LOOKING FOR A SWITCHED ON GIRL FRIDAY
WITH BASIC COMPUTER SKILLS AND BOOK-KEEPING. HARARE BASED. MUST HAVE OWN
TRANSPORT. FUEL WILL BE PROVIDED. CAN BE MORNINGS ONLY. START
TOMORROW! PHONE 011-409796
Advert Received 12th March 2004
We are a procurement Company Supplying
goods from South Africa to companies throughout Zimbabwe . In order to
improve efficiency and security we are looking to employ two drivers for our
Johannesburg Zimbabwe route ( 1 tonne pick ups ) . The successful applicants
will be honest , have sound ethics and morals and a checkable employment
history. The following attributes are important .:
- Relevant drivers
license - knowledge and experience of South African & Zimbabwean
Customs procedure at Beit Bridge. - Basic mechanical
Please apply with C.V To firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to
Johannesburg 8393836 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Advert Received 12th March 2004
The Consul General of Madagascar would
like Zimbabwean farmers to know that he has a contact in Madagascar, who has
approximately 1.000 acres of land, (silted annually) on which the contact
would like to grow tobacco. This would mean the setting up the
infrastructure, the growing of the crop and the marketing of it as well. If
anyone is interested, please contact -
Mr. J David Fox, Concul General
of Madagascar, 467, Innes Road, Morningside, Durban 4001.
My name is Symone Hoffman, I'm 24 years
old and hoping to return to Zimbabwe to live and work. I would appreciate
any helpyou could offer in finding secure and affordable accommodation in
Harare as well as any job opportunities. I am computer literate and have ten
'O' levels and three 'A; levels. I have a full C.V. with plenty of work
experience and references available. I can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com, or
through family on (04) 442868 or 091653541. I'll be back in Harare on the
Message: l want to venture into the piggery industry. where
can l get information. l'm in the UK but want to return to Zimbabwe. Its my
home too. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Advert Received 15th March 2004
To Whom It May Concern
appreciate it very much if you would be so kind as to advertise the following
position for me.
Springvale House School , Preparatory School for the
Peterhouse Group of Schools is looking for a Teacher for Grade 5 as of the
2nd Term 2004.
Very Good remuneration package offered. Applicant must be
able to coach a variety of sport and be prepared to do Dormitory
Peebles Headmaster ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Advert Received 16th March 2004
Could you please advertise the following
position for us in your classifieds.
CONOLLY ANTELOPE GAME PARK PO BOX 1218 GWERU, ZIMBABWE TEL/FAX: +263
54 52012, 50374 E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org WEBSITE: www.antelopepark.co.zw Food and
Beverage manager wanted urgently for safari lodge near Gweru in Zimbabwe.
Must be qualified, experienced and able to handle a large staff. Please send
CV to email@example.com
Experienced Cook required. A quiet home
with two teenagers and working parents. Must be able to produce meals and
bake without assistance. Must assume housekeeping duties when not busy
cooking or baking. Suit single person as only one small room on the
property. Situated in Ballantyne Park and very close to the shops. Would
prefer good recommendations from ex-farmer or someone leaving the country.
Contact Barbara Taylor, 708811-7 (work), 850778 (home), 011-611461
members of the group of alleged South African mercenaries now being held in
Zimbabwe tried to enter Zambia two weeks ago, it has
However, their aircraft was turned back to South
Africa after they reached the town Ndola. The men had been trying to enter
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from the nearby Ndola
This was confirmed on Thursday night by a source in the
National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who declined to detail the reasons for
the aircraft being turned back.
But former 32 Battalion member
Rui Pedro, who served with the men being detained in Harare, said his
colleagues were recruited for "mercenary work" in the DRC. He confirmed that
the plane had been turned back from Ndola.
'They were not
employed to work on mines' "They were not employed to work on mines,
oil installations or to guard anything else. They were recruited to protect
the interests of their employer, violently if necessary," he
Pedro said the men were recruited by an agent representing
Logo Logistics, which had connections with the now defunct Executive
Outcomes (EO), a private security company owned by former South African
Defence Force intelligence officer Eben Barlow.
agent is known to be a former 32 Battalion sergeant.
EO is now
operating under the name of Saracen and has close links with Logo Logistics,
based in London. "Baptista Adriano (in custody in Zimbabwe) said he was going
to the Congo to work as a security guard. He never knew he was actually being
recruited to act as a mercenary," Pedro said.
Ziami Route-Hendrik, was also led to believe he was being employed as a
security guard. "They were offered R16 000 a month to work in the Congo as
security guards, but they were lied to," Pedro said.
were recruited to protect the interests of their employer' Both men
knew Barlow and had served with him while he was a member of 32 Battalion,
A former reconnaissance operator, who asked not to be
named, said it was true that former SADF members were being recruited by
agents to carry out mercenary activities.
"Perhaps these men
were misled, but private security companies operating in Africa do not
recruit black members of 32 Battalion to act as guards. They are recruited to
do what they do best; and that is to fight," he said.
the men in custody in Zimbabwe had spent many years in 32 Battalion and were
highly trained combat soldiers. "They have a wealth of battlefield
experience. Why take them to a conflict zone and employ them to guard a
house?" he asked.
Alberto dos Santos, another former 32 Battalion
member, who has worked in the Congo and elsewhere in Africa, also confirmed
that his former colleagues were recruited to act as mercenaries. "Baptista
and Route-Hendrik both believed they were going to be security guards. The
agent lied to them, but they are foolish to have believed
According to the department of foreign affairs,
negotiations were under way on Thursday to have the men returned to South
Africa. Spokesperson Manusha Pillay said high level talks were ongoing to
determine details of a possible return. "I cannot answer as to any result,"
However, the NIA source said no such meeting was held and
government had no intention of ensuring that the alleged mercenaries be
returned to South Africa. "The government has no intention of trying to get
the men returned. They will be tried under international law in the countries
in which they were arrested," the source said.
Boonzaaier, currently imprisoned with Nick du Toit in Equatorial Guinea, is
reported to be drastically ill and in desperate need of medication. Foreign
affairs refused to comment on whether Boonzaaier would receive the necessary
Said Colonel Jan Breytenbach, founder and former
officer commanding of 32 Battalion: "It's incredibly sad that once proud
soldiers now find themselves in the current
.. This article was originally published
on page 1 of The Pretoria News on March 19, 2004
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- IN
HIS OWN WORDS: New Zimbabwe.com reproduces for the first time
Gabriel Shumba's moving address to the US Congress on 10 March about his
torture at the hands of President Mugabe's shock
Subcommittee on International
Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights
Washington, Wednesday March
Testimony of Mr Gabriel Shumba (Zimbabwe) (Human Rights
Lawyer, Doctor of Laws Candidate, Legal Regional Director (Africa) for the
Mr Chair and Members of the
Committee, I thank you for the singular honor that you have accorded to me.
To be given the opportunity to address the opening of the One Hundred and
Eighth Congress at a time when my country, Zimbabwe is facing an
unprecedented social, economic and political crisis is a manifestation of the
Free World's concern with democracy and human rights the world over. Further
testimony of this commitment is evident in the 2003 United States Department
Report on Human Rights Practices, which devotes significant space to the
human rights issues affecting my country.
Mr Chair, I am a human rights
lawyer from Zimbabwe who was last year condemned to live in exile in South
Africa because of unrelenting persecution, death threats and torture at the
hands of President Robert Mugabe's regime. Allow me to narrate the ordeal
that forced me into exile.
Pursuant to the call of my profession, on the
14th of January 2003 I consented to represent an opposition Member of
Parliament, Mr Job Sikhala. He had engaged me to represent him in a matter in
which he alleged political harassment by members of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP). At that moment in time, the MP was hiding from the
My young brother, Bishop Shumba accompanied me to take
instructions. I found the MP in the company of one Taurai Magaya and Charles
Mutama. I proceeded to take instructions and confer with Mr Sikhala. However,
at or about 23:00 hrs, riot police accompanied by plain-clothes policemen,
the army and personnel who I later discovered were from the Central
Intelligence Organization (CIO), the spy agency of the government, stormed
the room. They were armed with AK 47's, tear gas canisters, grenades and
I identified myself as a lawyer and enquired as
to the nature and purpose of the police actions. Thereupon, one of the
officers confiscated my lawyer's Practicing Certificate and informed me that
there was 'no place for human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe'. Others grabbed my
diary as well as files and documents. All of us were prodded with guns in the
back and bundled into a police defender vehicle. Several acts of assault and
violence were perpetrated upon my person. In particular, I was slapped
several times and kicked with booted-feet by amongst others, a certain
detective inspector Mbedzi, the officer in charge of Saint Mary's Police
Station. They also threatened to let the dogs maul me, and boasted that this
had been done before.
Moments later, we were driven to Saint Mary's
Police Station but no charges were preferred. We were denied access to legal
representation and were abused and insulted for allegedly working in cahoots
with 'western powers' in an attempt 'to reverse the gains of the liberation
struggle'. Our mobile phones were also confiscated, and we were denied
contact with our lawyers, relatives and friends.
At or about 01:00 am,
we were driven to Matapi Police Station, some 7 kilometers from the initial
place of 'arrest'. Here Mr Sikhala and Bishop were booked into the holding
cells. I was taken to Mbare Police Holding Cells, a further three kilometers
away from Matapi, whilst, as I subsequently discovered, Mr Magaya and Mr
Mutama were taken to Harare Central Police Station, which is about 5
kilometers away. The tactic of separating arrestees and taking them to
locations removed from where they have been arrested is a favorite of the
police in Zimbabwe. This is designed to prevent their relatives or lawyers
access to them when they are tortured in torture chambers scatted all over
I was only booked into the cells at around 03:00 am. I was
denied blankets and had to sleep on a concrete floor. The cell that was about
3m X 4m housed over 20 inmates. I had to spend the whole night squatting in a
pool of urine and human waste. This revolting mixture had maggots and worms
that irritated or bit at me the whole night. As if this was not enough, I had
to endure the torment of other denizens of the cell, which included lice and
bed bugs bites.
Around 12:00 pm on the next day, personnel from the
CID (Law and Order Section) of the Harare Central Police Station booked me
out of Mbare holding cells. Even now, I had not been informed of the nature
of the charges preferred against me, nor had any official entry been made to
indicate that I was being held at Mbare, another notorious police tactic. The
police were under the charge-ship of one Detective Inspector Garnet Sikhova.
In spite of my bruises and the pain that I felt, I was dragged to a yellow
mini-bus whose registration numbers I was prevented from looking at. My
constant pleas for legal representation, food and water were in
Mr Chair, the mini-bus that I was hauled into had no seats inside.
Even more sinister was the fact that it had black curtains and a black carpet
lining the windows and the floor. In the extreme end of the vehicle was a
raised platform whereupon some of the Police Officers sat. I was
nonetheless ordered to sit on the floor facing the back of the vehicle. A
black hood was then slipped over my head. It was made of nylon and did not
have any breathing-holes in it. In a short while I became claustrophobic,
sweated heavily and had difficulties breathing. My requests that part of the
hood be pulled slightly over my nose to allow me to breathe were rudely
denied. Instead, I was asked to use 'the mouth that you use to defend the MDC
After what appeared like an hour's drive, the vehicle
pulled over and my hands were handcuffed behind my back. I was bundled out of
the car to find myself in a tunnel of some sort, judging by the echoes that
our footsteps made. I was advised that 'you are now a blind man and have to
act like a blind person'. After several twists and turns, in what appeared a
labyrinth of some sort, we descended to about 3 floors of stairs
Off to the right, I could hear the sounds of horrible
screaming. I was thrown against the wall and the hood was then removed. I was
stripped utterly naked, then had my hands and feet handcuffed and bound so
that I was in a foetal position. The police then thrust a thick plank between
my legs and hands. Other planks lined the room and the light was dim. In a
corner to my right side, there was a pool of what my tormentors told me was
acid, into which I could be dissolved without a trace. I was also informed
that I could be crucified on the planks against the wall, or have needles
thrust into my urethra if 'you are not co-operative'. In the middle of the
room were a small table and a chair. About 15 or so interrogators stood over
me and some of them began assaulting me with booted-feet and fists all over
the body. I was then given the option of either 'telling the truth or dying a
slow and painful death'.
Several questions were asked about my
background as a student activist, my allegiance to the MDC, the political
affiliation of judges, my scholarship to pursue the Master's Degree in South
Africa, my alleged involvement in the burning of a government bus, my
political ambitions, as well as the arms caches that the MDC was alleged to
have had. At some point I was hung upside down on the planks and assaulted
beneath the feet with wooden and rubber truncheons, as well as some pieces of
Running concurrently with the other assaults and ongoing
interrogation, various electrical shocks were introduced into my body. A
black contraption resembling a telephone was placed on the small table. It
had several electric cables emanating from it. One cable was tied to the
middle toe of my right foot, whilst another was tied to the second toe of the
left foot. Another copper wire was wrapped tightly around my genitals. Again,
another one was put into my mouth. Still in the foetal position, I was
ordered to hold a metallic receiver in my bound right hand and I was then
forced to place this next to my right ear. A blast of electric shocks was
then administered to my body for about 8 to 9 hours.
occasions, I lost consciousness only to be revived to face the same ordeal. A
chemical substance was applied to my body. I also lost control of my bladder,
vomited blood and was forced to drink my urine and lick my vomit. I was also
urinated upon by several of my interrogators. Whilst the questioning was in
process, several photographs were taken of me cringing and writhing in pain
and in nakedness.
At the end of this ordeal, and around 19:00 pm, I was
unbound and then forced to write several documents under my torturers'
dictation. In the documents, I incriminated myself as well as senior MDC
personnel in several subversive activities. Under pain of death, I was also
forced to agree to work for the Central Intelligence Organization, the
government spy agency. In addition, I was compelled to swear allegiance to
President Robert Mugabe, as well as to promise that I would not disclose my
ordeal, either to the independent press or the courts. I later
Around 19:30 pm, I was blindfolded and taken to Harare Central
Police Station, where I was booked into a holding cell even more
horrendously inhumane than that at Mbare Police Station. On the third day of
my arrest, my lawyers, who had at that point obtained a High Court injunction
ordering my release to court, were allowed access to me. I had not had food
or water throughout the period of my detention, which was three days. I had
also not been formally notified of the nature of the charge against me.
Subsequently, however, I was charged under Section 5 of the Public Order and
Security Act, which deals with organizing, planning or conspiring to
overthrow the government through unconstitutional means. These charges were
dismissed in a court of law after medical evidence established that we had
been tortured. Subsequently, I was threatened with death and had to flee for
I worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in
Tanzania for two months and was threatened by the High Commissioner of
Zimbabwe to Tanzania. I then had to flee to South Africa. In spite of
psychiatric and other medical treatment, I continue to experience nightmares,
suffer depression, sexual impotence as well as extreme fatigue.
convinced that my torture and ill treatment was authorized and condoned at
the highest level of the Zimbabwean state. It is inconceivable that President
Mugabe is unaware that his police, army and intelligence officials are using
torture. The President has been aware that torture is being used against
human rights activists and those suspected to be linked to the MDC, as is
exemplified by the case of journalists Mark Chavhunduka and Ray Choto. The
two were brutally tortured by the army and Chavunduka died later. Mugabe was
however on TV gloating that those who write stories about the army should
expect 'army justice'
I lodged a report of what transpired to me with the
police, but up to now no action has been taken. I have also instructed my
lawyer to institute civil proceedings, but am not hopeful, as the Executive
has largely subverted the judicial system. Furthermore, the police in
Zimbabwe are notorious for defying court orders.
Mr Chair, I should
also point out that members of my family who are still in Zimbabwe are in
mortal danger as I speak. I cannot afford to lose them as we are a very small
family, having been orphaned early in life. I am the first born in a family
of four. Both my parents are deceased. My father died of cancer of the liver
when I was 10 years old. I became the sole breadwinner of the family after my
mother passed away some years later. My mother succumbed to the AIDS virus in
1995, having spent many years trying to raise us.
struggled through education with the help of a kind white couple, Mary Austin
and John Ayton. I mention this couple to dispel the myth that the crisis in
Zimbabwe is a tug of war between black and white. I have often been shocked
at how Mugabe can use this propaganda to mislead some black brothers like
Coltaine Chimurenga of the December Movement in this country. Several African
leaders have also not seen behind this and the misinformation that confuse
the need for a land redistribution process and human rights abuses.
the University of Zimbabwe where I obtained a Bachelor of Laws
(Honours) degree, I was a student activist. In 1995, I led demonstrations
against police brutality. This culminated in my suspension from the
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) for a period of two years. Whilst on suspension,
I wrote articles on student rights and addressed seminars on academic freedom
in Zimbabwe. After readmission to the University in 1997, I mounted
a one-person demonstration to protest the heavy handedness of the police
in quelling student disturbances. For this, I was abducted and tortured at
a torture Chamber situated in the basement of Harare Central
Mr Chair, to date I have been arrested and assaulted or tortured
14 times under the regime of President Robert Mugabe. At my graduation on the
18th of August 2000, I was again arrested and taken into police custody
for attempting to hand over a petition protesting the breakdown of the rule
of law in Zimbabwe, especially on the farms, to President Robert Mugabe. As
I approached Mugabe, who is also Chancellor of the University, his
bodyguards whisked me away. As a result, I could not graduate with my fellow
students as I was in prison, complete in my academic regalia. This incident
was reported in the press. Mr Chair, I submit that all that which transpired
to me should be seen as a microcosm of the brutality visited upon human
rights and opposition activists in Zimbabwe
It should be noted that
Mugabe's regime has since independence intimidated, tortured and murdered
political opponents and human rights defenders. As early as the 1980's
opposition Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) commander Lookout Masuku
was tortured and subsequently died in police custody. Ethnic Ndebele
civilians were raped or at gunpoint forced to commit incest, buried alive in
mass graves, or murdered by the notorious North Korean trained Five Brigade.
More than 20 000 Ndebeles lost their lives in this genocide. President Mugabe
is on record calling the wanton massacre 'a clean-up process'. He also
boasted that '.when we get there we eradicate them. We don't differentiate
when we fight because we can't tell who is a dissident and who is not'.
Results of two Commissions tasked to probe this genocide have been
Mr Chair, with the emergence of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in 1999, President Mugabe has shown even more determination to
encourage the commitment of rape, murder and mayhem in the name of the ruling
ZANU (PF) party. The army has been the mainstay of Mugabe's illegitimate
regime. During the 2002, Presidential Election the army led the police
in threatening a coup in the event that the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai won
the election. In another incident, they stormed into a nightclub that
was patronized by MDC supporters and forced them to have group sex
without condoms. The army has also forced MDC supporters to eat human waste
and has not denied murdering Christopher Giwa and MDC activist Lameck
The police and the CIO have been involved in the
killing of Batanai Hadzinzi, a student activist, Tonderai Machiridza, MDC MP
David Mpala and many others who died in 2003 and I cannot name for want of
50 000 of the equivalent of the Hitler Youth, the Youth Militia
'graduated' last month from 'bases' scattered across the country. Some are as
young as 13. A few of them have escaped to South Africa and confessed that at
the camps, they are indoctrinated to rape, torture and kill MDC supporters
and human rights defenders. Young women like Debbie Siyangapi, who had to
flee to South Africa are living examples of this callous corruption
and militarisation of Zimbabwe's future. Because of rape at the militia
camps, Debbie has now given birth, and is infected with HIV-AIDS. Her
testimony is on the Internet and has been recorded in some of the electronic
evidence presented to the Committee. Mr Chair, does the Free World have to
wait until we are another Rwanda?
The democratic space in Zimbabwe has
been unremittingly eroded. Human rights and MDC activists' wives, children
and even men are abducted and raped by President Mugabe's killing machines.
The testimonies of rape victims, which are also available on the video In
Dark Time, are poignant indications of this trend. To make matters worse, the
only independent newspaper in the country has been closed under draconian
media laws like the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
President Mugabe's Goebbels and a fugitive from Justice, Minister Jonathan
Moyo has defended this repressive legislation on the grounds that countries
like Sweden have these laws, when in fact our media law has striking
resemblance to that obtaining in Sri Lanka.
The Public Order and
Security Act under which I was detained, a successor to the colonial Law and
Order Maintanance Act, has assaulted freedom of Assembly and Movement. The
recently introduced Statutory 37, Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures)
(Amendment of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations 2004 provide
for detention on suspicion of economic or political crimes for up to a month
without the benefit of bail or trial.
The Zimbabwean people endure a
daily dosage of unmitigated terror, famine and disease. Records released by
the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that 1 in every 4 adults is
infected with HIV-AIDS. The World Food Organization (WFO) has warned that
about 7 million people face starvation. Whilst this Dantean scene unfolds,
Mugabe has the insulting temerity to tell the world that he is 'Hitler
tenfold' and that 'I have degrees in violence'.
Mr Chair, because of the
closure of all democratic space, Zimbabwe is on the brink of a civil war. It
seems futile to appeal to the law for protection. The courts have been packed
with ZANU (PF) loyalists. Lawyers like Beatrice Mtetwa and Gugulethu Moyo
have been assaulted in the course of their duties. Lawyers have been
invariably prevented from accessing clients held for 'political
The humanitarian catastrophe that the brutality and dictatorship
in Zimbabwe has occasioned is unparalleled in post-independence Southern
Africa. Yet, SADC, in particular South Africa, continue to half-step and
head-scratch. For example, it is now accepted that Botswana hosts about 80
000 illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe, while of the 3 million or so
Zimbabweans in South Africa, 41 207 were repatriated back to Zimbabwe between
January and September last year.
In conclusion, I wish to thank the
Chair and the Members of the Committee for allowing me to present this
testimony to the Free World. I would like to show appreciation to you even
more for sharing our suffering. Only last week, the United States extended
targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his close lieutenants. This is an
indication that the Free World cares. Nevertheless, allow me to appeal
further to the protection of the United States. All of us who stand for human
rights and democracy in Zimbabwe would like to see Mugabe removed from power
as a matter of urgency. We would like him and his lieutenants to answer
charges of crimes against humanity and in this, we need your help. We would
also be obliged if the United States and other countries would consider
expelling these dictators' kith and kin from their
Furthermore, we also appeal to the United States and other
democracies to have Mugabe and his henchmen arrested as soon as they enter
another political and legal jurisdiction. Towards this end, I implore you to
support the efforts of organizations like the Accountability
Commission-Zimbabwe and Redress Trust that have been compiling affidavits
from victims as well as attempting to secure Mugabe and his henchmen's arrest
I would also like to entreat the Free World not to
support African initiatives like the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD) as long as African leaders do not speak out and act against dictators
and gross human rights violators on the Continent.
Lastly, I beseech
you to grant support for infrastructural and other needs to civil society and
human rights activists in Zimbabwe and abroad, in particular those that name
and shame as well as offer support to torture and other victims and those who
like myself have been forced into exile. Among these are the Zimbabwe Exiles'
Forum, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Amani Trust.
Zim accuses magistrate of 'attack on national
By Staff Reporter 19/03/04 THE Accountability
Commission of Zimbabwe has condemned what it termed the "deliberate bullying
and manipulation of the judiciary" in the on-going anti-corruption blitz
initiated by government.
The Commission's Legal Director and prominent
lawyer Gabriel Shumba said the government was using the state-owned Herald
newspaper to intimidate judges, lawyers and legal officers in a bid to get
The Herald on Thursday ran a story under the
headline "Magistrate's ruling sparks outrage" in which magistrate Judith
Tsamba's decision to grant bail to businessman James Makamba was described as
an "attack on national security".
"We condemn in the strongest terms
the rampant and pervasive intimidation of the judiciary in Zimbabwe," the
commission which has been cataloguing human rights abuses for future action
"The deliberate bullying and manipulation of the judiciary has been
on the increase since the forced departure from the Supreme Court bench of
Justice Anthony Gubbay," it said.
The Herald report, quoting "highly
placed sources" described the ruling as "totally unacceptable and had shocked
"They said it was preposterous and would make the
administration of justice in the country a laughing stock. The legal sources
said the ruling had no precedent and that the justice system itself would not
sustain it," the paper said.
Makamba was immediately rearrested and is
yet to be taken to court.
The Herald report betrayed a general government
view when it said "government sources" described the ruling as "an attack on
the country's national security and an attempt by misguided elements within
the judiciary to bring down law and order because there was no precedent for
it anywhere in the civilised constitutional democracies
The 'government source' is further quoted as saying: "The
courts do not have the capacity and will never have that capacity to say each
one of the police officers in the country must first obtain an arrest warrant
before they arrest anyone. The requirement for an arrest is reasonable
But Shumba who was tortured by President Mugabe's regime
while representing St Mary's MP Job Sikhala said it was all a cynical plot by
the government to intimidate judges to peddle the official line and
"It is a further attempt by the Zimbabwe government to
arm-twist the bench into handing down judgments in its favour. The AC views
the story in the Herald as an attempt to defeat this democratic fundamental
and in particular notes that with the advent of Jonathan Moyo as Minister of
Publicity and Information, the government media has resorted to quoting
unnamed sources to air government displeasure with dissent.
examples of governement meddling with the Third Estate are evidenced by the
forced resignation of Justice Majuru from the Adminstrative court a few weeks
ago, and the unnecessary, ongoing and totally reprehensible harassment of
Justice Benjamin Paradza. It is the AC's view that in harassing the
judiciary, the government of Zimbabwe is in breach of the African Charter on
Human and People's Rights and many other conventions to which it is a
"The AC urges the government, in particular the police to accept
the rule of law. The police in Zimbabwe have not been known for their
non-partisanship in enforcing court orders and this is immensely
regrettable," the commission said.
The Accountability Commission which
has its headquarters in South Africa describes itself as non-partisan. It
gathers and collates reports and affidavits from victims of human rights
violations with a view to prosecuting the perpetrators when a new government
takes over. It also pursues legal remedies on behalf of victims and against
the perpetrators in neutral or international jurisdictions.
Two weeks before being arrested
in Zimbabwe, some members of the group of former South African Defence Force
soldiers being held over an alleged coup plot in Equatorial-Guinea had their
aircraft turned back to South Africa from Ndola in Zambia. They had been
attempting to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo. This was confirmed last
night by a source in the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), who refused to
disclose the reasons why the aircraft was turned back. But former 32
Battalion member Rui Pedro, who served with the men being detained in Harare,
said his colleagues had been recruited for "mercenary work" in the DRC. He
confirmed what the NIA source had said about the plane being turned back from
Ndola. "They were not employed to work on mines, oil installations or to
guard anything else. They were recruited to protect the interests of their
employer, violently if necessary," he said. According to Pedro, the men were
recruited by an agent representing Logo Logistics, which had connections with
the now defunct Executive Outcomes, a private security company owned by
former SADF intelligence officer Eben Barlow. The recruiting agent is known
to be a former 32 Battalion sergeant. Executive Outcomes is now operating
under the name of Saracen and has close links with Logo Logistics. It is
based in London.
"Baptista Adriano (in custody in Zimbabwe) said
he was going to the Congo to work as a security guard. He never knew he was
actually being recruited to act as a mercenary," Pedro said. He added that
Adriano's colleague, Ziami Route-Hendrik, was also led to believe he was
being employed as a security guard. "They were offered R16 000 a month to
work in the Congo as security guards, but they were lied to," Pedro said.
Both men knew Barlow and had served with him while he was a member of 32
Battalion, according to Pedro. A former reconnaissance operator, who asked
not to be named, said it was true that former SADF members were being
recruited by agents to carry out mercenary activities. "Perhaps these men
were misled, but private security companies operating in Africa do not
recruit black members of 32 Battalion to act as guards. They are recruited to
do what they do best; and that is to fight," he said. He said the men in
custody in Zimbabwe had spent many years in 32 Battalion and they were highly
trained combat soldiers. "They have a wealth of battlefield experience. Why
take them to a conflict zone and employ them to guard a house?" he asked.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, negotiations were under way
yesterday to have the men returned to South Africa. However, the NIA source
denied that this was the case.
ZDI's murky arms dealing exposed Dumisani
Muleya MORE details emerged this week of the murky arms deal in which
Zimbabwe Defence Industries sold a large consignment of weapons to the
alleged mercenaries currently held in Harare. This raises potentially
embarrassing questions about the state arms manufacturer's role in their
It is also understood that the South African Secret Service
had been monitoring the men's movements ahead of their arrival in
While there has been no public admission that ZDI sold the
weapons to trap the alleged mercenaries, the firm's involvement in the Sri
Lankan arms disappearance case in 1997 has fuelled suspicions that this
latest episode could be another deal gone bad.
A ship carrying a
ZDI consignment of 32 398/81mm mortar bombs disappeared in 1997 allegedly on
its way to Sri Lanka with arms for that country's army under a US$6 million
government-to-government deal. However, investigations into the fate of the
vessel Stillius Limasol, which was supposed to be carrying the consignment of
mortars and other military hardware, revealed that there was no ship
registered by that name.
Claims that the Tamil Tigers, who are
fighting for a separate homeland, intercepted the weapons, failed to stick.
In the end officials in Colombo accused senior officers in the Sri Lankan
army and ZDI of arranging the disappearance in order to defraud the Sri
Lankan government. ZDI denied the charge.
Questions are being
raised over the sale of arms to the 67 suspected mercenaries arrested at
Harare airport on Sunday, March 7, which official sources say was part of the
The Zimbabwe Independent has now established that ZDI - which
supplies army uniforms, field equipment and ammunition - sold the mercenaries
a consignment of 61 AK-47 assault rifles and 45 000 rounds of ammunition,
10 Browning pistols and 500 x 9mm rounds of ammunition, and 20 PKM
light machine guns plus 30 000 rounds of ammunition.
It also sold
100 RPG7 anti-tank weapons, 2 x 60mm mortar tubes, 80 x 60mm mortar bombs, 1
500 hand grenades and 20 Icarus flairs.
Bha-rat Patel said this week that the suspects would be charged, among other
things, with violating the Firearms Act for buying arms without an end-user
certificate. He also said they would be charged under the Public Order and
Security Act for illegal possession of weaponry which is not covered under
the Firearms Act.
It is understood government hatched the trap after
Simon Mann, one of those detained, came to Zimbabwe in February with
colleagues trying to buy arms.
The trap was said to have been
finalised when Mann and associates came back on March 5 to wait for the
now-impounded plane that was due to collect their consignment two days
Their movements were monitored, the Independent has been told,
by South African intelligence officers who booked into a local hotel on March
5. They trailed Simon Mann and two colleagues who arrived in Zimbabwe the
same day to await the plane.
The plane was impounded on March 7.
It is understood to have arrived in South Africa from Sao Tomé and Principe
the day before. On March 7, the plane departed Lanseria airport in
Johannesburg at 6:55am with four crew members and headed for Wonderboom in
It left Wonderboom at 4:07pm with 67 passengers heading for
Polokwane where it landed at 4:35pm. It then departed Polokwane at 6:24pm for
Harare where it landed at 7:30pm before it was seized.
his associates, who are among the detained suspects, were already in the
country to collect arms they had bought from Zimbabwe
The South African intelligence officers were
at the airport when the plane was impounded. Sources say they did not stop
the plane in South Africa because they wanted the suspects to fall into the
trap. The ZDI arms consignment was the evidence they needed.
Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, who has said the mercenaries were going to
Equatorial Guinea to stage a coup against President Teodoro Obiang
Nguema Mbasogo, yesterday said he could not clarify ZDI's role.
has been said in the press that they (the alleged mercenaries) had arranged
to buy arms from ZDI but for details on that you can contact ZDI," Mohadi
Persistent efforts to get comment from ZDI yesterday failed as
all senior officials were reportedly out of their offices.
reports that some ZDI officials had been arrested over the arms deal with the
mercenaries, Mohadi said: "I can't confirm that. I haven't received any such
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi also refused to comment
on the issue.
"The Minister of Home Affairs is handling those
matters," he said.
Analysts said the transaction between ZDI and the
alleged mercenaries raised potentially embarrassing
"Certainly it does raise some questions and it might
expose something about the activities of ZDI that the government will regret
later," Richard Cornwell of South Africa's Africa Security and Analysis
Programme told Reuters.
Research Associates' Herman van der Linde
said: "There is no way there were going to be able to sell arms to anybody
without an end-user certificate or at least some government
President Thabo Mbeki is said to have been instrumental in
exposing the alleged coup against Obiang. Mbeki met with Obiang in Pretoria
on December 1 and the two discussed a range of bilateral issues, including
Their gathering came at about the same time as
Mann's reported meeting with Equatorial Guinean exiled rebel leader Severo
Moto and Western intelligence agents over the coup plot.
understood Mbeki and Obiang discussed the coup plot and Mbeki agreed to
monitor the movement of possible mercenaries.
Zim needs only 7 banks says IMF team Godfrey
Marawanyika ZIMBABWE'S small, inflation-plagued economy can take no more than
seven commercial banks, says an International Monetary Fund (IMF)
delegation currently on a routine visit to the country. This is less than
half the 17 registered commercial banks serving Zimbabwe's population of
about 13 million people, most of whom survive on less than US$1 a
Officials who attended a meeting with IMF officials this week
told the Zimbabwe Independent that the IMF delegation said a smaller number
of banks would restore normalcy and public confidence in the financial
services sector - currently dogged by allegations of poor corporate
While government officials who attended the meeting are
said to have rejected IMF dictates, the Bretton Woods team is understood to
have expressed grave concerns at the country's runaway inflation,
the foreign-currency parallel market and a liquidity crunch that has placed
at least two financial institutions under curatorship.
this week met with Ministry of Finance officials and
The Washington team, led by Doris Rose, arrived in
the country on Tuesday for routine Article IV consultations. In the next
fortnight the team will meet central bank governor Gideon Gono and his senior
officials, officials from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, and the Ministry of
The last Article IV meetings were held in July last
Since Friday last week, Intermarket Building Society and
Barbican Bank and its asset management arm have closed shop after the central
bank found the two were not in "sound financial positions".
IMF team has also been having problems with fixing appointments with business
lea-ders. Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief executive officer Farai
Zizhou yesterday confirmed that their meeting with the IMF delegation had
The IMF is said to have spoken highly of Gono's
monetary policy launched in December last year. They however said there would
be no decision on Zimbabwe's membership status until the end of June when the
executive board meets.
Zim 'looks East' for military
training/hardware Augustine Mukaro/ Shakeman Mugari ZIMBABWE'S military
has decided to "look East" in line with official policy as it acquaints its
officers with new equipment acquired from China, the Zimbabwe Independent has
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General Constantine
Chiwenga was in China this week to sign agreements for military exchange
programmes between the two countries.
China's Xinhua News Agency
on Wednesday reported that Chinese Defence minister Cao Gangchuan met
Chiwenga in Beijing on Tuesday. "Cao promised that the Chinese army will
continue its efforts to enhance the friendly cooperative relations with
Zimbabwe's armed forces," the agency said
"Cao, also vice-chairman of
the Central Military Commission and a state councillor, made the remark in a
meeting with CG Chiwenga, commander of Zimbabwe's defence
The agency reported Cao as saying that China and Zimbabwe
had carried out fruitful cooperation in various fields since they forged
Chiwenga is understood to have held talks
with the Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army,
Liang Guanglie, before meeting the minister.
"Liang, also a member
of the Chinese Central Military Commission, said the Chinese army attached
importance to its friendly cooperative relations with the Zimbabwean army,
and will actively promote the exchanges and cooperation between the two sides
in various fields," Xinhua said.
Highly placed sources this week said
government had stopped military exchange programmes and advancement courses
with Western countries deemed hostile to Zimbabwe's interests. The sources
said the ZDF had stopped sending military attachés to Britain and other
European countries that have cut ties with Zimbabwe over its sullied human
"The ZDF started sending its officers to China two
years ago following the imposition of sanctions," the sources
"As of now almost half of the forces have undergone
equipment familiarialistion courses either abroad or through Chinese officers
visiting the country."
Zimbabwean state security departments have
been told to phase out all European-manufactured ammunition, vehicles,
helicopters and fighter planes after government failed to secure spare parts
from Britain and other EU countries following the imposition of
The sources said the recent visit to Zimbabwe by a Chinese
delegation was part of the mission to assess Zimbabwe's military needs ahead
of an arms deal that is on the cards. The delegation visited the country's
key military training centres such as the Zimbabwe Military Academy (ZMA) in
The Independent also established that a Chinese team was
rebuilding the ZMA complex. Initially the complex had makeshift structures of
timber and metal sheets. The team is putting up permanent structures at the
Zimbabwe still has military attachés in a number of European
countries but there are no training programmes taking place.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs last
year toured defence installations and barracks around the
Committee chairman and Zanu PF MP for Mt Darwin Saviour
Kasukuwere admitted that sanctions had compromised the security situation in
He said Zimbabwe needed to engage dependable suppliers of
equipment in the face of crippling sanctions by the EU which has seen
military machinery grounded due to lack of spare parts.
up on the report, Kasukuwere together with Giles Mutsekwa of the same
committee, visited China to scout for replacements to the sanctions-battered
military equipment. Kasukuwere said the five-day tour highlighted the kind of
technology that Zimbabwe could import for the use of its defence forces.
Govt moves to acquire private conservancies Godfrey
Marawanyika/Augustine Mukaro GOVERNMENT plans to acquire all privately-owned
conservancies and game ranches, a move that could mark the end of private
land ownership in Zimbabwe, it became clear this week.
however faces stiff resistance from the Zimbabwe Conservation
& Development Foundation (ZCDF) and other stakeholders involved in
the wildlife business.
A government document, Wildlife-Based Land
Reform Policy, first released in July 2002 and revised last month, seeks to
declare all conservancies and ranches state land that should be administered
by the Parks and Wildlife Authority.
Government says this will
enable resettled farmers and other indigenous people to venture into the
"All farms, including those that constitute
conservancies that are acquired and designated as core wildlife production
zones, may be declared state land to be administered by the Parks and
Wildlife Authority for the benefit of the indigenous people," the document
In the report government outlines two proposals for dealing
with game conservancies.
The first is to convert all acquired land
and assets into shareholding, which would allow the current owners to retain
50% while the new entrants get the remainder.
Alternatively, it is
proposed, the current owners can relinquish 30% of their 50% shareholding to
new beneficiaries selected from current occupiers and neighbouring
The remaining 20% of current owners would be reduced
over a period of five years.
Under the new arrangement all land
and wildlife belong to the state and will be regulated through the Ministry
of Environment or its agencies.
"Ministry of Environment and Tourism
will provide the leadership and be recognised as such in profiling wildlife
and natural resources management in the land reform process. Further, the
ministry will be part of the vetting process for all applications pertaining
to wildlife-based land reform," says the document.
government will mobilise support groups, including the private sector,
non-governmental organisations and government departments, in implementing
The document concedes that land reform has been a
failure in terms of wildlife management policy.
or not, virtually all resettlement has been based on use
of land for
agriculture," it says.
"This emphasis on crops and livestock
effectively undermined wildlife
production as a legitimate land-use
option on newly resettled farms.
Ultimately this fuelled poaching,
habitat degradation and wood landloss on newly resettled
The wildlife industry is challenging government's proposals
to nationalise all privately held wildlife properties.
one perilous predicament facing the private wildlife industry of Zimbabwe at
this crucial time," the ZCDF said in a statement.
"There is need for
the formation of a representative group mandated to vigorously protect and
fight for the direct interests of wildlife stakeholders."
said the net result of the on-going acquisition of commercial farmland was
the unprecedented destruction of Zimbabwe's all-inclusive socio-ecological
The ZCDF called for an action forum to bring together
experience to uphold the interests of the industry in the face of looming
The players proposed the formation of an alliance that
includes Justice for Agriculture, Safari Club International, Africa Indaba,
Hunting Report and the international community to stop the rot.
Zim yet to ratify rights conventions Munyaradzi
Wasosa ZIMBABWE is among 25 countries that have not ratified conventions
and agreements of the United Nations Commission on Human
The country has been ranked among the "worst offenders",
according to a recent report by Reporters Without Borders.
named "worst offenders" along with Zimbabwe are Cuba and China, which have
been branded the "two biggest prisons in the world for
journalists". Ironically, Libya, which currently chairs the commission and is
President Mugabe's close ally, does not appear on the list. This comes at a
time when the 60th session of the commission, which began on Tuesday and ends
on April 23, is being held in Geneva, Switzerland.
delegation led by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa is attending the
session, where it is expected to canvass the support of "friendly countries"
to fight the adoption of a motion to discuss Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has not
ratified the UN Convention Against Torture, the statute establishing the
International Criminal Court (ICC) and the two Protocols to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The ICC additional Protocols
focus on issues pertaining to crimes against humanity and genocide mostly
perpetrated by the state.
Zimrights executive director Munyaradzi
Bidi in an interview this week slammed government's reluctance to ratify the
"Zimbabwe's human rights record has grown worse," he
said. "The government is aware that if it ratifies (the conventions), it will
be accountable to the international community. With the general elections
coming, international scrutiny is the last thing the regime would want," he
Bidi cited the recently invoked Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures)(Amendment of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act)
Regulations as an example of the country's worsening human rights conditions.
The amendment gives the government powers to detain suspects of serious
commercial crimes for up to a month without bail.
"This has become the
'Makamba Regulations'," Bidi said in reference to businessman James Makamba
who has been in remand prison on corruption charges since February
"It violates article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights which Zimbabwe ratified," he said.
analysts argue that since the government has ratified the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, it is technically bound to respect clauses of
other conventions which it has not ratified. Human Rights Trust of Southern
Africa (Sahrit)'s deputy director of programmes Farai Chiweshe, expressed
concern at Zimbabwe's position.
"Whatever reason the government has
for not ratifying, it works negatively for the country. We call on the
government to ratify UN conventions, especially the crucial one against
torture," said Chiweshe.
Human rights groups, media institutions and
other lobby groups are expected to give evidence at the Geneva session,
detailing gross human rights violations in the country.
representatives will then be given the opportunity to defend their position.
If a motion is adopted to discuss Zimbabwe, the commission will send
rappoteurs to investigate and gather evidence in the country for presentation
at the next session.
Earlier this month, the International Federation
for Human Rights, at its 35th session in Quito, Equador, adopted a resolution
on Zimbabwe. The document outlines the federation's demand for the commission
to adopt a motion on Zimbabwe "condemning human rights violations perpetrated
by the regime, in particular those targeting human rights defenders".
Anxiety grips tobacco industry Augustine
Mukaro ANXIETY has gripped the tobacco industry after the Tobacco Industry
and Marketing Board (TIMB) decided to introduce dual production and
marketing when the selling season kicks off at the end of the
The government has changed the marketing of tobacco from an
auction system to a dual approach where contract tobacco production and
marketing will operate alongside auctions.
Under the new system,
which will be put to the test on March 30 when the tobacco marketing season
starts, nine contractors and the three traditional auction floors will be
buying the crop.
Approved contractors include FSI Agricom, TSL,
Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco, Tobacco Growers Trust, Farmers' World, Arda/Gold
Driven Investment, Petroleum and two others whose names could not be
established at the time of going to press.
Speaking to the
Zimbabwe Independent last week, TIMB general manager Stanley Mutepfa said the
contract buying of tobacco would start a day after opening of the auction
floors. This would allow contractors to determine
"The prices should be equivalent to those offered at
auction floors so that farmers are not prejudiced," Mutepfa
"Contracted farmers will deliver their crop to an approved
receiving point which meets TIMB standards for tobacco storage but the buyer
will decide what to do with the crop," said Mutepfa.
Salaries in forex: RBZ to rein in firms Shakeman
Mugari THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe plans to launch a crackdown on companies
that have been paying portions of salaries of their top managers in
The bank will soon investigate companies that
pay their senior managers and directors in hard currency. Many listed
companies in Zimbabwe deposit part of their executive officers' and top
managers' salaries in offshore accounts.
In written responses to
the Zimbabwe Independent, the central bank said companies doing so were
externalising foreign currency.
"Any foreign currency-denominated
salaries deposited offshore by the said 'listed companies' is tantamount to
externalisation of foreign currency and is a contravention of the Exchange
Control rules and regulations," the RBZ said.
Over the past few
years, companies have been offering hard currency salaries to senior managers
in a bid retain key staff. The Independent is in possession of a confidential
salary survey indicating that one listed company paid more than £170 000 to
six of its managers last year alone.
According to the documents, the
chief executive received £75 000 and the managing director £50 000 deposited
in offshore accounts as part of their pay packages.
show that the finance director was also entitled to £30 000 per annum. The
investment manager and company secretary received £4 500 each last
Most companies listed on the stock exchange have facilities to
pay part of their top managers' salaries in foreign currency. The Reserve
Bank said no Zimbabwean company was allowed to pay salaries to its Zimbabwean
executives in foreign currency through FCAs or offshore
"Significant amounts of foreign exchange may have been
externalised through these transactions and the Reserve Bank would appreciate
it if information on hand could be made available to the bank to facilitate
further investigation on the companies concerned," said the RBZ
AirZim workers threaten strike over wage demand Itai
Dzamara WORKERS at Air Zimbabwe have threatened to paralyse operations at
the national air carrier next week if management doesn't accede to their
demand for a 300% wage hike.
The Zimbabwe Independent was told
yesterday that Air Zimbabwe managing director Rambai Chingwena had issued
suspension letters to 20 workers' leaders this week following strike action
on Tuesday. But the company's legal and corporate affairs manager said the
matter has been "amicably resolved".
The threat of industrial
action follows clashes between management and workers last week over
unremitted medical and pension contributions which management could not fully
explain. Workers alleged that management had been diverting their money to
Sources involved in the negotiations revealed yesterday
that the workers had opted for a fully-fledged strike next week if their wage
demands were not met.
The national airline was rocked by a strike
involving engineers in late 2002 that lasted five months and forced
management to hire engineers from Zambia.
Workers and management were
reportedly deadlocked this week, with Chingwena said to have initially
offered the workers a 10% increment, which was rejected. The offer was raised
to 20% but again there were no takers.
The airline's legal and
corporate affairs manager Arthur Manase yesterday denied that 20 workers were
issued with letters of suspension. Sixteen workers had "certain measures"
taken against them, he said, for having been absent from their posts. But, he
added, the matter had been "amicably resolved".
"There is peace
and harmony and all workers are at their posts and it is business as usual,"
Workers on Wednesday sought the assistance of recently
appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and
Communications, Karikoga Kaseke, who is said to have ordered the withdrawal
of the suspension letters issued by Chingwena.
confirmed meeting with Air Zimbabwe workers and the withdrawal of the
"The workers came to me with their issue," said
Kaseke. "But I explained to them that they should engage their management and
negotiate in good faith before resorting to industrial action. They assured
me that they were going to negotiate in good faith but also demanded that
management reciprocate," he said.
"I also called management and
urged them to negotiate in good faith. As a starting point we agreed that the
letters of suspension be withdrawn."
Murerwa accused of misleading the public Loughty
Dube STRIKING National University of Science and Technology (NUST) lecturers
and non-academic staff claim Higher Education minister Herbert Murerwa
misled the nation when he announced that they had been awarded a salary
increment of 280%.
Chairman of Nust Educators Association
(Nusteda), Elyween Madziwa, and Nust non-academic staff chairman,
Readyforward Dube, told the Zimbabwe Independent in separate interviews this
week that the salary increment amounted to only 30%.
misled the nation when he claimed that we were given a salary increment of
280% because we were awarded a mere 30% increment," said Dube.
strike has been going on for the past five months.
non-academic staff went on strike to force their employer to effect an
arbitration salary that they were awarded last year.
Madziwa said it
was unfortunate that Murerwa was playing with figures to create the false
impression that government was addressing lecturers' concerns when it was
"The issue is straight forward," said Madziwa. "The government
gave all civil servants a salary increment of 250% last year. Murerwa added
30% in March and turned around to announce that he had given lecturers a
salary increment of 280%, which is ridiculous to say the least," he
Nust, Midlands State University, and University of Zimbabwe
lecturers went on strike last year to force government to effect an
arbitration salary scale they were awarded earlier on. The government however
challenged the process saying it did not have the resources or the capacity
to meet the new salary scales.
"The reason why we went back to
work is not that we are happy with the 30% salary increment we were given but
we have put the strike on hold while we await the outcome of the employer's
appeal to the arbitration judgement that is due to be heard early next
month," said Madziwa.
He said if the Labour Appeal Court accepted the
employer's appeal the lecturers would go back on strike.
we stay at work or continue with the strike is dependent on whether the
labour court allows or turns down the employer's appeal," Madziwa
If the labour court throws out the appeal then it means that
the government would be forced to pay the lecturers the arbitration
On other allowances awarded, Dube said these were
"Housing allowances for the lowest paid non-academic
worker were increased from $7 000 to $51 000. If you look at that in terms of
percentage it is an increase of 630% which sounds like a huge figure," said
The associations were also awarded an increment of 70% in
transport allowances that would see lowest paid staff at the university get
$155 000, up from $89 000.
New farmers use child labour Ndamu Sandu PUPILS at
Kuwadzana High School in Banket, Mashonaland West, are being forced to
provide supplementary labour to newly resettled farmers in the area, the
Zimbabwe Independent heard this week.
Sources said since the
beginning of the current school term in January, pupils are allegedly forced
to work at North Banket Farm owned by Crispen Saidi and another farm
reportedly owned by Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac) chairman
Saidi is Zanu PF councillor for Ward 22 in
"The school claims it is raising money to develop sport.
Those who do not go to work in the fields are forced to pay $20 000 a term,"
a source said.
Pupils who attend lessons in the afternoon work on the
farms in the morning while those who attend morning lessons work in the
Child labour is prohibited by law in Zimbabwe though it is
rampant on farms. Parents who spoke to the Independent this week said they
did not know how much money the school had raised through the illegal use of
An official at the school confirmed that the pupils
were working on the farms.
"The pupils are working on the farms
and we are targeting to raise $2 million this term. Right now they are
working on two farms," the official said.
Newly resettled farmers have
been complaining about shortages of labourers on the farms.
say they do not have resources to employ workers on a full-time
Before the inception of the farm invasions and fast-track land
reform programme in 2000, white commercial farmers used to employ over 350
Education minister Aeneas Chigwedere said he was not
in a position to immediately respond to the questions raised by the
"We will get in touch with our director in the region
who will investigate and give us the necessary feedback," he said.
Lawyers slam use of media to attack judiciary Itai
Dzamara ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has condemned the use of
state media as instruments to attack members of the judiciary who make
rulings that are unfavourable to government.
recognised human rights watchdog yesterday reacted sharply to the re-arrest
of Zanu PF businessman James Makamba by police after he was granted bail by
Harare magistrate Judith Tsamba on Wednesday.
Police arrested Makamba
soon after Tsamba had ordered him released on bail since he was first
detained on February 9. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted in
yesterday's issue of the state-controlled Herald as suggesting that Makamba
was re-arrested because he had committed a First
"Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights is concerned
at growing incidences of police re-arresting suspects after the courts have
ordered their release," said the ZLHR statement.
"The latest in
those cases is that involving Mr James Makamba whose release was ordered by
magistrate Ms Tsamba on 17 March following a precedent of the High Court in a
matter with similar facts. Despite the court ordering his release, Mr Makamba
has remained in detention," ZLHR said.
"The other prominent case where
the police disregarded a court order is that involving Mr Phillip Chiyangwa
where the executive defied Justice Bhunu's order for the immediate release of
Mr Chiyangwa," it said.
"Such blatant defiance and disregard of court
orders undermines the administration of justice and goes to the root of the
independence of the judiciary. In particular such conduct seriously erodes
the public's confidence in the courts and has grave consequences on the rule
The Herald yesterday claimed that the ruling by Tsamba had
sparked outrage among lawyers and quoted "highly placed sources" saying "the
ruling was totally unacceptable".
ZLHR described the use of the
state media to criticise the judiciary as contemptuous and
"ZLHR is also gravely concerned at the continued use of
the Herald and other state-controlled public media as instruments to attack
members of the judiciary who in the course of their duties as judicial
officers make rulings that may not be favourable to certain quarters within
the state," said the statement.
The Herald quoted a government
source as saying: "The courts do not have the capacity and will never have
that capacity to say each one of the police officers in the country must
first obtain a warrant before they arrest anyone."
its position that such comments are contemptuous, unwarranted and calculated
to bring the administration of justice into disrepute," the rights watchdog
said. "It is also part of a wider, deliberate, systematic and sustained
general attack on the judiciary to manipulate it, reduce its independence and
weaken national institutions of protection that are vital for the restoration
of law and democracy."
ZLHR urged government to observe international
instruments to which it is a signatory that "clearly spell out its
obligations and responsibilities towards ensuring that the judiciary remains
free from political and other interference".
These include the
United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and the
United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers.
The ZLHR also
cited section 70B of the Zimbabwe Constitution which states: "In the exercise
of judicial authority a member of the judiciary shall not be subject to the
direction and control of any person or authority."
ESC fails to stop violence in Zengeza
by-election Augustine Mukaro THE Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC)
has failed to end Zanu PF's crackdown on opposition supporters in the run-up
to the Zengeza by-election despite the signing of a multiparty agreement to
The by-election is due on March 27/28. The seat fell
vacant in 2002 after MDC MP Tafadzwa Musekiwa went into exile in the United
Kingdom and later resigned, claiming that the ruling party was threatening
Four candidates are vying for the post. Zanu PF is
represented by longtime cadre Christopher Chigumba, James Makore MDC, Tendai
Chakanyuka Nagg, and Gideon Chinogureyi Zanu Ndonga.
the Zimbabwe Independent this week, Makore said the ESC had failed to
dismantle Zanu PF bases dotted across the constituency resulting in continued
harassment of opposition supporters and disruption of
This was despite the signing of an agreement
by all parties contesting the seat to conduct themselves
"Zanu PF youths are disrupting our rallies and campaign
activities in the presence of the police and ESC officials," Makore
"On Thursday the police, the ESC's Mr Mashereni, together with
MDC supporters attending a campaign rally in Unit D, were forced to scurry
for cover when Zanu PF youths started throwing stones. The rally had to
be called-off to avoid a clash," he said.
Makore said Zanu PF was
involved in door-to-door harassment of
"With the harassment currently going on
there is no way we can talk of a free and fair election," Makore
In a multiparty agreement signed by all the parties contesting
the Zengeza by-election last week, police promised to bring to book all
perpetrators of violence.
ESC spokesman Thomas Bvuma could not be
reached for comment at the time of going to press yesterday.
Govt warned against land grab Munyaradzi
Wasosa GOVERNMENT was warned of the consequences of a chaotic land reform
exercise 12 years ago but chose to implement its fast track land programme
anyway in 2000, it emerged this week.
A letter in the possession
of the Zimbabwe Independent, written to the Office of the President in
February 1992 by Reverend Gary Strong, a retired Methodist clergyman and
former head of World Vision Zimbabwe, warned the government against the
enactment of the Land Acquisition Bill (1992), which became law in the same
Strong advised the government that land reform had to be done
in an organised way and that government should let an "independent
judiciary remain the final arbiters of what is just and fair regarding the
rights of land ownership".
A copy of government's reply to Strong,
dated March 5 1992, and signed by the late Vice-President Simon Muzenda,
dismissed his suggestions.
Strong outlined 18 points in which he
predicted disaster if government embarked on an unplanned land
This took the form of farm invasions spearheaded by so-called
war veterans starting in February 2000 after government lost a constitutional
referendum that would have allowed it to seize land without having to pay
compensation to the owner.
Strong's letter cited Mozambique and
Angola whose wholesale expulsion of whites led to decades of economic woes.
Zimbabwe faced the same fate if it chose the way of chaos, Strong
A disorganised land reform, the letter warned, would lead
to greedy politicians grabbing land for themselves and owning many farms at
the expense of the landless black majority.
Strong's letter said
the government wanted to implement the land reform programme for populist
"I believe the Bill is designed to win the popularity of
Zanu PF rather than for the good of the nation," he said.
argued in his letter that government needed a proper budget to undertake such
a big exercise. He also said farm workers would be adversely affected by the
land reform process.
Strong also warned of an ecological disaster if
land reform was not properly implemented and closely monitored. Recent
resettlement has led to reports of rampant poaching and
However, Environment and Tourism minister Francis
Nhema dismissed such reports saying: "Reports that land reform has destroyed
the environment are not true. Clearing of the land was done in areas that had
been lying fallow for cultivation purposes. Animals were relocated to avoid
poaching in areas where people were resettled close to game reserves."
LAST week's arrest of 67 suspected mercenaries hogged the
international limelight and brought under the spotlight issues about soldiers
of fortune - widely considered as one of Africa's major security
Zimbabwe arrested the suspects allegedly on their way to
Equatorial Guinea to topple President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who
himself came to power through a coup.
Home Affairs minister Kembo
Mohadi said one of the suspects, Simon Mann, was in Zimbabwe with associates
last month to buy arms to overthrow Obiang and install Spanish-based rebel
leader Severo Moto. Mann is an ex-Royal Scots Guards officer and troop
commander with the elite British Special Air Services (SAS). He also worked
for the South African mercenaries firm, Executive Outcomes (EO).
mercenaries have worked with British-based Sandline International Inc
in Africa, Asia and South America.
They were part of a complex web of
private military companies and global conglomerates linked to Western
governments that scrambled for mineral resources in developing
In 1996 EO fighters were paid US$35,2 million for restoring
Sierra Leone president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah who was deposed by rebels the year
British Prime Minister Tony Blair's government was in 1997
entangled in the Sierra Leone issue.
Writing in the London Telegraph,
journalist Christopher Lockwood cited documentary evidence which linked
Sandline, under the leadership of Falklands Island veteran Colonel Tim
Spicer, to the shipment of 35 tonnes of illegal war materials to
Spicer claimed he was encouraged by the British Foreign Office to
carry out this task. Defending mercenaries in the Sunday Times, Spicer said:
"Local armies can't always deal with conflict. So how can countries create a
safe, stable environment for peaceful existence and economic growth? Often
they can't and are left on their own with catastrophic results. That's
where private military companies come in."
Blair's government tried to
cover itself by the "ends justifies the means" rule of thumb. Kabbah's
reinstatement was deemed the greater good than qualms over Sandline's
But shortly after the Sierra Leone affair, Sandline was
hired to do a job in Papua New Guinea. The mission resulted in the capture of
Spicer, who according to reports, was nearly executed.
In the process,
a payment row erupted between the Papua New Guinea authorities and Sandline.
Consequently, Sandline brought suit against the government of New Guinea to
recover payment. However, premier Bill Skate indicated it would only be paid
"when hell freezes over".
Blair and former Foreign secretary Robin Cook
were rebuked in one of the most scathing verdicts ever issued by a select
committee of parliament. Mann, together with Tony Buckingham, another
prominent player in the private army business, awarded Beben Barlow, the
founder of EO, his first contract in Angola.
Barlow was an
intelligence operative with apartheid South African Defence Forces' "Buffalo
Soldiers" - 32 Battalion. In January 1993, after EO was registered in
Britain, Mann and Buckingham contracted EO to seize the town of Soyo, the hub
of Angola's large oil industry, from the rebel leader Jonas Savimbi's Unita
forces, erstwhile allies of the apartheid army and 32 Battalion in
Led by Lafras Luitingh, a former 5 Reconnaissance Regiment
officer, and like Barlow, also an ex-Civil Cooperation Bureau operative, less
than 100 EO fighters seized the town in three months and handed it back to
the Angolan government. They got huge rewards, including a US$30 million
Mohadi said the arrested suspects collaborated with
the United States' Central Intelligence Agency, Britain's MI6 and the Spanish
Special Services in their mission. The US, Britain, and Spain have, however,
dismissed the allegations as false.
The suspects say they were on
their way to protect a mining company in the DRC.
Whatever the truth
of this plot many analysts say mercenaries have become Africa's new security
threat. Countless studies have been done on mercenaries and most of them
agree that "dogs of war" fuel conflicts mostly in developing countries where
they largely operate.
Mercenaries are outlawed under Article 47 of the
Geneva Convention. In December 1994 the United Nations General Assembly
adopted Resolution 49/1150 urging all nations "to take the necessary steps
and to exercise the utmost vigilance against the menace posed by the
activities of mercenaries".
Privatising war is a money-spinning business.
Since 1994, US Pentagon contracts signed with just 12 companies totalled more
than US$300 billion, according to records examined by the Centre for Public
Integrity's International Consortium of Investigative
Analysts say the US has about 20 "legitimate" private
military companies. According to the military monitor, Milnet, the mercenary
sector is worth about US$60 billion.Studies show that up until the late 19th
century, almost all wars were fought with mercenary armies but WWI changed
all that. Once war became industrialised and seriously large-scale, relying
on relatively small armies hired from countries far and wide was no longer
practical, nor was it politically acceptable given "patriotism" pleas by
So it wasn't until relatively recent times that
mercenary forces re-emerged. Researchers say mercenaries largely originate
from Britain, apartheid South Africa and the US. EO, considered the father of
contemporary mercenary companies, originated in South Africa.
set up in 1993 by Buckingham and Mann, among others, but was then disbanded
in 1998. It was reformed as Lifeguard and more than likely as part of
But its history goes back to the 1960s, when
Colonel Bob Denard staged mercenary battles in Africa for the highest bidder.
Analysts say the Cold War created and promoted the new brand of mercenary in
much the same manner as the US did the Taliban in Afghanistan.
with Denard, mercenaries that became well-known were Jacques Schramme and
Mike Hoare. One study says Denard and Hoare were instrumental in earning the
wild-dog reputation of the mercenary in the 1960s - they razed what they
could not take, plundered what they could, and left post-colonial Africa in
Hoare's 5 Commando was contracted to Moise Tshombe in the
copper-rich Katanga province of the former Belgian Congo where they
brutalised the people, it is said. Tshombe led the French and
Belgian-sponsored Katanga rebellion in a bid to break away from Patrice
In his last, and defining, mission in 1981, Hoare
botched the attempt to overthrow the Seychelles government. Former US
president Ronald Reagan has often been accused of having sanctioned and
financed the use of mercenaries (the so-called freedom fighters) against the
Sandinista government of Nicaragua, with the formation of the Contras that in
turn had its roots in the covert war against Cuba.
It is said the
Contra war was financed in part with sales of cocaine. This guns-for-drugs
scandal led to the Iran-Contra affair in early 1980s.
The experiences of
the Contra war set the scene for the proxy war waged by the US against the
Soviet Union in Afghanistan where various tribal factions became the
benefactors of millions of dollars of military hardware and finally, when
private contractors were engaged as go-betweens.
Researchers say the
privatisation mania of the 1990s really set the ball rolling, opening up the
way for mercenaries, camouflaged as private military companies (PMCs), to
take over. In Saudi Arabia where the open presence of US military forces was
politically unacceptable, the contemporary phenomenon of PMCs became
In Mercenaries and the Privatisation of Security in Africa,
South African Institute for Security Studies researchers, Jakkie Cilliers and
Richard Cornwell address the nexus between the twin processes of the
privatisation of the state in Africa, central to the structural adjustment
agenda, and the response to privatisation by many of the post-colonial
They argue that it is this nexus between these trends that
currently provides space for the expansion of private military activity in
Africa. In conclusion they say "whereas the debate was obsessed with
mercenaries and all the motive and ideological baggage that accompanied this
term until recently, much of the contemporary writing and thinking are moving
away from the unhelpful and often sterile attempts to judge actions as being
mercenary or not".
WHILE the visit to Zimbabwe this week by teams from the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund is ostensibly a routine consultation
in fulfilment of IMF Article IV terms, the significance is considerable
given Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono's efforts to restore ties with the
Bretton Woods twins.
Zimbabwe's relations with the two bodies have
been fraught since this country embarked in 1998 on its expensive
intervention in the DRC. Then there was the economic meltdown caused by the
disruption of commercial farming after 2000. Zimbabwe has been unable to meet
policy terms or repay loans leading to a collapse of its credit
Since 1999 there has been a recurrent shortage of foreign
exchange in the country. This can only in part be ascribed to the IMF's
refusal to renew balance-of-payments support. The major reason for the forex
shortage has been the sustained assault by government on the nation's means
of earning foreign exchange. The destruction of commercial agriculture has
seen tobacco production plunge from 200 million kg in 2000 to 80 million kg
last year. That is the official figure. Tobacco processing companies say it
is more likely 64 million.
Meanwhile, tourism has dried up with the
decline of law and order and anti-Western rhetoric. People in European and
North American source markets do not want to visit a country whose leaders
are hostile to them however friendly its people.
While the World Bank
and IMF teams will be looking at the numbers, they are unlikely to be
indifferent to the governance scenario upon which all else hinges. Under the
rubric of fighting corruption, the government has given itself sweeping
powers to arrest and detain individuals depriving them of their
constitutional right to appeal to the courts for bail.
released by the courts have been immediately rearrested.
members of the judiciary fulfilling their duties have been attacked in the
government media if their rulings do not suit the state's political
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, a legal umbrella group,
yesterday drew attention to these and other assaults on the judicial
It charged these were "part of a wider, deliberate, systematic
and sustained general attack on the judiciary to manipulate it, reduce its
independence and weaken national institutions of protection that are vital
for the restoration of law and democracy".
ZLHR urged government to
observe international instruments to which it is a signatory that "clearly
spell out its obligations and responsibilities towards ensuring that the
judiciary remains free from political and other interference".
include the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of
the Judiciary and the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of
If the government is to persuade Zimbabweans and the
international community that its anti-corruption drive is anything more than
a belated attempt to whip up electoral support ahead of next year's poll, it
needs to provide assurances that it will not proceed by way of presidential
fiat or tamper with the independence and discretion of the
Gono needs to be asked if he endorses detention without trial
as part of his crackdown on white-collar crime. The government has said it is
acting in accordance with his initiative. He also needs to set out his views
on government policy to turn its back on trade and investment with the
There are glaring inconsistencies here that need to be
However helpful the World Bank and IMF are inclined to be to
Gono, there is no prospect of any money being put on the table so long as the
rule of law in Zimbabwe remains hostage to those in power.
himself understands this but his silence on the abuses currently taking place
is worrying. The Bretton Woods institutions are also likely to ask
how monetary policy can be steadied while fiscal policy is subject to
There is in the upper echelons of power in Zimbabwe
the view that anti-democratic policies can be pursued while Gono is left with
the task of restoring confidence abroad. That is not going to happen.
International responses to Zimbabwe will be based squarely on the
The sooner the World Bank and IMF spell that out the
THERE are presently many factors that preclude the recovery of
the Zimbabwean economy.
They include the decimated state of
agriculture, the pronounced lack of fiscal discipline and the non-alignment
of fiscal and monetary policies. Factors also include the devastating
repercussions of prolonged hyperinflation, the consequential loss of export
market competitiveness, the destructive mismanagement and economic sabotage
inflicted by monopolistic parastatals, and an immense brain drain depriving
Zimbabwe of critical skills. And among many other negative economic factors
is the near total absence of law and order, repercussing adversely upon the
tourism industry and many other economic sectors, and of very great impact,
the near total alienation of the international community in general, donors
and international monetary bodies in particular.
However, all of these
economically distressing factors are accompanied by one that is a major
hindrance to eliminating those factors and placing the economy upon a path to
recovery and growth. That obstacle to restoring economic wellbeing is the
absolute inability of government to recognise realities. Instead, because it
is completely beyond the ability of the government to admit to error and to
acknowledge that it is the primary cause of Zimbabwe's economic morass, it
blinds itself to the realities of the situation. Government myopically fails
to recognise facts, and deludes itself as to the real causes of the
distresses of the economy. It is so unreservedly convinced of its
infallibility that it engages in self-hypnosis to such an extent that it
convinces itself that the real catalysts of the depressed economy, which is
daily becoming weaker and weaker, are the Machiavellian actions of those that
it perceives to be its enemies.
By now, government is unable to
differentiate between facts and fiction. Because the facts are unpalatable to
it, government convinces itself that the facts are naught but deliberate
misinformation by its opponents, and that the fictions which it steadfastly
conjures up are the real facts, the actualities of the prevailing economic
That this is so is recurrently demonstrated by far-fetched
statements by ministers, deputy ministers and the hierarchy of the ruling
party. Last week was a case in point, when a minister informed delegates to
the second International Textile Conference in Bulawayo that the reason for
the ongoing scarcity of foreign exchange in Zimbabwe is almost exclusively
due to the evil actions and avarice of some Zimbabwean businessmen. The
minister claimed that billions of dollars have been unlawfully externalised
from Zimbabwe and accumulated abroad and that were that not the case,
Zimbabwe would have all the foreign exchange it requires. He alleged that if
those billions of dollars had not been criminally kept away from Zimbabwe,
there would be no need for foreign currency auctions, there would be no
parallel or black markets for forex, exchange rates would be stable, Zimbabwe
would be able to import all that it needs, inflated rates of exchange would
not be the stimuli of inflation, and all would be well in the
To a very limited extent, the minister was undoubtedly correct.
Undeniably, there are Zimbabweans who have resorted to transfer pricing in
order to establish foreign currency resources outside the country.
Inevitably, because it is a characteristic of any country with intense
exchange controls, of any country where there is rampant inflation, and any
country in which the private sector fears the breakdown in security, there
are some who have flouted the exchange control regulations. Some have
under-priced their exports, issuing supplementary invoices through foreign
subsidiaries or other facades, thereby not repatriating to Zimbabwe the true
and full value of their exports.
In like manner, there can be no doubt
that some importers have colluded with foreign suppliers and agents for their
imports to be overpriced, and thereafter for the excesses over actual prices
to be paid to designated, nominee entities or persons situate beyond
Zimbabwe's borders. Similarly, some have disposed of Zimbabwean assets,
including immovable properties, vehicles and the like, to others in Zimbabwe,
against payment in United States dollars, British pounds, or South African
rand, and have retained those foreign currencies externally.
minister and his colleagues deceive themselves (and the populace) when they
suggest that had such externalised funds been repatriated to Zimbabwe, there
would be sufficient foreign exchange, and that Zimbabwe had an unqualified
entitlement to receive all those funds. Government fails to recognise that,
to a very major extent, the unlawfully externalised funds have been applied
to the funding of imports, the payment of legitimate foreign commitments such
as the settlement of export agents' commissions, the servicing of foreign
loans, dividends, royalties and similar obligations. This has been
particularly marked insofar as the servicing of foreign currency commitments
of the parastatals is concerned. Indirectly, government has been the biggest
trafficker in the parallel market!
That has been so because although some
have used externalised funds for investment outside Zimbabwe, many have used
those funds to trade in the parallel market, so as to obtain an enhanced
exchange rate and thereby maintain export viability and competitiveness.
Thus, had those funds not been unlawfully accumulated outside Zimbabwe, they
would have been available in the official money market to pay for the very
same imports and other legitimate foreign currency commitments. But the
minister was unwilling to accept that this was so. However, he could not
explain how it has been possible for many years that the aggregate value of
goods imported into Zimbabwe very considerably exceeded the total foreign
currency payments from official sources for imports. Moreover, in addition to
that aggregate value, many dividend remittances, business travel expenses,
foreign marketing costs, interest payments and loan repayments, have been
funded through the parallel market. Clearly, therefore, and although it
cannot be condoned that law be circumvented, much of the unlawfully
externalised funds have been applied to meet Zimbabwean import and other
foreign currency obligations. Therefore, even if those funds had been
available within the money market, the end result would be the same, being
that all those funds would have been used for the very same needs as those
which they did service, and Zimbabwe would still have a foreign currency
Government also overlooks that much of the foreign exchange
accessed within the parallel market by commerce, industry and other economic
sectors to fund ongoing operations, and also accessed by government itself
through its parastatals, has been foreign exchange which did not emanate from
Zimbabwe, and which Zimbabwe could not demand be sent to it. Such funds
included millions of United States dollars and other hard currencies earned
by Zimbabweans working in the Diaspora, pensions accruing from
foreign governments and pension funds, inheritances, and gifts. Zimbabwe has
no right to require such monies to be internalised, but some were prepared
to do so indirectly, through the parallel and black markets, thereby to
some extent diminishing demand and pressure on the official money
Although endeavours to contain unlawful transfer pricing and
other illegal externalisation of funds will make some additional foreign
currency available in legitimate channels, as will facilitation of inward
remittances by Zimbabweans abroad to support their destitute families at
home, they will not resolve the continuing crisis of inadequate foreign
currency availability. That can only be achieved by:
agricultural sector to the productivity of the past, by restructuring
agrarian reform to establish justice, security, continuity
-Ensuring that exporters rapidly regain viability of
operations, with realism in exchange rates, alignment of monetary policies
with market needs, and constructive incentivisation;
-Creation of an
economic enabling environment encompassing law and order, democracy, an
independent judiciary, rescission of draconian custodial legislation which
abuses the fundamentals of human rights, real containment of corruption,
stringent fiscal disciplines, and facilitation of
-Reconciliation and collaboration with the international
-Deregulation of the economy, with a strong focus upon market
ZIMBABWE has an "array" of laws which it can invoke to deal
with mercenaries, you will be relieved to hear. That is according to
Harare lawyer Johannes Tomana who cited the Foreign Subversive Organisations
Act as one such law.
Tomana was responding to a story in the Standard,
based on an interview with acting Attorney-General Bharat Patel, which
suggested the state would have difficulty charging the alleged mercenaries
arrested last week at Harare airport with crimes they might have intended to
commit in Equatorial Guinea.
There was no specific legislation to deal
with mercenaries, the Standard quoted Patel as saying.
The public can
be forgiven for any confusion that may have arisen. Foreign Affairs minister
Stan Mudenge was shown on TV telling diplomats that those arrested may face a
capital charge. But the next day Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi said it
would more likely be contravention of immigration laws or firearms control
But even that would be problematic as the men did not
disembark from their plane voluntarily and the only weapons in contention
were those they had reportedly bought from ZDI!
Tomana did not confine
himself to advertising the state's array of legal weapons. He went on to hurl
abuse at the Standard saying it was quite clear from the newspaper's "tone"
that it supported subversive activities that aim to destabilise the African
"You can tell that they sympathise with the mercenaries by the
tone of the story," he was quoted in Monday's Herald as saying. "They are
celebrating the point that the Attorney-General said there were no laws that
deal with mercenaries. How can you sympathise with mercenaries if you claim
to be a bona fide proponent of good governance? The tone of the paper really
shows on which side they are."
Tomana was evidently quite prepared to
show which side he is on by childishly claiming the Standard was part of an
"imperialist agenda". He accused independent newspapers and NGOs which
champion human rights of being "quiet" on the issue.
"The sympathy and
how NGOs have remained mum on this critical issue shows that these people are
part of this coup plot."
Does it? Or does it simply reflect the
scepticism of civil society over an issue which has been exploited by the
official media for all it is worth? This is after all a country in which
militia mercenaries have been allowed to run rampant for four
Zimbabwe was acting in accordance with African Union provisions,
we have been told ad nauseam. But when it comes to detention without trial,
freedom of expression or electoral norms those provisions are quickly
forgotten. And it would seem that in the manner of the plane's seizure at
Harare airport we have another Ben-Menashe at work. This episode has all the
hallmarks of entrapment. After all, why should the alleged masterminds of the
coup plot appear at the airport to welcome the plane if not convinced of
their innocence and comfortable in the knowledge of a good working
relationship with Zimbabwe Defence Industries?
Will any company or
businessman purchasing equipment from the state arms manufacturer trust them
We note President Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea
thanked South Africa and Angola for their help in heading off this alleged
coup attempt. But he made no mention of Zimbabwe's role. That is because
Zimbabwe's security authorities, who have been the recipients of rave reviews
in the official press, reportedly only acted on the basis of a tip-off
What we can say in the government's favour is that
despite Mudenge's maladroit performance, which understandably failed to
impress the diplomatic community, the case has been handled reasonably
professionally by Zimbabwean officials. They have clearly learnt a few
lessons from the handling of the three Americans, detained and tortured in
1999 after their arrest at Harare airport but in the end only charged with
possession of weapons of war. On that occasion every fool in the country
stood on a soapbox to proclaim their guilt ahead of their trial! And a
much-touted "map of State House", which Munyaradzi Huni managed to resurrect
on Sunday, was in fact nothing of the sort and was not even submitted as
evidence in court.
This time around things have been handled differently,
and not just because Thabo Mbeki said he expected something better than the
"jungle justice" being bandied about in the South African press. But is it
really sensible for a "prominent lawyer" like Tomana to make pronouncements
on a case before it goes to trial, especially when, judging by Patel's
remarks in the Herald on Tuesday, the Harare attorney doesn't appear to have
a very good grasp of the Foreign Subversive Organisations Act?
might also be asked why such a litigious lawyer should make such
abusive remarks about a newspaper simply because it published an opinion by
the acting Attorney-General that seems to have lacked the fist-waving
that certain individuals were hoping for.
There were reports on
Wednesday that in addition to immigration and firearms laws the men might
also be charged under Posa.
Now that would be interesting: the government
proceeding against South Africans, among others, by way of a law which
President Mbeki has told the world on several occasions he has received firm
assurances will be revoked because it is incompatible with democratic
Although the Foreign Subversive Organisations Act only carries a
penalty of a maximum five years imprisonment, this was not a problem, lawyers
claimed in the Herald on Monday. The penalty could be reviewed in terms of
the Presidential Powers "to cover an area which the state may deem necessary
in the execution of justice".
So whatever the law may say it can be
easily over-ridden by yet another presidential decree! But lawyers who
endorse this sort of arbitrary arrest and prosecution of people regardless of
constitutional provisions should reflect for a moment on their own fate in
the event of another regime finding such tools too handy to
In the light of official claims that Zimbabwe has been
defending the sovereignty of states such as Equatorial Guinea, this is what
the London Independent had to say this week about that country's
"Mr Obiang, who came to power by overthrowing his uncle and
shooting him, has survived 25 years in power by stuffing the government with
relatives, torturing opponents and rigging elections. His would be a perfect
banana republic, if it had bananas. Instead it has oil - lots of
Zimbabwean ministers must be careful not to give sovereignty a bad
No sooner had the plane drama unfolded than we had Jonathan Moyo
claiming in the wake of the Panorama documentary that mercenaries operating
in Zimbabwe were not confined to those arrested at the airport. He said
a number of journalists had found the promise of "dirty American money"
too tempting and irresistible.
"Mercenaries of any kind, whether
carrying the sword or the pen, must and will be exposed," he said
this the same Jonathan Moyo who headed the American Ford
Foundation's research programme in Kenya? Was the Yankee dollar any cleaner
But Moyo's malevolence towards the non-captive media pales when
placed alongside that of his alter ego, Nathaniel Manheru. Last Saturday he
was inciting the authorities to "get" certain foreign correspondents
and editors. The prospect of them being incarcerated led to much
As we have pointed out before, the Herald's
editor, Pikirayi Deketeke, told a judge last year that he was responsible for
the poisonous Manheru column. But only a few weeks ago the same fall-guy was
telling colleagues at the launch of the Zimbabwe Editors Association to
"promote the highest level of professionalism, ethical standards and
Those levels are on display in all their glory every
Saturday. We invite gullible donors who the state-controlled Zimbabwe Editors
Association is trying to court to please look carefully at the Herald's
hate-speech before parting with their money. It will tell you all you need to
know about who you are dealing with!
Minutes of the meeting of state
editors held on January 31 reveal certain contradictions. Deketeke told his
colleagues that the first editors' forum (we assume he meant the Zimbabwe
National Editors Forum) "formed by only four editors, was boycotted because
it had political overtones and was donor-driven". Boycotted by the state
media, he meant. The independent media supports it.
But the government
editors admitted to being partly "donor-driven" themselves. The Chronicle's
Stephen Ndlovu, who was elected founding chairman of the new state-run
outfit, advised delegates that the venue, teas and lunch had been donated
courtesy of the Rainbow Tourism Group. He further advised "donor funding
would be accessed locally, regionally and internationally once the
association had been born".
There is no prize for guessing who fathered
the child and where it will suckle!
The meeting had its lighter
moments though. The Association of Freelance Journalists, fronted by Joe
Kwaramba and Mathias Guchutu, who gatecrashed the meeting, were asked what
papers they edited. There was no answer. Kwaramba and Guchutu, known in the
media fraternity more as career delegates than writers, were unceremoniously
bundled out amid pleas to sit through the meeting as observers - or at least
to have tea and cake. But their "hosts" proved unyielding!
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu reckons "constructive criticism" is always welcome. But he
doesn't say who defines what is constructive and what is not.
an article headlined "Patriotism vital in face of destructive forces" in the
Sunday Mail, Ndlovu said: "Constructive criticism is always welcome.
Patriotism means love for one's nation and pride for being a citizen of the
What Ndlovu does not explain is why government is coming up with
so many laws to gag the press if criticism is "always welcome?" Nobody would
bother criticising government if they didn't have the welfare of the nation
at heart. And why would a government that is ready to accept criticism ban
all public gatherings except those that it sponsors?
While we don't
want to begrudge Ndlovu and his colleagues their contribution to the
liberation of this country, we find it presumptuous that only they have a
genuine cause in fighting the colonial system. Over the years it appears
government has strayed from its duty to enhance the freedoms that came with
Independence. The laws that have been enacted are meant to justify the status
quo and breed a dangerous "patriotism" that allows leaders to turn the nation
into a personal fiefdom.
"Have you ever seen any British in Zimbabwe .
denouncing (Tony) Blair?" asks Ndlovu. "Have you ever seen Americans
denouncing their president in a foreign country ."?
Actually we have
Dr Ndlovu. But not often for the simple reason that we don' t have British or
American economic refugees driven by destitution out of their country. We
don't have British or American asylum-seekers driven out of their country
just because their opinions differ from those of the ruling party. It's that
Ndlovu ends his contribution with a worthy exhortation:
"We need to strengthen our nationhood by maintaining unity, development,
peace, human rights and mutual respect regardless of colour, race, ethnicity
or political persuasion."
Well said. They say charity begins at
Muckraker was interested to read Anti-Corruption minister Didymus
Mutasa's appeal in the Sunday Mail to those who have "committed corruption"
to "expose themselves" and confess.
"We are calling upon those who
have been engaging in corrupt activities to come and tell us what they did.
If they fail to come and do that, then we will come after them, but I can
tell the cases will be more serious," warned Mutasa grimly.
aside the distasteful prospect of politicians and businessmen exposing
themselves in public, where are the people supposed to go for
these confessions? If they were to be done clandestinely they could breed
even more corruption, we fear. In any case we would suggest that to start
the ball rolling Zanu PF should resurrect its leadership code and get
all ministers and party functionaries to declare their wealth and tell
the nation how they came by it.
The verdict is out on what the true
political identity of the Daily Mirror should be. An interview with Zanu PF's
secretary for information Nathan Shamuyarira in a story titled "Tsvangirai
spits venom" was revealing. When the paper sought a comment on claims that
the opposition planned to boycott next year's parliamentary election,
Shamuyarira retorted: "Chinyorai zvamapihwa neopposition party.Handiti mava
kuita zveopposition mazuva ano? (Write what the opposition has given you.
Isn't it you (who) are dealing with the opposition these days?"
Ibbo Mandaza explain any change of allegiance that may have
Meanwhile, following an edict from Manheru last week, the
state media has been dutifully referring to the alleged mercenaries arrested
at Harare airport as "terrorists". Hence Tuesday's Herald headline:
"Suspected terrorists set to appear in court".
At least they conceded
for court purposes the "suspected" bit. But as we all know, the real
terrorists run free.
The law can sometimes be very unfair. But none feel
this more acutely than police officers Cliff Mpariwa and Allet Nduna of the
Vehicle Theft Squad. Initially state media reported that the two officers
were allegedly bribed and allowed a gang of seven notorious robbers to escape
from Southerton police station on February 12.
Six members of the gang
have since been recaptured and sentenced to prison terms. On Tuesday the
Herald reported that the police officers who had helped the gang escape "have
since been arrested on corruption charges. They are accused of facilitating
the gang's arrest."
The Herald, it would appear, is preoccupied with
people being arrested, even when they mean "escape".
Daily Mirror tells us that clinics will soon get "Aids free drugs". So what
have they been handing out up until now?
Zesa loses tariff case in Bulawayo Staff Writer THE
Association for Business in Zimbabwe (Abuz) this week won an injunction in
the Bulawayo High Court against the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (Zesa) on the recent tariff increases imposed on
Formed recently, Abuz on Monday successfully sued on
behalf of several businesses in Bulawayo against the hikes.
association was granted an injunction stating that the recent massive Zesa
tariff increases were null and void and the power authority was ordered to
reconnect supplies to consumers whose electricity had been disconnected for
non-payment of the new rates.
The association was formed by a number
of concerned business people in Bulawayo, who felt that they needed the
services of an organisation of like-minded individuals to represent them in
these harrowing times.
An Abuz spokesman Larry Farren said the
association intended to work with government in an effort to improve the
country's business climate.
He said they felt that business needed to
speak frankly and with one voice and not split into different sectors of
manufacturing, engineering, commercial, agricultural, among others, so that
their shared concerns could be heard.
Farren said Abuz would
attempt to present a consensus of the concerns of Zimbabwe's business
The association's mission statement reads: "Abuz shall
encourage, promote and protect the sustainable growth and development of
business in Zimbabwe, and further enable free and fair practice of business
The association seeks to expand into other provinces in
Zimbabwe, and will promote the development of business in Zimbabwe under
internationally accepted standards of ethical conduct throughout the business
Farren said the association would support sound environmental
practices compatible with sustainable development.
"It intends to
play an active role in making Zimbabwe a better place in which to live, work
and do business and an attractive haven for investment so that the bountiful
resources of our nation can effectively be harnessed," Farren said. "The
economy can then develop rapidly and jobs and a decent lifestyle can be
provided to our masses of unemployed people. It will promote the
re-acceptance of Zimbabwe into the international business and financial
community. It will defend the collective interests of
He said it would seek to advise and help government,
and to work with it in promoting and protecting the interests of its members
and of the nation.
Farren said the association would also among other
-promote, support or provide constructive criticism of new
-promote harmonious relationships between
employers and employees;
-act when required as arbitrator in any matters
"Abuz is not aligned to any political
organisation, will not support one either overtly or covertly, and sees its
role as being purely that of a business association," Farren said. "Business
enterprises are invited to join Abuz and help it work for a more prosperous
future for the nation."
Shipping agents see red over auction system Ndamu
Sandu SHIPPING and forwarding agents are crying foul over the use of the
forex auction system which has seen a high rise in
Shipping and Forwarding Agents Association of Zimbabwe
(SFAAZ) chief executive officer Joseph Musariri told businessdigest that
since the system was adopted by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) duty
had shot up.
"Since the auction rate was introduced by Zimra duty has
gone up. Before the auction rate there were two rates applying for luxury and
non-luxury goods," he said. "Goods deemed to be luxury used an exchange rate
of $847 to the United States dollar while non-luxury goods used a rate of
$56,6 to US$1."
He said with the introduction of the auction rate,
Zimra was now charging duty based on that rate.
As a result,
Musariri said, importers who had placed their orders before the introduction
of the auction rate were affected.
Musariri said SFAAZ held a meeting
with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development last week where the
issue was discussed.
"I was not at that meeting but those present
discussed the auction rate," said the SFAAZ boss.
The auction rate
issue also cropped up when Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon
Gono met accountants in Bulawayo three weeks ago.
Musariri said SFAAZ
was in discussion with Zimra on the auction rate issue, which has resulted in
the rise in removal in bond and in transit duties.
Removal in bond duty
caters for the movement of goods from the border to the bonded warehouse
inland while removal in transit duty covers the goods that are passing
through one country to another.
A clearing agent has to get cover
from insurance companies and banks.
"A clearing agent pays annual premium
and has to provide collateral to cover for the bond," said
Meanwhile freight forwarding and custom clearing company,
Anlink (Pvt) Ltd says it is opening an office in the Midlands early next
month and another at Forbes Border Post at the end of
Managing director Patrick Gwasera said the opening of an
office at Forbes was necessitated by the anticipation of more volumes of
cargo coming through that post.
MY thanks to Vincent
and Joram for coping so well with the burden of producing the newspaper
during my two-week break in Cape Town. While I tried hard to relax and simply
get away from the madness back home, there was no escape from the Zimbabwe
story that yelled out at me from the newspapers, television, and Internet
It was a story of a country in turmoil. Heading the
reports were the persistent human rights abuses by gangs such as the Green
Bombers, the detention without trial of businessmen and others accused of
white-collar crimes, and the arrest of over 67 "mercenaries" headed for
"You must be crazy to go back to that," I was
frequently told, not just by friends but by just about anybody on hearing
where I was from. They thought it was the height of madness to return to a
country which the vast majority of South Africans of all backgrounds firmly
believe is subject to tyranny.
President Mugabe's propaganda machine,
for all its efforts and expense, has failed dismally to make an impact on
popular opinion down south. Ministers such as Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma do at
times try and help by adopting sympathetic postures on issues such as the
arrest of the passengers on the 727 at Harare airport.
then, both she and other officials are careful to preface their remarks with
"If it does prove to be the case." or "Going on what Zimbabwean ministers
And President Thabo Mbeki was quick to emphasise the need
for a fair trial. Nobody, it seems, was impressed by Zimbabwe's claim that it
was upholding the African Union's principles on the protection of sovereign
rights. Why then doesn't it uphold the AU's Charter on Human and People's
Rights, it was logically asked in the South African media? And the role of
Zimbabwe Defence Industries was placed under the spotlight in many press
Then there were the threats Jonathan Moyo made against
foreign correspondents, news agencies, and newspaper stringers which followed
the seizure of the 727 at Harare airport. While Zimbabwean officials
were claiming to have captured the moral high ground by preventing a coup
attempt in Equatorial Guinea, the impact was dissipated by the prospect of a
new press purge motivated by claims of US collaboration.
criticised South Africa's Deputy President Jacob Zuma in this newspaper,
especially after the hugging he did in Harare following the 2002 presidential
poll outcome. But I have to thank him for telling the Cape Town Press Club
last month that South Africa's attitude to press freedom beyond its borders
was precisely that which guided its approach to press freedom within South
Africa itself - that it is one of the fundamental principles
As for the Americans, their support for us has been
almost entirely rhetorical. The US ambassador was one of the few senior
diplomats who didn't call me when Vincent, Dumisani and I were released from
jail in January. (You may be surprised to hear that French ambassador Didier
Ferrand, now returned to Paris, was the first.)
Readers of the
Mail & Guardian will know I occasionally contribute to that paper. But
sadly I am not paid for my efforts. It is what our joint owner Trevor Ncube
reminds me I am expected to do in support of an associated paper. It seems
the older you get the less you earn!
As a matter of interest and
given the charges of mercenarism being bandied about, how many wealthy
journalists do you know? What sort of homes do they own and what cars do they
drive? Then ask the same question about ministers. Will we ever be told how
some, without a penny to their name in 1980, were reputedly millionaires by
the end of the decade? And that was when the Zimbabwe dollar was almost at
par with the greenback.
Moyo referred in his denunciation of
"mercenaries of any kind, whether carrying the sword or the pen", to former
US Assistant Secretary of State Walter Kansteiner who said last year that the
Bush administration would work with media houses and journalists in Zimbabwe
to support democratic change. This was proof, we are told, of the alliance
between "dirty American money" and the media.
This is of course
entirely delusional. Kansteiner did indeed make the statement. But I am
unaware of any collaboration with Zimbabwean journalists working in this
When I was in the United States last year as a guest of the
State Department, together with other editors from Africa, the most
senior official we met was the department's spokesman Richard Boucher. It was
more of a courtesy call than a working meeting because Boucher is not
a specialist on Africa. But that would have been an ideal opportunity
for Kansteiner to have advanced his agenda if that is what he intended to
do. Instead he attended to more pressing matters in West
It is undoubtedly true that some young Zimbabweans have moved
to the US and UK to work for radio stations and other media there. But those
attacking them so bitterly, even denying them the right to return home to see
their families, should not be surprised. What scope is there for their
talents in Zimbabwe's stifling media climate?
How many radio or TV
stations have been licensed since the Supreme
Court ordered the
liberation of the airwaves three years ago? How freely can newspapers
operate? And above all, how free are journalists to exercise their right to
freedom of expression without being arbitrarily detained on the orders of a
minister because he didn't like what they said about
This is an indisputably oppressive situation and
one cited as such by media watchdogs around the world that compare Zimbabwe
to Burma and Cuba.
The exodus of qualified journalists, a trend fuelled
by the closure of the Daily News, will undermine the watchdog role of the
press ahead of next year's general election. That is of course government's
intention. Without a plural media voters cannot make an informed choice - the
basis for democratic governance.
But in making life difficult - if
not impossible - for journalists, it cannot at the same time complain about
its polecat reputation in the international community and the refusal of
lenders to respond to Gideon Gono's pleas for
Repression has its price. In Zimbabwe's case that is
Africans in US support land reform in Zim By Dr JA
Trimble THERE are ordinary men and women of African descent born and living
in America that support the land reform policies of President Mugabe and
the Zanu PF government in Zimbabwe.
They have organised numerous
demonstrations across the United States. One of the earliest demonstrations
was organised over two years ago.
Howard University students led a
demonstration in central Washington DC to show community support for the land
reclamation policies of Zimbabwe.
The most recent mass action was
organised in February at the headquarters of the New York Times newspaper.
That demonstration, organised by the December 12 Movement and the Coalition
in Support of Zimbabwe took the New York Times to task for the slanderous
lies it published about Zimbabwe.
The ordinary black person in
America, exposed to the facts, sees through the racist attack on Zimbabwe's
government and president launched by Britain and its colonies - the US,
Australia, New Zealand and Canada. This vicious attack is played out in the
capitalist controlled Western media and parroted by southern African media
such as the South Africa-based Sunday Times. However, the conscious men and
women of African descent in America are not fooled by these lies. The same
media - NY Times, Washington Post, Sunday Times, etc have been lying about us
and to us for years.
In the US, organisations that spent years
supporting Zanu and Zapu during the liberation struggle have revitalised
their support for Zimbabwe. For the past two years Ambassador Simbi Mubako
has been the invited keynote speaker at the African Liberation Day (Africa
Day) celebration held in Washington DC andorganised by the All-African
People's Revolutionary Party (AAPRP).
This past year Zanu PF was the
recipient of the prestigious Kwame Ture Black Star of Labour Award and was
recognised at African Liberation Day celebrations organised by the AAPRP in
Atlanta, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington DC, and Chicago in the
US as well as African Liberation Day celebrations in London, Accra and
Bissau. Africans worldwide recognise and salute the contributions of Zanu PF
under the leadership of President Mugabe.
organisations such as the Pan-African Liberation Organisation (Palo) and the
All-African People's Revolutionary Unification Party have emerged to take on
the task of organising support for the just cause of land reclamation in
Africa. Palo has been instrumental in organising speaking engagements for
representatives of Zimbabwe throughout the US and building a coalition of
organisations that support land reclamation in Africa. This effort includes
most major cities in the US - Washington DC, New York City, Baltimore,
Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
independent organisation of blacks in the US, the Nation of Islam, is clear
and consistent in their support for Zimbabwe. The ordinary African in America
looks to the Nation of Islam newspaper, The Final Call, for accurate
information on Africa. We are not fooled by the racist lies of the NY Times,
Sunday Times and Washington Post.
So who are these so-called leaders
of "Blacks in America" who signed on to condemn Zimbabwe? Some are known to
be lifelong employees/collaborators of the US State Department. Others are
armchair intellectuals with no connection with the people. One or two may be
naively swept up by the anti-Zimbabwe media blitz. But it is clear these
individuals do not represent the interests or opinions of the ordinary man or
woman of African descent living in America.
We, Africans born and
living in America, connect with the landless African in Zimbabwe because we
realise both of us were victimised by the same tyrants. Years before Cecil
Rhodes arrived in Zimbabwe in the name of the British Empire, the British,
along with other European empires, orchestrated the theft of Africans to
serve as slaves in the Americas. We are the descendants of those stolen
Africans. We may not remember our African languages, our African names or the
village of our ancestors, but we certainly remember the criminal injustices
of the slave trade and slavery and realise Africa is still our home and we
are still the children of Africa.
Today, in America we still
experience the legacy of slavery - racism. A brighter future for us lies in a
strong Africa controlled by Africans! For Africans to control Africa we must
control the land and its resources. Before Africa can become strong, first
she must be able to feed her people. Land reclamation and the promotion of
indigenous African farmers is key to developing a strong agricultural base in
We, Africans living in America, are willing and anxious to
stand up and support land reclamation in Zimbabwe. We see this as long
overdue justice. We see in this process hope for a better future in Africa
and the world. It is a bold move to correct the injustices, racism and
economic imbalance perpetuated by the European colonial process. We see
beyond the surface of today's struggle for land in Zimbabwe.
see much deeper - the linkage among our struggles against
injustice worldwide. Today we reclaim farm land in Zimbabwe, tomorrow we
reclaim our gold mines throughout Africa and the following day we lay claim
to the reparations due to Africans worldwide.
-Dr JA Trimble is
Associate Professor in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Computer
Sciences at Howard University in Washington DC. He is currently on leave and
is teaching in the Computer Science department at the National University of
Science and Technology in Bulawayo Zimbabwe. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org ard.edu or jtrimble@
A delegation from
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF party has held indirect talks with the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in South Africa. President Thabo Mbeki says
there are real prospects of formal talks soon between the political rivals
after a nearly two-year stalemate.
The leaders of South Africa and
Nigeria have been pushing President Mugabe to hold talks with the
Last month the European Union renewed sanctions against Mr
Both the Commonwealth and the EU see talks between Mr
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the MDC as a way to end Zimbabwe's political and
The party representatives did not have a
face-to-face meeting but key officials of the African National Congress (ANC)
acted as mediators.
Mr Mugabe had
earlier said he would not talk to the MDC while they were being dictated to
But Mr Mbeki, while campaigning in KwaZulu-Natal,
presented an upbeat picture of the meeting saying the agenda was being
formulated by both sides.
He also defended his policy of "quiet
diplomacy" towards Zimbabwe.
Analysts say representatives of the
parties met in Pretoria three weeks ago.
More than half of
Zimbabwe's population - six million people - needs food aid and the economy
is in a severe recession, with inflation running at more than
Mr Mugabe blames a western plot designed to remove him from
The opposition and donors say the seizure of farms has
caused major disruption to the economy.
President Calls for Closer Co-Operation With Indonesia
March 20, 2004 Posted to the web March 19,
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday called for the
strengthening of relations between Zimbabwe and Indonesia in the fields of
trade, investment and agricultural production.
"We are ready to
strengthen these relations for closer co-operation," he said.
President said this while welcoming a 19member Indonesian business delegation
at Zimbabwe House. The delegation is in the country to pursue possible
partnerships with local business people.
"I want to welcome you against a
background of the friendship that has existed between us at government to
government level," he said.
"We hope that we can also co-operate in
agricultural production since we have not reached a very high capacity in
agriculture and we have the manufacturing sector which relies on
The President said Zimbabwe needed a lot of water during
the dry season for winter cropping and that was why there was an emphasis on
Zimbabwe and Indonesia could also strengthen cultural
ties, President Mugabe said.
Indonesian Foreign minister Dr Hassan
Wirajuda, who is leading the delegation, later told journalists after the
meeting that his government was grateful following President Mugabe's visit
to Indonesia in January this year.
"Now Zimbabwe is deliberately
enhancing relations with the East drifting away from the West," he
"Indonesia has to develop relations with Africa and we are now
preparing for the Asian-African meeting in Jarkata for the Bandung
Conference," he said.
The minister said Zimbabwe and Indonesia had agreed
to develop bi-literal commissions and to strengthen closer cooperation in the
field of trade.
The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce Industry chairman, Mr
Haryno Eddyarto, also told journalists that the two countries had drafted an
agreement in which Indonesia would buy agricultural products from Zimbabwe
directly while Zimbabwe would in turn buy agricultural equipment from that
Indonesia, he said, had been buying Zimbabwean goods through
"We can also co-operate in the fields of pharmaceutical
and construction and we need to start something to get the ball rolling," Mr
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cde Stan Mudenge, said
Zimbabwe was working tirelessly to open a mission in Jarkata and that he was
excited with the opportunities for co-operation that existed between the two
He said the delegation would today tour some farms in the
commercial farming areas since it was interested in contracts for cotton
During his visit to Indonesia early this year, President Mugabe
invited business people from that country to come and explore
investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.
Dakar - Amnesty International expressed concern on Friday for 14
accused foreign mercenaries held for an alleged foiled coup plot in
Equatorial Guinea, saying at least one of the men may have been tortured to
The London-based rights group also expressed alarm for a leading
opposition activist held at the same prison as 14 accused of being
mercenaries, and believed to have been severely tortured.
Guinea, a newly oil-rich nation accused of chronic rights abuses under
25-year ruler Teodoro Obiang, has held the 14 men since their March 9 arrest
in an alleged coup plot.
Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, had arrested 64
other alleged mercenaries two days earlier, stopping what authorities claimed
was their trip to Equatorial Guinea to aid the overthrow of
Most of those arrested were South African.
One of the men
in custody in Equatorial Guinea, a German named Gerhard Eugen Nershz, died in
custody from what Equatorial Guinea said was malaria, Amnesty International
Witnesses who saw Nershz in the hours before his death saw visible
signs of torture on his body, the rights group said.
activist Weja Chicampo has been held at the same prison since March 4 and,
like the other men, is reported to have been heavily tortured, Amnesty
'Should allow immediate access to them'
authorities should immediately end any acts of torture and ill-treatment of
the detainees and immediately allow unimpeded access to them by lawyers,
independent medical practitioners, family members and consular officials,"
Amnesty International said in a statement.
Authorities allege that
Spanish-based rebel leader Severo Moto offered the suspects $1.8m and oil
rights to overthrow the government in Equatorial Guinea, a former Spanish
The men say they were headed to eastern Congo to provide security
at mining operations.
WORKERS at the closed Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ) have turned down a retrenchment package offered by the
troubled publishing house, saying the offer was "worse than
The company, which last month announced it was retrenching more
than two-thirds of its over 250 workers after the employees demanded a pay
rise of more than 900 percent, told workers' representatives last week it
was only able to give them three months' notice pay and a severance
package equivalent to half-a-month's salary for every year served.
workers' committee chairman Columbus Mavhunga said the offer had
"We rejected the offer because it is worse than
peanuts," Mavhunga said. "Our argument is that we are not accepting the
retrenchment because there is no basis for it. It is management that decided
not to register and that is not our problem."
ANZ, publisher of The
Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, was shut down by the government in
September last year for operating illegally after the company refused to
register under the country's Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
"They did not even consider that. because of our Daily News
background, it will be difficult for most of us to be employed in any public
media or government departments because we are now considered enemies of the
state," Mavhunga said.
ANZ human resources director Henry Mushunje
confirmed that the company's offer had been turn down, but insisted last
Wednesday's meeting was only the beginning of a long negotiating
"They (workers' representatives) expressed in no uncertain terms
that they were disappointed with what the company is offering," Mushunje
said. "But this is just the beginning of the negotiations . . . we will again
ANZ started publishing in March 1999 and the longest
serving employees have worked for about five years. These would get a
severance package of about two-and-a-half's months' pay from what the company
Workers have been demanding minimum retrenchment packages of
$50 million each.
Agencies 19/03/04 THE collapse of two banks in Zimbabwe in the last week
has spelled more bad news for confidence in the troubled industry, economists
The country's second largest building society, Intermarket
Building Society (formerly Founders), was closed by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) on Friday last week, with officials from the central bank
saying they wanted to protect depositors, preserve the assets of the group,
and protect the financial system.
This was followed by the closure of
a commercial bank, Barbican Bank, four days later, with RBZ officials saying
they had moved in when it emerged that the bank had liquidity problems after
it allegedly externalised large amounts of foreign
"Depositors are fast losing confidence in the financial sector
as a result of the commotion taking place. With the closure of two banks,
depositors are bound to panic and withdraw all their savings, and this has
the capacity to cause cash shortages," said Witness Chinyama, group economist
for Kingdom Financial Holdings.
He added that the confusion in the
banking sector was also being fuelled by the fact that problems in the
industry were being discussed openly in the press.
"The press seems to
have contributed to the crisis in the banking sector because the public is no
longer sure what is happening in the sector, as there are many reports which
could confuse members of the public. As a result of the confusion, depositors
are likely to just come up with their own interpretations and withdraw all
their savings," Chinyama told IRIN.
John Robertson, an economic
consultant, said he was concerned by the possibility of a domino effect
taking hold. "We could quite easily see many more banks closing down because
of the declining confidence in the banking sector," he told
According to Robertson, "The banks are now collapsing because they
should not have opened in the first place. A lot of people were given banking
licen ces to compete against international banks like Barclays Bank and
Standard Chartered, but they were very weak and could not survive in a
climate where the economy was shrinking."
Intermarket Building Society
and Barbican Bank have been placed under curatorship for six months, during
which time all transactions will be frozen.
Tens of thousands of
depositors receive their monthly salaries through the building society,
including teachers, soldiers and policemen. Protestors besieged the
institution this week demanding their salaries.
The curator for
Intermarket Building Society, Ngoni Kudenga, said efforts were underway to
ensure that depositors would be able to access their pay.
be processed as soon as we finish working out some details. There might be
delays but, ultimately, people will be able to get their money," he was
quoted as saying by the official newspaper, The Herald.
The executives of
the two banks were reported to have skipped the country, joining senior
officials from the National Merchant Bank, who fled two weeks ago after their
bank was accused of externalising funds. Under Zimbabwe's new anti-graft
laws, suspects accused of externalising money can be detained by police for
21 days without bail.
On 1 December, the new RBZ governor, Gideon Gono,
began his official duties with a mandate to end the crisis in the financial
sector, which had been suffering the effects of cash shortages, high
inflation, a weak local currency and under-capitalisation.
curtain is being drawn against the era for the proliferation of weak, poorly
managed financial institutions dependant on cheap and unlimited central bank
credit," Gono said when announcing his new monetary policy.
prospect of the collapse of several banks imminent, the RBZ stepped in with
an injection of funds, on condition that the rescued banks made changes to
their management, and the central bank was given better oversight of their