"No man can put a chain around the
ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his
own neck." - Frederick DouglassAlbert Gumbo
Thabo Mbeki insists that the
peer review mechanism he advocates through NEPAD must be voluntary. Does anyone
need further proof of this man's deception?
Olesugun Obassanjo blocked a UN
resolution to investigate allegations of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Is
there a limit to hypocrisy?
NO TO NEPAD UNTILL ITS
ARCHITECTS DEMONSTRATE GENUINE COMMITMENT TO GLOBAL STANDARDS OF DEMOCRACY! WE,
THE AFRICAN PEOPLE, WILL BE INSULTED AND ABUSED NO MORE...
Wednesday, June 19, 2002 2:25 PM
In the eye of the storm
6/20/02 11:05:12 AM (GMT
Story: IF you have ever
been in a real hurricane, the eerie feeling when a sudden silence and quiet
descends in the midst of it all can be quite disconcerting. Sometimes it feels a
bit like that here.
The economy is spiralling
downwards (minus 12 percent this year – the third year in a row of declines in
total output), food stocks are zero and we will shortly face famine for the
first time in our history.
The political crisis intensifies every day
with threats and worse from the government against all its perceived enemies:
the private Press, the opposition, the independent businessperson. Even a death
threat against yourself from the military.
If you have had your eyes on
the storm all around you, if you suddenly find yourself in the centre of it all
and there is peace and quiet, it all seems unreal. But is it?
weekend I had to make up a double bunker bed for a grandchild. My son and his
wife are expecting their third child and a bedroom had to be vacated to make way
for the new baby. The two girls they already have are moving in together and a
bed was needed.
I had cut a large cypress tree down in the garden a year
ago and put that through a local sawmill, dried the timber myself and then had a
local co-operative make up several items for the house.
double-decked bed was one of those items. The timber was hard and smooth and has
made three items for the family that will last a lifetime. We took the bed up to
Harare and when there the family went out for a picnic at the Botanical Gardens.
It was a beautiful day: clear blue skies, cool and the gardens were in
prime condition. We romped with the children and had a wonderful meal together.
There is something very special about a granddaughter.
I think these two
are the cutest little things this side of Philadelphia. It’s all about family
and belonging to each other. Lying on the grass with the two children astride my
chest, you really wonder: is this the centre of a storm, which will engulf us
all in a short while?
Or is it a part of the storm that we can all
endure for a short interlude before we go back into the fight to stay alive and
to ensure they have a future free of the fear that we have had to live under for
the past three years?
Life in Zimbabwe is not all violence and hunger
and many of us do live in the centre of the storm that rages about us largely
unaffected and enjoying very normal lives with family and friends.
had some late rain the other day – 110 mm – in this part of the world, which is
normally very dry. This triggered a flush of late season grass growth, which the
cattle and wild life are now enjoying.
The impact on the garden was
spectacular and the Musasa trees have had an early flush of new leaves. Just
after the rains I was driving back to Bulawayo from the Lowveld and the storm
was just receding.
It was about 5 o’clock in the afternoon and the sun
shone through the clouds, bathing the whole veld with that very special light at
the end of the day in Africa.
I thought, this is what it is going to be
like when this storm is over – cool, clear skies, a vista where you can see
forever across the empty bushveld and the promise of green grass for the winter.
For many living here, sometimes we lose our perspective while the storm
rages. All we see is the rushing wind, the trees bending and the rain pouring
Storms are necessary, or we could not live and grow what we need.
They also come to an end and then we have that smell of the freshly watered soil
and the promise of better days with sunshine.
It is vital we do not lose
that perspective, because it’s always true and we can depend on time delivering
that experience to us – just like the joy of having grandchildren who think it’s
fun to sit on your chest in the sun.
Rising trade in endangered species
6/20/02 10:45:39 AM (GMT +2)
GENEVA – The secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has five months to decide on
54 proposals submitted by member governments aimed at easing prohibitions and
controls on trade in threatened plant and animal species. The initiatives would
relax restrictions on trade in mahogany, toothfish, whales, elephants, turtles
and vicuñas. CITES must decide whether to accept, reject or modify the
initiatives at the 3 to 15 November conference of its 158 member states in
Illegal trade in endangered species, which CITES was set up to combat,
brings traffickers profits of up to 800 percent, environmental groups reported
on Monday in London. Two international organisations, Traffic and the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will present the
results of a technical assessment to the governments and civil society
organisations that will take part in the Santiago conference in November. The
groups’ recommendations will be drafted with the assistance of a team of expert
advisers and released on 13 September, said IUCN press officer Xenya Cherny. The
IUCN brings together representatives of states, government agencies and
For its part, the CITES secretariat will issue its observations on the
government proposals for new trade rules in July.
The convention’s lists, or
appendices, are revised every two-and-a-half years. Appendix I bans all trade in
around 900 endangered species. Appendix II regulates trade in 4 000 animal and
20 000 plant species through a system of permits.
A proposal submitted by
Australia, to include two species of Chilean sea bass, or toothfish, in Appendix
II, would lead to an overlapping of the jurisdiction of CITES and that of
regional fishing agreements and of the United Nations Food and Agriculture
If Australia’s request is approved, CITES would begin to participate in the
regulation of stocks of fish with great commercial value, said Michael Williams,
spokesman for the convention’s secretariat. FAO and regional fishing agreements
generally focus on yields, exploitation and changes taking place in the
fishing industry, while CITES is concerned with
environmental aspects linked
to the protection of species. The conference in Santiago will also discuss the
situation of the African elephant.
Several countries in southern Africa are seeking authorisation to make a
one-time sale of existing legal ivory stocks, to be followed by the
establishment of annual quotas. CITES, which banned ivory sales for eight years,
permitted Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to make a one-off sale of legal raw
ivory stocks in 1997. Botswana is now asking to be allowed to make a one-time
sale of 20 000 kilos and to be assigned an annual quota of 4 000 kilos, Namibia
10 000 kilos now and an annual quota of 2 000 kilos, South Africa 30 000 kilos
and a quota of 2 000 kilos, and Zimbabwe 10 000 kilos and an annual quota of 5
000 kilos. In addition, Zambia, wants to sell 17 000 kilos.
India and Kenya, however, want all populations of African elephants to be
transferred to Appendix I. Facing off in the debate on the protection of
elephants are those who argue that local communities would benefit from the
income from ivory sales, and those who are worried that authorising any exports
would fuel poaching. Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, meanwhile, want to be allowed
to sell more wool from the vicuña, a wild member of the Camelidae family that
lives in the Andes at altitudes of between 3 000 and 5 000 metres.
The population of vicuñas in Latin America increased from 82 539 in 1981 to
227 201 in 2001, thanks to policies aimed at protecting the species. The total
number of vicuñas in Argentina climbed from 8 155 to 33 414, in Bolivia from 4
493 to 56 383, in Chile from 7 990 to 16 899, in Ecuador from none to 1 827, and
in Peru from 61 896 to 118 678. Cuba wants the hawksbill turtle to be
transferred from Appendix I to Appendix II, which would allow it to sell stocks
of around 7 800 kilos of shells accumulated as part of a conservation and
management programme carried out by the Cuban government from 1993 to 2002.
Meanwhile, a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Traffic warned of
the increase in trafficking of wildlife by organisations dedicated to other
illegal activities, such as drug trafficking cartels and the so-called Russian
“Organised crime groups get involved in the most lucrative areas of
illegal wildlife trade, such as caviar smuggling,” using routes established for
the trafficking of people, small weapons and illegal drugs, they said. In
Britain, 50 percent of those prosecuted for trafficking wild species already had
criminal records, the report noted. “In Brazil, recent estimates suggest that up
to 40 per cent of illegal drug shipments are combined with wildlife,” the groups
Commonwealth seeks to tackle political impasse, starvation in Zimbabwe
6/20/02 10:21:13 AM (GMT +2)
DAR ES SALAAM – Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said on Tuesday
Zimbabwe’s efforts to solve its internal political problems had stalled and it
was up to a three-nation Commonwealth task force to address the situation.
“The Zimbabwean political problem still remains,” McKinnon told reporters
after meeting President Benjamin Mkapa on a visit to Tanzania.
“It is also recognised that the reconciliation process between the two main
parties has not resumed as wished.”
He was referring to stalled efforts between the ruling Zanu PF party and
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) aimed at restoring peace and
economic stability in the country after controversial presidential election in
The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe for a year on 19 March after the
group’s observers and the opposition reported serious flaws in President
The decision was recommended by a Commonwealth task force that is in charge
of Zimbabwe policy: the so-called troika of Australian Prime Minister John
Howard, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun
Mugabe was declared the winner of the election. Reconciliation talks began
between the two parties, but Zanu PF later suspended the discussions until the
country’s courts rule on an MDC challenge to the result.
McKinnon said the political situation not withstanding, the country
required humanitarian aid to assist thousands of Zimbabweans facing starvation.
“The drought and the famine are something we have to address on another
track completely,” he said.”Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is somewhat offside
with different donor countries, sometimes you have to put such differences
We are talking about a lot of people needing a lot of food and the more
support that can be given, so much the better.”
About half of Zimbabwe’s 12 million people are starving and the food
shortages have been compounded by political turmoil following the chaotic land
resettlement exercise. – Reuter
Lower Gweru councillors implicated in maize scandal
6/20/02 10:40:54 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in Gweru
Three Zanu PF councillors in Lower Gweru were last week implicated in a
$600 000 drought relief maize scandal after they allegedly diverted 200 bags of
maize intended for starving villagers and resold it on the black market.
The three were briefly detained at Maboleni police post but were released
without charge, much to the chagrin of villagers in Nkawana, Lower Gweru Mission
and Nyama wards.
The councillors represent the three wards. The alleged racket, according to
villagers, involved 200 bags of maize with a parallel market value of $600 000.
It is alleged that villagers who failed to produce Zanu PF cards had their
maize allocation resold at $3 000 a bag by the councillors.
The Grain Marketing Board’s (GMB) selling price is $1 060 a bag. Each
family is entitled to a bag of maize per month under the government’s drought
More than 200 people had their maize allocation withdrawn last month after
they failed to produce Zanu PF party membership cards, said the villagers.
An angry John Ntini said: “These councillors are starving us so that they
coerce us to vote for them in the forthcoming rural council elections.
“However, we will not do that because everyone is suffering and fed up with
what they are doing.”
“How can a Zanu PF party card be used to determine who gets maize?” Renson
Gasela, the MP for Gweru Rural (MDC) said his party offices was inundated with
party supporters complaining they were denied maize by GMB officials and
“We have even submitted these reports to the governor’s office”, Gasela
Brutalised . . .
6/20/02 10:55:56 AM (GMT +2)
DAILY News staffers, reporter Guthrie Munyuki, photographer Urginia Mauluka
and driver Shadreck Mukwecheni, who were arrested on Sunday in a riot police
swoop on an MDC meeting to commemorate International Youth Day, were taken to
Harare Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday together with 84 others, to answer to
charges of alleged public violence.
The accused persons, some of then nursing serious injuries sustained in
alleged police beatings, were a sorry sight after spending nearly two days in
police cells at Harare Central Police Station. Also among the accused was
Munyaradzi Gwisai, the Member of Parliament for Highfield constituency, who was
reportedly seriously assaulted by the police. Daily News photographer, Aaron
Ufumeli was on hand at the Harare Magistrates’ Court to take the pictures that
Arrested MDC supporters accuse police of torture
6/20/02 10:53:08 AM (GMT +2)
By Pedzisayi Ruhanya Chief
Several MDC supporters arrested by the police on Sunday, said on Tuesday
they were tortured by Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officers at Harare
Central Police Station. Three Daily News staffers were also brutally assaulted
before they were arrested on Sunday, as they went to cover the International
Youth Day meeting of the MDC. Guthrie Munyuki, a reporter, Urginia Mauluka, a
photographer, and driver Shadreck Mukwecheni had swellings on parts of their
bodies from the beatings.
Munyuki’s right hand sustained torn tissues – not a fracture as earlier
feared. The police denied him access to medical attention. Mauluka said her
right ear could have been damaged after she was assaulted with a baton. “They
attacked me with batons and clenched fists,” she said. “I feel pain on most
parts of my body. The police accused us of covering the MDC meeting. They
destroyed my digital camera.” Mukwecheni said his buttocks were swollen from the
beatings while his left hand sustained an injury.
Groups of about 30 detainees were thrown into a single cell designed to
hold six people. Among those arrested when the riot police stormed into the
offices of the MDC in Harare were two pregnant women who complained they were
wrongfully arrested and detained, because they were not MDC members. Stewart
Mukoyi, an MDC activist, said he was taken to hospital in Harare on Monday night
where a doctor confirmed his backbone had been injured from the beatings. He was
struggling to walk and speak on Tuesday. “As you can see, my backbone is
injured. I was thoroughly assaulted with batons by the riot police,” Mukoyi
Charles Marima, the councillor for Kuwadzana’s Ward 37, said he was taken
from the cells on Sunday night, with three others, blindfolded by a CIO agent
and beaten up. “We were taken into the basement where we were assaulted by CIO
agents while blindfolded and later taken back to the cells. “They accused us of
organising a march in the city. I denied the allegations,” Marima said.
Munyaradzi Gwisai, the MP for Highfield, was another victim of the brutal
assaults by the arresting police. He said they only stopped beating him when
they arrived at the police station. “However they treat us, this regime must
know that the struggle against the abuse of our rights will continue,” said
Gwisai. “We will not rest until we attain all our fundamental freedoms.” More
than 70 MDC activists were arrested as they tried to organise a meeting to mark
the International Youth Day. They are charged with contravening a section of the
draconian Public Order and Security Act.
Clinic closed as nurses flee terror
6/20/02 10:24:14 AM (GMT +2)
From Energy Bara in Masvingo
NYAGAMBU clinic in Zaka was on Tuesday temporarily closed after nurses were
chased away by suspected Zanu PF supporters as a fresh wave of political
violence sweeps across the district.
Leading the terror campaign is a war veteran identified as Vaina Rukwava,
who has ordered all civil servants suspected of being supporters of the
opposition MDC to leave the area ahead of rural district council elections
scheduled for August and September this year.
On Monday, a group of suspected Zanu PF supporters descended on the clinic
and ordered all nursing staff to leave.
The suspected war veterans accused the victims of denying some patients
treatment because they allegedly belong to the ruling party.
Fearing for their lives, the nurses fled, prompting the temporary closure
of the clinic. One of the victims, who refused to be named, said: “The level of
victimisation is very high and the affected people are no longer safe.”
He said the war veterans had compiled a list of names of people they
suspected to be MDC supporters. The clinic offers medical services to people
from Nhema, Rusere, Padare and Nyagambu villages.
The Masvingo provincial medical director, Tapuwa Magure, through his
secretary yesterday said he would only respond to written questions.
In a related development, some teachers from Museki and Nhema primary
schools have also been ordered to leave the area. Obert Mujuru, the Masvingo
regional director for education, refused to comment.
MP arrested for allegedly addressing cancelled rally
6/20/02 11:05:27 AM (GMT +2)
From Chris Gande in Bulawayo
ABEDNICO Bhebhe, the Nkayi MP, spent the night in police cells in Bulawayo
on Sunday after he was arrested for allegedly addressing an illegal rally.
Bhebhe was released on Monday morning without being charged. He was arrested at
Bulawayo Central Police Station while visiting another MDC MP, Thokozani Khuphe
who had been arrested earlier on the same day.
The police accused Bhebhe of having addressed an International Youth Day
rally meant to mark the 16 June 1976 Soweto Uprising.
It turned out that Bhebhe was at a funeral at the time that he was alleged
to have addressed the rally. Bhebhe said he received a call from Khuphe that she
and three other MDC leaders, Gertrude Mthombeni, a national executive member,
Linda Mathuthuka, and Dumiso Mbambo, had been detained by the police. “I was at
a football match when I received the call,” said Bhebhe.
“I later went to Bulawayo Central Police Station and when I asked to see
the four ladies, police told me they had been looking for me,” he said. He was
then thrown into the cells while the four women were later released. Bhebhe said
he had only been listed as one of the speakers at the aborted rally. Thamsanqa
Ncube, the MDC provincial youth chairman, said they had notified the police of
their intention to hold the commemoration. They only received a response from
the police last Friday.
In their response police said: “This office is unable to sanction the youth
festival due to lack of adequate resources. Our personnel have already been
committed elsewhere.” But dozens of police officers and soldiers turned up at
the venue of the rally. “The festival was not a political rally,” said Bhebhe.
“We wanted youths from various political parties to take part in the festival.”
Last year the day was observed without incident.
Khuphe and the other women on Monday appeared before a Bulawayo magistrate,
Elizabeth Rutsate and were remanded out of custody on $1 000 each. They were
charged with “addressing a gathering, conducive to riot and disorder” under the
Order and Security Act Section 19. They will appear in court on 1
Think-tank warns of looming internal conflict
6/20/02 10:54:39 AM (GMT +2)
By Nyasha Nyakunu Deputy News
Zimbabwe is on the threshold of serious internal conflict as threats of
popular mass action against President Robert Mugabe’s government loom on the
horizon, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based
In a 32-page dossier on the unfolding crisis, ICG, says: “As the
opposition considers mass protests, the prospect of serious internal conflict is
becoming imminent with grave implications for the stability of the wider
southern African region.” The ICG, a multi-national organisation committed to
assisting the international community to anticipate, understand and act to
prevent and contain conflict, however warns the MDC of playing into the hands of
the ruling Zanu PF.
“Since President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party stole the presidential
election . . . Zimbabwe’s situation has become progressively worse. There is
further violence against the political opposition, greater repression of the
media, increasing economic desperation, and, most dangerous of all, less
patience that constructive change can come through normal political channels,”
says the ICG report. Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader has warned that popular
uprising to force a rerun of the disputed presidential election won by Mugabe
was inevitable especially at a time when the country is facing its worst food
“Every indication is that this would produce a sharp Zanu PF response that
would set off a cycle of much more serious domestic conflict, refugees across
borders and further economic decline. “In these circumstances, it is vital for
the international community to focus its efforts with renewed urgency on
defusing the immediate crisis,” says the ICG report.
The ICG noted that
South Africa and Nigeria which brokered the abortive talks between Zanu PF and
MDC, had “considerable leverage” to push the ruling party to improve the
negotiating environment by ending the widespread violence for which it is
responsible. The ICG report recommends that South Africa and Nigeria should
adopt a more assertive stance on Harare, and be prepared to end diplomatic
support for Mugabe if Zanu PF does not cease violence and to isolate in Africa,
whichever side negotiates in bad faith.
The report comes at time when the government has launched repressive
crackdowns on MDC activities which have seen hundreds of opposition supporters
being arrested. On Sunday the riot police brutally assaulted and arrested 85
people mostly supporters of the MDC attending a rally in central Harare. Three
Daily News staffers, Guthrie Munyuki, Urginia Mauluka and Shadreck Mukwecheni,
were caught in the fray when the riot policemen armed with AK rifles, baton
sticks, and tear gas canisters, descended on two unsuspecting crowds in Africa
Unity Square and Number 8 Mbuya Nehanda Street, the MDC provincial offices.
Nearly 170 MDC supporters were beaten up and arrested in Birchenough
Bridge, Chipinge North, last Thursday after attending their party’s gathering in
the area. Against that backdrop, the ICG criticised the international community
for being passive and warned time may be “running out rapidly” to prevent
serious bloodshed that could lead to major conflict in the country. The ICG
recommends among other measures engaging Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan
president and close ally of Mugabe, to end material support that reinforces the
Zanu PF leader’s intransigence.
The European Union and the United States were also urged to investigate and
expose assets held by Zanu PF officials abroad.
In the same vein, the New
Partnership for Africa’s development initiative to integrate the continent into
the world economy, should be linked to more vigorous efforts by African
governments to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis. “Zimbabwe’s friends, beginning with
its immediate neighbours, but extending throughout the continent and to the
powerful states of the EU and the US, need to use the political and economic
tools at their disposal – persuasion, pressures, and inducements – and focus
them narrowly to reverse the direction events are taking.
“Specifically, they need to get Zanu PF and the MDC away from the streets,
back to the table, and into serious negotiations about how to restructure the
political system and produce new elections under suitable guarantees and within
a reasonable time period,” recommends the report.
Tension grips UZ campus
6/20/02 10:25:44 AM (GMT +2)
TENSION has gripped the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) after a group of armed
policemen stormed the campus on Tuesday and foiled fresh elections for a new
president of the Students’ Executive Council (SEC).
Students said yesterday there was now an uneasy atmosphere on campus, as
armed policemen, some in plainclothes, continued to mill around.
The policemen allegedly stormed into a hall where the students were holding
the elections and took away most of the ballot material.
They arrested, at gunpoint, nine student leaders, including Nkululeko
Sibanda, the president of the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union, who was
conducting the elections.
The arrested students were released yesterday morning without charges being
preferred against them.
The elections followed a vote of no confidence in the former president of
the SEC, Emmanuel Nyambuya, whom the students accused of siding with the
Nyambuya was voted into office in April but the Students’ Representative
Assembly, the regulatory body of the SEC, passed a vote of no confidence in him
three weeks ago.
During voting on Tuesday, when the police stormed the campus and allegedly
took away some of the voting material, the students had already elected Denford
Damba, a Social Science student, as their president.
The acting president, Tafadzwa Machirori, yesterday confirmed the tense
situation at the UZ, where he said the police had taken a leading role in
creating a uneasy atmosphere.
“There is nothing wrong in students holding elections on campus, so we
clearly wonder whether that has anything to do with the police,” he said.
The students, who are in the middle of examinations, described as
disturbing the unusually high presence of the police on the campus.
Rusbridger urges papers to boycott Mugabe's fees
Posted 20 June 2002 00:00 GMT
Rusbridger, left, has called for a media boycott of Mugabe's
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has called for a total Western media
boycott of the Zimbabwe Government’s plan to bring in charges for reporting the
This week’s report of the announcement by President Robert Mugabe’s
Government that newspapers and broadcasters, freelances and agencies will have
to pay a sizeable fee to be registered and accredited under new media laws has
produced diverse reactions from the UK press.
The Government’s proposals go further, saying that Zimbabwean and
international media organisations will also have to disclose detailed financial
information and pay 0.5 per cent of the audited annual gross turnover of their
local operations to a state-controlled media fund.
For freelances, the charge comes high, about £1,000 - which they are not
guaranteed to get back if they are refused registration. A number of news
organisations use Harare-based nationals as freelance correspondents.
Rusbridger said: “We ought to have an agreed boycott by all the papers not
to pay at all. All Western newspapers and broadcast media should simply refuse
to pay this weird form of tax. I would hope we can go to the International Press
Institute and get an agreed international position where we just refuse to pay
Leonard Doyle, foreign editor of The Independent, has said the paper will
not pay but will “operate under the radar”.
Doyle said: “We have previously ignored Mugabe’s decrees. Our
correspondent, Basildon Peta, is in exile from Zimbabwe and he is now accredited
in South Africa as our regional correspondent. He is deeply plugged in across
Zimbabwean society so he can report rather well from a distance. And we would
send people in “under the radar” as we did last time round.
“We are not paying the charge. It doesn’t matter to us and we wouldn’t even
get the application form.”
The Times is also thought highly unlikely to pay any charges but would not
But at The Daily Telegraph, deputy foreign editor Francis Harris is taking
a more pragmatic view. While not knowing yet whether the Telegraph would pay for
accreditation for its correspondent Peta Thorneycroft, who has already been held
in jail under the new laws, Harris said: “We pay in a number of countries to get
our journalist registered so the principle is not necessarily objectionable -
it’s the sum. It is just an awful lot of money but it costs us an awful lot of
money to operate in an awful lot of places. The sum is so large it is obviously
designed to drive out freelances who don’t have the backing of a news
organisation. There can be no other sensible reason for charging such a sum of
“It is yet another sign that the Zimbabwean Government is terrified of
allowing free and fair reporting of events inside the country and is doing
everything in its power to make the life of news reporters extremely difficult.
It’s depressing and repetitive but we just continue trying to report
regardless.” Bosses of the major broadcast news organisations are believed to be
holding private talks to discuss a joint approach to the proposed charges.
l The trial of Guardian correspondent Andrew Meldrum in Zimbabwe, for
publishing a falsehood, has been adjourned for three weeks for the magistrate to
consider a defence request to dismiss the charge.
On Tuesday three journalists, Daily News reporter Guthrie Munyuki,
photographer Urginia Mauleke and freelance Newton Spicer, were charged with
breaking the country’s security laws.
Holyrood fears over stone link to Mugabe
By IAN SWANSON Scottish Political Editor
SIR DAVID STEEL was today challenged over
fears that the Scottish Parliament could be aiding Robert Mugabe’s government in
Zimbabwe by using granite from his country to clad the new building at Holyrood.
Tory finance spokesman David Davidson said it would tarnish the
parliament if it was found that it was being built with material from a regime
with such a bad human rights record.
He has tabled a question, asking
Sir David, as Presiding Officer, whether any black granite being supplied for
the new building is sourced from Zimbabwe and, if so, why Scottish material was
not considered instead.
The cladding involves 9500 square metres of pale
granite from Kemnay quarry in Aberdeenshire and a further 3800 square metres of
black granite, which parliament officials say is coming from South Africa.
Caithness stone was considered instead and when that was rejected as
unsuitable, the Scottish stone industry suggested whinstone, which is readily
available in Scotland.
But instead the parliament opted for black
granite, which is often used for headstones in cemeteries.
architectural writer David Black, author of a book on the Holyrood project, said
he had been unable to establish the exact source for the black granite.
But he said: "I feel very confident this material is from Zimbabwe.
"The mountains there produce this wonderful black granite. It is
high-quality durable material. Half the traffic on the roads in Zimbabwe is
trucks with these big blocks of granite. It’s a product they are well known for
and it is a big earner for Mugabe."
Mr Black said the stone industry was
notorious for "bounced exports" where the original source of material was
difficult to pin down.
He said: "They will fall over backwards to avoid
it being from Zimbabwe, saying the paperwork shows it’s from South Africa, but
there can easily be a stage further back.
"It is likely to be a broker
in South Africa who is getting them a good price and the chances are it is
quarried in Zimbabwe."
Mr Davidson said he had tabled his question in a
bid to settle the issue.
He said: "A lot of black granite in Scotland
does come from Zimbabwe and it is one of the export lines for Mugabe.
"If it’s true this is coming from Zimbabwe, it is fuelling his coffers.
Do we really want the Scottish Parliament to be tarnished with that sort of
Alan Bruce of Fyfe Glenrock, the Scottish company with the
granite contract for the parliament, said it normally imported black granite
direct from South Africa, but because of the tight timescale for this project,
it had bought the stone from a stockyard in Italy.
But Mr Bruce said it
had provided main contractors Bovis with paperwork to show where the stone came
"Yes, someone somewhere along the line could have swapped the
material, but I don’t think it’s very likely," he said. "Everyone is aware of
the sensitivity of it coming from China or India or Zimbabwe or wherever."
Another stone industry insider said the only definite way to resolve the
issue of the granite’s origins was to carry out a chemical analysis.
Scottish Parliament spokesman insisted the black granite for the new building
came from a known and identifiable quarry in South Africa and none of it came
He said: "All of it is traceable and I am assured there
is no question any of it came from any other quarry."
He added that the
South African stone was nearly 20 per cent cheaper.
Uncertainty As Deadline Looms For Farm Acquisitions
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
June 20, 2002
Posted to the
web June 20, 2002
Zimbabwe's farm owners and farmworkers
are in the grip of uncertainty as the
government's deadline approaches for
the country's mainly white commercial
farmers to down tools and leave their
From 25 June the first wave of farmers whose land has been earmarked
acquisition will, by law, have to stop farming. They will then have 45
to wind up their affairs and leave the property.
As the hours tick
closer, farmers and farmworkers face an uncertain future
in a country where
up to six million people already face the spectre of not
having enough food
to last until the next harvest.
Clemence Fungai, of Zimbabwe's General
Agricultural and Plantation Workers
Union, said: "We are in a quandary - we
don't know what is going to happen,
how we are going to be affected. We have
to wait and see. If [farmowners]
can't farm, farmworkers' employment will be
terminated there and then."
Fungai said that though the law was clear on when
farmers had to stop
working, and made provision for a fine or a jail term for
those who flouted
the law, it was not clear if farmworkers would be allowed
working without censure.
He said that in addition to the
uncertainty over work, farm schools would
For many children, a farm
school is their only source of education. If their
parents are unemployed
they won't have money to attend other schools.
Fungai spoke to IRIN during a
break at a meeting with the Agricultural
Labour Bureau (ALB) where
compensation for farmers and farmworkers was being
spokesman Ewen Rodger said not many farmers had received compensation
the government yet, and so were unable to pay their workers anything
they were forced to stop farming.
"The compensation package [determined by
government] is costly for farmers
so most can't pay it from their own
resources," he said.
Estimates of the number of people who will be affected
by the acquisiton
notices vary. Rodger estimated that about 150,000
farmworkers, each with a
family of five, could be affected by the first wave.
As this was the
traditional "off season", the figure was slightly lower than
Tim Neill, director of the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust
a study was currently underway to determine how many farmers had
the Section 8 notice and how many farmworkers would be
"We are running advertisements in newspapers asking for Section 8
contact us to find out what is happening. We don't yet know how
will be affected but there is an upper limit of two million
June 25 we will know."
Most farmers were still deciding
whether to disobey the order to stop
farming in three months' time, and risk
a fine and possible jail sentence,
or to just leave.
At a workshop in May,
AFP reported Lands Minister Joseph Made as saying the
government had so far
taken 7.4 million hectares of land and divided it
among 210,520 black
families for small-scale farming.
Another 54,000 people had applied for land
under a scheme aimed at taking
entire commercial farms and giving them to
black owners, but only 13,000 had
so far been allocated farms, Made was
quoted as saying.
WAN appeals to Mugabe to stop Meldrum trial
6/20/02 11:02:55 AM (GMT +2)
Paris-based World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and World
have appealed to President Mugabe to end the trial of the
American journalist Andrew Meldrum, and to repeal the country's
In a letter to Mugabe, who won
another six year term as president in a
controversial and violence-marred
election in March, the two media
organisations said the prosecution of
Meldrum, who works for the British
newspaper The Guardian, "constitutes a
clear breach of his right to freedom
said in part: "According to reports, Meldrum is charged
journalistic privilege by publishing falsehoods' under the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Mr
Meldrum pleaded not
guilty to knowingly publishing false information without
verifying the facts.
The prosecution of Mr Meldrum is widely seen as a test
case for the new
restrictive media law. If convicted, he could face up to
two years in prison
or a fine of about US$1 800 (Z$99 000).
"The story that led to the
prosecution was published in The Guardian
in April. Mr Meldrum reported on an
article that had appeared in the
Zimbabwean newspaper The Daily News, which
claimed that a woman had been
decapitated in front of her children by
supporters of the ruling Zanu PF.
The account was confirmed at the time by a
man claiming to be the dead woman
's husband and the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
"However, doubts have since been raised about the
credibility of the husband
and the MDC has admitted to possibly having been
"We respectfully remind you that even if the published
story proves to
be ungrounded, the criminal prosecution of Mr Meldrum
constitutes a clear
breach of his right to freedom of expression, which is
numerous international agreements, including the Universal
Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: "Everyone
has the right
to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the
hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and
information and ideas through any media, regardless of
"We respectfully call on you to do everything possible
to ensure that
that all charges against Mr Meldrum and 12 other journalists
the new media law are dropped. We urge you to ensure that the
Information and Protection of Privacy Act is quickly repealed and
future, your country fully respects international standards of
The Paris-based WAN, the global
organisation for the newspaper
industry, defends and promotes Press freedom
worldwide.It represents 18 000
newspapers and its membership includes 71
national newspaper associations,
individual newspaper executives in 100
countries, 13 news agencies and nine
regional and worldwide Press
MDC officials' cars impounded
10:44:24 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
MANICALAND police last week impounded four vehicles
belonging to the
MDC including that of Leonard Chirowamhangu, the MP for
the cars were used to commit acts of post-election
violence in the province.
Chirowamhangu's Nissan Hardbody was on Monday being
held at Mutare Central
Police Station while the other three were at
Chisumbanje Police Station.
Of the three, one, a Mazda
626, belongs to James Mukwaya, the MDC's
provincial organising secretary,
arrested last week for allegedly organising
an MDC indoor meeting at Mapari
Resort, Bikita. Mukwaya was part of the 138
MDC members granted bail by a
Chipinge magistrate on Monday. Pishai
Muchauraya, MDC's spokesman in
Manicaland, said: "Chirowamhangu was stopped
by the police near Mutare
Teachers' College and asked to disembark from his
car. Out of the blue, they
said they suspected his vehicle was used in
violent acts in the province and
impounded it. This is intolerable
harassment by the police. We have had
enough. All this has to stop."
Muchauraya said of the three
impounded vehicles in Chipinge South, two
were stopped at Birchenough Bridge
and the other at Chisumbanje. "This is
ridiculous," he said. "In Chisumbanje,
the vehicles are under the watchful
eye of Assistant Inspector Chinyoka."
Edmund Maingire, Manicaland's police
spokesman, could not be reached for
comment. A policeman at Mutare Central
said: "We have also been trying to
locate him, but we understand he is
operating from another building in the
city. We are yet to establish his
contact number." Chirowamhangu's family has
been subjected to post-election
violence allegedly perpetrated by war
veterans and Zanu PF youths.
His wife, Angeline, a teacher at Sedze
Primary School, three weeks ago
asked the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association
(Zimta) to assist her secure a
transfer from the school, after alleged
persistent harassment by Zanu PF
cadres. Ngaaite Zimunya, Zimta's principal,
confirmed receiving the report.
He said: "She cited politically motivated
intimidation of her family and
herself as the reason for seeking the
Trial of Zimbabwe journalist put back to
HARARE, June 20 - A Harare court agreed to a prosecutor's
Thursday to defer the trial of a Zimbabwean journalist accused of
''falsehoods'' under the country's tough new media laws.
Lloyd Mudiwa, a reporter for the independent Daily News, has been
with writing a false story alleging that President Robert Mugabe's
had beheaded a woman in a rural district last year.
Mudiwa's trial was
due to start on Thursday, but prosecutor Thabani
Mpofu asked the magistrates'
court in Harare for a postponement to July 22
to allow the state to try
Mudiwa, along with his editor, Geoff Nyarota, who
faces the same
The Daily News has said the beheading story was false and
Neither of the accused has yet been asked to plead.
government has adopted new media laws which critics say severely
press freedom. Eleven journalists have been arrested for alleged
Mugabe signed the measures into law days
after winning re-election in
March polls condemned by the opposition and some
Western governments as
Andrew Meldrum, a U.S.
journalist working for Britain's Guardian
newspaper in Zimbabwe, went on
trial on June 12 on a charge of publishing
falsehoods after reproducing the
Daily News story.
Meldrum's trial was postponed on Tuesday to July 12
after his lawyer
asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying it was built on
an unjust law
and that Zimbabwe was seeking to extend its laws outside the
Meldrum, a 50-year-old native of Hudson, Ohio, has pleaded
guilty. If convicted, he faces a heavy fine or up to two years in
The government says the false story was part of a
campaign to damage Mugabe's
USAID names Weisenfeld new mission director for
Paul E. Weisenfeld was sworn in as the Mission Director for
today at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
in Washington, D.C., by Administrator Andrew S.
In Zimbabwe, USAID's program seeks to mitigate the
enhance citizens' participation in economic and political
and expand economic opportunities for disadvantaged groups.
currently focused on alleviating the food security crisis in
Africa. While Zimbabwe was once a top agricultural exporter in
crisis, attributed to a combination of failed government policies
actions and a drought, is particularly severe there. To date, USAID
provided nearly 43,000 metric tons of food to the nation at a value of
The new mission director joined USAID as an
attorney in 1991. In 1995,
Weisenfeld served as the agency's resident legal
adviser in South Africa for
four years. Prior to his assignment to Zimbabwe
Weisenfeld served as legal
director for USAID's Egypt mission.
Weisenfeld received a B.A. in political science from the Queens
the City University of New York and graduated from Harvard Law
Independent journalists vow
10:56:57 AM (GMT +2)
Press journalists on Tuesday resolved not to seek
accreditation under the
repressive Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA). At a
meeting in Harare convened by the Independent
Journalists Association of
Zimbabwe (IJAZ), the journalists unanimously
agreed to mount a legal
challenge on the stipulation while simultaneously
defying the requirement to
register under AIPPA, crafted by Information and
Publicity Minister, Jonathan
Thirty-five journalists attended the meeting, which
was chaired by
IJAZ president Abel Mutsakani. Under the controversial and
media houses and journalists are required to register with a
appointed Media Commission, which is chaired by Tafataona Mahoso,
pro-government columnist heading the Department of Mass Communication at
Journalists were supposed to have
started registering on Sunday, a
move the journalists said was
unconstitutional. AIPPA has been selectively
used to arrest independent
journalists since its enactment in March this
ICFTU slams government for rights
6/20/02 10:45:12 AM (GMT +2)
ZIMBABWE has been accused of killing and harassing trade
the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade
In its annual survey on trade union rights
violations, covering 132
countries, the ICFTU said Zimbabwe contributed three
deaths to the 223 cases
of murdered or "disappeared" trade unionists last
year, 14 more than in
The report released on Tuesday said:
"Similarly, on the African
continent, where there is a serious democratic
deficit, the incipient war
between the public authorities and the unions has
also led to many arrests,
intimidation and the loss of lives.
"This has been the case in Zimbabwe where three strikers from a steel
were murdered. Swaziland is also in the running of the title of
champion of anti-union repression."
Last August, three
workers of the Redcliff-based Zimbabwe Iron and
Steel Company, were shot dead
when the police drove out striking workers
from the premises.
fourth worker, Elias Marwodzi died of pneumonia allegedly caused by
excessive amounts of tear gas smoke.
The workers were demanding a
400 percent salary increase. Under the
draconian Public Order and Security
Act, trade unions are not allowed to
organise protests without police
Recently the High Court intervened to stop the police
meetings of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
The ICFTU, representing 157 million workers in 255
organisations in 148 countries, said 4 000 trade unionists were
000 injured and 10 000 sacked from their jobs.
organisation cited China as one of the worst countries in the
trade union rights last year.
It said: "The Chinese trade unionist,
Yao Guisheng, sentenced to 15
years' forced labour based on totally false
accusations, ended up losing his
mind after having been beaten and confined
to a cell.
"In China, any attempt to create a free trade union can
with a huge prison sentences and even life imprisonment,
unbearable conditions of detention."
NGO says Zimbabwe crisis crucial to Nepad
6/20/02 10:42:27 AM (GMT +2)
CRISIS in Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation (NGO),
the Zimbabwean question should remain foremost in the New
Africa's Development (Nepad) debate.
NGO groups together civic society organisations. In a resolution
Crisis in Zimbabwe said such a debate would provide a litmus test
credibility of the programme, "given the prevailing crisis of
legitimacy facing the country".
The resolution was made on Tuesday
at the end of a two-day
consultative workshop to consider a Zimbabwean
position on Nepad.
Nepad is a combination of South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki's
Millennium Partnership for African Recovery Programme
Abdoulaye Wade's Omega Plan.
"Delegates called upon the business community to finance
circulation of the Nepad document.
They also called upon civil
society's numerous sectors to take the
Nepad debate to the grassroots for the
purposes of mobilising them and
making them aware of the
He said the delegates declared that the government
state its position on Nepad.
Kagoro said that
participants felt that Nepad constituted a serious
participatory methods of policy formulation.
"It is a document that
was formulated by a few African heads of state.
"The process marginalised the
peoples of Africa and thus represents a
top-down approach to policy
"Furthermore, Nepad is a document crafted and intended
for consumption by the West, namely the G8 group," he
Kagoro said the delegates accused Nepad of ignoring the
roles of women in the economy, thereby trivialising their actual
potential contribution to Africa's future development.
patronising tone that comes through in the loose, lip-service
to issues related to empowering women reflects an attitude of
leadership that is not really committed to improving the
condition of women,"
Notwithstanding these weaknesses, Nepad was said to offer
opportunities for Zimbabwean citizens to engage the government and
African governments on issues of political and economic governance
gender equity in human development, the group resolved.
Nepad seeks to target yearly investments of US$64 billion (Z$3 520
from developed countries to revive ailing African economies.
Tongogara to observe World Refugee Day
6/20/02 10:59:05 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
TONGOGARA refugee camp in Chipinge today joins the
community in observing the United Nations World Refugee Day.
home to about 9 500 refugees mainly from Rwanda, Burundi, Angola,
Republic of Congo, Congo Republic, Somalia, Ethiopia, Liberia and
About 800 refugees are at Tongogara camp,
with some engaged in
income-generating projects. John Adu of the United
Nations High Commission
for Refugees head of office in Zimbabwe, said the
theme for this year's
Refugee Day is "refugee woman".
parallel themes are 'positive contributions of refugees' and 'a
responsibility'," he said. Adu said in any civilian exodus, women
children made up an estimated 75 percent of a refugee population.
Tongogara camp, some women refugees have managed to discard the
stigma and are engaged in thriving income-generating
Sidate Kashamara from Burundi runs a thriving
Other women run tuck shops. Adu said some of the
activities lined up for the
World Refugee Day include drama, cultural
displays, and soccer and netball
competitions. Government officials and
representatives of non-governmental
organisations are expected to