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Diamonds in the Rough: Human Rights Abuses in the Marange Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe

Cover - Diamonds in the Rough, HRW report

Human Rights Watch have released a report today into the abuse of human rights in the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe. It’s a damning report, highlighting the central involvement of the military in the diamond mines and accusing them of being involved in a litany of abuses, including forced child labour and the torture and abuse of villagers living in the area (who are also forced to work in the fields). The report’s summary (included in full below) also raises hard questions for the new power sharing government. It says:

While Zimbabwe’s new power-sharing government, formed in February 2009, now lobbies the world for development aid, millions of dollars in potential government revenue are being siphoned off through illegal diamond mining, smuggling of gemstones outside the country, and corruption. The new government could generate significant amounts of revenue from the diamonds, perhaps as much as US$200 million per month, if Marange and other mining centers were managed in a transparent and accountable manner. This revenue could fund a significant portion of the new government’s economic recovery program, which would benefit ordinary villagers like the residents of Marange.

You can download the report from the Human Rights Watch website here, or from where we have archived it on the Sokwanele website here.

Please use our e-card to spread the word about the abuses taking place. It’s a national disgrace.

Blood diamonds e-card - Zimbabwe

Report Summary

Zimbabwe’s armed forces, under the control of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), are engaging in forced labor of children and adults and are torturing and beating local villagers on the diamond fields of Marange district. The military seized control of these diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe after killing more than 200 people in Chiadzwa, a previously peaceful but impoverished part of Marange, in late October 2008. With the complicity of ZANU-PF, Marange has become a zone of lawlessness and impunity, a microcosm of the chaos and desperation that currently pervade Zimbabwe.

The military’s violent takeover of the Marange diamond fields in October 2008 occurred one month after ZANU-PF agreed to share power with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the opposition party that won the March 2008 elections. The contested vote precipitated a political crisis and period of rampant human rights abuses by ZANU-PF against members of the opposition.1 The seizure of the diamond fields took place amidst a major economic crisis in Zimbabwe, caused largely by the failed policies of ZANU-PF, which resulted in astronomical inflation, rampant unemployment, the unchecked spread of disease, and massive food insecurity.

In this context, army brigades have been rotated into Marange to ensure that key front-line units have an opportunity to benefit from the diamond trade. Soldiers have bullied and threatened miners and other civilians into forming syndicates so that the soldiers can control diamond mining and trade in Marange. The enrichment of soldiers serves to mollify a constituency whose loyalty to ZANU-PF, in the context of ongoing political strife, is essential. The deployment of the military in Marange also ensures access to mining revenue by senior members of ZANU-PF and the army. Human Rights Watch believes that money from illegal diamond trading is likely to be a significant source of revenue for senior figures in ZANU-PF, which has either failed to or decided not to effectively regulate the diamond fields while exploiting the absence of clear legal ownership of the gemstones.

Diamonds were discovered in Marange in June 2006, and ZANU-PF effectively encouraged a diamond rush by declaring the fields open to anyone to mine. By November 2006, however, a nationwide police operation was launched to clamp down on illegal mining across the country, including in Marange. Police assumed control of the diamond fields; but, rather than halt illegal mining and trade, they exacerbated and exploited the lawlessness on the fields. Police officers were responsible for serious abuses—including killings, torture, beatings, and harassment—often by so-called “reaction teams” deployed to drive out illegal miners. Miners described colleagues being buried alive. A police officer working with a reaction team told Human Rights Watch of orders from senior officers to “shoot on sight” miners found in the fields. Villagers described arbitrary arrests, beatings, and harassment that by May 2008 had swamped a local prison with 1,600 prisoners, 1,300 more than its capacity.

With policing disintegrating into anarchy, the army operation called Operation Hakudzokwi (No Return), which started on October 27, 2008, appears to have been designed both to restore a degree of order and to allow key army units access to riches at a time when inflation in Zimbabwe was astronomically high and the country teetered on the verge of bankruptcy. Military operations over a three-week period involved indiscriminate fire against miners at work and people in their villages. Between November 1 and November 12, 107 bodies, many with visible bullet wounds, were brought from Marange to the morgue at Mutare Hospital. Overcrowded, the hospital eventually had to turn away trucks carrying more bodies. One man described to Human Rights Watch the extrajudicial execution of his brother on November 14—shot in the back of the head by soldiers who had accused him of being an illegal miner. Scores of miners and diamond traders were tortured and beaten, and at least 80 villagers from Muchena were beaten by soldiers demanding to know the identities and whereabouts of local illegal miners.

With control established, the army rapidly turned to forming syndicates, often using forced labor, including of children. A miner described to Human Rights Watch how his syndicate was cheated by the soldiers who formed it—when the men decided to abandon work, soldiers shot them, leading to the death of one man and the maiming of another. Children describe being made to carry diamond ore, working up to 11 hours per day with no reward. One local lawyer has estimated that up to 300 children continue to work for soldiers in the diamond fields.

While Zimbabwe’s new power-sharing government, formed in February 2009, now lobbies the world for development aid, millions of dollars in potential government revenue are being siphoned off through illegal diamond mining, smuggling of gemstones outside the country, and corruption. The new government could generate significant amounts of revenue from the diamonds, perhaps as much as US$200 million per month, if Marange and other mining centers were managed in a transparent and accountable manner. This revenue could fund a significant portion of the new government’s economic recovery program, which would benefit ordinary villagers like the residents of Marange.

Human Rights Watch calls on the power-sharing government of Zimbabwe to remove the military from Marange, restore security responsibilities to the police, and ensure that the police abide by internationally recognized standards of law enforcement and the use of lethal force. The power-sharing government should appoint a local police oversight committee consisting of all relevant stakeholders, launch an impartial and independent investigation into the serious human rights abuses committed there, and hold accountable all those found to be responsible for abuses. Members of the army and police who have committed abuses should also face disciplinary action for their crimes. The new Zimbabwe government should strengthen resource accountability by allowing greater transparency in how mining revenues are derived, permitting public scrutiny of the allocation of that revenue, and protecting the basic civil and political, as well as economic and social, rights of its citizens.

As a formal participant in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)—an international scheme governing the global diamond industry—Zimbabwe has a responsibility to immediately end the smuggling, corruption, and abuses that are taking place in Marange and ensure effective internal control over its diamond industry. Members of the KPCS should demand that Zimbabwe comply with the scheme’s minimum standards, which include stopping the smuggling of diamonds from Zimbabwe, bringing Marange diamond fields under effective legal control, and ensuring that all diamonds from Marange are lawfully mined, documented, and exported with relevant valid Kimberley Process (KP) certificates. The KPCS should take urgent measures to audit the Zimbabwean mining sector, ensure that individuals involved in smuggling return their ill-gotten gains, and act to prevent any further abuse in both the extraction and onward sales of Marange diamonds.

The Kimberley Process emerged out of a concern that rebel groups in West Africa in the 1990s were engaged in the mining and trade of conflict diamonds, which provided the groups with revenue and permitted them to commit abuses against civilians. Human rights concerns are implicit in the KPCS mandate, but that mandate has been too narrowly construed by its members. Human Rights Watch calls on the KPCS to broaden its remit to include serious and systematic abuses, not only by rebel groups in conflict, but also by other agencies, including governmental bodies. The abuses committed by Zimbabwe’s police and army did not occur in armed conflict, but they are as serious as those the Kimberley Process was designed to address; for that reason, KPCS members should classify Marange diamonds as “conflict diamonds.”

Human Rights Watch recommends that the KPCS suspend Zimbabwe from participation in the Kimberley Process on account of the horrific human rights abuses in Marange and the lack of effective official Zimbabwean oversight of its diamond industry. It should also place an immediate, temporary halt on the extraction and trade of Marange diamonds. The KPCS should bar Zimbabwe from exporting Marange diamonds and ban the importation of Marange diamonds by its members until the government of Zimbabwe has ended human rights abuses in Marange and has regulated the diamond fields in ways that stop smuggling. Regulation of the diamond fields should include settling the question of legal title and ensuring that only those properly licensed are allowed to mine diamonds.

Finally, as a member of the KPCS and as a regional political power, South Africa also has an important role to play. Its own huge diamond industry is at serious risk of being tainted if illegal diamonds from Marange are indeed being sold alongside South Africa’s domestically produced diamonds. Human Rights Watch calls on South Africa, both individually and as a member of the KPCS, to prevent the entry of tainted precious stones from Zimbabwe and to encourage the transparency and accountability of Zimbabwe’s diamond industry.

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Mugabe vows to hang onto power

By Lance Guma
26 June 2009

Robert Mugabe has quashed all talk of succession within ZANU PF, by
declaring there would be no changes at the top, as long as his party
remained deeply divided. The weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper reports
that Mugabe told his ZANU PF Central Committee that he would not step down
as long as his 'enemies' were waging a war against him.

With two factions battling to have their leaders replace Mugabe at the top,
ZANU PF put together a succession committee, led by national chairman John
Nkomo, to tackle the crisis. Retired army general Solomon Mujuru is thought
to lead a faction that is battling the faction led Defence Minister Emerson
Mnangagwa. Mujuru is thought to be campaigning to have his wife, Vice
President Joice Mujuru, eventually take over.

In May matters came to a head when party bigwigs had a heated argument over
the succession issue during a politburo meeting. This clash prompted the
appointment of the committee led by Nkomo. But a committee investigating the
state of the party tabled a report admitting that ZANU PF was crippled by
factionalism and that the MDC led by Tsvangirai was actually growing in
political influence countrywide.

With pressure building from within his own party to step down, it was little
wonder that Mugabe lashed out at the West, accusing them of wanting him out
of power. Commenting on Tsvangirai's overseas trip Mugabe said western
countries were reluctant to give the country any money because he was still
in power. 'Who are they to tell us you do this and that, reform this and
that? We don't tell them what they should do in their own countries," he

Stung by the clear message from western countries that reforms were key
before they would unlock any aid, ZANU PF has now dispatched a delegation
led by Mnangagwa, and Women's League chief Oppah Muchingura, to the East, in
search of financial aid. Mugabe is said to have told his central committee
that Tsvangirai had failed to get aid from his trip and there was a need to
approach Zimbabwe's traditional allies. ZANU PF is also bitter that most of
the money received by Tsvangirai is not coming directly through government
but through NGO's and other social welfare ministries.

Meanwhile Vice President Joice Mujuru has told a UN conference in New York
that the country needs US$10 billion to rebuild its infrastructure. She said
the lack of resources has hit the country's agriculture and social services.
Mujuru and her family have however contributed to the collapse of Zimbabwe's
economy through illegal gold and diamond deals. Her daughter Nyasha for
example was implicated in a deal to ship between US$20 - US$40 million of
gold nuggets a month to Europe.

Mujuru also threatened a senior executive of a British company with
unspecified action after they refused to handle US$15 million worth of
"blood diamonds" that her daughter wanted to sell. It's alleged that the
Mujuru's own a claim in the Marange diamond fields known as 'churu chamai
Mujuru' - Mrs Mujuru's anthill. The family is also implicated in the plunder
of gold and minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While Zimbabwe struggles for money for basic services, individuals in ZANU
PF continue to line their pockets - with more money than the average person
can even imagine.

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Attorney General to 'formally' charge Biti with treason

By Tichaona Sibanda
26 June 2009

There are reports that the Attorney General is ready to formally charge
Finance Minister Tendai Biti with treason, and to also arrest Economic
Planning Minister Elton Mangoma on kidnapping charges, SW Radio Africa has
been told.

A highly placed source in the MDC told us on Friday that Johannes Tomana,
under instruction from some members of ZANU PF, has already crafted the
indictment charge sheet and was waiting for Biti to return from London
before formally laying charges against him.

Biti returned to Harare on Wednesday after a few days in Brussels and London
as part of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's delegation. The Finance
Minister, who is also the secretary general of the MDC, confirmed to SW
Radio Africa about the plot. 'Yes I've heard of the plan (arrest) from
reliable sources but I can't comment any further,' Biti said.

The state first laid the treason charges against Biti last year, for
allegedly authoring a document said to have contained details of a plot to
'fix' the election outcome. Biti denies the allegations and maintains
charges against him were politically motivated.
Authorities last year April produced a secret document, alleged to have been
drafted by Biti, showing how teachers employed by the electoral commission
had agreed to overstate the MDC votes, in return for payment. The document
has already been discredited and most analysts point a finger towards the
agents of the Central Intelligence Agency for drafting it.
After several court appearances last year, and with the state seemingly
losing its case against Biti, the AG's office agreed to remove him from bail
and said they would proceed with the case by way of summons.
A source at Harvest House, the headquarters of the MDC, said in simple terms
the re-arrest of Biti and Mangoma, two key members of government
spearheading the economic revival of the country, would surely signal the
end of the Inclusive Government.

Not much is known about the Mangoma kidnapping allegation, but the Makoni
North MP and MDC deputy treasurer-general, has been arrested on countless
occasions in the last two years. On all occasions he has been released
without being charged.

'In simple, this will be the end of the Inclusive Government, surely because
one would be hard pressed to justify why we should continue to be part of
the 'half fish-half human' government,' our source said.

Political analyst Glen Mpani warned that the consequences of such arrests
would be costly, and unimaginable.

'The plot to arrest Biti and Mangoma is ample evidence all is not well in
the inclusive government. What it simply shows is that the hardliners will
stop at nothing to try and ensure that they entrap those they consider to be
the key pillars in the sustenance of the life of the MDC,' Mpani said.

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MDC Director-General freed on bail

By Violet Gonda
26 June 2009

Toendepi Shonhe, the MDC's Director-General was finally released on bail by
High Court Justice Felistas Chatukuta on Friday. The MDC DG who was arrested
last Tuesday on allegations of perjury, had been granted bail last Thursday,
but remained in remand prison after the Attorney General's office invoked a
Section of the Criminal and Procedure Evidence Act to block his bail.

But after the seven day window period which the State had to appeal against
the bail ruling, Justice Chatukuta on Friday dismissed the appeal. "I have
considered all the submissions and I am more inclined to agree with Mr. Alec
Muchadehama that there was no misdirection by the magistrates' court in
granting the accused bail."

"Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed," said Justice Chatukuta.
Muchadehama is the lawyer representing the MDC DG and the defence lawyer is
also making a separate application challenging his client's incarceration in
the Supreme Court. Muchadehama is challenging the constitutionality of
Section 121 subsection (3) of the Act, which he says is repeatedly abused by
the Attorney General's office to block bail granted to accused persons. The
case is expected to be heard within two months.

Shonhe is accused of lying under oath when he swore in an affidavit that
three MDC members had been re-abducted by State security agents. He denies
lying before the courts.

Shonhe who was released late Friday after spending about 11 days in custody,
is expected to appear in court for his remand hearing on July 7th.  His
lawyer told SW Radio Africa that he gave notice to the State that it will be
at this remand hearing that the defence team will apply for Shonhe to be
removed from remand as the prosecution's arguments are based on speculation.
Muchadehama said: "The facts that the State presented to the courts did not
disclose the fact that an offence had been committed."

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Mugabe hints at bringing back Zimbabwe dollar

By Lance Guma
26 June 2009

Robert Mugabe on Friday said he wanted to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar, in
place of the current system of multiple currencies. The ZANU PF leader said
the dollarization of the economy has failed to help the plight of ordinary
people, who did not have access to foreign currency. Mugabe said although
prices have gone down, 'people should have the money.' He also gave the
example of people in rural areas being forced to trade their livestock.

The Zimbabwe Dollar was dropped from use 4 months ago because it had become
worthless after years of economic decay and corruption. At one point
inflation ran over a trillion percent, with businesses struggling to supply
any goods or services. The new coalition government in February quickly
introduced the United States Dollar and the South African Rand as legal
tender, and within days shops were full to the rafters with groceries and
other supplies.

But the big question was always the issue of the supply of the forex cash
notes themselves. On numerous occasions banks witness customer queues after
running out of foreign currency to disperse. Economists conceded that
although multiple currencies would bring some stability to the economy, the
supply of the forex would always be the downside to the strategy.

Cynics say Mugabe's concerns about dollarization have nothing to do with the
plight of ordinary people. They point to the current inability of his
henchmen to make the kinds of obscene money they used to get from printing
endless amounts of Zimbabwe dollars and using the black market to at least
double their cash. It's also alleged Central Bank governor Gideon Gono
produced bank notes with duplicate serial numbers in the system and that
this funded ZANU PF's brutal hold on power, and ended up fuelling the
world-record hyper-inflation levels.

But while Mugabe was talking about re-introducing the Zimbabwe Dollar,
Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma was singing from a different hymn
sheet. Mangoma told mining executives in London that the US dollar had
helped them revive investor confidence and there were no plans to return to
the Zimbabwe Dollar.

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Zanu-PF MPs defy party after fight

June 26, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Two Zanu-PF legislators yesterday defied their party by refusing
to appear before a disciplinary hearing arguing that the issues raised were

Chivi North Member of Parliament Tranos Huruva and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti
Mwenezi east legislator yesterday refused to attend a party disciplinary
hearing in which they were supposed to answer charges of placing the party's
name in disrepute when they engaged in a fist fight following district
elections in Mwenezi last month.

"We can not attend such a hearing when the issues raised are so
insignificant", said Huruva. "Even if they summon us a hundred times were
will not attend.

Bhasikiti also said that he had snubbed the hearing because it was not

"We have more important things to do than attend these kangaroo meetings",
he Bhasikiti.

The Masvingo Zanu-PF provincial executive had summoned the two to answer
charges of putting the name of the party into disrepute after they engaged
in a fist fight following a restructuring exercise of the Mwenezi district
executive committee. At least four party members were injured in the ensuing

The hearing had been scheduled for yesterday but did not take place when the
two legislators failed to turn up

Huruva is also wanted by the police for questioning following the incident.

The party's provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke confirmed that the two were
to appear before the disciplinary committee but did not turn up.

"We had summoned the two for a hearing for allegedly putting the party's
name in disrepute but they did not turn up", said Matuke.

"We investigated the incident and our findings show that the two were
supposed to appear before the disciplinary committee.

Huruva and Bhasikiti allegedly exchanged blows at Neshuro Growth Point as
chaos marred the restructuring of the party in Mwenezi

Tempers flared after Huruva who is the party's provincial political
commissar ordered that the current district executive should be dissolved, a
proposal opposed by Bhasikiti.

At least four people were detained at Neshuro hospital.

Party sources say if the two are found guilty they will either be suspended
or expelled from the party

Police in Masvingo yesterday said they were keen to question Huruva in
connection with allegedly inciting violence.

"We want the MP for questioning", said a police spokesman who requested

"He allegedly incited people to engage in political violence hence we feel
he should come and explain.

Two distinct factions exist within Zanu-PF in Masvingo. The factions, which
were originally led by the late Minister of Justice Eddison Zvobgo and
former Masvingo governor Josaya Hungwe, have perennially battled for
supremacy in the province.

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'Base Constitution On Kariba Draft'

Takunda Maodza

26 June 2009

Harare - PRESIDENT Mugabe has reiterated that the new constitution must be
anchored on the Kariba Draft that was agreed on by Zanu-PF and the two MDC
formations on September 30, 2007.

Addressing the Zanu-PF National Consultative Assembly at the party's
headquarters in Harare yesterday, President Mugabe said the Parliamentary
Select Committee on the constitution-making process should not deviate from
that agreement.

He also added that he would sit down and talk to Prime Minister Tsvangirai
about the negative attitude of the Western countries that the Premier has
been touring as part of a Presidential and Cabinet brief to lobby for the
removal of economic sanctions and extension of financial assistance.

"Nyaya iri kuitwa iyi yokuti kune committee yeParliament . . . tiri kuti isu
zvirege kusiyana neDraft Constitution yekuKariba nekuti takabvumirana
tichisayinirana page-by-page saka hapana imwe constitution yatinoda isiri
yeKariba," he said.

The President added: "VeMDC vanobvumirana nayo kana tichitaura nezvayo asi
vari kuvhundutswa nana-Madhuku vachiti it must be people-driven."

He said in any constitution-making process, a draft was taken to the people
to get their views on it and not the other way round.

"Finally, the decision of the people is sought through a referendum and then
vanhu vovhota as in an election. Everybody must vote.

"Our people have got to be very careful and take precautions not to be
derailed, not to be led away from the Kariba Draft. We will make the draft
available," he said.

Consultative hearings on a new constitution began on Wednesday with
officials explaining the constitutional review process to the public.

The hearings will culminate in an all-stakeholders national conference on
July 10, where thematic committees will be selected to collate the public's
views on what they want included in the constitution.

President Mugabe took a swipe at Amnesty International secretary-general Ms
Irene Khan who visited Zimbabwe recently and produced a damning report on
the country's human rights situation.

"I do not know where she got her information from. She was just being
hypocritical," he said.

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe did not need interference in its internal
affairs by "little fellows like Irene Khan".

"Hameno kuti kakabva nekupi iko kamudzimai aka, kupopotapopota ndikati ah,
kakaroyiwa here? Iyo nyika yedu yangova nyika yokuti wada anongouya kutaura
tsvina yakadaro?

"Let the people talk about the unjust measures imposed on us".

President Mugabe said Western countries visited by PM Tsvangirai vowed not
to remove the illegal sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe because they wanted
nothing short of regime change.

"They wanted Zanu-PF and Mugabe to be defeated. We will not lift sanctions,
they say. We will not give you money except little pieces of silver.

"Urikutoita zvako ushamwari naye kuenda kuinclusive Government?
Ndizvozvatakaronga?" he said.

Added President Mugabe: "So when he (PM Tsvangirai) comes back, I will sit
down with him and say: 'Changamire, madziona shamwari dzenyu?'

"Imperialists can never be friends of those countries and people that desire
freedom. I fought for freedom. Only a dead imperialist is a good one.
Achadya, ane maziso, achifamba, there is nothing good.

"Colonisers can never be friends, so we turn our back on them and face the

President Mugabe said the MDC promised billions of dollars if the inclusive
Government was formed, but nothing had materialised so far.

"Inclusive Government yedu yakauya tese tine chitarisiro chekuti sezvo tose
tichiuya mupartnership, kuchazova nerubatsiro rwunobva kumativi ose.

"Vaye vaiti kana mabatana mari ichazoduruka, asi tiri kuona kuti hapana
chaduruka. Kune vanga vakatarisira kumatenzi avo arikuramba," he said.

"Kurikushaikwa mari yekubhadhara vari kusevenza,

maministers acho, kana President wacho. Saka zvino inclusive Government
yacho, inclusive Government yenzara?

"Ndanga ndisati ndambotambira US$100 asi pagore rino ndakatambiriswa US$100
ini. Hakuna kubuda kana cent rimwe chete."

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe was open to those friends in Africa and the
Non-Aligned Movement who give assistance without any strings attached.

He castigated the West for intent on lecturing to Zimbabwe on what to do and
urged Zimbabweans not to associate themselves with "imperialists and

The President also called for unity in Zanu-PF, while challenging the party
to remain committed to the struggle against imperialists and to wake up from
its "deep slumber".

"We should not accept defeat. We, who defeated the colonialists yesterday,
tozoti takurirwa nekuti pakati pedu hatichisina kubatana? Let the people
know who they are in this country, their history and make them fighters for
their nation. Who do you want to fight for you?

"Musangano wedu iyezvino unenge wakakotsira hameno kuti takavhundutswa here
tikashaya zano rekuzvimutsidzira zvakanaka ne inclusive Government . . .
Vanhu vedu ngavamutswe mundangariro, mumoyo mavo vatsigire zvinangwa zvedu,"
he said.

The President said while the introduction of the multi-currency system had
helped reduce inflation, it had also caused untold suffering, particularly
for those living in rural areas because they were unable to access either
the American dollar or South African rand.

This, he said, had forced rural people to trade their livestock.

"Hatingaite nyika yakadaro, kwete. Tirikuongorora kuzvichinja todzokera
kumari yedu.

"Mitengo hongu ingadaro yakadzikira, asi vanhu vanosungirwa kuwana mari.
Kana vasina, vanozotenga sei?"

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MISA: Statement on the constitution making process

26 June 2009

The National Governing Council of MISA Zimbabwe after considering the
constitutional reform process as outlined in Article 6 of the Global
Political Agreement, fully aware of the latest developments around the same
issue as led by the now established Parliamentary Select Committee on
Constitutional Reform has resolved the following;

That the process outlined in Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement,
and the processes attendant thereto thus far remain inadequate for the
establishment of a democratic people driven constitution as articulated in
Section 3 of the Zimbabwe Peoples Charter.
That the court cases against journalists such as the editor and deputy news
editor of the Zimbabwe Independent are reflective of a fundamentally
repressive political environment that is against the free and democratic
functioning of the media. Such a repressive environment can only serve to
undermine freedom of expression in the constitutional reform process.
That the lack of access to information and the continued retention of
repressive laws especially those such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, the Public Order and Security Act, the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, the Broadcasting Services Act and the ZBC
Commercialisation Act inhibit the right of citizens to freely express
themselves on the nationally important issue of constitutional reform.
That the continued monopoly of the airwaves by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings as well as the undemocratic manner it has continued to broadcast
events in the country undermines the right of the people of Zimbabwe to
fully participate as well as know about processes of constitutional reform
in Zimbabwe.
That the failure by the inclusive government to urgently allow more private
newspapers and alternative radio/television stations to operate in the
country severely limits the citizens right to access to information and the
diversity of views/opinions.
That the insistence by the President of Zimbabwe on the Kariba- authored
draft constitution being the central document around which public
consultations must take place is patently undemocratic to a process that
should be as participatory and transparent as far as is possible.

MISA Zimbabwe therefore urges the inclusive government, the Parliamentary
Select Committee and the three political parties, Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC-M
that are signatories to the Global Political Agreement to:

· ensure that the constitutional reform process is inclusive and

· repeal AIPPA, POSA and BSA to allow citizens to freely express themselves
where it concerns the constitutional making process in a free and open

· free the airwaves by calling for applications for licenses for private
radio and television stations

· take serious steps towards the transformation of the state-controlled ZBH
into a truly independent public broadcaster that serves the public interest
through diverse opinions, comments and ideas

· condemn and curb the arrests, harassment and threats against journalists
conducting their lawful professional duties


Loughty Dube



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Zimbabwe president's party slams Amnesty criticism


Last updated: Thursday, June 25, 2009 9:45 PM EDT

Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe - 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
ZANU-PF party.

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.

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Obama announces US ambassador to Zimbabwe

Office of the Press Secretary


President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts:

· William Eacho, Ambassador, Republic of Austria

· Judith G. Garber, Ambassador, Republic of Latvia

· David Killion, rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

· James Knight, Ambassador, Republic of Benin

· Karen Kornbluh, Permanent Representative of the U.S. to OECD

· Bruce Oreck, Ambassador, Republic of Finland

· Charles A. Ray, Ambassador, Republic of Zimbabwe

· David Thorne, Ambassador, Italian Republic and the Republic of San Marino

President Obama said, "I’m grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals will be serving my administration and representing our nation abroad. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead to strengthen our relationships in the global community and our standing in the world."

Charles A. Ray, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe

Charles A. Ray, a career member of the Foreign Service since 1983, has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs and Director of the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office since 2006. He is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for policy development and oversight of all matters relating to missing personnel. Mr. Ray served in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1982, retiring with the rank of Major. During his military career, he served at a number of places in the U.S. and abroad, including two tours of duty in Southeast Asia. Since joining the Foreign Service, he has served in China and Thailand, and was Deputy Chief of Mission in Sierra Leone. In 1998, he was appointed as the first U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 2002, he was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, where he served until 2005. Mr. Ray served as Diplomat in Residence at the University of Houston for the 2005-2006 academic year. Mr. Ray holds a Bachelors Degree from Benedictine College, a Masters from the University of Southern California, and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the National Defense University.

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Update Karori farm situation


Dated 25th June 2009


The soldiers from the Zimbabwe National army have remained on the farm since
March. Under instruction from Brigadier Mujaji they stopped all farm
operations for five weeks including maize reaping and tobacco grading. Three
Lorries were sent to the farm to try and load maize for delivery to the
Jesuit ProvincialFood Programme who contracted the crop, however all the
lorries were denied access and sent back.

The Police have refused to intervene or uphold any of our Court orders and
Charles Lock was told by the DISPOL that the Police had been instructed by
police general headquarters not to render assistance.

Lock then took the matter to Court again and got a spoliation order against
Mujaji and his soldiers. They were to be removed by the Deputy Sheriff
forthwith. This is really just a duplication of existing Court Orders. In
his replying affidavit the Brigadier denied many of the accusations against
him including the fact that there was a writ for his arrest. He even said
Lock no longer lived on the farm and had no workers there.

Lock actually went to the farm with the German Ambassodor and witnessed the
shut down , the presence of soldiers, and the lorry being turned back empty.

The messenger of Court was sent on Friday to effect the eviction, but Mujaji
stopped it and returned all the soldiers and then attempted to have the farm
workers themselves removed. The Police did nothing to assist.

As it stands now there are no operations on the farm, clearly Mujaji is
desperate to reap what he has not sown and the Police support this

In the meantime there is an attempt by the Attorney general to charge Lock's
wife for being on the land unlawfully. This is quite unbelievable as Lock
has already been acquitted and can never be charged again. He owns the crops
and equipment and farms the land.

The State now wants to charge his wife .This indicates the extent to which
the law has collapsed in Zimbabwe. Imagine a person being charged for murder
for example and he is tried and found not guilty, so instead they now charge
his wife for the crime in an effort to rectify the first failed attempt even
though she has nothing to do with it.

It is quite unbelievable that the Prime Minister down plays these issues as
exaggerations. He flies around asking for money when the crops Lock has
produced legally are being stolen by the National Army. It appears the GNU
has no intention of dealing with any hot issue even though they are at the
root cause of our problems in this country.

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Teachers Abandon Jobs

MWENEZI- June 26, 2009- Teachers in most parts of Mwenezi district in
have stopped going to work, arguing that they need more time to do part time
jobs to supplement their meager allowances, RadioVOP can reveal.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira
Zhou said the problem is not unique to Mwenezi alone as teachers in most
parts of the country had downed tools in protest of the allowances they are
getting from the government. Teachers are currently receiving USD 100 each a
month, despite that the consumer basket is over USD 400 per month.
"We are aware that teachers in most parts of the country are no longer
going to work. Their (teachers) cause for not going to work are genuine and
the government must be seen doing something positive now if ever they want
our education system to remain reputable.
"Teachers in areas such as Bikita, Mberengwa, Chivi, Buhera, Chipinge
and Zaka are very disgruntled and we have been officially informed by our
represantatives in such districts that they have gone on strike," explained
Parents with students at schools such as Chesvingo Primary, Chitanga,
Neshuro Secondary, Maranda Primary, Lundi High School and Masongwe Primary
are  complaining that only headmasters and some senior teachers are seen at
school while most of the junior the teachers have since deserted their jobs.
Teachers started by asking for maize and other cereals to supplement
their allowances but however, as the parents feared for their food security,
they started to withhold their help.
Provincial Education Director (PED) Clara Dube said she was worried to
learn that teachers in the province were already on strike while the
government was putting all the efforts to increase teachers' allowances.
"It is very unfortunate that teachers are being ill advised. This is
the time when teachers must be patient and be committed to their work while
the government addresses their problems," said Dube

Teachers last year worked an average 23 days, a situation which
affected writing and marking of school examinations. They only resumed work
early this year in respect of the new unity government. However the Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has announced that government is broke and has
recently been on a tour of the European Union member states and America to
drum up financial support. The government needs about USD 8 billion to
revive its ailing economy which was damaged in the past decade due to
political instability and economic mis-management.Most western nations have
been reluctant to release meaningful support demanding that the government
should return to a rule of law and stop human rights abuses.

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ZEF Press Statement 25 June, 2009

         ZEF - Zimbabwe Exiles ForumZEF - Zimbabwe Exiles ForumKutlwanong Democracy Centre, 357 Visagie St, Pretoria 0001, South Africa, Mobile:

+27 72 6393 795, Phone +27 (12) 322 6969, Fax 012 320 8158, E-Mail:,, Website: Registration No. 035-708 N.P.O.


ZEF Press Statement 25 June, 2009




27 June, 2009 09h00 – 17h00 Parktonian Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa


The Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum (ZEF), the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) as well as IDASA (States in Transition Observatory) are facilitating a constitutional reform symposium in South Africa.


The aim of the gathering is to bring together the Minister of Constitutional Affairs (Adv. Eric Matinenga), National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) (Dr Lovemore Madhuku), Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (Wellington Chibebe), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (Dzimbabwe Chibga) and other stakeholders from Zimbabwe to engage the Diaspora on issues regarding the country’s new constitutional process.  


Since independence in 1980, Zimbabwe has witnessed some of the most chilling crimes against humanity to be committed on the continent.


In part, this is due to the fact that the Lancaster House Constitution negotiated in 1979 has to date been changed 19 times.


Some of the amendments to the Constitution have vested too much power in the Executive arm of Government, with few or no checks and balances from the other organs.


A government-sponsored Draft Constitution was rejected in 2000. This was because the people of Zimbabwe took issue not only with the process, but also the content of the final draft that was presented to President Robert Mugabe.


The Global Political Agreement (GPA) of September 2008, entered into by the then opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), its smaller faction led by Arthur Mutambara and ZANU (PF), acknowledged the realities that Zimbabwe needs a new constitution.


This has resulted in the Government of National Unity setting up a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution to facilitate the new attempt at creating a home-grown Constitution.


Zimbabweans are however not in agreement regarding process and content of the envisaged new constitution.

Of particular importance to the Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum and its partners however is the fact that although there is discussion among civil society and other stakeholders in Zimbabwe, the over 4 million Zimbabweans outside the country have not been sounded out regarding this important process and are in danger of being left out of the discussion.


Commenting on this issue, ZEF Executive Director Gabriel Shumba said: “There is no doubt that it is the Diaspora that prevented a humanitarian crisis of Dantean proportions in Zimbabwe through remittances in the past few years.


“There is also no doubt whatsoever that the Diaspora is an indispensable player in the reconstruction of Zimbabwe in whatever form,” he said.


“We are therefore worried that there has been scant attention to the need for us to be involved in the Constitutional making process. We have burning issues that need to be acknowledged, including issues of citizenship and the Diaspora vote,” Mr Shumba explained.


“The very fact that we are concerned indicates that we also have serious issues regarding the inclusivity of the process. This symposium is therefore aimed at arriving at a common position for all those of us who were forced out of the country,” he concluded.



For more information contact:


Gabriel Shumba
Executive Director and Human Rights Lawyer
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum
C/o Amnesty International SA
1st Fl. Kutlawanong Democracy Centre
357 Visagie St
Pretoria 0001, SA
Tel +27 12 322 6969
Mobile +27 72 639 3795


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"Want to sideline Mugabe? Support Zimbabwe now"
Donald Steinberg in Reuters: The Great Debate
22 June 2009
Reuters: The Great Debate

In the wake of fraudulent presidential elections, followed by a brutal military crackdown on the opposition, the hardliners in power agreed to a government of national unity in which the real opposition winner of the election now shares power as prime minister.

The hopeful scenario for Iran? No, the actual situation in Zimbabwe.

In the four months since Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) joined a coalition government in Zimbabwe with their long-time oppressors, President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party, a flicker of hope has grown stronger and stronger that the country has embarked on the long road towards political reform and economic recovery.

Optimists can now point to a growing sense of movement in Zimbabwe reflecting small but clear signs of recovery. Prices have stabilised, stocks have filled the shops, the government has begun to function after a fashion, and civil servants are being paid at least a modest stipend.

Schools and hospitals are starting to re-open, and humanitarian assistance from Western governments is picking up. Human rights activists report a precipitous drop in government abuses.

Parliamentarians are working across party lines to adopt a new, democratic constitution.

Still, Tsvangirai is facing much scepticism from potential public and private supporters and the Zimbabwean diaspora during his current European and American road-show. Sceptics understandably cite efforts by some old regime elements, especially hardline generals and other Mugabe loyalists, to thwart the new government, motivated by fear of loss of power and its financial benefits; possible prosecution for their crimes; hatred of Tsvangirai and his MDC; and a belief that that they are the guardians of the country’s liberation.

These forces continue to work flat out to undermine the inclusive government by stalling processes which should lead to the fulfilment of the Global Political Agreement. They are delaying appointments of key posts, postponing the reform of the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Office, refusing to implement order from the coalition leadership and even the courts, and taking every opportunity to show disdain for Tsvangirai’s authority. True to form, Mugabe is giving them backing and taking actions and decisions that call into grave question his commitment to make the inclusive government work.

As a result, the international community has been slow to embrace the new government. While there has been some welcome expansion of immediate humanitarian assistance, too many foreign donors — including the United States and the UK — are adopting a "wait-and-see" posture towards longer-term financial support for recovery and reconstruction. This approach could doom the new government to failure.

In fact, hesitation risks thwarting the very changes the international community is seeking, both by weakening the hand of the MDC and moderates in Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, and by undercutting popular support for the reform process.

It would be premature for foreign governments to remove targeted sanctions — travel bans and asset freezes — against those thwarting the transition, or to adopt a "business-as-usual" posture toward the unity government. But there are actions they can take.

The UK and other Western governments should expand assistance under the "humanitarian plus" strategy that supports revival of the education, agriculture, health and water sanitation sectors. It should go further and also help empower a functioning civil service and legislature, rebuild key infrastructure, and support reform of politicised government institutions, including the judiciary and the police.

It should also strengthen civil society fractured in recent years by Mugabe’s divide-and-rule tactics. Such aid would be channelled through transparent and accountable mechanisms. Government can also adopt innovative programs to support vital trade and foreign investment in Zimbabwe, essential to addressing the country’s 90 per cent unemployment rate.

In addition, the outside world can help encourage the retirement of the military’s senior leadership, in order to counter the real risk of an attack against Tsvangirai or a military take-over. This could be through a law that offers immunity to senior generals from domestic prosecution for past political crimes — excluding crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide — in return for retirement, and should explore appropriate transitional justice mechanisms such as a truth commission and vetting processes.

Some worry that such a strategy would prematurely reward Mugabe and his hardline supporters or reduce the pressure on them to cooperate with the reform process. In truth, it would strengthen the hands of moderates and make it more difficult for the extremists to again seize power, which would lead to even greater repression and isolation, and new hardship and abuse for the long-suffering Zimbabwean people.

Donald Steinberg, Deputy President for Policy at International Crisis Group, served as President Clinton’s Special Assistant for Africa and as Director of the State Department’s Joint Policy Council under former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

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