PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO
We have a fundamental
right to freedom of expression!
First day of
Christmas: ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’
November 1984, the now infamous song, ‘Do They know It's Christmas?' was
recorded at Air Studio in London, and featured a cross-section of some of the
most successful British rock and pop acts of the time. Band Aid was
effort between two friends – Bob Geldof and Midge Ure – this ‘modern carol’ was
a fund and awareness-raising venture brought about in response to heartbreaking
events unfolding in Ethiopia. Michael Burk, the journalist who called the
world’s attention to the Ethiopian crisis in a report aired on the 23 October
1984, described the scenes of starvation and suffering in that country as a
‘biblical famine existing in the twentieth century’. Aid workers described it as
“the closest thing to hell on earth.”
years on Band Aid is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with the re-release
of ‘Do they know its Christmas?’ sung this time by a group of musicians who are
mostly too young to remember the original Band Aid initiative. As Christmas
rolls around this year, many Zimbabweans find that they are too busy trying to
survive that they have very little to celebrate.
will be releasing an article for every one of the twelve days of Christmas,
starting today, the 26 December. Our articles will remind you that our country
has a tradition of state imposed starvation – a tradition that ironically began
in the same year that Band Aid was born. We will share the voices and
experiences of some of the most vulnerable people in our community, voices which
come from different social and cultural backgrounds, and we will describe to you
how food shortages impact on their lives. Twenty years on, while Band Aid
celebrates its anniversary and reflects on the meaning and impact of Band Aid on
the world, many Zimbabweans are living through a repeat of the cold indifference
displayed by the state twenty years ago.
regardless of political or religious persuasion, is at its core a moral issue
and we ask that you put aside your political beliefs, and consider what many
Zimbabweans are experiencing today in that light. State imposed starvation,
which sets out to terrorise people through the threat of a slow tortuous death,
or worse, through the threat of witnessing the slow death of their family, their
children, is an unspeakably evil act.
twelfth day of Christmas, 6 January, Epiphany day, is the day that Christians
believe that the three wise men presented their gifts to the new born Christ.
Regardless of your own personal faith, we ask that you share in the symbolism of
this day and to give a gift of time to those in our community too isolated or
vulnerable to speak for themselves.
years ago the Ethiopian people were fortunate to have present a journalist like
Michael Buerk to call the world’s attention to their plight. They were lucky to
have aid workers assisting them, aid workers who were able to testify to the
horrors of their experience. Zimbabweans cannot hope that a talented foreign
journalist will write an article that gives the world a wake-up call, because
the ZANU-PF government has banned foreign journalists from freely entering the
country. Local journalists risk criminal charges if they try to speak the truth;
besides, where would they publish? Most dissenting media voices have long ago
been shut down. Suffering communities may hope that concerned aid workers will
be present to witness and call attention to their experiences, but this hope
will fade fast when the new NGO bill comes into force and aid workers are
expelled from the country.
has taken pains to point out that the people who supported Band Aid in 1984 are
now the same people who are in power today, and that the possibility of a
political solution is therefore better than before:
"More than raising money, you make a
political demand this time, because these people in power know what's going on.
Twenty years ago we raised an issue, now we're raising it again, and I hope we
can finally deliver."
Ethiopian experience that gave rise to the Band Aid phenomena is an experience
that many Zimbabweans shared at the same time as them, that many Zimbabweans are
experiencing now twenty years later as a result of the politicization of food.
It’s an experience that many more of us are likely to experience in the future
as food shortages increase. This is our story and in this information-starved
community it falls to us to be our own storytellers.
2: 27th December 2004
Tomorrow’s article will describe Zimbabwe’s
long history of using food as a political tool to control and intimidate a
Second Day of Christmas: Hunger as a
Reporter: 27 December 2004
In the 21st century when the Zimbabwe government
uses food deprivation as a means of silencing dissent, it is reviving an
established practice of political control. Zimbabwe is a drought-prone country,
and drought strikes most frequently in the western provinces of Matabeleland.
The years 1982, 83 and 84 produced typically poor harvests or no harvests at
all, and the rural population learned to depend on drought relief in the form of
food aid from relatives in town or from distribution networks established by the
Social Welfare Department and the churches. But in Matabeleland North, from
January to April 1983 and in Matabeleland South, from February to April 1984, a
curfew imposed by government blocked the movement of people and goods, including
food. It is not a coincidence that these months were chosen – they are the
months before the harvest, when granaries in Matabeleland villages are almost
always empty, and the people would suffer the most.
The curfew was a deliberate and calculated policy
to starve the people of Matabeleland into submission, at a time when government
claimed to be fighting a dissident rebellion. The fiction that people were
supporting “dissidents” was an excuse to punish them for daring to vote for ZAPU
and terrorise them into abandoning their traditional support for the party led
by Joshua Nkomo,
Control of food was not new in Zimbabwe. In 1896,
the British had tried to quell Ndebele resistance in the Matopos by starving
them out; Smith’s army and police had tried something similar and for the same
reasons. However, the massacres and starvation of rural people in Matabeleland
in the 1980’s far surpassed anything of its kind perpetrated by Smith. While
these atrocities failed to induce the people to vote for ZANU PF in the
elections of 1985, in the end the ZAPU leadership capitulated and joined with
ZANU at the end of 1987 in order to stop the punishment of their
A government that is capable of massacring and
starving their own people once can certainly do it again. So we should not have
been surprised when, feeling its back against the wall and its position
threatened after the 2000 parliamentary elections, ZANU PF again resorted to the
use of starvation to secure its political position.
In the 1980’s, artificial food shortages were
created in rural Matabeleland by prohibiting distribution. In the period
leading up to the 2002 Presidential election, genuine food shortages resulted
from government policies. First, production was seriously reduced by the
fast-track land “reform”, secondly a black market was created by uneconomic
price controls, and thirdly, illegal exports were encouraged by artificial
foreign exchange rates. It is doubtful whether government deliberately induced
these food shortages, but once they were there, they seized the opportunity to
exploit them for their own political gain.
Since 2002 Zimbabwe has depended on foreign food
aid, as chaos on the land combined with drought caused repeated declines in food
production. Each election, whether for local government, for the President, or
for parliamentary by-elections, has seen ZANU PF trying to control the supply of
food to those who have none. Different tactics have been used: only those with
ZANU PF cards are allowed to buy; food is supplied to ZANU PF functionaries for
sale; shops or grinding mills owned by opposition supporters are closed; or the
maize is stacked by a polling station and handed to voters with threats of what
will happen if the results do not show a ZANU PF victory. As we approach the
2005 election, the campaign is already in full swing. Rural people are being
told that their votes will be known and a community that votes for the
opposition will not receive food supplies.
Manipulation of food supplies has now become a
major tool for controlling the population, for wearing down their resistance to
ZANU PF. From temporary aberrations during time of war or civil disturbance,
the political use of food has become a permanent condition of rural life in much
of Zimbabwe. Failed land and agricultural policies ensure that there will be
food shortages for the foreseeable future, and as we lurch from one election to
the next ZANU PF uses control of food as a desperate means to cling to power.
What had been a frightful but fading memory from the past has now become a
permanent recurring condition of life in ZANU PF’s Zimbabwe. Unless there is
change soon, it will also become a constant fear for the future
Day 3: 28th December
Tomorrow’s article focuses on Belinda and her grandmother. Belinda’s
grandmother faced enormous challenges in the fight to keep Belinda
day of Christmas: Belinda’s Story
28 December 2004
Belinda was 6 weeks old when her plight
was first brought to the attention of AIDSCARE (the fictitious name of an
NGO). Belinda’s Mother had died of AIDS
soon after Belinda was born and she was now being cared for by her
grandmother. Sadly, Belinda herself was
Belinda’s grandmother was tearful and
agitated and in a really desperate state when she approached AIDSCARE for
assistance. In order to assist her and Belinda, a qualified nurse and a social
welfare worker had to visit them both at home and assess their situation first
hand. What they found there was more depressing than they had expected. There
was no food at all in the house and Belinda and her grandmother had no decent
bedding to speak of. Belinda’s grandmother was a widow with no source of income
whatsoever, dependent solely on “Good Samaritans” for food. Many times they both
went without anything to eat. The investigating team found that Belinda had been
without Baby Formula for some time as her grandmother couldn’t afford to buy her
any. She was severely dehydrated and had to be hospitalised immediately so she
could get fluid intravenously. AIDSCARE provided Belinda’s grandmother with the
ambulance fee so she could be taken to the hospital. The grandmother was
extremely grateful for this assistance.
Getting Belinda to the Hospital wasn’t
the end of the story. Upon arrival, the grandmother was told she had to provide
her own “Drip Set” (cannula, tubes and fluid bag) as well as Baby Formula during
Belinda’s hospital stay. The poor woman didn’t even have enough money to buy
herself an orange, let alone a drip set and Baby Formula. She was beside
herself, so she came back to AIDSCARE to
explain the hospital requirements. Their
staff went to the hospital and confirmed from the Sister in charge of the
Children’s Ward, that indeed patients were required to provide their own drips
and formula – which they found truly unbelievable. As AIDSCARE
does not handle any cash (except for ambulance fees and bus fares), they
gave Belinda’s grandmother food vouchers so she could buy formula for the baby.
They also took a small collection among themselves to buy the Drip Set for
When Belinda was discharged from the
hospital a week later the AIDSCARE staff followed up with a home visit to see
how she was doing. They found Belinda’s
grandmother was in serious need of counselling.
They were able to provided her with enough food vouchers, mealie meal and
beans to sustain her and the child for a while. They also provided them with
blankets and warm clothing, which are regularly donated to AIDSCARE by
As Belinda was HIV positive, she tended
to get sores from time to time that needed to be dressed regularly. Her
benefactors made arrangements for her to get free treatment from the nearest
One morning when the medical/social
welfare team delivered food, blankets and clothing to Belinda’s grandmother they
found her looking rather dejected, so they decided to sit with her a while. In a
2 hour counselling session she told the nurse and social welfare worker that she
had often contemplated suicide. She said that what prevented her from taking her
own life was the thought that she would leave behind a helpless Belinda (even
though she knew deep down that Belinda would not live long). After talking for a
while the grandmother recovered her composure . She asked her visitors to pray
with her, and after that she promised them she would never think of suicide
Belinda died at the age of 3 years. Her grandmother
now lives all alone, but at least she receives a regular gift of food from those who care. – and they are
planning on visiting her again this festive season.
29th December 2004
Tomorrow’s article is a first hand account of
appalling conditions in Zimbabwe’s prisons. Zimbabwe’s prisoners live in very
unhygienic conditions and are expected to survive on hardly any food at
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Daily Mirror, 28 December
Chiyangwa alive - expected to appear in court today
Ostentatious Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa, reportedly in the
hands of state security agents for undisclosed crimes, is expected to appear in
court today – a development that dispels recent rumours in the capital that the
Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman could have died. Highly placed
sources told The Daily Mirror that Chiyangwa – whose last public appearance was
on December 15 when he presented a budget review report in Parliament – would be
dragged to the courts today where charges against him would be preferred. The
gaudy Chiyangwa, also chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Budget and International Trade, left Parliament before the august House
adjourned, and disappeared into thin air. Ever since his disappearance, his
family and lawyer Llyod Mhishi were either unprepared or uninformed about his
whereabouts, sending tongues wagging that the showy businessman could indeed be
in the hands of the State for a very serious crime. The outspoken Chiyangwa has
been conspicuous by his absence in the political arena, giving credence to
reports that he had disappeared. He has not been attending Parliament since
December 15 and was not at the newly elected party’s central committee meeting
where he is an ex-officio member.
Speculation has been rife that Chiyangwa
played a tacit role in the unsanctioned Tsholotsho meeting but later performed a
double summersault in the eleventh hour, after realising the game plan and the
environment had changed. The indaba, reportedly convened by Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo alongside Zanu PF Midlands chairman July Moyo, was meant to change
the party’s presidium which could have seen Parliamentary Speaker Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Thenjiwe Lesabe and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa assuming the
presidency, while Moyo would have taken over as the party’s secretary for
administration. However, sources said, it was highly unlikely that Chiyangwa
could have been arrested for the Tsholotsho allegations unless, as speculation
has it that there could be something more sinister he is suspected of having
done. If he appears in court as sources claim, this will quell rumours of death
or insanity, which have been making the rounds in the capital over the past few
Although the police and his relatives have vehemently denied that
Chiyangwa was arrested, speculation over his whereabouts was fuelled by a recent
interview in which his lawyer was quoted as saying his client "was in control of
the situation", without elaborating on the circumstances surrounding his
client’s whereabouts. His scheduled court appearance comes in the wake of last
Friday’s appearance of four other men who went missing about the same time –
namely banker Tendai Matambanadzo, Zanu PF deputy security chief Kenny Karidza,
Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo, and Itai Marchi. The four
were reportedly remanded in custody to tomorrow in proceedings the Press and the
suspects’ relatives were barred. Asked about Chiyangwa’s possible court
appearance today, police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka expressed ignorance on
the matter. "I do not know anything. Did you go to his home and see that he is
truly not there?" asked Mandipaka. Mandipaka also professed ignorance on the
court appearance of the other four men, alleging that he was unaware of their
arrest. Harare lawyer Selby Hwacha, representing Dzvairo and Matambanadzo, told
The Daily Mirror last week that no one had informed them that his clients had
been arrested and what the charge was. He said he was surprised that they had
appeared in court without legal representation – a legitimate expectation.
Zimbabwe squad hit by tour delay
cricket team has been delayed en route to Bangladesh following the tsunami which
devastated large areas of south Asia.
The series pits Test cricket's two weakes teams against each
The team were due to catch a connecting flight from Calcutta to the
Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, on Tuesday.
It is now hoped they will be able to leave India, with their first game due
to start on Saturday.
The tour will see Zimbabwe play two Tests, their first since May, and five
They are still relying on a young, inexperienced squad. led by wicket-keeper
Tatenda Taibu, and have not won a game since beating Bangladesh in a one-day
series on home soil nine months ago.
Bangladesh, however, have high hopes of winning a Test match for the first
time since being granted Full Member status by the International Cricket Council
They defeated in India in a limited overs international last Sunday, and
although they lost the series decider 24 hours later, it did not take the gloss
off their achievement.
"I feel proud of them. We sometimes pushed them [India] back and there were a
lot of positive things to enjoy.
"I am very much more hopeful for the upcoming Zimbabwe tour," said coach Dav
AFP, 28 December
Zim jazz pioneers still at it
Neither age nor adversity have worn down the talent, creativity or
determination of the Cool Crooners, the seasoned veterans who make up Zimbabwe's
oldest township jazz group. Most members started playing jazz in the 1950s, and
though now in their 70s, they can kick up their heels high during live shows
while staging spectacular dances. Their voices are still strong and clear. "At
times people are surprised to see old people like us singing," said Cool Crooner
member Abel Sithole (70). The Cool Crooners originated in the black working
class township of Makokoba in Zimbabwe's second largest city of Bulawayo, 459km
southwest of the capital Harare. They call their music 'township jazz', because
it emanated from the Makokoba township, Bulawayo's oldest ghetto. Their music is
a fusion of American blues, western jazz blended with African rhythm and
traditional vernacular chants born in one of the country's poorest suburbs.
Sithole said their music is influenced by South African artists such as the
Manhattan Brothers and Miriam Makeba. "Our music is based on marabi, which is
what we grew up listening to," said Sithole, referring to a 1920s music style
that arose in Johannesburg's slumyards blending Afro-American ragtime and
The Crooners have survived in a country where music until recently was
not considered a profession from which one could earn a decent living. People
who turned to music instead of other professions were considered lazy, wayward
or simply delinquents. Sithole said a strong passion for music has kept them
going and in good shape as well. "I could have been playing music for much
longer than 48 years but my father was against it," said Sithole, who has been
playing jazz since 1956. "I think it is the determination to accomplish what was
disturbed by the war of liberation which keeps me going," said Sithole. Sithole
joined the guerrilla war and went for training to fight against British colonial
rule in the 1960s. He was captured in 1969 and sentenced to death, later
commuted to 18 years imprisonment. He served 10 years and was freed in a general
amnesty at independence in 1980. On release from prison, he had the choice to
join either the police or the army, but "I refused and carried on with my
music". "I love music and it's what I know better," he said adding "and if it's
standard jazz, I can sing anything. I can perform with any group even without
practising," said Sithole.
The group originally started singing separately in
the 1950s as two different formations, the Cool Four and the Golden Rhythm
Crooners, and teamed up only in the 1990s to form the Cool Crooners. Although
singing for decades, the Crooners were quite obscure until they were
'discovered' by French film maker Patrick Meunier a few years ago when he was
doing a documentary in Bulawayo. The group, consisting of Lucky Tondhlana (65),
Eric Juba (54), Timothy Sekane (72) and Sithole (70), has now been able to
record two CDs - one of them this month in France. The exposure they have
enjoyed recently has seen them playing not only in many more places in Zimbabwe,
but also touring countries such as Canada, the United States, France,
Switzerland, Tunisia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Tanzania and
New Challenges for the President in 2005: Human Rights in Africa
By most accounts 2004 was a
disappointment for Human Rights in Africa. Violence flared up in both the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Cote D’Ivorie, With Peacekeepers
actually getting involved in the strife on more than one occasion. The situation
within Zimbabwe showed no sign of improvement let alone being resolved. Finally
the African Union had to send troops to the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur
to try and end what the US Congress found to be
Despite the violence depicted above there were
some positive developments on the continent. There were Democratic Elections in
Niger, Namibia and most recently in Mozambique that resulted in peaceful changes
of Governments. But despite the positive developments and the interest in the
critical situations mentioned above there is a situation that continues to fall
off the radar of many Western Governments. But there is growing interest from
China in the dark Continent.
in Northern Uganda is what some in Congress have stated to be a crisis. There
has been an insurgency in the country that has been going on since 1986. Both
the Ugandan Government and the main Rebel Force the Lord’s Resistance Army have
used Child Soldiers to replenish their ranks. There have been some serious
allegations that instead of repatriating Child Soldiers that were ‘rescued” from
the ranks of the LRA the Ugandan Military is conscripting them. This has led to
two investigations being launched into the Human Rights Situation there. One is
a Criminal Investigation by the Newly formed International Criminal Court. This
targets mainly the Acts committed by the LRA. Mostly this involves the use of
Child Soldiers. But there is an investigation taking place into the situation by
Congress. The Congressional investigation has major implications for some of the
President’s agenda. First Uganda is a member of the international criminal
court. This Administration is no fan of that body and Uganda received a Waiver
in order to receive Military Aid. Also Uganda is a key ally in the War on
Terror. The US Military has refurbished the infamous Entebbe airfield at a cost
of Millions of Dollars for use as a regional staging base.
But with these steps that have been taken there is a crucial question that has
yet to be answered by the Authorities in Kampala, Washington and the Hague.
What will happen to the Acholi People? This is a group of people that have
been caught in the middle of the conflict since it began in 1986. They have
suffered abuses and been targeted for violence from both Government and Rebel
forces. They have been residents in IDP (Internally Displaced People) Camps.
Recently the authorities in Kampala announced that they will be closing the
camps soon. If or when this occurs these people will bee left to the whim of the
combatants. The Government had been providing Security for the camps. Unless a
Peace Accord is reached and ensures the safety of these people than the Acholi
will continue to suffer.
This coming March will be the
latest installment in the tragic saga of what appears to be the implosion of a
once-thriving country. Once again the world will cast an eye of scrutiny on
Zimbabwe as it holds Mid-Term Elections for Parliament. The ruling ZANU-PF
(Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front) has passed a new slate of laws
that seem to ensure its victory. These new laws limit the impact of those NGOs
which have been providing food, legal advice and Medical Care for the destitute
of that troubled state. The lndependent Media continue to suffer as a new law
will charge them with Sedition for showing Government Mistakes. There have been
allegations by several Human Rights Groups that the current regime has been
using food as a political weapon. Talk about a 100 day honeymoon for the
These will not be the only instances of crisis that
the President will have to address in his Second Term. The State and Defense
Departments, Congress and others will be forced to pay attention to events in
Africa for this term. The Central African Republic will have elections this
spring. The Plight of Abused Women continues to grow in interest. Calls for
Democracy grow in Swaziland. Mr. President how can I help you?
ZIMBABWE: Govt moves to stem health sector brain drain
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 28 December (IRIN) - The government of
Zimbabwe hopes to
stem the tide of medical professionals leaving the country
through a new
bill that allows for public sector health workers' salaries to
separately from other civil servants.
The Health Services Bill,
which passed through parliament last week,
effectively removed all health
service personnel from the employ of the
Public Service Commission (PSC) and
placed them under a yet to be
appointed Health Services
However, the Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) has warned that
gazetted bill may not be enough to improve conditions of service in
health sector, as long as the ministry of health does not control its
Government has hailed the bill as a breakthrough in its
bid to improve
conditions of service and remuneration in the health sector
and stop the
exodus of qualified health personnel from the
Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa told IRIN
Health Services Board, once established, will oversee the
conditions of service of health care workers.
expect the board to improve conditions of service and renumeration for
health staff, professional and non-professional. The problem we had
PSC is that they employ all civil servants and as such cannot
attend to the
special needs that have developed in the health sector over
the years," he
"There was trouble, as all civil servants would demand inclusion
the ministry called for salary hikes and other improvements [for
sector staff]. It was even impossible to reward staff by way of
as that decision lay with the PSC as their employer," Parirenyatwa
"The new board shall be directly responsible for all staffing and
matters in the health sector. We aim for an overall improvement of
sector so that we can be able to attract and retain professional
Judging by the improvements we are planning on, brain drain will soon
thing of the past," Parirenyatwa added.
Billy Rigava, the
president of ZIMA told IRIN he was unconvinced that the
Health Services Board
would be able to improve conditions of service for
"I do not
think it is correct to say the mere creation of a board will
conditions. People are leaving because of poor remuneration and
service. The new board may make recommendations for
improvements but, like
the PSC, they will still have to beg the ministry
of finance for money,"
"That alone clearly [implies] that it will not have the
power to implement
its own decisions. It is common knowledge that government
money. So the creation of the board is a non-starter because there
still be the usual delays that will inevitably lead to
strikes and professionals will continue to leave the
He said an ideal situation would be the
incorporation of a representative
of the finance ministry to advise the new
board and ensure that any
budgetary needs are speedily attended to. The new
bill also classifies the
health sector as an essential service, meaning
employees cannot strike.
The ministry proposed the bill in December last
year at the height of a
two-month strike by hospital doctors and nurses. The
proposal drew heavy
criticism at the time from bodies representing health
they feared that it would deny them the right to protest
and conditions of service.
Efforts to get a comment
from the Hospital Doctors Association of Zimbabwe
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THE REMOVALS OF ZIMBABWEANS
The British government announced on November 16 that it
was lifting the suspension on returns to Zimbabwe. We have always argued since
then that it was not safe to remove any Zimbabwean just 3 months away from the General
election set for March 2005. The Zimbabwean government is paranoid and will
treat anyone deported with suspicion.
Our fears have since then been confirmed by an article titled “Be wary
of UK deportation threats: Moyo”, which came out of the Zimbabwean government
mouthpiece the herald. The Zanu PF propagandist Moyo went on to say that “the
threats by the united Kingdom to deport about 10 000 Zimbabwean might be a
cover to deploy elements trained in sabotage, intimidation and violence to
destabilize the country before and during next March parliamentary elections”
Our fears are also shared by people in Zimbabwe such as
the MDC MP Job Sikhala who asked the minister of Justice Chinamasa to give
assurances that those who were going to be deported would be safe when they
arrive home. The MDC MP got a cosmetic answer from Chinamasa who went on to say
that “the chickens are coming home to roost. It’s wrong to suggest that they
went there as victims of torture, but the truth is that there were economic
refugees. We accept all our citizens; they are still Zimbabweans.” The
following day the propagandist of this regime made all of us more worried when
he went on to say that, “The MDC MP Sikhala might know something more than
meets the eye. This in considering that just in June, Blair said he has been
working with the MDC to effect regime change in Zimbabwe. So we have a right to
ask whether these would be deportees are mercenaries of regime change or plain
law abiding Zimbabweans coming home after having been abused and dehumanized in
Britain. Their treatment will depend on which is which”
There is no prize for guessing what will happen to the
Zimbabweans that are going to be removed by the UK government. The British
government has now maintained a policy of achieving a big number of removals
without giving any consideration to the safety of the people there are
removing. It also contradicts itself as summarized by Professor Terence Ranger.
(President of the Britain Zimbabwe Society and Trustee of Asylum welcome) Professor
Ranger wrote in his article the following:
“The new policy makes no pretence that Zimbabwe has become
place since 2002. The Government says that there has been no change
'in our opposition to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe' and that it
will work to 'restore democracy so that all Zimbabweans can in time
return safely to help build a prosperous and stable Zimbabwe'. In the
meantime, however, it proposes to send many Zimbabweans back to an
unstable Zimbabwe in a state of economic collapse and with continuing
human rights abuses. What has changed since 2002 is not Zimbabwe but
the British political climate. In 2002 Zimbabwe was much in the news
because of the take-over of white-owned land. Even the Conservative
Party supported the suspension of removals. Now Zimbabwe has dropped
out of the news headlines. Few British politicians care much any
longer about what happens to black Zimbabweans.
But those of who do care wish to register a strong protest against
the resumption of removals and to call for the re-instatement of just
processes of assessment of asylum claims.”
is obvious that the British government is trying to remove Zimbabwean by any
means necessary. We call upon you all to show your solidarity by supporting us
in stopping these removals. To those
who choose silence, let me adapt the Rev Niemoller's famous words. FIRST THEY
CAME FOR THE NDEBELE, BUT I WAS NOT A NDEBELE SO I DID NOT SPEAK OUT. Then they
came for the farmers, but I was not a farmer, so I did not speak out. Then they
came for the farm workers, homosexuals and the trade unionists, but I was
neither, so I remained silent. Then they came for the journalists, but I was
not a journalist so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was
no one left to speak out for me. STOP THE REMOVALS NOW!!!
THE UK ZIMBABWE COMMUNITY IS ORGANISING A DEMONSTRATION ON THE 29TH
January 2005 AT THE ZIMBABWE HOUSE FROM 1300HRS TO 1500HRS. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS
DEMO AND THE PETITION TO THE HOME OFFICE.
For more information please email us on
Article compiled by Dr Brighton Chireka a Zimbabwean
in the UK.
Petition to the Home Office
Please make sure that you are not sending home Zimbabweans whose lives are at risk because of their support for Zimbabwean opposition parties or because they are perceived to be opponents of Zanu-PF, the ruling regime. The UK Government’s announcement that it is to reinstate forced removals of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers, after a two-year moratorium, has caused great alarm among the Zimbabwean community in the UK. It understands the problem caused by bogus asylum seekers, but begs the Home Office to ensure that the many genuine victims of torture, rape and violence are protected, as well as those whose political activism has put them in jeopardy.
firstname.lastname@example.org website: www.zimvigil.co.uk
[ This article was printed from Sundaytimes.co.za - home
of the Sunday Times, South Africa. ]
Lady Joyce in charge while Bob's away
Tuesday December 28, 2004 15:18 - (SA)
HARARE - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has
left for Malaysia for his annual vacation, leaving the country's newly appointed
vice-president Joyce Mujuru in charge, state radio said.
the first woman to act as interim head of state and will be in charge until
January 8, when Mugabe returns.
She was appointed second vice-president
at the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu PF)
congress in Harare earlier this month, replacing the late Simon Muzenda.
Mugabe and his family, who left Harare late on Monday, will holiday with
Zimbabwe's Paralympic gold medallist Elliot Mujaji, who won a vacation with the
first family after he returned from the October Paralympic Games in Greece in
Mugabe, who is under European Union and American travel
sanctions, has in recent years vacationed in Malaysia. Earlier,
Mugabe and his family took their yearly break in Europe and would normally make
a stopover in London.
Zimbabwe's Mugabe Names Female VP Acting Head-of-State
Officials say Mr. Mugabe left Harare late Monday to
travel to Malaysia, and is expected to return early next month.
The state-run Herald newspaper says Vice President
Mujuru will serve in his absence, becoming the first woman to hold the nation's
Ms. Mujuru was approved as one of Zimbabwe's two vice
presidents during a ruling party conference earlier this month. She had served
as water minister and fought in the country's guerrilla war for independence in
In an interview with South African television on
Monday, Ms. Mujuru said she may seek Zimbabwe's presidency in 2008 elections,
when Mr. Mugabe is due to retire.
Some information for this report provided by AFP,
Reuters, Sapa-DPA, Herald, FBIS-SABC.
Zimbabwean gov't calls for planting more trees to rebuild ozone layer |
HARARE, Dec. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- The Zimbabwean government on Tuesday
called on the country's farmers to take advantage of the falling rains to plant
more trees, thus contributing to global efforts to rebuild the ozone layer which
is being depleted by toxic emissions.
Abednigo Marufu, acting assistant general manager of the Forestry
Commission of Zimbabwe, said farmers should also plant more trees as crops from
which they could derive such benefits as fruits, fencing poles, firewood as well
as a beautiful environment.
"Let's plant tress, lots of trees, as much as we can to reduce
temperature changes that cause environment hazards such as droughts and
diseases," he said.
Marufu said recent studies had revealed that temperatures in Zimbabwe
were rising as a result of the depletion of the ozone layer.
He said emissions from factories, motor vehicles, and other industrial
and domestic applications were depleting the ozone layer and endangering all
life forms on the earth.
Since trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, which isneeded by
all life forms, it was therefore important for people toplant them and conserve
existing ones, he said.
The depletion of the ozone layer has seen an increase in the incidence of
droughts throughout the world.
Marufu urged newly resettled farmers to plant woodlots to replace the
trees which they cut for building houses and for firewood.
He also called on urban dwellers to plant fruit trees on their stands,
which they can harvest as well as prune for use as firewood. Enditem
12/27/04 - ZIMBABWE ELECTION
The following is an editorial reflectiing
the views of the United States government:
Zimbabwe will hold
parliamentary elections in March. But President Robert Mugabe and his ruling
ZANU-PF party are making it difficult for those who oppose them. Mr. Mugabe has
served as Zimbabwe's president since 1980. Mismanagement, rampant inflation, and
major abuses of freedom of expression and other human rights have taken their
toll on the economy, which has been in a state of collapse since 2000.
U.S. government and others, including Amnesty International, have commented on
intimidation and fraud in elections held in 2000 and 2002. This month,
Zimbabwe's state radio announced that a commission appointed by President Mugabe
has merged six urban parliamentary seats to form just three. The leading
opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change, won those six districts in
the 2000 general election. Three new voting districts have been created in the
ruling ZANU-PF party's traditional rural strongholds.
Maduku is chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, a group seeking a
new constitution for Zimbabwe. Mr. Maduku says that "ZANU-PF has gained more
seats in areas [where] it is assured of victory."
In addition, the
state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Company, or Z-B-C, has refused to run an
advertisement provided by the Movement for Democratic Change. The refusal, says
Paul Themba Nyathi, a movement spokesman, not only underlines "the extent to
which the Zimbabwe government is failing to comply with the election stands. It
also provides a stark reminder of the fact that Z-B-C is now simply a propaganda
arm of the ruling party."
To get Zimbabwe back on track, the government must
hold free and fair elections in compliance with the election guidelines of the
fourteen-nation Southern African Development Community.
President George W.
Bush says, "Human rights are defined by a constitution, they're defended by an
impartial rule of law, [and] they're secured in a pluralistic society.... We've
got to speak clearly for freedom," says Mr. Bush, "and we will in places
Banks set to conform to international rating framework JANUARY 1 2005 is D-day for all local banks as they will be
expected to be part of the international rating framework as announced by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in its last monetary policy statement review.
Most banks are said to have aligned their operations and systems in line
with this critical requirement although the central bank remained tight-lipped
on how many institutions will comply by January 1 2005.
local banks to conform to international best practice, there will be a mandatory
requirement that each banking institution be subject to an agreed international
rating framework," RBZ governor Dr Gideon Gono said.
The governor said
this measure was meant to enhance the scope for easier brokerage of
correspondent banking relationships between local financial institutions and
their international counterparts.
The governor also called for changes
in the composition of bank boards to avoid situations of undue interference in
banking affairs by, for example, founder members. The call was made against the
backdrop of a number of majority shareholders who also had direct influence on
the day-to-day running of the business.
Because of management
interference from the main shareholders this tended to result in the diversion
of core business.
"In line with international best practice on corporate
governance there is need to strike an appropriate balance between executive and
independent non- executive directors," Dr Gono said.
this, it is now a requirement that boards of banking institutions have majority
of independent non-executive directors."
Under the proposed new set-up
an independent director is a non-executive director who would, among other
things, not be a representative of the shareholder with the ability to influence
Also, the non-executive director would not have been
employed by and has no immediate family members who have been employed by the
financial institution in an executive capacity.
Dr Gono said against the
background of fundamental compromises of sound corporate governance that had
been displayed by some institutions, no shareholder with a more than 10 percent
stake would form part of the institution’s management.
indigenous banks that have been caught on the wrong side of the law the governor
"Our proven support of enthusiasm to have indigenous banks does
not, however, imply that we will cast a blind eye at indiscipline or create a
separate or softer banking code."
"Our view is that being indigenous
imposes an even greater responsibility, obligation and duty towards one’s
country, towards one’s depositors, a shortcoming which a few of our brothers and
sisters running and or owning indigenous institutions seem to have forgotten."
Indigenous banks that have been caught on the wrong side of the law
include Royal Bank, Time Bank, Barbican Bank, Trust Bank, Intermarket with CFX
being the newest kid on the block.
State to finalise constitution of productivity centre GOVERNMENT will next year put the finishing touches on the
constitution of the Zimbabwe National Productivity Centre (ZNPC) to pave way for
The ZNPC aims at enhancing competitiveness,
particularly in the manufacturing sector, to meet the challenges posed by
globalisation and the requirements of the new high-tech methods of doing
It is also expected that the establishment of the centre would
improve the productive capacity of local firms, which have been operating at
below 50 percent capacity due to the harsh economic environ-ment.
thrust would have a strong bias towards raising productivity in agriculture,
considering that Zimbabwe’s economy is largely agro-driven.
becomes operational, it is expected that locally manufactured products would
have a competitive edge on the international market as most have played second
fiddle over the past few years.
ZNPC was established in February this
year under the structures of the Scientific, Industrial Development Centre,
under the auspices of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).
establishment could realise a smooth-sail, at least financially, as the
International Labour Organisation in June this year pledged financial assistance
once the Tripartite Advisory Council was set up.
The establishment of
ZNPC is also an extension of the Government’s unfettered resolve to capacitate
local firms as manifested in the Productive Sector Facility under which several
companies that were almost on their knees were thrown a lifeline.
loans were advanced at concessionary rates to raise productivity, which had
slumped to unsustainable levels and the under-performance of these firms would
have a ripple effect on the entire economy.
Finalisation of modalities
for ZNPC next year is part of a broad range of resolutions drawn up for
sustaining economic recovery gains achieved so far.
The resolutions are
enshrined in the Macro-Economic Recovery Policy Framework 2005-2006 and among
the strategies is the Pricing and Incomes Policy.
Under the strategies
enunciated in the policy framework, there would be an attempt to implement the
Incomes and Prices Stabilisation Protocol in collaboration with partners under
The TNF has since come up with a pricing and incomes restraint
matrix aimed at controlling incomes and price increases since they tend to put
inflationary pressure on the economy if they go uncontrolled.
Macro-Economic Policy Framework also provides guidelines for mutual collective
Similar efforts will be put on other sectors such as
tourism, mining and construction as part of a holistic approach towards
harnessing all strategies critical to the turnaround process.
against that background that the Government has been putting in black and white
guidelines for reviving the economy and with the commitment thus far
demonstrated, 2005 promises to be year of remarkable growth for the economy.
IDC plans to set up tractor manufacturing plant THE Industrial Development Corporation of
Zimbabwe (IDC), with technical assistance from Iran, is planning to set up a
tractor manufacturing plant to support the country’s agricultural activities.
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Dr Joseph Made told New Ziana
that a team of officials from the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority
(Arda) and the Department of Irrigation left the country for Iran last Friday.
The team was expected to "speed up talks on the plans for IDC to set up
a tractor manufacturing plant in the country with the help of Iran", he said.
He said the plant was expected to boost the country’s depleted tractor
The District Development Fund, a parastatal which provides
tillage services to farmers, has 304 tractors in operation out of a fleet of 733
that was set aside for the tillage programme.
The minister said the
country needed not less than 50 000 tractors to complement the agrarian reform
He said an Iranian delegation that consisted of bankers
arrived in the country on Wednesday last week to hold talks on strategies to
increase mechanisation in the agricultural sector.
"We discussed the
need for the country to receive more training on agricultural engineering and
ways to acquire farming equipment from Iran so as to make sure that farmers
utilise the land more efficiently," Dr Made said.
He said since the
country would next year increase the area under irrigation from 75 000 to 150
000 hectares, there was need to boost irrigation capacity.
harvesters, Dr Made said, would also be imported from Iran to enhance efficiency
in the harvesting of wheat, soyabeans, sorghum and maize.
farmers were working around the clock to develop the agricultural industry,
adding that those who did not have machinery for tillage should utilise
Iran has been contributing towards the
development of the country’s agricultural industry and other sectors and
recently gave 20 million euros to Arda for the procurement of equipment. The
land reform programme the Government embarked on in 2000 to rectify colonial
land imbalances has resulted in increased demand for farming equipment.
More than 124 000 families have been resettled so far under the
programme. — New Ziana.
Top Zim bankers arrested for fraud
Zimbabwe authorities have arrested two senior executives of a collapsed local
bank and seven others are being sought for questioning about allegations of
fraud involving $20.5-million (R116.4-million).
The country's central
bank said CFX Bank, a former foreign exchange dealer, was shut down by monetary
authorities on December 18 after allegations of fraud and mismanagement
triggered mass withdrawals from its branches.
All transactions and
accounts at the bank were frozen for six months by an independent
Thousands of depositors were left without cash over the
holidays and hundreds of others faced losing their investments with the
The Reserve Bank said in a statement that investigators
believed CFX executives produced false profit statements to conceal the theft of
at least $20.5-million.
|Thousands of depositors were left without cash over the
"The law enforcement authorities are pursuing the
case," the Reserve Bank said.
CFX deputy chief executive Gary Shoko and
financial director Onias Ndlovu were arrested on Sunday.
for questioning include executives of the computer department after forensic
auditors restored erased computer data.
"A cartel of bank management
existed in the institution and used its influence to conceal financial
irregularities and illegal and unethical deals," the Reserve Bank
It warned that efforts would be stepped up to "smoke out
errant bankers" in Zimbabwe's troubled financial sector.
|It warned efforts would be stepped up to "smoke out
private banks were shut down this year and put under the control of independent
All the suspended banks are among a dozen local banks
licensed by the government as part of efforts to break a banking monopoly
traditionally held by the main foreign-owned international banks.
has reopened and many depositors are still waiting for their
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence
with an inflation rate of 149 percent - the highest in the world - and soaring
Since 2000 the agriculture-based economy has been crippled
by the often violent seizure of thousands of white-owned commercial
Shortages of petrol, food, hard currency and even local banknotes
spurred speculation that gave finance houses a boom but the boom collapsed when
borrowers failed to repay speculative loans. - Sapa-AP
- This article was originally published on page 14 of The
Cape Argus on December 28, 2004
Published on the Web by IOL on 2004-12-28 11:43:00
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004 1:59 AM
Subject: Zimababwe: Breach of SADC
Standards - Issue 9
PROMOTING NON-VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE
We have a fundamental right to freedom of
(Monitoring SADC Protocol Violations)
9. December 20 2004
On August 17 2004, SADC leaders meeting in
Mauritius adopted the SADC Protocol – Principles and Guidelines Governing
Democratic Elections. Zimbabwe, as a member of SADC, also signed the Protocol
and committed itself to implementing its standards.
provides a regular, objective and non-partisan assessment of Zimbabwe’s
compliance with the Protocol. In the run-up to the 2005 Parliamentary Elections
we note any significant failures to adhere to the SADC standards.
DateIncidents/Developments SADC standards breached
STATE MEDIA DENIED
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has
refused to air a political advertisement for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, in direct contravention of the SADC principles
governing the conduct of elections in member countries. The MDC submitted the
advertisement to the state broadcaster for transmission on national radio in
early December, together with a guarantee of payment, but ZBC refused to air
“We submitted this advertisement with the view to having it
broadcast by ZBC radio,” said MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi. “ZBC refused
to flight it on the basis that it has some offensive references to ZANU PF. We
don’t believe that it was turned down because of its content,” added Nyathi.
“We believe that the problem was simply that the Minister of Information,
Jonathan Moyo, and ZANU PF refuse to adhere to the SADC Mauritius
ZBC officials at the state broadcaster’s commercial offices
in Mbare took less than half an hour to make the decision to refuse to transmit
the advertisement, saying that MDC advertisements should not criticise the
government, or make any reference to ZANU PF, which in effect prevents any
campaigning on national radio by opposition parties because they are unable to
challenge either the ruling party’s record or its advertisements.
This effectively leaves the ruling ZANU PF with a total monopoly of the
airwaves on state radio, a powerful means of campaigning. ZANU PF messages are
broadcast daily and in recent elections they have used ZBC vehicles, equipment
and personnel in the remotest rural areas to follow and report on their
(See the report on ZWNEWS:
http://www.zwnews.com/) 2.1.5 Equal opportunity for all political parties
to access the state media
7.4 (Government to) safeguard the
human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of … expression
and campaigning as well as access to the media on the part of all stakeholders
during the electoral process …
13.12.04 MDC ISSUES REPORT ON
Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has issued a catalogue of human
rights abuses perpetrated against its members throughout 2004 by ruling party
supporters and state agents. In a detailed report dated December 11, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) recorded a multitude of abuses including
arbitrary arrests, abductions, rape, disruption of political meetings and
destruction of property.
“The report is an indictment of the activities
of the current government and underlines how political oppression in Zimbabwe
remains a pervasive force,” MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said. Seven
opposition lawmakers, 53 party officials and hundreds of activists have been
subjected to arrest, intimidation, beatings and torture, Nyathi
The catalogue of abuse includes references to the firebombing of
an MDC official’s house in Zvishavane in January, and the violent assault in
Shamva on a suspected opposition supporter who subsequently died of his
(For the full report see www.mdczimbabwe.org . The report
was quoted in News24 (SA) - www.news24.com and repeated in ZWNews the same day
-http://www.zwnews.com/ ) 2.1.3 Political tolerance
Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the
4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful
7.5 (Government to) take all necessary measures and
precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal
practices throughout the whole electoral
16.12.04MDC MEETING BANNED SO ZANU PF MEETING MAY
The police in Harare banned two meetings planned by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, one to pave way for a
ruling ZANU PF party meeting and the other because the police did not want the
MDC meeting at night.
The two meetings were scheduled for December 16 in
the MDC strongholds of Harare and Chitungwiza. They were part of an estimated 5
000 meetings the party wants to hold across the country to conclude discussions
with rank and file members on whether to participate in next year’s general
MDC secretary general Professor Welshman Ncube was unsure
whether the police would also ban the remaining meetings.
police spokesperson, Oliver Mandipaka, refused to reveal to the press the
reasons for banning the meetings. However, letters written to the MDC by the
police indicate that the opposition party was barred from holding a meeting in
Stodart Hall in order to allow a ZANU PF meeting to take place near the
Note: The Public Order and Security Act (POSA), under which the
police regularly ban opposition meetings, merely requires the organisers of any
proposed public gathering to give four days’ written notice to the police
authority, rather than obtaining their permission. The police do not have a
general discretion in the matter but may, for certain specified reasons,
prohibit the meeting. There is nothing in the Act which would authorise them to
prohibit the holding of a meeting of one party in order to give preference to
(See Zim Online: www.zimonline.co.za)
participation of citizens in the political process
4.1.1. Constitutional and legal guarantees of
freedom and rights of the citizens
4.1. 2 Conducive environment for
free, fair and peaceful elections
7.4 (Government to)
safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of
movement, assembly, association, expression and
16.12.04ZANU PF WANTS
BIGGER SHARE OF THE CAKE
The ruling ZANU PF party plans to amend the
Political Parties (Finance) Act in order to give itself a bigger share of state
financial grants at the expense of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
The move is intended to financially cripple the MDC, which can no
longer get funds from foreign donors or even from Zimbabweans living and working
abroad after the government banned foreign-sourced funds for political
“ZANU PF wants the grant allocation to be changed in its
favour. This would hurt the MDC’s pocket besides obviously meaning more cash for
ZANU PF,” an official of the party confided to Zim Online on condition of
It is understood that ZANU PF is seeking 65 per cent of the Z$ 6.5
billion allocated to political parties under the 2005 national budget,
regardless of the percentage of votes it receives in the March ballot. At
present parties are allocated their portion of state funds according to the
percentage of votes they receive in a general election, and on this basis ZANU
PF currently receives 51 per cent of the annual allocation.
report in Zim Online: www.zimonline.co.za)
4.1.6 Where applicable,
funding of political parties must be transparent and based on agreed threshold
in accordance with the laws of the land
17.12.04ZANU PF SUPPORTERS
CLASH IN MDC NO-GO AREA
Armed police had to be called in to break up
violent clashes last week between rival factions of the ruling ZANU PF party at
Magunje rural business centre, about 240 kilometres west of Harare.
Magunje and the surrounding Hurungwe rural district is a no-go area for
the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). In the
past, militant ZANU PF supporters have hunted down and tortured suspected
supporters of the MDC.
Last week however, the ZANU PF factions in the
area turned upon each other. Police chief superintendent Ernest Masuku, in
charge of Hurungwe police station, confirmed that his officers had arrested 22
ZANU PF supporters over clashes there on December 12.
Logs and iron bars
were used in the violent confrontations between supporters of the ZANU PF Member
of Parliament for the area, Phone Madiro, and supporters of Cecelia Gwachiwa,
also a member of the ruling party, who is challenging the
(See the report in Zim Online:
www.zimonline.co.za)2.1.1 Full participation of the citizens in the
2.1.3 Political tolerance
Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of
4.1.2 Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful
7.5 (Government to) take all necessary measures
and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other
illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process, in order to maintain
peace and security
7. 7 (Government to) ensure that adequate
security is provided to all parties participating in the
17.12.04EMBATTLED NGOs PREPARE TO SHUT DOWN
rights and pro-democracy groups met in Harare last week to discuss severance
packages for workers and the disposal of furniture as they face closure after
the ZANU PF-dominated Parliament banned foreign funding for the
The Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bill was rammed through
Parliament against spirited opposition from the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party - and in defiance of an adverse report from
Parliament’s own legal committee. The report advised that the legislation was in
breach of the Constitution in several respects. The Bill will become law
immediately it receives the presidential signature and is gazetted.
NGOs in the country employ about 10 000 people. It is understood that
of the nearly 3 000 civic groups which operate in Zimbabwe, about 40 per cent,
deal with governance-related issues and could face closure if they are prevented
from accessing funds from foreign donors. As a result, uncertainty has gripped
the NGO community, with foreign donors unsure as to whether they should continue
giving support, even to groups that deal only in humanitarian aid.
(See the report in Zim Online: www.zimonline.co.za)2.1.1 Full
participation of the citizens in the political process
Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of the
7.4 (Government to) take all necessary measures
and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other
illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process
PROTESTERS DEMAND MP’s RELEASE
About 100 supporters of Zimbabwe’s main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party protested in Harare on
December 16, demanding the release of parliamentarian Roy Bennett from
The protesters, who appeared to have taken the police by
surprise, marched along Harare’s Nelson Mandela Avenue and along the capital’s
First Street mall before armed police broke up the procession. They sang
anti-government songs and distributed pamphlets reading: “We want our MP back”,
“Free Zimbabwe ! We want our freedom back”.
Some of the protesters
interviewed later vowed to continue the “Free Bennett Campaign” marches until
the government releases him from prison.
Bennett, who is the popular MDC
MP for the almost exclusively black Chimanimani constituency, was jailed in
October for 12 months. ZANU PF parliamentarians used their majority in
Parliament to send the legislator to prison as punishment for shoving Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa during a debate earlier this year. Chinamasa had
referred in the debate to Bennett’s ancestors as thieves and
(See the report in Zim Online: .
www.zimonline.co.za)2.1.6 Equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote
and be voted for
4.1.1 Constitutional and legal guarantees of
freedom and rights of the citizens
On the basis of these
and numerous other daily breaches of the SADC Protocol on Democratic Elections,
it can be seen that the Mugabe regime has yet to show any serious intent to
change its ways or to begin to prepare for anything resembling fair and free
elections. In fact a new raft of oppressive legislation rushed through
Parliament will result in a situation even worse than that which prevailed
during the Parliamentary Elections of 2000 and Presidential Election of 2002,
both of which were heavily criticized by observer missions from the
And the March 2005 Parliamentary Elections are
now a matter of weeks away …..
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