The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe police arrest 15 demonstrators

Monsters and critics

Jun 6, 2007, 16:43 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Police in the city of Bulawayo Wednesday descended on
rights activists demonstrating for wider civil society representation in
South African-brokered talks on Zimbabwe, arresting at least 15, a statement

The demonstrators, all of them members and supporters of Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA), were arrested in central Bulawayo shortly after their march

One group was met by riot police after one block and was beaten and
dispersed. The other group managed to march for two blocks before again
being met by riot police and beaten, WOZA said in the statement.

A group of between 15 and twenty people was rounded up and taken to the
central police station, it added. Co-ordinator Jenni Williams was also

Several people are being treated for beatings they received at the hands of
police, WOZA said. Police have not confirmed the arrests.

Members of Zimbabwean civil society are demanding inclusion in any talks
that take place between President Robert Mugabe's party and the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

In March South Africa's Thabo Mbeki was appointed by regional grouping SADC
to try to resolve political problems in Zimbabwe following an escalation in
political tensions ahead of next year's presidential and parliamentary

WOZA had marched Wednesday to highlight the unfairness of talks that only
involve politicians who will not be addressing issues of social justice,
WOZA said.

The group said it wanted to step up pressure for the inclusion of voices in
the talks that will raise socio-economic issues that it said were at the
heart of ordinary Zimbabweans.

WOZA says it has a manifesto, dubbed 10 steps to a new Zimbabwe, that it
wants considered.

The manifesto calls for, among other things, the repeal of stringent press
and security laws, the reengagement of the international community to help
repair the economy and create jobs, and new and transparent electoral laws
and bodies to ensure fair elections.

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rhino poaching tied to organized crime: study

Yahoo News

44 minutes ago

THE HAGUE (AFP) - Africa's wild rhinos, already classified as threatened
with extinction, are under severe pressure from poachers tied to organized
criminal networks, conservationists said Wednesday.

All but a handful of the 30-odd rhinoceros remaining in the Democratic
Republic of Congo in 2002 had been killed by 2005, while poaching accounted
for two-thirds of all rhino deaths in neighboring Zimbabwe, according to a
study released by the wildlife group Traffic.
Only 13 and eight percent of illegally obtained horns were recovered from
these two countries respectively, as compared with an overall recovery rate
of 42 percent across the continent, the report said.

"The situation in the DRC and Zimbabwe is a particular concern," said the
organization's executive director, Steven Broad. "It tallies with an
increase in the organization of criminal horn trading networks operating in

If countermeasures are not taken, the surge in poaching "may pose a more
serious threat to rhino populations," the report said.

One sub-species of white rhino in the DRC is on the edge of extinction, with
only four specimens remaining, and another sub-species in Cameroon has
disappeared entirely.

The largest markets for illegally procured horns are the Middle East,
especially Yemen, where they are prized as dagger handles. In East Asia,
they are ground into fine powder and mixed into traditional remedies to
bring down fever.

On the whole, the continent's rhino populations are well managed and
growing, said zoologist Simon Milledge, who authored the study.

There were an estimated 3,725 black rhinos and more than 14,500 white rhinos
in Africa as of late 2005, concentrated mainly in South Africa and Namibia,
where the animals have become an important source of revenue through

Their numbers have increased since then by about six percent per year,
according to the International Conservation Union.

"Overall, rhino conservation is a success story," said Milledge. "At the
beginning of the 20th century there were probably only a couple of dozen
white rhinos in all of Africa."

But in a handful of countries plagued with economic turmoil, or lacking the
means to fight well-armed poachers, rhinos have been decimated or even wiped
out entirely.

"In Cameroon, failure; in the DRC near-failure; in Zimbabwe, great concern,"
was how Milledge summed things up.

Traffic runs a database of every rhino that has died on the continent since
2000, and can determine with a high degree of accuracy what percentage of
their horns wind up in the hands of wildlife traffickers, he said.

What is most alarming is the increase in the proportion of horns lost since
2000 despite stepped up enforcement, pointing to more sophisticated criminal

Milledge is optimist that rhinos will continue to recover if poaching is
brought under control and rhino populations are well managed.

"They are pretty resilient animals. There is little doubt that they are a
viable species," he said, adding that their numbers have been increasing
steadily since 1994.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Forests under threat as Zimbabwe struggles to stay warm

HARARE, June 6 (AFP)

Israel Thebe points in despair to dozens of fresh stumps that have appeared
overnight in the heart of Mukuvisi Woodlands, on the outskirts of Harare.
"It takes a good 50 years for a tree to grow fully," said the forestry
manager. "This took place in just one night."

Mukuvisi has long been a popular destination for day trips by schoolchildren
from the Zimbabwean capital who are able to catch a glimpse of wildlife such
as giraffe, zebra and several antelope species on their doorstep.

The woodlands however have also seen a recent upsurge in night-time
visitors -- axe-wielding poachers who make a bee-line for its forests in
order to feed the demand for firewood in a country where power cuts have
become perennial.

Even though the authorities try to put a halt to the scalping, Thebe fears
it is a losing battle as people become desperate to keep warm during winter.

"We have had to hire night guards specifically to look at that but the wood
poachers always find ways to evade detection. Give it another two years and
most of this forest will be gone," he said.

Even the saplings are not spared as the poachers strip the bark from the
tender shrubs to weave into rope to tie bundles of stolen firewood.

Residents from Harare's townships unfazed by prospects of arrest for
breaching forestry laws, are often seen carrying bundles of firewood or
pushing cartfuls of chopped wood from neighbouring farms.

Their sense of impunity is not surprising given that anyone convicted of
cutting down trees protected under the forestry act pays a fine of 2,500
Zimbabwean dollars -- the equivalent of five US cents at black market rates.

The economic meltdown in Zimbabwe, where the annual rate of inflation stands
at over 3,000 percent, has impacted on every aspect of daily life.

But while the affect on issues such as life expectancy and employment have
been well-documented, the environmental impact is only just beginning to be

Zimbabwe currently imports 40 percent of its power needs: 100 megawatts a
month from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 200 megawatts from Mozambique
and up to 450 and 300 megawatts from South Africa and Zambia respectively.

But imports are expected to stop this year due to an anticipated power
deficit across southern Africa resulting from increased demand, leaving many
residents with no alternative other than wood fires to cook and stay warm.

The demand for wood is good news for some.

Agnes Mutero, dwarfed by a pile of firewood at her stall in Harare's main
marketplace in Mbare, admits she is doing a roaring business.

"For me the power cuts mean more business," said Mutero who sells a small
bundle of firewood for 20,000 Zimbabwean dollars (80 US dollars, 60 euros).

"If I get arrested I always pay a fine and come back to work. I cannot let
my family starve when I can feed by selling firewood."

Environmentalists however say everyone will end up paying the price of such
short-term opportunism.

"Firewood poaching is a real threat to our natural forests," warned Fiona
Munyepfu, a project officer with the watchdog Environment Africa.

"One just needs to go a few kilometres outside Harare to see the extent of
the destruction which is being exacerbated by the electricity cuts."

According to Luckymore Kondo, a resident of Mbare, said the power cuts leave
consumers with little alternative even though he is well aware and concerned
about the long-term dangers of the rampant tree cutting.

"Most of the time we use firewood for cooking just like people in the
villages yet we pay our full bills at the end of the month," Kondo

"I wonder what will be left of the forests if the electricity problems
persist. Something just needs to be done to stop this."

Zimbabwe's once-model economy has been on a downturn for the past five
years, characterised by four-digit inflation and shortages of foreign
currency and basic foodstuffs such as the staple cornmeal and cooking oil.

Manufacturers sometimes switch to diesel-powered generators to keep their
machines running but the option is not a viable one in a country saddled
with chronic fuel shortages.

Zimbabwe's power utility last month launched a plan to cut power supply to
selected residential areas for up to 10 hours each day until August to meet
higher demand from wheat farmers.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Merkel to raise Zimbabwe crisis with Mbeki

Business Day

06 June 2007

Karima Brown


Political Editor

HEILIGENDAMM - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to meet President Thabo
Mbeki on the sidelines of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit to discuss

Merkel is on record as saying the crisis in Zimbabwe is unacceptable.

German officials also confirmed yesterday that Merkel would visit several
African countries, including SA, after the summit.

Germany, the current president of the G-8, has promised to put Africa's
problems on the summit agenda, but will tie this commitment to demands for
good governance and clear plans on how to combat the spread of HIV /AIDS.

German officials said they did not expect any new initiatives to come out of
the summit in relation to debt relief for Africa.

Africa is one of eight priorities, which include the break down of
international trade barriers and moving towards a replacement for the Kyoto
protocol, that feature on the summit's agenda.

Africa receives about a third of the total aid given by governments around
the world, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and

In the run-up to the summit, aid organisations have complained that the G-8
countries have failed to fulfil the promises they made at Gleneagles in
Scotland two years ago.

The world's richest countries have pledged to boost annual aid to $50bn a
year by 2010, but critics say they are falling well short of this promise.
German officials said, while Gleneagles was a promise of financial aid,
there was likely to be a switch at this year's summit.

"The solution is not only giving more money . The key issue is how this
money is spent," said an official of the German ministry for economic
co -operation . "We want to be assured that aid money is used responsibly.
Also creating a sustainable investment environment is key to assisting

Another issue likely to come up is how to ensure good financial governance.
"The African peer review process will be encouraged . Micro-financing for
women and how to protect potential investors from local currency
fluctuations - a huge deterrent for investors - are likely to feature in
whatever package on Africa is agreed to."

Peace and security and how to support the establishment of an African
standby force are also likely to get attention, as will Darfur.

Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was instrumental in the
Gleneagles agreement , is likely to make a last push to ensure the other G-8
nations come on board.

G-8 leaders would want a greater commitment from the continent to cut
corruption in its raw materials industries, said officials.

It is understood the summit will make clear more investment is needed in
Africa and Africans must be given access to the financial sector. Many
western governments are concerned Africa's vast mineral and oil wealth is
seen as being mismanaged by corrupt elites or stolen by warring factions.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe ruling party scouts for food as people brace for shortages

Monsters and Critics

Jun 6, 2007, 9:19 GMT

Harare - As millions of Zimbabweans brace for biting food shortages,
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party has started scouting for food
donations for its annual end-of-year conference, it was reported Wednesday.

Members of Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in Mashonaland Central province have so
far pledged 48 cattle and 44 tonnes of maize for the gathering, due to be
held in the mining town of Bindura later this year, according to the
official Herald daily.

Preparations for the conference are hotting up, with plans to revamp roads
in the area, paint buildings and build hostels.

With crunch presidential and parliamentary elections due in early 2008, the
ruling party appears determined to make its conference a resounding success.

The Herald newspaper said at least 4,500 delegates were expected to attend.
But dire warnings of worsening food shortages could put a damper on

On Tuesday, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and
Agricultural Organisation (FAO) predicts 4.1 million Zimbabweans will need
food aid by early next year.

Poor harvests and high prices for food could mean provinces like
Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North could run out of supplies as early
as next month.

Even in traditionally more affluent urban areas, one million people could
need food aid, according to a report by the UN agencies.

The report blamed the food deficit on poor harvests, the HIV/AIDS pandemic,
Zimbabwe's worsening economic crisis and the government's insistence on
setting low sale prices for crops, thereby discouraging farmers from

© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim police arrest 2 000 at border


    June 06 2007 at 11:03AM

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested close to 2 000 people, many of them
border jumpers trying to escape Zimbabwe, in a blitz in two southern border
towns, reports said on Wednesday.

The police operation, dubbed Border Clean-Up, saw a total of 1 936
people arrested in Plumtree and Beitbridge, on the Botswana and South
African borders, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said.

Hundreds of suspected prostitutes were among those seized, according
to the report.

"The operation has seen the arrest of 501 border jumpers, 188 touts,
605 prostitutes, 98 illegal vendors, 151 public drinkers and 393 illegal
foreign currency dealers," the Herald said.

The arrests took place over one week. Most of those detained paid

"The patrols are ongoing until all is well at these points," police
spokesperson Tafanana Dzirutwe told the Herald.

Each month, thousands of Zimbabweans hazard the journey across
Zimbabwe's borders, lured mainly to Botswana and South Africa by the
prospect of wages in hard currency that can be sent back home to struggling

Zimbabwe's economic problems have caused an exodus of more than three
million economically active people to countries like South Africa, Botswana
and Britain. Many are there illegally.

Annual inflation is more than 3 714 percent. More than four million of
the country's 12 million people will require food aid by early next year, UN
food agencies said this week.

In January police here said that more than 100 000 Zimbabweans had
been deported from South Africa in 2006, and more than 30 000 from
Botswana. - Sapa-dpa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Illegal Harare Commission Raises Rates By More Than 4000 Percent

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

Tererai Karimakwenda

Harare residents woke up to shocking news Tuesday as the state controlled
Herald newspaper reported that more price increases are due on July 1st when
a new supplementary budget approved by the illegal commission running the
city comes into effect. According to The Herald everything from council
rates, house rentals, refuse collection, health and burial costs will go up
by more than 4000%. Service delivery has not improved and the local
government minister Ignatius Chombo continues to defy the Urban Councils Act
and several high Court rulings by refusing to organise elections for a new

The chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association Mike Davies,
immediately urged residents who are not already boycotting paying their
rates to withhold their money from the illegal commission. He described the
Commission as a gang of thieves and said he was not surprised they were
trying to steal more money. Davies stressed that CHRA was now taking a much
stronger stance against Harare residents who continue to finance the illegal
Makwavarara Commission by paying their rates. He said they are now
considered collaborators and urged them to withhold their money until
elections are organised and a legitimate administration occupies City Hall.

According to The Herald the supplementary budget proposals were adopted at a
full meeting of the Commission without debate and were signed by the
commission chairperson Sekesayi Makwavarara.

As of July 1st, the cost of refuse collection from high-density areas goes
up from Z$3 063 to Z$140 000 for each household per month. This will be

reviewed to Z$175 000 in October and up again to Z$210 000 in January 2008.
Refuse collection for each household in the low-density areas will go up
from Z$3 675 to Z$150 000 per month in July, Z$190 000 in October and Z$240
000 in January 2008. Businesses currently paying Z$7 350 will see it rise to
Z$195 000 from July, Z$292 000 in October and Z$585 000 by January, 2008.
The irony of the situation is that residents have complained for years that
there refuse is littering the streets because council is failing to collect

The cost of hiring an ambulance will also go up drastically from the current
Z$300 000to Z$400 000 in July and Z$700 00 in January. Pregnant women will
not be spared. Maternity fees go up from Z$63 300 to Z$320 000 in October.
The cost of Clinic fees, council house rentals and burials will also go up
on July 1st.

The city claimed its supplementary budgets with increased fees would help
improve service delivery. Davies does not believe it. He said the real
problem is the national political and economic crisis that has created
hyperinflation over 5000%. Until the national crisis is resolved, prices
will continue to go up.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Detainees Further Remanded Due to Absence of State Prosecutor

SW Radio Africa (London)

6 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

Violet Gonda

The 27 political detainees who have been in custody for more than 65 days,
received another blow on Tuesday after their remand hearing was postponed
again to Thursday this time, because the state prosecutor was not available.

Ian Makone, the MDC election strategist who was granted bail last Wednesday
after spending two months and three days in political detention, said they
were only told the prosecutor had to attend to some emergency which was not
disclosed in court. The prosecutor who did turn up felt that he was not
competent to tackle the case but it's believed that this was another way of
frustrating the defense team who had argued that there are several state
prosecutors who could have stood in.

Makone said: "It is obviously very frustrating because you'd think once
people have arrested you the next thing is for justice to take its course.
But we have been to court several times and remanded in custody on several
occasions and this is naturally a source of frustration." But he said
despite these hurdles the opposition prisoners are in high spirits.

They are all facing terrorism charges, which they deny as trumped up charges
to weaken the opposition. Makone, who is also MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's
aide, said he was tortured while in police custody and so were all the other
political detainees. He said the torture comprised of being made to sit in a
particular uncomfortable position and "experiencing excruciating pain and
being kicked with booted feet and baton sticks."

He said not one person escaped being assaulted and some of the activists
like Morgan Komichi, a National Executive Member, were seriously injured.
Komichi has been in a prison hospital as a result of the injuries sustained
while in police custody. Makone said the courts ordered the police on Monday
to take him to a public hospital. At the time of broadcast we were not able
to find out if Komichi had been transferred.

Narrating his prison ordeal in remand prison, Makone said there were about
400 inmates in a place suitable for about 200 people. The living conditions
were unhygienic and there was no proper food or blankets and people lived on
a diet of sadza and boiled cabbage.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC Unity Talks Break Down

New Zimbabwe (London)

6 June 2007
Posted to the web 6 June 2007

Lebo Nkatazo

THE two feuding factions of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) are no closer to reuniting than they were when they split,
officials said Wednesday.

Talks aimed at reuniting the two groups - one led by Morgan Tsvangirai and
the other by Arthur Mutambara - broke down two weeks ago.

Officials from both factions tied themselves to a strict code not to make
statements to the media, but in separate interviews this week, senior
officials from both factions privately told of their exasperation at the

"We are as far apart as the North Pole to the South Pole," an official
aligned with the Mutambara faction said.

Mutambara has led calls for the reunification of the MDC, and is said to
have been prepared to take a lesser position in the united party to leave
Tsvangirai as the sole MDC candidate in presidential elections set for the
first half of 2008.

The unity envisaged was to take the shape of a loose coalition of the two
factions, possibly leading to the total re-integration of both factions.

The MDC split in October 2005, a result of escalating internal tensions
which saw Tsvangirai differ sharply with some of his senior colleagues on
various policy issues, including election participation.

After Tsvangirai lost a vote of his party on boycotting senate elections
that year, he rejected the outcome. Some of his senior colleagues who
favoured taking part in elections - including Gibson Sibanda, Welshman Ncube
and Fletcher Dulini - accused Tsvangirai of being a dictator, and claimed to
have suspended him.

Tsvangirai rejects the charges and has insisted in interviews that his
former colleagues were dissidents, while portraying his faction as the
genuine MDC.

There have been signals of a thawing of relations between the two groups
after they jointly undertook to take part in SADC-brokered talks with the
ruling Zanu PF.

The two groups have been under pressure from their international backers and
some of their domestic supporters who say only a united front can challenge
President Robert Mugabe's fresh bid for office.

Foreign diplomats are known to be nudging the two groups towards forming a
coalition or reaching agreement on outright unity, warning that a failure to
do this will be a surrender to Mugabe.

But the efforts have been hampered by at times intense opposition from
elements within both factions. Observers have also warned that without
corrective measures to some of the issues that led to the split - including
the use of violence and Tsvangirai's alleged unilateralism - such a
coalition will crumble.

Sources in Tsvangirai's group insisted this week that while a coalition
remained a possibility, there was strong feeling within the faction that
they should go it alone.

Said one official: "We have consulted our supporters up and down the
country. The clear verdict is that they oppose reuniting with the other

"The senior leadership however is leaning towards a political solution,
which is the practical step in the face of concerns by some of our
influential international and domestic partners."

Sources revealed talks had reached an advanced stage, and a document had
been prepared by the two sides' legal teams waiting for the signatures of
the two leaders, but Tsvangirai's group balked at the last minute.

Tsvangirai's negotiation team, led by Tendai Biti, had insisted that there
could be no compromise unless Tsvangirai was accepted as the sole candidate
to lead the party in presidential elections next year. Mutambara's group
then made a concession on that point.

The two groups also discussed candidate selection for senate, council and
parliamentary elections, with Mutambara's group insisting on a 50:50
representation. Tsvangirai's group was uncomfortable with this arrangement,
and officials offered a system which allows both factions to hold primaries,
and then select 50 officials each who will vote on the final candidate.

A source privy to the talks said: "It was a strange suggestion by
Tsvangirai's group, and Mutambara's people warned that having 50 officials
each deciding on a candidate was most certainly going to result in a
deadlock, unless someone had bribed officials from the other group.

"It also raised the question whether the two groups wanted to go through a
six-month primary elections exercise with all the attendant problems instead
of campaigning against Zanu PF.

"It was finally decided that where either faction of the MDC has a sitting
elected official, they would be left to contest the next election should
they be selected by their respective faction."

Officials said the remaining seats, which are currently held by Zanu PF or
independents, were divided into three groups: winnable seats, potentially
winnable seats and unwinnable seats. The classifications were based on
parliamentary election results from March 2005.

Said one official: "The first category deals with seats where the MDC lost
but got more than 38 percent of the vote. The second category, which
recognises that if we work hard a seat can be won, relates to seats where we
got 28-38 percent of the vote. Then the final category is where we had less
than 28 percent of the vote, which we consider safe Zanu PF seats.

"Agreement was reached that we would divide those seats equally, making sure
both groups participated in roughly the same number of elections."

In the talks, Mutambara's group also insisted on being given the right to
choose the single vice president.

It had also been agreed that both groups would campaign as a single entity,
to eliminate internal squabbles.

A source revealed: "When agreement had been reached on all those points and
concessions made, the two groups' legal teams were dispatched to draw up a
legal document and within days, they came back with the document ready for

"When the time came for the signing of the agreement, Tsvangirai's people
came back and challenged every concession except the element on Tsvangirai
being leader.

"Tsvangirai's officials said he had come under pressure, particularly from
(his deputy Thokozani) Khupe who refused to step down as vice president to
accommodate someone from Mutambara's group. It was suggested that there be
two vice presidents, but Mutambara's group rejected that."

An official in Mutambara's group said: "It appears Tsvangirai's group wanted
us to concede the vice presidency, concede the presidency and concede to the
illusion that they are the real MDC. The coalition they wanted is one that
de-recognises us, and we told them to go to hell.

"Tsvangirai then gave an interview to the Zimbabwe Independent claiming that
talks were ongoing, but as far as we know, there are no talks. We passed
that stage, there is a document waiting to be signed if they are genuinely
for a coalition, and until then, we are preparing to enter the next
elections separately from the other group."

Sources said the top three officials from both factions will have one final
chance to work out a coalition plan in Ghana in the next few days where they
are set to brief African Union president, John Agyekum Kufuor, on the
situation in Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai, Khupe and Biti will travel with Mutambara, Ncube and Sibanda for
an audience with Kufuor, and officials are saying the opportunity could be
the last chance saloon for the feuding factions to reach a compromise.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Renowned University Slips Into Decay

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Lecturers have left in droves from the University of Zimbabwe, and
facilities are crumbling and overcrowded.

By Ezekiel Ngoni in Harare (AR No. 115, 6-June-07)

Once one of the best educational institutions in Africa, Zimbabwe's top
university is following the downward course once taken by its Ugandan

In the Sixties and Seventies, the University of Makerere in Uganda was
regarded as the premier African university, and the intellectual elite used
to boast that if you hadn't attended Makerere, you hadn't really gone to
university at all.

But under the brutal rule of President Idi Amin, the institution was reduced
to a pale shadow of itself.

Sadly, the same has now happened to the University of Zimbabwe, the oldest
in the country, originally established as a college in the Fifties. At
independence in 1980, it was the country's only university.

A recent tour of the university campus revealed an institution in an
advanced state of decay.

The campus grounds resemble an abandoned industrial site, with dried yellow
grass rising knee-high around the halls of residence. A janitor at Manfred
Hodson Hall said there was no one to cut the grass. Piles of rubbish go
uncollected for days on end, posing a serious health hazard.

The window panes in the main dining hall in the oldest student residential
complex, Manfred Hudson Hall, were shattered in recent student unrest over
poor food, and are unlikely to be replaced any time soon.

Students share overcrowded rooms because there are simply too many of them
on campus. In the five residential complexes, facilities originally designed
as television rooms have been converted into dormitories shared by up to 14
students, some of whom sleep on the floor.

Most of the toilet facilities do not work or are blocked off with iron bars.

The decline of the university has been slow and long. Some date the decline
to an amendment to the 1982 University Act which the authorities pushed
through in 1990, removing much of the institution's autonomy by allowing
government to appoint non-academic staff onto the university council.

Objections from teaching staff were simply overridden, and many left as a
result. It was during this period that Professor Walter Kamba, the
university's first black vice-chancellor, made his now famous complaint that
there were "too many unprofessional fingers" interfering in academic

Interviewed by the Standard newspaper in 2003, Professor Kamba - who died
last month - commented on the institution's collapsing infrastructure due to
lack of funding.

He said the government was building too many universities without proper
planning, and warned that this would reduce the quality of higher education.

"If I were to do anything," he said, "I would set up a commission to look
into the higher education system with a view to establishing what we need,
that we can afford, which will provide us with quality education. Poor
quality education can be very destructive."

Starting with the establishment of the National University of Science and
Technology in Bulawayo in 1994, the government has gone on a
university-building spree. There are now seven state universities across the
country, all at various stages of construction, and their students are
scattered across different locations in the Zimbabwe's major cities and

Most lack adequate facilities on campus, while teaching staff are often
under-qualified or completely uninterested in their work. Many have resigned
because of the poor salaries on offer.

The University of Zimbabwe itself has experienced phenomenal expansion since
independence, with a student population that has has ballooned from just
over 2,200 in 1980 to the current 11,700.

Here, too, the growth in student numbers has been accompanied by a decline
in teaching staff, often as they leave for better jobs abroad.

Professor Levi Nyagura, the current vice-chancellor - President Robert
Mugabe is the chancellor of all state universities - recently told the
parliamentary committee on education that the university was badly
understaffed. Instead of the 1,200 lecturers needed to run course, the
institution had just 627, he said. The faculty of medicine had 124 lecturers
rather than the 296 it needed, and the anatomy department had one lecturer
instead of 25.

Nyagura's diagnosis was grim, "We are now faced with a situation whereby
some departments are nearly non-functional. I do not want to use the word
that they have closed."

Such staffing levels, he said, pose "a major threat to the degree programmes
we offer".

Students complain that they have not had lectures since the current semester
began two months ago because teaching staff have been on strike, demanding
better pay and improved conditions of service.

A recent university council law, Ordinance 30, outlaws demonstrations by
students, and they are afraid even to speak to the media for fear of

Students hang around the campus doing virtually nothing. The young men often
go into town to guard cars - a job traditionally done by street children.
Some female students have been forced into prostitution, or are in long-term
relationships with married men who feed, dress and fund them in return for

Ezekiel Ngoni is an IWPR contributor in Harare.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Too Many Cooks Could Spoil Mediation Process

Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Mediators face dilemma of whether to limit negotiations to the opposing
political parties or to widen the debate to include a clamour of different
interest groups.

By Norman Chitapi in Harare (AR No. 115, 6-June-07)

The Zimbabwe mediation process being steered by the Southern African
Development Community is fraught with dangers, analysts warn. Not only are
the differences between President Robert Mugabe and his opponents close to
irreconcilable, but there is a real possibility that the process could be
derailed because there are simply too many voices trying to be heard.

Following the arrest and beating of opposition leaders and supporters on
March 11 for trying to attend a banned rally, leaders of the Southern
African Development Community, SADC, convened an emergency meeting in
Tanzania at which they are reported to have expressed concern to Mugabe
about rising state-sponsored violence. The SADC then nominated South African
president Thabo Mbeki to take the lead in negotiating a solution to the
political confrontation.

Analysts say that whether Mbeki tries to bring all interest groups into the
negotiations or confines himself to talking to Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, he will encounter

"Mbeki might choose to narrow the discussion to accommodate the two main
political parties," said an analyst in the capital Harare. "This was the
initial projection. What this means is that if the two parties agree on the
minimum conditions for free and fair elections, these could be held as
scheduled in March next year," he said.

The presidential election originally due in 2010 is likely to be brought
forward to coincide with next year's parliamentary ballot.

The two MDC factions have used several meetings with Mbeki to make their
position clear. Their demands include an end to violence, access to
publicly-owned media for the opposition, the right to hold political
rallies, a new constitution, changes to electoral laws, and free and fair
elections under international supervision.

Mbeki has reportedly written to Mugabe, although details of their
communication have not been made public.

The analyst warned that confining the negotiations to the main political
parties would not satisfy all the interest groups lobbying for change in
Zimbabwe. He said such a process was likely to create resentment as it would
be seen as facilitating political change at the top without addressing
fundamental issues that would benefit wider society.

"There are many people who would challenge the legitimacy of a process they
saw as hurried for political expediency, rather than a comprehensive process
leading to complete political, economic and social transformation," he said.

The other option is a fully-fledged process in which Mbeki invites
submissions from all interested parties. In principle, this approach would
be "ideal", the analyst said, but the danger would be that it would take a
lot longer - possibly beyond the point when Mbeki could oversee it.

"This approach is ideal but has two ramifications," the analyst said.
"First, it means that Zimbabweans would have to defer next year's elections
indefinitely while they debate and discuss the transformation they require.
But given that Mbeki's term [as South African president] ends in 2009, he
[could be] the wrong man for the task at hand and could. leave the process
half-done. There is a serious dilemma here."

A foreign diplomat in Harare said Zimbabweans themselves must decide which
route best serves their interests, although prolonging the process could
only make recovery that much harder.

"While Mbeki will need to be tough about what obstacles are placed in his
way and keep his eye constantly on the watch, Zimbabweans must decide what
they want," said the diplomat, who did not want to be named.

Mbeki is expected to submit a preliminary report to the SADC on the progress
he has made before the end of June. "He will have to report progress or
failure. It depends on what Zimbabweans want. This is probably the best
opportunity for the country to resolve its dire crisis," said the diplomat.

But as well as the MDC, opposition-aligned pressure groups are also pressing
for their voices to be heard - and their demands are for a different kind of

Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, a lobby
group that has been calling for a new constitution for years, said recently
that civil society groups must be involved in the dialogue. He said
politicians were obsessed with political power and not with fundamental
transformation, and could not be trusted to negotiate fairly.

His comments suggest that non-government groups which hitherto appeared to
speak with one voice with the MDC are now pursuing a different agenda.

In other remarks - this time speaking on behalf of the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign, SZC, a coalition of some 30 disparate groups ranging from students
and labour groups to churches and political parties - Madhuku said the SZC
grouping had drawn up a position paper which its members wanted Mbeki to
consider before any serious dialogue went ahead.

Another umbrella group, the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organisations, also said it was consulting stakeholders so that it could
come up with its own position paper to submit to Mbeki. It said there were
many important issues to be discussed - such as corruption, HIV/AIDS and
unemployment - that had a directly impact on the lives of ordinary voters,
but did not affect politicians.

There is a risk that too many competing agendas could be to the Mugabe
administration's advantage.

"Let's hope all the people now wanting to get involved in the dialogue know
what they are doing," commented a journalist working for an independent
newspaper. "Only recently, people were complaining that Mugabe was afraid to
face the electorate. But their demands might just work in ZANU-PF's favour
if they agree to postpone the election. Whether Mugabe is sincere or not
about negotiations, he would welcome [a delay] so long as he is not
personally accused of stalling the process," he said.

Mugabe has said he is not interested in a new constitution, since he blames
the opposition for the public's rejection of a revised document that he put
to voters in a February 2000 referendum.

The journalist said an all-inclusive process like the Convention for a
Democratic South Africa, Codesa, which led to the first post-apartheid
elections in South Africa in 1994, could not be achieved in the period
remaining until March 2008. But he warned that taking too many shortcuts
would only store up bigger problems for the future.

Norman Chitapi is the pseudonym of a journalist in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC/Zanu PF mediation talks postponed

The Zimbabwean

By Violet Gonda

The Mbeki-led initiative hit a snag this past weekend after a meeting
between Zimbabwe's political parties failed to take off. Some sources
within the opposition movement confirmed that Zanu PF requested a
but declined to comment further.

MDC Secretary Generals Professor Welshman
Ncube and Tendai Biti had been expected to sit at the negotiating table in
South Africa with Zanu PF Ministers Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche.

South Africa based political analyst Brian Raftopoulos said not much is
getting out about the nature of the talks and it has been unclear as to why
meeting was postponed. There has been a strict media blackout and the
political parties are keeping a tight lid on the discussions.

This has led civic groups to insist on their inclusion in the talks. This
resulted in MDC and civic officials meeting in Pretoria this past week to
how they can inform each other about the talks and how the civic society
can make an input.

Meanwhile the MDC, which was severely weakened by a
split in October 2005, has been holding discussions on the issue of unity
election conditions. Sources said that last week the MDC held a
roundtable meeting in South Africa, but that also hit a snag on the matter
formalizing the issue of unity. Raftopoulos said the opposition is
going to face many challenges ahead and there are going to be issues that
groups and opposition may disagree on.

"There are huge problems ahead.

I think Mugabe feels that he is going into these negotiations to appease
his SADC colleagues but clearly it's going to be very difficult to proceed
along the issue of talks. I think at the moment the problem is alternatives
to these talks are not clear. It's not clear what either the opposition or
the civics would do apart from the talks."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NRZ trains grounded as engineers press for money money

The Zimbabwean

From Natasha Hove in BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe
Bulawayo & Matabeleland north bureau chief
CAJ News Agency

NATIONAL Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ)'s two commuter trains were grounded this
morning (Wednesday) amid reports that enginemen and security officers, who
are on a go slow over low salaries refused to run the trains demanding
audience with management.

Thousands of people, mostly school children and factory workers were forced
to walk over 10 km to the city center and the industrial areas after the
trains failed to turn at the usual times.

The two trains service the Emgwanwini and Luveve routes, which cater for
most of the high density suburbs in Bulawayo. Of late commuters have
resorted to using the trains because they are relatively cheap compared to
commuter omnibuses.

Trains charge $1000 for distances of up to about 10 km, while fares for
commuter omnibuses are pegged at $15 000 for a similar trip. This has led to
overcrowding on the inner city trains with reports that two women were
seriously injured, while trying to board trains which were already full last

An NRZ engineman said workers refused to operate the trains demanding
assurances from management that they will be given a salary increment of 750
percent backdated to January.  He said salaries of $250 000 a month for the
lowest paid worker had become unsustainable.

"We have been on a go slow since 1 May and management has not shown any
willingness to look into our grievances," said the employee who requested
anonymity. "The workers had no choice but to take this drastic action."

But NRZ public relations manager, Fanuel Masikati dismissed reports that the
go slow forced the suspension of the trains, blaming it "on a technical
fault that has since been rectified."

The Zimbabwe Railway Workers Union (ZWRU) deputy secretary, Washington
Chitima confirmed that workers and management were locked in a wage dispute
but refused to comment further.

NRZ says it plans to move 3, 3 million intercity passengers and 11,8 million
city commuters this year.

But critics argue the targets are too ambitious following years of
shortcomings in the shipping of coal, minerals, tobacco, maize, sugar and
cotton due to operational constraints- CAJ News.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA hotbed of human trafficking

Mail and Guardian

Rebecca Wynn: COMMENT

05 June 2007 11:59

      Across Southern Africa today men, women and children are being
deceived. Struggling to survive in situations of destitution, they are
promised jobs that seem to offer life-lines, but merely mark the beginning
of their exploitation. These people are victims of one of the most chilling
aspects of contemporary migration -- human trafficking.

      For 15-year-old Faith, the impact was devastating. Struggling to
make ends meet in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, she was approached by a man offering
waitressing at a Johannesburg restaurant. But the promise was false. There
was no restaurant job. Once in Johannesburg, Faith was beaten, abused,
locked in a Hillbrow flat and forced into prostitution to earn profits for
her traffickers.

       Globally, human trafficking is considered the third-largest
source of profits for organised crime with only small-weapons trafficking
and drug smuggling more lucrative. It is estimated that up to one million
people are trafficked across borders annually, with many more trafficked
internally in their own countries.

      Human trafficking is the process of recruitment and
transportation of people by means of deception or force for the purpose of
exploitation. This exploitation most commonly involves forced prostitution,
but victims are also trafficked for bonded labour and domestic servitude.
Victims can be men, women or children.

      Having conducted research on trafficking issues in the region
since 2003, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Southern
African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme has found human trafficking
is thriving in Southern Africa, with South Africa and its expanding sex
industry the main regional destination. Research also reveals that victims
are trafficked from SADC states into South Africa, as well as from South
East Asia and Eastern Europe. IOM has also helped victims trafficked to
South Africa and assisted South Africans who have been trafficked abroad,
for example into forced domestic labour in Ireland and the Middle-East.

      Globally government action on trafficking is centred on the
United Nation's protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in
persons, and the majority of governments in the region have ratified this
instrument. This has committed governments to criminalising human
trafficking and developing legislation against it.

       However, translating a willingness to stamp out trafficking into
effective legislation is not an easy task. To assist with this, IOM brought
government officials from 13 Southern African countries, as well as Comoros
and Seychelles, together in Gaborone, Botswana, as a part of its Migration
Dialogue for Southern Africa process this week. The aim is to galvanise the
counter-trafficking efforts of governments and to provide them with a forum
in which to share ideas and experiences on the development of effective
anti-trafficking legislation.

      It is crucial that trafficking is criminalised across the
Southern Africa region to ensure that traffickers are properly prosecuted
and victims adequately protected. There are existing legal measures that can
be used to prosecute traffickers, but are not sufficient to adequately
punish or deter traffickers or protect victims effectively. Currently
traffickers can be charged for criminal acts that happen as a part of the
trafficking process, but not for trafficking itself.

      Crimes such as kidnapping, abduction, rape and bringing people
into the country without proper documentation, often occur as a part of the
trafficking process and traffickers can be tried for these offences. However
this is a blunt instrument. These acts do not necessarily have to occur for
trafficking to take place. For example, trafficked Thai women arriving at OR
Tambo International Airport often have all the correct documentation needed
for entry to South Africa and are more commonly lured by false promises than
taken by force. Defining trafficking in law as recruiting and transporting
people by means of deception or force for the purpose of exploiting them,
means that these women's traffickers will not escape prosecution.

      Comprehensive trafficking legislation would also secure victims
of trafficking more protection. Ironically under today's legal framework it
is the trafficked victims who are being treated like criminals. A victim of
trafficking can be arrested and prosecuted for offences committed as a
direct result of him/her being trafficked.

      A victim who has entered the country without documentation can
be charged under the Immigration Act and a woman who has been forced into
prostitution by her trafficker can presently be prosecuted for prostitution.
A law that recognises trafficked persons as victims of a severe human rights
abuse would change that. It would also prevent the summary deportation of
trafficked victims back to the circumstances that made them vulnerable to
trafficking in the first place. Under a comprehensive trafficking law,
safeguards would need to be introduced to protect and rehabilitate the
victim both in her destination and home country.

      Human trafficking thrives, in part, because it offers human
traffickers high profits with relatively low risks. Anti-trafficking
legislation will help change this opportunity structure as it will add to
the arsenal that law enforcement in the region can use to prosecute
traffickers. It is crucial that countries in the region coordinate as they
develop trafficking legislation. Trafficking by its very nature often
involves the transport of victims across borders, so sharing experience and
ideas across the region will ensure that all countries have harmonised
legislation and are equally able to prevent human trafficking, assist the
victims and prosecute human traffickers

       Readers can call IOM's Human Trafficking Helpline -- 0800 555
999 -- for information and assistance on combating trafficking.

      Rebecca Wynn works for IOM's Southern African
Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Blind and handicapped fleeing Zimbabwe for SA

The Zimbabwean

From Sydney Saize in MUTARE, Zimbabwe
Manicaland Bureau Chief
CAJ News Agency

MUTARE - THOUSANDS of blind and other handicapped people with their families
are illegally staying in neighbouring South Africa after running away from
the ever deepening economic situation in Zimbabwe, a member of the Aruna
Mission Fellowship a non-governmental organization which assists the
physically challenged revealed recently.

Peter Kamutepfa of Aruna Mission Fellowship says many of their members had
lost lives by illegally entering South Africa through illegal ports of
entries such as through the Limpopo River. He said this recently while
contributing during a national congress gathering organised by the Centre
for Peace Initiatives in Africa, CPIA on how the economic meltdown had
impacted on needy groups.

"More than 1 000 families are in South Africa living there illegally. Some
are in Johannesburg and some in Pretoria and Messina.
"Their contributing standards are deplorable as many families share a room
destroying privacy among the adults and their children. All this has been
because of the economic problems they faced at home.

He said the desire for greener pastures in begging had led some of them to
lose lives as they were swept away by the flooded Limpopo or beaten by the

"We have had reports of some having been mauled to death by lions while
sneaking into that country," he said.

He said many of the illegal immigrants in South Africa who are their members
find it difficult to acquire passports and proper documents of traveling
owing to poverty.

Kamutepfa said donor fatigue among the organizations and individuals led
some of their members to leave streets of Zimbabwe's small towns and major
cities for countries like Botswana and South Africa.

He appealed for organizations that assists the disabled, the blind among
other minority groups to deal with real affected people and be honest in
their dealings as some organizations that purported to assist their members
are bogus.

He said those that had left the country were exposing their children to
prostitution as the situation is not as rosy in South Africa as many

"Some of their children have had early pregnancies and some are now sick
with HIV/AIDS; while the number of orphans has gone up.
Officials with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare were reluctant to
shed light on the number of needy people they are supporting.

But it is estimated that at least 40 000 needy people are at the mercy of
hunger in Manicaland province which has much of its populace in dry areas
that fall in natural regions four and five.

Poor rainfalls coupled with the deteriorating living standards in Zimbabwe
as a result of a poorly performing economy has rendered the physically
challenged at a more precarious position in society than any other human in
the Southern African country- CAJ News.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

University strips Mugabe of honorary degree

International Herald Tribune

The Associated PressPublished: June 6, 2007

EDINBURGH, Scotland: Edinburgh University stripped Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe on Wednesday of his honorary degree after reviewing evidence
of a tribal massacre soon after he took power.

The decision by the university's Senate comes after years of campaigning by
students and Scottish lawmakers.

Three senior professors recommended that the degree be revoked after
reviewing evidence about Zimbabwe in the early 1980s, including the massacre
of at least 20,000 people in Matabeleland, which the university says was not
available when the degree was conferred.

The Zimbabwe army's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade are accused of
slaughtering the civilians, who were accused of harboring rebels of the
minority Ndebele tribe loyal to former opposition leader Joshua Nkomo.

Most Fifth Brigade soldiers were of Mugabe's majority Shona tribe.

"The university has been acutely aware of ongoing developments in Zimbabwe,"
a spokesman for the university said while speaking on condition of anonymity
in line with the institution's policy. He described the move as
Mugabe, 83, will be told of the decision in writing and be requested to
return the certificate he received for "services to education in Africa" in

"When he was given this degree, the West thought he was a saint, but all the
time his people knew he was a monster, a tyrant and a killer," said Jaison
Matewu, organizing secretary for the United Kingdom branch of the Movement
for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe's opposition party.

Prime Minister Tony Blair told the House of Commons earlier in that day that
he "fully endorsed" the decision to revoke the degree.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cricket Australia To Act As A 'Saviour' Of Zimbabwe Cricket

Submitted by Rohit Bhandiye on Wed, 2007-06-06 08:12.
The condition of cricket in Zimbabwe might have detoriated under Robert
Mugabe's regime, but young and aspiring cricketers of the country have
nothing to worry about, as the Australian Cricket Board is planning to
invite them to their cricket academies to hone their skills.

'The Herald Sun' quoted Cricket Australia (CA) chief executive James
Sutherland as saying that CA had full sympathy for the troubled African
nation 'in a cricket sense'.

"There might be ways we can help and do something for them. Inviting young
cricketers to spend time at our Centre of Excellence, perhaps," Sutherland

Sutherland's statement came after the Australia government last month
cancelled their national team's Zimbabwe tour in September.

Sutherland said after the cancellation of the tour, CA had been 'put in a
really difficult position regarding public sentiment and our conscience' as
the tour became such a political issue.

If CA does what it preaches then it would be a blessing in disguise for the
turbulent Zimbabwean Cricket that is already reeling under a Test ban from
the ICC until a large-scale improvement in their standards to maintain the
integrity of the game.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

DA takes govt to task for 'ignoring' Zim debate


June 06, 2007, 21:15

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has questioned why Parliament finds time to
debate the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, when it has not found time to
debate the Zimbabwe situation. Douglas Gibson, a DA MP, says South Africa's
ability to influence on the Middle East is very small.

Parliament today debated a motion calling for Israel's immediate withdrawal
from the Palestinian territories and other measures. Ronnie Kasrils, the
intelligence minister, condemned Israel as a military and aggressive state.

Pieter Mulder, the Freedom Front Plus leader, says South Africa needs to
take a different approach. "We can help the Palestinian cause by a balanced
and wise position on the Middle East conflict. The motion in this House is a
one-sided propaganda motion. One-sidedness is good for propaganda and
mobilising people but it is very bad for international credibility and if
you really want real solutions," said Mulder.

'Double standards'
The African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) took a similar position to the
DA on Zimbabwe and Israel.

"The ANC that called for this debate has never called for a debate on the
atrocities committed by the Zimbabwean government against their own people.
They choose to use quiet diplomacy when dealing with Zimbabwe but
condemnation when dealing with Israel. How can they justify their double
standards and hypocrisy?" said Kenneth Meshoe, the ACDP president.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UK Parliament - House of Lords - 5 June 2007

The Zimbabwean

UK Parliament

House of Lords

Tuesday, 5 June 2007


Lord Blaker asked Her Majesty's Government:
What conclusions were reached about Zimbabwe at the Prime Minister's meeting
with President Mbeki of South Africa on 1 June.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Lord Triesman): My Lords, the Prime Minister and president agreed that the
states in the region had a key role in finding a solution to the crisis in
Zimbabwe. The Prime Minister expressed his concern at the situation and
reiterated the Government's support for SADC initiatives and President Mbeki's
leading role. President Mbeki described the progress of his mediation
between the MDC and ZANU-PF. The Prime Minister stressed that Zimbabwe's
crisis was one of internal governance and that the United Kingdom remained
committed to help, together with international partners, in the
stabilisation and economic recovery of a reformed Zimbabwe.

Lord Blaker: My Lords, is not Africa one of the two main subjects for
discussion at the G8 conference, which begins tomorrow, and do not those
attending include representative strong leaders from other African
countries, who recognise that the Zimbabwe disaster is bad for the whole of
Africa and who need our support? Also, has not the German Chancellor said
that the policies of Mugabe are not acceptable and called on African
countries to use their influence for the good of Zimbabwe's people? Is not
the G8 better positioned to use its influence for the good of the people of
Zimbabwe than almost any other organisation one can think of? Could this not
give President Mbeki a great opportunity at last, if backed by the G8, to
show that he is capable of decisive action?

Lord Triesman: My Lords, the facts relating to the statements of the German
Chancellor and the potential statement of the G8 are absolutely accurate. I
hope that President Mbeki will listen to the points that are made with
proper and due attention. He says that he is trying to find a means by which
the contending parties, including the opposition, can move forward, and that
is part of his mission, but he will be in no doubt about the opinion of this
country, the European Union or, as I believe we will see in the statement,
the G8.

Lord Kinnock: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that President Mbeki's
current mediation efforts are the fifth such initiative since 2000 and that
none has so far managed to shift Mugabe or to provide protection for civil
rights in Zimbabwe or for those who work peacefully to secure democracy in
that country? Will Her Majesty's Government join President Kufuor and
President Kikwete, both African presidents, in recognising that Mugabe
treats such quiet diplomacy with contempt and that more direct African
pressures are required? As the machinery of state terror is about the only
thing that now works in Zimbabwe, does my noble friend agree that those who
seek refuge from that repression by coming to this country should not be
returned to Mugabe's Zimbabwe when they are bona fide opponents of that
regime, even when the current litigation is concluded?

Lord Triesman: My Lords, no one can doubt that we are aligned with what
President Kufuor and others, including President Kikwete, have said. Indeed,
we have gone way beyond anything that they have said. In Africa, we have
been widely accused of having engaged in what people have called "noisy
diplomacy", by which I think they mean that we have been outspoken. I see
nothing at all wrong in having been outspoken. It is certainly true, as my
noble friend Lady Scotland said, that no one is being returned to Zimbabwe
at the moment. Those who are entitled to make proper claims for asylum
should have their claims treated in exactly the same way as this country
historically has always treated claims for asylum, and they should not be
subjected to any further peril.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, did the Prime Minister discuss with President Mbeki
the vote by the Pan-African Parliament- by a majority of 149 to 20-to send a
fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe? Notwithstanding the fact that that was
rejected contemptuously by the Foreign Minister of Zimbabwe, do the Prime
Minister and the Government think that President Mbeki and the other leaders
of SADC could make a significant move forward if they pressed the ZANU-PF
regime to accept that mission?

Lord Triesman: My Lords, as regards any kind of delegation going to
Zimbabwe, it is hard to know what would impress Mugabe. The Prime Minister
was completely clear in what he said in South Africa and in his meeting with
President Mbeki. He said:

"African governments should also hold other African governments to account.
In Zimbabwe, decades of repression have forced up to one third of the
country to flee".

I shall not read further from the quote; it deals with life expectancy and
the tragedies and crimes that we know have been committed in that country.
No one is in any doubt about the United Kingdom's position or the overall
position of the EU. President Mbeki understands that perfectly.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition to launch protest music CD

By Lance Guma
06 June 2007.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition in South Africa will this Friday launch
protest music CD's by Zimbabwean artists living in that country. Dubbed the
'Isivumelwano-Tiripachirangano' CD launch, the project brought together
Durban based Timothy Rukombo and his band plus another group called Abanqobi
Bomhlaba. According to Nixon Nyikadzino a press officer in the Coalition, 2
albums will be launched and all of them are aimed at encouraging people in
the diaspora to take an active part in political activism. Nyikadzino said
the albums would also be used to encourage activists based in Zimbabwe to
soldier on in the struggle just like what used to happen during the
liberation war.

Explaining the title of the first album he said 'Tiripachirangano-
Isivumelwano was the title of a touching song that Zimbabwean activists who
were tortured after the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer rally were singing
when they were being led to court. The other album is titled 'Varovereyi'.
He says the protest music CD's will be instrumental in sending a message to
Mugabe's regime that those fighting for change will not give up and will
keep plugging away. He says as the Crisis Coalition they will use their
regional civic society networks to distribute the CD's. They will also rely
on private and independent radio stations broadcasting to Zimbabwe to get
airplay for the protest music.

Several community radio stations operating in the Limpopo area will also get
the CD's as thousands of Zimbabweans are said to be living there. At the
launch on Friday, Nyikadzino says they will distribute copies of the CD's to
the various media who will be in attendance and also ensure Zimbabweans
present will get copies. Asked if they could distribute the CD's in Zimbabwe
given the level of repression, he said this type of music was very popular
despite the fact that state broadcaster ZBC banned such songs on their radio

NB: This week on Behind the Headlines, Lance Guma speaks Bongani Nxumalo a
protest musician based in South Africa who took part in the Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition music project.

SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Stand up for your rights, lawyers tell Zim judges

 6th Jun 2007 23:59 GMT

By Patrick Chikwande

HARARE - Human rights lawyers have challenged the judiciary to stand up
against the executive following a spate of attacks on lawyers and the non
enforcement of court rulings by those in authority.

Speaking at the New Zimbabwe Lecture Series, under the theme "Judiciary in
troubled times" Advocate Eric Matinenga accused judges of compromising their
independence in making their rulings.

"Judges in the main have compromised their independence.It is up to the
judges to show the public that they have not been compromised and to tell
the executive in appropriate manner that that their rulings should be
enforced," said Matinenga.

Matinega said judges would receive support from the members of the public if
they stood up against the
executive on issues of independence and the need of their rulings to be

Law Society of Zimbabwe president, Beatrice Mtetwa said the bench is largely
comprised of ruling party
functionaries adding that human rights lawyers will continue to go to court
to set the record even if rulings sometimes are compromised.

"Lawyers should continue to go to court even if the judges are compromised
for it sets the the record," Mtetwa said.

There human rights lawyers were this year assaulted by law enforcement
agents for representing opposition
supporters and individuals viewed as enemies of the state.

Lawyers have been denied access to their detained clients, court orders have
been ignored and it has proved dangerous for human rights lawyers to
approach police stations on their own for fear of being attacked.

Zimbabwe's judiciary has been heavily undermined by the executive in the
past. On November 21 in 2000 war veterans invaded the Supreme Court saying
they were not happy with the way it was handling political cases involving

The late war veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi threatened the judiciary in
Parliament but the government did not do anything to deter him and his

"We are not afraid of the High Court, their days are numbered. We are
telling them what the comrades want," Hunzvi said then.

Several High Court judges resigned at the height of the government-sponsored
land invasions following threats by ministers and war veterans.

The New Zimbabwe Lecture Series is the brain child of the Arthur Mutambara
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction.

The MDC said its vision is to see a democratic free new Zimbabwe.

Retired Supreme Court judge Smith was expected to make a presentation at the
lecture series but failed to turn up.

Patrick Chikwande is a pseudonym of Zimbabwean journalist.

Back to the Top
Back to Index