National Constitutional Assembly attempted to hold a peaceful demonstration
in Harare today. The police were waiting for the demonstrators outside
Parliament, and therefore another group started marching from a different
location. During the march, three NCA youth members were assaulted by police,
and there were several arrests. Police also arrested NCA leaders in Bulawayo
last night. In addition, they carried out a swoop on Mutare railway station
yesterday evening. Any young person they found there without luggage who was
intending to travel to Harare, they locked up on suspicion of planning to
join the demonstration. We have not yet been able to ascertain how many
people are still in police custody. For once, the chairperson, Dr Lovemore
Madhuku was not arrested. He thinks this is because it always causes such an
international outcry. He says however, that he is being closely watched by
the police. Tabitha Khumalo, the committee chair for Gender within the NCA
who accompanied the wounded members to hospital is appalled by the police
violence. The NCA is a peaceful movement, and Ms Khumalo says that when the
ZRP attack citizens, who can we turn to for protection?
HARARE, April 29 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's rebel players
have given the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU) a deadline of Tuesday to agree to
arbitration or face a fresh boycott.
The 15 experienced players
walked out this month when Heath Streak was replaced as captain by Tatenda
Taibu after he questioned the composition of the selection
Zimbabwe were forced to select an inexperienced team for
the five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka, which they lost
The rebels agreed on Wednesday to make themselves available
for selection from Friday, subject to the establishment of a dispute
The players' lawyer delivered a letter on
Thursday to his ZCU counterpart issuing the Tuesday deadline.
"Our clients believe that for the sake of the game of cricket that the only
way forward is that a dispute mechanism be established forthwith and a format
be agreed to bring this matter to closure," the letter read.
should be in the form of a panel of three arbitrators. "Our clients have
complete confidence in the offices of Mr Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda of the
Commercial Arbitration Centre and feel that he should be assisted by an
international cricketer and a foreign administrator involved in
"We believe that the arbitration should be held at a
neutral venue and that this should be held as soon as possible and not later
than 21days from today's date."
The letter listed the players'
terms of reference for the arbitration as "selection criteria",
"transgressions by board members", and "unlawful termination of Heath
"Our client wishes to make unequivocally clear
that its agreement to return to practice and selection is dependent upon the
consent of the ZCU to submit this matter to arbitration in the manner
outlined and the reconstruction of the national selection panel," the letter
"We would kindly request that due to the urgency of this
matter and the impending test series that we receive a substantive response
to the above by close of business on the 4 May, 2004."
of two tests between Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka starts in Harare next
A player who did not want to be named told Reuters the
players would mount a fresh boycott if the Tuesday deadline was not
"We are going to practise tomorrow (Friday), and we will
be available," the player said. "But if the ZCU hasn't agreed by Tuesday
that they will go to arbitration we will pull out again."
chairman Peter Chingoka said the board needed time to discuss
"Our lawyers passed it on to us this afternoon, and I
need time to discuss it with my colleagues on the board," Chingoka told
IRIN ZIMBABWE: Hundreds of thousands may be out of school
About 800,000 Zimbabwean orphans and disadvantaged children who depend on
state assistance to pay school fees may be unable to enrol when the new term
begins next week.
Under the Basic Education Assistance Model (BEAM), the
government had allocated Zim $3.8 billion (about US $753,000) to pay the
school fees of orphans and disadvantaged children, but Lancelot Museka, the
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare permanent secretary, announced this
week that the money had run out after just one term of the school
Zimbabwe's economic crisis has led to job losses, making it
impossible for growing numbers of parents to pay tuition fees. Unemployment
now stands at 80 percent, and is rising as businesses continue to fold. For
those still employed in the formal sector, low wages in a hyperinflationary
environment have worsened a situation that is often already
The announcement that the BEAM had run out of funds came after
hard-pressed guardians of BEAM beneficiaries had made representations to
government to expand the programme to include the purchasing of exercise
"We had budgeted Zim $3.8 billion to pay school fees for HIV/AIDS
orphans and disadvantaged children this year. However, the money has run out
because the schools are constantly hiking fees, leading to an early
exhaustion of the funds and a drastic decline in the number of
beneficiaries," Museka explained.
Most schools have hiked tuition fees
to an average of Zim $500,000 (US $913) per term, with some private
institutions demanding as much as Zim $2.5 million (US $4,900), in defiance
of a government directive to seek prior approval for an increase from the
ministry of education. The schools cited high inflation, currently around 600
percent, and a need to maintain educational standards as reasons for the
Primary school textbooks now cost between Zim $50,000 (just
under $10) and Zim $100,000 (just under US $20), while the lowest-priced
textbook for secondary school costs Zim $80,000 (about US $15). Exercise
books range from Zim $3,000 (US $0.59) to Zim $7,000 (US $1.30) each,
translating into an average expenditure of Zim $168,000 (US $33) on exercise
books alone for one upper secondary school pupil.
Education Aneas Chigwedere acknowledged that the per capita grants allocated
to schools for the acquisition of textbooks were insufficient, given the high
inflation rate, but alleged that negligence by schools was aggravating the
"Schools are given per capita grants every year. Yes, the
money may not be enough, because it is not meant to be enough anyway. The
major problem is that schools do not take care of their textbooks. Most are
stolen and re-sold at black market prices on street corners," said
The BEAM programme was set up in 2001 to pay tuition and
examination fees for the growing number of children being forced to drop out
of school because their parents or guardians could not afford to keep them
Since 2001, 1.7 million pupils have benefited from successive
BEAM allocations. The total number of beneficiaries for 2004 was projected
Violence, Torture and Brutality by the Police Force in Zimbabwe
International Bar Association (London)
RELEASE April 28, 2004 Posted to the web April 29, 2004
International Bar Association (IBA) is appalled that police brutality and
politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe is increasing. The number
of lawyers denied access to their clients or who suffer threats and attacks
by members of the police force as they try to protect citizens rights has
risen over the last month.
On 22 April students taking part in a
peaceful demonstration suffered violent attacks at the hands of the police
who were deployed to break up the meeting. Lawyer Otto Saki attended the
scene to represent Tinashe Chimedza, one of the detained students. Saki was
denied access to his client. Saki stayed at the scene and later witnessed the
torture of his client. Chimedza was handcuffed whilst the police assaulted
him using booted feet, batons, open hands and a broken broom handle. Chimedza
was later rushed to a clinic to receive treatment for his
Two other human rights lawyers, Advocate Bhatasara and Jacob
Mafume, who also attended the scene, were subjected to abuse and threats as
they tried to secure the release of their clients. Advocate Bhatasara was
threatened by one Police officer who shouted '...I respect the flag more than
anything and anyone! Today someone is going to die! Shots will be fired
today!'. The police then detained Advocate Bhatasara for allegedly refusing
to remove his cap. He was later released.
Zimbabwean human rights
lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who has herself suffered a violent assault at the
hands of the police, stated, 'I am appalled at the increasing number of
violent attacks suffered by lawyers defending their clients in Zimbabwe. How
can we possibly talk of rule of law existing here when such attacks
'The IBA reminds the authorities in Zimbabwe that the role of
the police force is not to obstruct justice but to protect it. The police
force must not identify lawyers with the politics or acts of their clients,
and police officers are obligated to allow lawyers access to their clients,'
said Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the IBA. 'The authorities are
obligated under international law to investigate cases of alleged police
violence and torture, and bring charges where sufficient evidence is found.
The Government's complete silence on the use of police torture and
violence gives tacit consent to these illegal practices'.
Bulawayo - Zimbabwe has agreed to hand over to Equatorial Guinea
70 men accused of plotting a coup against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema,
an official said on Thursday.
The decision was taken following talks
between President Robert Mugabe and Obiang in Zimbabwe's second city of
Bulawayo, said the official who asked not to be named.
agreed to extradite the 70 mercenaries so that they could go and face trial
in Equatorial Guinea," he said.
An official statement on the decision was
being prepared, he said.
The 70 men, all of whom were travelling on South
African passports, were detained on March 7 at Harare International Airport
when their Boeing 727 stopped to refuel and pick up military
The Zimbabwe authorities arrested them, claiming they were on
their way to join 15 suspected mercenaries arrested in Equatorial Guinea on
similar charges of plotting to overthrow the government of the oil-rich
central African nation.
The men deny they were involved in a plot to
overthrow Obiang and contend they were on their way to the Democratic
Republic of Congo to guard diamond mines.
South Africa said on
Thursday it would not oppose the possible extradition of the suspected
soldiers of fortune to Equatorial Guinea where they could face the death
"There is no legal basis for South Africa to demand that its
nationals should not be extradited to another country," the foreign ministry
said in a statement.
It added that the South African embassy in
Zimbabwe had not been officially informed by Zimbabwean authorities of the
Obiang last month said that the 15 men arrested in
Equatorial Guinea could face the death penalty.
"If we have to kill them, we will kill them," said Obiang, who has
ruled the country for 25 years.
On a visit to Zimbabwe earlier this
month, Equato-Guinean Interior Minister Manuel Nguema Mba said the 15 men
wanted to wipe out Obiang's entire family.
Zimbabwe last week added
Equatorial Guinea to the list of countries covered by its extradition
The men held in Harare have been charged with breaching
Zimbabwe's security, aviation, firearms and immigration laws.
for the group had asked the court in Harare to drop the case, arguing that
there were no grounds for the charges.
The same court on Tuesday ordered
an investigation into torture claims that came up as defence lawyers were
pressing for the release of the 70.
Simon Mann, 55, the man Zimbabwe
believes to be the leader of the group, told the court he was tortured in
custody and forced to sign a statement.
Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe
said, according to the evidence brought before the court so far, the alleged
torture had not been carried out by the police or prison authorities, but by
Test batsman batsman Graham Thorpe has not ruled out the
possibility of boycotting England's autumn tour to trouble-torn
Thorpe is back representing Surrey in the Frizzell County
Championship following his return from the successful Test series in the West
But he has criticised the Government and the England and
Wales Cricket Board for not making a firm decision on whether the team should
play in against the African nation later this year.
agree with what is going on in Zimbabwe but I am a cricketer and if the
Government does not make a decision and your cricket board does not make a
decision for you as cricketer you have to decide whether you become a
politician overnight," Thorpe told Radio Five Live.
"It is unfair
to feel under pressure to make a decision about whether to tour Zimbabwe or
"It is a bit hard to be throwing moral judgements at cricket
when that is what they (the Government and the ECB) do for a
"Zimbabwe is two Test series away and in four months' time
if I am still good enough I will make my decision then - if the situation has
"As the clock ticks more questions get asked and
all you can do is be honest about it. I can't definitely say I
"It (playing for England) is like being in the army -
sometimes they have to go to places they don't want to as well."
Agencies Last updated: 04/30/2004 03:22:36 THE Transport Manager of the
disputed Kondozi Estates has been shot and injured by police for driving a
farm vehicle after the government seized the huge farm for
Joseph Kapfidze who was doing coordinating duties in Mutare
for the sister organisation Mitchell and Mitchell was detained over night at
Mutare Central Police without treatment until the following day.
President Joseph Msika's authority faced a test this week after state-owned
Agricultural Development Authority (Arda) workers refused to vacate the hotly
disputed farm, backed by ruling party lightweights.
After meeting a
70-member delegation comprising 28 chiefs and their headmen at his
Munhumutapa offices last Thursday, Msika is understood to have issued a
directive to Manicaland provincial governor Major-General Mike Nyambuya
to ensure that Arda vacates Kondozi Farm.
Arda has demanded all the
Kapfidza was driving in Mutare town when police spotted
the Kondozi vehicle and he was stopped. A police spokesman said Kapfidze
refused a police instruction to stop and ignored warning shots before he was
shot on the ankle through the driver's door.
But witnesses deny the
police version of events. They said the police shot at the car and when it
stopped they approached it and went on to assault him although it was clear
to them that he was injured.
"Arda guards and some militia also kicked
him all over his body in the presence of the police," a witness
Subsequently Kapfidza was taken to Mutare Central Police where he
was detained over night. He was only released the following day through
the intervention of Trust Maanda a human rights lawyer based in Mutare.
Kapfidza was released without charge because it had come out that he was
driving a company car.
The Herald today published a story suggesting
the car was stolen.
"The man was arrested after police officers
investigating the disappearance of assets at the farm after the Agricultural
Rural Development Authority took over the property, spotted him driving the
car near Mutare General Hospital," the paper said in it's distorted version
Australia accused By Jon Pierik April 30,
2004 CRICKET AUSTRALIA was under savage attack last night after England boss
Tim Lamb accused Australia of being the primary force in introducing
heavy sanctions against countries which refused to tour
English newspaper The Guardian reported yesterday that
Australia had ensured countries risked not only a hefty fine of almost $3
million but would be suspended for 12 months from the ICC if they resisted
visiting the troubled African nation.
It was claimed Australia had
hatched the plan the night before last month's two-day ICC meeting in
The decision was subsequently endorsed by the ICC executive
Australia wanted suspension measures introduced to ensure England
toured Zimbabwe later this year.
It's believed this decision would
help strengthen its links with cashed-up India which is a firmer backer of
But Lamb's comments were thunderously dismissed by CA
"That is a load of crap," said one high-level board
"There is no semblance of truth in that at all."
general manager public affairs Peter Young said the board had no
"As far as board meetings are concerned, we have an
absolute view that we don't talk about what happens in board meetings," he
The high-level board member suggested hefty fines had been in place
for about three years - which has been the case - while suspension for
not fulfilling tours without an adequate excuse had long been part of the
But had the latter been the case, England would have
been suspended for not travelling to Zimbabwe in last year's World
Lamb, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board,
was adamant Australia had sided against its traditional ally.
certain members of the ICC, who were concerned about England not completing
the tour [to Zimbabwe], discussed what could be done and saw a change in
regulations as rather an elegant way of putting pressure on England," he
Harare - Being a mayor in Zimbabwe these days is no easy
President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party is increasingly
clamping down on opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) mayors in
Zimbabwe's urban centres.
The mayors believe there is a grand plan
being orchestrated by Zanu PF to usurp the control of the urban centres -
which have been the MDC's stronghold - ahead of the 2005 parliamentary
The MDC seized control of Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls,
Gweru, Masvingo, Gwanda and Kariba in the last municipal
The ruling party has already created the position of governors
for Zimbabwe's two largest cities, Harare and Bulawayo, which analysts say
are meant to neutralise the powers of the popularly elected executive
'It's a political issue'
In Harare, Zimbabwe's capital,
Harare executive mayor engineer Elias Mudzuri was last week dismissed by
President Robert Mugabe for "incompetence". His dismissal had been engineered
by Ignatius Chombo is the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
Even in the eastern border town of Mutare, there are
signs of a campaign aimed at getting rid of elected mayor Misheck Kagurabadza
and replace him with a government-appointed commission.
are building up very fast. Last week, a group of people wanted an audience
with Chombo and demanded they mayor's resignation," said a senior Mutare
Already at the Civic Centre, which houses the Mutare
mayor, names of two senior Zanu PF officials are being touted as the possible
appointees of the new commission to run the affairs of the city.
Kagurabadza said the events in Mutare, where the council consists of 17 MDC
councillors and one Zanu PF member, were worrying and detrimental to
the development of the eastern border city.
"Initially I thought it
was purely a civic matter which we could address amicably but I have realised
that it is political. Their demands are unrealistic and this not good for the
development of the city," said Kagurabadza.
Analysts said the
demonstrations were an attempt by Zanu PF to create "imaginary
disgruntlement" by residents of Mutare and this would give Chombo an excuse
to intervene on the pretext of trying to rescue the situation.
handles tied with wire
According to the MDC information department, more
than five thousand Zanu PF supporters blocked Kagurabadza from entering his
office on Monday. The demonstrators were carrying a coffin inscribed "MDC
rest in peace" and "Kagurabadza rest in peace" and demanded the resignation
of the mayor and council to pave way for the appointment of a commission to
run the City of Mutare. Police were alerted, but did not do anything to move
away the mob.
At about 08.30 on Tuesday morning, more than a HUNDRED
demonstrators, allegedly escorted by the police, tied the handles of the door
to the mayor's office with wire to prevent him from entering and started
assaulting suspected MDC supporters, with two - Huggins Kashiri and Nyasha
Katsidzira - having been seriously injured.
The same situation
occurred last week in the resort town of Kariba which fell into the hands of
the MDC last year. Zanu PF supporters converged on the council offices and
blocked the mayor from going in. They however
Bulawayo executive mayor and vice-president of the
Urban Councils' Association, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, said although Chombo had
not threatened him with dismissal, events on the ground were leading to a
collision with Mugabe's appointee, Bulawayo governor Cain
Ndabeni-Ncube said Mathema was trying to create conditions for
the two to clash, a development which would be "used against me by the
Worried about larger cities
Masvingo executive mayor
Alois Chaimiti said it was possible any MDC mayor could face the same fate as
"However, it appears they are not very worried about the small
local authorities like us but larger cities, where their influence matters
most," said Chaimiti.
Blessing Dhlakama, the Chegutu executive mayor
has on several occasions been threatened with eviction from council offices
by Zanu PF supporters, with his deputy, a Zanu PF stalwart, assuming the
office of mayor. The deputy, despite being found guilty of embezzling over
Z$50 million of council funds mid-last year, was allowed by government to
remain in office.
He was only arrested recently on the orders of the
recently appointed anti-corruption minister, Didymus Mutasa.
Harare, Chombo has already appointed a team led by Jameson Kurasha to monitor
the city's service delivery system. Ironically, Kurasha headed the committee
that probed Mudzuri's activities at Town House.
Mudzuri, dismissed by
Mugabe on allegations of mismanagement and corruption last week, had been on
suspension since April 29 last year.
The swoop on mayors by Zanu PF comes
amid reports that the ruling party was enticing poverty-stricken MDC
councillors to resign en masse from the opposition party in return for houses
and monetary rewards before the 2005 general elections.