(AP)--Zimbabwean police arrested the country's finance minister early
Saturday amid allegations he was illegally exporting hundreds of thousands of
rands, pounds and euros to South Africa.
arrest follows last week's announcement by President Robert Mugabe to
crackdown on "economic saboteurs" he blames for contributing toward the
country's downward-spiraling economy.
Assistant Police Commissioner
Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the arrest but offered few other details. Under
new regulations, Kuruneri may be held for up to 28 days without
"All I can say is he will appear in court soon," Bvudzijena
State radio said Zimbabwean detectives were traveling to
South Africa to investigate alleged violations between March 2002 and early
2004 of as much as $1 million in rands, pounds and euros.
are also investigating allegations the minister traveled on both Zimbabwean
and Canadian passports, in violation of new citizenship laws. The laws have
already prevented thousands of white Zimbabweans from voting because they are
of foreign descent. Kuruneri studied in Canada in the 1980's.
Under Zimbabwean exchange controls, money earned abroad has to
A South African newspaper reported earlier this
year that Kuruneri was building a 30 million rand ($1=6.7877 ZAR) luxury home
in Cape Town.
Kuruneri said the property was only worth seven
million rand funded from overseas consulting he had done 10 years
Bvudzijena also said police wanted to question about 30 people
and organizations for alleged illegal foreign currency dealings with
Zimbabwe's Treger group of companies, whose executives have fled to the
The list includes the Anglican Church, the Salvation Army, a
Roman Catholic priest, a Catholic church, and an educational and
Zimbabwe has been in deepening crisis since
2000 when Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms for redistribution to black
Annual inflation is estimated at 602. The country also
faces acute shortages of food, medicine, gasoline and other essential
goods. Unemployment is estimated at over 70%.
Reuters sports journalist and Weekend Witness correspondent
Telford Vice, who was in Zimbabwe to cover the five-match one-day
international cricket series between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, was forced to
leave the country on Friday after he was refused press accreditation. It is
illegal to practice as a journalist in Zimbabwe without accreditation. An
exhausted Vice, speaking from Johannesburg International Airport last night
as he waited for a flight to Durban, said Reuters made the decision to send
him to cover the series late and thus his accreditation application did not
completely comply with Zimbabwe's stringent rules. He said journalists need
to get accreditation from both the Zimbabwean government and the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union. "The government accreditation alone costs $600," he said.
Vice arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday, and without hope of his
getting accreditation, it was "suggested" that he leave the country. "It was
quite a tense climate. The thing with Zimbabwe is that everything is
politicised. It felt like South Africa in the 1980s," he said. Daily
Telegraph cricket writer Mihir Bose was deported from Zimbabwe on Tuesday
after his application for accreditation also arrived late.
The Age Streak may shift to Sydney By David Sygall Sydney April 25,
Heath Streak has written to his Australia-based sponsor expressing
interest in coming to live in Sydney. But the sacked Zimbabwe captain
maintains hope for a resolution to the cricket crisis in his homeland. An
agent acting for several Zimbabwean players recently contacted
cricket figures in Sydney to determine the possibility of the deposed players
moving here if they left Zimbabwe.
If any did relocate to Australia,
as Andy Flower did after last year's World Cup, it would not be for several
However, the email Streak sent to Sydney cricketer Robin Younan,
the director of bat maker Impala Sports, stated his desire to keep the
Australia option open, while still working towards a resolution to the rebel
players' dispute with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.
"It has been a tough
few weeks, but it was necessary to make known the state in which cricket is
administered and run in Zimbabwe," Streak wrote.
"You would not believe
this is a multimillion-dollar multinational company that employs 300 people .
. . I may have people interested (in coming to Australia) for next season if
things fall through here. For the sake of Zimbabwe . . . I hope for a quick
resolution to the problem.
"Maybe by (the Australian team's arrival) we
will be playing again (could be too much of an optimist!) . . . Kind regards,
Impala sponsors six Zimbabwe players: Streak, Vusi Sibanda,
Stuart Carlisle, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Dion Ebrahim and Ray Price.
is believed Sean Ervine has inquired about playing in Perth. His partner is
the daughter of Zimbabwe's coach, West Australian Geoff Marsh.
players Streak refers to in his email, according to Younan, are from
the group that has been sacked by the board for supporting Streak, who was
fired as captain for requesting cricket experts fill the national selection
panel positions rather than political appointments.
"Heath's been the
backbone of Zimbabwe cricket for 10 years and if you knew him you'd
understand why the players are backing him up," Younan said. "He's one of the
most honourable people I've ever met. The Zimbabwe players want the situation
to be publicised. They want the ICC to know what's going
Cricket NSW chief executive David Gilbert confirmed he had
had unofficial talks about the possibility of Streak coming to
Meanwhile Australian captain Ricky Ponting admitted he hadn't known
Stuart MacGill was going to pull out of the tour of Zimbabwe, but expected no
"Being the leader of the side, I'm probably in the
position where I would know if anyone else was thinking about those things,"
he said yesterday.
Human Rights Commission Losing Credibility, NGOs Warn Lisa
Schlein Geneva 24 Apr 2004, 13:18 UTC
As the U.N. Human Rights
Commission concluded its annual six-week session, representatives of several
non-governmental organizations said they are disappointed at this year's
proceedings. The organizations accuse member governments of undermining the
work of the Commission. Non-governmental organizations acknowledge that some
progress was made at this year's commission meetings. In particular, they
welcome the naming of Special Investigators to monitor the human rights
situations in North Korea and Belarus. They note that a chairperson's
statement on Nepal finally brings what they term the "human rights crisis"
there into the Commission's focus.
But they say the failure to pass
resolutions condemning the situations in the Russian Republic of Chechnya or
China or Zimbabwe constitute a defeat. As the Executive Director of the
International Commission of Jurists, Nicholas Howen put it, it is
discouraging to see how some member states use every possible tactic to
undermine the commission by blocking debate on important issues.
what do we find? We find 'no-action' motions suddenly turning from something
which was rare and only used in the case of China, to being almost routine,"
said NicholasHowen. "Where Zimbabwe and China, and almost Belarus could
escape from scrutiny because of a procedural motion to even block, to cut
off, to silence debate at the commission. We find the African group being
complicit by building a fortress around the continent and voting in a bloc to
prevent action on Zimbabwe and softening approaches to countries like
The president of the commission, Australian Ambassador, Mike
Smith, says it is the job of non-governmental organizations to criticize.
But, he does not agree that the body is losing its credibility. He says the
commission is a forum of states and that immediately makes it a political
"Therefore, there are always trades and compromises that are made,"
he said. "But, the strength of it is that when you get a consensus agreement
among the membership, it represents a true international consensus on
addressing certain issues, which is one of the reasons countries go to great
lengths to try and get consensus documents because it does carry a lot of
power. But, in that process, of course there are a lot of
Mr. Smith says this year's commission was successful in
passing resolutions which strengthen the ability of the U.N. to monitor
violations in countries such as Sudan, Colombia and Nepal. He says he is
particularly pleased that the commission strongly supported national human
rights institutions. He says they, more than anyone, protect and promote
human rights in their own countries.
Reporter AT LEAST 110 tractors and an assortment of farming equipment were
handed over to the Agricultural Research and Development Agency (ARDA) by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Farmec yesterday.
The tractors, disc
harrows, ploughs and other farming equipment will be used in the tillage and
preparation of a targeted 100 000 hectares for wheat production during this
winter season in different parts of the country.
The scheme, which is
mopping up idle equipment from commercial farms and refurbishing it, targets
to acquire 350 tractors this year.
So far, the central bank has saved at
least US $20 million through the import substitution scheme, which is
expected to reduce and eventually stop the importation of wheat.
is in line with the central bank's efforts to boost production and create
employment," said RBZ Head of Premises and Maintenance department, Mr Elias
He said more than 300 tractor and combine harvester drivers had
already been employed under the scheme.
Speaking after the handover of
the tractors, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Rural Resettlement, Dr Joseph
Made said the equipment would be put to intensive use under the supervision
of Arda and other relevant institutions.
"This equipment will go to those
farmers that already have the capacity to produce and will carry out complete
single operations for farmers to ensure maximum production," he
He said although the tractors were a pittance compared to the
country's total mechanical requirements, which stand at about 35 000
tractors, they signalled the beginning of the complete mechanisation of the
It starts in northern Zambia, a small stream, fed by
the rains and it slowly develops as it runs it course into the southern
Congo. In the vast rain forests of the Congo it picks up momentum and then
turns again back to Zambia.
Inside western Zambia the river settles
down and runs in a fairly direct route to the edge of the Caprivi Strip.
There it encounters a shelf of black basalt rock laid down thousands of years
ago by a deep upthrust of volcanic lava. Foiled for a short time by the rock,
the river backs up and is navigable for nearly 200 kilometers above the
At this time of the year when we are nearing then end of our wet
season, the river floods both banks - creating a vast inland swamp, which
inundates hundreds of square kilometers of land. This is the land of the
Bamamgwato who are famous for their canoes and drumming.
Caprivi, the river waters spread out over the land on the west bank of the
river and slowly make their way through reed mats so thick that even the
water is impeded. Eventually, about April and May each year these waters
reach the Chobe river where they then drain back into the Zambezi river just
above the Victoria Falls.
Across the Falls it is over 1,6 kilometers wide
and at this time of the year millions of tonnes of water rush over the edge
of the falls and into one of the great river gorges of the world. Not a grand
canyon, but in its own way just as spectacular. Hundreds of feet below the
edge of the black basalt over lay, the river wins its way through a gorge
that is so wild and rough that it has become a Mecca for "white water"
rafters from all over the world.
On its banks are some of the really
great wild life areas left in the world - the Chobe in Botswana, Hwange in
Zimbabwe, Mana Pools on the lower Zambezi. It is also the basin for two of
the world's great dams and inland lakes - Kariba and Cahora Bassa. Both are
hydroelectric facilities but also create an inland lake playground that is
home to hundreds of boats and provides both recreation and a living for many
thousands of people.
Kariba is also host to the largest game fishing
competition in the world where each year hundreds of teams gather to fish the
waters for the much valued "Tiger". The main river itself is also one of the
greatest river systems in the world for fishing - from the great Vundo to the
tiny Kapenta with everything in between.
Right now a rescue operation
is underway in the Caprivi where unusually heavy rains have given rise to
floods in Zambia and in the Caprivi. We understand the whole river system is
bracing itself for record water levels this year as a result.
the Barotse plains are apparently badly flooded.
Why do I remind you of
this great river - well perhaps because I also need to remind myself, that
the "Old Man River, just keep on rolling" and pays little head to the
pathetic activities on man on its banks. I have just been to South Africa to
give two short talks on the situation in Zimbabwe. It is a long time since I
was last in Pretoria for any period of time and it was interesting to observe
South Africa at its heart, after 10 years of democracy and ANC
I am always struck on these occasions by the fact that
everything has changed and yet nothing has changed. Pretoria looks much as it
always did - a few more hobo's, fewer whites on the streets. But it was the
sameness of everything that struck me. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of
time to change a society and what is also amazing is how much of the culture
of the departing elite is adopted by the incoming power brokers. A black
South Africa civil servant looks and sounds much like his
Those of us who live in Zimbabwe and must cope with the
emerging crisis in all spheres of our lives, see much the same phenomena at
work - somehow the old man river rolls on! We sit on our stoep and eat our
braai and pap, watch the sun go down in a blaze of glory to be followed by a
warm white or yellow ball coming up over the eastern horizon.
was on the banks of the Zambezi a few weeks ago, I walked down to the river
and a rough grunt from a lion nearby sent me back to the safety of my lodge.
On the plane coming home from Johannesburg an elderly woman came up to me and
said, "hey, it is good to be going home". I felt the same.
generation has some idea of what it was like to go through one of
the worldwide wars of the 20th Century. We grew up on the periphery of
the crisis it created and of all the stains it imposed on the entire world.
Yet today, hardly a sign of the wars and their aftermath exists. Those who
gave their lives for the defense of freedom in Europe are hardly remembered.
But without their sacrifice our lives would be very different.
Mugabe and his henchmen will be gone - blown away by the winds of time and
change. Nothing ever stays the same and when they are gone, the Zambezi will
still be here - and if you want to see it you will have to come to Africa to
do so, it will not disappoint. When you do, you will not see much evidence of
our struggle to restore our democracy or to protect the rights of our people.
You will take the free press and the rich wild life of our country as just
another of the features of life in a "normal" world.
What we want you to
remember - just as we do when we stop to ponder at the memorials to those who
gave their lives in the world wars of the 20th century, are those who gave
their lives so that those they left behind might have a better
Jesus said "no man, can do more than to lay down his life for
others". It is the greatest form of love and it is the only force in the
world that can really transform a society. Without it there can be no change
- we are all part of the process either as those who make the sacrifice or
those who enjoy its consequences.
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2004 6:26 PM Subject: Banging the same old
Dear Family and Friends, A couple of years ago when there was
still a daily independent newspaper and I was privileged to be able to
write a weekly column for that paper, I wrote many times about the
destruction of agriculture and the inevitable effects that it would have
on Zimbabwe. I wrote about the illegalities of farm seizures, the disregard
for legal and constitutional rights, the horrific violence being inflicted on
farm workers, the shortages of food and spiralling inflation, the massive
assaults on the opposition and the impact I could see all
these events having on every aspect of life in Zimbabwe. One night a
friend told me to stop banging on the same tired old drum and lately his
words have kept coming back to me. I wonder how often people who receive
my letter think "Oh God, another horror story from cathy!" I wonder if my
letters about events in Zimbabwe have become just an annoying tired old
drum beat in the background. A rhythm which never changes, telling a story
which never varies.
I must admit to finding it increasingly difficult to
find or see any hope in Zimbabwe's situation. I know I am not alone in these
thoughts. Our opposition party seem to be paralysed into a state of
inaction. Protests, mass action and demonstrations have stopped, the
violence, torture and terror to their leaders and supporters seems to have
crippled them. Our regional neighbours, like me, continue to just bang the
same tired old drum. They say that the only way forward is through talks,
talks about talks and quiet diplomacy. The outside world say the only way it
can get involved is when Zimbabweans rise up and fight back and so the
vicious circle goes round and round, throbbing to the same old drum
This week I could write about the farmer who was "roughed up" in my
home town or about thousands of farm workers living in the bush after
being violently evicted from Kondozi Farm in Odzi. I could also write about
the violent assault that took place at the University of Zimbabwe but
there are just no words left to describe these horrors. Instead I sit here
on a Saturday morning listening to the music of Oliver Mutukudzi and my
eyes are filled with tears. "Do you have to die to be a Hero?" he sings.
It is a gentle, incredibly moving song which, strangely enough, has no
drumming in it at all and ends with the words: " What does it take to be a
Hero? Can anyone answer my question?" Until next week, with love,
cathy.Copyright cathy buckle 24th April 2004. http://africantears.netfirms.com My
books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears"
are available outside Africa from: firstname.lastname@example.org
; www.africabookcentre.com ; www.amazon.co.uk ; in Australia and New
; Africa: www.kalahari.net www.exclusivebooks.com
captain Heath Streak and batsman Grant Flower, the two most senior rebelling
Zimbabwe white cricketers, have rejected a latest effort at conciliation by
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union.
The ZCU made an offer Thursday of a
"mediation mechanism" that might resolve a strike which is causing immense
damage to the sport and to racial harmony within it.
The ZCU suggested
independent arbitration and mentioned a prominent Zimbabwe businessman Much
Masunda as mediator. Masunda runs an organisation set up for such
In return the players were expected to turn out for practice
and to make themselves available for selection to the national side that will
play Sri Lanka in the third of five international matches at Harare Sports
Club on Sunday while the arbitration process is set up.
Flower turned down the proposal outright according to a source close to the
ZCU. They agreed, however, to speak to colleagues. But by late Thursday they
had made no further contact with the Union.
Efforts to reach the players'
lawyer-representative Chris Venturas were unsuccessful. He is said to be in
South Africa and not reachable.
Other players are holidaying in various
parts of the country.
A frustrated ZCU executive consequently does not
expect any of them to show up prior to the scheduled selection panel meeting
Saturday morning to choose the next team.
The strike of white players
began three weeks ago when they saw the removal of captain Heath Streak as a
sacking by the board. They also claimed that some selections to recent
Zimbabwe teams as racially motivated and part of a "quota" system to bring in
more black players.
The ZCU refused to budge over what they called
Streak's resignation, resulting in the impasse.
Under a previous
instruction, the 15 whites were ordered "as employees" to report for practice
and make themselves available, or face suspension and possible
The deadline is May 7, the second day of the first Test match
against Sri Lanka at Harare Sports Club here.
send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to email@example.com with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject
259 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- THOUGHT
FOR THE DAY That state is best ordered when the wicked have no command, and
the good have." --
Pittacus --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Letter
1 Subject Washing Bodies Dear Sir,
It has been reported that
Zimbabwe's leadership has somewhat scornfully referred to patriots - possibly
as many as 3,5 million of them - for being out of His country. It has been
contended that "traditional medicine could be used to deal with the crisis."
Further, that "some of our people are running away to wash the bodies of the
elderly people in England."
It would appear that "traditional medicine"
was used in Matabeleland the 1980's when the bodies of thousands of Matabele
people, and others were actually washed in their own blood. This same
"traditional medicine" is still in use today and people are still being
washed in their own blood - particularly if these people are not of the 'Zanu
The scornful reference to the care of the elderly is of
considerable significance. As far as I am aware, care of the elderly is an
honourable privilege in both Matabele and Mashona culture from the past. The
care of the aged in England is also of immense significance, because there
will be few really senior citizens in the UK who were not part of the demise
of Hitler in some way or another.
Had it not been for the sacrifices
of these "now elderly" people with many of their colleagues killed - only
blue eyed and blonde haired blue blooded people of Germanic extraction would
remain. By simple deduction it would seem that not even 'the Zanu blue
blooded' would have qualified for admission to that Germanic Club. (Even
Rommel was eliminated) However, Leadership has chosen to translate the
manuscript of 1939-1945 Tragedy into Shona and run the production for an
unprecedented twenty four years. Ironically, the world has watched and has
still failed to realise that this is not a Dress Rehearsal for Cricket, or
Bat and Ball, but a Live Show with real knives, knobkerries, spears, guns,
torture, torment, blood and lives. I no longer believe that Britain and
America, or even the UN have the inclination, never mind the power, to shout
"Curtains," but I hope that they can prove me wrong.
I wonder who
washes the bodies of Elderly Politicians?
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
Matope WHEN a Nigerian national collapsed on a Harare-bound Kenyan flight and
died later at Harare's Parirenyatwa Hospital a decade ago, in a rare case of
hard drug abuse, police had by chance actually stumbled upon a vein of
an emerging illicit drug trafficking network in Southern
Disturbed by the results of the post-mortem, police in Harare
carried out further investigations at his residence in a local hotel where a
number of documents linking the deceased to some criminal activities that
included networking with drug dealers were found.
Also discovered in
his room was a 500g tin of powdered milk that was stashed under some
"It was a strange discovery, because we wondered what a tin of
powdered milk was doing amongst his clothes.
"We then took it to our
forensic science laboratories for further investigations," officer commanding
CID drugs, superintendent Andrew Kadungure said in a recent
It turned out that the powder was not at all powdered milk but
the addictive cocaine drug.
Law enforcement agents in Harare had
suddenly been hooked onto an intricate web of international illicit drug
traffickers who had for some time used Zimbabwe as a convenient
Two Zimbabwean women who claimed that foreign nationals had
recruited them to either sell or ship cocaine to other destinations as far as
United States of America were nabbed a few weeks after the Nigerian's
"They had been introduced to cocaine and were
"The problem was that they could not afford any of the hard
drugs since they are expensive, so they were sent to America with forged
Swaziland passports in return for a few doses," Supt Kadungure
Several cases of Zimbabwean hard drug abuse have been reported
since the 1970s and police have once in a while been lucky to stumble upon
major shipments of the drugs.
In 1991, Supt Kadungure said, police
seized a tonne of mandrax drugs, which were in granular, tablet and powdery
forms worth over $40 million.
In the late 90s police also confiscated
four kilogrammes of cocaine from a Kenyan woman who had been sent by some
Nigerian men to collect the consignment from Brazil.
said they were currently investigating some foreign nationals believed to be
giving the drug to Zimbabweans, who are later lured
To fight the institutionalisation of hard drugs in
the country, police have set up a task force meant to control all dangerous
and hard drugs that are smuggled into the country.
The task force
would involve all stakeholders such as pharmaceutical companies and
Although further investigations indicate that hard drugs like
cocaine heroin had not really penetrated places like Mbare and other
high-density suburbs where mbanje was sold openly in these areas, the
potential for them to penetrate these areas was high.
prohibitive costs have been a contributory factor to the slow spread of the
drugs in Zimbabwe, the drugs have however, long-penetrated the homes of the
Some of the drugs that are slowly finding their way into the
country include mandrax, ecstacy and lysergic acid diethylamide or simply
known as LSDs and mira or khat.
Usually associated with the youth,
some of the drugs like LSDs are now very common in the country.
are associated with rave parties and they can kill because the abuser can
dance the night away without getting tired. As a result, a person can become
dehydrated before collapsing," supt Kadungure said.
A few years ago,
police assisted a 13-year-old girl who had become so addicted to LSDs that
she had become a living terror.
Addiction is when someone becomes
abnormally dependent on something that is psychologically or physically
habit-forming, especially alcohol or narcotic drugs.
are substances taken that produce numbness or stupor; often taken for
pleasure or to reduce pain.
Extensive use can lead to addiction in
"After probing the girl we discovered she was lured into a drug
syndicate involving other teenagers from surrounding areas."
week, a man from Borrowdale collapsed and died at his home after battling
with the cocaine addiction for many years.
The man, who is of mixed race,
is alleged to have hid in the ceiling when he saw his family come to his
"We have many deaths and other unclear cases of accidents that
occur due to effects of drug abuse," said Supt Kadungure.
reports indicate that most young people who are in hospital for drug
addiction actually come from affluent families who live in the leafy suburbs
A 26-year-old Mt Pleasant man who had been in a private
hospital for over six months admitted to this writer that he had been hooked
to cocaine for over three years.
"My dad is a businessman and I ran
one of his fleet of trucks which smuggled the stuff from East Africa. I had
turned into a zombie as I could not function without cocaine," he
Despite this emerging problem, Supt Kadungure said the medical
fraternity has been unco-operative with the police as no cases of such a
nature were being reported.
"They argue that the patient-to-doctor
confidentiality does not oblige them to divulge the nature of illness of
"They could not reveal the number of addicts they dealt
with on a daily basis."
International illicit drug trafficking is
lucrative business that involves billions of dollars with cocaine and heroin
selling for $540 000 and $250 000 a gramme, respectively.
"This is the
most profitable crime above arms trafficking," Supt
Cocaine, one of the most powerful stimulants and
associated with the affluent societies was discovered as far back as
It is grown as coca in countries like Brazil, Equido, Peru,
Colombia and Mexico where some red Indians used it for traditional
Its refinement began around 1805 with the production of
analgesics mainly used in surgeries in 1805 and later into cocaine in
Although it is illegal to grow the plant, some peasant farmers in
the high altitude countries like Colombia get their family incomes through
extensive coca farming.
Investigations into the effects of cocaine
revealed that it made a person 'so high' and distorted reality of the world
around the drug user.
The drug becomes fatal owing to its overly negative
excitement that inflicts the body system that eventually fails to cope with
Heroin production on the other hand began in 1898 after the
plant opium had been growing for over a century in countries like Mexico,
Vietnam, Afghanistan, Thailand, China, India, Pakistan, Colombia and some
Middle East countries.
The drug, which is found in forms of whitish to
a tar black powder depending on its origin, is also a source of livelihood
for many families in countries were it is grown.
arguably the major producer of the heroin in its provinces of Herat,
Badakshan and Jalalabad.
Because heroin is usually injected, it also
spreads the HIV, the virus that causes Aids, as one syringe can be used by
People addicted to heroin are weaned off with methadone, a
drug that shares more or less the same properties with heroin but is however
The relatively obscure drug mira or khat was also being
smuggled openly into the country owing to ignorance on the part of Customs
The United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime
Prevention has listed the drug as a dangerous drug.
Police have stepped up efforts to fight drug abuse and trafficking, they are
still battling to rid the streets of cannabis (mbanje).
said Zimbabwe was not a major producer of cannabis but a good number of
people were abusing the drug.
About 80 percent of the drugs found in this
country originate from Malawi and Mozambique. Cannabis is broken into smaller
packages wrapped in khakhi paper commonly known as 'twists'.
of cannabis sells for anything between $2 000 and $5 000.
alone, police seized over 200kg of cannabis from areas like Epworth and
Mufakose in Harare, whilst 55 people were arrested for growing the
There are some areas that are known for peddling the drug such as
Cherima (literally meaning darkness or places where power has been cut) which
are existent in many high-density suburbs in Harare.
Highfield, Harare is also one suburb that is notorious for peddling this
Yesterday activist Tinashe Lukas Chimedza brutally
assaulted and arrested by the police in Harare. The former student leader had
been invited to speak at an Education Rights Forum in his capacity as the
Zimbabwe nominee to the International Youth Parliament. Apparently organisers
had notified the police of the intention to hold the Forum as a belated
independence gala. But before the meeting even started, heavily armed
policemen with dogs surrounded the hall. Witnesses say they dragged Tinashe
to a separate room, where they beat him up with booted feet and open fists.
Human rights lawyer Otto Saki pleaded with the police to take Tinashe to the
hospital instead of arresting him without treatment. Tinashe Chimedza was
discharged from the hospital today but it will take some time for him to
recover. Preliminary checks at Avenues Clinic showed that he was heavily
bruised all over the body, his lips were burst, some of his front teeth
retreated beyond the jaw line, and one front tooth was broken. The Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights stated an intention to sue the police for the
harassment of both Tinashe and Advocate Bhatasara.
The 70 suspected mercenaries held in Zimbabwe
for allegedly plotting to topple the government of Equatorial Guinea will
once again be allowed to receive food from outside prison. A Zimbabwean court
made the ruling following complaints by the men.
members still believe there is no case against them. They are also charged
with violating the immigration act and purchasing arms of war. The men are
being denied access to food from relatives and friends.
also allegations that they are being beaten by prison authorities. This as
the defense has stitched together a defense declaring that Zimbabwe has no
jurisdiction to try the accused.
Relatives and friends of the
suspected mercenaries are in the country. Ken Pain, a pilot, never said much
when he left South Africa on March 7 to pilot a Boeing 727 carrying 70
suspected mercenaries. Marge has been married to Ken for the last 22 years.
She says her husband only said he was going to Bujumbura on the fateful day.
She says her husband feels the case is taking too long.
Yesterday was a day of complaints in court. Shackled and in handcuffs, the 70
said they were being denied food from outside and were talking to strangers
in the absence of their lawyers. The lawyers have now stitched together what
they describe as a water-tight defence.
Equatorial Guinea wants to
have the 70 extradited to that country to face trial. Something Zimbabwean
authorities are saying no to, before conviction. In Guinea they could be
hanged if found guilty.
The defence said the accused had no
intention of coming to Zimbabwe or doing anything in that country. They say
the country has no jurisdiction to try the accused. However, the state
insists it wants to prove whether the accused are miners, missionaries or