|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Zimbabwe's political parties have told the BBC that they are unaware
of talks, which South African President Thabo Mbeki says they have agreed
Mr Mbeki said that President Robert Mugabe had agreed to hold formal
talks with the opposition to try to solve the country's political impasse.
But a senior official of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party told BBC News
Online he could not confirm this reported change of position.
And a leading figure of the opposition MDC also said it was news to
Mr Mugabe has previously insisted that the MDC drop their legal
challenge to his controversial 2002 election victory before any formal talks
"I'm happy to say that they have agreed now that they will go into
formal negotiations," South Africa's president told a joint news conference
with visiting German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
Mr Mbeki has been trying to mediate between Zimbabwe's political
rivals and has been accused of being too soft on Mr Mugabe.
But Zanu-PF external affairs secretary Didymus Mutasa said: "The only
contact we have had is at parliament, where we shout at each other."
MDC secretary general Welshman Ncube said they had not dropped their
legal challenge. About the prospect of talks, he said: "If it is true, we
would welcome it."
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is currently on trial, accused of trying
to have Mr Mugabe assassinated.
On Wednesday, he said that he had been led into using the word
"elimination" by a political consultant employed by Zanu-PF.
"I was using the word 'elimination' after it had been explained to me
that it means the president would not participate in the elections," he
Ari Ben-Menashe recorded the discussion on a video tape, which forms
the basis of the prosecution case.
MDC in the dark over talks with Mugabe
January 22, 2004, 03:30 PM
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Zimbabwe's main opposition, says
it has no knowledge of any formal talks with President Robert Mugabe's
government. Welshman Ncube, the MDC's secretary-general says if such an
offer were true, he would welcome it.
Ncube's comments following an announcement earlier today by President Thabo
Mbeki, that Mugabe had agreed to enter into formal talks with the MDC. Mbeki
made the announcement at a joint news conference at the Union Buildings in
Pretoria with Gerhard Schroeder, the visiting German Chancellor.
Mbeki said he still believed Zimbabweans had a solution to their own
problems. Mbeki told journalist he had raised his dissatisfaction several
times with the way the Zimbabweans were doing things. "Twice in Zimbabwe, in
public and in the presence of President (Robert) Mugabe, I've said: 'These
things that you are doing are wrong'," he said. - Additional reporting by
From: "Trudy Stevenson"
Sent: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 10:13 PM
Subject: Today in Parliament - Land Acquisition Amendment Bill debate
Today in Parliament was one of the most lively ever. After
which is always lively, we moved straight to the Land Acquisition Amendment
Bill, which seeks to amend the last Amendment Bill which is what gave the
"fast track war vets" their right to invade the farms, squat in farmers'
houses, take their property, etc, etc...
The Parliamentary Legal Committee (whose role is to check whether any Bill
contravenes the Constitution, and to report to the House accordingly) had
produced an Adverse Report - ie the Bill contravenes the Constitution - so
before the Bill was debated we had to debate the Adverse Report and decide
whether we accepted or rejected it.
First Prof Welshman Ncube presented the Adverse Report, then Chinamasa stood
up to counter it. Immediately Dave Coltart stood up on a point of order -
According to Clause ..of the Parliamentary Privileges and Powers Act, any
Member having any pecuniary interest in a particular Bill must recuse
him/herself and not even take part in the debate. DC tabled a list of MPs
and the farms they own, and pointed out that Chinamasa owns 3 farms taken
under the fast track system.Chinamasa fumed and shouted, Jorum Gumbo grabbed
the list and started remonstrating with it among other members on his side,
Chinamasa then calls Coltart "a racist liar" - Tendai Biti and Gabriel
Chaibva both thrown out for arguing with the Chairman...Everyone our side
shouting that Chinamasa must withdraw...and calling for ruling on issue of
his recusal. Chairman (Dokora) tries to play the tough chair, but is
constantly shouted down and his voice drowned...Chinamasa finally gets the
floor and declares he will not withdraw his statement - chaos breaks out
again! Eventually Chairman insists he withdraw, and he does...
He then however proceeds to debate the PLC report as though he should not be
recusing himself...much heckling and shouting, again. Then Dave Coltart
argues against the Bill, presenting all the logical "obvious" arguments:
that reasonable notice must be given to any landowner who must have recourse
to the courts, that you cannot backdate a law nearly 4 years, that contracts
entered into are still legally binding, etc, ending with "you will regret
making this decision and destroying what remains of the economy"...Paul
Mangwana argues inanely for the other side in favour of the Bill, trying to
make it a personal issue and attacking Welsh for "not reading the relevant
Eventually we vote - " All those in favour of the report say Aye" ZanuPF
then all shout "Aye" - and we are somewhat confused because in fact it is
MDC that is in favour of the report - the Adverse Report! Confusion again,
Dokora calling for a second vote, us shouting that it was too late, they had
already voted in favour of the report and there was no provision to reverse
that vote..Dokora insists on second vote, this time ZPF votes against the
report..then back to House debate where Chinamasa brings a resolution to
ignore the adverse report, which is adopted after division of the House :
vote is 58 to ZanuPF to ignore the adverse report against 32 MDC in favour
of the report.
Immediately Chinamasa proceeds to present the Bill at Second Reading stage -
all the time sounding so reasonable and presenting seemingly logical facts
and arguments...at this point I had to leave the House as a friend had been
arrested filming at the banned Residents Association meeting - found at
Harare Central waiting for receipt for his two expensive cameras taken by
the police. Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was on her way down, the last I
heard..back to Parliament which had meanwhile adjourned...
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE LEGAL COMMUNIQUÉ - January 21, 2004
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
The attached EU resolution was adopted today concerning Zimbabwe. It is
calling for tougher punitive measures against the Mugabe regime. This call,
however, is being resisted by France, Belgium and a couple of other
countries I am not yet aware of.
The Heads of Mission in Zimbabwe (member states with ambassadors and the
head of the Commission delegation) have been asked to report and provide
recommendations concerning the resolution. This will most likely take place
in the coming week.
15 January 2004
pursuant to Rule 50(5) of the Rules of Procedure, by
- Geoffrey Van Orden, John Alexander Corrie, Nirj Deva, Jacqueline Foster,
Neil Parish, Charles Tannock, Mary Elizabeth Banotti, Michael Gahler,
Eija-Riitta Anneli Korhola, Klaus-Heiner Lehne, Bernd Posselt and Lennart
Sacrédeus on behalf of the PPE-DE Group
- Margrietus J. van den Berg and Glenys Kinnock on behalf of the PSE Group
- Jan Mulder on behalf of the ELDR Group
- Niall Andrews and José Ribeiro e Castro on behalf of the UEN Group
- Bastiaan Belder on behalf of the EDD Group
European Parliament resolution on Zimbabwe
The European Parliament,
- having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Zimbabwe,
- having regard to Rule 50(5) of the Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas the ZANU-PF regime is now an appalling example of relentless
oppression of an impoverished and starving people, the systematic
subversion of judicial, press and individual freedom, and the destruction
of a once successful economy,
B. whereas the Leader of the Opposition - the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) - Morgan Tsvangirai, has been put on trial on spurious charges
of treason, designed to damage the MDC,
C. whereas Zimbabwe's dire economic situation has worsened, with GDP
falling by some 40% over the past four years, annual inflation now reaching
620% and scheduled to pass 1 000% during 2004, unemployment at 70%, and
some 6.5 million people in need of food aid, including large numbers in
need in the previously relatively well-off urban areas,
D. whereas the spread of HIV/AIDS continues to cause great human
suffering and exacerbate economic difficulties, with a prevalence rate of
33% in Zimbabwe's adult population, and whereas the World Health
Organisation recently estimated that 4 000 Zimbabweans are dying per week
from this disease,
E. whereas repression through the Public Order and Security Act and the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act reached alarming levels
during the course of 2003, and access to justice and observance of human
rights deteriorated at an accelerated rate,
F. whereas the consequences of Zimbabwe's worsening humanitarian disaster
have been intensified by a shortfall, due in part to donors' concern over
allegations of politicisation of food aid delivered via Government
channels, in the World Food Programme's appeal, necessitating a halving of
the available cereal ration for 2.6 million people,
G. whereas many people, mainly children, are reported to have died of
malnutrition and other hunger-related causes in the Bulawayo area alone
between August and December 2003,
H. whereas ZANU-PF's disastrous 'land reform' programme has had
devastating consequences for the people of Zimbabwe, dismantling the
commercial agriculture sector without replacing it with any other way of
producing food efficiently and effectively,
I. whereas Zimbabwe's commercial beef herd has been reduced by 90% since
the onset of the 'land reform' programme to fewer than 120 000 from 1.4
million three years ago, with the whole gene pool so well adapted to local
conditions threatened with extinction,
J. whereas the Daily News, Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper,
continues to be closed in spite of court decisions in December that
overturned its forced shut-down and ordered the police to stop interfering
with the newspaper's operations; and the Editor, News Editor and Chief
Reporter of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent were arrested on 10 January
under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
K. whereas the Zimbabwean Government is planning to introduce new measures
to police all broadcast and internet-based information circulation,
L. whereas Zimbabwe is losing skilled and professional people to other
countries because of the economic crisis and whereas this brain drain will
have a serious negative impact on the development of the country,
M. whereas on 7 December the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in
Abuja agreed to renew the suspension of Zimbabwe and to establish a
committee to make recommendations on the way forward on the matter,
N. whereas on 11 December Zimbabwe terminated its membership of the
O. whereas the continuing policy of 'quiet diplomacy' by southern African
leaders has failed to produce any concrete results,
P. whereas African nations have allowed their relations with the countries
of the EU to be held hostage by the ZANU-PF regime, and whereas it is
therefore in the interests of the African Union and SADC to take urgent
action, along with the rest of the international community, to bring about
a rapid change for the better in Zimbabwe,
Q. whereas the EU Common Position of 18 February 2002, renewed on 18
February 2003, introduced targeted measures against the ZANU-PF regime and
requires further renewal on 20 February 2004,
R. whereas the European Parliament has consistently called for the
widening and rigorous enforcement of targeted sanctions and the
introduction of additional measures, to make international action against
the ZANU-PF regime more effective,
S. whereas the cricket teams of the UK and the Netherlands did not play
matches in Zimbabwe during the 2003 World Cup,
T. whereas the 7th Session of the EU-ACP Joint Parliamentary Assembly
(JPA) will take place in Addis Ababa on 16-19 February,
U. whereas an EU-African Union Foreign Ministerial Troika meeting is
scheduled to take place on 1 April,
1. Calls on the Council to adopt a more active and urgent approach to the
Zimbabwe disaster, to include renewal of targeted sanctions, their
expansion to include the rescinding of rights of residence in the EU of
those subject to a ban and the prevention of their family members accessing
employment and educational institutions in the EU, the curtailing of
high-profile economic links with Zimbabwe that give prestige to the regime,
and the identification and imposition of measures against those providing
financial backing for the anti-democratic activities of the ZANU-PF regime;
2. Insists that the charges against Morgan Tsvangirai are spurious and
unsubstantiated, and that the systematic violence and intimidation against
opponents of the ZANU-PF regime must cease;
3. Calls for the vigorous enforcement of all EU sanctions against the
ZANU-PF regime and for a more robust commitment by the EU, ACP partners and
the wider international community to the enforcement of the sanctions,
including the call by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai for the stringent
application of the visa ban;
4. Congratulates the Commonwealth for its principled stance in maintaining
Zimbabwe's suspension; and calls for those African countries which have
stood their ground against tyranny and chaos in Zimbabwe to be acknowledged
5. Regrets the failure of the EU Council, in whatever form, to make any
effective impact on the policies of Zimbabwe's neighbours, whether in its
dealings with SADC or with individual countries;
6. Strongly criticises the failure of some southern African governments, to
exert any pressure on the ZANU-PF regime, which has been so abusive of its
people and effectively disrupted relations between Africa and the wider
international community; and calls upon South Africa in particular to act
effectively to bring about change in Zimbabwe;
7. Insists that African countries and the African Union demonstrate their
genuine commitment to the principles of NEPAD - namely good governance,
democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law;
8. Urges Zimbabwe's neighbours to seize the opportunity afforded by the
forthcoming EU-ACP and EU-African Union meetings to revitalise their
relationship with the EU by condemning the human rights abuses of the
ZANU-PF regime and other regimes guilty of violating citizens' basic rights
so that issues of wider concern in Africa, such as good governance,
economic development, HIV/AIDS, law and order and fair trade, can be
9. Urges senior government figures and public servants of goodwill in
Zimbabwe to insist that Mugabe and his closest associates step down from
office in order to spare their countrymen further suffering and expedite
Zimbabwe's rehabilitation into the international community;
10. Calls for the urgent opening of formal talks between the Government of
Zimbabwe and Opposition representatives with a view to establishing a
respectable interim coalition of national unity prior to a representative
government being freely and fairly chosen in properly managed and
internationally monitored elections;
11. Welcomes interventions from church leaders such as Archbishop Desmond
Tutu's statement following the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in
Nigeria, but calls upon eminent personalities in southern Africa, who in
their freedom struggle fought against everything that Mugabe now stands
for, to use their influence to bring about change for the better in
12. Calls upon all representatives of EU Member States to refuse to meet
members of the ZANU-PF regime and others banned from travelling to the EU,
regardless of location;
13. Calls upon the sporting federations of EU Member States which are due
to play matches in Zimbabwe this year to refuse to play sport in that
country at this time;
14. Calls upon the international donor community, as a matter of great
urgency, to provide adequate funding to meet the requirements of the UN
World Food Programme, working through international agencies, to alleviate
the humanitarian suffering in Zimbabwe caused by Mugabe's actions;
15. Calls upon those EU Member States in the UN Security Council to
galvanise the international community into coordinated and effective action
to resolve the appalling situation in Zimbabwe;
16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission,
the Council, the governments of the Member States, the EU-ACP Council, the
Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe, the Government and Parliament of
South Africa, the UN Secretary-General, the Presidents of the Commission
and Council of the African Union, the Secretary-General of SADC, the
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, former South African President
Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and appropriate presidents of
Mail and Guardian
Tsvangirai 'uneasy' about talk of Mugabe's murder
22 January 2004 08:26
Zimbabwe's opposition leader, on trial for plotting to
Robert Mugabe, on Wednesday said the political consultant he had hired to
help promote his party introduced the concepts of "elimination" and a
"military coup" during a meeting.
Morgan Tsvangirai, giving evidence for the third day in the Harare High
Court on treason charges, said that during a meeting with former Israeli
intelligence agent and now Canadian political consultant Ari Ben Menashe, it
was Menashe who on several occasions introduced the words "elimination" and
"There is nowhere in this transcript where I ... made a request to murder
Mugabe. It's him (Menashe) who was using sinister words that I have denied,"
said Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
referring to a transcript of a videotape secretly recorded by Menashe of a
meeting in Canada in
"Because of that, a tense atmosphere ensued, it caused a lot of uneasiness
(in the meeting)," said Tsvangirai, who has denied ever conspiring or
discussing the possible killing of Mugabe.
Menashe is the state's key witness in the case. He testified against
Tsvangirai over five weeks.
Tsvangirai said he had avoided confrontation with Menashe in the meeting
because the political consultant was temperamental, and he did not want to
clash with him in front of an American official whom he wanted to support
He said that at one time during the meeting he got very angry after Menashe
mentioned the words 'murder' and 'elimination'.
"I said I had agreed to work with Dickens and Madison (Menashe's firm)
because it was not in the business of assassinating presidents but it was
hired to promote our image and fundraise for us," said the opposition
The MDC had in 2001 consulted Menashe's firm to help promote its image and
help raise funds internationally for presidential elections in 2002.
But it later emerged that the same firm was also a political consultant for
The MDC accused Menashe of receiving $100 000 dollars from the Harare
government to trap Tsvangirai.
If convicted, Tsvangirai, who also faces a separate treason charge for
organising anti-Mugabe protests in 2003, could be sentenced to death. -
Zimbabwe row may go to law
England hear that pulling out of the tour will come at a cost
Thursday January 22, 2004
English cricket officials may face the risk of court action and further
conflict with the International Cricket Council if they pull out of the tour
Zimbabwe scheduled for October and November.
A decision on the tour is due to be made next Thursday by the management
committee of the England and Wales Cricket Board, with a new policy document
apparently paving the way for cancellation on grounds other than safety and
security, hitherto the only acceptable reasons.
But yesterday the ICC president Ehsan Mani met the ECB chairman David Morgan
and chief executive Tim Lamb and reminded them of the unanimous 2002
agreement of ICC members, including the ECB, that political considerations
could not be used as a reason for withdrawing from tours.
"All Test-playing countries, including England, have given a binding
commitment to each other that political considerations would not be a factor
when reviewing playing obligations," he said.
"The ICC's role is now to ensure that both parties are treated fairly and
equally as this process unfolds and to assist both parties in exploring all
options that might be available to allow the tour to go ahead. Should the
ECB elect to withdraw from this tour for reasons other than safety and
security, it would then be open to the ZCU to take the ECB to the ICC's
disputes resolution committee to determine if any compensation is payable or
to take any other legal action that might be open to it under the terms of
any agreement between the ECB and the ZCU."
The disputes resolution committee would be chaired by the ICC's
code-of-conduct commissioner Michael Beloff QC and would contain two to four
additional members drawn from its various executive boards and appropriate
to the circumstances.
England pulled out of a World Cup match in Harare in February last year,
citing security reasons, but subsequently Morgan visited the country and
gave assurances that England intended to fulfil their touring commitment, on
which basis Zimbabwe visited England early last summer.
Given the experience of the World Cup, when England's procrastination
threatened to undermine the tournament, the ICC would find it hard to regard
them in a favourable light, however firm its intention to be equable. In
addition to the damage perceived to be done to Zimbabwean cricket, the
integrity of the tours programme would be compromised.
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union is seeking clarification of England's intent. Its
chairman Peter Chingoka has written to Morgan urging him not to break the
"honour and spirit upon which bilateral series between countries are based".
Should England not tour, it might be possible, depending on the terms of the
contract, for the ZCU to seek redress in the courts. This time around,
though, ECB will seek clear and definitive guidelines from the government.
"The ECB have written to us asking for our advice," a Foreign Office
spokesperson said yesterday.
"We have always made it clear that the tour is a matter for the cricket
authorities. But we will give an objective assessment of the political and
security situation in Zimbabwe, both of which have deteriorated in the last
Government must help stop this tour
By Lord Maclaurin
Published: January 21 2004 19:31 | Last Updated: January 21 2004 19:31
As the main sponsor of the England side, Vodafone
conversations with David Morgan, the England and Wales Cricket Board
chairman, and Tim Lamb, chief executive, two months ago. We said we would
prefer them not to go to Zimbabwe both on moral grounds and because of the
deteriorating situation there.
What we did not do was
threaten under any circumstances to withdraw
our sponsorship. We simply thought it right that top ECB executives knew our
I thought it was an absolute disgrace that the government gave English
cricket no lead when the issue of whether to play in Zimbabwe first arose at
last year's World Cup. Our cricketers, together with Morgan and Lamb, were
put in an impossible position.
The planned tour to Zimbabwe in October means the issue has come up
again, as I knew it would. I think it is an abdication of the government's
responsibility if it doesn't help the ECB this time around. After all, it
took us to war in Iraq, albeit after a great deal of soul-searching. It took
a view there. How different is the situation we are now confronted with?
Certainly, we are dealing with another murderous dictator. And the
political situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated quite badly in recent
months. People are starving, inflation is going through the roof. This is
not a grey area. You either support Robert Mugabe or you oppose him. The
government should not leave English cricket hanging out to dry again.
I am delighted that Des Wilson of the ECB has drawn up his paper. He
is a very capable and sensible man and I am sure that what he has written
will enable the ECB management board to have a good discussion when they
meet to address the subject next week.
I hope by then that the government will have come around and said that
it doesn't think the tour should go ahead. I certainly hope that we don't
It is true that we are also scheduled to play against Zimbabwe in
England in September in the ICC Champions Trophy. I am not sure that we
shouldn't welcome Zimbabwe's cricketers here. If you listen to the likes of
Andy Flower and Henry Olonga, the cricketers who courageously stood up to
the Mugabe regime last year, the gist of their message is that people
shouldn't go to Zimbabwe.
The point is probably rather academic, however. My guess is that if we
decide against touring Zimbabwe their government might stop them from coming
Lord MacLaurin is chairman of Vodafone and a former chairman of the
England and Wales Cricket Board
MTHULISI MATHUTHU: LETTER FROM KUTAMA
The party that never was
THE writing was on the wall. Earlier on in the day Dumisani Muleya had
phoned to alert me to a venomous article in the front page of the Herald.
In it was quoted a fulminating minister of information and publicity,
Professor Jonathan Moyo. It was all like the Old Testament prophet letter.
The minister was alleging criminal conduct by Muleya and his comrades at the
Zimbabwe Independent by publishing a story in which President Robert Mugabe
was said to have commandeered an Air Zimbabwe plane to take him to the Far
Since the closure of the Daily News it has always been clear where
Moyo’s Dangerometer and Guiltoscope (to use Eduardo Galeano’s inventions)
are pointing, we said. We laughed about the whole thing. Muleya insisted
that the party at his place would go ahead.
He was actually buying more CD’s at Spinalong, he told me.
Later on in the day a Daily News scribe rang to say he had just seen
the chairman of the Media Commission, Tafataona Mahoso walking with a slight
stoop out of the central police station carrying a small bag and a few
What could the old man have been doing there, I wondered. A few
minutes later, Ndabenhle, a long time colleague of ours rang to say he was
passing by my place to pick me up for the party and I should buy some more
He kept his word.
By 3’oclock we were all gathered at Muleya’s place waiting for the
eats and the drinks. Suddenly somebody rang to say the Zimbabwe Independent
Editor, Iden Wetherell had been seen at the Harare Central police station
with the lawyer, Linda Cook and it looked like he had been arrested.
It was getting dangerous, we all thought to ourselves. Still Muleya
insisted that we should proceed and we would go to town later on.
“How will they know that Dumi stays here?” asked a colleague of ours
who shall remain anonymous.
“Mahoso’s forms have got all the details,” we simultaneously said with
Muleya in reference to the forms we filled sometime in 2002 applying for the
No sooner had we said that that a police vehicle 2200 halted outside.
At the back was Muleya’s news editor, Vincent Kahiya. I walked out to greet
Vincent for I had not seen him in a long time. Above all it was good to get
to talk to a person I had previously worked with at the Zimbabwe
With him were fierce looking men clad in civilian multi-coloured
shirts like the Congolese. They were smoking and less friendly to me.
I knew they didn’t want me to talk to their captive.
In no time Dumisani was ready to join them for interrogation but they
were impatient and were already grumbling suspecting he would disappear and
They had started to position themselves for anything but Dumisani
handed himself to them and they drove away.
We knew he would sleep in there. During our conversation earlier on
Dumisani had remarked that the whole thing was “ just drama” directed chief
dramatist Professor Moyo.
Now the drama had begun and not our party. The dramatis personae goes
like this: Professor Moyo, Mahoso, ZBC, Air Zimbabwe, Wetherell, Kahiya,
Muleya, Itai Dzamara, Rodney Ruwende, Herald, Ian Zvoma and others.
Moyo was suddenly the minister of information and transport. On top of
that he played the minister of home affairs directing the police on whom to
He also threatened the staff at the Air Zimbabwe. African historian,
Mass Communication teacher, and an-African Media Commission chair, Dr Mahoso
was suddenly acting an impimpi giving the police the information they need
to get to the person they want.
The police on the other hand had become Professor Moyo’s messengers
whom he could send to fetch anything for him including hounding down the
journalists whom he either hates or is bitter about.
At Air Zimbabwe the drama was even more vivid. Everybody there was
just unsettled. True to Professor Moyo’s threat the staff there was
subjected to questioning by people who looked like they were angry on behalf
Who had met a journalist in the last few days? Who works with the
British intelligence? Who knows so and so at the Zimbabwe Independent? Why
is Air Zimbabwe bent on undermining the first family and the President’s
person? The interrogators wanted to know.
The answer was obviously hard to come by. The political appointees
called managers and executives there issued a statement to say the plane had
been formally chattered. Above all Air Zimbabwe has no problem with its
Their fleet is adequate, we were advised. So the Zimbabwe Independent
has to be sued, they told the world. Their word, they kept.
Elsewhere things are even worse. ZBC, which successfully been turned
into a Zanu PF private broadcasting space tells the nation that the story
implied that the president had personally picked up his phone to call Air
Zim to provide him with the plane.
With pathetic enthusiasm they tell us that authors, Muleya and Itai
Dzamara were now in. A few hours later some Ian Zvoma (related) tells the
nation that Wetherell, Kahiya and Muleya are the ones who are in.
On Monday one Rodney Ruwende tells us that Dzamara is yet to be
picked. The professor’s words are not yet finished. The story was
“fictitious” and “blasphemous”, his Jeremiad went.
The international public paid attention. It was as if the four had
insulted King Ahab and now Jezebel’s boys were out to get them.
Come Monday the three only need to pay just $20 000 each to go and
write their stories while they await the 29th of January. Dzamara is finally
picked up together with his General Manager, Raphael Khumalo but the latter
goes home early.
Mahoso pens an interesting letter to Wetherell. Somehow it gets to the
Herald also. They run it but it turns out to be slightly different from the
one picked by a Herald reporter.
The contents are amusing.
The essence of the letter was that Wetherell is a racist and should be
“No, seeing plunder and stupidity is not racist behaviour my good Dr,”
The Dr keeps quiet. Suddenly everybody is quiet and the curtains come
down. The stage is clear and its time for lessons.
Now what have we become if our PhD’s and professors have suddenly
become dramatists and clowns seeing colour and blasphemy where the whole
world is seeing free expression?
A pariah state, simple.
Life must go on. Human solidarity has survived the Nazi tragedy,
Apartheid, Saddam Hussein and the fall of the Twin Towers. So why shall it
fail us who are at the mercy of these very few pathetic old mean and women?
All those men and women who thought a pen was too tiny a thing to
fight tyranny had better start thinking about the computer.
Evidently a computer keyboard is mightier than a roundly condemned
piece of legislation authored by a hand-picked, vindictive and motor-mouthed
head of a department stationed in the office of a tyrant who stole an
Dow Jones Newswires
Schroeder Praises S African Leadership
PRETORIA (AP)--German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder met with President
Thabo Mbeki for two hours Thursday and later praised South Africa for taking
a leading role to promote peace and stability on the continent.
Schroeder, who is on his first African tour since taking office in
1998, said South Africa has become the driving force in pushing the
continent to take responsibility for its own security and economic problems.
He said Mbeki's government was largely responsible for the founding of
the African Union and the New Partnership for Economic Development plan.
South Africa believes that plan offers a roadmap for the eradication
of African poverty. It hinges not just on aid but on partnerships with the
developed world and on initiatives to improve good governance in Africa.
During their talks, Schroeder and Mbeki devoted considerable time to
Zimbabwe, which faces its worst political and economic crisis since
independence in 1980.
"I made myself very clear as far as the unacceptability of that regime
is concerned, especially the political practices of that regime," Schroeder
said, defending European Union sanctions on Zimbabwe's governing elite.
Mbeki, who has drawn local and international criticism for his policy
of "quiet diplomacy" toward Zimbabwe, said strong statements weren't the
"Our task is to see what we can contribute to make sure that situation
is changed as quickly as possible for the better," said Mbeki.
He announced Zimbabwe's government and opposition would soon resume
formal talks on ending the crisis.
Schroeder also announced Thursday that Germany would support South
Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament.
"I believe it would be right and appropriate for South Africa to be
the host of the world soccer championship of the year 2010," he said. "And I
believe the leaders of the German Football Association would agree with me
Other countries competing for the tournament include Morocco, Libya,
Tunisia and Egypt. The decision will be announced in May.
South Africa lost the right to host the 2006 cup to Germany by one
Schroeder, who is on a two-day visit to South Africa, was also meeting
with business and trade union leaders, as well as officials at the Nelson
He leaves for Ghana on Friday where he will be wrapping up the
weeklong trip that also took him to Kenya and Ethiopia. (In an item timed at
1545 GMT, Schroeder was incorrectly reported to have criticized South Africa
for failing to speak out about Zimbabwe.)
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 22, 2004 12:51 ET (17:51 GMT)
Horror as truck plunges into Zimbabwe dam
January 22 2004 at 04:03PM
Harare - At least 21 people were killed on
Thursday when a lorry plunged
into a dam at a farm north-east of the Zimbabwean capital Harare, police
"Details are still coming in but unconfirmed reports say 21 bodies of people
believed to be farm workers have been retrieved by police from the dam the
lorry plunged into," police spokesperson Andrew Phiri told reporters.
The lorry was said to have been transporting about 90 casual workers to a
farm in Shamva when the accident happened. - Sapa-AFP
Nurses Reject 250pc Raise
The Herald (Harare)
January 22, 2004
Posted to the web January 22, 2004
THE Zimbabwe Nurses Association and the Joint Negotiating Council have
reached a stalemate over the 250 percent salary increment offered by
Government to nurses.
In an interview yesterday, Zina president Mrs Abigail Kurangwa said the 250
percent increment was not acceptable, as it could not cushion the nurses
against the cost of living.
She said Zina held a meeting with the JNC last week, where the proposed 250
percent increment was rejected.
"The 250 percent increment that we were offered by Government is not
acceptable as we need to cushion ourselves against the current cost of
"At last week's meeting, Zina and Government then resolved to take the
matter for arbitration and we are awaiting its outcome," said Mrs Kurangwa.
Nurses are also pressing for an increase in uniform and on-call allowances
among other things.
"I do not have the document that has a list of the allowances we need
reviewed but the uniform and on-call allowances are some of them.
"We also urge our employer to look into our working conditions," said Mrs
Nurses went on strike in November last year demanding a review of their
Some nurses resumed duties in December last year in compliance with an order
by their employer, the Public Service Commission for them to return to work
or face termination of their contracts.
Mrs Kurangwa said a reasonable number of nurses resumed duties by January 6
while Zina continued negotiations with Government.
Police Bar Residents Budget Meeting
The Daily News
January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 22, 2004
A MEETING of the Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA)
the capital city's 2004 budget was this week barred by the police, according
to CHRA chief executive Barnabas Mangodza.
Although police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka yesterday said he was unaware of
the incident, Mangodza told the Daily News that about 55 police officers in
riot gear on Wednesday evening prevented Harare residents from holding a
meeting at a hotel in the city centre.
According to Mangodza, a CHRA member who was taking video footage at the
hotel was briefly detained by the police and was only released without
charge around 8 pm.
The CHRA chief executive said the police had initially granted permission
for Wednesday's meeting.
Under the Public Order and Security Act, organisers of public gatherings
must obtain permission from the police before holding their meetings.
Mangodza said his association had been granted clearance to hold its
consultative meeting on Wednesday, on condition that the organisation kept
to its agenda and left the meeting venue by 8:30 pm.
Another condition was that the police should also be allowed to attend the
meeting, Mangodza said.
"We were surprised as to why the police barred us from holding our meeting.
After all, the meeting was just a consultative one. We wanted clarification
from the council as to why the tariffs and rates were high," he told the
"When we asked two officers, Gavi and Dhlakama, as to why we were no longer
able to proceed with out meeting, they said it was just an order and for
security reasons," he said.
Mangodza described the police action as unfair and said members of his
association had been "denied their democratic space".
He added: "We believe civic participation in the city's budget formulation
process is one of the key pillars of good and accountable local governance.
After the supersonic speed with which the budget was adopted (in four
minutes with six speakers), CHRA felt obliged to update its membership on
the impact of such a move."
To finance the Harare CityCouncil's 2004 budget, residents of the capital
city will have to pay between $48 000 and $70 000 per month in water charges
in the first quarter of this year.
By October 2004, the residents are expected to be forking out between $250
000 and $300 000 per month in water charges.
Parking fees have been set at about $5 000 an hour.
CHRA chairman Mike Davis described the Harare City Council's rates and
tariffs as "ridiculous", adding that residents could not "just keep quiet
"The police have eliminated the democratic rights of the public," he said,
referring to the police's alleged interference with Wednesday's consultative
CHRA officials said they would organise another meeting for next week.
UN Urges Zimbabwe To Release Maize To Alleviate Shortages
Copyright © 2004, Dow Jones Newswires
U.N. food agency urged President Robert
Mugabe's government Thursday to release 240,000 tons of maize it has
reportedly stockpiled to help feed millions of hungry Zimbabweans.
"There is currently a big shortage of food," said Kevin Farrell, the
World Food Program's country director in Zimbabwe.
WFP is feeding about 3.5 million of the most vulnerable in the
drought-stricken country, which is also in the throws of political and
But the agency expects the number of people requiring food aid to
climb to more than 5.5 million as the country enters its traditional "lean
season," in which rural granaries become depleted ahead of March and April
While the agency has secured commitments from donors for 85% of the
450,000 tons of commodities it asked for in April, it still fears more than
1 million hungry Zimbabweans could go without assistance, WFP spokesman Mike
Huggins said in Johannesburg.
The state-run Herald newspaper reported Dec. 30 that the government's
Grain Marketing Board, which has a monopoly over local sales of most staple
foods, has collected 240,000 tons of maize this season.
The U.N. has written to the government in the past week to ask that it
release this food into the marketplace to help alleviate acute shortages,
Farrell said in Johannesburg.
While most food items are available on the black market, prices are
increasing even faster than the nearly 600% official inflation rate, putting
many basics out of the reach of many Zimbabweans, he said.
Zimbabwe officials have not yet responded to the WFP request and could
not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 22, 2004 12:11 ET (17:11 GMT)
From ZWNEWS, 22 January
Yes-men vote against themselves
Parliament yesterday descended into fury, with three
being expelled from the House, and with the government benches voting
against themselves. Parliament was debating the Land Acquisition Amendment
Bill, which seeks to amend a previous Land Amendment Act - both of which
deal with the "fast-track land reform programme" which has so devastated the
agricultural industry and the economy. The Parliamentary Legal Committee,
whose role is to scrutinise Bills before the House for their legality,
submitted an adverse report stating that the Bill was in contravention of
the Constitution. Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC) presented the adverse
report, and Patrick Chinamasa, minister of justice and parliamentary
affairs, then stood to lead the government's arguments against the adverse
As soon as Chinamasa began his speech,
opposition legal affairs spokesman
David Coltart raised a point of order. In terms of Clause 17 of the
Parliamentary Privileges and Powers Act, it is a criminal offence for any MP
with a financial interest in a Bill to contribute to or participate in
debate. Coltart tabled a list of MPs, and the farms they own, and pointed
out that Chinamasa owns three farms taken under the "fast-track" land
expropriation. The list was then grabbed by Jorum Gumbo (Zanu PF) who
started remonstrating with other Zanu PF members about its contents.
Chinamasa called Coltart a "racist liar", and three opposition MPs - Tendai
Biti, Gabriel Chaibva, and Willias Madzimure - were expelled from the House
for arguing with the chairman.
The Legal Committee's
report was then debated, and proceeded to a vote. "All
those in favour of the report, say Aye", called the chairman. The government
benches all cried "Aye" in unison, suddenly realising that they had voted in
favour of a report which labelled the Bill as being unconstitutional. In
complete contradiction of parliamentary procedure, the chairman then held a
second vote, as if the first had not taken place, with the government
benches this time managing to vote the way the were supposed to. The
state-owned Herald today quoted Chinamasa as saying: "President Mugabe is
the sacrificial lamp (sic) on the land issue."
'Zim democracy first, then aid'
22/01/2004 19:34 - (SA)
Pretoria - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Thursday
problems in Zimbabwe with President Thabo Mbeki, saying Germany could help
South Africa's neighbour only once democracy had been restored there.
Mbeki said Robert Mugabe's government and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change "will soon enter into formal negotiations" on resolving
the country's political crisis.
However, his statement was dismissed by the MDC, which said Mbeki had said
the same thing during a visit to Harare in December.
Schroeder, on the penultimate leg of a landmark four-nation African tour,
said he was impressed by Mbeki's policy on Zimbabwe, generally described as
However, Germany could become involved in Zimbabwe "only once democracy is
"I do not think Germany can play an active role in the conflict, but once
democracy is restored there are a number of things we can do," said the
The European Union in 2002 imposed travel restrictions on 72 of Zimbabwe's
top government and ruling party officials, including Mugabe, accusing them
of human-rights abuses and electoral fraud.
Can provide bilateral assistance
After the return of democracy, said Schroeder, flanking Mbeki at a media
conference in Pretoria, "We can work to have the European sanctions lifted
and help the private sector restore the economy."
"We can also provide bilateral assistance as we do to other countries."
Mbeki had said earlier: "I'm pleased to say the two sides have agreed to
enter into formal negotiations. They will soon enter into formal
"This process has been disrupted only by the Christmas and New Year's
holiday," he added, emphasising that only Zimbabwe's leaders could find a
solution to the country's political crisis.
In Harare, MDC spokesperson William Bango said: "What Mbeki has said is
nothing new, other than what he said in December (when he visited Harare).
"It's a position which was communicated to him during his visit in December,
but there is nothing that has taken place here."
Zimbabwe's economy is in a deep recession, with the official annual
inflation rate just under 600% in December.
Mbeki said: "We are keeping a watch, but what really has to happen is that
the Zimbabwean political leadership themselves have to come up with a joint
programme to deal with their very serious problems."
Court slaps down Zim Herald
22/01/2004 19:50 - (SA)
Harare - The Zimbabwe High Court ordered the state-run
Herald daily to
retract a story it ran on Thursday saying opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, on trial for alleged treason, had implicated Washington in a
supposed coup plot.
Judge Paddington Garwe said the story, headlined: "Tsvangirai implicates US
government in coup plot", was not a correct reflection of what Tsvangirai
had said in court on Wednesday.
Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is
accused of allegedly plotting to "eliminate" President Robert Mugabe and
organise a coup ahead of presidential elections in 2002 which returned
Mugabe to power.
The polls were widely condemned by the opposition and foreign countries as
flawed and marred by intimidation, rigging and violence.
Judge Garwe's ruling came after defence lawyer George Bizos argued that "the
headline clearly indicates... that Tsvangirai admitted the existence of a
plot in which he implicated the US government".
Bizos said Tsvangirai had repeatedly denied there was ever a plot to kill
Mugabe and, to the ordinary reader, the Herald story made it sound like the
opposition chief had been "convicted".
'Ensure a suitable correction is made'
"I can't possibly allow this to go unpunished and, Your Lordship, you
certainly cannot ignore it. The falsehoods will bring the administration of
justice into disrepute," said Bizos.
Garwe then ordered the Herald reporter, who was in the courtroom, to "ensure
a suitable correction is made".
Garwe said: "While the remainder of the article largely reflected what
happened in court yesterday, there is no doubt that the headline renders the
article incorrect. It does not accurately reflect evidence given by the
"For the avoidance of doubt, the accused has not accepted that there was any
Continuing with his testimony on the charges that he plotted to assassinate
Mugabe, Tsvangirai said on Thursday both he and Mugabe had made statements
But, Mugabe had never been asked to explain his incitements to violence,
including one in which he said he had "degrees in violence", said
'Could lead to confrontation'
He admitted that he had said, during his party's anniversary rally in
September 2000: "We want to tell Mugabe that if he does not go peacefully we
will remove him violently".
He explained to the court that it was a "prophetic" statement that if the
government continued to abuse people and ignore the popular mood it could
lead to confrontation with the people.
He said he was quickly advised by his lawyer to withdraw the statement as it
could be misinterpreted. He called a media conference where he withdrew his
"I was charged incidentally of treason. The matter (of violence) went to
supreme court on a constitutional basis. As a result of the judgment, the
matter was dropped," said Tsvangirai.
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire
The Daily News
January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 22, 2004
ZIMBABWEANS are sometimes accused of
thinking that their problems are the
only ones in the world, and that there is some reason why the rest of the
world should be specially concerned with our difficulties.
Well, if you think like that I have got news for you.
Half the world, at least, doesn't even know where Zimbabwe is. More of them
don't care, not because they lack sympathy for suffering people, but because
they have enough problems of their own.
In case you hadn't noticed, the whole world has some pretty big problems.
Our troubles, however terrible, are a small local affair as far as most
people outside our region are concerned. When we have sorted out the present
problems, we will need to be prepared for the troubled world we are
The biggest world problem, as I see it, is the way the world is burning up
its oil reserves. That causes global warming, with effects on our climate
that won't change when we change our government.
But another problem ahead for the whole world is that oil, like all the
minerals in the earth, is limited and, at the rate it is being used up,
there won't be much left very soon.
A survey published by the European Commission in 1991estimated that, at the
rate it was being consumed then, the world's known oil reserves would be
exhausted in 40 years - by 2031. Any reserves that weren't know then must be
small and difficult to extract.
Since then, there are many more cars on the road in newly industrialising
countries, including China, so oil consumption has gone up and the end has
come closer. Before the end, we will see oil production dropping, however
high the demand for it is. A report in December last year by George
Monbiot - one of the most respected experts in this field - said that drop
will happen about the end of this decade or, at the most pessimistic
estimate, this year.
The end will then be clearly in sight and oil will be getting scarcer, so
when we solve our little local difficulty, that won't mean an end to fuel
queues. We'll be at the end of a longer queue, and probably without money to
This won't just be a queue for fuel. Over the past 50 years or so, all the
chemical industries have become dependent on oil.
Manufacturing fertilisers needs oil for fuel. Plastics have replaced glass,
metals, paper and even leather in many uses - and plastics are all made from
oil. Even rubber tyres are usually made from synthetic rubber, made from
oil, instead of natural rubber.
We may be a little better off than some when it comes to getting clothing.
Nylon and other synthetic materials made from oil have become very common,
but we still rely on cotton we grow ourselves - if we can get the fertiliser
and chemicals, which are often made from oil.
Medicines and crop treatment chemicals that used to be extracted from plants
are often now made from oil. All these things will begin to become more
This dependence on plastics is very wasteful. Glass bottles and paper bags
can be recycled, made into glass or paper that can be used again, but
recycling plastic is more difficult. That is why our country is now littered
with old plastic bottles and plastic bags.
But we have got used to the plastic products being cheap and plentiful. If
the world can go back to using glass, paper and natural rubber, we will find
we have less of those materials: less shopping bags, less tyres, and we will
have to get used to that once again.
We certainly will never get as much energy for driving vehicles or
generating electricity as we can from oil, so even if we can change to using
all the other possible and cleaner energy sources like wind, water and solar
power, we will have to learn to live more simply than we have done in our
lifetime, or less than the lifetime of the oldest of us.
Then there is still the question, for us, of paying for the goods we can't
afford now. Our economy has been wrecked in the past few years. We now have
the fastest-shrinking economy in the world. Our economy will need to grow
again, just to support us.
That will require outside money, but it is not the best solution for us to
get deeper into debt. We don't want to go back to suffering the conditions
the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) imposed on us in
the 1990s under the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, but they
control most of the funds we would want to borrow.
We might not borrow from them, but anyone else we try to borrow from is more
likely to only lend us money if they approve.
Don't expect them to suddenly become kind to us. They depend on their
biggest shareholders, and the United States of America holds about 25
percent of the shares and the votes. The USA is run by its oil companies,
through a president who is closely tied up with them and is determined to
hold its power in the world by keeping control of the world's dwindling
supplies of oil and of other resources.
We might become more interesting to them if they decide they need to be
friendly with people who have a lot of platinum, but I wouldn't bank on it.
Anyway, their interest in oil hasn't done much good to the people of Iraq or
Afghanistan. That is the new imperialism, which is worth another article.
So a new, internationally acceptable Zimbabwe government will have to make
difficult decisions: to reject IMF loans and tighten our belts, or accept
them and lose our belt and trousers.
That government will need to establish trust with the people and listen to
us. It will have to make hard decisions, but we don't want the government to
make the wrong ones.
Mandebvu is a Harare-based social commentator.
ZESA Technicians Demand 875 Percent Salary Hike
The Daily News
January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 22, 2004
TECHNICIANS and management of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
(ZESA) are locked in a salary dispute that could disrupt power supply if it
is not urgently resolved, it was learnt yesterday.
Sources within ZESA said the power utility's 1 500 technicians were
demanding an 875 percent salary increment, which ZESA management had
A ZESA spokesman yesterday confirmed that management and the technicians had
reached a stalemate over a salary increment, but refused to comment further.
But, according to representatives of the ZESA Technical Employees'
Association (ZTEA) - the body representing the technicians - ZESA management
entered into a salary agreement with the Zimbabwe Energy Electricity
Workers' Union (ZEEWU) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Power Industry Workers'
Union (ZIPEWU) in December.
The parties subsequently signed a memorandum acknowledging their December
agreement, which excludes ZESA technicians, the sources said.
"As a union, we are demanding to be given the 250 percent collective
bargaining salary increment that was awarded to our colleagues in the other
unions, or we go on strike," a senior technician at ZESA told The Daily News
"Management has indicated its unwillingness to award us that 250 percent
Our membership has given us the mandate to call for a nationwide strike
unless management accepts our demands."
In a letter dated 8 January 2004, ZESA executive chairman Sydney Gata
indicated that proper procedures had to be exhausted before a determination
was made on the percentage that the technicians could be awarded as a salary
"Management has been left with no option but to fully comply with the
employment council collective bargaining agreement signed on 31 December
2003, covering ZEEWU and ZIPEWU union members," reads part of the letter .
"This means that ZTEA members are therefore not eligible for the 250 percent
salary increase on basic pay until the matter has been finalised and a
determination reached on the percentage salary increase to be awarded to
The December salary increase agreement states that any member whose union is
not party to the agreement but wants to benefit from the salary hike "should
resign from that union for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2004".
But in a memorandum from the ZTEA to Gata, dated 12 January 2004, the
technicians indicated that although they acknowledged the deadlock in their
negotiations and the need for arbitration, the agreement that sought to
force their members to resign from the ZTEA to be eligible for the 250
percent increment was a "direct infringement of members' freedom of
The ZTEA said: "We are putting it on record that our members are accepting
the increase without prejudice to their right to pursue the deadlock
Analysts said if the stalemate was not resolved speedily and the technicians
decided to embark on industrial action, this could negatively affect
residential, industrial and commercial power supplies.
ZESA technicians are responsible for dealing with faults that disrupt power
supplies, and previous strikes have resulted in faults not being rectified
for several days, forcing some households and companies to do without
Rule of Law Must Prevail
The Daily News
January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 22, 2004
ZIMBABWE'S High Court must be commended for its ruling on
has enabled Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) to resume publishing its
two newspaper titles, the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday.
The court's ruling, which ordered the police to vacate ANZ's head office and
printing factory and stop interfering with its operations, is, without
doubt, a victory for the rule of law in a country where lawlessness has
become the norm in the past five years.
It is also a victory for democracy.
In a country where the government has legalised the repression of the
independent Press and has, through the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act, systematically
emasculated the privately owned media, the High Court order was indeed a
victory for Press freedom.
It is commendable that the courts realised that ANZ's case was meritorious
and that the police had no right to prevent the publishing house from
conducting its normal business.
But as has become clear in the past four months, indeed in the past five
years, the power of a court order in Zimbabwe is not to be taken for
In dealing with ANZ's case in the past four months, the government and its
law enforcement agents have shown themselves to be little concerned with the
Although the courts ruled in favour of ANZ five times since its closure last
September, the government and the police have gone out of their way to
prevent the publishing company from going about its business.
Several times, the State has shrugged off legitimate court orders and sent
its law enforcement agents - without a court order - to prevent publication
of the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday.
Indeed, as the police's own legal representative indicated at Wednesday's
High Court hearing, there was no legal basis for the police's actions.
Having finally decided to uphold the law, it is to be hoped that the police
will in future conduct themselves with the dignity of a non-partisan law
After all, their first duty is to act in the interests of the people of this
country, and it is in the interests of the citizens of Zimbabwe that the
police act within the law and do not contribute to the erosion of the rule
It is unfortunate that the police's actions since Wednesday's High Court
ruling cannot be welcomed wholeheartedly, and that we find ourselves, to
coin a phrase, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It is not an exaggeration to say that while the staff of ANZ and other
observers are delighted with the police's decision to respect Wednesday's
ruling, they are still anticipating that the police will backtrack.
That is what most Zimbabweans have come to expect in the past five years -
violation of their most fundamental rights by the very people who are tasked
with protecting those rights and with punishing those who infringe them.
But we can only hope that sense will now prevail and that the police's
new-found respect for the rule of law will not be short-lived.
Court Postpones NCA's Case
The Daily News (Harare)
January 23, 2004
Posted to the web January 22, 2004
THE High Court
yesterday postponed indefinitely a hearing into an
application by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) for an order to
compel President Robert Mugabe to accept and give the government's response
to a copy of the civic group's draft constitution.
The NCA led a campaign in 2000 to reject a constitution drafted by the
government-appointed Constitutional Review Commission, and drafted a
document that the government has refused to acknowledge.
The civic body decided to seek a High Court order to compel the government
to accept its draft two years ago, after trying unsuccessfully to meet
Mugabe through Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
High Court judge Antonia Guvava postponed the matter, which was set down for
yesterday, after it emerged that the notice for the court hearing was not
properly served on the respondents.
A High Court registrar erroneously served the notice of set-down on the
permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs, instead of on the Civil Division of the Attorney-General's Office,
which is representing the respondents.
Mugabe is cited as a respondent in the case, along with Chinamasa and the
In his founding affidavit, submited by lawyer Alec Muchadehama, NCA chairman
Lovemore Madhuku said the government's rejection of the NCA's draft
constitution was an infringement of Section 20 of the Constitution of
The section provides for freedom of expression.
Madhuku said the rejection was "grossly unreasonable because the NCA does
not seek to impose its programme on the government".
"It merely seeks to present its proposals, which the government is at
liberty to reject," Madhuku said.
He said the NCA's application in the courts raised "a novel but critical
issue in our democracy". Madhuku added: "Do citizens have a legal right to
meet with the government to raise concerns which they deem necessary and
"The government must be obliged to listen to the views of the people,
however foolish or naive those views may be. This recourse to the court to
make the government accountable is primarily designed to ensure that the
emotions surrounding a new constitution do not get out of hand and disturb
peace and stability in Zimbabwe."
In his response to Madhuku's affidavit, Chinamasa said the NCA's allegation
that the respondents breached Section 20 of the Constitution was "a gross
misrepresentation of the position of the law".
"The applicant cannot impose his freedom of expression on the respondents as
the Constitution is against that," said Chinamasa, who was also responding
on behalf of Mugabe.
"It is even unreasonable for the applicant to ask
the court to impose on the
respondent an order forcing the respondents to listen to or accept documents
from the applicant in a democratic society."
Chinamasa added: "The applicant cannot impose his association on the
respondents nor is it reasonable to seek a court order to force the
respondents to associate with them."