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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Cape Times

      Now it's a crime against humanity

      A million zimbabweans left homeless
      June 29, 2005

      By Allister Sparks

      When I interviewed President Thabo Mbeki in late 2002 for my book on
the making of the new South Africa, Beyond the Miracle, the conversation
turned edgy when I asked about his silence on the gathering crisis in

      When I interviewed President Thabo Mbeki in late 2002 for my book on
the making of the new South Africa, Beyond the Miracle, the conversation
turned edgy when I asked about his silence on the gathering crisis in

      The fuss over what was happening there, he said, reflected a racist
perspective on the part of white South Africans and the white developed
world generally.

      "The reason Zimbabwe is such a preoccupation here, in the United
Kingdom, the United States and Sweden and everywhere, is because a handful
of white people died and white people were deprived of their property,"
Mbeki said, adding that the white world didn't care a fig for the millions
of black people who died in other African disasters from the Ivory Coast to
Rwanda, Mozambique and Angola.

      "All they want to talk about is Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe," he
declared in tones of rising agitation. "Why? It's because 12 white
      people died!"

      There is much truth in Mbeki's charge that many whites are shamefully
indifferent to the plight of black people in Africa's many trouble spots,
but I pressed the issue that it was not only whites who were suffering in
Zimbabwe but blacks as well - and ventured to suggest that there was "a
major African tragedy in the making".

      But Mbeki would have none of it. "No, no, no," he insisted. "I'm
saying that Zimbabwe is a big obsession in this country. It isn't anywhere
else on the African continent."

      Alas, two-and-a-half years later my fears are being borne out. A major
humanitarian disaster is playing itself out with President Robert Mugabe's
latest act of vindictive madness, and it is black people who are doing the
suffering and the dying.

      Yet Mbeki and other African leaders remain silent.

      Four weeks ago Mugabe's police embarked on what they call Operation
Murambatsvia, meaning "get rid of the rubbish". In an exercise astonishing
for its speed and scale, they have bulldozed informal townships and trading
stalls throughout the country, rendering nearly a million people homeless
and depriving
      hundreds of thousands of their only means of earning a living in a
      collapsed economy.

      Huge numbers of people are seeking shelter in churches and community
halls, while others are being packed into holding camps or fleeing into the
bush to sleep in gorges and along river banks. It is winter and there is no
food, nor are there any sanitary facilities. People are defecating in the
bush and drinking polluted water. It is only a matter of time before
epidemics of dysentery and cholera break out.

      Many are already dying, particularly children and those suffering from
Aids. In one act epitomising the sadism of the operation, a demolition squad
forced nuns to dismantle an Aids clinic in a settlement outside Harare.

      In another, police burned the boats and fishing nets of a community on
the banks of the Zhovi Dam, in south-eastern Zimbabwe, where they had
scraped a living catching and selling fish.

      Other tales of heartlessness are legion. But for me the cherry on the
top was a statement by Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of State Security and
head of the feared Central Intelligence Organisation. "Everyone in Zimbabwe
is very happy about this clean-up," Mutasa said in a radio interview.

      "People are walking around Harare saying, 'We never knew we had such a
beautiful city.' "

      In my book that ranks alongside Jimmy Kruger's immortal statement that
the death of Steve Biko "leaves me cold".

      Why is this happening? What is the purpose of this extraordinary
operation? It appears mindless to the point of madness. But Mugabe is not
mad. He is just coldly ruthless - something his admirers in Africa, of which
I was once one, should realise the old liberation hero has become.

      I think there are three main objectives behind the operation.

      The first is simply an act of vengeance against the people of
Zimbabwe's towns and cities who voted overwhelmingly for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the parliamentary election in March.
They are being punished and driven out of the cities, so that they will not
be able to vote against the ruling Zanu-PF again in mayoral elections due in

      Secondly, this is a pre-emptive strike to prevent a possible uprising
by a desperate and increasingly restive element of the population.
      With more than 70% unemployment, shortages of food and fuel and
sharply rising prices, there are mounting tensions in all the urban areas,
and there have already been acts of civil disobedience, particularly in the
poorer communities which are suffering most acutely.

      So the regime, realising it can do nothing to ease the plight of these
desperate people, has decided to remove them before they erupt into mass
action - and in doing so send an intimidating message to the rest of the
population. Two years ago I described Mugabe's political strategy as "Pol
Pot in slow motion".

      Like the Cambodian tyrant, he has embarked on the piecemeal
destruction of the middle class to create a two-tier society with a small
and immensely rich elite living off the country's shrinking resources and
presiding over a desperately poor and politically passive rural peasantry.
We are now witnessing a great leap forward in that process.

      Thirdly, this is part of a campaign to try to stem Zimbabwe's
deepening foreign exchange crisis. In a statement last month the Reserve
Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, announced that the government was going to
expand its campaign to destroy the parallel market by targeting individuals
as well as institutions.

      "Within days," Gono warned, "the long arm of the law will reach down
to these people. They must not cry then. They have been warned."

      As it turns out, the people he was warning are the poor, the shack
dwellers and the informal traders whose economic desperation has forced many
to scrape a living as currency dealers.

      With the formal economy in a state of collapse, labour has become
Zimbabwe's main export industry. The 2 million or so Zimbabwean refugees in
South Africa, 1m in Britain, and 800 000 in Botswana are sending significant
sums of money home to their desperate relatives. This is now Zimbabwe's
biggest source of foreign exchange earnings.

      The families receiving this foreign money have been changing it on the
parallel market, where they can get Zim$20 000 to the US dollar rather than
the penurious Zim$9 800, which is the special "diaspora" exchange rate set
by the Reserve Bank.

      To stop this the government has now bulldozed entire townships. Not
only is this crassly unfair to the innocent multitudes, it is also futile.
When currencies collapse, black market currency dealers will always find
ways to operate.

      What is happening in Zimbabwe today is more than just a humanitarian
crisis in the making, as I suggested in that interview with Mbeki
two-and-a-half years ago. It is a crime against humanity.

      Article Seven of the 1998 Treaty of Rome, which established the
International Criminal Court, defines the forcible mass removal of a
population as that.

      The time has come to gather evidence in preparation for the future
prosecution of those responsible.

     .. Sparks is a veteran journalist and political commentator.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


      Relief Organizations Grapple With Scope of Zimbabwe Crisis
      By Patience Rusere
      28 June 2005

Relief for families evicted in the course of the Zimbabwe government's
five-week urban clean-up operation is gradually picking up, but aid
organizations say they are overwhelmed by the problem as efforts are not yet
well coordinated.

An informal survey of local and international aid organizations showed that
they have not been able to mobilize quickly, so that thousands of homeless
families remain without shelter, food or proper sanitation facilities.
Churches, especially those in Bulawayo, have taken a central role in helping
those in need.

Though relief organizations in principal received permission from the
government to provide assistance more than a week ago, humanitarian sources
said that the official authorization from the Ministry of Housing only came
on Tuesday.

One focus of concern has been a collection point for the displaced at
Caledonia Farm outside Harare, where organizations such as the U.N. Children's
Fund, or UNICEF, have provided the homeless with water and sanitation

But some expressed concern that Caledonia Farm is receiving assistance at
the expense of other homeless people scattered around Zimbabwe, as some of
the humanitarian organizations have taken government direction on where to
send assistance. About 3,000 people are believed to be living on Caledonia

An official with the World Food Program said the organization wants to have
the assessment of the humanitarian impact to be carried out by the U.N.
special envoy who arrived in Harare this week before launching major relief.
She said the WFP is providing a modest relief package of 12 kilograms of
cereal, two kilos of beans, and cooking oil, to an unspecified number of
displaced people.

Reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Fambai
Ngirande, a spokesman for the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organizations, about how Zimbabwean NGOs are approaching the crisis.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Times
Leading article
June 29, 2005

An exceptional case
Ministers should restore the moratorium on deportations to Zimbabwe

The Government is aware that it faces a moral, political and practical dilemma over the deportation of those who have claimed asylum from Zimbabwe. The ethical aspect of their stance was assailed yesterday by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The political element is being championed by an unusual combination of dissident Labour MPs, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Democrats and media outlets normally anchored at different ends of the ideological spectrum. The practical dimension, though, appears to be the one weighing on Tony Blair. He is attempting to reconcile his desire to be seen as tough on asylum with his mission for Africa.

The Prime Minister can legitimately assert that some of those due for deportation are economic migrants and not past or future political victims of Robert Mugabe. He is entitled to be bemused at the spectacle of newspapers that have spent years attacking the Home Office for an allegedly weak approach towards “bogus” asylum-seekers and immigrants insisting now that all who have come from a particular country are welcome. Mr Blair is correctly wary of implying that there is an “open door” for certain migrants.

The unstated compromise that Mr Blair and Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary seem to have alighted upon is, however, impossible to defend. It is to insist that the moratorium on failed asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe will not be restored, while discouraging immigration officials from forcibly returning more Zimbabwean citizens. Ministers would be better advised to restore the freeze on deportations and to be quite open about that switch in policy.

There are three reasons why this should be deemed an exceptional case.The first is that there was little logic behind the decision to reverse the moratorium last November. This had been introduced two years earlier in response to the deteriorating economic and political situation in Zimbabwe. It is hard to imagine what improvements had been detected by autumn 2004. The reclassification of this collection of failed asylum-seekers was the by-product of a broader drive to crack down upon the abuse of asylum before the general election. This is not a sound basis for deportations.

The second point is that the most recent atrocities in Zimbabwe are a new low even by the standards of a regime that could hardly stoop much lower. Mr Mugabe’s “Operation Drive Out Trash” is a thinly disguised attempt to intimidate those most unsympathetic to him. His assertion that the sudden displacement of up to 300,000 people is but the first stage of a sophisticated slum clearance scheme is laughable. If Anna Tibijuka, the UN Special Envoy currently in Zimbabwe, accepts this explanation then neither she nor those who have sent her to visit Harare will have a shred of credibility left.

Finally, too little is known about the fates of the 95 failed asylum-seekers returned to Zimbabwe. Ministers cannot be confident that they were not mistreated after they left Britain. It is not enough for the Home Office to contend that there is “no evidence” that they have been abused since deportation. There is, alas, no evidence that they have been able to live in peace either. Mr Blair is right to argue that it is not he but Zimbabwe’s neighbours, notably South Africa and its President Thabo Mbeki, who have the power to bring the regime in Harare to its knees or to its senses. Until that long-deferred moment arrives, the policy of deportations should be suspended.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

90pc of illegal structures demolished, says Chombo

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-29

NINETY percent of illegal structures in the country's urban areas have been
demolished in the ongoing clean-up exercise, a cabinet minister told
Parliament yesterday.
In a ministerial statement, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo added that the government will have
provided accommodation to all those affected by the exercise by the end of
"So far government has made available $1 trillion to kick start the
programme and I have to report on progress at Whitecliffe. The Ministry of
Local Government, Public Works and National Housing has finished
constructing four model houses which are ready for beneficiaries," said
He added that another 7 200 stands would be allocated to people this week at
Hopley farm
Chombo said at Caledonia transit camp in Harare, where there are presently 4
000 people, the government intends to vet them  and close the temporary
sanctuary within two weeks.
The minister added that NGO's were welcome to assist in challenges being
faced by the people, but added that they would only do so through government
He said the NGO's should complement government efforts and not compete with
Chombo's statement, which was made during debate on a motion to halt the
clean-up exercise moved by Dzivarasekwa MDC MP Edwin Mushoriwa, attracted
many questions from MDC legislators condemning the operation.
One of those who contributed to the debate, Kuwadzana MP, Nelson Chamisa
said people in Kuwadzana Extension were left with nowhere to do their
groceries as all the tuck shops had been razed.
The suburb had no formal shops or supermarkets.
" Nyaya ye Murambatsvina inyaya yaunza kugeda geda kwameno kuvarombo
Murambatsvina ishamhu Kuvarombo.. hurumende yadhakwa here mupfungwa dzayo
zvokuti haichaziva kwainoenda kana kwainobva? (There is gnashing of teeth
among the poor because of operation Murambatsvina. Murambatsvina is a
punishment to the people. Has the government become so drunk that it does
not know where it is going or coming from?), said Chamisa.
Mushoriwa expressed reservations that the government's drive to provide
housing to those affected will come to fruition when other similar
programmes such as the Pay for Your House Scheme and projects to built
residential flats in Chitungwiza and his constituency had not been finished.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Govt increases prices of fuel

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-29

THE price of petrol has risen to $10 000 per litre, up from $3 600, while
that of diesel has been increased to $9 600 from $3 400 per litre.

Government yesterday also set the price of paraffin at  $6 500 per litre,
while a litre of Jet A1 now costs $9 500, all effective from midnight June
28, 2005.
Energy and Power Development Minister, retired Major General Mike Nyambuya,
said the price of fuel would continually be reviewed to take into account
international and regional prices.
Rtd Lt-Gen Nyambuya said very limited quantities of fuel were being put on
the market as most of the available fuel was being dedicated to critical
areas like passenger transport, hospitals and food processing industries.
He also announced the setting up, with immediate effect, of a task force to
stop the abuse of fuel meant for passenger transport.
"While allocation, distribution and utilization of fuel to most of these
critical sectors is not a major challenge, abuse of fuel meant for passenger
transport is of concern," the minister said.
"To stem out fuel abuse by the passenger transporters, a team composed of
the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Noczim, the Zimbabwe National
Army, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, other security organisations and
transport operators, has been established."
He said it would manage the allocation of fuel to transport operators, who
would reserve a specific number of buses to transport urbanites.
Buses will also draw fuel from designated service stations under police
supervision and fuel for buses to rural areas would be provided for
He added that task force officials would monitor the movement of each and
every bus, to ensure that they ferry passengers as agreed.
Petroleum Marketers of Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Muziwoxolo Bukwele
welcomed the price adjustment.
He said: "The price increase will go a long way in redressing imbalances and
will help restore industry viability. However, this will by no means mean
that supply will improve overnight."
Added the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Pattison
Sithole: "Our fuel was the cheapest in the region and there was need to
review the prices. Truckers from Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), would come with empty tanks, fill up in Zimbabwe in transit to
Johannesburg and on their way back, they would refuel in Zimbabwe again."

Prior to the increment, Zimbabwe had the cheapest price of fuel in southern
Africa, with a litre of the precious liquid costing less than a litre of
soft drink.
Central Bank statistics show that Botswana charges the equivalent of $4 260
per litre of fuel, Zambia $7 076 per litre, Malawi $5 622 per litre,
Mozambique $4 598 per litre, South Africa $5 475 per litre, while Swaziland
and Namibia charge $4 364 and $4 200 respectively.
Sithole said that the price hike would impact negatively on the prices of
most goods and services, thereby detrimentally affecting the economy in
general through an anticipated surge in inflation.
Rtd Maj-Gen Nyambuya said with immediate effect, individual motorists would
be allowed to carry people with minimum hindrance.
He pleaded with Zimbabweans to conserve fuel: "We are in the middle of
difficult times. we have to tighten our belts. Where we can walk, let's
walk; where we can cycle, let's cycle. We must not be luxurious-those with
two cars must use one. We also must not speed as this will mean more
consumption of the scarce commodity."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

UN envoy meets stakehoders, civil society

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-29

THE visiting United Nations (UN) team led by secretary general Kofi Annan's
special envoy on Human Settlement Issues, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka yesterday
began collecting information on the people affected by the current clean-up
operations being carried out by the government.
The UN special envoy flew into Zimbabwe on Sunday with an eight-member
delegation, while another UN technical team is expected to make a follow up
The delegations's spokesperson Sharad Sharnkadass yesterday said the
schedule of Tibaijuka's visit was yet to be confirmed, but her team held
meetings with local stakeholders, civil society and the local UN country
representative to design mechanisms of how to gather comprehensive
information on Operation  Murambatsvina/ Restore Order and its effects.
"The technical team is working with the United Nations country team, local
stakeholders and civil society to design a mechanism to compile a
comprehensive a picture in a short time frame of those who have been evicted
and the informal traders whose livelihoods have been affected," he said.
Sharnkdass added that meetings were also being held to organise the
logistics of field visits.
"Meetings are being conducted to organise the logistics of field visits by
the special envoy. The team will then be in a position to assess the
capacity of the government and the humanitarian community to respond," he
The clean-up operation has drawn mixed views worldwide with the West
condemning it while the African Union said it was Zimbabwe's internal affair
and should be left to the government to solve it.
Meanwhile, the government has set aside $1 trillion to construct houses for
those who were affected by the clean-up.
So far, over 9 000 people have been allocated stands at White Cliff Farm,
including journalists.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe

Dairibord in strategy to revive dairy industry

The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2005-Jun-29

DAIRIBORD Zimbabwe Limited (DZL) is determined to contribute meaningfully to
the revival of the dairy industry in Zimbabwe, a senior official has said.
And, in an endeavour to maintain its blue chip status, the dairy-producing
giant has drawn up a strategy to map the way forward to improve milk
supplies in the
DZL corporate services director Busi Chindove, on Monday said the firm was
resolute to play a meaningful and complimentary role to government efforts
to turn around the economy.
She said: "While we are aware that government has line responsibility for
agricultural development, which includes dairying, we believe that with the
strategies that we have drawn up, some have found favour in the monetary
policy statement and we will play a meaningful role to government efforts."
Chindove said this at the Society for the Destitute Aged in Highfield where
DZL donated 50 blankets and beverages worth more than $10 million.
She said DZL had a long and well-recorded history of community social
investment in education, health, rural infrastructure development and sport.
Therefore, DZL, which has since expanded into Malawi, was ploughing back
into society helping the elderly, particularly in winter, Chindove added.
"We are here to make this donation which is a symbol of love, respect and
honour to our grandparents. This is part of a total national donation that
we will make during the next week whose total value is nearly $34 million,"
she said.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Stuff, New Zealand

Former Zimbabwe farmer recalls terror of Mugabe reign
29 June 2005

Derek van Rooyen has tasted the sharp edge of Zimbabwean politics.

The Paihia business owner lived in Zimbabwe until his farm in Chinoh was
seized in 2003 under President Robert Mugabe's controversial land seizure
programme that targeted white farmers.

"They pitched up at the farm gate ... with AK47s and said we were illegal
immigrants on our farm," Mr van Rooyen said.

"They just dragged me off, paraded me around and took me to the local police

"The police are the worst criminals of them all."

Nearly three years on, Mr van Rooyen believes things are getting worse in
his homeland.

Since May 19, police in Zimbabwe have torched and bulldozed tens of
thousands of shacks, street stalls and - amid acute food shortages -
vegetable gardens planted by the urban poor.

The actions of the Zimbabwe government have intensified debate over whether
the New Zealand cricket team should call off a planned tour of the southern
African nation.

Mr van Rooyen, his wife Denise and their daughters Sarah, Amanda and Jessica
walked away from the farm to start a new life in New Zealand.

The couple had just paid off the mortgage on their 647-hectare block and
were renting another farm of similar size.

He said the farm was "a bread basket" in the area producing maize, grains,
paprika, soya beans, wheat and he also farmed sheep.

"I used to produce 700 tonnes of maize, 160 tonnes of tobacco.

"Since we left, if they produce five tonnes of maize it's a lot and if they
produce two tonnes of tobacco it's a lot," Mr van Rooyen said.

"We employed 250 workers and we had a policy of building 12 three-bedroom
homes every year for the workers.

"If they were achievers they were given the house."

After the seizure, black workers on the farm were pinpointed as being white
sympathisers and forced from their homes.

Wild animals including giraffes, zebras and antelope that lived on the farm
were slaughtered for their meat.

He was disgusted with the new housing policy in Zimbabwe which had resulted
in tens of thousands of shacks and street stalls being torched or bulldozed.

"It all proves a point. It wasn't about land. The world thinks it is about

"It's about his (Mugabe's) hunger for power and the tearing down of these
houses has proved that. When he refers to trash he is referring to the
opposition. I feel very sorry for those fellows left behind who don't have
the money to get out. They are financial prisoners there."

Mr van Rooyen said many expatriate Zimbabweans could not understand why the
world was not intervening.

"They were quick to go into Iraq but here we have the 'Saddam Hussein of
Africa' mutilating his own people. How can we just stand by and watch this?

"I pray that there is a change of Government. I pray (opposition leader)
Morgan Tsvangirai gets in. While he is not qualified for the job he is a
humble man willing to do the job"

He has mixed feelings about the Black Caps touring Zimbabwe and felt that Mr
Mugabe would probably benefit directly from any fine that had to be paid.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Source: Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA)

Date: 28 Jun 2005

Zimbabwe begins transporting urban homeless to rural areas: TV
Harare, Zimbabwe (dpa) - More than 100 families made homeless by a police
raid on shacks were moved Tuesday from a government holding camp in Harare
to rural areas, state television reported.

The families were the first to be moved out of Caledonia Transit Camp, a
farm on the outskirts of Harare where more than 4,000 people are reported to
be living in tents.

They were ferried on the back of open lorries to areas in central and
northern Zimbabwe, the television said.

Police launched a wave of shack demolitions, dubbed Operation Restore Order,
on May 19. Human rights groups say it has left at least 300,000 people
without shelter.

President Robert Mugabe says the operation aims to restore "dignity" to
Zimbabweans. But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says it
is meant to punish its supporters and banish them to rural areas where they
will be easier to control.

"The number of people volunteering to go away is not really large," the
superintendent of the camp, Wilfred Moyo, told the television.

"Some (put) forward the reason that they can't relocate because they have
never been to the communal areas," he added, referring to the farming areas
where most Zimbabweans live.

An envoy of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is currently in Zimbabwe to
assess the humanitarian impact of the police operation, which has been
condemned by many Western countries, human rights groups and churches.

The envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, is due to meet Mugabe on Wednesday, state
television said.

Zimbabwe's Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya said that British Prime
Minister Tony Blair wanted Tibaijuka to do a "dirty job" on Zimbabwe when
assessing the situation.

Last week, British Foreign Jack Straw said the police operation in Zimbabwe
was of "serious international concern". The United States and Australia
expressed similar concerns. dpa rt tc
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Washington Times

UK minister attacks AU on Zimbabwe silence
Jun. 28, 2005 at 4:58PM

British Minister for Africa David Triesman said Tuesday he was disappointed
by Africa's silence on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
      Asked by media in London if he was dismayed by the seeming reluctance
of African leaders and the African Union to speak out against the
demolitions being carried out by Robert Mugabe's regime, Triesman said:
"Candidly, I'd rather, of course, they were prepared to say something about
large numbers of extremely poor people having their houses burned down,
orphans being put out on the street, people being thrown out of hospitals
and, in some cases, left on the municipal rubbish tip.
      "I think that hurts. When you hear about it, that hurts."
      However the international community had looked at how it could work
with organizations such as the African Union to try and get changes, he
      "How can we do it without lecturing them, and having them feel that
the old colonial powers are wagging their fingers and telling them what to
      "Hard to get that balance, because you want to speak out. Hard to get
that balance, but I think we can through working with people who at the base
of it have very decent values," Triesman said.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From: Free Roy Bennett Campaign
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 8:48 AM
Subject: Free Roy Bennett Campaign : Roy Bennett Released From Prison

Free Roy Bennett Campaign

Roy Bennett Released From Prison
Campaign Update
~ 28 June 2005

HARARE: Roy Bennett was released from Chikurubi Prison this morning after spending eight months of his 12 month sentence in custody. It is standard prison procedure to commute a third of any sentence for good behaviour.

The former MDC Member of Parliament emerged from his incarceration unbowed and undaunted in his struggle for justice for all Zimbabweans.

"I am more determined than ever to continue to strive for a better Zimbabwe for all Zimbabweans, the current oppression cannot continue for much longer and sooner, rather than later, the people will assert their rights", he said.

There were emotional scenes outside the prison when Roy was reunited with his wife two children and other family and friends.

"Nothing that I have ever read or seen prepared for the hell that are Zimbabweans prisons", said Bennett.

"The inhumanity with which the prisoners are treated and their total lack of recourse to any representation or justice combined with the filth and stench of daily life is something I will never forget and I will not rest until their conditions are improved," he added.

He also stated that if the opportunity arose and the people for Chimanimani asked him to, he would stand as their representative again.

Bennett was sentenced to a year in jail by the Zanu-PF MPs after pushing the Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, to the ground during a parliamentary debate. Chinamasa had derided the court orders that Bennett had been awarded that should have seen his property returned after it had been seized by the State and on top of this he had insulted Roy's forefathers.

The sentence was condemned by local and international human rights organisations.

Speaking after the tearful reunion, Heather Bennett said she was proud of her husband and the sacrifice he has made for the betterment of all Zimbabweans.

"I knew Roy would emerge from this ordeal strong, but I am shocked by exactly how determined he to continue to struggle for a new Zimbabwe.", she said.

"But first we are going to spend some time together as a family".

Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Vigil is supporting this initiative.
On Thursday morning 30th June from 6 am to July 1st, 6 am , we at the Zimbabwe Central London Forum have pledged to go without food in support of the hunger strike that is taking place in UK Detention Centres
Please join us and give your support by doing the same. 
Send this message on to 5 others who may want to join in.
The detainees hunger strike began at 6am on Wednesday 23th June 2005.   By Thursday the detained hunger strikers will be in to their 9th day and will be becoming very weak.  The Home Office is now saying that 57 Zimbabwean detainees are on hunger strike.  The figures we have are 99 - spread out as follows:
Harmondsworth Detention centre         24  Hillingdon (MP)
Colnbrook                                                    30  Hillingdon
Yarlswood Women's Detention centre 30  Bedford (MP)
Campsfield House                                        6  Oxford (MP)
Dover                                                                9  Dover (MP)
TOTAL                                                                       99
Charles Clarke, Minster for Home Affairs,  has put out a statement today stating that deportation of asylum seekers to Zimbabwe will continue...........
Please join us and give your support by doing the same. 
Please write to your MP (you can do a post code search on to find your MP) and let her/him know what you are doing and why - a sample letter is attached.  Use it if you wish or write your own.
Anna Meryt
The Zimbabwe London Forum
Vigil Co-ordinators
The vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturdays from 14.00 - 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe.  The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 8:23 AM
Subject: ZCTF REPORT - Snare removal

28th June 2003
We would like to report that thanks to various people and organizations who donated money for the tranquilizer M99 in response to our appeal for the snared Bumi elephants, wire snares have been removed from an elephant and a buffalo in the Bumi Hills area.
We would like to offer our heartfelt appreciation to the donors and to all the people involved in the removal of the snares which is an extremely dangerous and complicated operation. Thanks also to the very kind people who flew the team into Bumi free of charge and to the aviation company who flew in the M99.
It has been reported that the elephant and the buffalo have recovered since the snares were removed and are doing very well.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Phone       263 4 336710
Fax           263 4 339065
Mobile       263 11 603 213
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Trinidad Express

The corruption of absolute power

Rickey Singh

Wednesday, June 29th 2005

THE PEOPLE of Trinidad and Tobago, plagued by murders, armed robberies and
other criminal acts, could not have been so preoccupied with their own fears
to have altogether missed the international media coverage of political
criminality in Zimbabwe where thousands of squatters and vendors have fallen
victims to a demolition and eviction blitzkrieg by the government of former
"revolutionary hero", President Robert Mugabe.

Had he survived that assassin's bomb on the night of June 13, 1980, Walter
Rodney, author of How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, would certainly have
condemned the Mugabe regime for its brutal, inhumane forced evictions of an
estimated 300,000 urban Zimbabwean slum dwellers and street vendors-without
any alternative accommodation.

Mugabe has said that destruction of the illegal homes and market stalls was
in keeping with his government's fight against crime and cleaning up
unsanitary conditions in the cities. But as United Nations human rights
advocates have observed, the victims were given no prior notice, had no
opportunity to appeal and for most no chance to retrieve their property
before destruction and brute force.

It just so happens that the thousands of evicted victims of an expanding
community of urban squatters in shacks called "homes", and the wayside
market vendors, existing in a collapsed economy, are among reputed to be
voting supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led
by Morgan Tsvangirai. Official silence across Africa continues to be
defeaning. Silence also by Caricom governments.

Walter Rodney, whose Caribbean and African colleagues earlier this month
joined in marking the 25th anniversary of his assassination under the then
Forbes Burnham regime, had a few weeks prior to his death returned, from
Harare where, at a meeting with President Mugabe, was asked to help
establish a development institute in Zimbabwe. Such was their mutual
admiration at the time..

This same Mugabe was to subsequently provoke such deep disillusionment over
the years, at home and abroad, that the Jamaica-born political scientist,
Horace Campbell, who chaired the international planning committee for the
Rodney Commemoration Anniversary, felt compelled to produce a scathing
examination of the once greatly admired anti-colonial revolutionary in his
"Reclaiming Zimbabwe", published in 2003 by 'New Africa Books', South

Without diminishing Mugabe's heroic contributions in the liberation war
against colonialist oppression and white minority racist rule, Campbell, who
lived and taught in Zimbabwe in the 1990s, has offered an assessment of life
in that Central African nation under the leadership of the leader of the
Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) that makes sorry reading on the
corruption of absolute power.

Those human rights activists and broad-minded internationalists and
Pan-Africanists for whom there can be no rationalisation of the
brutalisation of humanity by oppressive regimes-irrespective of race, tribe
or nationality-should not waste time urging our Caribbean Community
(Caricom) governments to condemn the horrors unleashed by the Mugabe regime
against illegal urban squatters and vendors.

All of the Caricom administrations must be quietly breathing a sigh of
relief to know that they can now expediently hide behind last week's blunt
refusal by the African Union (AU) to speak out against the campaign of
demolitions and evictions, as suggested by the British and American

True, both Prime Minister Tony Blair and President George Bush, the twins of
the pre-emptive war on Iraq, may have their own self-serving agendas in
seeking to internationalise the atrocities in Zimbabwe.

But with the internationally respected government in South Africa
conveniently remaining silent on continuing violations of human rights in
Zimbabwe, having earlier refused to pass judgment on claimed widespread
malpractices at the last parliamentary elections, the AU's refusal to
condemn the mass demolitions and evictions should come as no real surprise.

Especially, as noted by the BBC's Elizabeth Blunt this past weekend: "The
sad truth is that what is going on in Zimbabwe at the moment is not at all

"From one end of Africa to the other, governments have set about slum
clearance schemes without any consideration for the people who live there,
or any sense of responsibility for what happens to them afterwards".

She offered some examples in Nigeria that currently holds the chair of the
African Union; Ivory Coast and the Cameroon, where demolition and eviction
politics ruined the lives of thousands of squatters.

Question for us in Caricom, is whether our own governments that like to
recite their commitment to human rights observance and democratic
governance, can bring themselves to speak out , collectively or separately,
against the gross abuse of power, the horrors of thousands of squatters
homes and market stalls being set ablaze or bulldozed with no immediate
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Africa must share blame for Mugabe

Jack Straw denounces inaction of regional leaders in Zimbabwe crisis

Michael White and Patrick Wintour
Wednesday June 29, 2005
The Guardian

The refusal of Zimbabwe's neighbours to condemn the "outrages" taking place
in the country has limited Britain's ability to take action, Jack Straw
admitted yesterday.
"The fundamental difficulty about doing more rests with the approach of
African leaders, that is true," the foreign secretary said in an interview
with the Guardian yesterday.

"It's very disappointing that, in the face of very clear evidence, they have
been unwilling to speak out against these outrages. That's bad for the
people directly affected in Zimbabwe. It's also bad for the reputation of
Africa," Mr Straw said .

In a robust defence of the government's record towards its former colony,
the foreign secretary cited EU sanctions - "aimed at the political elite,
not ordinary folk" - and the G8's recent condemnation.

But he drew back from specific criticisms of President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa, the key player. "I don't think name-calling necessarily advances
what one is trying to do," he said, and expressed the hope that South
Africa's strategy would change.

Mr Straw also supported Charles Clarke's refusal to suspend deportations of
failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.

Denying reports that he had urged a change on the home secretary, Mr Straw
said that constituency experience in Blackburn had taught him that while
many Zimbabwean claimants' claims to refugee status "entirely stack up", a
second group's claims was full of contradictions.

As a former student demonstrator he believes that the protests being
encouraged by rock stars such as Bob Geldof and Bono are helpful to the
summit process. "If you push a long way, you get some way, that's
democracy," said Mr Straw.

Geldof's populist language is also a vital part of the mix. "If Geldof
started talking like a boring politician, no one would listen, so he's bound
to be populist."

If the G8 does provide more aid and debt relief, the onus will be on African
leaders to meet what Mr Straw called "the higher expectations by donor
governments, the donor public and their own public. If they fail to meet
those expectations they will find that the climate for coming back for more
will be very different. They know that."

On the wider G8 agenda Mr Straw said that the US position on both Africa and
climate change "is not an isolated one".

"We are gradually moving the political class in the US in favour of what we
accept is the science of global warming."

On the other key agenda item in Britain's international role, with the
presidency of the EU from Friday, Mr Straw described the Franco-Dutch
referendums no votes as the moment for a "Clause 4 debate" comparable to
Labour's internal reforms a decade ago.

It would allow pro-Europeans across the continent to speak out without
"being accused of being anti-European", even in France, he said.

In the wake of Tony Blair's Brussels speech: "I see the same sense of relief
around that it is now politically respectable to talk about Europe's

He predicted that Britain would be trying to "get a deal on the EU budget
[reform]" by the end of the year and said that criticisms from new eastern
European members over budget uncertainties are not being blamed on the UK.

"They all recognise that we have been their most steadfast friend. We pushed
the pace of enlargement, we gave them practical advice on how to get ready
and we opened our labour markets to them at very substantial risk to
ourselves. It has been good for us and good for them," he said.

As a former Euro-sceptic Mr Straw said that his own years as home secretary
showed that "Europe at its best can be phenomenal as a force for good and
delivery". He cited its efforts in the Middle East, notably the EU
negotiation over Iran's nuclear ambitions which had kept the international
community united and drawn in a reluctant US.

As for the election of the Islamic hardliner, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as Iran's
new president, Mr Straw said that all politicians use strong rhetoric during

"He's only just been elected and it's far too early to make a judgment on
how our relations will work out."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

The Jakarta Post

Zimbabwe Embassy responds
We would like to refer to the article that appeared in The Jakarta Post on
June 4 showing residents of Kambuzuma township, in Harare, watching the
destruction of their illegal properties by the police.

Our main purpose in making this submission is to provide more information
regarding the launch by police of Operation Restore Order at the end of May
to make your readers appreciate more the thrust of the operation.

Zimbabwe's economic meltdown since the beginning of 2000 occasioned by the
lack of support from some Western countries following the land reform
program saw the sudden growth of the informal sector to replace the
shrinking formal sector. However, this process, clearly envisaged as a
stopgap measure, was sustained in all the major cities and towns in the
country until the commencement of Operation Restore Order.

The rapid development of illegal informal small-scale industries, trading
centers and outbuildings in all the cities and towns had destroyed the
status of these urban centers and outstretched the capacity of the
municipalities to provide adequate services. The inability of the urban
local authorities to levy most of the illegal vendors created an untenable
situation that victimized everybody, including the licensed informal
traders. Many illegal activities such the hoarding of basic commodities and
dealing in gold and foreign currency were thriving in the illegal informal
sector. Over 22,000 people have been arrested for various offenses during
the ongoing exercise.

We would like to emphasize that most sections of society clearly welcomed
and are supportive of the objectives of Operation Restore Order. In fact,
many would argue that it was long overdue. The court also ruled that most of
the structures were illegal as the owners did not follow the set approval
channels with the respective local authorities.

The bonafide informal players whose illegal structures were destroyed would
also be resettled on new structures befitting the status and dignity of the
cities and towns. There is widespread appreciation on the efforts toward the
restoration of Harare's clean and sunshine city status. Other areas, too,
will be major beneficiaries of this noble operation.

A. MAGEZA, Ambassador, Zimbabwean Embassy, Jakarta
Back to the Top
Back to Index