|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
From The Daily News, 25 June
Villages deserted as people flee violence
Makundwei Motsi Muzavazi, 26, of Imbwanhema village in Musana communal lands, is recuperating in a Harare hospital after being assaulted by a group of Zanu PF youths from Bindura last week. Several families from the area have since fled their villages. Muzavazi’s attackers accused him of being a member of the MDC. Musana falls under the Bindura parliamentary constituency where a by-election is to be held on 28 and 29 July, following the vacancy left by the death of Border Gezi, the MP, in a car accident in April. Zanu PF’s Elliot Manyika and Elliot Pfebve of the MDC, who are battling for the seat, have launched vigorous campaigns to win the by-election.
Several families in Imbwanhema village fled their homes after the youths descended on them last Thursday. The youths were being driven in a brown government Land-Rover Defender vehicle. An eyewitness, who preferred anonymity, said the youths moved from house to house, looking for specific people whom they claimed supported the MDC. When they arrived in Imbwanhema village they asked for Muzavazi. Sensing danger, Muzavazi ran away. However, the youths caught up with him and attacked him with chains and sticks, leaving him for dead. The youths went to his house and looted his property, setting some of it on fire.
Muzavazi’s brother, Takaedza, said his brother was taken to Makumbe Hospital but was later transferred to Parirenyatwa in Harare. The youths moved to the Mukwesha homestead next, but their intended victims, Wadzanai and his brother, Francis, had already fled. The marauding youths then set fire to the Mukwesha family’s household goods, including maize meal. The homestead was deserted when a Daily News team visited the village yesterday. There were heaps of ashes of burnt property and mealie-meal which was scattered on the ground. The headman, Timothy Kunaka, said many villagers were living in fear after the attacks.
Pfebve, who held an election campaign rally at Trojan Mine in Bindura yesterday, accused his rival, Manyika, of organising the violence in order to instil fear in the people in the run-up to the by-election. "The cases of violence are not isolated but systematic within the entire constituency," said Pfebve. In a related development, several MDC supporters who were attending a rally at Trojan Mine were beaten up by Zanu PF youths who arrived at the mine in a lorry. An MDC member who attended the rally said Manyika arrived at the mine ahead of the youths in a Defender vehicle, registration number 750 009B. Manyika allegedly ordered the youth to disembark before they attacked the MDC supporters.
From the Daily News, 25 June
War vets besiege Macheke farmer
Mutare - A Macheke farmer and his wife, James and Trish Meikle, have been forced to lock themselves up in their house for past 72 hours by war veterans who are demanding that they surrender their 800-hectare farm for resettlement. The farm is among those listed for compulsory acquisition by the government three weeks ago. The Meikles have been under house confinement since about 8pm on Friday after about 30 ex-combatants descended on the farm. The drum-beating and chanting war veterans are camped in the garden, while others have converted farmhouse’s veranda into sleeping quarters. They are expected to begin apportioning themselves pieces of land today.
"We have barricaded ourselves inside the house," Meikle, 54, said yesterday by telephone. "The situation is very unnerving." The couple own another 300-hectare farm, Muzuri, which has been occupied by war veterans since last February. Meikle said he had seen one of the war veterans carrying a firearm. He said he would only leave the farmhouse if the war veterans moved off the premises and the police made an undertaking to safeguard his property in his absence. The officer-in-charge of Macheke police, an Inspector Govero, declined to comment yesterday. Access to the farm has been cut off, with several barricades blocking the road. Only the police and two farmers assisting in the negotiations have been allowed through. Contact with the couple has been only possible through their mobile telephone and by a two-way radio.
The situation in Macheke and the adjacent Virginia farming region remained tense at the weekend as dozens of farmers marched to the Macheke police station on Saturday morning to register their concerns. The farmers gathered at Macheke Country Club on Saturday, closely monitoring the events. Yesterday they said they would still try to persuade the police to provide help. War veterans have ordered 33 farmers in Macheke to stop planting tobacco and wheat. Farmers who defied the order are being harassed. There are about 70 farms in Macheke, and about half have been targeted for resettlement.
From The Star (SA), 25 June
Zimbabwe should obey its own rules – Mboweni
Although international investors had stopped punishing South Africa's economy for developments in Zimbabwe, South African Reserve Bank (SARB) governor Tito Mboweni said on Monday that it would "help a great deal" if Zimbabwe obeyed its own rules. Interviewed on BBC World Service's Hard Talk, Mboweni defended South Africa's approach to its northern neighbour, saying that vociferously condemning Zimbabwe would not have helped resolve the crisis: "After you have shouted the odds, what next?" He said that even though Zimbabwe had caused a lot of difficulties for the region, it still had to resolve its problems internally. Citing President Thabo Mbeki, Mboweni said that the demand for land reform in Zimbabwe was correct, but that it had to be done within the rule of law and that all stakeholders had to obey these laws. South Africa is not attracting enough direct foreign investment He said it was on this basis that South Africa's land reform program would be undertaken.
On the subject of the HIV and Aids pandemic, Mboweni said the government had recognised the need for education and was taking steps to increase workplace and school-based education. When pushed for more on the issue, he referred the interviewer to Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. He said although South Africa was not attracting enough direct foreign investment, it was now a very good investment destination with a stable macroeconomic framework even though progress still needed to be made on microeconomic reforms. Mboweni also skirted around the issue of his own alleged presidential ambitions, saying that he was now focusing all his attention on his duties at the central bank, which was, after all, a "much nicer place to be (than government)."
US Civil Suit – The Argument for Immunity
Further to the ongoing saga of the court case against President Mugabe, Stan Mudenge and others in the United States…
On a trip to New York last year, Mugabe, and Mudenge were served with a Complaint, detailing charges against them by the relatives of people killed by Zanu PF supporters in the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary elections. The Zimbabwe government then requested that the US government submit to the US Federal District Court a Suggestion of Immunity, arguing that as head-of-state, and foreign minister, they were not liable to be sued in the United States. This Suggestion of Immunity was submitted to the court by the US State Department. Attorneys for the Plaintiffs then submitted an Argument against Immunity, giving Plaintiffs’ reasons as to why the court should not defer to the State Department’s Suggestion of Immunity.
At the beginning of this month, attorneys for the State Department replied to the Plaintiffs’ Argument against Immunity with an Argument for Immunity, detailing the US State Department’s reasons for the court to grant immunity to Mugabe and Mudenge and dismiss the Complaint against them. This document is currently under consideration by the court.
If you would like us to email you a copy of this "Argument for Immunity", please let us know. "The Argument for Immunity" is 106 Kb in size – i.e. roughly twice the size of the average daily ZWNEWS - and will be sent in the form of a Word document as an attachment to an email message. It can also be read on our website –www.zwnews.com – as can the original "Complaint", and the "Argument against Immunity".
From The Daily News, 25 June
MDC to contest Justice Hlatshwayo’s appointment in petitions
The MDC yesterday said it planned contesting the appointment of Justice Ben Hlatshwayo to preside over election petitions filed by the party in the High Court. Learnmore Jongwe, the MDC’s secretary for information and publicity said the party’s legal team would be meeting this week to see if there were any "right signals from His Lordship (Hlatshwayo)’s office showing that he was declining presiding over the cases".
On Friday The Zimbabwe Independent reported that two High Court judges Justices Hlatshwayo and Rita Makarau would preside over electoral petitions in which the MDC is contesting the results of the June 2000 parliamentary election. Justice James Devittie, who had heard some of the cases resigned last month, citing a desire to devote his efforts in the area of judicial and legal reform, with the assistance of the Law Development Commission. He heard and subsequently nullified three electoral results in Buhera North, Hurungwe East and Mutoko South, which Zanu PF had won.
Jongwe said Hlatshwayo must recuse himself from the electoral petitions. He said: "If the judge does not recuse himself, the MDC would request him to do so through normal court procedures." Jongwe said: "In the event that His Lordship finds it impossible or unnecessary for him to recuse himself, we will no doubt be placed in an unenviable embarrassing situation of having to request that he recuses himself. The party sympathises with those raising serious concerns about Justice Hlatshwayo’s impartiality, as the public’s perception of him is that he is one of the ruling party’s functionaries on the bench."
Jongwe alleged Hlatshwayo was sympathetic to Zanu PF. "The general feeling of the public is that given the role he played on behalf of both the ruling party and the government in the Constitutional Commission which the MDC and other stakeholders successfully campaigned against, and his perceived personal friendship with Zanu PF’s deputy chief spokesperson, Professor Jonathan Moyo, he may not be an objective arbiter in a dispute involving the MDC and the ruling party. It is imperative that justice should not only be done but should be seen to be done."
According to The Zimbabwe Independent, the High Court appointed Hlatshwayo and Makarau to preside over the election petitions after most senior judges allegedly refused to handle the cases. The move to assign more judges to handle the hearings follows months of fighting between the MDC’s legal department and the High Court registrar, Jacob Manzungu, accused of delaying hearings on the petitions. The Judge president, Justice Paddington Garwe, yesterday said he could not comment as he was in Kenya on business for the next 10 days. He referred all the questions to Justice Vernanda Ziyambi. Justice Ziyambi declined to comment saying that she did not talk to the Press. Efforts to contact Justice Hlatshwayo for comment yesterday were fruitless.
From The Sunday Herald (UK), 24 June
Zimbabwe eclipsed as poor cousin Zambia wins fight for tourists
President Robert Mugabe is said to be delighted that no-one holds him personally responsible for the disappearance of the sun across a 120 miles wide path across central and southern Africa for three and a half minutes on Thursday afternoon. Ordinary Zimbabweans hold him responsible for the loss of almost everything else, including the tourism industry centered around Victoria Falls, a mile wide curtain of churning waters from the River Zambezi that plunges down a 300 feet chasm creating the most spectacular water fall in the world.
When Scottish-born missionary and explorer Dr David Livingstone saw the them for the first time in November 1855, he wrote in his diary that scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. Now, the century’s new angels - backpackers from Australia, New Zealand, the EU countries and Britain in skin tight cycling shorts and designer track suits - are winging their way to the other side of the Zambezi River. As civil war looms, even teenage bungee jumpers are moving to Zambia, boosting that country’s long stagnant economy by pumping millions of badly needed US dollars into an about-to-boom tourist sector.
This week, Zambia "eclipsed" Zimbabwe in the feverish run up to nature’s most spectacular trick. More than 20,000 foreign visitors watched the heavens from Lusaka - a mere 3,000 from Zimbabwe. Zambia’s Tourism Resources Manager Solistor Cheelo said that booking were "overwhelming" and that for a week all hotels, lodges, game parks and boarding houses were fully booked. Hotels that dotted the eclipse path were chock-a-block, in sharp contrast to the situation in Zimbabwe where bookings failed to match the confidence of politicians and media journalists from the state-controlled ZBC.
Originally, all the big tour operators had booked places for their clients in Zimbabwe. Then came land invasions, the brutal suppression of political opposition and the murder of black farm workers and half a dozen white farmers. "Tourists demanded to be switched to Zambia," said a spokesman for the Zambia National Tourist Board in Lusaka. "The same is happening with investment. Southern Sun in South Africa was planning hotels in Zimbabwe. One result of Mugabe’s land invasions is to scare away the people with big bucks and the result is tiny Livingstone on our side of the river now has another two hotels - one three stars, the other five stars." Said leading Zimbabwean hotelier Mostaff Matesanwa in Harare: "Zambia is becoming more competitive than us, despite the fact we have better resorts."
Last week, British Airways flew hundreds of tourists into Harare . The majority carried on to Lusaka. President Mugabe made it even worse for the few tourists who did pluck up the courage to stay in his violence wrecked country. He ordered his terrifying secret police - the East German trained CIO - to "keep an eye on visitors" and ensure their safety. British tourists told local reporters that they were "badly rattled" to find that policemen in sunglasses were following them around resorts and hotel corridors. Tourists are also boycotting Zimbabwe because of land invasions by lawless war "veterans" who are encouraging peasants to settle on areas occupied by wild animals for hundreds of years. Animals - the backbone of the Zimbabwean tourism industry which only a few years ago was the country’s number three earner of foreign exchange - are being slaughtered by Mugabe’s supporters for their hides, horns and other trophies.
Until the farm invasions started, the largest number of tourists to Zimbabwe came from Britain. During the first six months of 1999, almost 140,000 flew in.. That dropped to 74,000 the following year. This year, British arrivals will only a few thousand. Carl Sater, general manager of the famous Victoria Falls Hotel, looked around a hotel that should have been packed last week and declared: "The terrace should be packed with tourists. We’re normally 75 percent full all the year round. We’re down to 30 percent." While the British Government is advising people not to visit Zimbabwe, trips to Zambia are encouraged.
The relationship between Zambia and Zimbabwe over the last few decades has been extraordinary. Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) gained its independence from Britain in October 1964. Black rule came easily to a country where white settlers were few in number and where copper was the only main resource. The following year, in November 1965, Ian Smith declared his infamous UDI and the two former partners in the Central African Federation (1953-1958) were deadly enemies. But that fierce rivalry - which ended with Zimbabwe’s Independence in April 1980 - meant that the precious Victoria Falls and the delicate ecology around it thrived.
Hardly a soul visited the falls until 1981 when a terrifying "Disneyland" style boom began on the Zimbabwe side of the river. Ecologists warned that unless tourism was curtailed and controlled the Victoria Falls environment would be wrecked, as tourists frightened away animals and stole fauna in the unique Rain Forest -sometimes even rocks and stones from the Zambezi River as souvenirs of their stay in Dr Livingstone’s Africa.
After 1980, Zambia was regarded as a "poor cousin" of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. Today, the activities of a power-crazed African despot in Harare and his out-of-control supporters who are being encouraged by the country’s ruling party to hate anything that moves on white legs, have reversed the roles of the two neighbouring states. And the Zambians say their number one priority is to see that the Victoria Falls is protected from exploiters - blacks as well as whites. Said Nicholas Katanwkwa, Chairman of Livingstone Tourism Authority and director of Zambia’s National Heritage Commission: "It’s up to us now. No-one owns the Victoria Falls. It’s a World Heritage Site and must be treated as such. Very fast, uncontrolled developments on the Zimbabwean side of the Zambezi once threatened the Falls. Now things have changed, we must make sure that we Zambians don’t do the exploiting."
From The Star (SA), 26 June
Kinshasa blocking DRC peace moves, rebels say
Kigali - The main rebel movement in the DRC, the Rwandan-backed Rally for the Congolese Democracy (RCD), accused the Kinshasa government on Sunday of blocking moves to restore peace in the war-torn country. RCD Secretary-General Azarias Ruberwa said the Kinshasa government was supporting attacks by armed groups from the DRC into Rwanda and Burundi. He said the 1999 Lusaka accord, which provides for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the DRC, was in jeopardy and called on the international community to intervene to rescue the shaky ceasefire.
Ruberwa said armed groups backed by the DRC government and its allies were clashing daily with RCD forces and the Rwandan army both in the DRC and in Rwanda, adding that the situation in Burundi had also deteriorated, with an upsurge of activity by ethnic Hutu rebel factions, supported by Kinshasa, thus hindering the withdrawal of Rwandan and other foreign forces from the DRC. He said the Kinshasa government and Zimbabwe had massed forces in Kabinda, in Katanga province, taking over positions vacated by the RCD under the Lusaka agreement.
In the meantime, the RCD had formed two committees to prepare for the inter-Congolese dialogue, "showing that we are committed to ending this war by peaceful means," Ruberwa said, "but while we prepare ourselves for peace, we are obliged to get ready for yet another war". He said to demonstrate its commitment to peace, the RCD had invited Congolese opposition groups and well-known political figures to its Goma stronghold on June 30, to mark the 41st year of Congo's independence. Last month the DRC blocked opposition leaders from travelling to such a meeting.