Bulawayo - With few obvious
hassles, a local pressure group, Bulawayo Agenda, kicked off a string of
public meetings late last year. Twenty-nine gatherings, held as part of its
"township series", provided residents of townships with a rare platform to
speak out on issues of concern. Recurring complaints included poverty, the
hijacking of food aid by ruling party functionaries and rising transport
fares that were forcing commuters to walk long distances daily. Although most
expected the absence of official interference to end, particularly after the
grievances repeatedly pointed towards mis-governance, organisers admit they
were caught off guard when police turned down their application for an
evening meeting last Thursday. Under the Public Order and Security Act
(Posa), the police have to approve a public meeting in advance. Last week
officers simply said they no longer allow public meetings after 5pm. Gorden
Moyo, coordinator of Bulawayo Agenda, says by insisting that meetings are
held during the day, authorities plan to minimise attendance. After all,
people can't leave work. "It's tantamount to incapacitating us," he adds.
"The police's motive is people should not attend these meetings; they should
not voice - or hear - other views."
Bulawayo Agenda is not the
only organisation at the receiving end of the new police directive. Tabitha
Khumalo of the constitutional change pressure group, the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), says the organisation applied for permission
to hold a public meeting on February 26. Police turned down this request too,
citing the new regulation. "They just don't want us to talk," Khumalo says,
adding: "We are telling people the country's problems stem from the
Constitution." The NCA - which includes civic organisations, unions and
churches - maintains it is self-defeating for Zimbabweans to participate in
another election before a new constitution is in place. It maintains the
outcome of future elections is pre-determined, thanks to a skewed electoral
playing field that allows the ruling party to dominate. Moyo adds that, when
combined with the closure of the independent newspaper, The Daily News, the
meeting ban is part of a wider strategy to stem debate ahead of next year's
parliamentary elections. "The police are trying to gag us," he says. The
organisation believes participation leads to democracy and is gearing up for
more "debate, discussion and dialogue" in Bulawayo and the two Matabeleland
towns of Gwanda and Hwange.
In the meantime, Bulawayo Agenda
rescheduled its cancelled Thursday meeting for Saturday afternoon. The topic
- "Is the government's anti-corruption crusade a genuine policy or a mere
political calculation?" - remains unchanged. But chairperson Peter Khumalo is
not excited. "When you choose the time for a meeting you're considering the
audience. Usually people are ready towards the end of the week because they
want to relax, to chat." On weekends, however, he says most people are away.
When contacted for an explanation, provincial police spokesperson Inspector
Smile Dube referred questions to his superior, who was not available.
Inspector Shepherd Phiri, of the police's national press office, says
deciding who can hold a public meeting, and when, is at the discretion of the
officer commanding an area.
It is a spectacularly
entertaining sight, but, while it may resemble the grotesque extravagances of
a Hollywood set, there's nothing fictional about it. Although it is two
decades since he took office, President Robert Mugabe's security still takes
Zimbabweans by surprise. When Mugabe travels all traffic comes to a
stand-still. Motorists, rudely forced off the road by speeding motorcyclists,
watch in stunned awe as the presidential cavalcade speeds past. If the
motorcade is meant to frighten then it succeeds, even if only because of its
size and overbearing bodyguards' use of brute force. When the president is
moving around Harare he is usually accompanied by no fewer than nine vehicles
including four police bikes, an ambulance and, at times, an additional
top-of-the-range Mercedes. The cavalcade can get twice as big, particularly
when Mugabe's travelling outside the capital, when larger crowds increase the
perceived security threat. Typically the motorcade consists of several
Mercedes Benz vehicles, half of which are likely to be unmarked. Anonymous
security personnel occasionally shove automatic rifles beyond the luxury
cars' tinted windows. Clearly modesty and discretion are the least of their
concerns. The mainstay of the motorcade is two open Land Cruiser trucks. Each
transport about a dozen helmeted men, brandishing an assortment of heavy
weapons. Machine guns gleaming in the sun, the men often hang onto the trucks
as if they're ready to swing into action. It is a sight unlikely to leave
even the most lion-hearted observer untouched.
The president's own
ride, a new US$2,5-million custom-built Mercedes Benz, arrived in the country
in April 2002, just before the presidential election that the 80-year-old is
accused of stealing through intimidation, violence and rigging. The vehicle's
importation from Germany (at a time when Zimbabweans needed food aid and the
country was battling severe foreign currency shortages) met with whispered
disapproval. The purchase was made shortly before the European Union slapped
targeted sanctions on the former freedom fighter and his close associates.
Apart from its ample security features, the five tonne limo serves as a
mobile office that offers the president luxuries including access to the
Internet. So far, however, there's no evidence that the president spends any
of his time on the road exploring the world wide web. Cyberspace may be less
thrilling than the actual world he inhabits. At the December World Summit on
the Information Society, in Geneva, Mugabe accused the Western media of using
new technology for espionage to weaken the Third World.
security expert says Mugabe's lavish motorcade is not inconsistent with
security practice in dictatorships. "Go to Libya and you'll see the same
thing. If you'd been to Pakistan during Zia's time it was similar," he adds.
"I understand Saddam [Hussein] was the same as was [Nikolai] Ceausescu." A MP
with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Giles Mutsekwa,
contends that Mugabe's motorcade is so large because the president is
preparing himself for the possibility that, fed up with his oppressive rule,
Zimbabweans might do the unthinkable. "This is what Mugabe is readying
himself for," notes Mutsekwa, who is also the MDC's secretary for defence.
"It's not normal for someone who claims to have been democratically elected
not to want anyone near him." Officially, however, justification for Mugabe's
seemingly excessive security could be that he, while prime minister, survived
three assassination attempts. Curiously, the president has a history of
accusing political foes of plotting to assassinate him.
Mugabe charged the rival nationalist leader, Joshua Nkomo, and other Zapu
party officials of plotting to topple him. Although acquitted they
were imprisoned for seven years without being charged. In December 1997
another opposition leader, Ndabaningi Sithole, was convicted and sentenced to
two years' imprisonment for conspiring to assassinate the president. He
was accused in 1995of plotting to blow up the motorcade with a claymore
mine. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai currently faces two treason trials
for allegedly plotting on two separate occasions to eliminate Mugabe .
The charges against the MDC leadership are based on a disputed Australian
TV documentary, broadcast in February last year, where it appears
the opposition was planning to have Mugabe assassinated. In a meeting
with Canadian consultants, Tsvangirai is said to have discussed how to
proceed "after the head of state has been eliminated." The MDC, on the other
hand, claims the video footage is based on a trap, set by the Mugabe regime
under the supervision of a government lobbyist and former Israeli secret
service officer, Ari ben-Menashe. Since June Tsvangirai has also faced
another treason charge for allegedly backing a violent overthrow of the
government when he called for a five-day national strike.
therefore not unreasonable that Mugabe's security personnel could justify the
extravagant motorcade as a necessary assassination-deterrent. But that
explanation may not assuage the concerns of many Zimbabweans, who marvel at
the fact that the motorcade does not, for example, reflect the erratic fuel
supply that has resulted from foreign exchange shortages that some attribute
to the president's mismanagement. He, however, has blamed it, in part, on the
West. "We have never noticed Mugabe minimise himself on fuel," says Mutsekwa.
"You can imagine how much fuel that motorcade gobbles." The presidential limo
alone guzzles about 45 litres per 100km. Mutsekwa says his party believes in
more reasonable security for the president. "We'd go for a motorcade that is
purely ceremonial as opposed to fortifying your head of state." According to
Professor Mike Hough, the director of the Institute for Strategic Studies at
the University of Pretoria, VIPs face many obvious threats, such as
kidnapping. "In the case of Zimbabwe, the reactions to possible threats seem,
however, to verge on hysteria."
1: Re: JAG SITUATION REPORT 10TH MARCH 2004
This simply serves to confirm
that there is no negotiation as the thug element will insist on 100%
compliance to their selfish, criminal wishes.
Simon Spooner Letter 2:
Re: JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM 10TH MARCH 2004 - JAG OLF 243
Re two letters in OLF 243 (10.3.2004) on AgricAfrica, and Bed
Freeth's summarized letter to AgricAfrica. The most useful thing would be
if those responsible for "AgricAfrica" would enlighten all readers as
to: 1. The founding members, directors, and constitution of the
organisation; 2. The purpose of the organisation; 3. Details of who gets
the other 96% of the compensation; 3. A general letter to canvass support
openly for the organisation.
Until now, these three letters are the first
sign of any "new" organisation, with few to no facts available to readers
to assess it. Am interested in "original documents" from
All letters published
on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the submitters, and do
not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for Agriculture.
- Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate slowed slightly to 602.5% in February from
622.8% in January, official figures showed. The drop in consumer prices is
the first this year, a year that the central bank is certain inflation will
drop to below 200%.
The decline in inflation figures, cited by state
television "has been largely due to the drop in non-food
Despite the drop the rate remains one of the highest in the
world, translating to almost three times the January 2003 rate of
The government in November last year predicted the southern
African country's inflation rate would hit 700% in the first three months of
this year before climbing down.
Zimbabwe has in recent years been in
the throes of political, economic and social instability.
plot, south of Johannesburg, was the headquarters of the activities of the
mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe while on their way to oust the government of
Equatorial Guinea, City Press can reveal.
The 70 men in Zimbabwean
custody are mainly black former members of 32 Batallion, a mainly-black
special unit in the old SA Defence Force (SADF) that was used to track down
and torture freedom fighters.
These black members of the expedition were
paid R3 000 for the two weeks of training and as part payment for the coup;
the white members got R5 000. One of the men told his wife he would be paid
R16 000 a month and be allowed two weeks leave to return home.
mercenaries were being interrogated in Zimbabwe yesterday, with South African
officials on hand to help with translations.
After a wide-ranging
investigation and interviews with police, defence force personnel and
diplomatic sources into the arrest of the mercenaries in Zimbabwe, City Press
has established that: SA intelligence had been monitoring the plot in
Walkerville because the owner is a known rightwinger with ties to the
Boeremag. A raid on the premises is imminent. The group boarded the plane
at Wonderboom airport outside Pretoria but had to land in Polokwane to clear
customs. All of them were travelling on genuine SA passports, Home Affairs
director-general Barry Gilder said. The leaders of the expedition, Simon
Witherspoon and Simon Mann, had sourced arms and ammunition, including AK47
rifles, mortars and grenade launchers, from Zimbabwe Defence Industries
(ZDI), apparently because of the low price. They said the arms were to be
used for the defence of mining operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC). ZDI had informed Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
which encouraged the sale in order to ensure an arrest. By the time the
plane landed in Harare, the Zimbabwean security operation was in place to
effect the arrest. The black members of the expedition had not been told
where they were going, but it has since been established that the plane would
have flown to DRC before heading for Equatorial Guinea. SA intelligence
were unaware of the movements of the men, but once they got the information
of the arrest from Zimbabwe, they were able to make the connection with the
Walkerville activities. They informed President Thabo Mbeki, who then told
the president of Equatorial Guinea, Obiang Nguema. Fifteen men were then
arrested in that country, including Nick du Toit, who has since made a
confession. City Press understands that the coup in Equatorial Guinea was
backed by a Lebanese man known as Elly, a US citizen known only as Grant, the
Sher Foundation and Simon Mann. These four would constitute the nerve centre
of the new finance department in the post-coup government. Exiled
opposition leader Severo Moto Nsa, who is said to have paid Witherspoon and
his co-leaders US$10 million (R67 million) would arrive hours after the coup
and declare himself the new leader. Nguema would be exiled to Spain. The
Spanish government, and particularly Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, has
been linked by the mercenaries to the coup. He was alleged to be in line to
get oil concessions from Moto. A debate is raging between SA, Zimbabwe and
Equatorial Guinea about where the men should be tried. SA is known to be
unwilling to bring them back as they would face a lesser charge here of
contravention of the Foreign Military Assistance Act, with a fine of R6
Zimbabwe can only charge the pilots and flight operators for
false declaration of cargo, as the mercenaries had no plan to try to topple
the Zimbabwean government.
Government sources said South Africa was
unwilling to intervene and wanted the men's treatment to be an example for
other would-be soldiers of fortune.
Police Commissoner Jackie Selebi said
yesterday that Equatorial Guinea has formally asked for assistance with their
investigation, and this would be provided.
For white farmers, hope in Zambia Sharon
CHISAMBA, Zambia Douglas Watt is part of a most
curious diaspora in southern Africa - prosperous white farmers, vilified as
greedy racists and driven out of Zimbabwe, looking for a home. . Watt
left the county of his birth almost a year ago after what has become a common
encounter there: the husband of a worker in President Robert Mugabe's office
politely told him that he was taking over his farm and that Watt had 90 days
to get out. . He is one of as many as 140 white Zimbabwean farmers who
have relocated to neighboring Zambia, hoping, many say, for a mix of racial
harmony and political stability that will enable them to prosper and
contribute to black Africa. . Both for the farmers and for the Zambian
government, the migration amounts to a new experiment on an issue central to
the whole region: How do whites fit in? . While Zimbabwe has been
uprooting its white farmers in an aggressive attempt to redistribute
colonial-era landholdings, Zambian officials, if a trifle warily, have rolled
out the welcome mat. . They are hoping that farmers like Watt will breathe
new life into the nation's moribund farming sector, which has been mired at
the rake-and-hoe level since the mid-1970s. . For their part, some of
the transplanted farmers say Zimbabwe has taught them that they need to
integrate, not just prosper. . Watt drove around Zambia for three weeks
before he found 650 hectares, or 1,600 acres, to lease near this one-street
village, with a post office, police station and food market north of Zambia's
capital, Lusaka. . Pasture and brush just 11 months ago, the gently
rolling land is now about a meter and a half, or about five feet, high in
green tobacco plants tended by 240 workers. Huge yellow sheaves of tobacco
are hung to cure in 15 shiny sheds by a new blocklong warehouse. . Watt
has sunk $900,000 into his new farm, most of it borrowed from a bank and from
Universal Leaf Tobacco, based in Richmond, Virginia. . "I have put every
cent I have into this," Watt, 38, said, sitting in the dining room of his new
ranch style house. "I've got more invested here than I ever did in Zimbabwe.
We will be an asset to the country." . Watt's move continues a long
pattern of whites, increasingly uncertain of their welcome, who have
hopscotched around the southern end of the continent over the past four
decades. . His shift reverses that of his parents, 40 years ago. Back when
this country was still called Northern Rhodesia and chafed under colonial
rule, Roy and Ria Watt comfortably raised tobacco and corn on 1,600 lush
hectares. In 1964, when white-minority rule crumbled and the country became
Zambia, the Watts, fearful of their future under a new black-led government,
fled to Zimbabwe. . Today their son is convinced that his parents bet
on the wrong country. . Douglas Watt describes Zambia as everything that
Zimbabwe is no longer: racially tolerant, law-abiding, moderate and desperate
for investment after disastrous post-independence economic policies reduced
the nation to a beggar for foreign handouts and loans. Critics say Mugabe's
policies are accomplishing much the same in Zimbabwe today. . Also
unlike Zimbabwe - or South Africa, for that matter - Zambia has good land in
abundance: about 60 percent of the countryside is arable, but less than 10
percent is actively farmed. In a country of 10 million, there are no more
than 450 commercial farmers, including the Zimbabweans. . "We think there
is a large vacuum to fill," said Chance Kabaghe, deputy minister for
agriculture, in an interview in a dilapidated office building in Lusaka.
"That's why we have been so open." . For Zambia, the money and know-how of
white farmers could help the nation climb out of the hole it fell into with
the decline of its copper mines and nationalization of land after
independence. . Aided by open government policies on leasing and
investment - and by America's tobacco industry, which is underwriting much of
the farm-building - farmers like Watt are already creating a more modest
version of Zimbabwe's once mighty tobacco industry, which has been left in
ruins after three years of land seizures. . One of the world's leading
exporters of tobacco in the 1990s, Zimbabwe's output has fallen by
three-fourths. Only about 500 of its 4,500 white commercial farmers are still
in operation. . Most of the rest are waiting out Mugabe's reign in
Zimbabwe's cities; perhaps a third have fled to neighboring countries like
Zambia or Mozambique or have left the continent altogether. . Zambia is
taking up some of the slack, doubling its tobacco production this year alone.
By 2008, analysts predict it will produce 37.2 million kilograms, or 82
million pounds, of flue-cured tobacco a year. That is twice the yield than in
the mid-1970s, before farmland was nationalized - although still far less
than Zimbabwe and Malawi each produce now. . Government officials see a
new revenue stream of fees and taxes, plus the potential for fertilizer
stores, irrigation equipment and even a tobacco processing plant like the one
now operating at a quarter of its capacity in Zimbabwe. . "We think we
have benefited from the farmers who have come in," said Kabaghe, the deputy
minister for agriculture. "We are very proud of them. Our tobacco industry is
now booming." . At the same time, no official here wants the success of
white farmers to be too visible, lest it irritate Mugabe, whom Zambia's
leaders have publicly supported. Even more importantly, they do not want to
engender the sort of racial backlash here that has helped spur Zimbabwe's
land takeovers and that is building in both South Africa and
Namibia. . Nor do the tobacco companies want to be seen as the benefactors
of only whites. Universal Leaf says it wants to develop 40 to 50
smaller, black-owned commercial farms near the white-owned farms. . The
New York Times
EDITORIAL March 13, 2004 Posted to the web March 12,
CAMPAIGNING ahead of the Zengeza parliamentary
by-election is gathering momentum.
Four political parties - the ruling
Zanu-PF, National Alliance for Good Governance, Zanu and the MDC - have
fielded candidates for the poll, set for March 27 and 28.
by-election is being held to fill the seat left vacant when
MDC parliamentarian Mr Tafadzwa Musekiwa who joined scores of economic
refugees in Britain after claiming that his life was in danger in
Mr Musekiwa now lives in self-imposed exile.
there have been reports of minor skirmishes between supporters of some of the
parties vying for the seat.
Indications are that those who have been
involved in these deplorable skirmishes are from the MDC and
We call upon supporters of all parties involved in this
by-election to immediately stop this horseplay and campaign
Violence, known in MDC circles as jambanja, begets violence
and does not win votes. Rather than try to clobber people into submission,
those that have been tasked with campaigning should explain what their party
or candidates have to offer and let people make their own choices
We are, however, heartened by the fact that all those that have
been seen to be fanning violence in the Zengeza by-election campaign are
misguided miscreants who do not seem to be acting on orders from their
leaders or candidates.
To their immense credit, Zanu-PF and MDC
candidates, together with their campaign officials, recently held a meeting
with officials from the Electoral Supervisory Commission during which they
deplored violence and pledged to campaign peacefully.
progressive recommendations were adopted during the meeting to ensure that
campaigning and voting proceed in even tenor.
Among the recommendations
was that no outsiders would be allowed to worm their way into the
constituency for the purposes of campaigning. Any outsider caught doing this
would be shown out of the constituency.
We challenge the electorate in
Zengeza to take a cue from their leaders in ensuring that violence does not
mar the poll.
The whole nation watched with admiration and respect as
Zanu-PF'S retired Air Chief Marshal Josiah Tungamirai and MDC's Mr Crispa
Musoni - both candidates in the Gutu North parliamentary by-election -
embraced each other after the former had trounced the latter by about 14 000
votes last month.
The Gutu North by-election was remarkably peaceful and
fair, prompting the losing candidate to pledge to work with the
The same can happen in Zengeza.
We call upon the
police and other law enforcement agencies to deploy sufficiently in Zengeza
and to act decisively against all perpetrators of violence so that people can
exercise their right to vote without fear.
Tolerance during the campaign
and unity after the poll is what we expect in Zengeza.
Makamba's winding, complex journey to gain back
By Alfred Chagonda BUSINESSMAN and politician James Makamba
has had a winding and complex journey to gain back his liberty in the courts,
but this has so far been a case of so near and yet so far
Makamba, who is languishing at Harare Remand Prison on allegations
of externalising billions of dollars in both local and foreign currency,
has made six attempts to be released on bail but to no avail.
courts' hands are tied by the recently gazetted
Besides staying in custody, the
businessman will have to fork out millions of dollars in legal
Senior lawyers charge an average of $80 000 an hour for bail
applications, but this depends on the nature of the case, the time the lawyer
is handling the case and also the time required to prepare the case's papers,
among other varying factors.
After making those bail attempts that
last at least four hours each, the businessman's legal bill could now be
approaching the figure of $10 million.
Since February 9 when the former
radio disc jockey-turned-businessman-cum-politician was arrested soon after
arriving from South Africa, life has not been rosy for him.
became the second prominent businessman and politician after Chinhoyi Member
of Parliament Phillip Chiyangwa to be arrested as police continue to
clampdown on corruption and illegal economic activities.
He has been to
the Harare magistrates' courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court in a bid
to be freed on bail but without any success.
Through his defence team of
Mr Godfrey Mamvura, Mr Thakor Kewada and Mr Joseph Mafusire led by Mr
Sternford Moyo, all of Scanlen and Holderness, Makamba has challenged the
constitutionality of the anti-corruption regulations.
He said the
provisions purporting to bar judicial officers from admitting a person to
bail were not applicable in his case.
The Presidential Powers (Temporary
Measures) (Amendment of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations of
2004 were gazetted on February 13 to facilitate the investigation and
prosecution of crimes affecting the economic interests of the
Under the anti-corruption regulations, a person charged for
corruption, money laundering, laundering of proceeds of crime,
externalisation of foreign currency whether directly or through pricing,
unauthorised dealings in gold or other precious stones may not be granted
bail by the courts.
His lawyers argue that he could deposit $40 million
with the court, surrender title deeds of immovable property, report to the
police daily and surrender his travel documents as his bail
They said Makamba was not likely to face a custodial sentence
and there was no way he could flee Zimbabwe because he had investments worth
billions of dollars in real estate, apart from owning a farm and running
Makamba first appeared at the Harare magistrates' court on
February 14 and he was remanded in custody to February 27 to give police more
time to investigate the allegations levelled against him.
16, he made an urgent chamber application before Justice Antonia Guvava of
the High Court but the judge dismissed his application citing
the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations of 2004.
dismissed Makamba's bail application saying it was clear that having found
that the businessman was placed in detention in terms of the regulations, the
court has no jurisdiction to determine the application for bail in such
The State, represented by Mr Vincent Shava, opposed bail saying
Makamba could only seek his liberty if there is a change of circumstances to
warrant the court to release him.
On February 24, Makamba made another
bid, this time in chambers before Supreme Court judge Justice Vernanda
However, the State opposed bail saying there was no basis for
him to challenge the new regulations.
Justice Ziyambi on February 26
ruled that the regulations were patently unconstitutional, but referred the
matter back to the High Court.
She said both the State and Makamba's
defence lawyers could submit evidence that another judge could use to make a
ruling on whether it was practical or not to release him on bail.
said that the Statutory Instrument amending the Criminal Procedure
and Evidence Act removed the discretion of the presiding law officer to
decide on bail.
Justice Ziyambi said she could not strike down the
provision as that required a ruling by the full bench of the Supreme
Makamba challenged the constitutionality of the regulations before
a full bench of the Supreme Court on March 3, but his case was referred back
to the High Court because of procedural irregularities.
Chitakunye who heard the submissions in his chambers on March 8 dismissed the
bail application saying Makamba might interfere with
The judge said Makamba could, however, come back to
court after three or four weeks to make another fresh bail
Last week, Makamba whose next routine remand hearing in the
magistrate court is March 15, was summoned to the High Court after the police
indicated to the court that they could level fresh allegations of possession
of two valid Zimbabwean passports against him.
Makamba agreed that he
possessed the two passports, but said the older one that was issued in 2001
was full. He said he still travels with it because it had multiple United
States and British visas that were valid for five years.
Justice Chitakunye that he operated a Nedbank account in
Sandton, Johannesburg, which had about R5 000 and a Bank of Ireland account
with about 25 000 British pounds that was donated to his family by the
late Lonrho boss Mr Tiny Rowland.
Makamba said if granted bail, he
would not abscond because he owned a house in the posh Kambanji suburb whose
address was Number 8 Rowland Close valued at more than $2 billion and six
other properties worth a combined $15 billion, apart from running
supermarkets in the country.
He said he did not own property outside the
country but for the past seven years, he had been getting interested in
finding how much houses in other countries fetched on the open
His lawyer suggested to the court that he could deposit $40
million with the court, security in immovable property, surrender travel
documents and report everyday to the police.
That was vehemently
rejected by Mr Chengetai Gwatidzo who represented the State who said Makamba
was looking for houses to purchase outside the country and the likelihood
that he would abscond if granted bail was real.
"Telecel, where he was
chairman, has already been convicted of similar charges of externalising
foreign currency and investigations are still in progress, so he can not be
released on bail," said Mr Gwatidzo.
Makamba, a founder member of
Telecel, the country's third biggest cellular operating company was ousted in
a boardroom coup while in detention.
Justice Chitakunye later dismissed
his bail application saying Makamba might interfere with
The judge, however, said Makamba could come back to court
after three or four weeks to make a fresh bail
"Considering that the onus is on the applicant to show that
the interest of justice would not be compromised in the circumstances,
investigations have to be carried outside the country and such investigations
should not be tempered with.
"There is risk of applicant interfering
with investigations," said Justice Chitakunye.
But Makamba's lawyers
on Thursday filed a notice of appeal at the High Court seeking leave to
appeal to the Supreme Court for the businessman's liberty.
arguing that Justice Chitakunye misdirected himself when he dismissed
Makamba's bail application.
Mr Moyo said the judge was not entitled,
without any evidence to come to the conclusion that the police required three
to four weeks before another bail application could be considered in the
Legal experts said under the anti-corruption regulations it would
be difficult for the courts to grant Makamba bail.
"If you put a close
eye on those regulations, it is clear that no court has jurisdiction to grant
bail, except in special circumstances, lets say if the State fails to
establish a prima facie case against the accused," said a leading Harare
lawyer who declined to be named.
Speculation grows as Equatorial
Guinea claims plot to kill president was foiled
Pallister Saturday March 13, 2004 The Guardian
The light was
beginning to fade over Harare international airport last Sunday when the
40-year-old white Boeing 727 with a US registration number landed and taxied
to the cargo area. With its cabin lights dimmed, the pilot indicated he
wanted to refuel before flying on. He declared a crew of three and four cargo
handlers. The Zimbabwean authorities were suspicious, not least because
their intelligence told them that some interesting characters were to meet
the flight. The South Africans, too, appeared to know what was afoot.
Within hours an extraordinary story unfolded to mirror the intrigue of
Frederick Forsyth's Dogs of War, in which a multinational company hires a
bunch of mercenaries to overthrow an African dictator - based on a 1973 coup
attempt in Equatorial Guinea.
This was not just a case of life
imitating art; it seemed as if history was repeating itself. Could the dogs
of war that plagued the African continent a generation ago be back? The
Zimbabweans found 64 men on the plane - 20 South Africans, 18 Namibians, 23
Angolans, two Congolese (from the Democratic Republic of Congo) and one
Zimbabwean with a South African passport - as well as "military material".
This turned out to be camouflage uniforms, sleeping bags, compasses and wire
Some of the men were said to have been
former members of the notorious 32 Commando of the South African defence
force, a clandestine unit of the apartheid regime who went on to join the
equally controversial private military company Executive Outcomes, which
carried out military operations for the governments of Sierra Leone and
Angola in the 1990s. It was formally disbanded in 1999, largely in response
to South Africa's Foreign Military Assistance Act, which outlaws mercenary
As speculation about mercenary adventurers grew, Zimbabwe
also announced that it had arrested a former British SAS soldier, Simon Mann,
who had arrived at the airport to meet the plane. He had helped to establish
EO and its British associate, Sandline International - the military company
that helped Sierra Leone beat the rebel group RUF.
Mr Mann, ministers
said, had been in Harare in February with a South African called Nick du
Toit, apparently seeking to buy arms. The pilots were identified as Niel
Steyl, a South African commercial pilot, and Hendrik Hamman, a Namibian. Both
had in the past worked for Executive Outcomes.
As the revelations
accelerated, the plot spiralled into the surreal. On Tuesday the information
minister of Equatorial Guinea, Agustin Nze Nfumu, dramatically announced that
15 men - from South Africa, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Germany - had been
arrested for "plotting to kill the president", Teodoro Obiang, and that their
ringleader had confessed.
He said one of the men had claimed the group
was acting on behalf of Ely Calil, a Lebanese businessman close to Severo
Moto, self-proclaimed president of a so-called Equatorial Guinean
government-in-exile in Spain, who had tried to mount a coup in
Mr Calil, who has British and Senegalese citizenship, lives in a
high-gated mansion in one of the more exclusive areas of Chelsea, west
London. He is an adviser to the Senegalese president and reportedly carries a
Two years ago he was arrested in Paris and
interrogated by the magistrate investigating the Elf oil scandal about his
role in handling commissions for the late Nigerian strongman Sani
Mr Calil declined to be interviewed by the Guardian. But he told
the London-based newsletter, Africa Confidential, that he had no connection
to the coup plot. However, he agreed that he was a friend of the
opposition leader and had given him "modest" financial support.
Moto has also vigorously denied the allegation, accusing Mr Obiang of being
"an authentic cannibal". He told Spanish radio: "Obiang wants me to go back
to Guinea and eat my testicles. That's clear."
As the allegations
swirled, the company that owns the plane, Logo Logistics, was desperately
trying to put its side of the story. An Englishman, Charles Burrow, a senior
executive, told the Guardian that the men had been travelling to the DRC to
guard several mineral concessions. They had stopped off in Harare to buy some
"ancilliary mining-related equipment". Zimbabwe, he said,was "one of the
cheapest places on the planet".
The plane's flight plan did show that it
was heading to Bujumbura in Burundi on Congo's eastern border. Mr Burrows
explained that Logo had been set up three years ago, registered in the
British Virgin Islands and administered from Guernsey. He himself was based
in Dubai. He conceded that Mr Mann was an executive of the
"My first priority is the safety of these men," he said. As for
the coup allegations: "I haven't the foggiest idea what they're talking
Events then took a dramatic turn. On
Wednesday evening, as the Zimbabweans said the arrested men could face the
death penalty and accused the secret services of Britain, the US and Spain of
being behind the plot, Equatorial Guinea television broadcast an interview
with Mr Du Toit.
Translated from his English into Spanish, he said: "It
wasn't a question of taking the life of the head of state but of spiriting
him away, taking him to Spain and forcing him into exile and then of
immediately installing the government-in-exile of Severo Moto. The group was
supposed to start by identifying strategic targets such as the presidency,
the military barracks, police posts and the residences of government
"Then it was supposed to have vehicles at Malabo airport to
transport other mercenaries who were due to arrive from South Africa. But at
the last minute I got a call to say that the other group of mercenaries had
been arrested in South Africa as they were preparing to leave the
Contacted again by the Guardian, Mr Burrows acknowledged that
Mr Du Toit worked for Logo. "We have five people in the country working on
three contracts for the government," he said. He also acknowledged that he
knew Mr Calil, but denied having any commercial relationship with
Back in Harare the allegations were becoming firmer. Zimbabwe's home
affairs minister, Kembo Mohadi, told a news conference that the heads of the
police and army in Equatorial Guinea had gone along with the plot against
the government. "The western intelligence services persuaded Equatorial
Guinea's service chiefs not to put up any resistance, but to cooperate with
the coup plotters," he said.
He claimed that the leader of the group,
Mr Mann, had allegedly been promised cash payment of £1m and oil mining
rights and that Mr Moto had hired them. And in an aside which will delight
007 fans, he said one of the conspirators who had carried out surveillance in
the Guinea capital of Malabo was called "Bonds".
Then came the
bombshell. Mr Mohadi claimed that, in what appears to have been a Zimbabwean
sting, Colonel Tshinga Dube, director of Zimbabwe Defence Industries, had
accepted $180,000 (£100,000) from Mr Mann for a consignment of AK-47s,
mortars and 30,000 rounds of ammunition. A more murky interpretation,
however, was provided by the Afrikaans daily, Beeld, which reported that Col
Dube had been "enraged" that the aircraft was impounded and the transaction
Whatever the truth of that, it now seems clear that both South
African and Zimbabwean intelligence had wind of a suspicious operation, which
explains why President Obiang praised Thabo Mkbeki in his television
"We spoke with the South African president, who warned us that a
group of mercenaries was heading towards Equatorial Guinea," he
Yesterday Mr Mohadi said the 67 men would be charged with
destabilising a sovereign state.
understands that some of the alleged plotters had been remarkably indiscreet
about their plans. Rumours of a coup have been rife in Malabo for weeks,
according to several sources familiar with the territory. So the questions
remain: Why Equatorial Guinea? Why now? And in whose interests?
answers can be summed up in one word: oil. Until 1995 Equatorial Guinea, a
former Spanish colony, was an impoverished backwater with a population
of less than half a million. After independence in 1968, it was ruled by
Mr Obiang's uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who acquired as vicious
a reputation as any of the other murderous African dictators.
over Christmas, he ordered his militia to kill 150 political prisoners in
Malabo stadium as loudspeakers played Those Were the Days, My Friend. During
his reign of terror a third of the population fled.
Mr Obiang seized
power from his uncle in 1979 and, although he introduced a consitutional
democracy, elections have been widely regarded as fraudulent and opponents
often end up in jail.
The discovery of oil in the mid-1990s transformed
the country's finances, and provided the president and his family with funds
to acquire multimillion dollar properties in the US. With American oil
companies in the lead, production last year at 350,000 barrels a day made
Equatorial Guinea the third largest producer in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fears over the well-being of the South Africans
held in jails in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea continue to increase as they
are denied access to their families or lawyers.
Adding to these fears
is information received that of the 15 South Africans arrested in Equatorial
Guinea, eight are businessmen from major South African construction
They had been invited by that country to help build up its
The 15 South Africans, along with 20 of their countrymen
in Zimbabwe, were arrested after a planned coup to take over the government
of Equatorial Guinea was discovered on Sunday.
International was worried whether they would be granted a free and fair
trial The coup is believed to have been organised by former members of
Executive Outcomes, a firm which hired out mercenaries across Africa, Simon
Mann, Simon Witherspoon and Nick du Toit.
The 15 South Africans in
Equatorial Guinea were arrested hours before Mann and the 64 passengers on
board the Boeing 727-100 were arrested at Harare International
A source within the construction industry has revealed that two
groups of 20 people each had departed for Equatorial Guinea during the past
month. The second group, along with five members of the first party, returned
last week, 48 hours before the arrests took place.
It is believed that
the eight remaining members of the group, who were involved in in-depth
discussions with Equatorial Guinea's president and ministers of minerals and
energy, agriculture and land development and transport, are among those who
were rounded up with Du Toit and his advanced group of suspected mercenaries
It is believed that the group, who are under house arrest
and have been prevented from contacting their families in South Africa, were
rounded up as part of a prevention plan to stop the coup.
International spokesperson Samkelo Mokhine said they were concerned that the
South African government had not yet been granted access to the prisoners. He
said Amnesty International was worried whether they would be granted a free
and fair trial.
"We are also worried about the businessmen who were
rounded up with the other men in Equatorial Guinea. Amnesty International is
investigating allegations that the men's families and lawyers have not been
allowed access to them as well."
The England and Wales Cricket Board will meet
with players next month before deciding whether this autumn's tour of
Zimbabwe will take place.
A decision over whether England should visit
the strife-torn country has been put off as the ECB test both the legal
position and the depth of feeling at home.
The ECB hope to justify
pulling out on moral grounds but are under pressure from their fellow members
of the International Cricket Council to fulfil their obligations to
ECB chairman David Morgan, who attended the ICC's autumn meeting in
New Zealand this week, told Sky Sports News: "It was very clear that all
members of the ICC are keen that we should fulfil our commitments to tour
"We shall be discussing the issue over the coming months. We
have to take many things into account.
"The players are a very
important element in this and I shall be in Barbados for the third Test
(against West Indies) and shall be talking with the players and the
management about the tour (to Zimbabwe).
"We are not dithering. We
undertook to postpone any decision on the tour until after the autumn
meetings (of the ICC).
"We shall be discussing it at our board meeting at
the end of this month and at the board meeting in April.
"We want to
evaluate all the issues and test the legal position."
The ECB can avoid
penalty for withdrawing from the tour if they can prove a case of 'force
majeure', whereby the Government order them not to travel.
Government have made clear their opposition but Morgan admits they are
unlikely to go as far as issuing an order.
"It is quite clear that the
Government is against the tour going ahead," he said. "They have the support
of the two opposition parties.
"In our political system it's unlikely
that the Government is going to issue an instruction to a body like the ECB
that they shouldn't tour.
"It's clear the Government doesn't approve of
the tour going ahead. Our legal advice is that this could provide a force
majeure and we may have to test that."
The ECB would look to provide
financial assistance to the Zimbabwe Cricket Union to soften the blow if they
decided not to go ahead with the tour.
Morgan said: "We would wish to
provide some assistance to Zimbabwe. If force majeure was proved we would not
have to pay a fine