|YOUTH militia to keep out opposition from rural areas|
By Farisai Gonye
HARARE -- President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party is setting up vigilante groups of militant youths to spearhead its campaign in rural areas and turn villages and farms into no-go areas for the opposition ahead of elections next year, sources told ZimOnline.
They said teams of senior ZANU PF leaders and officials of Mugabe’s government have since last week visited rural areas, meeting traditional chiefs, provincial military and police commanders and youth leaders to mobilise them to back the plan to fortify districts against the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
Graduates of the government’s controversial youth training programme -- that is blamed by churches and human rights groups of brainwashing innocent youths into violent ZANU PF zealots – will head groups of local youths tasked to keep the MDC out of the neighbourhood, in a campaign that as in past elections is likely to be bloody and violent, the sources said.
“The youths are being promised cash and jobs once the government wins the polls,” said a source, who is a senior official of the ruling party and agreed to speak on condition his name was not published.
ZANU PF political commissar Elliot Manyika, who according to sources is coordinating deployment of youths in rural areas, confirmed the setting up of youth vigilante groups in villages. However, he said the party was only mobilising youths so they could defend villagers from “violence we anticipate from the MDC.”
Manyika said: "People are more vulnerable in the rural areas and our youths will be ready to defend them from MDC terrorists. They have to be organised to be able to withstand the violence we anticipate from the MDC.
"The MDC has already been waging a war against the government and the people in urban areas using petrol bombs. We have information that they want to take this violent campaign to the rural areas. They will find us waiting."
The ZANU PF commissar was referring to a spate of petrol bomb attacks on police stations last March that the government says was carried out by the MDC and for which scores of the opposition party’s activists were arrested.
The MDC denies bombing police stations, which it says was the work of state agents in a bid to justify a crackdown on the resurgent party.
Zimbabwe holds local government, presidential and parliamentary elections next year that analysts some analysts say Mugabe and ZANU PF could lose, saying a biting economic crisis marked by inflation of more than 3 700 percent, rising poverty, and shortages of basic commodities could push the electorate to vote for the opposition en masse.
ZimOnline reported last April that the government was setting up a 15 000-member youth militia to spearhead its campaign in next year’s polls, especially in rural areas where it draws most of its support.
Young militiamen and women trained under a national youth programme, together with war veterans, form the centerpiece of the government’s campaign strategy, unleashing violence and terror against the opposition to win it victory in every major election since 2000. -- ZimOnline
Thursday 07 June 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - At least 180 mostly senior government officials, war veterans and
state security agents have abandoned sugar plots they grabbed from former
white farmers in the country's sugar growing Chiredzi district.
Zimbabwe Sugar Association chairman Daniel Nsingo told ZimOnline the new
black farmers deserted after failing to run them and incurring huge debts.
About 500 black farmers hurriedly occupied sugarcane plots in Chiredzi at
the height of government farm seizures in 2001 and had struck a deal with
private firms Triangle Limited and Hippo Valley Estates under which the
companies would provide labour and inputs for the farmers.
The companies -- that are the two sugar milling giants in the country and
have seen production slumping since farm invasions - would recover their
money from cane delivered by farmers under the agreement.
Nsingo said: "Some new farmers failed to get a single cent as Hippo Valley
and Triangle deducted their monies from the cane delivered.
"Some farmers ended up owing the two companies various amounts of money and
about 180 have since abandoned their plots because they have failed to run
More farmers were feared could also desert their plots, according to Nsingo.
President Robert Mugabe's government has since 2000 seized land form white
commercial farmers to give to black under a controversial redistribution
programme it says is meant to right a colonial and racial land tenure system
that reserved all the best land for whites.
But the southern African nation that was a regional breadbasket before farm
seizures has had to rely on food imports and handouts from international
relief agencies mainly due to failure by new black farmers to maintain
production on former white farms.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme
(WFP) on Tuesday said more than a third of the 12 million Zimbabweans will
face serious food shortages by early next year due to crop failure and an
acute economic crisis gripping the country.
Poor performance in the mainstay agricultural sector has also had far
reaching consequences as hundreds of thousands have lost jobs while the
manufacturing sector, starved of inputs from the sector, is operating below
30 percent capacity. ZimOnline
By Thomas Chiripasi, Jonga Kandemiiri and Fazila Mahomed
06 June 2007
In the latest installment of a long-running legal saga involving 31
opposition officials, supporters and staff held for many weeks on charges
they organized a firebombings in March, a Zimbabwe high court judge ruled
Wednesday that a magistrate's court must dispose of the case before the
upper court can consider bail applications.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum Chairman Noel Kututwa said the
continued detention of the activists violated their rights. He said the case
has been moved from one court to another without trial dates being set.
Kututwa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the activists have been treated
as if they were already convicted, though at this point they are only
Elsewhere, legal experts said in a public forum Tuesday that Zimbabwean
courts, judges and lawyers face increased pressure from the government and
police with ministers intervening in proceedings and police routinely
defying court orders.
Correspondent Fazila Mahomed reported from Harare.
The renewed land grab campaign by the embattled Zanu (PF) regime is being
used as a cover to kill some of the nation's rarest species, wildlife
reserve wardens and environmentalists said this week.
"The occupation of hundreds of farms and ranches and the fact that the
police are doing little to uphold the law in the last months have led to an
alarming increase in poaching," an official running a conservancy in the
Save Valley, in south eastern Zimbabwe told The Zimbabwean in a telephone
He said he was still in shock after discovering a black rhinoceros caught in
a snare last week, leaving the rare animal seriously injured. Threatened
black rhinos were brought there in a bid to preserve and boost the numbers
of the species. But on Mukwasi ranch, one of the many that make up the Save
preserve, 700 snares were discovered in one month and 45 animals were found
dead or seriously injured. Mukwasi is one of the 1,600 farms that have been
invaded by so-called war vets.
The police have failed to stop the violence and at times have condoned it.
Africa's black rhinos are among the most endangered large mammals on earth.
Only 700 roam Zimbabwe's parks and reserves.
The CFU, which represents farmers on Zimbabwe's remaining 600 white-owned
farms, reports that animals are killed almost every day on the occupied
Nurses and junior doctors have vowed to continue with their industrial
action pressing for salary increases, as many die because of the
fast-crumbling health delivery system. Health minister, David Parirenyatwa
said the situation at government hospitals was "getting increasingly
worrisome" as hundreds of people die for want professional attention and
Members of the nurses and junior doctors associations told The Zimbabwean
they wouldn't be moved by threats to dismiss them. "We are demanding nothing
but salary increases that are in line with the cost of living," a junior
doctor said. "If someone believes they can bring us back to work through
intimidation, then good luck to them. We want salaries of at least Z$20
million with immediate effect."
Nurses are demanding a minimum of Z$15 million as a starting salary,
compared to less than $1 million currently on the table. "Most of us are
simply waiting for the opportunity to leave the country and are even
prepared to go and do menial jobs in other countries rather than continue
with this circus," said one nurse.
The health delivery system heads for a real catastrophe with reports that
Parirenyatwa's ministry is currently doing an audit at government hospitals
to determine the extent of the mass exodus of health personnel. reports
suggest that about 40 percent of doctors and nurses, in an already
understaffed fraternity, have left between November last year and last
A visit to major hospitals in Harare revealed that most departments have
been closed except outpatients and casualty departments, which are manned by
skeleton staff. The busiest of all are the mortuaries.
The situation is exacerbated by the permanent, acute shortage of drugs, for
which foreign currency is required.
At their second press conference in London last week three members of the
self-proclaimed Zimbabwean government in exile said they were confident that
Robert Mugabe would eventually be removed by an army mutiny.
Such was the parlous state of the economy they claimed that soldiers from
the rank of captain down were now deserting the military in droves and
taking their weapons with them. They had not been paid for months so could
no longer afford to remain in service.
The ZGE said it would also call on Zimbabweans in exile in neighbouring
countries to help bring about Mugabe's overthrow. Wait for November, they
said. But there would be no terrorism, they reiterated.
The elections called for 2008 were a sham and should be boycotted by
opposition parties - the MDC was merely helping to shore up Zanu (PF)'s
image as a democratic party - its leadership should leave the country now.
The ZGE said it had no faith in President Mbeki as a mediator. He was out of
touch with the real situation on the ground in Zimbabwe and was merely
anxious to shore up South Africa's international image ahead of the 2010
On its website www.zimgovernment.com, the ZGE has posted its plans for its
projected government's basic structure, but no indication how this would be
Arthur Molife, the head of the ZGE, says his interim government will have a
life-span lasting only up to the end of the set transitional period. This
is due to start from the end of Mugabe's reign to the first democratic, free
and fair parliamentary elections for all the people of a New Zimbabwe,
probably 18 to 30 months to the early part of 2010. - Special correspondent
The Zimbabwean government's national youth militia apologetic to president
Robert Mugabe (83) have been spotted crossing the South African border post
through unauthorized entry points as they escape the economic crisis that
has left them virtual beggars, dependent on goods impounded from informal
Over 3,000 trained militias are believed to have resigned. Political
commentator Joshua Rusere said most of them had been intercepted by
commercial farmers in the Messina-Tshipise area and stood a high chance of
getting farm worker permits.
Militia members are used as Muagabe's private army and election campaigners,
ordered to threaten, assault and kill members of civic society and the
opposition. There were promised training as nurses and teachers colleges if
they went through the national youth militia training. But these never
The ministry of youth, gender and employment creation has distanced itself
from those who desert the youth camps, branding them traitors and sell-outs.
A request for comment from Zanu (PF)'s spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira was met
with a demand to put the questions in writing and submit with a copy of
accreditation and work address.
The African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) and their Young Communist
League(YCL) have defied the South African government's so-called "quiet
diplomacy" and vowed to support their Zimbabwean counterparts who are being
brutalised by the ruling Zanu (PF).
At a press conference at the ANC HQ on Friday attended by leaders of the two
parties, President Fikile Mbalula (ANCYL), national secretary Buti Manamela
and national spokesperson Castro Ngobese of YCL, SA youths argued that
their country should play a major role in bringing change in Zimbabwe.
"We are disturbed about what is happening in Zimbabwe. We are concerned
about Zanu (PF), which liberated people and now oppressing, unleashing
violence against them. We want democracy to prevail in Zimbabwe," said
The Progressive Young Alliance called for an immediate abolishment of trade,
saying poor people were not benefiting from the business.
"They are still trading with us on luxury and military goods. They must stop
because that relationship only benefits the elite connected to Mugabe," he
Ngobese also said now was the time for SA to tap into the knowledge and
education of highly educated Zimbabwean professionals, instead of vilifying
Echoing the same sentiments was the president of the African National
Congress Youth League (ANCYL), Fikile Mbalula, who said SA should adopt the
Zimbabwean educational policy to improve its deteriorating standard of
Over 70 percent of South African scholars/pupils failed matric last year.
With elections less than 10 months away, the Mugabe regime is once again
preparing to use food as its ultimate election weapon - along with various
other rigging mechanisms.
With the agricultural industry having been virtually destroyed by the
chaotic and corrupt land grab and massive unemployment of about 80%, the
majority of Zimbabweans cannot feed themselves.
The cost of even the basic staple, mealie meal, is beyond the reach of all
but a small percentage. A poor rainy season in the southern half of the
country, together with widespread shortages of maize and fertilizer, has
exacerbated the situation.
Nobody loves Zanu (PF) any more. The party survives only through a patronage
system. As widespread corruption and economic mismanagement take their toll
on the once-vibrant and diversified economy, the cake shrinks smaller and
smaller. There is less and less space at the feeding trough for party
But still elaborate plans are made and precious foreign currency expended to
secure food stocks to be used to bribe rural communities in particular to
vote for Zanu (PF).
The international community has signalled on many occasions its willingness
to help the suffering people of Zimbabwe. This is their chance.
The Mugabe regime must not be allowed to use food for votes. The majority of
Zimbabweans are under-nourished, many are sick. They are therefore extremely
vulnerable to this brutal tactic, which has been used so effectively in the
past by Zanu (PF).
The bottom line is that the international community can and must provide
food aid to these people - without allowing it go through the official
Admittedly this poses something of a challenge - but it is not
Churches and civic groups are still operative and active throughout the
country. They are the best-placed to handle food distribution fairly. Of
course, the regime will resist this with anti-west rhetoric, bureaucratic
red-tape and many other obstacles.
The international community must not take no for an answer. Pressure must be
brought to bear on SADC leaders to force Mugabe to allow independent food
distribution. This is a moral issue.
An entire nation cannot be held to ransom by one man any longer. Children
must not be starved, their growth stunted, their health compromised for a
lifetime, because of a tyrant's political whims.
We expect churches, in particular, to speak out on this with one voice, with
a very loud voice.
Zimbabwe's embattled President Robert Mugabe reportedly admitted to the
inner circle of his ruling Zanu (PF) party officials that his support base
is drastically waning in urban areas and could lose the 2008 vote.
The veteran Zimbabwean ruler told his lieutenants that the MDC had
capitalised on the country's economic crisis to win considerable support in
"Let us not fool ourselves. We are facing a challenge from the MDC in the
urban constituencies, especially here in Harare," Mugabe reportedly told his
Politburo at its last meeting called to strategize for the 2008 harmonised
The veteran ruler will this month embark on "Meet The People Star Rallies."
Mugabe said government will win re-election by re-introducing price controls
to cushion people from the rising cost of living, which he blames on
profiteering, by manufacturers and retailers.
He also promised a re-invigorated crackdown on top-level corruption in
government in which several senior officials have been implicated in scams
involving billions of dollars.
"This is rubbish," said a seasoned political observer. "Mugabe has always
stopped the police from investigating corruption among his senior
lieutenants and is still sitting on a number of reports giving full details
of the corruption in high places. This will not change. It is time the
electorate started comparing what he says with what he does. The two bear no
resemblance to each other whatsoever."
Police have once again cancelled opposition MDC rallies in the Zaka East
constituency ahead of the by-election to be held on 9 June.
Officer commanding police Masvingo East District, Chief Superintendent L.
Matapura wrote a letter on 31 May to Misheck Marava the MDC organising
secretary for Masvingo province advising him that their applications have
"I regret to advise you that your applications have been revoked and
cancelled due to a lot of circumstances we are in, in preparation for the
by-election to be held on 9 June 2007," wrote Matapura.
Marava said the MDC was shocked by the sudden change of mind on the part of
the polie because they had already peacefully held one of the rallies at
Chinorumba township on May 30.
"We had planned two other rallies for the weekend, one at Mutimwi school on
Saturday and another at Chibwe Township on Sunday. The police are busy right
now telling people not to attend our rallies because they are illegal," said
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa on Saturday said although they were not
taking part in the election they wanted to address their supporters about
the decision to pull out as well as mobilise for the 2008 parliamentary and
"The plan is to frustrate all our efforts to mobilise people ahead of the
elections. Zanu (PF) is failing to get supporters at its rallies and they
are afraid. We will however not be deterred by these tactics until we
achieve our goal of a new Zimbabwe," said Chamisa.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena was not available for comment. - CAJ
BY JOHN MAKUMBE
It is unfortunate that elements within the opposition MDC (Mutambara) have
decided to proceed with the defamation lawsuit against Morgan Tsvangirai,
founder President of the MDC. This is following Tsvangirai's address to the
Harare-based diplomats where it is alleged that he defamed some of the
Mutambara faction leaders by claiming that they were working in cahoots with
Zanu (PF) to kill him.
Recent efforts to bring the two factions together are likely to be derailed
by the legal action. To date, only Gift Chimanikire, who has since defected
to the Tsvangirai faction, is known to have dropped the charges.
It is obviously the right of each and every Zimbabwean to approach the
courts of law for redress when they feel aggrieved. The Mutambara faction
leaders are therefore entitled to proceed with the matter before the courts.
Unfortunately, this is bound to make it more difficult for the two factions
to consider re-uniting in the face of the ill-fated Thabo Mbeki mediation
efforts and the 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections. The fact that
the courts are likely to set the trial dates soon basically means that
re-unification efforts will have to be stalled until the courts reach some
decision on the matter.
What may be the best way forward is for the two factions to agree to differ,
and completely sever all ties forthwith. While this will be unfortunate in
relation to the need for a strong and united opposition party, it is
probably the only way that the current seesaw can be brought to an end, and
people are able to make decisions with regard to which of the two factions
they prefer to support in the forthcoming elections.
Although we have seen several Mutambara faction supporters defect to the
Tsvangirai faction, we are still to experience the reverse of this action.
In other words, there has not been any defection from the Tsvangirai to the
Mutambara faction in the MDC, to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps a clean
break up will motivate some of the members of the opposing factions to be
more decisive in this regard.
I know that there will be some readers of this column who will criticise me
for advocating a clear cut break up or kiss and make up between the two
factions, but I am rather thick skinned and will not take offence with such
It is quite clear to me, for example, that quite a few of the Mutambara
faction members will lose their seats in the 2008 elections if the current
impasse between the two factions is not resolved, and if the Tsvangirai
faction decides to field candidates in all contestable seats throughout the
For example, it is inconceivable that the MDC supporters in Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga's constituency would vote for her if she insists on
remaining in the Mutambara faction of the MDC. It would be unfortunate for
such a dynamic legislator to lose her parliamentary seat at this stage in
the political development of this devastated country.
My advice to the Mutambara faction leaders is that they should drop the
charges they are levelling against Morgan Tsvangirai in the interest of MDC
unity and national resistance to the evil infested Zanu (PF) and Robert
Naturally, Tsvangirai has denied ever saying the things he is alleged to
have said, and is not bothered about the case proceeding to trial in the
courts. The point to make here is that whatever verdict the courts may reach
will have a negative impact on the MDC's unity prospects. Zimbabweans are
certainly some of the most litigious bunch of democracy-starved people on
the African continent.
*1000 top cops AWOL *Stop exodus - Chihuri
BY ITAI DZAMARA
The recent arrest, court appearance and imprisonment of a group of army and
police officers charged with plotting a coup have been shrouded in secrecy.
The group was arrested at an office in central Harare last week following a
tip-off to the Central Intelligence Organisation and police. A number of
civilians were also implicated but these have reportedly been released after
being severely beaten up and tortured.
Seven army and police officers were taken to the Magistrate's Court on
Monday and remanded in custody. Government has been tight-lipped on the
matter, with minister of defence Sydney Sekeramayi and minister of state
security Didymus Mutasa flatly denying any knowledge of the arrest or the
"There must have been a tip-off to the police and CIO by one of the soldiers
privy to the arrangements. They arrived at the offices where we were holding
the meeting when we had just started and ordered everyone there to lie down
at gunpoint," one of the civilians released last week told The Zimbabwean.
"We were all blindfolded and bundled into vehicles before travelling for
long distances to remote places we don't even know up to now. After thorough
interrogation and beatings the civilians were released because we all
maintained that we had been recruited for jobs as security guards. But the
army and police officers were not released," he said.
The Zimbabwean witnessed the group's appearance at the Magistrate's court on
Monday. The case was heard in camera amidst a heavy presence of CIO members.
It was later reported that they were taken to remand prison, but other
reports suggested they were at an army barracks in Harare under military
Another four army officers were believed to have been arrested on Monday
evening and early Tuesday and this paper confirmed their presence at Harare
Central Police Station on Tuesday afternoon, where they were understood to
be being interrogated.
Observers expect more members of the army and police to be arrested
following the torture of those already in custody. "The plan involved
several senior officers in both the army and police," a source said.
Meanwhile, ZimOnline reporters that some 5 000 police officers resigned last
month in protest over poor pay and working conditions.
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has written to all provincial
commanders ordering them not to accept any further resignations until after
next year's elections.
"We have received about 5 000 letters from police officers intending to
leave the force since the beginning of May and if we allow them to go we
will be short of manpower during elections next year," said Chihuri in the
Chihuri's memo comes hardly a week after the Zimbabwean government announced
plans to go on a massive recruitment drive that would see the number of
police officers increased from the current 29 000 to 50 000.
Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi confirmed the exodus adding that his
ministry was currently looking for about 1 000 officers who had simply
absconded from duty without permission.
THE Zimbabwean dollar has further tumbled, trading at Z$7800 against the SAR
at Park Station over the weekend.
In a snap survey conducted by CAJ News Agency here the Zimdollar took a huge
knock and its chances of regaining against major international currencies
were described as "unrealistic".
Complicating matters for the Zimbabwean dollar's woes, the hard-hit
inflation dollar was also removed from lowly rated Zambian Stock Exchange,
which literally means the dollar "is no-more".
The South Africa rand is steadily gaining firmness against all the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) regional member states as evidence by
last week's gain against the Botswana pula.
A Zimbabwean financial vendor, Patrick Mombeshora, of Braamfontein expressed
concern over the fluctuating currency.
"It is a high risk investing in Zimbabwe these days. The dollar keeps
changing every hour whilst the companies that are supposed to rescue the
country from worsening inflation are closing down," he said.
Plans for £50m investment to go ahead
As militant sections of the Mugabe regime prepare to invade and cause chaos
in industry by taking over foreign-owned businesses, the diversified
multinational Lonrho PLC is planning to invest at least £50 million in real
estate, hotels and the tourism sector.
The government has announced that is preparing a bill to empower it to
forcibly take over majority stakes in all foreign-owned firms. Dubbed the
urban jambanja, this is reminiscent of the bloody scenes that characterized
the land grab of 2000, and the subsequent collapse of the once-vibrant
Members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on industry and economic
development have sounded a clear warning against such a move, but youths and
war vets have declared their willingness to spearhead the campaign.
The committee has already received submissions from various stakeholders
giving warnings about the serious dangers of the plan.
Mugabe has been talking about the "empowerment of our people" at public
gatherings and highly-placed sources have said that the take-over of
foreign-owned business would be one of the regime's election campaign points
ahead of next year's polls.
Zanu (PF) spokesman, Nathan Shamuyarira however claimed that "it is not
going to be done that way, it will follow the proper procedures of a bill
being taken to parliament and then signed into law".
Despite all this, Lonrho believes Zimbabwe offers a significant opportunity
for growth and is going ahead with raising the money.
In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean this week, David Lenigas,
Lonrho's Executive Chairman and Chief Executive, said the company would soon
register a subsidiary, LonZim, to spearhead substantial investment in
Zimbabwe and create many desperately needed jobs.
Lenigas emphasized that the money would come from investors around the
world - mainly Asia and Africa - not just from the UK.
"Things can only go one way and that's up. Someone needs to put money into
Zimbabwe because people need jobs. We are not supporting anybody. This is
purely a business investment. In the future Zimbabwe will need more hotels
and shopping malls. We will work to bring more tourists to the country," he
Lenigas explained that the establishment of LonZim offered Lonrho
shareholders an opportunity to participate while minimizing the risk by
channeling investment through a separate listed vehicle.
"It is intended that LonZim will invest 80% in commercial property
opportunities but will also look to identify Zimbabwean assets and companies
with the potential to grow rapidly with the benefit of investment and
international management expertise. Lonrho has the people in place to offer
support and advice to LonZim and its projects," he added. - Staff reporter
The trial of Peter Michael Hitschmann, accused of illegally possessing
ivory, has been postponed to June 15 as a key witness, senior warden with
the parks and Wildlife Management, Philemon November, is out of the country.
Observers believe Hitschmann, who is still in remand prison awaiting
continuation of his trial on allegations of having attempted to assassinate
President Mugabe in 2003, is being persecuted by the authorities for being a
senior member of the MDC.
Another key state witness, detective inspector, Zororai Dhliwayo, told the
court he was part of a group including CIO operatives and soldiers that
raided Hitschmann's house in search of weapons. They discovered two
elephant tusks, of which the accused proved to them that he was lawfully in
possession, but had not registered with the Parks and Wildlife Authority.
Trust Maanda, a prominent Mutare lawyer, argued for the defense that
Hitschmann, a former police constabulary member, was keeping the elephant
tusks behalf of the provincial Wildlife Society.
Maanda said the society, which leases Cecil Kopje Nature Reserves from the
City of Mutare, had culled a troublesome elephant on 27 October 2003. The
provincial warden of the Department of National Parks had been informed that
the Society was in possession of two tusks.
He said the provincial warden informed the Wildlife Society of Zimbabwe to
take the unregistered ivory pending regularization of papers regarding ivory
that the Wildlife Society of Zimbabwe had earlier handed over to the
Maanda questioned why his client was being taken to court for possessing
ivory which had been known by the relevant authorities since 2003. - CAJ
The Mugabe regime's counter-strategy at the African Commission for Human
Rights summit in Ghana recently failed and Harare is up for censure
following convincing submissions by civil society and opposition
Sources who attended the summit said the police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena,
submitted to the Commission a funny document entitled Trail of Violence
which was compiled by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and tries to provide
evidence of alleged "systematic violence" by the opposition and civil
Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who represented the Mugabe regime also
failed to do a convincing PR job for the violent and repressive Zanu (PF)
government. Sources said Chinamasa's refusal to appear before the commission
and answer allegations from opposition and civil society backfired.
"The Commission expressed great concern at the human rights abuses of the
regime and resolved to further probe the situation as well as apply pressure
on the international scene. The attempts to counter civil society and
opposition submissions failed dismally," said a source who attended the
The Mugabe team is reported to also have bungled big time when it tried to
use Mugabe's interview and Zanu (PF)'s several propaganda pieces that
appeared in the New African Magazine. Apparently, Mugabe came out in the
interview boasting about the brutal assaults of opposition and civil society
leaders by the police, which the commission pointed at as evidence of
state-sanctioned human rights abuses.
The ZRP document, a copy which is in the possession of this paper, contains
various incidents of petrol bombing and other forms of violence alleged to
have been done by the opposition and civil society with however some
ridiculous mistakes and fabrications easily detectable. For example, it has
two pictures of the same ZUPCO bus on different pages and it is claimed they
were two buses damaged by opposition supporters yet someone forgot to
conceal the number plate in both cases showing is the same bus. On other
instances, different elevations of the same women police officers are used
to claim there were "several" victims of petrol bombs thrown by the MDC
Chinamasa and Bvudzijena were not available for comment. But the minister
has told the local media that his team at the summit succeeded in countering
what he alleges to be western-driven propaganda.