June 19, 2009
BRUSSELS (Afrique en ligne) - Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on
Thursday had talks with senior European officials on the political and
economic situation in his country and secured financial assistance for the
Tsvangirai, who is on a working visit to Brussels, told a press conference
at the end of discussions that he was satisfied with the financial
commitments made by the European officials.
The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis
Michel, announced that the European Union undertook to allocate a budget
support of 30 million euro ($42 million) to the Zimbabwe government, as well
as humanitarian aid of 8 million euro ($11 million) and food aid of 9
million euro ($12.5 million).
Javier Solana, the UN Higher Representative for Foreign Policy and Common
Security (PESC), announced the opening of political dialogue with Zimbabwe
in accordance with Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, aimed at normalizing
relations between the two parties.
At the end of the political dialogue, an agenda will be drafted that would
define the reciprocal commitments to be honoured by both parties and that
should progressively pave the way for the "complete and full" normalization
of relations between the European Union and Zimbabwe.
The European Union has since 2001 been implementing disciplinary measures
targeting 98 Zimbabwean leaders, including President Robert Mugabe and his
wife who have been prohibited from residing in Europe.
These measures were taken after the accelerated land reform policy launched
by President Robert Mugabe by virtue of which white farmers were
dispossessed of their farms.
Jun 19, 7:34 AM EDT
By ANGUS SHAW
Associated Press Writer
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- President Robert Mugabe's party has rejected
allegations from Amnesty International about continuing human rights
violations in Zimbabwe, state media reported Friday.
The Herald newspaper quoted Vice President Joyce Mujuru as saying that
national reconciliation was going ahead in Zimbabwe and there was no need
for outside interference.
"Some of us have already started talking to our people," the Herald quoted
Mujuru as saying. "We love our people to be together. Being Zimbabweans, our
culture does not allow noisy people."
Amnesty International chief Irene Khan wrapped up a six-day visit to
Zimbabwe on Thursday. She said the new unity government had made too little
progress in tackling human rights violations and said that Mugabe's party
and security forces still regarded the use of violence as "a legitimate tool
to crush political opponents."
The official Herald newspaper criticized the report as "one-sided" and state
radio said it was "not worth the paper it is written on." Radio, television
and the main state newspaper continue to act as the mouthpiece of Mugabe's
The four-month old unity government remains deeply divided between ZANU-PF
members and supporters of former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is
now prime minister.
In the past, Mugabe barred independent human rights monitors from visiting
the country so Khan's visit was significant even though she did not get to
meet the 85-year-old president in person. Mugabe has frequently called the
organization "Amnesty Lies International."
Khan did meet Mujuru and other senior members of Mugabe's party, and
officials from the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Khan is
scheduled to meet in London with Tsvangirai, who is currently on a trip to
the United States and Europe appealing for foreign aid and an end to
Khan said the human rights situation in Zimbabwe remained grim despite
promises of reform from the new unity government. Minutes after she spoke,
police beat peaceful protesters from a local human rights groups.
The official Herald newspaper reported Friday that one of its photographers
who was filming the police action was also beaten and bundled into the back
of a police vehicle.
Police also broke up a peaceful demonstration in the nation's second city of
Bulawayo on Wednesday and seven demonstrators were jailed. They were
expected to appear in court Friday on charges of disturbing the peace.
By Violet Gonda
19 June 2009
A Harare magistrate and prosecutor did not turn up for the hearing of jailed
MDC Director-General Toendepi Shonhe on Friday, because they said they had
to attend a mental health seminar. The MDC senior employee, who was arrested
on Tuesday and granted bail Thursday, remains in prison after the State
blocked his bail.
A frustrated defence lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, told SW Radio Africa he
wasted his time going to the courthouse on Friday only to be told that
magistrate Jackie Munyonga and prosecutor Allen Masiya were not going to be
available. He was surprised to hear that they would not be in court, as
they had not raised the issue of attending a workshop the previous day.
The State was supposed to have attended Friday's hearing to respond to an
application by the defence to have Section 121 of the Criminal Law and
Codification Act referred to the Supreme Court. Muchadehama said he is
challenging this Section because over the years it has been used by the
Attorney General to deny people their liberty, after they have been granted
Shonhe himself was not brought to court and the reason given to his lawyers
was that officials at Harare's Remand Prison only had one car and that car
had gone to Kariba. The MDC Director's case was then passed on to another
magistrate who remanded him, in absentia, to Monday.
"This is what we complained to the new magistrate, who presided over the
matter on Friday. That we are being taken for granted and our client's
rights were not being taken seriously," said Muchadehama.
Meanwhile, the MDC-T reiterated on Friday that it is disturbed by the
"flagrant disregard of the rule of law," when the bail hearing of their
Director General failed to take place due to the absence of the magistrate
and the public prosecutor.
The MDC CEO is accused of lying under oath, when he swore to an affidavit
that three members of his party had been re-abducted earlier this month.
This is in spite of the fact that one of the three activists confirmed
Shonhe's testimony in court.
The party insists that Shonhe, who was granted a US$500 bail on Thursday, is
facing trumped-up perjury allegations. A statement by the MDC said: "There
is clear lack of sincerity on the part of certain players in the inclusive
government who are bent on perpetuating the old order of injustice and non
accountability. It is the MDC's view that the continued victimisation of MDC
activists and other human rights campaigners, such as WOZA, clearly causes a
major threat to the efforts of the progressive forces in the inclusive
By Alex Bell
19 June 2009
Four members of the pressure group,, Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), who
were brutally beaten and arrested in Harare on Thursday, were finally
released on bail after being locked up overnight.
The four were denied medical treatment despite the serious injuries received
at the hands of police officials, who launched a vicious attack on
protesting WOZA members in the capital. The group had gathered to
commemorate International Refugee Day by holding peaceful marches through
the city streets to Parliament. But police who had been patrolling the
streets in the city centre used force to immediately stop three of the six
simultaneous marches that had been organised.
The WOZA members and supporters that had gathered were brutally beaten with
batons and then dispersed. Riot police then intercepted the fourth protest
outside the offices of The Herald newspaper, again violently beating the
peaceful protestors. As the last two protests were nearing their target,
parliament, riot police again descended and began to viciously beat the
group. Police followed the demonstrators as they dispersed, continuing to
randomly beat and detain them as they moved away.
Eyewitnesses to the brutality included scores of media representatives who
had gathered for a press conference by human rights organisation Amnesty
International. Three journalists, who were documenting the police assault on
the WOZA members, were manhandled into police vans and detained. They were
only released later in the evening when it was discovered that one of the
journalists was from the state run Herald newspaper.
One of the journalists that were arrested described witnessing the police
beatings, saying police continued to beat and kick the women that had been
picked up and thrown into the police van.
"One officer in particular, seemed to be enjoying himself, calling out
'piece of shit' with each strike," the journalist said.
The seriously injured WOZA members that were arrested were kept overnight in
police cells without medical treatment, before appearing in the Harare
Magistrates Court on Friday morning. After an initial argument by the state
that the women should be denied bail, they were finally released on US$10
bail each and remanded out of custody to the 2nd of July. Their lawyer was
also granted a court order for the police to explain the serious injuries
the four women had received.
At the same time, seven other WOZA members who were arrested in Bulawayo on
Wednesday also appeared in court on Friday morning, on charges of disturbing
the peace. The group was arrested after WOZA's Refugee Day commemoration
march in the city was violently broken up by police. Three people were
seriously injured, while scores more WOZA members sustained minor injuries,
again at the hands of police. Eight people were arrested, although one was
later released on medical grounds. The remaining seven have been kept in
custody at the Bulawayo Central Police Station since Wednesday.
During Friday's court appearance, the state spent the morning trying to
convince the court that the group should be denied bail until the arrest of
WOZA leader Jenni Williams had been secured. The state argued that Williams
should be charged as an organiser because of remarks that she made at a
public meeting last week that WOZA would roll out peaceful protests until
all Zimbabweans receive social justice. Williams told SW Radio Africa on
Friday that the state's argument is "nothing more than another form of
harassment," saying there has been no move to arrest her despite her very
public appearances at both marches this week. The seven WOZA members
meanwhile were all finally released on bail late Friday afternoon.
Meanwhile, outgoing US Ambassador James McGee on Thursday condemned the
attacks on WOZA, saying: "We don't like the way this country is being run."
McGee was speaking during a roundtable discussion with journalists in Harare
on Thursday evening. He told journalists there he does not understand how
ZANU PF affiliates, who themselves protested as political activists before
independence, can now justify attacking people in the same protest situation
"Today, they say, when you open your moth, I'm going to hit you in the
head," McGee said. "Something is wrong with that."
June 19, 2009
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Leading Zanu-PF officials here have grabbed land in wildlife
conservancies and caused an outcry among MDC supporters over the manner in
which the sanctuaries were allocated along partisan lines.
Environment and Natural Resources Minister Francis Nhema has reportedly
already approved the occupation of the sanctuaries by Zanu-PF officials and
top police and army officers.
Among the beneficiaries who have been issued with 99-year leases to the
sanctuaries is Masvingo governor and resident minister Titus Maluleke,
Higher and tertiary education minister Stan Mudenge, former Masvingo
Zanu -PF provincial chairman retired major Alex Mudavanhu, and Senator
It emerged Friday that senior police and army officers have also benefited
from the scheme which has caused an outcry form the mainstream MDC party led
by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Nhema yesterday confirmed dishing out 99 year leases to people in Masvingo
among them top Zanu-PF officials in the province.
"We have always maintained that blacks have been sidelined from the
lucrative business of running conservancies hence were decided to give our
people 99 years leases to the properties ", said Nhema.
Asked to comment on the composition of the beneficiaries the minister said
they were the only people who were on the waiting list.
The allocations were made in the Save Valley River Conservancy and Mwenezi
Mainstream MDC Mwenezi district chairman Charles Muzenda yesterday said a
letter had been written a letter to the ministry of Environment and Natural
resources protesting over the manner in which only senior Zanu-PF officials
were allowed to benefit.
"We are not happy with the manner in which everything was done ", said
"If it is an issue of empowering the locals then no political affiliation
should be looked into before one benefits from such a scheme", he added.
Meanwhile, a senior Zanu-PF official Shylet Uyoyo yesterday appeared in
court facing assault charges in which she allegedly assaulted Tatenda
Chitagu a journalist with a local community news paper.
Chitagu, a reporter with the Masvingo Mirror a local weekly, was assaulted
allegedly for writing a story in which Uyoyo was linked to armed robbery
when her car was used as a gate-away car.
Not happy with the story Uyoyo who is the provincial chairperson in the
party's women's league allegedly stormed the Mirror offices and assaulted
She told the reporter that he would not walk freely in Masvingo.
The matter was reported to the police and Uyoyo was arrested. Yesterday
Uyoyo asked for the postponement of the case arguing that her lawyer would
only be available on Monday morning.
19 June 2009
Information and Communications Technology Bill on the cards
A new Information and Communications Technology Bill is being proposed with
the merging of the existing information and communication laws and repealing
of the Broadcasting Services Act and Postal and Telecommunications Act being
among its major objectives.
The Bill provides for the establishment of a converged communications
authority called the National Information and Communications Technology
Authority of Zimbabwe (Authority). This body is set to provide for the
licensing and regulation of telecommunications as well as broadcasting and
postal services. In addition, the Bill will also provide for the
facilitation and regulation of electronic communications and transactions.
The Bill also envisages the repeal of the Postal and Telecommunications Act
and the Broadcasting Services Act. However, the Bill does not provide for
the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA) but proposes for its amendment.
The Authority shall exercise licensing and regulatory functions in respect
of information and communications services in Zimbabwe including the
determination of types and classes of licensees and the approval process,
tariffs and alterations thereto. It shall also allocate, manage, review the
frequency spectrum, as well as license the users of the frequency spectrum
including broadcasters and signal careers.
If enacted into law the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) will cease
to exist as it will be superseded by the Authority which will assume all the
basic functions of the former body.
Section 60 sets out the powers of the Authority and expressly states that
the Authority shall regulate broadcasting provision in the manner that it
feels will best meet the demand for broadcasting services. Licensing for
broadcasting services is provided for under section 61 which notes that no
person shall broadcast without a license except for the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation which shall be deemed licensed under the Bill.
Under section 34, provision is made for frequency management by the
Authority, while section 35 deals with licensing in respect of the
utilisation of radio frequency. In terms of section 47, the Authority shall
also be the sole licensing body with regard to telecommunications network
In terms of section 62, pursuant to the applications for broadcasting
license, the Authority shall make sure that it issues broadcasting licences
in sufficient numbers to meet the public demand for broadcasting services,
and the process of issuing broadcasting licenses is set therein.
Section 6 of the Bill anticipates that the Authority shall be independent in
the exercise of its functions and subject only to the law. This
independence, however, appears to be compromised by the fact that section 9
states that the Authority shall be tasked to implement government policies
relating to information and communications services, a factor that would
obviously dilute its autonomy.
Section 7 of the proposed Bill provides for the manner of appointment of
councillors to the Authority and its composition. The authority shall
consist of not less than 5 members but not more than 9 members who are to be
appointed by the president on the recommendation of cabinet. The major
change in the appointment process lies in the fact that it proposes public
participation in the nomination process. The Authority shall be headed by a
Chief Executive Officer in terms of section 15.
Under section 74 of the Bill provision is made for the licensing of those
wishing to venture into the business of postal services. Although no person
shall engage in this venture without being licensed, Zimbabwe Posts
(ZimPost) shall be deemed duly licensed under the Bill.
Section159 apparently endorses the continued existence of the Interception
of Communications Act: Subject to the Interception of Communications Act
[Chapter 11:20].of (Act No. 6 of 2207) a person who intentionally accesses
or intercepts any data without authority or permission to do so is guilty of
an offence and liable to .or a term of imprisonment not exceeding 15 years.
The clear import of this section is that whereas interception by an
unauthorized individual or other body is illegal, the same action is
perfectly legal or permissible when orchestrated by the government or such
other authorised body.
For more information please contact:
Senior Programmes Officer
June 19 2009 at 08:18PM
A protest by Zimbabwean refugees at the Home Affairs office in Durban
on Friday ended in a meeting with department officials.
"The meeting between the two parties was held in a cordial atmosphere
and was very constructive," said Home Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa in
"Leaders of the picketers were given an opportunity to present their
grievances to the regional management of Home Affairs."
The protest was organised by Zimbabwean political party Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
MDC regional spokesperson Shepard Zvavanhu told Sapa: "The meeting was
very helpful and we came to a mutual understanding."
According to Mamoepa: "The meeting agreed to establish a mechanism to
allow for an ongoing interaction between home affairs department and
representatives of the Zimbabwean nationals."
The MDC was protesting "apparent segregation" at the department and
conditions inside the office. It also wanted the process for granting asylum
to be speeded up.
Zvavanhu said the MDC called for the picket because refugees were
getting sick while waiting in long queues outside the Durban offices.
Refugees were going for days without drinking water or eating food.
"The home affairs department does not allow them to use water inside
the building and there is no running water outside, and people are there for
about three to four days, queueing in lines. At night, there are over 400
people in a queue."
"The refugees have no resources. We help each other out at times.
Women and children standing there are going hungry and are dehydrated."
The party was distressed to find that some refugees had even collapsed
in the queues. The asylum seekers did not have access to toilets and were
forced to urinate in an open site, which was "humiliating and unhygienic".
"The department takes far too long to issue asylum papers and that
needs to change," Zvavanhu said.
Mamoepa hoped that the "mechanism" put into place between the
department and Zimbabweans would foster positive relations between the two
parties. - Sapa
19 June 2009
Zimbabwean refugees sorting out asylum papers were allegedly assaulted by
home affairs officials, Zimbabwean political party the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said on Friday in Durban.
MDC district chairman Nhamo Chikowore said there was "apparent segregation"
at the department.
He accused officials of ignoring Zimbabweans while other foreign nationals
were attended to.
He was speaking at a picket called by the MDC to get the department to speed
up the issuing of asylum papers, which the party claimed took about four
By 10am, some 15 MDC supporters were picketing outside the Moore Road home
Police spokesperson Inspector Michael Read said there had been no incidents
at the department thus far.
"We are not aware of any violence there."
Home Affairs department spokesman Ronnie Mamoepe said he would comment on
the matter shortly.
Earlier, regional MDC spokesman Sheperd Zvavanhu said the party called for
the picket because refugees were getting sick while waiting in long queues
outside the department offices in Durban.
"The home affairs department does not allow them to use water inside the
building and there is no running water outside, and people are there for
about three to four days, queueing in lines.
"At night, there are over 400 people in a queue."
Refugees were going for days without drinking water or eating food, he said.
"The refugees have no resources. We help each other out at times," he said.
"Women and children standing there are going hungry and are dehydrated."
Zvavanhu said the party was distressed to find that some refugees had even
collapsed in the queues.
The asylum seekers, he said, did not even have access to toilets and were
forced to urinate in an open site which he described as "humiliating and
"The department takes far too long to issue asylum papers and that needs to
change," said Zvavanhu.
A memorandum detailing the concerns would be handed over to the
department. - Sapa
By Lance Guma
19 June 2009
Friday was the deadline for applicants wanting to sit on the proposed
Zimbabwe Media Commission, which is due to replace the now defunct Media and
Information Commission (MIC). Austin Zvoma, the Clerk of Parliament, is
reported to have said the number of applications from interested people was
'overwhelming' but refused to disclose who had put their names forward.
Newsreel understands former MIC Chairman and renowned 'media hangman'
Tafataona Mahoso and some members who sat on his board, have applied to join
the new commission.
Those wanting to sit on the commission submitted their names to the
Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee. This body will then
submit the names of 12 nominees to President Mugabe. Allowing Mugabe to
decide the final 9 members who will make up the ZMC board is one of the many
controversies dogging the process. The ZANU PF leader and his party have
shown no real commitment to reforming the repressed media sector. There are
worries that discredited individuals like Mahoso and some of the
commissioners on his defunct MIC, might be smuggled onto the new board.
Loughty Dube, the head of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) in
Zimbabwe, told Newsreel that although they had initially opposed the ZMC in
favour of a self regulatory body they urged people to apply to join 'as
individuals' as a temporary measure. MISA is not happy that this is a
'statutory' body (making it mandatory and under government control)
preferring instead self regulation by journalists. Their decision to
accommodate the ZMC for now is guided by the realization that its lifespan
is linked to the coalition government and is therefore a transitional
Dube said they are determined to use the constitution making process to
ensure that media freedom is enshrined in the new constitution. Meanwhile
prominent media lawyer Chris Mhike this week used a presentation at Harare's
Quill Club to urge journalists not to shun the ZMC. He said a complete
boycott was unwise and journalists should participate, under protest, and
try to influence what happens from within.' Mhike added that journalists
should not be 'too rigid' in their positions and should instead seek to
exploit any opportunities presented by the ZMC.
By Alex Bell
19 June 2009
Human rights non governmental organisations in South Africa have taken
further action to force the presidency to make public a report, by retired
army generals, about state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe last year.
The South African History Archive (SAHA), the SA Litigation Centre and the
Southern African Centre for Survivors of Torture, have been trying to gain
access to the report, that the presidency has since argued does not exist.
The groups have now submitted an internal appeal to President Jacob Zuma's
office, in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, disputing
the claims around the so called non existence of the document.
The retired army generals were commissioned by then President Thabo Mbeki to
investigate the role of Zimbabwe's security forces in last year's
devastating post election violence. A report believed to be 'shocking' was
then handed over to Mbeki, according to the NGOs now trying to make the
report public.The NGOs said they are convinced that the six generals
produced a 'hard-hitting' report that influenced the power-sharing deal
Mbeki brokered between Zimbabwe's political rivals last September. But Zuma's
office had insisted the generals never reported back to Mbeki in writing.
Frank Chikane, the director general in the presidency under Mbeki, and
Trevor Fowler, who currently holds the post, produced affidavits in which
they said there was not only no report, but no supporting documentation on
the generals' mission.
SAHA said it was hard to believe that they were not asked to document their
findings, as the mission cost the South African taxpayer nearly R650 000,
according to the foreign ministry.
"To suggest that this amount of money could be spent and the admitted
investigation conducted merely for a once-off oral briefing to be made to
the President... beggars belief," the organisation said on Friday.
The appeal was handed to the Minister in the Presidency, Collins Chabane,
last week and Zuma's office now has 30 days to respond. If the president
rejects the request, going to court would be the NGOs last resort to obtain
By Violet Gonda
19 June 2009
Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Chris Mushonga, the husband of Minister Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, has been hospitalised after he was savagely attacked
by armed robbers in his home on Thursday night. Misihairabwi-Mushonga is the
Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation and
currently part of the high level delegation of government ministers
travelling with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to western countries.
A source told SW Radio Africa the medical doctor was at home with two family
friends when a group of about seven armed robbers broke into his Mount
Pleasant home in Harare. The source said a 4x4 vehicle, Mercedes Benz,
laptops, money and cellphones are among the items believed to have been
stolen by the robbers.
The thugs assaulted the three thoroughly, including using the butts of their
guns. It is reported Dr. Mushonga, who is believed to be in his late 70s,
got the most beatings as the gang demanded to know where he stashed his
money. The source said Mushonga didn't have a safe or money to give them and
was seriously brutalised as a result. The three victims were then left
locked up in the house. "Dr Mushonga is in a bad way and right now he cannot
even remember his name," said the source.
It's reported the police were called immediately after the robbers sped off
but said they could not go to the Minister's house because they had no
petrol. The ambulance service also failed to arrive.
Meanwhile, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena told the website NewZimabbwe
that 45 armed robbery suspects were freed by the courts on bail in the last
two weeks and police believe some of them are behind this raid on the
minister's home. "We believe six people were involved in the robbery. They
disarmed a police officer guarding the property. Once inside, they severely
beat up Dr Mushonga and two other people before making off with an AK rifle,
a Toyota Prado and two mobile phones," Bvudzijena said.
We were not able to reach Minister Misihairabwi-Mushonga for comment. She
was still in Brussels, Belgium on Friday afternoon where the government
delegation was making preparations to travel to the United Kingdom, as part
of the 're-engagement' tour with the west.
There has been a huge increase in armed robberies, a sign of the general
breakdown of the rule of law and decay in Zimbabwe.
From Sapa, 18 June
Cape Town - World leaders should drop sanctions against Zimabbwe and open
lines of credit to the southern African country, South Africa's
International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
said on Thursday. "We want to urge the leaders of the world to leave
sanctions and open up the lines of credit and let the people of Zimbabwe
take full control of their lives," she said at a press briefing in Cape
Town. "We need to give peace and development a chance in Zimbabwe." A recent
trip by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to the United States and Europe
showed the commitment of the Zimbabweans to work together to "come out of
this". The US, which initially wanted to do nothing about Zimbabwe, was now
listening to the pleas of Tsvangirai. "We think this is a good start," she
said. "Several countries have come back to help Zimbabwe. We continue to
encourage the international community to come to the party." Tsvangirai met
US President Barack Obama in Washington last week and was given $73-million
in aid. Western countries are concerned that Tsvangirai's rival, President
Robert Mugabe, is not committed enough to political reforms. Tsvangirai
wants $8.5-billion in aid to revive the economy and the civil service.
Norway and Germany have both promised to grant millions of dollars in aid to
Zimbabwe. Nkoana-Mashabane said she would "reiterate" Tsvangirai's pleas for
aid when she meets with the United States' Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton next week. "I hope to reiterate the message of Prime Minister
Tsvangirai in that meeting," she said.
By Tichaona Sibanda
19 June 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to address thousands of
Zimbabweans at Southwark Cathedral in London on Saturday.
This will be the first time that the MDC president will be coming to the UK
as Prime Minister, since joining the inclusive government in Ferbruary.
The United Kingdom is home to close to a million Zimbabwean exiles, many of
them active members of the MDC. In the past, Tsvangirai has been to the UK
to drum up support for his party and solely to address party activists.
Matthew Nyashanu, spokesman for the MDC in the UK, told us Saturday's rally
will be for all Zimbabweans, regardless of their party affiliations.
'He's coming to address us as the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and not
president of the MDC. So the meeting is open to anyone wishing to get an
update of what is happening in the unity government,' Nyashunu said.
Tsvangirai has been in Brussels, Belgium since Wednesday night and is
expected to fly into London Friday evening.
Bjorn Hultin, a Zimbabwean lobbyist based in Brussels, said Tsvangirai has
had a successful trip to the home of the European Union.
'He and his delegation have had a fantastic working visit to Brussels. They've
also had fruitful discussions with officials here,' Hultin said.
These were the first official talks between the EU and Zimbabwe in seven
years. The EU delegation was headed by Javier Solana, Secretary-General of
the Council of the European Union, and included several commissioners.
Tsvangirai will be in the UK for five days and Conservative MP Sir Nicholas
Winterton, vice-chairman of the all-party group on Zimbabwe, told Parliament
on Thursday that the 'courageous' politician would be visiting the House
Commons next week to meet MPs and peers from the group on Tuesday.
Tsvangirai will also have meetings with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and
Chancellor Alistair Darling as he seeks humanitarian aid and financial
support for Zimbabwe.
Zimbabweans living in Britain warmly welcome the arrival of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, and hope that his first visit to London will mark the
beginning of formal engagement with the Inclusive Government's Diaspora
constituency, who hope to contribute to the reconstruction and development
of our home country.
We hope that the Prime Minister will:
1) Acknowledge that Zimbabweans abroad have contributed to the economy at
home through ideas, investment, remittances, school fees and charitable
contributions of resources to families, community groups and institutions in
2) Acknowledge the strong desire of the Zimbabwean community in Britain to
engage with the Inclusive Government and formally and directly meet with
representatives of the Prime Minister's office to discuss ways in which the
Diaspora can contribute to the reconstruction and development of Zimbabwe.
3) Acknowledge and celebrate the contribution that Zimbabweans in Britain
have made to the British economy and society, through professional
contributions in all fields, and especially within the health and education
4) Advocate to the British government to support those who have been
de-skilled during their time in Britain and give them the opportunity to
re-skill before they return, in order to fulfil their ambition to contribute
positively to a peaceful, stable and prosperous future in Zimbabwe.
5) Encourage the British government to work with the Zimbabwean Diaspora
community on an ambitious programme towards the long-term development and
reconstruction of Zimbabwe through skills sharing, capacity building and
6) Encourage the British government to engage broadly with Zimbabweans in
Britain in the design and implementation of its development programmes in
The Diaspora community, represented by the Civil Society organizations
listed below, would like to
1) Express our deepest sympathy to Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his family
on the tragic loss of his wife Susan Nyaradzo, and pray that memories of her
rich life will strengthen and inspire Zimbabwe in the years ahead.
2) Commend and encourage the efforts of those of our leaders who are seeking
genuine and lasting people-driven solutions to the challenges facing
3) Express our concern for and solidarity with our sisters and brothers
within Zimbabwe, and pledge our support for the restoration of human rights
and dignity to Zimbabwean citizens at home and abroad.
4) Express our desire to participate in the constitutional reform process as
a step towards the building of a new, stable, prosperous and democratic
Zimbabwe in which our collective aspirations as a nation are realized.
5) Express our desire to engage with processes of healing and hope that the
Prime Minister will acknowledge the commitment of Zimbabwean organizations
in Britain to the common objective of community reconciliation and national
This statement is made with the agreement of:
The Zimbabwe Diaspora Development Interface (ZDDI), Zimbabwe Women's
Network, Zimbabwe Community Association, Zimbabwe Community Group, Zimbabwe
Action Group, Zimbabwe Catholic Community in England and Wales (ZCCIE),
Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Association, Rebuild Zimbabwe UK Association,
KuMusha/Ekhaya Zimbabwe Community Group in Manchester, The Urban and
Peri-Urban Research Network (Peri-NET), Zimbabwe Internship Scheme,
WeZimbabwe, Zimbabwe Development Support Association in Wales, and the
Tsvangirai - Things beginning to
A tussle over the "unilateral" appointment of Gideon Gono as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, by President Robert Mugabe, leader of the ZANU-PF party, as well as the selection of ZANU-PF loyalist Johannes Tomana to the position of attorney general, has become one of the most divisive issues since the formation of the government of national unity on 11 February.
Gono, whose tenure at the central bank coincided with hyperinflation and extinction of the Zimbabwe dollar, has also admitted to raiding the bank accounts of private individuals and NGOs for foreign currency.
The MDC argues that the Gono and Tomana appointments were in contravention of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which set up the unity government, as both positions required selection by consensus, which did not occur.
Mugabe has stood firm, and recently enlisted the support of the armed forces, who declared earlier this month that Gono's position as central bank governor was "non-negotiable".
After months of bitter turf wars over who would control donor funds, MDC finance minister Tendai Biti appears to have booked the pound seats. A facility known as the Multi-Donor Trust Fund, which functions under the auspices of his ministry, will be responsible for receiving donor funding; the dissemination of monies will fall under a cabinet committee on aid coordination, chaired by Tsvangirai.
Gorden Moyo, an MDC minister of state, told local media the arrangement was designed to allay fears in the donor community that channelling money through the central bank would provide no guarantees on how it would be spent.
"We now have a framework of operation, and it sends a clear message that Zimbabwe is ready to receive aid and use it effectively for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe," Moyo said.
Tsvangirai is attempting to persuade the US and Western Europe to release billions of dollars to help resurrect the near collapsed country. However, donors have been reluctant to provide large-scale development assistance unless they see tangible reforms, including a return to the rule of law, press freedom, and effective financial controls to guarantee that funding reaches the intended recipients.
We now have a framework of operation, and it
sends a clear message that Zimbabwe is ready to receive aid and use it
effectively for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe
The US Senate said in a resolution that it would provide resources to "NGO entities to provide assistance and to pay salaries or fees to appropriately qualified people in Zimbabwe to enable progress to be made in the critical areas of education, health, water and sanitation."
Health, water and sanitation, and education all fall under ministries controlled by the MDC, although higher education falls under a ZANU-PF minister.
The German government has promised Tsvangirai $34.8 million, while Norway has given 42 million kroner ($6.5 million), bringing its contribution to Zimbabwe's reconstruction to $31 million so far in 2009.
In a statement the Norwegian government said, "The funds will mainly go to areas that Mr Tsvangirai's party, the MDC, is responsible for: basic education, health services, and promoting democracy. The funds will not be channelled through the government financial system, but through the UN, the World Bank and NGOs."
Further measures to restore international confidence in Zimbabwe's financial management system are the scrapping of the Audit and Exchequer Act, and its replacement with the proposed Public Finance Management law, which will provide a regulatory framework with a strong emphasis on good governance and compel ministries to table their spending reports in Parliament, bringing about greater transparency in the administration of public funds.
Ensuring that the financial mechanisms were in place has been crucial, as huge sums of money are being spent just to keep Zimbabwe treading water.
Tsitsi Singizi, spokesperson for UNICEF, the UN Children's Fund, told IRIN that her agency among others was contributing about $1.6 million monthly to top up salaries for health workers, and also procured and distributed 70 percent of all essential medicines, from painkillers to antibiotics. The funds have been delivered through a private overseas logitical agency.
In the past two years UNICEF has spent $12 million supporting more than 2,000 schools with text books, stationery and furniture, and has been addressing sanitation concerns - in the wake of a cholera epidemic that has killed thousands - by drilling 140 of a planned 200 boreholes in cholera-affected areas.
19th June 2009
Iran has dominated the news here this last week. The sight of thousands of
people, many carrying placards asking 'Where is my vote?' has a tragic
resonance for anyone who has ever participated in a supposedly democratic
process only to find, when the results are announced, that their votes
counted for nothing. It is all too easy for outsiders to criticise the
internal politics of countries ruled by a different system of government but
that is not my purpose here. What is, however, tragically familiar to
Zimbabweans watching the Iranian situation unfold is the resemblance to our
own electoral process: an electoral commission controlled and staffed by the
ruling party, media outlets in the hands of pro-government officials, a
partisan police force, a youth-wing comprised of armed youngsters
indoctrinated with so-called 'cultural values' and the banning of all
foreign reporters. All this is very familiar to Zimbabweans; above all, we
recognise from our own experience the stunned disbelief of the voters when
they hear results they perceive to have been rigged in some way. Iran's
Guardian Council has announced that they will allow a 'partial recount' of
some of the ballot boxes but it's hard to see how that can satisfy the very
real discontent felt by a large swathe of the electorate who feel cheated by
the results. It is that sense of the unfairness of the process that has
brought Iranians out on the streets in their thousands. The non-violent
demonstrations have been going on for days now, seven people have been
killed so far. What the demonstrators want is fresh elections, partial
recounts will not satisfy them or assuage their anger and conviction that
their vote has been stolen. Zimbabweans know that feeling only too well;
they may not have taken to the streets in their thousands but they have not
forgotten how they were cheated time and again at the ballot box by a ruling
party and a dictator intent on remaining in power. They have not forgotten
why they are in exile all over the world.
"Do you re-engage Robert Mugabe or do you continue to alienate him?" Morgan
Tsvangirai is reported to have asked in an interview he gave in the US.
Coincidentally, on the African continent, President Jacob Zuma was
indirectly tackling the same topic in a TV conversation with President Paul
Kagame of Ruanda after the World Economic Forum held in Cape Town recently.
How do we deal with leaders who will not relinquish power, Zuma asked,
naming no names. It is President Zuma's belief that one of the reasons these
Big Men hold on so tenaciously to power is their fear of prosecution for
past misdeeds. A way out of this dilemma, the South African President
suggested, was to grant them immunity from prosecution. It sounds so easy,
doesn't it? Secure in the knowledge that they are untouchable for the rest
of their lives, Africa's dictators would quietly leave the stage and live
out their lives in peace - and luxury no doubt - while their ruined
countries were left to rebuild their shattered economies and mend millions
of broken lives. Quite apart from the injustice of such a solution, there is
a fallacy in President Zuma's argument. Having let the prime suspects off
the hook, what would happen to all the dictators' foot soldiers who carried
out their leaders'orders to kill, maim and terrorise the populace? Would
they also be granted immunity? And what is it that makes President Zuma so
sure that the offer of immunity would be enough to tempt these power-hungry
dictators to surrender power when it is power itself that provides them with
the adrenalin to keep going. Take away the adrenalin of power and you would
very soon see the natural aging process take over. The rumour that it is
Chinese drugs and other medical interventions that keep our own 85 year old
President looking so youthful may or may not be factual but to my mind it is
the operation of naked power that provides him with his 'eternal youth.' He
is not lightly going to give that up. We see evidence of that already with
the so-called Inclusive Government where the army, the police and control of
the judiciary remain firmly in Mugabe's hands. One look at events of the
past week in Zimbabwe illustrates the point. Even while the Amnesty
International Head is in the country, seeing for herself the shocking abuse
of human rights at every level, the shameless exercise of brutal power by
the police goes on. The MDC Director General is arrested and gaoled facing a
charge of perjury; Woza women are once again subjected to police beating and
imprisonment for daring to take to the streets to commemorate World Refugee
Day; violent farm invasions continue unabated and Zanu PF youth are still
occupying schools in some areas, threatening and intimidating teachers and
children. The truth is that Zanu PF are in election mode and this is all
part of the softening up process to prepare the voters for what is to come.
The message is loud and clear: Mugabe and Zanu PF will never cede power.
Mugabe has said as much. It is the bullet not the ballot box that keeps him
What is needed now is for Africa and the international community to ensure
that Zimbabwe has the right procedures in place to ensure that this time
elections will be run by an independent body with international monitors at
every step of the process. Unless that happens, Zimbabwe is fated to endure
more years of the dictator's rule as he steals yet another election.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai is due to speak to Zimbabweans in London on
Saturday and will apparently attempt to persuade his audience to return
home. Not much chance of that, I'd say, while Mugabe is still there. Morgan
Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti may be taken in by the famous Mugabe charm and
smooth manners, most Zimbabweans simply don't trust the man. They have good
reason not to.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.
By Tichaona Sibanda
19 June 2009
Former football star Shacky Tauro has died in hospital in Harare after a
short illness. He was 49 years old.
Tauro had traveled to South Africa last week to pick up his nephew, but was
admitted to hospital over the weekend after feeling unwell during his return
journey from Johannesburg. He is to be buried in Harare on Saturday.
Former Zimbabwe Under-23 team manager Charles Dzvairo told us that Tauro
fell ill just as he crossed the border into Zimbabwe at Beitbridge.
'His family told us that although he managed to travel all the way to
Harare, he was immediately admitted to hospital when his condition
deteriorated. Doctors were still in the process of carrying out more tests
when he suddenly died on Wednesday,' Dzvairo said.
The ex-Caps United and Zimbabwe star is widely regarded as one of the
greatest players to have graced local football. Former Caps United captain
Joe Mugabe led tributes to the man he called 'probably the most naturally
gifted goal scorer of his generation,' and one of the greatest footballers
the country has ever produced.
Mugabe said Tauro was a unique and talented person who made a lot of people
very happy. The diminutive former midfielder played alongside Tauro during
his early years in the first team at Caps United.
'I played alongside him briefly, and we actually won a cup that season. It
was also the same period he was struggling with his knee injury that
eventually forced him to retire from the game,' according to Mugabe.
'I grew up wanting to be like Tauro and Joel Shambo. Anyone who has seen him
as a football fan will never forget it. Tauro should be remembered as the
very best at what he did. He was quite simply a football genius,' Mugabe
Former Dynamos captain Memory Mucherahowa said he was shocked by the
untimely death of Tauro. Mucherahowa said he still considers Tauro as the
best ever striker to emerge from Zimbabwe.
'If there was a heroes' acre for footballers, Shacky Tauro will be buried
there without question. Football has lost one of its greats, and we have
lost someone who still had a lot more to offer to the younger generation. He
was a marvellous person,' Mucherahowa added.
Tauro is survived by his wife Viola and six grown up children.