Bob Vaughan-Evans, a director of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers' Union, has
been axed to death at his home.
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
Published: 11:12PM BST 07 Jul 2009
Mr Vaughan-Evans, who was in his late seventies, was killed on the eve of
his wife Jean's 80th birthday.
The couple were attacked in their home in Gweru, Zimbabwe's third largest
city, where Mr Vaughan-Evans represented the CFU in the Midlands Province.
The CFU president, Trevor Gifford, said Mr Vaughan-Evans, a renowned
agriculturalist and conservationist, died from head wounds after he was
attacked by an intruder.
He said he did not yet know Mrs Vaughan-Evans's condition.
"She is frail and in a wheelchair from a previous attack, also in their
home," he said.
Mr Gifford said the couple had been attacked three times in the last six
months, once for about £15.
President Robert Mugabe began siezing thousands of white-owned farms in 2000
and now only a few hundred remain on small portions of their original land
"We still do not know details of what happened. Bob was a very important
member of the CFU team," said Mr Gifford.
Zimbabwe's crime statistics are seldom disclosed, but there has been a surge
of armed and violent robberies, particularly since Zimbabwe abandoned its
worthless currency in January and now uses US dollars or South African rands
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
INSIDE ZIMBABWE: The latest violence may be linked to a plan to intimidate
people ahead of a constitutional referendum, writes BILL CORCORAN .
OMINOUSLY, DESPITE participation by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
in a cross-party government, politically motivated attacks on the party's
activists by Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe loyalists appear to have
Over the past two weeks, a party source says, a number of MDC activists from
around the country have contacted the former opposition party to say they
have been assaulted by supporters of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, who, they
allege, are preparing a new wave of violence for the rural areas.
The increase in violence against supporters of the MDC, which entered into a
transitional government with Zanu-PF last February as a means to move past
disputed elections, is feared to be linked to a plan to intimidate people
ahead of a constitutional referendum.
"Our intelligence is telling us the joint operations committee [Mugabe's
security council, which is made up of army generals] has decided to reform
the youth militia and prepare them for a campaign of 'persuasion' that will
begin in late September," according to the source.
Article six of Zimbabwe's three-way powersharing deal, the global political
agreement (GPA), states that a new constitution created through a
people-driven consultation process must be passed into law before fresh
elections can take place.
Reformists from the two MDC parties say a new people's charter is needed to
govern the nation because the current constitution has been amended by
Mugabe's party 19 times since it was adopted in 1980.
The majority of changes have increased Mugabe's presidential powers.
The early stages of the public consultation process, which began towards the
end of last month and involved political and civil-society representatives,
as well as members of the public, have been tense.
Some civil-society organisations are deeply divided on how best to approach
the process, with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the
constitutional lobby group, the National Constitutional Assembly,
questioning the manner in which it has taken place so far.
The two organisations are opposed to the use of the Kariba draft, negotiated
between MDC and Zanu-PF in September 2007 as the basis upon which a new
constitution will be crafted.
The MDC and Zanu-PF are also on a collision course over the document, as the
former sees it as a starting point, while the latter wants it to become the
constitution, as it leaves Mugabe's presidential powers mostly intact.
Late last month the MDC's national executive said: "The MDC believes in a
truly people-driven constitution-making process where the unfettered will of
the people must be reflected."
However, the state-owned daily, the Herald, argued recently that carrying
out widespread public meetings to gather public opinion was a waste of money
when there were "many more pressing priorities crying out for funding".
The consultation process has been made more difficult by the fact that it
has started at a time when the transitional government parties appear to be
drifting apart rather than coming together.
In the most recent sign of a fracture, MDC government ministers boycotted a
cabinet meeting at the end of June that had been brought forward by Mugabe
so that he could chair the meeting before flying to Libya for an African
The MDC ministers were apparently upset that Mugabe was unwilling to allow
the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, who should chair in his absence, to
take control of the meeting.
The recent political attacks, which began with the assault of an opposition
election agent in the northern Zambezi valley at the end of last month, have
raised tensions among grassroots MDC members, with a growing number of them
calling on the party to pull out of the GPA, which was signed by Zimbabwe's
three main political parties.
The disaffected members are asking why the party should continue in the
powersharing arrangement it produced when several outstanding GPA issues,
including the ongoing harassment and jailing of party members by the police
and judiciary, remain far from resolved.
MDC welfare secretary Kerry Kay told The Irish Times that the rule of law
was not being respected by Zanu-PF, which remains in control of the security
forces and the judiciary.
"What we are seeing is selective justice. Our members are being attacked and
jailed, while the Zanu-PF people who looted and raped last year [during the
disputed general election] are getting away scot-free," she said.
Much to many MDC members' despair, Tsvangirai has repeatedly tried to play
down the severity of some of the breaches of the GPA, including the
resurgence of white-owned farm invasions, by his political rivals in recent
According to the first victim of the latest attacks, who travelled from the
rural village of Muzarabani to MDC headquarters in Harare late last week,
his attackers were definitely members of Zanu-PF, as they had assaulted him
on a previous occasion during last year's general election.
The man, whose name has been withheld for safety reasons, told the MDC his
attackers smashed his arm with the blunt side of an axe after confronting
him as he walked home from his local shop.
He is currently in a Harare hospital recovering from surgery to save his
On Monday, the MDC received another report of an attack on one of its
members, who worked as a party chairman in Mranda Pfungwe in Mashonaland.
The man was attacked by two Zanu-PF war veterans as he was gardening outside
He was hit on the head with an axe by one of the men, and was due to arrive
in Harare yesterday for medical treatment.
Published Date: 08 July 2009
By JANE FIELDS IN ZIMBABWE
POLICE in Zimbabwe have arrested two men who raped a 24-year-old woman then
fell asleep at the scene of their crime.
In a terrifying attack, the men went to the woman's home in Dulibadzimu
township in Zimbabwe's border town of Beitbridge.
Posing as detectives, they ordered her to accompany them to the police
station. Once outside, they dragged her to a bushy area on the banks of the
Limpopo River, where they raped her - and fell asleep.
The woman sneaked away to alert her sister and security guards, who returned
and carried out a citizens' arrest before police arrived.
The attack shows just how crime is spinning out of control in once-peaceful
The number of armed robberies and assaults has surged since a unity
government between president Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the former
opposition Movement for Democratic Change was formed in February.
Regular bank raids, hijackings and supermarket shootouts are prompting
unfavourable comparisons with neighbouring South Africa.
The latest bank to be targeted was Barclays, in the second city of Bulawayo,
last Friday. Six men with pistols burst into the building and terrified
tellers before getting away with $50,000, 126,000 rand and £500. Kingdom
Bank, in Harare, has been targeted twice.
In Harare's Glen Norah township, residents are keeping to a 6pm curfew after
a mobile phone trader was beaten to death by muggers last month.
Giles Mutsekwa, Zimbabwe's home affairs minister, believes former diamond
diggers and dealers, who were removed from the Marange fields in a
controversial security operation last year, are behind the crime. "They are
turning to this crime because they have to maintain their lifestyles," he
said. "It's a cause for concern."
Foreign nationals who entered Zimbabwe to take part in the diamond trade
were also involved, he claimed.
Analysts say that the surge in crime is linked to super-high inflation; when
Zimbabwe's worthless dollar was in circulation, criminals found it more
lucrative to "money-burn" - conduct illicit deals in foreign currency over
the internet - than steal money that would lose its value in a matter of
Canny criminals are trading on the fact that Zimbabwean businesspeople, wary
of central bank raids on their accounts, are bank-shy. George Guvamatanga,
the managing director of Barclays Zimbabwe, said last week that Zimbabwe
banks held just £294 million in deposits, while £619 million was kept out of
the system, in homes, safes or offices.
Jane Mutasa, a Harare businesswoman, was robbed at gunpoint of£12,382 and
her Mercedes Benz S350 in Harare's quiet Greystone Park suburb, which is
better known for its pair of roaming leopards than as a haven for robbers.
"I was ordered to get out of my vehicle by one of the accused persons, who
was wearing a police uniform and armed with a pistol," she told a court last
There is speculation some of attacks are politically-motivated. A gang armed
with AK47s raided the home of Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, the MDC's
minister for regional integration, who was in Brussels at the time. The men
attacked and badly injured her husband, Dr Christopher Mushonga, who is in
Family members told the Standard newspaper the attackers taunted Dr
Mushonga: "You are from the MDC, we are Zanu-PF and we have been sent to
beat you up."
And questions are being asked as to why 45 armed robbery suspects were
released on bail last month - when rights activists and MDC officials are
regularly denied bail.
July 8, 2009
By Ntando Ncube
A high-ranking member of former South Africa president Thabo Mbeki's
mediation team during Zimbabwe's political negotiations said on Tuesday that
the June 2009 presidential run-off election was a "nightmare".
Speaking at a meeting held in Johannesburg Frank Chikane who resigned last
week as director-general in the office of the President of South Africa,
admitted that the SADC-brokered Global Political Agreement (GPA) was not the
best solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis.
Chikane accused western nations of withholding developmental funds from the
inclusive government and of dictating issues to Prime Minster Morgan
"It is a transitional government," Chikane said, "it's not perfect. There is
no perfect political solution, there is no perfect way of solving a problem
but it gives them (Zimbabwe political parties) the possibility to resolve
"There are three parties that agreed on the GPA but then there are people
who now say they don't accept it. I don't have a problem with international
support but I have problem when they dictate. They must allow Tsvangirai to
make his own decisions at this critical time to help Zimbabwe even if they
don't agree to some of his decision."
Speaking at the same meeting Zimbabwe political analyst, John Makumbe, urged
for the establishment of a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in
Zimbabwe as part of bringing to justice people who committed human rights
violations - including sexual abuse against women - during the run-up to the
second-round presidential election held in June 2008.
Makumbe said the international community was not demanding anything extra
from the government of national unity, but only asking the parties to fully
implement the GPA.
"The agreement has defects," Makumbe said, "serious defects. The GPA is very
defective. It lacks any mechanism of enforcement. It needs benchmarks. As a
result it is one of the worst agreements ever facilitated by an African
"South Africa must remain on the straight and narrow when it comes to
Zimbabwe. I think President (Jacob) Zuma has more skill than that of Mbeki
and we are going to appeal to him."
Zimbabwe witnessed some of its worst-ever political violence after
then-opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai failed to achieve the margin
required to form a new government after the first round of elections.
Tsvangirai eventually pulled out of the June election, citing
state-sponsored violence against his supporters. The incumbent, President
Robert Mugabe, proceeded to win the election unchallenged.
The election was widely condemned, and the ensuing political stalemate was
eventually resolved when rival parties signed the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) in September, resulting in the establishment of a government of
national unity in February.
"Violence is still happening", said Makumbe. "It is still an outstanding
issue and Zimbabweans themselves know that the violent are still at large
and doing as they want. The GPA does not talk about truth and
reconciliation. The healing process will not occur in Zimbabwe unless the
truth comes out. More needed is justice. Truth and justices are the
necessary process which will generate healing. Healing and reconciliation
are products of truth and justice. The truth has to come out; the person has
to be judged and justice must be administered."
Women have called on the parties to the inclusive government to institute a
truth and reconciliation commission, TRC, similar to that set up in South
Africa to expose apartheid-era crimes, to examine the violence before and
after the presidential election run-off.
By Tom Peck
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
The Foreign Office minister Lord Malloch-Brown has announced he is stepping
down as a Government minister at the end of July.
The minister for Africa, Asia and the UN insisted he still "greatly admired"
Gordon Brown and that the decision had nothing to do with the "political
situation". He added that the decision had been made due to "personal and
But the minister's departure, which adds to a long list of recent high
profile resignations, is a considerable blow to the Prime Minister. In a
statement, Lord Malloch-Brown said: "I have always said that I would not do
this job forever. I have strong personal and family reasons for moving on at
"I came into government as a professional, not a politician.
"My decision to step down at the end of July is not in any way a commentary
on the political situation. I greatly admire the Prime Minister and continue
to support him and his government.
"I joined the Government at his invitation to help promote his international
priorities. It has been a great privilege to do that, and to work with him
and with David Miliband."
Downing Street said: "The Prime Minister is grateful for the outstanding
work that Lord Malloch-Brown has done as Foreign Office minister. The
Government has greatly benefited from his exceptional knowledge of Africa,
the respect in which he is held by an extensive network of close contacts,
and his passion for his work.
"His support in preparing the G20 London Summit ensured that the plans set
out enjoyed the widest possible international support."
Lord Malloch-Brown started his career as a journalist before working at the
World Bank and then joining the United Nations - rising to become the deputy
In June 2007 he was one of the independent so-called "Goats" recruited by Mr
Brown to join his "government of all the talents". Another, Lord Digby
Jones, resigned after just 18 months as trade minister.
As Africa minister, the peer played a major role in negotiations over how to
tackle Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe. His appointment to the government
came as a surprise to many, owing to a series of clashes with the Bush
administration when he was at the UN.
He also attracted some controversy, not least owing to his occupation of a
grace-and-favour home in Whitehall, previously occupied by John Prescott.
There were also persistent rumours of tensions with his direct boss, Foreign
Secretary David Miliband.
By Blessing Zulu
07 July 2009
A showdown loomed Wednesday within Zimbabwe's troubled power-sharing
government as ministers from the Movement for Democratic Change formation of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai vowed to pressure their ZANU-PF governing
partners to meet in full the terms of the September 2008 Global Political
Agreement underlying the government.
MDC sources said a walkout from a cabinet meeting scheduled for Wednesday is
one option if ZANU-PF and President Robert Mugabe do not accede to their
The formation boycotted a cabinet meeting called by Mr. Mugabe on Monday,
June 29, saying Mr. Tsvangirai was slighted when the president moved up the
meeting from Tuesday that week so he could chair it before leaving for an
African Union summit. MDC officials also cited unresolved issues facing the
unity government since it was formed in mid-February.
Sources familiar with discussions in a meeting Tuesday of top MDC officials
said Mr. Tsvangirai rejected Mr. Mugabe's claim that the prime minister
apologized for last week's boycott.
Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told VOA that Mr. Tsvangirai did not
offer an apology, saying the prime minister fully understands MDC
frustrations over lingering issues.
Such issues formerly focused on Mr. Mugabe's reappointment in late 2008 of
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono without consultation with his
prospective MDC partners, and his appointment at the same time of Attorney
General Johannes Tomana.
But more recently, Tsvangirai MDC officials have been disconcerted and
angered by a series of prosecutions of party members of Parliament, in one
case resulting in a seven-year sentence. The MDC suspects the judicial
pursuits are intended to whittle down its House majority.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the MDC move to up the ante with ZANU-PF is
By CELIA W. DUGGER
Published: July 7, 2009
JOHANNESBURG - A team assessing Zimbabwe's compliance with international
standards to prevent the diamond trade from fueling conflict found that the
nation's military had been directly involved in illegal mining and that the
authorities had carried out "horrific violence against civilians," according
to a memo the team gave to Zimbabwean officials.
The team, sent on a mission to Zimbabwe last week under the Kimberly
Process, an international undertaking to halt the trade in so-called blood
diamonds, said its recommendations could include the full suspension of
Zimbabwe from the process, further complicating the country's ability to
sell its diamonds on international markets. Already, the World Federation of
Diamond Bourses has recommended that its members in 20 countries not trade
diamonds from the Marange deposits in eastern Zimbabwe because of reports of
In his confidential memo, the team's leader, A. Kpandel Fayia, told
Zimbabwean officials that he was so disturbed by the testimonies of victims
the team met that he had to leave as they spoke.
"Our team was able to interview and document the stories of tens of victims,
observe their wounds, scars from dog bites and batons, tears, and ongoing
psychological trauma," said the memo by Mr. Fayia, a deputy minister of the
ministry that oversees mining in Liberia. "I am from Liberia, sir; I was in
Liberia throughout the 15 years of civil war, and I have experienced too
much senseless violence in my lifetime, especially connected to diamonds."
He told them, "This has to be acknowledged and it has to stop."
The memo was provided to The New York Times by a person with knowledge of
the proceedings, and confirmed by two others, including one who attended the
team's briefing with officials.
The government officials, who have adamantly denied any state-sponsored
violence in the diamond fields, told the state-owned newspaper that they
would try to comply with the Kimberly Process before the team issued its
final report. Zimbabwe's deputy mining minister, Murisi Zwizwai, was quoted
as saying after Mr. Fayia's presentation that Zimbabwe had agreed to remove
soldiers from the fields "in phases while proper security settings would be
put in place."
The Kimberly team, which included Liberian, American and Namibian officials,
as well as representatives of the diamond industry and civic groups, told
Zimbabwean officials that they should suspend mining in the Marange fields,
demilitarize the operation and investigate the role of the military and the
It is hard to predict what the government will do. President Robert Mugabe,
85, is deeply hostile to Western nations and international nongovernmental
organizations pressing him to restore the rule of law.
After meeting the most senior American diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson,
on Sunday on the sidelines of the African Union summit meeting in Libya, Mr.
Mugabe angrily called Mr. Carson, a former ambassador to Zimbabwe, "an
"You have the likes of little fellows like Carson, you see, wanting to say,
'You do this, you do that,' Mr. Mugabe was quoted as saying Monday in The
Herald, the state-owned daily. "Who is he? I hope he was not speaking for
Obama. I told him he was a shame, a great shame, being an African-American."
Mr. Mugabe has sought to use his control of the country's only daily
newspaper to shape public awareness.
Its story Friday was headlined, "Kimberly team dismisses negative reports,"
and offered quotes from Mr. Fayia that suggested Zimbabwe was getting
illegal mining under control. It included no hint that the team was finding
serious human rights abuses.
Just days before the mission left for Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch issued a
report accusing the military of violently seizing the Marange diamond fields
last year, then organizing syndicates of miners and smuggling the diamonds
out of the country.
Some of the people who met with the Kimberly team described in interviews
what they told its members - and what they never got the chance to relate. A
man who pleaded not to be quoted by name for fear he would be killed said he
witnessed the burial of 85 people in a mass grave who had been killed in the
Marange diamond fields. He offered to take the team to the grave site, he
said, but was told they were out of time.
Brian James, the mayor of Mutare, brought two miners from a remote area whom
he said were shot during the military's operation in the Marange fields. But
by the time their turn came to testify, Mr. James said, "They felt they were
quite traumatized by what they had seen and heard. Seeing more people wasn't
going to make any difference."
by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 08 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's labour movement on Tuesday accused the former opposition
MDC parties of selling out on the people by agreeing to have Parliament
instead of citizens leading the writing of a new governance charter for the
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) that sired the MDC in1999
accused the former opposition of exchanging principle for power in a unity
government with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party - in a sign of
widening rifts between the union and its progeny that could have far
ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe said the union, other civic
organisations and the MDC - then a single party led by the labour movement's
then secretary general Morgan Tsvangirai - agreed at a national working
peoples' convention in 1999 to push for a people-driven constitution making
The labour body said it was surprised that the two MDC formations had agreed
to a Parliament-driven constitutional reform process during talks that
culminated in the inking of the global political agreement (GPA) last
September that led to formation of a power-sharing government last February.
"The ZCTU is custodian of the resolutions of the national working peoples'
convention (that preceded formation of the MDC) and will endeavour to follow
to the book what was agreed then," Chibebe said in a statement issued ahead
of national convention beginning tomorrow and called to chart the course of
the Parliament-led constitutional reforms.
He added: "We have not deviated from what was agreed at the convention of
1999. This is the song we used to sing with our colleagues in civic society
and even those in the MDC before they went into government. Even the first
MDC manifesto speaks about a people-driven process. We wonder what has
The ZCTU, MDC and the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) political
pressure group successfully mobilised Zimbabweans to reject a government
sponsored draft constitution in 2000 - divisions in the alliance could
weaken the MDCs capacity to wrench concessions from Mugabe and ZANU PF
during the writing of the new constitution.
The union and the NCA last weekend boycotted a civil society convention in
the capital arguing that the organisations that organized the conference
were in support of the Parliament-driven reforms.
Mugabe has said any new constitution should be based on a draft constitution
secretly authored by the MDC and ZANU PF on Lake Kariba and known as the
Critics say the document leaves untouched the wide-sweeping powers that
Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a unity government with
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of the smaller
The ZCTU said Mugabe "brought our worst fears to life" when he said the
Kariba draft constitution would be the reference document for the new
Chibebe said it was clear from the GPA that the three political parties
agreed to use the Kariba draft as the main document for the current process.
"It is foolhardy for anyone to say and think that parties never agreed to
use the Kariba draft when they appended their signature to the GPA," Chibebe
said dismissing claims that Tsvangirai last weekend said the Kariba draft
would not be a reference document.
The political agreement signed by Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara clearly
refers to the Kariba draft and totally ignores other draft constitution
produced over the past decade, situation that analysts say means the
document will take precedence over other drafts and probably over what
people may suggest during the outreach programme.
The ZCTU said: "There is a world of difference between a people-driven
process and Parliament-led process. The latter is led by people who have
vested interests and there is bound to be some form of bias towards
individual's political party's views. The ZCTU is still of the opinion that
a neutral person should be selected to lead the process." - ZimOnline
by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 08 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe will tomorrow and Friday host an international investment
conference expected to be attended by 100 world-renowned financiers as the
country's inclusive government battles to revive the comatose economy.
According to the ministry of economic planning and investment promotion, 700
delegates are expected to attend the inaugural conference.
The inclusive government, struggling to raise about US$10 billion to revive
the country's batter economy due to poor political and economic policies
over the last decade, would use the conference to showcase the nation's
According to the programme of the conference to be ran under the theme
Zimbabwe: Redefining the business and investment environment, President
Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur
Mutambara would address the indaba on the formation of the inclusive
government, their commitment to it, implementation of the global political
agreement and would also explain their working relationship.
The three leaders would also be expected to speak on Cabinet policy
formulation, perception issues, and the rule of law and property rights.
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara address the conference tomorrow.
Also lined up to speak at the conference are finance and economic ministries
ministers Tendai Biti, Welshman Ncube and Elton Mangoma, business magnates
and executives; and academics.
Meanwhile, reports from London yesterday were that (Welshman) Ncube told an
African forum that Zimbabwe would consider adopting the South African rand
as its anchor currency.
"We cannot re-enter the Zimbabwe dollar without the economy to support that,
we need another solution. We cannot continue forever with multiple
currencies," Ncube was quoted saying. "If we can at least join rand monetary
union, we will have money allocated to Zimbabwe through that system. No
decision has been made, we will debate it and see what the best alternative
Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho all use the South African rand alongside
their own currencies. - ZimOnline
By Jonga Kandemiiri
07 July 2009
Mozambique said it won't cut off electric power to Zimbabwe despite arrears
of some US$50 million owed by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, or
Mozambican Energy Minister Salvador Namburete said the Harare unity
government needs the support of his country and the region to rebuild its
Blackouts are a grim fact of life for Zimbabweans as ZESA is unable to
generate the 1,800 megawatts needed to meet the country's demand for
Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that Harare recently paid US$14 million against its arrears.