The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times

            July 16, 2005

            No work, no schools and the furniture sits outside: this is life
in Mugabe's transit camp
            By Jan Raath
            Our correspondent goes inside the only camp provided for
millions thrown out of their homes

            ESNAT MIDZI has spent the past two months living in a tiny
shelter made from old fertiliser sacks stretched over rough-hewn branches.
            This is President Mugabe's answer to the sturdy two-roomed brick
house she used to own in Hatcliffe, a Harare township now reduced to rubble
by Mr Mugabe's "Operation Murambatsvina" or "Clean up Trash".

            Home for Esnat and 5,000 others is now the Caledonia transit
camp ten miles east of the capital, to which The Times managed to gain
access this week. Journalists and the taking of photographs are strictly

            It was a desperate sight. The densely-packed camp occupies about
five acres of steeply sloping land bulldozed to clear the bush. The
Government has provided no water, no electricity, no sanitation - nothing
except the land, which it seized from a white farmer.

            Shacks made from ropedtogether plastic sheeting, plywood,
corrugated iron or any other scrap material - even an upside-down boat -
stand against each other in unequal rows.

            Around each shack are wardrobes, lounge suites, mattresses and
other possessions salvaged from the demolitions, bundled up in plastic and
piled high. There are heaps of firewood and broken building material.
Cooking fires smoulder. When the wind blows, sand gets into everything.

            "At night you hear the children coughing," said Partson Mkondo.
"You breathe in dust and smoke while you are sleeping. The toilets are
messy, and there are people with diarrhoea."

            The camp has 44 pit latrines, one for every 114 people. The only
sources of water are large green bowsers supplied by the United Nations
Children's Fund, along with blankets and plastic sheeting for shelter.

            The children have no schools and few of the displaced men have
work. Aid agencies are the main source of food.

            "People are living in the most appalling and shocking
conditions," said the Rev Ron Steele, a member of a delegation from the
South African Council of Churches (SACC) which visited the camp this week.
"The church leaders are horrified. It's one of the most inhumane conditions
that people can be subjected to."

            The Mugabe regime claimed yesterday that the delegation, led by
the heads of South Africa's Anglican and Catholic churches, was a
clandestine operation disguised as a fact-finding mission and bankrolled by
Britain to undermine the Government.

            The SACC estimates that about a million have been made homeless
by the mass demolitions. Caledonia is the only transit camp that the
Government has provided. The rest of the displaced are either living in the
ruins of their homes or trying to return to their family villages. Aid
agencies estimate that most of those in Caledonia have no rural homes to go
to. The rest cannot face the grim poverty and looming famine of the tribal

            "This is my third month at Caledonia," said Harrington Phiri, a
signwriter. "I came (to Zimbabwe) from Malawi in 1968. The Government
destroyed my home and they say you must go back to the rural areas. I don't
have anywhere else to go. They tell us nothing. I cannot plan anything."

            Mr Mugabe denies that a major demolition has taken place and
says 5,000 houses will be ready by the end of next month.

            "There will be joy on the part of those who did not have homes,"
he said on Thursday. At the same time, the Government admitted that it had
laid foundations for only 140 new homes and had money to build only a
fraction of the target.

            "They have no idea what to do with the people," Russell Botman,
the president of the SACC, said.

            Esnat Midzi was drinking tea without milk or sugar. She ate a
porridge of pulses distributed by aid agencies. "No money," she said. There
is no public transport to Caledonia and she cannot get to work. Her children
have been out of school since they got here. At her feet a young woman lies

            "I had a two-room house," she said. "I had real plans, not fake
plans. They were approved by the council. Mugabe gave us the plot to build
on. Now they have destroyed my house. Why? I can only feel anger for people
like this."

Back to the Top
Back to Index


The JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE TRUST is concerned by recent press reports and
the resultant false perceptions emanating from them, at rural and urban
grass roots levels, that farmers are being invited to return to their
farms, and are infact taking up such offers.  Nothing could be further from
the truth.

The JAG TEAM have followed up on numerous rumours of this occurring in
various commercial farming areas and can find no evidence whatsoever to
substantiate such a move, in good faith and formally by the authorities.
However, what has emerged is, unofficial, disjointed approaches being made,
non transparently, by individuals, not prepared to officially identify
themselves.  These could be opportunists trying to jump on a non-existent
band wagon or, as seems more likely, undercover operatives testing the
commercial farmer waters and thereby fuelling the propaganda.

Against a background of continuing and intensifying pressure on those few
farmers still in-site to "get off", coupled to the fact of actual evictions
occurring almost daily, it is absurd to give any credence or mileage to the
propaganda relating to farmers returning to their farms.  Farmers are
cautioned to see this for what it is, yet another propaganda ruse.

It has however, come to the JAG TRUST'S attention that some in-situ farmers
have, unwittingly, accepted the GOZ offer of 99 year lease in exchange for
their free-hold title deeds, in a desperate attempt to stay on farm
producing.  The JAG TRUST strongly advises against this move.  One would in
effect be exchanging something of substantive legal substance, protected by
the laws and constitution of Zimbabwe and with International acceptance and
recognition for something of "straw" brokered non-transparently with a
regime of very dubious legitimacy and a sound track record of acting in bad

It is indisputable fact that there is absolutely no legal support for 99
year leases in either the Zimbabwe Constitution or the laws of Zimbabwe and
it is in fact, unlawful to enter into a contractual lease agreement
extending beyond 10 years in Zimbabwe.  This is substantiated in that those
farmers who have gone down this road, having relinquished their title, have
had to accept short term, five to ten year, leases; not 99 year leases as

The JAG TRUST would like to remind all commercial farmers and title holders
of what transpired with similar agreements relating to the ceding and
downsizing of farms under the GOZ's LA3 initiative.  Nearly a thousand
farmers embarked, in good faith, on this initiative, which was provided for
in law in the LAND ACQUISITION ACT under sections 6a and 6b.  The JAG TRUST
is reliably informed that nearly 180 farmers handed over original title
deeds, in good faith, under this scheme and many more farmers might have
also totally compromised their legal position and their title, by
surrendering various forms of copy of their title deeds.  Hundreds of
co-existence farmers had their downsize and ceding agreements formalised
and recorded in the administrative courts of Zimbabwe.  Yet, the Goz, two
years after the launch of this initiative, simply reneged in law on all
these agreements by repealing sections 6a and 6b of the Act in amendment No
1 of 2004.

This callous move effectively rendered all these downsize and ceding of
land agreements null and void in law, and of no force nor effect.  Even
those formalised in the admin courts.  This left most of these farmers
hugely exposed, having gone way beyond the 90 days of their section 8
orders and in effect illegally occupying their farms, at the mercy of the
authorities and with "dirty hands" when it came to reverting to the courts.

More recently, one of these downsized, co-existence and exposed commercial
farmers who had been "lawfully" evicted some months ago, was offered the
opportunity of returning to his farm only if he was prepared to surrender
his remaining title deed in favour of 99 year lease.  He had in fact made
the approach himself, to find that this was what was being offered.
Having accepted the terms, surrendered his title deed (original), and
signed a short term lease (promised 99 year lease would follow) he was
assured that the farm would be evacuated of settlers and the incumbent A2
farmer evicted and given another property.  The commercial farmer
magnanimously gave the A2 settler time to vacate.  During that short period
the authorities totally reversed their position and reneged on the whole
agreement.  The commercial farmer has taken the matter on appeal to the
highest political levels, to no avail.  He assures us that by week-end he
will be prepared to go public on his demise.

The JAG TRUST, mindful of the present sad scenario and with due
consideration to the disastrous history of this so called "Land Reform
Program" and the illegalities and human right abuse perpetrated therein,
remain emphatic that no farmers should return to their farms until the
following terms and conditions are met :

(i) A return to the rule of law country wide but especially in commercial
farming areas, and a restoration of the Independence of the Judiciary and a
repealing of all unjust laws.

(ii) Respect for and protection of Property Rights as enshrined in the
present Constitution with International Guarantees put in place, until a
new Constitution is enacted.

(iii) and; Farmers are comprehensively compensated / restituted under
International Law governing compulsory expropriation of land, improvements
and moveable assets and the extensive damages claims, arising through not
having been timeously and equitably compensated, have been settled.


Back to the Top
Back to Index


Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum
with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.


Prelude text


Letter 1:

Dear Jag,

Many thanks to Michelle Frost for her poem Homeland. I am sure it struck a
chord with many, as it did me.

Very recently, I read a book called "Ghost Heart" by Cecilia Samartin,
about a girl who left Cuba with her family in the early 1960's. She
remained in close contact with a cousin, and in one of her letters she

".............all I have now are memories. I love them and I hate them for
what they do to me. I love them because when I'm lost in their vision,
this hollow pain in my heart goes away for a while. I hate them because
they are so beautiful they fool me into believing I'm really home - and
then I must leave all over again......................"

I think many Zimbabweans of all races have felt this, but just haven't been
able to put it into such words. It comforts me that others can.

Linda Costa
Buderim Australia

Letter No 2

Dear Jag,

The note asking me to explain what deal was available to Ian Smith in 1973
needs some response. At that time there were a number of possible "road
maps" on the table. The Tiger and Fearless talks were all about this issue
and I think on at least one occasion Ian Smith was empathetic to the
proposals but was forced to back down by the hardliners in his Cabinet and
the President at the time - Dupont.

Essentially they all followed the same basic principle - how to get from
where we were to a place where full democratic rights could be granted to
every person in the country. A 15 year transition was suggested.

The Nationalist leaders at the time did not want a gradualist approach and
would have resisted this very much but if Smith and the then British
leadership had been able to agree, there would have been no way that they
could have blocked the deal. They needed the support and sanctuary of
western States and this would have been withdrawn as soon as a deal was

The fact that both sides opted for the hard line on this issue eventually
made it inevitable that the war would drag on - defeat for the white
minority was inevitable and only the intervention by the US and South
Africa saved us from a scorched earth ending. In fact there is quite a lot
of evidence that Mugabe favoured the latter whist Joshua Nkomo was open to
a deal. Strange how history repeats itself - right now we seem to be back
at the beginning again - only worse off than in 1973. We again need
external intervention (Diplomatic) to actually end this impasse and allow
reality and realism to take the stage again.

Eddie Cross

Letter No 3

Dear Jag,

After seeing an SATV documentary on Roy Bennett on Sun eve (released from
the cess-pits they call jails in Zim) I feel I just have to do SOMETHING. I
sent 98 e-mails yesterday to 14 countries. This spread should not be
wasted. Please will you all copy this to as many people as you can.

When colonial whites were perceived to be misbehaving in Africa, the entire
"western" predominantly white, world climbed on the bandwagon and used evey
tool in the book to bring about change, and achieved it. The UK
successfully cut this country off from the rest of the world except SA.
Kissinger then turned the screws on SA's Vorster who agreed to strangle
the Smith Regime if it didn't come to heel.

Not too long after, the world threw its arms open to welcome the hero
Mugabe. The "welcome mats" were still being frenziedly thrown out for him,
while he quietly orchestrated the massacre of the Ndebele. But just as
subsequently in Iraq, Ethiopia, Sudan, Rwanda.........................
no-one uttered a peep. It was fine because 'they' were doing it to each

Well, it is NOT okay. It wasn't when Germans did it to Jews,
Pol Pot did it to Cambodians, Milosovic did it in Kosovo,
Hussein in Iraq.........and so on ad nauseam.

Just as Vorster held the key to the Rhodesian problem, Mbeki holds the key
to stopping this nightmare in Zimbabwe.

Step outside this country, and EVERYONE said to me "but surely it can't be
that bad. IF it is, then there'd be an uprising!!" Those of you who know
this country, are aware that the majority of people live in easily
patrollable townships (a few men, vehicles and AK rifles is all it takes).
Distances are great, there is no fuel other than blackmarket, all roads
have armed police roadblocks, city and town centres have riot police and
plainclothes Border Gezi Youth (vicious young bored unemployed thugs). Most
people in the rural areas are either starving, or on the verge of. You try
standing around, never mind marching when you are that hungry. Fear feeds
upon itself and quickly grows. E-mails and phone calls are monitored.

Countries who've had successful revolutions did not have neighbours who
openly condoned corruption and brutality, such as South Africa does.

Geldof and Bono's hearts may be in the right place, but I somehow cannot
bring myself to believe that rock stars with over 20 yrs in the limelight,
are motivated by altruism rather than egos. "Make Poverty History", how
arse about face is that??? "Make Corrupt Dictatorships History", and you've
solved the problem EVERYWHERE including North Korea and Myanmar (Burma).
South Korea, on the same sliver of land, is booming. Zimbabwe used to be
"the bread basket of sub- Saharan Africa".

Archbishops Tutu (in SA) and Ncube (here) are lone black voices. Whites
must help where and when they can, quietly and effectively. However its the
time for blacks to prove they are worth more than being chanters of racist
slogans. Watch Mbeki shout 'imperialism', 'bigotry', etc (yawn) every time
he's asked to stand-up for a few million POOR blacks being brutalised.

PLEASE forward this to EVERY black person, group, church, newspaper, you
know or can reach. It is their time now to stop the criminal activities of
their fellow blacks, just as whites did to Smith and de Klerk.

ANY black person you know in Zimbabwe, who is not in government, needs help
NOW, I GUARANTEE you. ALL are in some form of danger. The vast majority are
among the nicest, gentlest people on earth.

I don't wish to spoonfeed you lot, but you've not had to live with this
version of Krystal Nacht (?) 24/7.  Americans--- forward this to Condoleesa
Rice, Oprah, Colin Powell, Jesse Jackson et al. South Africans - give it to
your colleagues, business associates, drivers and maids. Catholics
everywhere, let your priests redeem themselves to a small degree of the
scandals of paedophilia, by standing up for the poorest of the poor, the
scardest of the scared, the starving, the sick. Face it, you can no longer
achieve sainthood by being eaten by pagan cannibals. I'm just asking you to
hit the forward button or give a printout to some black person with
integrity. No more or less than some white people did to help Africa
towards 'independence'.This may be seem pathetically amateurish to the
intelligentsia, but I know how few Intelligentsia there

If I am arrested, or have a car accident, don't get your g-strings in a
knot, someone has become scared shitless.

With love from a white African grandmother.

PS Paying off your credit card will give you momentary peace of mind.
Making Brutality History will give you a high for which you will NOT need

Follow up:

Hi there!
I have been crapped on by some people overseas who've felt that my e-mail
was grossly innaccurate but they weren't specific about which aspect.

So I'm going to put this another way. In the struggles for dependence in
Africa, Russians, Americans, Brits, eastern and western Europeans, and
Chinese provided arms, ammunition, money and moral support for the Freedom
Movements. It was not forseen that this would basically lead to a continent
full of power-hungry vicious dictators such as Selassie, Mariam, Amin, Sese
Seko, Taylor, Kaunda, Banda, Doe, Rawlings, Bokassa etc etc. Fortunately
for Africa, most have passed away or been booted out in coups. But by now
most of these countries are destitute, and still corrupt.

In Zimbabwe's case, the only countries who've spoken out against what's
happening here is the UK, US, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. The
African Union states, especially SA, and SADCC have done zilch. RM and
company refer to the Brits as 'Blair and His Gay Gangsters' and are equally
derogative of the rest. The aforementioned countries do not do anything
more than dish out the odd lecture. They want Africa to sort out this
problem. All Mbeki does is say he's using 'quiet diplomacy'. Surely after 5
years he can see this hasn't changed a thing............its just got worse.
My heart breaks for the people affected by the bombs in London. No-one
needs to explain to me what its like to lose family and friends. But in
between, please spare a thought for more than 50 people a day needlessly
dying here from lack of medication, housing and food.

Instead of just criticising, send helpful advice and suggestions.

A white African Grandmother

Letter No 4

Dear Roy and Heather,

We are so grateful to you both for making a Godly stand against the evil
oppressors who are hellbent on destroying Zimbabwe. We are too far away to
have helped, but we have prayed so much and God has honoured your
faithfulness. Wonderful that you are free again. We watched Carte Blanche
and were riveted to your natural leadership and honesty. May God Himself
protect and keep you and your precious family . Roy, if there is anything
concrete we can do, tell us.

Our home is here for you all anytime you need a break.

Your Dad and Mum and George and ALL Heathers family, are rejoicing, I am

And thankyou, Jag, for Judith Todd's article which we feel has been the
best yet. Thankyou for blazing the truth to the world.

Love, Marian & Neville Wright.


All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
for Agriculture.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

MISA-Zimbabwe statement on the Code of Conduct and Media Council Project

  Country/Topic: Zimbabwe
  Date: 15 July 2005
  Source: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
  Type(s) of violation(s):
  Urgency: Bulletin
(MISA/IFEX) - The following is a 14 July 2005 MISA press release:

July 14, 2005

MISA-Zimbabwe statement on the Code of Conduct and Media Council Project

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Union
of Journalists (ZUJ) and the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ),
under the umbrella body of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) met with the
Minister of Information and Publicity, Dr Tichaona Jokonya at his
Munhumutapa offices on July 13, 2005.

The meeting focused on the Code of Conduct and Voluntary Media Council
Project that MAZ in partnership with the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum
(ZINEF) have embarked on. The Code of Conduct, which has been agreed to by
all these partners including journalists in the state media, is to be used
by journalists and media houses in Zimbabwe in the course of their work and
will be administered by a voluntary body that the media itself will

The Minister was informed of the concerns of media practitioners, especially
those from private media houses, that the statutory media regulatory body,
the Media and Information Commission (MIC) has failed to fairly regulate the
media and has unfairly targeted the private media and journalists.

The Minister was also informed that the sprouting of news agencies and radio
stations focusing on Zimbabwe from outside the borders is a result of the
closing of the space in Zimbabwe as a result of laws such as AIPPA.

Partners also informed the Minister that the government has a responsibility
to come up with policies that promote the media in Zimbabwe even if that
media is critical of the government. For his part, the Minister expressed
concern for what he called unpatriotic journalism that does not take
national interests into consideration.

He urged journalists to identify with their country. The Minister also says
there must be broader principles that the people of Zimbabwe agree on as far
as how the media operates.

The Code of Conduct is the first step in setting up a self-regulatory media
council. The Voluntary Media Council is not meant to accredit journalists or
register media houses but mediate in disputes between journalists and the
general public.

Journalists and media houses in Zimbabwe, especially private media houses
and MAZ, have spoken out against the accreditation of journalists and
registration of media houses as unnecessary and placing restrictions on the
operations of the media.

The voluntary media council is, therefore, set on the premise that
complaints against the media must be resolved amicably without costly
litigation. It is also realised that complaints against the media must not
result in the arrests of journalists or closures of media houses but a fair
hearing in which the media, if it errs, is asked to apologise and retract
such reports.

Members of the public who choose to pursue civil suits in the courts of law
are, however, free to do so, though the media houses and journalists would
campaign and urge the use of the voluntary media council.

The Voluntary Media Council is meant to promote rapport between the media
and its publics and demonstrate that media practitioners believe in
responsible journalism. The Voluntary Media Council is therefore a national
project that all sectors of society from the church, labour and business
must buy into.

The Minister, his Deputy Honourable Bright Matonga, and the Permanent
Secretary George Charamba agreed that the government would not stand in the
way of these efforts.

They applauded the media for taking this first step. They also indicated
that depending on the success of this project, the Ministry is willing to
re-visit the operations and mandate of the MIC. The Permanent Secretary says
the MIC can be directed to focus on issues of access to information and


For further information, contact Zoé Titus, Programme Manager, Media Freedom
Monitoring, MISA, Private Bag 13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61 232 975,
fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail:, Internet:

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ABC, Australia

This is a transcript from Correspondents Report. The program is broadcast
around Australia on Sundays at 08:00 on ABC Radio National.

      Church leaders act against Zimbabwe slum clearance
      Correspondents Report - Sunday, 17 July , 2005
      Reporter: Zoe Daniel
      HAMISH ROBERTSON: For our final story, we go to Africa, where church
leaders say they'll publicise the plight of Zimbabweans made homeless by the
slum clearance campaign.

      The idea is to embarrass President Robert Mugabe into stopping the
demolitions, and even to force the international community to step in.

      They also want to shame Africa's politicians into taking action.

      Zimbabwe is fast becoming a public relations nightmare for African
leaders, as well as for aid groups who're trying to get the "Make Poverty
History" campaign - overshadowed by the London bombings - back on track with
promises of good governance.

      Here's our Africa Correspondent Zoe Daniel.

      ZOE DANIEL: When members of a South African multi-faith church
delegation arrived back from Zimbabwe last week their shock was evident and
their intentions were clear - to stop the crackdown.

      Council of Churches President Russel Botman.

      RUSSEL BOTMAN: Its objective is to stop the operation and to express
solidarity with the victims, and to help bring an end to the ongoing
suffering of the people.

      ZOE DANIEL: The Council of Churches plans to immediately send a second
delegation into Zimbabwe to tell the world what's happening inside the
country, and to try to embarrass the Government into stopping its campaign.

      The United Nations says up to 300,000 people have been made homeless
by Operation Murambatsvina or Drive out Rubbish. But despite that, African
governments remain silent, refusing to criticise the Zimbabwean

      Church leaders like Father Matthew Esau say representations will be
made to the African Union to get some action.

      MATTHEW ESAU: I'm hoping that we would address the AU, that we would
add to the United Nations report, that this body would ask or mandate a
group to speak to our President.

      ZOE DANIEL: The conventional wisdom is that African leaders are
reluctant to criticise President Robert Mugabe because of an informal
brotherhood between governments whose countries have shaken off colonial

      The African Union also argues that there is too much focus on
Zimbabwe, when human rights abuses on a worse scale are happening elsewhere
in Africa.

      Caroline Sande from ActionAid.

      CAROLINE SANDE: They argue that there are worse things happening in
other parts of the continent - 'Why do we keep focusing on Zimbabwe?' - and
again from a scale perspective, human rights violations anywhere, whatever
the numbers of people involved, should be condemned.

      So I think we are always going to be struggling with this, a
preoccupation or a perceived preoccupation from the part of the
international community on Zimbabwe, yet there are other crises happening
elsewhere in Africa.

      ZOE DANIEL: Aid groups are currently trying to restart the "Make
Poverty History" campaign that was stymied by the London bombings just as
Africa looked like getting some serious attention from the G8.

      Governance in Africa has already vastly improved, and Sue Mbaya from
the Southern African Regional Network says Zimbabwe shouldn't be used as an
example by Westerners considering whether aid to Africa is a worthwhile

      SUE MBAYA: We must be careful not to make the issue around governance
sort of like more of the same and the new frontier as far as
conditionalities are concerned. And so I would like to think that the people
you refer to - the grassroots - who we're calling to support, would be more
analytical and probably more mature in their assessment.

      ZOE DANIEL: But the failure of African leaders to condemn the
so-called "Clean Up" campaign is creating serious credibility issues as
Africa seeks two permanent seats on the UN Security Council. And while
church leaders are now trying to embarrass the Zimbabwean Government,
they're also trying to shame other African governments into action.

      In Johannesburg, this is Zoe Daniel for Correspondents Report.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Scoop, New Zealand

Protest Sends Goff Message - No Zimbabwe Tour!

Auckland Protest Sends Goff Strong Message - No Zimbabwe Tour!

By Selwyn Manning - Scoop Co-Editor.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff faced a staunch Global Peace and Justice Auckland (GPJA) protest today calling for the Government to legislate to prevent New Zealand's Black Caps cricket team from touring Zimbabwe.

Opposition to the August tour has been mounting due to ongoing human rights abuses against Zimbabwe's people by its president, Robert Mugabe.

Zimbabwe's outspoken critic of the Mugabe regime, Judith Todd (Sir Garfield Todd's daughter) also attended the protest. She thanked New Zealanders for turning out in what is believed to be the first of such protests worldwide opposing human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

Auckland - Zimbabwe former cricket great, Henry Olonga, and Sir Garfield Todd's daughter, Judith Todd, led protests today against a New Zealand cricket tour of Zimbabwe. Click here to listen… Scoop Audio: Zimbabwe’s Judith Todd.

The New Zealand Government has been outspoken against the Mugabe regime but has backed off passing a law that would prevent New Zealand sportsmen from touring Zimbabwe. Also, if New Zealand Cricket called off the tour, then the International Cricket Council would fine it millions of dollars.

The ICC wrote to the government this week stating that it would waiver the fine should New Zealand make the tour unlawful.

A public meeting in Auckland last night passed a resolution insisting the Government move to prevent the tour from proceeding without interfering with New Zealanders' right to travel.

GPJA spokesperson, John Minto said today, that people "can have it both ways". He said the Government must enact a law, or promote a means that would prevent the cricketers from touring Zimbabwe while still honouring New Zealanders' right to freedom of travel.

But Phil Goff said today, only concerns for the safety of New Zealand's players would stop the tour from going ahead.

New Zealand foreign minister, Phil Goff, said his government cannot create a law that would prevent New Zealanders' right to travel. Click here to listen… Scoop Audio: Foreign Minister Phil Goff.

He told a group of hecklers that to pass a law that prevented free New Zealand citizens from exercising their right to travel would be wrong and would mirror the same style of human rights abuses that Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe had imposed on that nation's peoples. He also said that such a law would create a dangerous precedence in New Zealand that could be exploited by future governments.

Phil Goff added, that a planned tour of New Zealand by Zimbawe Cricket in December will not go ahead.

Goff said his government has lobbied all International Cricket Council nations to group with New Zealand to force an ICC sporting ban on Zimbabwe. He told the group of around 2000 protesters that only Australia and the United Kingdom had agreed with New Zealand's stance.

New Zealand and Australia has also lobbied European Union nations for support, and also the United Nations security council, and has asked the International Criminal Court to have Mugabe investigated and tried for human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.

Global Peace and Justice Auckland spokesperson, John Minto, calls for a total boycott of sporting contact with Zimbabwe.Click here to listen to John Minto's response to Phil Goff's stance… Scoop Audio: John Minto responds to Phil Goff’s stance.

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald has been calling for legislation to be rushed before Parliament that would prevent the tour from going ahead. Rod Donald said the Government could stop this tour from going ahead if it was firm in its resolve to do so. He also said it is able to outlaw this tour without eroding the right of New Zealanders to freely travel where the so wish.

Green Party co-leader, Rod Donald, says his bill provides a solution that would stop the tour while protecting New Zealanders' right to travel. Click here to listen… Scoop Audio: Green Party co-leader Rod Donald.

Earlier this month, Rod Donald drafter a bill that he said would stop the tour, but uphold New Zealanders' right to travel.

The Zimbabwe Sporting Sanction Bill would make it an offence for any New Zealand national sporting organisation to send a team on a tour of Zimbabwe. If any team defied the law, their national body would be fined $50,000 and have all its government funding revoked for one financial year.

"New Zealanders don't want the Black Caps to tour Zimbabwe and they don't want NZ Cricket punished financially if the tour is called off," Mr Donald said. "This Green Bill offers the best of both worlds: it stops the tour and gets NZ Cricket off the hook with regard to any ICC fine," Rod Donald said.

He said: "I have drafted the Bill in such a way that it preserves the freedoms of individual New Zealanders enshrined in the Bill of Rights Act. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that no national sports team can give comfort to Robert Mugabe's genocidal regime, bringing New Zealand into disrepute and opening us up to the accusation that we are failing to live up to our international human rights commitments.

"NZ Cricket's Future Tours Agreement explicitly states that where a government action makes it illegal for a national team to undertake a tour of another country, then that team is not liable for any financial penalty. As such, this Bill will ensure that NZ Cricket will be able to pull out of the Zimbabwe tour and avoid any financial penalty," Rod Donald said.

Yesterday, New Zealand High Commissioner to London Jonathan Hunt met with the International Cricket Council president Ehsan Mani. Hunt is well known for his love of Cricket and wine.

Hunt was required to ask the ICC what its actions would be should New Zealand Cricket heed the Government's request that the tour be cancelled. The ICC said in this circumstance, its fines would not be waived. It informed Hunt that the tour ought to go ahead unless New Zealand ruled the tour unlawful - clearly a move the Labour-Progressive Government is loathed to do.

Back to the Top
Back to Index