to our
people” through violence “and fighting among ourselves….”?
Is he going to send messages to Zanu PF’s rural engine, its district
coordinating committees and tell them what he told a packed stadium in
Harare on Wednesday: “All fights, all struggles that were violent should not
be allowed…We organise ourselves on the basis of freedom of choice,
belonging to a party of choice and freely voting for the party of choice."
If he knows what he and his colleagues did was wrong then why isn’t the
partisan police, controlled by his loyalists, rounding up the perpetrators
not only for the sake of justice but to be sure they don’t do it again.
Their names, addresses, identity numbers are known, there is a raft of
evidence against them, even photographs, to help detectives nail them.
Only a handful of Zanu PF members have been found guilty of violence in the
last decade, but where are prosecutions of those who killed about 300,
seriously injured about 500, and displaced tens of thousands in 2008, after
Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential poll?
A few more prosecutions might stop another round of violence at elections,
probably next March, not his words from the national podium which are more
about getting air time on the BBC World Service than admonition to a
relatively small core of leg breakers on Zanu PF’s election time payroll.
Maybe his independence day words about freedom of association if delivered
to rural areas about 100 km north east of Harare would stop Zanu PF
loyalists from moving around the area counting and noting names etc., of
voters in their huts, as was in process about four weeks ago when
Independent Newspapers was there.
It was around this area, dotted by small, shabby growth points and peasant
agriculture, that the first round of violence began in April 2008 when Zanu
PF realised Mugabe was easily beaten in the first round of the presidential
poll by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai a few days earlier.
Results were deliberately delayed by the then Independent Electoral
Commission, headed up by Zanu PF loyalist, Judge George Chiweshe.
He gave Zanu PF the time it needed to get the violence, threats and terror
going to ensure that Mugabe won the run off by teaching the anti Mugabe
voters in the first round a lesson: do not to go to the polls in the second
round or vote properly this time.
To ensure the lesson was learned Zanu PF not only killed some, but also
looted their pans, pots, fertiliser, harvest, and trashed some houses in
It got so bad that Tsvangirai had no alternative but to pull out of the run
off in June 2008, which Mugabe, as the only candidate won, but it was a
hollow victory as for the first time Africa didn’t acknowledge his
presidency, and, with empty supermarket shelves, and no money to pay the
army, the old man had to get into the inclusive government.
Part of the deal he signed up to for the inclusive government was an end to
Slowly over the last year, he has been talking that talk, and the violence
has reduced substantially and the number of spiteful prosecutions and
partisan bail conditions by the Zanu PF attorney-general Johannes Tomana
have reduced as well.
Mugabe says he wants an election this year. Well, he said that last year
too. The new constitution, which he agreed must be in place before new
polls, and it has made progress with intense negotiations, but it is not
quite in place yet and it has to be put to a referendum when it is finally
agreed. And also be submitted to parliament which will take a month or two.
That constitution, insiders say, will not be as liberal as South Africa’s,
by a long shot, but will be a whole lot better than the present one as it
will reduce presidential powers, and put in place more democratic ways of
appointing security chiefs.
And of course, it will limit presidential terms of office, which really
doesn’t affect Mugabe as he is barely fit enough to rule now, let alone keep
going for another term.
So, some suggest his latest peace talk is about moving towards achieving
amnesties for Zanu PF perpetrators since 2000, as well as security of tenure
for himself to avoid another exhausting election- even as he keeps up his
public demand for elections this year as a rhetorical smokescreen..
For, notwithstanding his criticism of the inclusive government, it has kept
him in just about as much power and comfort as he had before. And he must be
haunted about whether he can win another election without violence which the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) which is ultimately in charge
of this transition, says it will not tolerate.
So, some observers believe that far from rushing to elections, he is
actually manouevering for the inclusive government to be extended when it
reaches the end of its constitutional shelf life in March next year. That
will keep him at the top, as usual, talking peace as he goes, and give him a
bit of time to shore up his shattered legacy via western aid managed by key
It would also take pressure off him, for the moment, about the vexing
question of a successor.
The succession battle inside Zanu PF has the potential to upset Zimbabwe’s
fragile reconstruction from the financial tsunami ZabyPF inflicted on it
Just about everyone in Zanu PF either wants Mugabe's job or wants his or her
friend or ally to get it.
Mugabe sets an example they all would like to emulate. He had not a stick of
furniture when he took over in 1980 and whether he retires from office, or
dies in office, he is a wealthy man with unlimited access to funds from the
treasury for medical treatment abroad, to finance his “acquired” farming
estate, his mansion in Harare and another home in Asia.
He and a few of his top aides, mostly in the security sector, live rather
like Britain’s Edwardians, unable even to brush dandruff from their jackets
without a valet.
So it is also comforting for some of his most disreputable allies in the
security sector in particular to keep him there.
And perhaps the constitutional amendment which would be required to extend
the life of the inclusive government beyond next March would also give Prime
Minister Tsvangirai a bit more power.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 April 2012
Many schools in Zimbabwe will be hiking their fees again as of the next
term, adding to the burden of most families who are already struggling to
pay for their children’s education. Reports said some schools will be
backdating the increases and demanding the difference from the last term.
When the 2012 school year started in January, many students failed to return
to school because both public and private institutions had raised their fees
by an average of 40%. Teachers were also demanding an increase in salaries,
with government claiming there was no money.
In January, government boarding schools increased their fees by $25 to $395
a term and while private boarding school fees went up to $585. Fees for day
students increased by $20 to $180 per term.
Just four months later, fees are being hiked again. The increases range from
a minimum of $50 at Borrowdale Primary School, which will charge $250 per
term, to over $100 more at Marondera High, which will be charging $570 per
The school system was de-centralised last year, with government
relinquishing power and responsibility for school fees to the provinces.
Oswald Madziva of the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
explained that this has brought a new set of problems which are “side
effects” of decentralisation.
“The economic environment has remained relatively stable and the drivers of
school fees, which are textbooks, have not gone up much in price. So we
wonder what is motivating these increases,” Madziva told SW Radio Africa on
Madziva said one problem is that members of the School Development
Committees, who are elected by parents, do not pay fees at those schools and
feel no burden. They therefore recommend increases to the parents at “stage
managed” general meetings.
“Another driving force is that we have executives whose descendants’ fees
are paid for by their relative companies as part of their packages. So these
people invest everything to influence parents. So the poor suffer in the
process,” Madziva said.
At independence Zimbabwe had one of the most highly rated school systems in
the world, producing quality students who competed and excelled at the top
universities. This system has deteriorated since independence and Zimbabwean
officials are often strongly criticised for sending their children to school
outside the country.
23 April 2012
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is engaged to be married, leaving behind the drama of last year’s rumours that he had married another woman in a traditional ceremony.
This time discussions on the ground are focusing on the background of his fiancée, Harare businesswoman Elizabeth Macheka, whose father Joseph Macheka is a member of ZANU PF’s central committee. Macheka is also former Mayor of Chitungwiza and a controversial figure in his own right.
Many Zimbabweans have expressed concern that Tsvangirai is marrying someone with strong ties to ZANU PF, the party that has brutalised thousands of his supporters and continues to fight against key reforms agreed to by the coalition partners.
Some observers said the marriage may impact on the nation should Tsvangirai become President of Zimbabwe after the next election. They expressed concern over whether his wife’s loyalties lay with him and the MDC-T or her father and ZANU PF.
Surprisingly the state media has been silent on the development. Last year they spearheaded a media blitz which claimed the Prime Minister had married Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo and paid the first installment of the traditional “bride fee”.
A series of dramatic stories followed in the state mouthpiece The Herald newspaper and on ZBC television, playing out scenarios that had Locadia camping out at the home of Tsvangirai’s mother after allegedly being rejected.
A traditional chief loyal to ZANU PF then got involved, raising suspicions that the whole affair had been set up to undermine Tsvangirai, who is Robert Mugabe’s main rival and a threat to ZANU PF in parliament.
Tsvangirai was married to his first wife Susan for about thirty years before her death in a suspicious car accident in 2009. The 35 year old Elizabeth’s first husband, who was an airforce commander, also died in a car crash in 2002. The couple is said to have celebrated with an engagement party last Friday night.
Written by Kaleen Gombera and Annie Mpalume
Monday, 23 April 2012 12:38
HARARE - It was all affection as Elizabeth Macheka began public life as
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s fiancée.
Elizabeth was introduced as Tsvangirai’s fiancée to guests attending the
graduation party of close aide Jameson Timba’s daughter, Vimbayi last
Clad in a swanky blue outfit, she looked elegant as she sat next to her man.
The two constantly whispered, leaving Elizabeth in blushes.
Tsvangirai announced his engagement to Elizabeth at a private function last
People on the street have not quite met her, but they told the Daily News in
snap interviews yesterday that settling down could be good for Tsvangirai,
who was fast gaining the reputation of a playboy.
Nelson Viya, a Harare-based businessperson said it was overdue for
Tsvangirai to settle down, considering his position both in government and
in his MDC party.
“It is a good thing because it shows some decency. He has been reported in
the media to have a number of women and so it is good that he is now
settling down,” said Viya.
Airtime vendor Munyaradzi Musvipa said Tsvangirai should have settled down a
long time ago as it helps build his political profile as a caring husband
“Staying single is a disadvantage to his political life. I think he has done
himself justice. I would like to congratulate him,” Musvipa said.
Another vendor who identified herself Lucy said while she sympathised with
Locadia Karimatsenga, who was turned down by the premier last year, it was
important for Tsvangirai to have a wife and disassociate his name with
“As a woman, I think he was very unfair to Locadia. But because I am not
privy of what happened, I think this engagement is a good development,” she
Locadia was left in the wilderness after she unsuccessfully eloped to
Tsvangirai’s rural home to force marriage after claiming the premier had
impregnated her. Her family claimed Tsvangirai paid lobola, but the former
trade unionist said he had only paid compensation for making her pregnant.
Fishing in Zanu PF’s pond appears to appeal to Tsvangirai, who has suffered
harassment, including beatings, verbal abuse and imprisonment at the hands
of the same party since forming his MDC in 1999.
Locadia was sister to Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi Biata Nyamupinga.
Elizabeth is daughter to senior Zanu PF politician and former mayor of
Chitungwiza Joseph Macheka.
She is also the former wife of the late Air Force of Zimbabwe wing commander
Mabasa Simba Guma, who died in a car accident along the Harare-Bulawayo road
Ironically, Tsvangirai also lost his first wife Susan in a tragic road
accident in 2009, a month after the formation of his coalition government
with President Robert Mugabe.
His father-in-law to be is still a beneficiary of appointments criticised by
the MDC as part of Zanu PF’s patronage system.
Two months ago, Local government minister Ignatius Chombo appointed Macheka
as a special interest councillor in Chitungwiza following the dismissal of
two Zanu PF appointed councillors on allegations of corruption.
Published: 2012/04/23 08:05:08 AM
ORGANISERS of this week’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair 2012 said there
had been a marked increase in the number of exhibitors and countries listed
Some European countries, who shunned the fair in a decade of political and
economic upheaval following President Robert Mugabe’s land seizures, will
make a return to the event in Zimbabwe’s second-biggest city, Bulawayo, from
Among other European exhibitors are Italy, Poland and Germany.
Former colonial ruler Britain, US, Australia and France did not confirm they
would be sending representatives before going to press.
Other countries that confirmed businesses and state participation include
Brazil, China and SA, as well as Namibia and Pakistan. Brazil is
participating for the first time.
SA and China — Zimbabwe’s biggest trade partners — have 35 companies between
Other foreign nations participating are: Botswana, Kenya, Indonesia, Iran,
Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
"The exhibition is likely to be outstanding in terms of quality of exhibits,
product mix and innovation by exhibitors," event GM Daniel Chigaru said.
The exhibition will see 62% of exhibitors returning while first time
exhibitors account for 38%, he said.
The highlight of the exhibition is the International Business Conference on
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is the keynote speaker. Foreign speakers will
come from SA, Brazil and Zambia.
Written by Vladimir Mzaca on April 23, 2012.
Just like journalist Aaaron Wee writes that China’s foreign policy will soon
resemble that of the United States a century ago- that of aggression in
economic and political dominance in the world, those signs are already there
for all to see in Africa, Zimbabwe in particular. This week Zimbabwe hosts
the country’s premier trade expo the Zimbabwe International Festival where
over the years the world of business would converge in the second largest
city Bulawayo to network. However, due to years of human rights abuses and
floating of democratic principles Zimbabwe was placed under trade embargo by
the European Union and the United States as a result trade between Zimbabwe
and the First World dried up. The United States, Britain, Germany to mention
a few last graced the trade expo more than a decade ago and only vowed to
return if Zimbabwe restored human rights and democracy.
This presented a chance for China to play ball with Zimbabwe with the
country’s economy virtually grinding to a halt President Mugabe and his
allies adopted the “Look East policy” for business, relief aid and political
support in a relationship where Zimbabwe with resources is the junior
partner. With the trade expo starting on 24 April China is the single
biggest exhibitor having taken up 500 square meters of space to be filled by
35 companies ranging from mining, health services, infrastructure and
engineering. China’s role at the trade fair is about selling its brand and
showing “solidarity” in doing business in Zimbabwe and Africa.
China is in control of Zimbabwe’s economy taking advantage of the
establishment’s fall out with the West. Some sections of President Mugabe’s
ZANU PF have even suggested that Zimbabwe should adopt using the Chinese
Yuan as the main currency in that regard dropping the United States dollar,
British Pound and the South African rand that have kept the country afloat
at the collapse of the country’s currency the Zimbabwean dollar.
China’s involvement in Africa has portrayed elements of capitalism
relegating socialism to a mere social structure. China has managed to
control Zimbabwe’s natural resources through backyard deals and day light
robbery on a country swimming in international debt and condemnation. Early
this month Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance Tendai Biti told University of
Zimbabwe students during a public lecture that the government sold mineral
wealth for a mere US$205 million when it could have sold it for more than
US$60 billion if things had been done properly.
The mining rights in question are in the diamond, platinum, coal and gold
industries. The Chinese control major stakes in these fields. A report by
Rapaport the international diamond industry watchdog in a damning report
revealed that China owns more than half of Zimbabwe’s diamond industry
through consortiums of business people fronting for the People’s Republic of
China. The only danger faced by China in its control of Zimbabwean resources
would be the politics of the day. China has managed to be in Zimbabwe at
this level largely because of the country’s link with Mugabe’s ZANU PF that
has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980. ZANU PF’s style
of rule and party structure borrow a lot from China in terms of ideology.
Whereas the biggest opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) lead by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai which entered the coalition
government in 2009, is seen as representing the interests of the West, in
case it wins upcoming elections China would be on its way out of Zimbabwe.
Early warnings have been voiced in neighbouring Zambia where President
Michael Sata soon after his inauguration in September 2011 threatened to get
rid of the Chinese. Just like in Zimbabwe the Chinese control the primary
industries of Zambia. China’s role in taking over Africa is like cancer at
an advanced stage that can only be watched while the cancer stricken body
suffers unless a miracle comes along.
by Staff Reporter
THE MDC-T has dismissed as “malicious and unfounded” reports the party has
been rocked by a bitter power struggle pitting secretary general, Tendai
Biti against organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa.
A report in the Sunday Mail claimed that divisions within the party came to
a head during a heated standing committee meeting where deputy national
spokesperson and Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo blasted the alleged
rivalry between Biti and Chamisa.
Khumalo allegedly said the bitter rivalry between factions aligned to the
pair was undermining the MDC-T ahead crucial elections likely to be held
this year adding MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s “management style was
(also) killing the party”.
But in a statement Monday the MDC-T dismissed the report as yet another
desperate attempt at a hatchet job by the state media on behalf of Zanu PF
adding Khumalo was not a member of the party’s national standing committee
and has never attended any of its meetings.
“We restate that there are no power struggles in the MDC … (the party)
remains one happy, united family focused on bringing real change,” the party
“We are aware that sources of these defamatory stories are not in the MDC,
but at the ministry of Media, Information and Publicity where a senior civil
servant has chosen to abandon his public service duties to devote time to
undermine the MDC.
“The MDC’s position is that these doomsday cults and authors of disorder in
Zanu PF will not stop the national project of bringing real change to the
people of Zimbabwe.”
Despite speculation that he is keen on Tsvangirai’s job, Biti was last
Thursday quite effusive in his praise of the MDC-T leader during a lecture
presented at the Atlantic Council, a think tank and public policy group
based in Washington, US.
Biti said Tsvangirai’s “connectivity with the people” was one of the reason
the MDC-T would “win (the next) election decisively”.
“… In Morgan Tsvangirai we have got a leader who is essentially the face of
the struggle, the face of change in Zimbabwe. He’s clearly the undisputed –
undisputable leader of the change struggle in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Final journey ... Mutharika's casket draped in the Malawian flag
|by Staff Reporter|
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have attended the burial of former Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika at a family mausoleum dubbed the 'Taj Mahal’.
Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, Hipikefunye Pohamba of Namibia and Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania were among the heads of state at Monday’s Catholic service in Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial capital.
President Mutharika, who died on April 5 aged 78, was buried later at his nearby Ndata Farm in a white mausoleum he had built for his first wife, Ethel, who died in 2007.
Mutharika called the mausoleum “Maphumulo wa Bata,” which means “Peaceful Rest” in the country's main language, Chichewa. But other Malawians, critical of the money he spent on his farm retreat soon after first being elected in 2004, dubbed the mausoleum the Taj Mahal after the white Marble mausoleum located in Agra, India built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Fackson Moya, 48, walked 10km to witness the last journey of the man praised for early polices that ended a devastating famine but died in office blamed for pushing one of the world's poorest nations deeper into crisis.
Mutharika was laid to rest in the white marble edifice he had built during his eight years in charge of one of the world's most impoverished nations.
Enelesi Kabichi, 56, was curious about the "big house" which was splashed on the front page of the local newspaper, the Daily Times, on Monday.
"I wanted to come and see this white building where the president will be laid to rest. This is something new in our culture that a house can be built for a dead person," she said.
The funeral will cost 242 million Malawian kwacha (about US$1.5 million), Malawi's Sunday Times reported, including 20 million kwacha for decorations and 21 million on funeral cloth handed to Malawians for free.
Mutharika had said he wanted his mausoleum to be a "national monument to be visited by Malawians as part of a national heritage".
Mussa said the mausoleum, "built like a house, has two tombs... one for the wife and one for Mutharika. The mausoleum will be a museum at the end of the day".
The late president also built a marble-and-granite mausoleum costing US$600,000 for Malawi's founding president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who died in 1997.
Grand ... The mausoleum where Mutharika was buried on Monday
White House ... Mutharika's home on his Ndata Farm in the tea-growing district of Thyolo
Mutharika came to power in 2004 as the country's third president.
He was the first to die in office and Joyce Banda, his former foe and vice president, was sworn in as the country's new leader hours after his death was officially confirmed two days later.
"President Bingu wa Mutharika taught me and all Malawians to dream, he taught us not only to dream but also to dream in colour," she said.
Alongside Mutharika's brother Peter, Chapola-Chimombo led the visiting African leaders as they paid their respects at the open casket of the former president, who was a church-going Catholic.
Peter Mutharika, the country's foreign minister, was anointed as heir-apparent for his Democratic Progressive Party in the 2014 elections when his brother was due to retire.
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 April 2012
Hundreds of Bulawayo City Council (BCC) workers decided to down tools on
Monday, in protest over the non-payment of their wages.
SW Radio Africa Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported that over
300 disgruntled council workers camped outside the council’s Revenue Hall
and vowed not to resume work until their demands were met.
The unpaid council wage bill in the City has reportedly reached over
US$700.000 which consists of four months wages and allowances.
“The Council employees said they were protesting at the difficult economic
circumstances they have been suffering for months, and decided to hold a
sit-in outside council’s Revenue Hall,” Saungweme said.
Some council operations have been paralysed as a result of the industrial
action. The workers insisted that their dues be paid before they resume
The BCC reportedly received a loan from Kingdom bank, amounting to millions
of dollars in December last year to help pay salaries for its workers, and
used some of the money for income-generating projects.
The MDC-T led city council however used US$4.5 million from the loan to
purchase luxury vehicles for departmental heads. Town clerk Middleton Nyoni
took delivery of a Range Rover while finance director Kimpton Ndimande got a
Toyota Fortuner. The director of Housing and Community Services, Isaiah
Magagula was given a Toyota Prado.
Saungweme said council has failed to repay the loan, forcing the bank to
issue summons threatening to seize property belonging to the BCC.
“Kingdom bank has indicated they want to attach Tower Block and Revenue
Hall, two of city main landmarks. The whole things is a mess now following
revelations that council decided to buy luxury vehicles instead of using the
money for priority areas like water, health and service delivery,” Saungweme
By Alex Bell
23 April 2012
An award winning foreign photojournalist arrested in Beitbridge a week ago
is said to still be locked up, despite reports from the state media that he
had been released.
New Zealand born Robin Hammond was arrested last week Monday in the border
town, along with Zimbabwean national Bertha Chiguvare after being allegedly
found taking photographs for a story on the irregular migration of
Zimbabweans to South Africa. The pair was accused of not having proper
accreditation, allegedly after entering the country on the grounds that they
were on holiday.
According to the NewsDay newspaper, Hammond has been fined US$150 for
allegedly contravening sections of the Protected Areas and Places and
Immigration Acts. The paper reported on Monday that he risks a 60-day jail
term if he fails to pay the fine by the end of this week.
The state’s mouthpiece Herald newspaper reported last Friday that Hammond
had been released and some local journalists had reported that he was
deported to South Africa.
But on Monday, Hammond’s family was quoted as saying that he was in fact
still being detained. A New Zealand news service called Dominion News quoted
Hammond’s sister Jessica Doube who said he was still locked up.
“We’ve heard from his fiancé in South Africa, and she said he hasn’t been
released,” Doube reportedly said, adding: “We are obviously disappointed the
reports aren’t true, we would love him to be freed.”
Radio New Zealand News was also reporting Monday that he was still detained,
quoting New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Hammond is a renowned human rights photographer who previously has won
Amnesty International Media Awards. Originally from Wellington, New Zealand,
he is now based in Cape Town.
His arrest last week meanwhile is the second time this year that he has been
detain in Zimbabwe. Earlier this year Hammond spent time locked up in what
he called a “horrible, dingy” cell with no windows and was forced to sleep
By Tichaona Sibanda
23 April 2012
The prosecution case against three Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) leaders
who are facing treason charges resumed at the Bulawayo High court on Monday.
The state alleges that the three MLF leaders, Charles Thomas, John Gazi and
Paul Siwela, attempted to topple the government by distributing flyers
inciting the public to revolt against the government.
The three leaders deny the charges and have pleaded not guilty. They face
the death sentence if convicted. SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent,
Lionel Saungweme said another allegation by the state is that the trio also
distributed flyers calling for the separation of Matebeleland and other
parts from the rest of Zimbabwe.
The trial is before High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Ndou. Saungweme
reported that evidence produced in court so far by state witnesses makes the
prosecution case shaky and inconsistent. On Monday, the state called a
senior Bulawayo Law and Order police officer, George Ngwenya to the witness
stand to explain how the three leaders had committed a ‘treasonous’ offence.
According to Saungweme, police raided homes of the leaders and found an MLF
calendar with words ‘State of Mthwakazi’ printed on it. In addition there
were flyers that said ‘oust murderers from power’ that were also picked up
from their homes.
Our correspondent said it was clear the two state witnesses were finding it
difficult to explain what it is that they saw as ‘treasonous’ in the
material they picked up from the leaders.
The witnesses on Monday, both police officers also contradicted previous
testimony by other key state witness before the trial was adjourned in
March. Another key state witness has already dismissed police claims that he
had seen Thomas and Gazi distributing flyers in the city.
Saungweme said there is an assumption the defence team will wait for all
state witnesses to testify before they decide to apply for the case to be
discharged. Saungweme said the defence team is confident the prosecution
case “has been built on shaky foundations.” The trial was adjourned to
Tuesday when Ngwenya will continue with his testimony.
Written by Wonai Masvingise, Staff Writer
Monday, 23 April 2012 12:18
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF is panicking over Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai’s invitation of popular Nigerian prophet Temitope Balogun
Joshua (TB Joshua) to attend prayer meetings in the country this year.
The anxiety, reflecting in secretive efforts to “blackmail” the immigration
department to deny the Lagos-based evangelist a visa should he decide to
come, was exposed through a spurious state media story yesterday claiming
that TB Joshua’s visit would be used for the MDC’s electoral campaigns.
The Daily News was told yesterday that hardliners in Zanu PF, who are
worried that the relationship between TB Joshua and Tsvangirai could give
the MDC leader massive support, are already plotting to deny him entry into
It also comes as the popular preacher’s stock has been rising in Zimbabwe
and abroad after his February prediction that an old African leader would
die within months, and 60 days later, Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika,
78, died of heart failure.
A few days before wa Mutharika’s death, TB Joshua announced that the death
of an African leader was imminent.
Didymus Mutasa, the Zanu PF secretary for administration, yesterday however
stressed that they had no problems with TB Joshua’s anticipated arrival in
the country even though he was coming on Tsvangirai’s invitation.
“Ngaauye hake (he can come) if he is Tsvangirai’s guest. If he is Tsvangirai’s
guest he is programmed by Tsvangirai to do what he says. Ko Zanu PF
inopindawo papi? (Where does Zanu PF fit in?),” he said.
TB Joshua is expected to be in the country on May 25 for the National Day of
While Zimbabweans — like their regional counterparts – were also
“spellbound” by TB Joshua’s prophecy and resultant speculation about the
president’s health, especially after his prolonged stay in Singapore, Mugabe’s
henchmen and notably serial political flip flopper Jonathan Moyo have
launched a full-on attack to not only discredit TB Joshua, but have also
fallen short of calling him “a western assassin”.
“TB Joshua’s involvement in this tragedy smacks more of a plot than a
prophecy. One thing for sure is that there is no prophecy here but just a
prediction if one is to give him a benefit of doubt. This leaves open the
questions as to what happened because to neutral people there appears to be
more to the saga than meets the eye,” the Tsholotsho North legislator said.
“In some circles, there is even spirited speculation in well informed
circles that TB Joshua had privileged intelligence information about a death
plot against... Mutharika and the plotters used him as their microphone to
divert attention... and let the death appear like it was an act of God when
it was an intelligence operation,” Moyo added.
An unofficial Zanu PF propagandist, but key decision-maker, Moyo went on to
quote the Bible — 2 Timothy 3 verses 1-5 — about false prophets and in his
bid to further discredit the “man of God”, and said the precision in timing
could have been a coincidence based on “someone with medical information and
not from God”.
“It’s possible to medically induce a cardiac arrest no wonder why his death
was first leaked by his doctors,” the former government minister said.
A top MDC official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Zanu PF was
misleading people into believing that TB Joshua told Tsvangirai he would
never lead the country.
“Zanu PF is panicking because they know the truth about what was said and
what is unfolding. They want to hide behind the man of God’s name to
promulgate their own agendas. You must not twist a man of God’s words. What
TB Joshua told Tsvangirai was in the positive; actually it was very, very
positive,” the MDC official said.
“TB Joshua did not say he (Tsvangirai) will not lead the country. Zanu PF is
saying that because they know what was said. They know the truth of what God
has in store for this country. That is why they are panicking. God works in
his own way, for Zanu PF to be where it is, it was God’s design,” he added.
Sunday, 22 April 2012 23:28
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it has no obligation to pay a cotton
spinning company over R2,6 million withdrawn from its two bank accounts five
Responding to a lawsuit filed by the cotton spinning company — Scottco —
seeking to recover the money lost to the central bank at the height of the
economic meltdown in 2007, RBZ argues that it has no legal relationship with
Scottco issued summons at the High Court seeking an order compelling the RBZ
to return R1 455 667,12 and US$1 513,88 withdrawn from its MBCA Bank account
It also wants another R1 168 432,46 and US$37,50 that was taken from another
account at BancABC.
All the money should be returned with interest as prescribed by the law.
The two banks remitted the money to RBZ on October 2 2007 following a
Monetary Policy Statement directing all corporates to surrender all the
foreign currency to the Central Bank within 24 hours.
The statement was issued on October 1 2007.
The RBZ and its governor Dr Gideon Gono and the two banks as defendants,
deny liability in their papers filed at the same court.
“First (RBZ) and second (Dr Gono) defendants deny that they have an
obligation to pay Plaintiff (Scottco) on demand as alleged as they have no
legal relationship with the plaintiff from which liability can arise and
neither has the alleged basis for liability been pleaded,” read part of the
The central bank and its governor further deny that they connived with the
two banks to deprive Scottco of its monies.
They also deny that they issued any unlawful directives as alleged.
The directives issued, argues RBZ, were not in breach of the provisions of
the Constitution as claimed by the cotton company.
“The first and second defendants never dealt with the plaintiff nor did they
ever refer to plaintiff in issuing directives issued.
“The first defendant at all material times dealt with third defendant (MBCA
Bank). There is no cause of action between plaintiff and the first and
The central bank said any liability sought to be imputed upon it and its
Governor was refuted.
MBCA Bank pleads that it was obliged to comply with the directive of the
RBZ, which it did and notified its client (Scottco).
Apart from confirming that it transferred Scottco’s monies to RBZ, the bank
does not accept that it is indebted to it.
It says the money is with the central bank, which had publicly confessed
having used it for what it termed national interest.
“The third defendant pleads that it was obliged to obey the directive if
same was made in terms of the valid and existing law,” said MBCA.
The bank further states: “The third defendant pleads that it is not indebted
to the plaintiff or obliged to plaintiff to pay any amount claimed or at
BancABC says it remitted Scottco monies to RBZ hence the obligation to
settle the claim rests with the central bank.
“Fourth defendant admits having refused to pay on demand and avers that it
is not indebted to plaintiff but first defendant is,” said BancABC.
“Upon issuing the directive, first defendant undertook to pay plaintiff on
The bank argues that after transferring the funds, RBZ assumed and created a
contractual obligation to pay Scottco, which obligation was independent of
In its lawsuit Scottco argues that it entered into agreements with MBCA and
BancABC to keep the balances in the respective accounts on condition that
they were payable on demand.
Although the two financial institutions acknowledged their indebtedness to
Scottco they have, however, failed to pay back the money.
Dr Gono invoked provisions of the Exchange Control Regulations, Statutory
Instrument 109 of 1996 to have foreign currency transferred to the central
bank, which the firm argued was done without consent.
Scottco lawyer Mr Succeed Takundwa said the banks had a duty at law to
disobey the instruction given by Dr Gono because it was clearly unlawful.
He argued that the Statutory Instrument used to issue instructions to take
money from the corporate Zimbabwe citizens did not give RBZ powers to take
people’s money without their consent.
Dr Gono, said Mr Takundwa, contravened provisions of the Constitution of
He accused the banks of failing to take a strong position to defend their
Mr Takundwa said banks should have taken a strong position to defend their
“The banks are at fault in failing to protect their clients. They exhibited
extreme cowardice by obeying something clearly prohibited by the supreme law
of the country,” he said.
This, Mr Takundwa said, deprived his client of its property in breach of the
In terms of provisions of Section 16 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, all
Zimbabwean citizens are protected from deprivation of their property.
Written by Gugulethu Nyazema, Staff Writer
Monday, 23 April 2012 12:30
HARARE - Zimbabwe’s maternal mortality rate has increased to 960 deaths per
100 000 lives, according to the Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre Network
This comes at a time when Zimbabwe has received millions of dollars from
foreign donors to curb child deaths and revamp the health sector, which
deteriorated due to dilapidated machinery and brain drain at the height of
the country’s political and economic problems.
Speaking at a launch of a campaign on accelerating maternal health services
provision for women at the weekend, ZWRCN executive director Naome
Chimbetete said World Health Organisation guidelines are set at 70 deaths
per 100 000 and Zimbabwe maternal mortality rate is more than 10 times
higher than that.
“It is important that we as the community and coalition partners work
together to reduce the maternity mortality rate by half. The maternal
mortality rate in the country has been identified as a primary concern and
proposes a solution that addresses the maternal health delivery system at
district hospital level and rural clinic level, calling for comprehensive
services and basic services at these levels respectively,” said Chimbetete.
Chimbetete said improvement of access to basic and comprehensive maternal
health services is critical and urgent in Zimbabwe.
“Our advocacy goals and objectives are aimed at the improved accessibility
of basic maternal health services at rural clinics level and district
hospitals by 2014 through adequate, targeted and time-out allocation of and
transparency in spending of resources directed at maternal health,” she
She said women organisations and ZWRCN strongly believed that through
adequate financing and mobilisation of support, the situation can be
reversed such that the cost, in terms of lives and financing, is not passed
on to women.
Campaigners say between 1 300 and 2 800 women and girls die each year due to
pregnancy-related complications, and most of these deaths are avoidable.
Additionally, another 26 000 to 84 000 women and girls suffer from
disabilities caused by complications during pregnancy and childbirth each
Minister of Health and Child Welfare Henry Madzorera said discussions are
underway for all government hospitals to remove user fees so that pregnant
women receive treatment for free.
In Harare, maternity fees are pegged at $25 at council clinics.
These charges were contributing to increased women delivering in homes as
they failed to raise the registration fees.
High user fees have been blamed for maternal deaths and complications.
Apart from user fees, there are three delays identified to be contributing
to pregnancy complications.
These include the delay in deciding to visit a health facility, delay in
getting transport to the institution and the delay in getting assistance
while at the institution.
Failure to deliver under the supervision of skilled personnel is among
reasons why Zimbabwe has recorded a high number of pregnancy-related deaths.
Written by Staff Writer
Monday, 23 April 2012 12:26
HARARE - Zimbabweans have suffered repeated cycles of political and state
sponsored violence, some of it bordering on near genocide since independence
from Britain in 1980. Yet, 32 years on, no effective mechanisms have been
put in place to ensure justice is done.
Because transitional justice mechanisms are lacking, conflict has become
part of Zimbabwe’s culture, says Heal Zimbabwe Trust, a local human rights
group working with grassroots victims of conflict.
Heal Zimbabwe said this had led to past victims joining the bandwagon of
Examples are some victims of Gukurahundi who today have become useful tools
of repression for President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party.
These include some who at some point were condemned to jail during the 1980’s
massacres, but after joining government as ministers, they have turned into
perpetrators and are no longer keen to have the issue of Gukurahundi
discussed publicly, said Heal Zimbabwe in a report released last week.
“Truth telling on the conflict in Zimbabwe has been a missing link for the
desired national healing and peace building, as a result, the Zimbabwean
conflict has since before independence been a vicious cycle where those who
were victims at one time become the perpetrators and vice versa,” reads the
“Zimbabwe has for the past three decades failed to come up with legislation
to provide for transitional justice prosecutions. The only attempt was the
setting up of a Human Rights Commission which to date is still in its
infancy. It is however not certain that the presence of a commission to
investigate human rights abuses can lead to prosecutions because there is no
law to support it. Worse still there is an attempt by the commission to
deliberately ignore human rights abuses that happened before September
2009,” reads the report.
Zimbabwe, however, could learn valuable lesions from countries such as
Rwanda, which went through a vicious conflict that killed over 800 000
people in its first 100 days in 1994.
“The truth to the nature and execution of organised torture and violence has
not been told. Rwanda recorded success in the Gacaca because the courts
rewarded truth telling,” Heal Zimbabwe said, adding that it should be easier
for Zimbabwe to deal with transitional justice issues because it has fewer
conflict victims than Rwanda.
Below we publish an abridged version of the Heal Zimbabwe report on how the
country can learn from Rwanda’s experiences.
Transitional Justice in Rwanda
Rwanda’s post-genocide experience with transitional justice is varied and
The Rwandan case study presents two distinct transitional justice strategies
which are the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the
grassroots Gacaca courts.
By definition, The ICTR is an ad-hoc United Nations’ institution with an
international jurisdiction, located outside the territory of the population
affected by the violence, and uses formal trial and punishment procedures.
Both the tribunal’s successes and failures have been instructive for the
design and execution of future transitional justice strategies, such as the
International Criminal Court (ICC).
On the other hand, Rwanda’s Gacaca courts sought to provide a kind of
justice that is both institutionally and culturally different from the ICTR.
The legal foundation for genocide prosecutions in Rwanda was Rwanda’s
Organic Law; this law was developed in 1996 and had a temporal jurisdiction
of October 1 1990 to December 31 1994.
The Organic Law is most significant for its categorisation of criminal
responsibility: category one is for the most serious criminals and comprises
those in a position of authority and orchestrators; category two comprises
perpetrators and accomplices; category three is for those who looted or
The Security Council acted upon the Rwandan Government’s request under
Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter to establish the International
Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 1994.
The Statute of this Tribunal closely resembles its sister tribunal in The
Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.
The ICTR has a temporal jurisdiction of 1994 and its mandate is to prosecute
the leaders and masterminds of the Rwandan genocide. Despite its
characterization as international justice, the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda has both the mandate and institutional components to
foster local ownership of transitional justice within Rwanda.
Gacaca, meaning “justice on the grass”, is an indigenous dispute resolution
mechanism that was reinvented by the post-genocide Rwandan Government to
judge genocide cases in local communities.
As a primarily restorative justice strategy, Gacaca’s processes of community
participation, truth-telling, and compensation were meant to achieve
reconciliation through a swift and culturally appropriate mechanism for
While reconciliation was the ultimate goal of Gacaca, its practical benefits
cannot be ignored. Rwanda’s prisons were overcrowded and the number of
suspects estimated at over 761 448 in all categories of criminal
The approximately 12 000 Gacaca courts spread across the country were able
to prosecute these cases more quickly than a national court system.
Lessons for Zimbabwe
The idea of realising that criminal activities that happen in a conflict
require the involvement of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its
special courts like the one set up in Rwanda is something the Inclusive
Government in Zimbabwe can adopt.
The Government has also the duty to pursue other non-legal process such as
The Government of Rwanda made efforts towards this and by 2001 a draft law
was in place for a compensation scheme put forward by the ministry of
Justice to Parliament and the Senate.
However, for the Rwandan Government, compensation was only to the poorest of
survivors in the form of health and education assistance.
By Andre Van Wyk, 23 April 2012
Cape Town — More than 200 singing and drum-beating demonstrators took to the
streets of London in the hopes that their protest will push the United
Nations (UN) to supervise the next general elections in Zimbabwe.
Organised by Zimbabwe Vigil, the protesters handed their petition to a
representative of UK Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street.
The petition states: "We call on the Security Council to ensure that the
next elections in Zimbabwe are free and fair. We look to the United Nations
to supervise the electoral process and the handover of power to a new
government and believe peace-keeping troops will need to be in place before,
during and after the polling.'The petition has been signed by more than
12,000 people across the wold over the past two years.
The London-based organisation, with the MDC Diaspora, also called on South
Africa to pressure Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe into honouring the
2008 Global Political Agreement.
The demonstrators, led by Rose Benton of Zimbabwe Vigil, Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) chairperson Ephraim Tapa and MDC-United Kingdom
chairperson Tonderayi Samanyanga, carried messages like 'Mugabe Must Go Now'
and 'No More Violent Elections'.
The petition forms part of the Free Zimbabwe Global Protest, an
international movement. Recent demonstrations in the U.S., South Africa and
the UK also coincided with the country's Independence Day celebrations on
Zimbabwe Vigil has had supporters outside the Zimbabwean embassy in London
every Saturday over the past decade in protest against human rights abuses
allegedly perpetrated by the Zanu-PF and its supporters.
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
If political leaders who influence policy and funding choices were forced to
use public health systems, they would find a way to address many of the
challenges they blame for the condition of systems that force them to flee
to other countries when they feel a bit poorly
Published: 2012/04/23 08:03:42 AM
THE death this month of Malawi’s p resident Bingu wa Mutharika in a private
clinic in Johannesburg brings to mind other African leaders whose lives
ended in hospitals far from the public health systems of their home
countries. Malawi’s first post-independence president, Hastings Banda, died
at a private clinic in SA in 1997. Africa’s longest-serving president, Omar
Bongo of Gabon, died in a Spanish hospital, while Togo’s former leader,
Gnassingbe Eyadema, died in an aircraft in 2005 while being evacuated for
emergency treatment abroad. Nigeria’s Umaru Yar’Adua was admitted to
hospitals in Germany and Saudi Arabia, while Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere died
in a London hospital.
Most of the continent’s current leaders also prefer to be sick in foreign
hospitals and private clinics. Angolan President Eduardo Dos Santos has been
treated in Spain and Brazil and plenty of Angolans will bet he hasn’t seen
the inside of a local health facility. The same applies to Zimbabwe’s Robert
Mugabe, who frequents hospitals in Malaysia and Singapore.
Cost is not an issue for Africa’s political elite, who prefer to pour
taxpayers’ money into overseas medical facilities rather than spending it on
improving health systems at home.
Getting ill in most African countries is not for the faint-hearted. But as
incomes improve, Africans return from abroad and expatriate numbers grow,
healthcare is becoming a major investment opportunity — private healthcare,
McKinsey research suggests that healthcare spending in sub-Saharan Africa
will more than double its 2006 levels to reach about R245bn a year by 2016,
60% of which will go to private healthcare. To meet increased demand, it
says, total investment of up to R200bn will be required.
But most Africans cannot afford private healthcare facilities and most don’t
have access to medical insurance. Even public healthcare is seldom entirely
free for patients.
Africans battle a range of communicable and parasitical diseases. The
continent bears 66% of the world’s HIV/AIDS burden, which swallows up
resources in public healthcare systems. Now the continent faces a dramatic
increase in lifestyle-related diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and
cancer. The experts say that probably 85% of diabetes cases are undiagnosed
and the incidence may be higher than HIV in 20 years’ time.
Rising health costs in developed countries have resulted in a shift in focus
to promoting health rather than treating sickness. In the UK, primary health
interventions saved about 80000 people from dying of cardiovascular disease
over a decade. H ealthcare experts will tell you how difficult it is to
change people’s behaviour.
In Africa, fighting the battle from a prevention perspective will be even
harder. The basic tools of prevention, such as sanitation, clean water and
nutrition, are generally not in place.
Countries have become dependent on donors to foot the bill for health
spending but this assistance is declining with financial problems in donor
countries. Governments have to now think about more strategic and
In 2001, 53 African countries signed the Abuja Declaration pledging to
dedicate 15% of national budgets to improving healthcare. The World Health
Organisation reports that only SA and Rwanda have met the target in the
decade since then. Seven states have cut spending. Poor management systems,
a lack of maintenance and hygiene in facilities, poor municipal services,
inadequate equipment and fraud in tendering and procurement processes also
Healthcare issues are complex but two issues seem clear. Government funding
is well below what is needed to sustain a basic healthcare system and what
exists is not being used efficiently. The other is that if political leaders
who influence policy and funding choices were forced to use public health
systems, they would find a way to address many of the challenges they blame
for the condition of systems that force them to flee to other countries when
they feel a bit poorly.
• Games is CEO of Africa At Work, a consulting company focusing on African
23 April 2012
The Zimbabwean editor Wilf Mbanga condemns a travesty of justice in that
The Zimbabwean: Editorial
A tale of two murders: a travesty of justice
A policeman was murdered last year. 29 people were arrested, tortured in an
effort to extract confessions, and been held in filthy conditions in various
police stations for months on end - and are now in maximum security prison.
Some of the suspects ended up in hospital with bone fractures. Some were
kept in solitary confinement. The state prosecutor has invoked the notorious
Section 121 of the criminal code, which allows him to reverse any decision
by a magistrate or judge to grant bail, to keep the accused persons in
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri told mourners soon after the murder:
"Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword." He promised
retribution for the murder. Nearly 12 months later, no evidence linking the
29 suspects to the murder has been presented in court. In a desperate
attempt to get relief from their inhumane treatment, the suspects - all MDC
officials - took the matter to the High Court.
What happened then would be farcical if it were not so tragic. On several
occasions, the court did not sit. Either the prosecutor was attending a
funeral, or was sick, or not ready to argue his case. The judge also had his
moment when he could not come to court as he was "not feeling well" or was
attending to some "other business". Now he has reserved judgement
"indefinitely". Meanwhile the hapless MDC officials rot in jail under
Recently, another murder took place. This time, six policemen beat to death
a man they claimed had stolen a purse from the wife of the Member in Charge
of Shamva Police. Chihuri called it a case of "indiscipline". Despite there
being irrefutable evidence that these policemen killed the man, they were
granted bail of $50 each upon their first appearance in court. There were no
reports of them having been tortured in custody; no non-appearances in court
by the prosecutor; no sick judge; no invocation of Section 121; no judgement
While these murderous policemen enjoy their freedom, the 29 presumed
innocent MDC officials languish in prison. We challenge the police to
present before a competent court any evidence they may have of their guilt.
This is a shameful travesty of justice.