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Zimbabwe Independent

Zanu PF mobs attack Zimind vendors

Forward Maisokwadzo

WAR veterans and Zanu PF supporters have stepped up attacks on vendors
selling independent newspapers in Mashonaland Central as government
intensifies efforts to muzzle the private media.

Mashonaland Central is a Zanu PF stronghold.

Newspaper vendors told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that it was now
risky to sell independent newspapers, particularly in Bindura.
The most targeted papers are the Zimbabwe Independent and the Daily News
whose vendors had resorted to secretly selling the papers in fear of their

Publications Distribution’s circulation officer, Graham Gandari, said their
vendor in Bindura returned the whole batch of the Independent last week
after he was prevented from selling them in the town.

“What surprised us is that state-owned newspapers are sold freely in Bindura
and we still don’t understand why they are targeting the Independent,” he
said. Publications Distribution distributes the Independent and the

A police spokesperson in Bindura confirmed they had arrested three suspects
and fined them in connection with the disruption of newspaper sales.

“Police will ensure that no-one takes the law into their own hands and
people selling newspapers should report to police if barred from selling
them,” he said by telephone on Wednesday.

Publisher and chief executive of the Independent Trevor Ncube said this was
another crude attempt at suppressing the free press, particularly as the
country goes towards the presidential election.
“The government obviously doesn’t want the people to know the truth as
published in our newspapers,” said Ncube.

“This does not in any way dampen our spirit. We are keenly aware of what we
are up against. We will continue the fight to give Zimbabweans unsanitised

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Zimbabwe Independent

Ebrahim blasts fast-track land programme

Staff Writer
SUPREME Court Judge Justice Ahmed Ebrahim differed sharply with his
colleagues on the Supreme Court bench who this week ruled that the
government had re-established the rule of law on the country’s white-owned
farms and had implemented a proper programme of land reform.

In what appears to be a stinging rebuttal of remarks made in the majority
ruling, Justice Ebrahim said it was not the duty of the court to support the
government of the day but to uphold the law.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku together with Justices Misheck Cheda,
Vernanda Ziyambi and Luke Malaba agreed that the government’s land reform
programme was a matter of “social justice and not, strictly speaking, a
legal issue”.

However, Justice Ebrahim, the fifth member of the bench handpicked by
Chidyausiku to hear the case, said it was “impossible” to state that the
rule of law had been restored on the country’s white-owned farms or that
there was a land reform programme.

“It is not the function of the courts to support the government of the day,”
he said in his dissenting judgement.

“The court’s duty is to the law and the law alone. They may never subvert
the law. To act otherwise would create huge uncertainty in the law,” he

The majority overturns an order given last year by the previous Supreme
Court bench, led by internationally respected former Chief Justice Anthony
Gubbay, which declared that Mugabe’s fast track land reform programme was
chaotic and illegal. Justice Gubbay resigned after threats of violence by
Mugabe’s supporters and Mugabe appointed Chidyausiku in his place.

Justice Ebrahim said that the state lawyers were “repeating the arguments
previously rejected by the Supreme Court under Justice Gubbay.

“All the points were carefully considered and that court came to the
conclusion it did,” said Justice Ebrahim.

“Haphazard squatting cannot form part of a lawful programme of land reform.
It is not lawful for any occupier to be on the land at all, let alone cut
down trees, build homes, till land, graze their cattle.

“It is a criminal offence. It is impossible to accept that the rule of law
has been restored.”

Apparently responding to the view of Chidyausiku and the other three that
land reform was a matter of social justice rather than the law,
Ebrahim said “the courts’ duty is to the law and the law alone.

Judges, as individuals, have their own political, legal, and social views
and opinions. But it is the sworn duty of every judge to apply the law,
whatever he or she may think of the law.”

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Zimbabwe Independent

Opinion 1

Paul Themba Nyathi
LAMECK Chemvura, a second year Bachelor of Science student at the University
of Zimbabwe, was allegedly killed by soldiers who are reported to have
thrown him out of the window of a moving train two weeks ago. A few months
ago, police are alleged to have tear-gassed to death another university

Currently, Zimbabwe is under a state of siege following the murder of Cain
Nkala who was the chairman of the Bulawayo chapter of the war veterans
association. Following Nkala’s gruesome murder, the state has gone full
throttle to obtain maximum partisan advantage out of this tragedy. I doubt
whether Nkala’s family was consulted when his remains were exhumed under the
full glare of ZTV’s macabre publicity machine. I doubt whether any legal
implications were taken into consideration when the alleged perpetrators of
this dastardly act were interviewed repeatedly and publicly on ZTV.

Were we shown the state of Chemvura’s body when it was discovered the
following afternoon? Were the alleged culprits paraded with manacled hands
and feet and interviewed under the full glare of ZTV cameras? Of course not.

Week in, week out, scores of MDC supporters are severely assaulted and in
many instances left for dead. In all cases the perpetrators are alleged to
be Zanu PF supporters working in collusion with either the Zimbabwe Republic
Police or elements of intelligence organisations like the CIO and PISI.
Reports are made to the police and of course the culprits are never
apprehended. Who will guard the guards?

The latest ploy by the police is to allege that MDC supporters are
responsible for violence against themselves. The MDC, according to the
police, abducts its own members, burns down its own premises and throws
grenades into its own offices. In one case, someone who blew himself up
trying to throw a grenade at MDC youths was, according to the police, killed
by the MDC. Obviously, the police reasoning is that it is the fault of the
MDC that the grenade intended for MDC youths ended up killing the would-be

That this country still has a semblance of order should be attributed to the
MDC’s ability to restrain itself.

We are told that Zanu PF cannot relinquish power because it fought for this
country’s liberation. This twisted logic suggests that Zanu PF has the
entitlement to destroy this country because it fought in the liberation war.
That is of course ludicrous.

Three months or less before the presidential elections, conditions for a
free and fair poll don’t exist. At this late stage, it is merely academic to
talk of a free and fair presidential election in Zimbabwe in 2002. The
ruling party’s self-interested delays have eaten into the lead-time required
to put in place the structures necessary for a free and fair poll.

It is not just the inaccessibility of many places in the rural areas that is
the problem. We must also face the psychological effects of violent
intimidation, mostly on rural voters. Zimbabwe would require massive doses
of voter confidence-building measures for the country to get to a stage
where the poll could remotely be considered “free and fair”.

Zimbabwe’s friends in Sadc, the Commonwealth and the EU should now concern
themselves with two matters only:

* In the event of Mugabe bulldozing his way to victory should such an
outcome be recognised?

* In the event of the MDC winning under such appallingly difficult
circumstances, what package of quick-impact assistance will they be in a
position to offer the people of Zimbabwe?

Similarly, the people of Zimbabwe must also consider such issues and begin
to agree on a response. The people of Zimbabwe have endured 21 years of
broken promises. They have seen their dreams turned into nightmares. They
have seen a beautiful country turned into a basket case by a corrupt ruling
office that respects no laws at all. Zimbabweans have witnessed a government
adopt violence as if it could ever be a legitimate instrument for enhancing
electoral fortunes. Above all, a proud people have had to contend with a
shameless government that hates decency.

The pressure that is being exerted on the MDC to boycott the forthcoming
presidential elections is understandable. When an electoral playing field
that has been uneven for the past 21 years is made even more distorted by
wholesale arrests, intimidation, displacement and disenfranchisement of
opposition supporters, the reaction of an exasperated population is to urge
a boycott of the polls.

As the president of the MDC has said again and again, the boycotting of
elections is not an option for the MDC. We, however, understand and
appreciate the position of those who feel that participating in the
presidential poll would be disqualifying a miracle. We have faith in the
wisdom of the people of Zimbabwe, those who will brave the obstacles of
casting their votes will make the right choice. They will choose life over
death and they will decide that 21 years of retrogression are a blight on
the spirit of sacrifice that our people made for the attainment of
Independence. For that reason, they will vote for change.

The right of a people to choose their leaders is so inalienable that any
attempt to compromise that right constitutes treason. Admittedly the
neanderthalian characters within Zanu PF understand one thing only: the
preservation of their power. Power that has been incessantly abused in the
past. Power that has been abused to entrench a predatory class of people
that has sucked dry the blood of ordinary Zimbabweans. Surely this must end.

Cain Nkala died because our country places a very low premium on life.

Life has been taken away with impunity. When the people who incinerated
Chiminya and Mabika still walk freely and arrogantly on our land we must
know that evil has taken root in our country. These innocent souls did not
have the ZBC’s chief correspondent evoke terrorism ad nauseum because their
death was not seen as grist to the Zanu PF political mill. However, they,
like Cain Nkala, were human beings whose lives should never have been taken
in vain.

Is it possible that the gruesome murder of Nkala, the subsequent violence in
Bulawayo, and the general tension in Zimbabwe might yet save our country?

Is it possible that those who advise Mugabe wrongly will finally show him
step by step how Somalia, Rwanda, the DRC etc got to where they are? Can
they help pull this man back from the brink? Can they show him Kutumile
Masire playing a positive role in the DRC and convince him that there is
life after State House? As Nelson Mandela earns one international accolade
after another, is it possible for Mugabe’s advisers to convince him that it
is not too late for him to redeem himself? All he needs to do is wake up one
morning and restore the rule of law.

Paul Themba Nyathi is director of elections for the Movement for Democratic
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Zimbabwe Independent

Zanu PF officials illegally sell residential stands

Augustine Mukaro

ZANU PF officials are illegally selling parcels of land on farms around
Harare to prospective home-seekers resulting in the sprouting of illegal
settlements on all sides of the city.

The stands are being sold under the auspices of housing co-operatives.
On Retreat Farm along Seke Road, Zanu PF losing candidate in Harare South
constituency, Vivian Mwashita, is selling stands to desperate home-seekers
under the guise of Hatidzokere Shure Housing Co-operative.

Home seekers are asked to pay $1 500 to be allocated a piece of land for
which they would then pay a monthly rental of $2 000 with effect from the
month of allocation. The monies are paid to Zanu PF officials.

Already more than 600 people have been allocated stands on Retreat Farm and
about 400 permanent structures have gone up. There are no roads or ablution
facilities on the farms.

People who have been allocated the stands could lose their money as the
government and Harare City Council have announced that the illegal settlers
should vacate the plots as the land the settlements are located on has not
been surveyed.

A public notice placed by the secretary for Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing gave the illegal settlers until Tuesday this week to
vacate the farms.

“Not only are these settlements illegal but, because the areas are not
serviced, particularly in terms of water and sewerage, they pose a serious
public health risk to both the i