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Gwisai and other detained activists granted bail

By Alex Bell
16 March 2011

Human rights activist Munyaradzi Gwisai and five others, detained on treason
charges in Harare, were on Wednesday granted bail, more than three weeks
since their arrest.

The group, who have been held in solitary confinement for more than a week,
appeared in a Harare court on Wednesday for a bail hearing. The judge
granted them US$2000 bail each, with conditions to report three times a week
to the police.

SW Radio Africa’s correspondent Simon Muchemwa said that the judge, who also
presided over the bail application made by MDC Minister Elton Mangoma on
Tuesday, ‘discredited’ the state’s case. Mangoma was also released on bail
on Tuesday.

“The judge basically said that the state’s charges of treason were
malicious. It was clearly apparent, from what the state prosecutor was
saying, that this was just a malicious attempt to punish these people,”
Muchemwa said.

Gwisai, together with Antoinette Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma,
Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto, were arrested along with 39 others last
month. The group was attending a meeting to discuss recent civil uprisings
in North Africa and were watching television footage of some of the public
protest against the oppressive regimes in Egypt and Tunisia. But the meeting
was raided by police after a tip-off, and the group was arrested. 39 members
of the group were finally released last week, with a judge saying they had
no case to answer.

But the group was set to spend another night behind bars on Wednesday while
their legal team tried to gather the total bail payment of US$12 000.
Muchemwa meanwhile said it was encouraging that the state prosecutors left
the court in a hurry after the judge’s bail ruling, saying it was unlikely
that the state will try to appeal the decision. A spate of arrests of
activists and MDC members has resulted in an international outcry, with
growing calls for the charges to be dropped.

Wednesday meanwhile continued to be an encouraging day, with more arrested
people being released. Seven MDC youth activists and three employees who
were facing charges of assault were released from police custody on
Wednesday, after the police said they could not find the alleged
complainant. The 10 were arrested at Harvest House, the MDC head office, on
Sunday night but no charges could be laid against them as there was no

At the same time, in Nyanga district Manicaland province, five MDC members
who were in remand prison on allegations of political violence were granted
bail on Tuesday. Paul Mawadza, Zivanai Chimbudzi, Freedom Kanjira,
Chamunorwa Mukoto and Andrew Nyabasa were each granted US$50 bail by a
Nyanga magistrate.

However two MDC activists, Taona Chikono and Oliver Mukombwe from Chipadze
in Bindura, were arrested on Wednesday morning on charges of assault, which
the MDC said in a statement were ‘forged’. They are in custody at Bindura
Central Police Station.

Also on Wednesday a Bulawayo court denied bail to a man who was arrested
over a comment he made on the social networking website, Facebook. Vikas
Mavhudzi was arrested in Bulawayo last month, over innocuous comments he
made on Morgan Tsvangirai Facebook page. He is now facing charges of

According to state prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa, the 39-year- old had
'unlawfully' suggested to Tsvangirai 'the taking over or attempt to take
over the government by unconstitutional means or usurping the functions of
the government.'

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Judge describes Robert Mugabe's case on Mangoma as "weak"

15 March, 2011 09:45:00    (RadioVop)

Harare - High Court Judge Justice Samuel Kudya on Tuesday ripped through the
State case against Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma
describing it as “weak” as he granted bail to the troubled Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) Deputy-Treasurer-General.

Justice Kudya ruled that the State’s case against Mangoma, who was arrested
and detained last week for alleged criminal abuse of duty appears to be weak
and would not induce Mangoma to abscond as had been feared by the State.

But it seems to me that in the absence of evidence that the applicant
personally benefited from the deal, his actions were prompted by a national
crisis. As Minister responsible for energy all Zimbabweans looked up to him
to provide a quick solution to the problem. His well meaning response to a
national emergency may prove highly mitigatory.

"Courts do accept that at times paths to hell are often paved by good
intentions. Those good intentions may prove highly mitigatory,” said Justice
Kudya as he delivered his ruling in a packed court room on Thursday

Justice Kudya ordered Mangoma to deposit US$5 000 with the clerk of court
and to report once every Wednesday to Marlborough Police Station. The MDC
treasurer-general was also ordered to surrender his passport, continue
residing at his given residential address and not to interfere with

Senior MDC officials and ministers among Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani
Khupe, Nelson Chamisa, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Gorden Moyo, Tapiwa Mashakada
and Heneri Dzinotyiwei were present when ruling was delivered.

The bail ruling came after Mangoma’s lawyer Selby Hwacha filed a bail
application which was opposed by the State, which was represented by Chris
Mutangadura, the chief law officer in the Attorney General’s Office.

Mangoma, who was charged with criminal abuse of duty as a public officer was
arrested last Thursday at his offices.

The State accuse Mangoma of unlawfully abusing his office as Energy and
Power Development Minister by ordering his subordinates to procure five
million litres of diesel from a South African company, Nooa Petroleum
without following tender procedures.

Meanwhile police were still holding 10 MDC officials and activists arrested
at the party’s Harvest House headquarters on Sunday night without charge,
the party’s spokesperson said Tuesday.

MDC-T spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa said no charges had been preferred by the
police since the law enforcement agents picked up the 10 on Sunday. He said
his party has already instructed their lawyers to know why the police
arrested the officials and ensure that the 10 are released from police

“No charges have been preferred to our officials arrested by police and we
wonder why? Like any other MDC people who are arrested, they have no case to
answer. These were simply boys and girls who were arrested at their party
headquarters for no reason,” Chamisa said.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the leader of the MDC-T last week
complained about the arrests of his party officials and activists in the
past two months since the beginning of this year. The premier said the
violence and arrests of his party activists were being orchestrated by state
security institutions.

"From January 2011 up to today, we have seen an increase in incidences of
violence and assaults on the people of Zimbabwe. This has included the
destruction of people’s homes and property in Mbare and the displacement of
1 200 MDC cadres," Tsvangirai said.

"The violence in Mbare coincided with the massive deployment of soldiers to
terrorise innocent civilians in the countryside. People are being
force-marched to attend rallies and there has been an upsurge in cases of
intimidation and State-sponsored violence in the countryside."

Tsvangirai said the clampdown on his party is reminiscent of 2008 deadly
violence that led to over 200 of his supporters being killed towards the
presidential run-off. He said Zanu (PF) supporters accused of the murders
are yet to face any prosecution.

"Zanu (PF) cadres and securocrats who murdered people in the run-up to the
27 June election are roaming free and no criminal charges have been pressed
against the murderers of Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika and the other
200 victims of the 2008 violence," he said.

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ZANU PF crackdown on activists continues

By Alex Bell
16 March 2011

The ZANU PF led crackdown on human rights activists and NGOs has continued
this week, with leading action groups coming under threat.

On Tuesday police officers from Harare Central Police Station raided the
offices of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, before going on to search the
home of the group’s Director, MacDonald Lewanika. The police were armed with
a search warrant signed by Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzu. They said
they were looking for anything ‘subversive’, such as t-shirts, documents,
fliers, or anything incriminating.

The officers confiscated copies of the Crisis Coalition’s ‘Civil Society
Monitoring Mechanism’ reports, as well as copies of the ‘Legal Monitor’,
published by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

The raid comes a few days after Lewanika was arrested and detained for
several hours, on his way to a concert in Chitungwiza on Saturday. He was
eventually released but was told on Monday that he was being charged with
‘behaving in a way that can disrupt peace’.

Meanwhile, police have once again summoned Abel Chikomo, the director of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, to report to Harare Central Police Station.
Chikomo on Monday reported to the police in the company of his lawyer
Harrison Nkomo and was set to return on Wednesday. Over the last few months,
Chikomo has been repeatedly interrogated and told to report to the police,
in connection with some of the activities carried out by the Forum. This
includes the recently launched Campaign against Torture, the Transitional
Justice National Survey and several press statements issued this year about
the resurgence of politically motivated violence.

International human rights defenders group, The Observatory for the
Protection of Human Rights Defenders, on Wednesday said it was concerned
that “these acts form part of an ongoing trend of harassment by the Zimbabwe
Republic Police against the Forum and more generally against human rights
defenders in the country.”

The Observatory is a joint programme of the International Federation for
Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).
Seynabou Benga, a coordinator with OMCT told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday
that the harassment on Chikomo is “very worrying.”

“We are concerned that these series of summons could eventually lead to Mr.
Chikomo’s arrest. We would want the Zimbabwe authorities to immediately and
unconditionally put an end to this harassment which we believe is
sanctioning his human rights activities,” Benga said.

Benga also raised concern that this is just one example of the harassment
that is steadily intensifying against human rights activists in Zimbabwe.

“What we see right now is very revealing. With forthcoming elections and a
referendum of the Zimbabwean constitution, we see that the authorities are
deliberately putting pressure on human rights defenders,” Benga said.

The Observatory has echoed calls by Amnesty International for the public to
write protest letters to high ranking authorities in Zimbabwe, calling for
an end to the harassment and intimidation being suffered by activists. The
letters are meant to be addressed to the likes of Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, and even directly to Robert

Observers have already commented that such letters, although of good
intention, will have very little influence against these top instigators of
persecution in Zimbabwe.

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Tsvangirai to Address star Rally On Saturday

16/03/2011 10:30:00

HARARE, March 16, 2011 – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC-T) has lined up a star rally on Saturday in what
insiders say is intended to brief supporters about the latest crisis in the
government of national unity (GNU).

Dubbed the “People Peace Rally”, the gathering would be addressed by
Tsvangirai who on Wednesday went on a regional diplomatic offensive to brief
Southern African Development Community leaders about the deteriorating
political situation in the country.

The MDC T on Wednesday placed a full colour advertisement in the weekly
Independent newspaper calling on its party faithfuls to attend the rally
which will be held at the Glamis Arena.

“The peace-loving and God-fearing people of Zimbabwe have been pushed to the
extreme due to abuse and political motivated violence in the country,” read
part of the advertisement.

“So many people have lost life...due to the general disregard of the people’s
dignity, rights and diversity. The crisis of governance and the ignoring of
people’s basic freedoms of assembly, speech and movement lie at the heart of
the people’s dislocation, dysfunctionality and the general malaise,” it

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC T spokesman said the rally would provide party
president Tsvangirai to brief the people of Zimbabwe about the cause of
their suffering and the reasons behind the latest crisis in
the GNU.

“The people of Zimbabwe will get an update of what is going on in the
government. They need to be told about this ZANU-PF strategy which has seen
our people being arrested, persecuted, the crisis in the GNU,” said Chamisa.

Meanwhile Chamisa said his party’s MPs were now in more danger which is
worse than rhinos which are always hunted by poachers for their precious

“Our MPs who are from MDC are not honourable they have become vulnerable,”
said Chamisa after his party's deputy treasurer general and energy minister
Elton Mangoma was granted bail by the High Court on Tuesday.

“...our MPs are actually in a worse position than the hippo, the rhino. Some
key animals are actually safer in Zimbabwe than our MPs.”

“We have insisted that we would want protection to be provided to our
members of parliament and they have to be treated with dignity just like any
other citizen,” he said.

Mangoma became the first full cabinet minister in Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s party to be arrested since the unity government was formed two
years ago.

Former youth and indigenisation deputy minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu was the
first to test the police cell on cell phone theft allegations.

In between there have been several arrests of party MPs on alleged rape and
public violence charges, the most recent one being the arrest of Nyanga
North MP Douglas Mwonzora who spent nearly two weeks in prison custody on
alleged public violence charges.

The MDC is adamant all the arrests are politically motivated.

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Tsvangirai meets Zambian and Mozambican presidents

By Lance Guma
16 March 2011

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is in the middle of a diplomatic offensive,
trying to get leaders in the SADC region to establish a roadmap for new
elections, amid signs the marriage of convenience with ZANU PF has all but

On Tuesday Tsvangirai met Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who is the head of
the SADC Troika on Defence and Security. Tsvangirai later travelled to the
Mozambican capital Maputo, where he met President Armando Guebuza whose
country is also a member of the Troika.
The MDC leader is also expected to travel to South Africa and Botswana,
where he will meet the presidents in those countries. Speaking to reporters
in Mozambique Tsvangirai said; “There are a few problems developing in terms
of cohesion” in the coalition government and he wanted Guebuza to be ‘fully
briefed’ on the situation.

For Tsvangirai to say ‘there are a few problems’ is an understatement. In
the space of 3 months Mugabe’s regime has arrested over 100 activists
perceived as loyal to Tsvangirai, Energy Minister and key ally Elton Mangoma
was also arrested and compromised judges struck down the election of the
MDC-T speaker of parliament.

Writing in his blog, former student leader Freeman Chari questioned why the
MDC is pinning their hopes on an election roadmap from South African
President Jacob Zuma. “The South African government has an amicable
see-no-evil relationship with ZANU PF as shown by their “silent diplomacy”
even in the presence of compelling human rights abuses,” he wrote.

Chari said a glimpse at the current coalition shows that “ZANU PF has
maintained its dominance over MDC by dictating what is and is not
implemented. The issue of the governors, issue of Roy Bennett, appointment
of permanent secretaries” and appointments of Gideon Gono and Johannes
Tomana, were evidence of clear ZANU PF dominance over the MDC in government.
“What has been the response of South Africa- the supposed guarantors of the
GPA,” Chari asked.

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War Vets, Zanu PF youths declare war on MDC

By Pindai Dube
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 17:49

BULAWAYO - War veterans and Zanu PF youths have declared war against
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in Mberengwa district,
Midlands province saying their party should start setting up a refugee camp
as they will all be forced to flee.

Mberengwa is a Zanu PF stronghold since and in the past recent years war
veterans have been wagging serious violence against MDC supporters in the

However, at a Zanu PF meeting held on Saturday at Vutsanana Business Centre
in Mataruse area, war veterans led by Sainayi Madhaka threatened serious
violence against MDC supporters saying they want to weed all of them out of
this district.

“They forced villagers to attend this meeting where they instructed Zanu PF
youths to put down names of all MDC supporters in the area. Madhaka said MDC
supporters should leave the area otherwise they  will  face the wrath  of
war  veterans  in the  next coming  few  weeks,” Edius Moyo the mainstream
MDC Mberengwa district chairman told Daily News.

“Madhaka and his team said what is happening now is just a tip of an iceberg
and the MDC leadership should start erecting a refugee camp for their
supporters because they won’t allow them to stay in Mberengwa,” Moyo said.

The meeting was chaired by Peter Hove a village head and a Zanu PF
chairperson for Mataruse Ward B One.

Moyo also accused Chief John Bhera-Mataruse of working with the war veterans
and Zanu PF supporters to harass MDC members. “We have Chief Mataruse a
known Zanu (PF) activist who gives these war veterans the green light to
harass our members.”

Last month, several MDC supporters fled their homes in Murongwe area in the
same district after another team of war veterans led by one Retired Major
Shava raided their homes for boycotting a Zanu PF rally.

When contacted recently over Mberengwa violence, Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare
Gumbo who is also a former legislator for Mberengwa East constituency
accused MDC of tarnishing the image of his party.

“These people just want to continue tarnishing the image of Zanu PF.
Mberengwa is my home area and recently I personally engaged our supporters
there not to get involved in any form of violence,” said [ends here...]

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UN agencies barred from food assessment for 'political reasons'
Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Maize is Zimbabwe's staple
HARARE, 16 March 2011 (IRIN) - UN agencies and other non-government stakeholders are being barred by Zimbabwe’s agricultural minister from participating in food and crop assessment surveys on the basis of "national security".

"The issue [of crop and food assessments] is a national security matter that should be treated with the utmost caution and exclusivity, hence our decision as government to exclude outsiders from the surveys. UN agencies in particular are not welcome because they send out negative information about the country. We don’t want to have politics in food issues," agriculture minister Joseph Made, a member of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party,  told IRIN.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP), with the government and other agencies, have in the past compiled crop and food assessments to determine national food availability, forecast any possible shortages and initiate plans to cover shortfalls.

''UN agencies in particular are not welcome because they send out negative information about the country''
In June 2008, during a year that witnessed violent presidential and parliamentary elections, the FAO/WFP crop assessment initially forecast that 5.1 million people would require food aid in the first quarter of 2009; this subsequently increased to seven million.

"The first crop assessment has already been carried out but we are withholding the findings because they have to be presented to cabinet first. However, we are knee-deep in the districts and provinces doing the second round of assessments and we don’t want to do a half-baked job," Made said.

He said areas had been identified that were critically short of maize, the staple, and "we are already moving grain to those places, to ensure no one starves".

David Mfote, from the FAO Zimbabwe country office, told IRIN by email: "Unfortunately, we are not in a position to give you answers [to questions relating to the crop and livestock assessments], mainly because as for this year, government carried out the first crop assessment on its own. The same is also applying for the second crop assessment. As a result, we have not been able to travel to the countryside to assess the crop situation."

Dry spell

The 2010-2011 main agricultural season began well, with normal to above-normal rainfall in many parts of the country, but a four-week
dry spell in February is thought to have adversely affected crop production and according to a food security analyst, who declined to be named, there have been "high rates of crop failures".

Analysts told IRIN that the exclusion of UN agencies and other parties was designed to manipulate food access when there is speculation about elections. Both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change have expressed
increasing dissatisfaction with the more than two-year-old unity government.

Eric Bloch, a Bulawayo economist and member of the Reserve Bank economic advisory board, told IRIN: "Government has in the past exaggerated projected crop yields and the same could happen this year. This has the unfortunate effect of jeopardizing financial planning in the event that there is a food crisis this year, as is highly likely.

"Once the wrong forecasts are made, the government will be forced to make quick and hasty decisions to deal with a humanitarian disaster; the economy is performing poorly and financial resources are limited, and it will be difficult to mobilize the money to import maize and other necessary cereals to ensure basic food security," he said.

Bloch said the exclusion of international humanitarian organizations threatened access to international food aid because "these organizations will take it in a bad light and are likely to insist on doing interventions based on independent information instead of that from a government that might lack credibility".

'Inflated yields'

John Robertson, an economist in the capital Harare, said the decision to exclude outside agencies from the crop assessment was done to cast Mugabe's fast-track land-reform programme in a positive light.

Launched in 2000, it saw the often violent redistribution of white-owned farms to landless black Zimbabweans and plunged the country into a recession from which it has yet to recover.

"The exclusion [of the humanitarian agencies] is purely for political reasons. President Mugabe’s side of the government, to which agriculture minister Made belongs, wants to make the statement that land reform in Zimbabwe is succeeding. In this case, they are likely to inflate figures of yields and also seek to blame only the weather for poor yields," Robertson said.

He forecast that Zimbabwe might need to import one million tons of maize this year "at a cost of close to half a billion dollars".

International agencies estimate that about 1.7 million Zimbabweans require food assistance during the first quarter of 2011 or the "lean season", which ends with the April harvest.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Farmers fear new jambanja

Written by Vusimuzi Bhebhe
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 07:08

HARARE - Zimbabwe's besieged white farmers are living in fear of a fresh
wave of attacks as marauding gangs of Zanu (PF) militias step up a campaign
of intimidation and violence against President Robert Mugabe's opponents.
Fearing a surge in attacks on its members, the Commercial Farmers Union
(CFU) this week urged Zimbabwe's remaining white farmers to maintain a low
profile and avoid igniting a political storm that could lead to persecution
by the militias.
"Politically we need to keep our heads down. Please heed this warning," CFU
president Deon Theron said in a notice to members.
He said the differences between Zimbabwe's main political parties were
coming to a head, warning that "we cannot afford to be caught up in the
strife". "Once again we see pre-election violence escalating, with the most
vulnerable suffering the most," Theron said.
Zimbabwe's two main political parties - Mugabe's Zanu (PF) and the MDC-T led
by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – have, since January, accused each
other of fuelling resurgent violence that has rocked the main cities and
towns. Zanu (PF), which is behind most of the violence and has the backing
of a partisan police force and the army, accuses the MDC-T of provoking its
members and instigating the skirmishes.
Theron said due to the uncertainty caused by the political tension between
the main parties and the resultant resurgent violence, the CFU was actively
pushing for finalisation of Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.
"We cannot afford a North African scenario, and therefore we are stepping up
our efforts to bring land reform and compensation to an end. Obviously this
encompasses compensation," he said.
The CFU chief was referring to the violent uprisings that led to the ouster
of former Tunisian and Egyptian leaders in January and February. Zimbabwe's
white farmers have submitted an ambitious agricultural recovery plan to
government that proposes converting into interest-bearing bonds the amount
owed by Harare to farmers for farms expropriated during a controversial
decade-long land reform programme.
The proposal, which was developed over the past eight months, is based on a
cost-recovery model that would allow the cash-strapped Zimbabwe government
to gradually pay off affected white farmers for land acquired while also
reviving the country's battered agriculture sector.
The model revolves around re-establishing values of the land and all assets
to create new flows of investor funds, thereby enabling the Treasury to
compensate the farmers on a cost-recovery basis. Central to the success of
the proposal would be an agreement between government and the farmers on the
total value of land and investments on farms acquired since the
redistribution exercise began in 2000. Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers
in 2009 demanded US$5 billion in immediate compensation from the government
before they could vacate their farms.
The broke Harare regime has, however, refused to compensate the farmers for
land lost, accusing the British government of reneging on a 1979 promise to
fund Zimbabwe's resettlement programme.

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Zimbabwe inflation slows to 3 pct y/y in February

Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:09pm GMT

HARARE, March 16 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation slowed to 3 percent
in February from 3.3 percent in January, the Zimbabwe National Statistical
Agency, or Zimstats, said on Wednesday.

Monthly inflation dropped to 0.5 percent from 0.9 percent previously.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said early this month inflation would end 2011
at 4.5 percent year-on-year and reiterated that the economy would grow as
much as 9.3 percent.

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Chihuri crushes new party

Written by Chief Reporter/Mxolisi Ncube
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 17:38

HARARE - Zimbabwe Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri  has
systematically worked to crush a new political party - the Mthwakazi
Liberation Front (MLF).
Chihuri has put the party under strict surveillance and arrested almost all
its leaders, ostensibly for encouraging secession in the south of the
country and the rise of the Ndebele or Mthwakazi State. But the
tough-talking MLF spokesman, David Magagula, said the arrest of five senior
party members would only give it more impetus as it continues to push for
the “freedom” of the country’s western region.
Former Zapu President Paul Siwela, ZIPRA war veterans Charles Gumbo and John
Gazi are currently languishing in D Class remand custody for treason. They
are expected to appear in court on March 25.
MLF chairperson Nonsikelelo Ncube, spokesman Makhiwa Ndebele, and two other
party officials Ntombizodwa Moyo and Makhosi Khumalo were arrested by Law
and Order detectives in the Tredgold magistrate court last Friday when they
attended the initial remand hearing for Siwela, Gumbo and Gazi. Regional
magistrate John Masimba ruled there was a prima facie case against the three
and set down the matter for trial.

A leaked January police signal from Chihuri to Matabeleland ProPols, Dispols
and all the police stations in the province says officers are “ordered to be
on high alert, monitor and arrest political activists from the region who
are calling for a breakaway state of Mthwakazi."
The signal from Chihuri calls for the shutdown of MLF. “The actions of this
group will cause alarm and despondency, Zimbabwe is one and they will never
be two states,” says the signal. Fidelis Ncube, former commander of the
Zimbabwe Peoples Revolutionary Army, ZIPRA, which fought the 1970s
liberation war that ushered in independence in 1980, leads the MLF.
“Mugabe and his police officers are trying to silence us by this harassment
of our members, but we will fight harder until we achieve what we stand for.
Not even the detention without trial of our members can dampen our spirits,
but it will make us even bolder,” said Magagula.
He accused Mugabe of trying to further fuel ethnic hate by allegedly
deploying his terror gangs to beat up those who cannot speak Shona in
Bulawayo, so as to try and divert the octogenarian leader’s waning
popularity by dividing and ruling the country.
“Mugabe used his divide and rule tactics in the early 1980s and is trying to
use the same means again this time round. He is not even ashamed of the
thousands that his Gukurahundi soldiers killed and is coming back again, but
this time it will not work because he will face stiff resistance from us,”
said Magagula.
The party wants an Ndebele State to be a separate country from Zimbabwe. It
comprises ZIPRA veterans and nationalists, including Max Mkandla, leader of
the Zimbabwe Liberators Platform Peace Initiative, a pressure group of war
MLF counts among its membership staunch supporters of secession and fierce
critics of President Mugabe, who they accuse of proffering no apology for
atrocities in Matabeleland perpetrated by the security forces in the early
There is also concern that the region lagged behind during the education
boom in the 80s because of the Gukurahundi atrocities and little was done to
build more schools and tertiary institutions, and remains with little poorly
funded learning facilities.
Many observers have accused MLF of inciting hatred and tribalism, but others
say what the party was portraying was reflective of some of the Matabeleland
views towards the Harare government. "They should concentrate on the issue
of unity, no one is stopping them from having a party," a senior police
contact at the PGHQ told The Zimbabwean. He cannot be named because he is
not authorised to speak to the Press. He added: "They are trying to disturb
the government, they want to stir and make problems."  Analysts say very few
people in Matabeleland favour independence.

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Mthwakazi trio's case splits lawyers

16/03/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

FIVE prominent Bulawayo lawyers have withdrawn their membership of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in protest after the organisation refused
to take up the cases of three Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) officials
charged with treason.

The donor-funded ZLHR has a fund used to pay for legal representation of
“human rights defenders” who are “arrested, detained or otherwise impeded by
state agents in the exercise of their human or constitutional rights”.

But the organisation has refused to take up the case of Paul Siwela, John
Gazi and Charles Thomas whose organisation advocates a separate Ndebele
state, claiming they are “advocating for violence and hate speech and for
that reason do not fall within the definition of human rights defenders”.

The trio were arrested on March 3 and charged with treason for allegedly
distributing pamphlets and planning the overthrow of President Robert Mugabe’s
They face the death penalty if convicted.

But the five lawyers -- Advocate Lucas Nkomo, Robert Ndlovu, Sindiso
Mazibisa, Kucaca Ivumile Phulu and Matshobana Ncube – accuse the ZLHR of
using a different standard than the one applied in similar cases elsewhere.

In a letter to the ZLHR, Phulu drew comparisons with the cases of the
International Socialist Organisation's Zimbabwe coordinator Munyaradzi
Gwisai and five others recently charged with treason and two other treason
cases involving the former Chimanimani MP Roy Bennett and arms dealer Peter

Said Phulu: “The ZLHR updates indicate that Gwisai and five others have been
charged with treason for seeking to ‘violently overthrow the government’. We
know it is a lie by the state, so they get representation by ZLHR. But there
is no indaba to say that ‘the International Socialist Organisation has once
circulated articles advocating for jambanja so they are not human rights

“ZLHR has represented Hitchmann and Bennett when they were being charged
with seeking to subvert a constitutional government and were alleged to have
arms. ZLHR was quite ready to say the arms were planted and it was not true
that they advocated violent means to overthrow the government. We said that
they were innocent until proven guilty.”

Phulu said while he found the Mthwakazi Liberation Front’s views “repugnant”
and “vehemently disagreed” with them,  “this should not influence me as a
human rights lawyer when their case, which is on all fours with all other
cases, is presented to me to defend.”

The break-away lawyers have now formed the Bammeli Human Rights Lawyers’
Network to take up the case of the trio, and another involving MDC-T MP for
Pelandaba Samuel Sandla Khumalo who is charged with possession of marijuana
for no fee, said Mazibisa.

“It is saddening that those charged with the mandate to represent human
rights defenders do so in a selective way. This is exemplified by the fact
that in all their news alerts, ZLHR makes reference to one treason case i.e
the State v Gwisai and others, despite the fact that they know full well
that the MLF people are charged with treason as well,” Mazibisa said in a

“Abammeli feels that ZLHR were in error in this case and a judgement was
made before seeking to hear the accused’s side of the case. The right to
self determination is a right like any other and is recognised by
international law, a group of people are allowed to pursue it without being
constrained by unjust laws or trumped up charges as is the case in this

The five said they had “the commitment of more than 40 lawyers” to join
their network, “undertaking to commit and dedicate their time and efforts to
the representation of human rights defenders”.

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Battle for Speaker of Parliament post hots up

By Lance Guma
16 March 2011

The battle lines are drawn for Tuesday 22 March, when legislators from all
three political parties meet to elect a new speaker of parliament. This
follows the shock decision by the Supreme Court to set aside the August 2008
election of MDC-T candidate Lovemore Moyo as Speaker.

Veritas, who monitor legal and parliamentary affairs, said: “The first
business of the House when it resumes is to elect a new Speaker. In terms of
both the Constitution and House of Assembly Standing Orders, the House
cannot transact any business until a new Speaker has been elected.”
Veritas have however pointed out that ‘if preparations are not in place for
an election to be held on Tuesday 22nd when the House is due to resume, the
Clerk of Parliament may fix another date for the election.”

As the parties measure their voting strengths in parliament, ZANU PF have
focused their energies on blocking Moyo from voting, claiming he forfeited
his Matobo North seat when he was elected speaker. Clerk of Parliament
Austin Zvoma immediately nailed his flag to the ZANU PF mast, claiming Moyo
was no longer an MP and could not vote in the election.

Lawyer Dr Alex Magaisa however posed the question of whether Moyo did in
fact lose his seat. “In other words, did he lose his seat when he became
Speaker by virtue of an invalid election or does he revert to his position
as an MP now that the Supreme Court says he was never properly elected in
the first place?”

“It would be odd if a person in Moyo’s position were to suffer what would in
effect be double-jeopardy on account of a flawed election that was not his
fault. If a court of law finds that the election was irregular and invalid,
it is tantamount to saying there was never an election in the first place,”
Magaisa argued.

For ZANU PF the strength of the legal arguments do not matter. With the
judiciary, police, army and other state security agencies in their pocket
they can do as they please. For example, recently released Nyanga North MP
Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that several MDC-T MP’s are being targeted for
arrest before the vote, to reduce the party’s voting strength. Two are
already in custody.
The MDC-T say Lovemore Moyo will remain their candidate while the smaller
MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube will field the losing candidate in 2008,
Paul Themba Nyathi. ZANU PF do not have the numbers to elect their own
candidate and are said to be still consulting. National chairman Simon Khaya
Moyo is said to be a front runner, if they decide not to back Nyathi as they
did last time.

Meanwhile on Tuesday Moyo gave up the cars that he was using as speaker of
parliament. Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma said; "He handed over a 350 S
Class (Mercedes Benz) and a Range Rover," adding he will remain in the house
Parliament was renting for him until month-end.


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Constitutional process expected to end in September

By Lance Guma
16 March 2011

The co-chairman of the constitutional parliamentary committee (COPAC),
Douglas Mwonzora, says barring any major delays or further arrests of their
leadership, they expect to finish the constitution making process on the
30th September this year.

Last week Friday a High Court Judge granted bail to Mwonzora, plus 24 other
activists, following their arrests on trumped-up charges of instigating
violence. The Nyanga North MP was released after spending 25 days in custody
while the other activists were held for 27 days.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa shortly after his release Mwonzora said his
arrest had cost the constitution making process about one month’s worth of
work. Although his colleagues made certain decisions in his absence he was
not happy with several of them and had to take measures to correct certain

For example, Mwonzora told us the views of those in the Diaspora and several
institutions that made submissions, had been ignored and not uploaded into
the system. He said it had since been agreed by both the Select and
Management committees that this has to be done.

Meanwhile Mwonzora spoke about the treatment he received while in police
custody, saying he was not allowed to receive medical treatment for the
first 5 days in custody. For three days he was denied food and water and not
allowed any visitors. An armed policeman was stationed outside the police
station where he was being held.

Mwonzora’s paper work relating to his bail application also went missing,
until his lawyers wrote to the Judge President filing a complaint. Even when
he was granted bail the state invoked controversial legislation to suspend
his bail for a further 7 days.

Tune in to a special edition of Question Time where Lance Guma speaks to
Douglas Mwonzora about his ordeal.

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Prisoners stay naked in condemned cells

Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 14:43

Albert Mugove Matapo, a remand prison inmate facing treason charges and
another one for allegedly attempting a jailbreak with six other prisoners,
told the court this week he was kept naked for a month, in darkness and in
This came out in an application for referral of the case to the Supreme
Court made by the prisoners’ lawyers Charles Warara and Gift Nyandoro before
regional magistrate Morgan Nemadire. The inmates cited violation of their
constitutional rights.
Matapo, Silas Sarezi Shonhiwa, Phillip Chivhurunge, Ruperts Chimanga, Luck
Mhungu and Bigknows Wairesi allege the state violated Section 15(1) and 18
of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that deals with protection against inhuman
Warara said he also wanted the Supreme Court to determine whether it was
constitutional for accused persons to appear in court wearing labelled
clothes and standing trial while in leg-irons.
Warara submitted that at one point, one of his clients, Matapo, was made to
spend a month naked in a cell with only two blankets. The lawyer claimed his
clients were subjected to punishment without trial since their arrest four
years ago. “My client (Matapo) was removed from a normal prison cell and
taken to a cell called FB1 where conditions are that no natural light gets
into the cell and, in the absence of electric lights, my client spends 24
hours in darkness,” Warara said.
The lawyers also reminded the court that the FB1 prison cells were condemned
by the Supreme Court and said prison authorities had reopened the condemned
cells, which had been closed, specifically to accommodate their clients. “It
is torture to live in that cell where the toilet has no flashing system,”
Warara said. “My client only gets water to flush the toilet at the
discretion of the prison officers. Matapo has been living under such
conditions for the past 11 months.”
He also said Matapo and his co-accused were allowed to leave their cells for
just 30 minutes a day and spent twenty-three-and-a-half hours locked in
cells measuring, 4,5 metres by 1,5 metres. Prosecutor Michael Razor is
expected to respond to the allegations and an application by Warara on

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Abducted and assaulted by armed men in police uniform

Written by MDC Information & Publicity Department
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 14:39

Try Karedza, the Mt Darwin North district MDC Youth Assembly chairperson was
on Monday morning abducted by seven armed men in police uniform and
assaulted. Karedza from Katiyo village has been hospitalised due to injuries
he sustained from the beatings.  He was taken to Nyanguwu near the Zimbabwe’s
border with Mozambique where he was blind - folded and severely assaulted.
The unidentified men, who were driving in a white truck, later left him
unconscious.  After recovering, Karedza sought assistance from some good
Samaritans who took him to Bindura where he is seeking medical attention. In
Chiredzi South, Cephas Magezani of Ward 7, Chikombedzi managed to escape
abduction after four unidentified men attempted to kidnap him at gunpoint at
his home on Monday night.
Meanwhile, two MDC activists, Taona Chikono and Oliver Mukombwe from
Chipadze in Bindura were arrested this morning on forged charges of
assaulting one Last Siraya.  They are in custody at Bindura Central Police
In Harare, seven MDC youth activists and three employees who were facing
similar charges of assault were today released from police custody at Harare
Central Police Station after the police said they could not locate the
alleged complainant.  The 10 were arrested at Harvest House, the MDC head
office on Sunday night but no charges could be laid against them as there
was no complainant.
In Masvingo province, Choke Chamunorwa an MDC youth activist died at
Masvingo General Hospital this morning where he was admitted for injuries
sustained when he was assaulted by Zanu PF youths in June 2008. Chamunorwa
was beaten by Zanu PF youths in 2008 at his home in Chiwara village, Gutu
South and since then his health has been deteriorating.
Now is the time to make your pledge for peace. Be part of real change…
•    Say NO to all forms of Violence! Say NO to corruption! Say NO to Murder
& persecution!! Say NO to poverty! Say NO to lies!
•    Say YES to Peace, Justice, accountability, prosperity & Democracy! Say
YES to Real Change; Investment, health, education, food and Jobs!

For more on these and other stories, visit;

Together, united, winning, voting for real change!!!

The MDC Today - Issue 168

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Release our comrades demands WOZA

Written by WOZA
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 12:04

SEVEN members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) appeared in Tredgold
Magistrates Court today 16 March, they will reappear again on 23rd of March
2011. The 3 women and 4 men arrested on 28 February in two separate
incidents in Entumbane and Mabutweni. Although reporting conditions were
relaxed and they now only report once a week, charges were not dropped as
there is resistance from the police officers.
Before they appeared in Court, the Defence lawyer Matshobana Ncube met with
the provincial area prosecutor and the Attorney general's office Mrs Cheda
who indicated that they have formally requested a meeting with the District
Commanding Police Officer Inspector R. Masina to obtain understanding as to
the significance of the Supreme Court ruling to prevent the continued arrest
of WOZA members by the police officers in defiance of the ruling. The
Supreme Court ruling was obtained by WOZA leaders Jennifer Williams and
Magodonga Mahlangu from a 16 October 2008 arrest and 3 week detention at
Mlondolozi prison. An update on the three women, Eneles Dube, Janet Dube and
Selina Dube arrested during the 7th March protest were followed home and
brought  to court to be formally charged.
On the 10th of March 2011 Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
was advised by Bulawayo Central Police Station from Constable Runesu that
District Commanding Police Officer (DISPOL)  Inspector R Masina had demanded
that the three Eneles Dube and others  be formally charged. They appeared in
court on 11th of March 2011 with Defence lawyer Kossam Ncube. They were
charged with criminal nuisance as defined in paragraph 2[v] of the Third
schedule to the Criminal Law [ Codification and Reform] Act, Chapter 9:23 as
with section 46 of the said Act which basically means 'blocking the
They appeared before Magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa and Public Prosecutor
Jeremiah Mutsindikwa, where they were remanded on free bail out of custody
to the 21st of March 2011. Lawyer Kossam Ncube indicated to the court than
on the 21st he will note an application of refusal of further remand.
WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu are currently on a
speaking tour of the United Kingdom and United States of America. In the
last month after the Valentines Day protests, Police officers launched
regular visits to their homes and sent messages through members that they
tortured to reveal the whereabouts of the leaders. Police officers also
contacted a Human Rights lawyer, demanding he bring the leaders to Bulawayo
Central Police station indicating that they 'must prepare themselves for a
long detention'. As a result of the supreme Court ruling which police are
obviously ignoring, it was determined that they  of this heightened
harassment and obvious ignoring of the Supreme Court ruling, Williams and
Mahlangu have not voluntarily presented themselves to this persecution.
WOZA call on the all officers Zimbabwe Republic Police to professionalise
and shake themselves from the choke of their political masters.  The days of
reckoning will come soon and they will be faced with the guilt of their
torture alone. They must not blindly follow the dictates of politicians to
arrest and detain human rights defenders but should interrogate as decent
human beings the letter of the law and the principle of investigate to
arrest not arrest to investigate. We call on them to free all human rights
defenders in custody including our Comrades Gwisai, Gumbo, Tafadzwa and

Please watch this rough footage of the Valentines' Day protest that has got
the state shivering

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Central Bank Chief Proposes Compensation for Dollarisation Victims

Finance Minister Tendai Biti projected in 2010 that the payout may amount to
US$6 million but the bill ballooned to more than US$18 million with
allegations that some so-called vultures were inflating their bank balances.

Gibbs Dube | Washington  15 March 2011

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono says there is swelling
discontent among those who lost millions of dollars in frozen accounts when
the country introduced a multiple currency regime.

Gono told a Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy that Finance
Minister Tendai Biti has to mobilize resources to compensate dozens of
people and companies whose accounts were frozen during the dollarization

In 2010, Biti projected that the payout may amount to US$6 million but the
bill ballooned to more than US$18 million with allegations some were
inflating their previous bank balances.

Economists said Zimbabwe is not yet in a position to refund individuals and
companies that lost their money due to serious financial problems.

Economist Eric Bloch said compensating the victims of the economic meltdown
is a good idea but modalities of implementing the program are complex.

“It may also be pointless for people with bank balances at that time of less
than Z$100 trillion to pursue the matter as they will not get anything as
the local currency was valueless,” said Bloch.

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MDC Calls For Demonstration Against UK Deportations

16/03/2011 11:48:00

London, March 16, 2011 - The Movement for Democratic Change UK and Ireland
External Assembly is calling for a demonstration to protest against the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and the decision by the UK Home Office
to start deporting failed asylum seekers back to Zimbabwe.

According to the London-based Zimbabwean newspaper, the demonstration is
directed at President Robert Mugabe who has launched an assault on his
partners in Government through arrests and violence. In 2008 the world
witnessed Mugabe using the same tactics to hold on to power. Having failed
to gain recognition from the African Union, he was forced to form a
Government of National Unity with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who had
boycotted the election because of pre-election violence.

"Mugabe now realises that he cannot win any free and fair election in
Zimbabwe, so he has resorted to the same repressive tactics by arresting MDC
officials, Ministers and MPs, detaining them, denying them bail, and making
them rot in his filthy cells," the MDC said in its call for the

No less than five MDC MPs have been under incarceration in the last three
weeks, including Energy Minister Elton Mangoma, Gokwe MP Costin Muguti, who
was granted bail on Wednesday, but remained detained after the state invoked
the repressive Section 121. Muguti is facing charges of threatening to
assault Chief Samuel Samambwa of Zhombe. Another MP Hon. Rodgers Tazviona
was arrested last month on the same charges and is in remand prison at
Kwekwe Remand Prison, due for a bail hearing at the High Court on 23 March.

"It is clear that these arrests are being used to whittle down the number of
MDC MPs available in the House of Assembly for the election of the Speaker,
following another controversial decision by Mugabe's Supreme Court to strip
Lovemore Moyo of the position. Zanu (PF) is now relying on violence, a
biased police force, biased soldiers and a biased judiciary to win what it
failed to win in elections. Zimbabweans have been so cowed by Zanu (PF)
intimidation at markets, on buses, and even in their homes and villages that
they no longer speak out.

"I am appealing to you to all MDC members and Zimbabweans in UK to come and
join us in London in great numbers send this message together. A clear
message should be sent to those who allow Mugabe to continue his onslaught
on innocent Zimbabweans while they nicodimusely engage with him and prolong
the people’s struggle."

"The South African Government, the Mediator, the SADC and African Union, the
guarantors of the Zimbabwean GNU must see the plight of Zimbabweans. The
Conservation/Liberal Democratic government’s obsession in returning
Zimbabweans back to a country that is gripped with political violence and in
meltdown should be questioned. How can the Immigration and Asylum Upper
Chamber say it’s safe to return Zimbabweans when the world media is clearly
hi-lighting the violence in Zimbabwe and unrepentant Mugabe?"

"The odds are against us, both at home and in this country. The new country
guidance case on Zimbabwe is going to put our vulnerable fellow Zimbabweans
at great risk of persecution by the Mugabe regime. Let’s stand up and
protect each other, our community is under siege. See you on 21st March in
London at the Zimbabwean Embassy at 1200 noon."

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Police defy Chihuri

Written by Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 13:00

HARARE - In a move that has the potential of opening a flurry of cases
against Zanu (PF) supporters, police in Mudzi have opened up dockets against
the former ruling party activists who are accused of orchestrating a reign
of terror in the area.
The move by police at Nyamapanda Police Station is a rare display of
impartiality by the police force whom the public accuse of largely being
pro-Zanu (PF). A senior police officer at the station told this paper that
they have opened several dockets against suspected Zanu (PF) supporters in
the area.
“The case range from theft, intimidation and acts of violence,” said the
police officer. Silas Gweshe, MDC Spokesperson for Mashonaland East, said
that Zanu (PF) has set up mobile bases in the area that are used to
intimidate supporters of the former opposition movement. Among the people
that Gweshe named are Jivas Chiuta, who is the ward councillor, Martin
Vhori, Langton Masapi and Philip Chinyanga who is an ex-soldier.
Recently a top US envoy,  Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs Susan Page, urged members of the uniformed forces to stand up
against the few individuals within their rank who are partisan. “We
recognize that not everyone within the Zimbabwe Republic Police and armed
forces supports or is engaged in violence,” said Page.

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Zim's Freedom of Expression under Threat As AG Threatens Crackdown on Editors

16/03/2011 14:08:00

Harare, March 16, 2011 - Zimbabwe's Attorney General, Johannes Tomana forced
a Zimbabwean independent daily, NewsDay to retract a story accusing him of
corruption after threatening the papers’ editors with arrest.

Tomana is said to have told the editors to either retract the story or face
arrest and detention. The editors reportedly quaked in their boots and
succumbed to the threats.

Sources said Tomana threatened to have the paper’s editors, the reporter who
wrote the story, the company chief executive, Rapheal Khumalo and chairman,
Trevor Ncube arrested.

“They quickly made arrangements to pacify Tomana,” said one source.

The paper reported last week Transparent International Zimbabwe (TIZ), an
anti-corruption pressure group, had accused Tomana and senior officials in
his department of corruption and gross abuse of office and called upon the
relevant arms of government to investigate them.

The organisation cited four high-profile cases in which they alleged Tomana
abused his authority to get suspects off the hook.

The cases, TIZ said, involved Mhondoro-Ngezi MP Bright Matonga, former
acting medical superintendent for Bindura Provincial Hospital Beauty Basile,
former Zupco chairman Charles Nherera and an alleged illegal gold dealer,
Patrick Mavros.

But NewsDay in their Tuesday issue retracted the story claiming their
investigations had revealed the cases were handled transparently.

NewsDay editor, Brian Mangwende, said: “We were made to question the mandate
of the AG in terms of the mandate conferring Section 76 of the Constitution
which we understand clearly puts beyond question the AG’s discretion around
issues of prosecution and we would like to dissociate ourselves from the
unconstitutional insinuations which are borne out of the document from TIZ.”

TIZ claimed in February 2006, Matonga, a former chief executive officer at
Zupco, was charged with two counts of corruption involving US$10 000 and
$150 000 but the matter was swept under the carpet.

Matonga, was also involved in a car accident which claimed the lives of
three people and again the matter was never pursued.

The other matter involved Basile, then acting medical superintendent of
Bindura Provincial Hospital who was facing 367 counts of criminal misconduct
involving alleged embezzlement of 5 025 litres of diesel and 9 982 of

Her trial commenced in March 2009, with the testimony of eight witnesses
including the permanent secretary in the Health ministry.

On the Nherera’s issue, TIZ claimed the AG had a hand in the quashing of his
conviction. But in a spectacular climb down, the newspaper retracted the
story saying the cases were dealt with in a “transparent manner”.

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Is Jonathan Moyo demonising himself?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst 16/03/11

Jonathan Moyo could be said to be demonising himself for being credited for
crafting notorious laws like AIPPA and POSA. Similarly, he might not be
doing himself favours with his current hostile campaign against MDC
President Morgan Tsvangirai.

Choosing to attack the MDC leader in his personal capacity only seems to
exposes Jonathan  Moyo’s own fear of Morgan Tsvangirai’s popularity. To
consider that against all odds, Tsvangirai polled 1 195 562 votes and Mugabe
got 1 079 730 votes in the March 29th 2008 presidential election
(, still that is not enough to earn him the respect of the
politician from Tsholotsho.

Crying louder than the bereaved
One commentator hit the nail on the head when he said: ‘Moyo’s recent
attacks of Prime Minister Tsvangirai and MDC ministers is meant to convince
both his sympathisers and detractors in Zanu-pf that he is still part of
them by speaking their language and crying louder than the bereaved’ (The
Zimbabwe Standard, 03/10/09).

When an audit of the diamond sales was called for by the Finance Minister
Tendai Biti, Jonathan Moyo cried foul and there was a Zanu-pf outcry.
Bizzarely, the state-owned Herald claimed on Wednesday 15 March 2011 that
‘nearly US$167 million has found its way into Treasury after verification
and reconciliation of proceeds from diamond sales following conflicting
statements by Ministers Tendai Biti and Obert Mpofu.

Somehow, all of a sudden the Herald is the Exchequer or Treasury by
determining what the proceeds from diamond sales should be used for. What
the Herald needs to know is that the people of Zimbabwe would like a full
audit of the diamond sales to determine who sold what, where, to whom, when,
for how much and where did the proceeds go.

Similarly, the people want a full audit of Zimbabwe’s debt to establish the
amounts, dates, who authorised them, what the loans were used for because
any expenditure on weapons is very controversial since Zimbabwe has never
been officially at war at least with Parliament’s consent. Therefore
proceeds from diamond sales cannot be diverted to clear a debt that may have
been used to buy weapons or to pay people who terrorised and murdered
innocent civilians during Gukurahundi or in elections because of their
political views.

Allergic to the truth
Jonathan Moyo’s critics have described him as ‘allergic to the truth’,
‘Mugabe’s own Goebbels’, ‘ a person of acid if not twisted tongue’,
‘objective when bitter’, ‘too ambitious’,  ‘not trusted’ (within Zanu-pf
itself), ‘clever  but not wise’ (by Robert Mugabe), ‘a controversial
political figure’, someone with an ‘insatiable hatred for Tsvangirai’, ‘a
political prostitute, a turncoat and a chameleon’, ‘an arrogant mafikizolo
who lacked respect for elders’ and so on.

It could be argued that Jonathan Moyo’s discomfort with democracy and the
rule of law is their potential for exposing a lot of dirty linen and
possibly make him account for his alleged misdeeds. Notes about Jonathan
Nathaniel Moyo which are on the wikipedia website say he is considered the
core architect of AIPPA and POSA (notorious laws which are still on Zimbabwe’s
statute book, albeit undergoing some amendments).

Contrary to his anti-western rhetoric, according to wikipedia, his two
scholarships from the United Nations and the African American Institute
enabled him graduate with a Bachelor’s (BSc) degree in public policy at the
University of Southern California in 1982 where he also did his
post-graduate studies.

There are also references on the website to his ‘war with the media’
especially resentment towards The Daily News, his ‘war at home’, ‘war with
foreigners’ and that he departed the Ford Foundation under a cloud after
allegations that he had embezzled USD$88,000 from the organisation.

According to The Zimbabwean of 19 October 2006 Moeletsi Mbeki, younger
brother of  former president Thabo Mbeki, and Witwatersrand University
(Wits) had “separately applied for an order to have Zimbabwe’s former
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo jailed the next he visits South Africa on
allegations of absconding with millions of rands that he allegedly owes”.

Flip-flopping or a vendetta?
Jonathan Moyo seems to court criticism with his alleged political
flip-flopping and suspected vendetta. He was once asked by Munyaradzi Huni
about the Gukurahundi Bill which he wanted to bring to Parliament as a way
of fixing Zanu-pf  before applying to re-join the same party. What is
curious is not the idea of such a bill being put into law but its
unexplained sudden death. But what is Moyo’s grudge against the MDC?.

For example, he is cited in Luise White’s ‘The Assassination of Herbert
Chitepo’ 2003:105 as saying:

“The MDC is ‘a political party with its roots in the donor purse run by
Rhodesians who tortured and killed Zimbabweans during our liberation

However, Jonathan Moyo has a right to respond to reports in July 2009 that a
source in the MDC party had alleged that he begged the Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai to include him on the list of MDC-T ministerial nominees.

“The Prime Minister did not decline, but told him he would consult the
national executive, it never got there because Minister Biti was fiercely
opposed to the whole idea, arguing that Moyo brings no value to the MDC,”
the source said (, 20/07/09). So are Tsvangirai and Biti
being made penalised for that?

Did Jonathan Moyo kill the Diaspora vote?
Again according to a citation in Luise White’s book, Jonathan Moyo then
information minister insisted that “Rhodesians, neo-colonialists, and other
retrogressive forces” voted against the government’s proposed constitution.

“Some of them came…all the way from South Africa, to vote in the referendum”
(2003:98). Moyo reportedly said these words in a ZBC interview in February
2000. Does this explain why Zanu-pf is so hostile to the Diaspora vote?  Did
Jonathan Moyo kill the Diaspora vote?Are we being penalised for Zanu-pf’s
defeat in the 2000 referendum?

Downloading democracy
It seems Zimbabwe’s democracy is definitely not downloading as the online
joke goes. It works like this: Democracy in Africa – program installation:
Guinea 100% complete, Tunisia 100% complete, Egypt 100% complete,
Libya -Downloading, Algeria – Downloading, Ivory Coast 60% [Alert!! Virus –
(named leader) detected. Trojan Horse – (named leader) in Quarantine;
Congo – Connection lost since 1997 and Zimbabwe – 404 Error – Server not
found! Virus (named leader) detected but cannot be deleted nor isolated.
Anti-virus (named leader) needs to be up-dated.

Food for thought for the MP for Tsholotsho.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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