The Zimbabwe High Court was to hear an application on Monday to have 70
suspected mercenaries tried in open court."People are obviously allowed to buy property where they want,
but one wonders where a Zimbabwean minister got the money from, considering the
value of the Zimbabwean dollar."
This follows reports that the
men have been assaulted by Zimbabwean soldiers.
In the meanwhile, a new
charge under two United Nations resolutions - of conspiring to commit
international terrorism - was brought against the men on Saturday.
state has repeatedly postponed the court appearance of the 70 for a variety of
reasons since they were taken into custody on March 8 after their arrest at
Harare International Airport.
The men had been expected to appear in
court last week, but their court arraignment was delayed again.
argued that the state could not bring them to court for security reasons and
would rather have them tried by a private court at Chikurubi Maximum Prison,
where they were being held.
The men's defence lawyers opposed this and
went to the high court for an order that they appear in a normal public court.
Lawyer Jonathan Samkange said the application was to be heard on Monday
before Judge Tadius Karwi.
Samkange said any attempt to deny the men
their rights to appear in a public court was totally unacceptable and he would
"thoroughly" argue the case.
He said the state had enough manpower to
provide security for any public trial of the men.
Any security fears
were totally unfounded as the men "were not murderers nor mercenaries as
alleged" and would "easily be acquitted if granted a fair
Sixty-seven of the 70 men were arrested at Harare International
Airport aboard a Boeing 727 allegedly en route to Equatorial Guinea on a mission
to topple that country's president. The other three were arrested when they went
to meet the plane.
They deny the claims against them, saying they were
headed for the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they were to guard a
The privately owned Standard newspaper reported on Sunday that its
investigations showed some of the 70 men had been "seriously assaulted" and some
might have been tortured.
The newspaper said its investigations had
revealed that the men were initially taken to police stations all over
Mashonaland province as part of state efforts to make them "confess".
paper quoted sources as saying the men had been assaulted after capture at the
airport and when they were taken from the airport to jail.
confirmed that the men were beaten by soldiers when they were arrested but he
had no complaints of any beatings while they were in jail.
"My personal opinion is that senior
Zanu-PF officials, including President Robert Mugabe and any other official,
should be tried for crimes against humanity."
Llandudno resident Chris
Summersby said: "Rumours have been circulating that Mugabe is building here, but
even one of his ministers will not be welcome here."
"I think that is
the general sentiment. People are already up in arms about the whole
Several other Llandudno residents agreed with Summersby that
Kuruneri's presence would not be met with approval.
They did not want to
be identified, but said they would support an action group of residents formed
to halt Kuruneri's plans.
The Sunday Times reported that Kuruneri,
appointed finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle on February 9 to spearhead
Zimbabwe's economic recovery, has been financing the property with foreign
This was despite the strict limits imposed on exporting foreign
exchange in Zimbabwe.
Property developer Chris Hayman refused to comment
on the details of the deal with Kuruneri.
Quizzed by the British press a
week ago, Hayman said he knew nothing about Mugabe's possible involvement in the
Kuruneri is the sole director of a company called Choice
Decisions, which bought the property for R2,7-million on April 22 last year. He
also bought another property in the area for R2-million.
Town-based construction company owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
he had been sub-contracted to do work on the property.
"We got paid in
American dollars. Once I received (the equivalent of) R200 000, and I always had
to exchange the money in my own name..."
"The stereo system in the house
was imported from the United States and will cost R1,5-million."
that construction of the house would cost about R17-million, "but with all the
accessories and stuff, like the hi-fi, the final cost will probably be in the
region of R30-million, if not more".
When completed in November, it will
have eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a large dining area and a massive outdoor
Kuruneri has reportedly denied contravening Zimbabwe's
He claimed that he made the money to pay for the house as
a consultant for several multinational companies.
Since Kuruneri was
appointed finance minister, the country has cracked down on businessmen for
contravening foreign exchange rules, closing down three businesses.
- This article was originally published on page 3 of The
Star on March 22, 2004
No More Dictatorships by 2025
By Alan Caruba
Mar 22, 2004
In late February, Parade magazine’s cover article was
about the “The World’s Worst Dictator.” We have reached this new century after
one wracked with wars begun by its dictators, the long “Cold War” sustained
against the dictators of the former Soviet Russia, and the creation of the
United Nations, intended to end such wars.
We live in a world where just
forty-five men rule the lives of more than two billion people. In his book,
“Breaking the Real Axis of Evil: How to Oust the World’s Last Dictatorships by
2025”, ($27.95, Rowman and Littlefield) former Ambassador Mark Palmer lays out
the plan by which the entire population of the world could begin to live in
democratic nations. The dictators include Hu Jintao of Communist China, Kim Jong
II of North Korea, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Omar
Al-Bashir of Sudan, Ayatollah Ali Khameni of Iran, and Crown Prince Abdullah of
The greatest concentration of dictators is in the Middle
East and Africa. Others are in Southeast Asia. Still others run the former
Soviet republics, such as Saparmurat Niyazo of Turkmenistan. Red China stands
alone simply for its vast population ruled by a Communist Party that poses a
threat to the stability of everyone on their borders.
The one universal
reason for ridding the world of these men is a moral one. They are murderers and
thieves on a grand scale. Another reason is the right of all people to live in
freedom, to live where the rule of law exists and the will of the people
determines the decisions made by elected, representative leaders.
and only then could the Universal Declaration of Human Rights become a reality
with everyone enjoying regular and free elections, a free press, trade unions,
and an independent judiciary. This document is the heart of the aspirations set
forth with the creation of the United Nations, but the UN accepts as members
those same dictatorships and treats them as equal to free nations.
is another compelling reason. As Ambassador Palmer notes, “the free nations
produce 89% of the world’s economic output; the dictatorships just 6%.” Imagine
how productive the world could be if the remaining captive nations could be set
free to tap the energies of their people? We would see an end to famine
everywhere. We would see the great flow of trade and goods that would enrich
everyone. We would see the “hidden hand” of competition that would insure the
affordability of those goods.
What some Americans and others around the
world have not understood about the invasion of Iraq by the United States and a
coalition was the absolute need to remove one of the world’s worst dictators,
Saddam Hussein. Even now we hear influential voices saying that we could have
continued to accept his rule, that he really didn’t pose an immediate threat to
the United States, that he didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction. All this
ignores Saddam’s endless potential as a continuing threat, willing to threaten
war against his neighbors and to hatch grave plots against the US with its
enemies among the fanatical Islamic Jihad movement.
In the few short
months since the invasion, it has significantly transformed the entire region.
Pakistan, a hotbed of Jihadists, is now an ally in the war on terror. Libya’s
dictator has taken steps to secure American and international acceptance.
Syria’s dictator may be contemplating trying to seek peace with Israel and
withdrawing from Lebanon. Iran is contemplating allowing international
inspections of its nuclear facilities. Saudi Arabia’s rulers are contemplating
what changes they must make to save themselves from the very Jihadists they has
funded and supported for decades. Other Middle East nations such as Bahrain and
Kuwait seek to ally themselves with the United States and consider movement
toward establishing some aspects of democracy.
Ambassador Palmer states
that the “removal of dictators is first and foremost a domestic political
matter, undertaken by the people living under tyranny.” That said, he outlines
the steps the United States and other free nations can take to support such
efforts. Nor does he rule out military intervention such as that undertaken in
The reason for eliminating the remaining dictators is the simple
proof of history that “by attempting to base US security in other parts of the
world, the practitioners of foreign policy common wisdom not only failed, but
also undermined American credibility worldwide.”
When people ask why do
people around the world hate us, the answer is they have seen our great example
of democracy and wondered why we have accepted to work with and even praise
dictators who are utterly corrupt. The last century demonstrated why this simply
does not work and why appeasement only leads to war. An estimated 169,000,000
people died in the last century due to war and famine that was the direct result
of the tyrannies of Nazi Germany, Japan, Red China, and the former Soviet Union.
Others died on the vast African continent and continue to die every day because
of the tyrants who rule so many of its nations.
The notion that
Americans should live in a republic governed by the world’s oldest, living
Constitution, and that others in the world do not yearn for the same blessings
of liberty is absurd. We saw that in the 1989 when thousands gathered in
Tiananmen Square, the heart of Red China, to protest peacefully for more
representative government. Deng Xiaping made it very clear that the protesters
wanted to “overthrow the Party, state and socialist system and to replace it
with pro-Western bourgeois republic.” He was right. That is why the protesters
had created their own Statue of Liberty. It was crushed beneath the treads of
It is a wonder to me that people still go around
mouthing all the lies and nonsense about Communism and Socialism as the answer
to the world’s problems. They have long been and remain one of the world’s
greatest problems. It is why Communists resist all efforts toward democracy and
freedom. It is why Socialist nations cannot even begin to compete with those
utilizing our Capitalist system. Communist and Socialist systems are inherently
corrupt. Both systems concentrate power in government rather than allowing the
economy to flourish and its benefits to enrich and enhance the lives of free
The concentration of power in the hands of forty-five
dictators or in governments where citizens have no say in the conduct of their
lives is a tyranny that must end. There is a movement toward that and it is
called the Community of Democracies. Ambassador Palmer calls it “the best-kept
secret in foreign affairs.” It has met in 2000 in Warsaw ad produced a founding
document. It met again in Seoul in 2002. Ultimately, the CD must replace the UN.
The UN is an utterly failed and flawed international institution. The Ambassador
also sees an expanding role for NATO.
It is time to let the world’s
remaining dictators know their time is up. It is time for free and democratic
nations to join together to encourage domestic opposition to them. If they
don’t, the lethal technologies of the new century can make the millions of
deaths in the past one look puny by comparison.
The good news is that in
1972 there were only forty-three free countries in the world. Today there are
eighty-nine. We are about to add Iraq to the list no matter how messy that
effort may seem. Americans are dying there for the same reason they died in far
greater numbers to free Europe and Asia in the last century. That’s what free
people do. They fight and they die to free others because it is the right thing
to do and because a free world is a safe world.
Alan Caruba writes a
weekly column, “Warning Signs”, posted on www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet
site of The National Anxiety Center.
© Alan Caruba
Monday, March 22,
A number of African scientists are urging
governments on the continent to take measures to prepare for the impacts of
global warming. "Climate change is now with us and poised to change our pattern
of life," said Dr. Cecil Machena, a Zimbabwean ecologist and conservationist.
"Yet few people know what climate change is all about."
The vast majority
of the greenhouse gases behind global warming have been released by industrial
countries like the United States and Europe. Scientists expect, however, that
climate disruptions will take their heaviest toll on poor nations, which have
contributed relatively little to the problem in the past century.
"African countries are expected to be the hardest hit by climate change
because they have the least resources to adapt," said Brett Orlando, a climate
expert at the World Conservation Union (IUCN). "The difference between impacts
on developing and industrialized countries is categorical. In industrialized
countries one speaks of loss of property and income, whereas in developing
countries one speaks of loss of life and livelihood."
A recent report
from scientists at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom concludes
that current trends of droughts in Southern Africa are likely linked to climate
change. "It is becoming increasing likely that [human-caused] emissions of
greenhouse gases, and other atmospheric pollutants, are changing global and
regional climates," finds the report.
While occasional droughts are
common in the region, the scientists found that the last 20 years "have seen a
trend towards reduced rainfall," as well as an increase in the number of serious
droughts -- two or three during the early 1990s alone. "The decade 1986-95, as
well as being the warmest this century, has also been the driest," according to
the report, which is titled "Climate Change and Southern Africa."
researchers recommend that Southern African countries should change their
agricultural policies in anticipation of the negative impacts of climate change
on crop yields. "The clearest objective at present is to prepare for changing
climatic hazards by reducing vulnerability, by developing monitoring
capabilities, and enhancing the responsiveness of the agricultural sector to
forecasts of production and food crises," concludes the report.
few efforts are currently underway to address the anticipated impacts of climate
change in Southern Africa. "Very few governments, particularly in the South, are
prepared to mainstream climate change issues in development processes," said Dr.
Machena, who is director of the Africa Resources Trust.
And yet the
impact of climate on the poor is a serious concern. "Rural people in
less-developed countries are more dependent on local resources, so when land is
degraded or access is cut off, those people are particularly hard hit," said Dr.
Peter Veit, the World Resources Institute's regional director for
The Africa Resources Trust has called on Southern African
governments to take steps now that will help people cope with hotter, drier
weather, coastal storm surges, and other anticipated effects of climate change.
Dr. Machena has proposed that countries invest in drought-resistant crops and
promote forestation projects around farmlands, which would protect watersheds
and create belts of vegetation to link up national parks and other habitats
threatened by climate change.
A report recently published in the journal
Nature concludes that if no action is taken to address global warming, climate
shifts could soon surpass habitat loss and other threats to wildlife and plants.
The study, which examined six biodiversity-rich regions around the world
representing 20 percent of the Earth's land area, projects that the consequences
could be significant for Africa.
Important African conservation areas,
such as Kruger National Park, could risk losing up to 60 percent of their
species. More than one-third of the 300 plant species studied in South Africa
are expected to die out, including the country's national flower, the King
Using the current distributions of 1,103 plants, mammals, birds,
reptiles, frogs, butterflies and other invertebrates, the scientists developed
computer models to simulate the ways species' ranges are expected to move in
response to changing temperatures and climatic conditions.
found that 15 to 37 percent of species sampled could be threatened with
extinction by 2050 as a result of their inability to adapt to changes in
climate. "If the projections can be extrapolated globally, and to other groups
of land animals and plants, our analyses suggest that well over a million
species could be threatened with extinction as a result of climate change," said
lead author Chris Thomas of the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. (WRI
By Emmanuel Koro, a contributor to WRI
World Resources Institute
10 G. Street, NE
Washington, DC 22203
21, 2004, 17:25
Tony Leon, the leader of the official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA),
has asked government to intervene to help South Africans arrested in Equatorial
Guinea and Zimbabwe. He was speaking during a Human Rights Day election rally in
Bushbuckridge, Limpopo province.
Leon said all those arrested in an
alleged plot to overthrow the Equatorial Guinea government should be treated in
a humane way. Seventy alleged mercenaries are being held in Zimbabwe and 15 in
Equatorial Guinea. Zimbabwe is determined to have 70 suspected mercenaries tried
in a top-security prison where they are detained, but the trial would be open to
the public, the country's chief prosecutor said yesterday.
The men held
filed an urgent court application on Friday to have their case heard in an open
formal court, but the appeal is still to be considered. - Additional reporting
Figures show massive increase in brain
March 21 2004 at
|By Edwin Naidu|
The number of skilled professionals leaving the country went up by 62 percent
last year, according to a report by Statistics South Africa (Stats
Doctors, engineers, accountants, teachers and managers joined the
exodus of skilled South Africans working abroad in 2003. Last year, according to
Stats SA, 4 316 people emigrated, compared with 2 689 in 2002. In December, 934
professionals left the country for greener pastures while 508 settled in South
Africa, the majority from Nigeria, Britain, China, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
The report released earlier this month said South Africans leaving the
country in December headed to Britain, Australia, the United States, New Zealand
Anton Lourens, the secretary-general of the Public Servants
Association, said the figures were disturbing as they showed that South Africans
from a variety of professions were leaving the country in large numbers. "People
are leaving because there is a perception that we have a high crime rate and
professionals know that they can easily get jobs overseas," he said.
Lourens said it was of great concern when medical
practitioners - who studied for a minimum of seven years and were often
subsidised by the state - were allowed to go.
|Left for overseas teaching jobs immediately after
The report said 192
medical practitioners left in 2003, compared with 117 in 2002. It costs a
minimum of R120 000 to train doctors over seven years.
also left in droves to work in Britain and the US, with 666 leaving last year,
compared with 410 in 2002; while 736 people in the accounting profession
emigrated last year, up from 529 in 2002.
The department of labour said
this week that skilled professionals in short supply included scientists and
researchers, managers, accountants, engineers, medical practitioners and
Solidarity, the Pretoria-based trade union, said the country
loses R800 million annually in lost tax contributions from people who had
emigrated. Flip Buys, the union's spokesperson, said 11 000 people left the
country in 1999, adding that figures were obtained from a study conducted by the
University of South Africa's bureau of market research.
the spokesperson for the South African Revenue Service, said the statistics were
not based on anything substantive, and that they confused the loss to the gross
domestic product with the loss to the tax base.
Rej Brijraj, the chief
executive officer of the South African Council for Educators, said the council
had no statistics on the number of teachers working overseas, but estimated that
there were about 10 000.
Pieter Martins, the spokesperson for the South
African Teachers Union, said advertisements were being placed in large numbers
for teaching posts, and that many students left for overseas teaching jobs
immediately after graduating.
The Democratic Nursing Association of
South Africa and the South African Nursing Council could not provide details of
members working abroad, although the latter confirmed it was requested by
overseas hospitals to verify qualifications of nurses before they emigrated.
Phadi Lehohla, the statistician-general, said since 1999 the number of
immigrants had been less than the number of emigrants and that the gap between
the two was slowly closing.
Scotland on Sunday
|Old African enemies join hands
MEGAN LINDOW IN MOZAMBIQUE
IN A sign that southern African nations are burying their differences in
the interests of enterprise and the environment, former enemies Mozambique and
South Africa are joining forces to create the world’s largest wildlife
This move will merge the Limpopo National Park with
Kruger National Park across the border, and also take in the Gonarezhou National
Park in Zimbabwe.
There are landmines to clear, infrastructure to build
and 6,000 people to resettle, but in coming years border fences will disappear
from the 23,000-square-mile area, opening up swathes of land for animals to roam
and offering visitors greater access to some of southern Africa’s most pristine
This concept of creating parks and conservation areas that
straddle national boundaries is gaining momentum across southern Africa, said
Willem van Riet, chief executive officer of the Peace Parks Foundation, a South
African organisation that is promoting the creation of 22 different
transfrontier conservation areas on the continent.
The first peace park,
the Kgalagai Transfrontier Park, shared by South Africa and Botswana, opened in
May 2000. Eventually, the foundation even hopes to see such parks in war-torn
countries such as Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Africa’s Kruger National Park draws two million visitors each year. But, until
recently, impoverished Mozambique wasn’t featured on too many tourist
Officials hope that will soon change thanks to the creation
of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which is being funded by Germany, the
US, South Africa and the World Bank.
However, while Mozambique and South
Africa are both gearing up for the new park, political instability is slowing
progress in Zimbabwe.
The greatest worry is that people who have
illegally occupied land adjoining the park will kill off animals, and the
country also has not been able to raise money to develop its side of the park.
A version of this article originally appeared in Christian Science
Capitalist greed behind aborted coup in Africa
By Monica Moorehead
Zimbabwean officials have announced that they will bring legal
charges against 67 mercenaries detained March 7 after a plane full of the
professional killers and their high-tech equipment touched down at Harare
The leaders of the mercenaries have admitted that they were flying from South
Africa to a secret military base in Came roon, with the objective of kidnapping
the president of nearby Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema. They intended
to replace him with a leader of the Spanish-based opposition, Severo Moto Nsa.
Equatorial Guinea is a former colony of Spain.
The mercenaries included South Africans, at least one of whom holds British
citizenship, Angolans, Namibians, Congolese and one Zimbabwean, according to an
official of the South African Foreign Ministry. The Toronto Globe and Mail
reported on March 16 that "all were reportedly carrying South African passports,
and are said to be ex-South African military or police personnel."
Since the downfall of the apartheid regime, its former operatives have been a
thorn in the side of the South African coalition government, dominated by Black
representatives of the African National Congress. The South African government
is reported to have tipped off Zimbabwe about the group's arrival. It says they
will be tried in Zimbabwe, although South African law does allow for citizens
arrested in another country to be transported back to South Africa.
Since these arrests, the big-business media have focused a lot of attention
on the so-called corrupt nature of the Nguema government in Equatorial Guinea.
But the United States, Britain, Spain and other imperialist governments have
installed and supported many reactionary puppet regimes around the world.
Executive Outcomes, a British-based firm that provides mercenaries to private
corporations, was an integral part of this ill-fated operation. According to the
March 14 Sunday Herald of Harare, "The firm's latest planeload of mercenaries
included many former personnel of the notorious 32 Buffalo Battalion of the
South African special forces and Civil Cooperation Bureau, which was responsible
for the deaths of several anti-apartheid activists."
It has been confirmed that U.S., British and Spanish intelligence agencies
are the masterminds behind the aborted coup, on behalf of big-business
interests. The British citizen arrested was Simon Mann, "an ex-Royal Scots Guard
and troop commander with the British Special Air Services. He also has a lead
role in Sandline International, a murky company with oil and mining interests,
and ties to U.K. intelligence services. Sandline absorbed Executive Outcomes in
1998. Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi says Mr. Mann was offered
$2.3 million and oil rights in Equatorial Guinea for the plot." (Globe and Mail,
Zimbabwe also target of imperialist destabilization
When these arrests first took place, there was justified suspicion that the
United States and Britain were attempting to remove Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe from office. It is no secret that President George W. Bush and Prime
Minister Tony Blair are close cohorts in their efforts to economically and
politically destabilize Zimbabwe.
They hate President Mugabe because he has publicly sided with dispossessed
Black farmers who are seeking to regain ownership of the arable lands stolen by
white commercial farmers over many decades of racist colonialism.
Bush and Blair claim that Mugabe stole the presidential election in 2002 from
opposition forces that the West supported both financially and politically.
Observer teams from Nigeria, Namibia and South Africa, however, stated that
Mugabe won a majority of the votes fair and square.
Why were the mercenaries targeting a small country like Equatorial Guinea?
Certainly one reason is that the imperialist secret agencies felt they could
take advantage of the geopolitical situation. But the motive lies in the greedy
nature of imperialism.
Oil, oil and more oil
EG is one of the poorest countries in Africa and the world. It was a colonial
possession of Spain for 190 years until its formal independence in 1968. Its
population is less than 500,000; life expectancy is 50 years for women and 48
for men. The average yearly income is $700. (World Bank, 2001)
EG's territory includes the island of Bioko off the coast of neighboring
Cameroon. Its capital, Malabo, is located there. Large deposits of oil and
natural gas were discovered off Bioko during the mid-1990s. As a result, EG has
become the third-biggest producer of oil in Africa, after Nigeria and
The abundance of oil has meant very little for the people of EG. In fact, as
in the rest of Africa, the minerals and wealth are being sucked out by Western
multinational corporations headquartered in the large imperialist countries.
The theft of Africa's natural resources under colonialism and now
neocolonialism--in which these countries' economies are controlled through debt
and "structural adjustment" programs devised by the International Monetary Fund
and World Bank--has kept this long-suffering continent from economic development
and, along with it, true independence.
The biggest exploiters of EG's oil are all U.S. companies: ExxonMobil,
Chevron Texaco and the Houston-based Mara thon Oil. The United States buys 28
percent of the country's exports--mostly petroleum products. Spain buys 25
percent. (allAfrica.com, March 12)
The imperialists could not care less that the majority of the 600 million
people on the African continent suffer from poverty, HIV/AIDS, civil wars and
illiteracy. Any government corruption and mismanagement stem from having local
economies undermined and destroyed by imperialist greed for profits.
Right now, the Pentagon is sending troops into all parts of Africa,
especially the north and west, under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda and
"terrorism." In truth, the most important reason is to protect the economic
domination of U.S. foreign capital against its rivals in Europe and Japan.
Whether through open colonialism or setting up neocolonial puppet states,
today's imperialist powers got rich through the plunder and super-exploitation
of Africa as well as Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and the Caribbean. The
masses in those developing countries need international, revolutionary
solidarity from the workers in the imperialist centers, especially through the
demand that the exploiters pay long-overdue reparations for their theft.
Reprinted from the March 25, 2004, issue of Workers World
Caps Tragedy: Motorist in Court
March 20, 2004
to the web March 19, 2004
IT has since emerged that the accident that killed three
CAPS United players and two supporters on Sunday morning involved another
Police in Harare on Wednesday arrested a man from Kuwadzana
in connection with the tragic car crash which claimed the lives of three CAPS
United players - Blessing Makunike, Shingirai Alron and Gary Mashoko - together
with two supporters, Onismo Murinye and Gibson Hanyire.
The man was picked up by police following an anonymous
tip-off and was yesterday brought to the Harare Magistrates* Courts where he was
remanded out of custody until Thursday next week for trial.
He is facing five counts of culpable homicide.
Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri said the driver*s identity
is being withheld for security reasons.
"It has since been established that another vehicle was
involved in the accident and the Dustan Pulsar was proceeding to Norton with a
driver and four passengers.
"We have arrested the driver and he will be charged with
five counts of culpable homicide and he will also answer charges of driving
without a driver*s licence, failing to stop, failing to render assistance and
failing to report the accident.
"The other four will be brought as witnesses," said
Mashoko and Alron were buried on Tuesday at Granville
Cemetery, Makunike was laid to rest at Yeovil Cemetery in Mutare on Wednesday
while Hanyire and Murinye were buried in Masvingo.
The accident is thought to have happened at around 1am on
Sunday as the deceased were returning to the capital after a Premiership match
against Sundowns at Luveve in Bulawayo.
According to sources, the arrested man was allegedly driving
towards Norton, encroached into the right lane resulting in his vehicle hitting
the car in which CAPS United players and fans were travelling in.
The Norton-bound Dustan car had its right side damaged and
one of the windows shattered but it did not stop at the scene of the
Police who are still gathering more evidence have since
impounded the vehicle while the man has visible scars.
CAPS United president Twine Phiri yesterday said that the
arrest of the alleged negligent driver had at least cleared the air on how the
players and supporters* car could have crashed.
"As CAPS United, we are saying that the arrest will at least
show that our boys were not to blame for the cause of the accident.
"The involvement of the other car some-what exonerates our
players of having been involved in the accident alone and being drunk.
"No sort of punishment will be able to erase the grief we
have suffered on losing the players and their death is irreplaceable," said
"Now we want to see justice being done and the justice
should come now while the memories of losing the players and fans are still
fresh in the minds of their families and friends.
"We appeal to police to handle the matter very efficiently
and effectively so that justice takes its proper course," added Phiri.
Phiri said it would be more painful for the families of the
deceased to know that other people might have contributed to their death but at
the same time better to know that the five are not totally to blame.
Taurai Mashoko, Gary*s father yesterday he was still
grieving over his son but would want to see the justice take its course.
"It pains me to know that some other people were involved in
a case of hit and run.
"No one is able to stop accidents if they are to happen but
it hurts me to know that they did not even stop.
"If they had stopped maybe they could have helped by putting
off the fire or opening the doors.
"But now everything is in the hands of the police," said
Meanwhile CAPS United have expressed their appreciation to
the help they received from companies and individuals during the funerals of
"We offer our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to the
support we got from everyone during the trying times," said Phiri.
Among the organisations which gave contributions for
funerals expenses were Zifa who gave $1.5 million, PSL $750 000, Sporting Lions
$500 000 to the Alron family, CAPS United Bulawayo chapter who gave $600 000
while Motor Action, Douglas Warriors and Munenzva provided with transport.
Ben Chiwondegwa gave $500 000, with Shepherd Bwanya, Tawanda
Chitapi, Wellington Chando, Lisa Hlabangani among others giving $200 000 each
while several other people also made contributions.
Raylton Sports Club provided the venue for the church
service while the Sports Commission gave moral support.
A condolence book for the five accident victims will be
opened at the club*s offices at the National Sports Stadium.
The Globe and Mail
One man's guard, another man's
By MADELAINE DROHAN
From Monday's Globe and Mail
What do mercenaries do in their spare time? This is not an idle
question. It goes to the heart of why the planeload of mystery men who are
currently incarcerated in Zimbabwe should be of interest to Canadians.
there is not always a war to fight or some unstable government willing and able
to buy the services of trained fighters. Between engagements, as they say, your
average soldier of fortune still has to pay the bills. And there are few jobs
around, aside from being a mercenary, that require his particular set of
Being a mine security guard comes close, however, particularly if the
mine that needs securing is located in one of Africa's conflict zones. Only
experienced fighters know how to safeguard stockpiles of diamonds, gold, cobalt,
copper or coltan in the midst of civil war.
The oil industry has dealt with
instability in Africa by moving its operations offshore wherever possible.
Angola is a case in point. Most of the oil that is produced from what is
officially Angolan territory never even touches shore. It is pumped from fields
deep beneath the sea bed, put into waiting tankers and shipped to markets
But mining companies have to go where the minerals are located.
Lured by Africa's vast potential, they have waded into conflict zones like
Sierra Leone, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and tried to
minimize their risk by maximizing their security. Many of those companies are
junior mining firms listed on Canadian stock exchanges and financed by Canadian
Canadian firms raised $3-billion last year for mineral exploration
around the world. Boosted by China's voracious demand, commodity prices are
soaring. This has made companies look twice at opportunities that were
previously considered too risky, because of government instability or
Mining companies in Africa draw their security guards from the same pool
that the private military firms — which is what mercenary groups like to call
themselves these days — draw their fighters: soldiers who lost their jobs when
the apartheid regime in South Africa made way for a black, democratic
government. Once the South African government stopped destabilizing its
neighbours and suppressing its own black majority, the soldiers too closely
associated with this work were let go. Neighbouring countries no longer facing a
threat from South Africa were also able to slim down their armies.
the unemployed soldiers who went looking for other work and found it as
mercenaries, security guards, or both.
This is not to say that every Canadian
mining firm active in Africa is employing a security force staffed with former
and perhaps future mercenaries. There is enough crossover between the two
groups, however, to warrant the observation that the mining sector is, perhaps
inadvertently, supporting the mercenary sector by providing work for former
soldiers when fighting contracts dry up.
Which brings us to the 70 men
arrested earlier this month when their plane stopped in the Zimbabwean capital
of Harare. They claim they are mine security guards. The Zimbabwean government
says they are mercenaries intent on overthrowing the government in Equatorial
Guinea. They may well be both.
Simon Mann, the former British military
officer who is reported to be among those arrested, provided security for an
investment tour I went on in 1998 to the Angolan mine owned by then-Canadian
company DiamondWorks Ltd. Earlier, he had worked closely with Executive
Outcomes, the most notorious of the South African mercenary groups, when they
were called in to retake an oil-storage depot seized by rebels during the
Angolan civil war.
Tim Spicer, the former head of Sandline International, a
British mercenary firm, told a British House of Commons inquiry that he intended
to import night-vision goggles for a mission he was planning in Sierra Leone,
sending them to a mining firm in order to avoid scrutiny.
connections between mercenary groups and mining security forces have gone
largely unexamined by governments, companies and investors. Most investors are
only too pleased to hear that their company's operations are well protected, and
don't question who is providing that security. Mining firms argue that it is not
their business to vet the staff of subcontractors. Governments don't
particularly want to get involved.
It's only when a planeload of former
soldiers is seized that the issue gets fleeting attention. Even then, the event
is dismissed as the type of craziness that can only take place in Africa, with
absolutely no relevance to Canada.
Yet Canadian mining firms in Africa have a
stake in ensuring that their security forces are seen to be above board and not
just teams of moonlighting mercenaries. Investors should demand that they do.
Until that happens across the industry, one mine's security force will continue
to be seen as another man's private army.
Madelaine Drohan is the author of
Making a Killing: How and Why Corporations Use Armed Force to do Business.
Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwe to 'tighten' election laws
22 March 2004 12:51
The Zimbabwe government plans to tighten electoral laws ahead of next
year's parliamentary polls, the state-run Herald newspaper reported
The proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, which include
giving the state control over voter education, are contained in a bill published
last week and due to be debated in parliament, the Herald
The announcement comes at a time when the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) has threatened to boycott next year's polls unless
certain conditions, including an independent electoral commission, are
According to the Herald, the proposed amendments include
banning foreign donations towards voter education unless they are made through
the state-appointed Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC).
allows the minister of justice, legal and parliamentary affairs to assign any
person in the employment of the state to perform secretarial and administrative
functions for the commission," the paper added.
According to the
Herald the bill also seeks to make political graffiti in public places an
offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment of up to five years.
opposition, which won 57 out of 120 contested seats in parliamentary elections
in 2000, claims President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF stole victory from it
through violence and intimidation.
It has demanded that more than a dozen
conditions be met before it is willing to participate in next year's elections,
including that the poll be held in accordance with standards set for the region,
and the repeal of strict press and security laws. - Sapa-AFP
Burst Sewers Clog City's Maintenance Budget
March 22, 2004
Posted to the web March 22,
PERSISTENT sewer bursts in Harare are forcing the city
destroy sewer pipes to clear blockages, increasing the city's
The chief engineer of sewerage works, Mr
Mabhena Moyo, said council was in
most cases forced to destroy the existing
pipes in order to clear the sewer
systems of objects.
came in the wake of a recent clearing of sewer pipes in
Highfield from which
mounds of sand, kitchen utensils and various clothing
Mr Moyo said engineers use rods to clear the objects but
off-loading heavy objects into the sewer system, objects which
"Taking out the objects takes a long time, at times it
takes one to three
days," he said.
He said they receive up to 20
reports of blockages in Highfield per day.
Council has often been accused
by residents of failing to respond in time to
reports of sewer
Harare public relations manager Mr Lesley Gwindi said it took
respond to burst pipes because of the high number of the
He said residents should play their part in ensuring that the
were not blocked by sand and clothing items.
sewerage manholes was also cited as a reason for the bursts.
now resorted to the use of concrete instead of iron cast covers
thieves are stealing them," said Mr Gwindi.
Waste that comes from the
sewer system goes into water bodies that supply
the city making it necessary
to use more water treatment chemicals.
He said workers at water treatment
complexes remove 30 to 40 tonnes of sand
and other objects every day.
Utilise Land for Self-Sustenance: Hungwe
March 22, 2004
Posted to the web March 22,
FARMERS should work hard for the country to enjoy the
gains of the land
reform programme, Zimbabwe Farmers' Union (ZFU) president
Mr Silas Hungwe
He was speaking last Thursday at a field day
organised by the Zimbabwe
Fertiliser Company (ZFC) at Mukodzonge Village in
Mr Hungwe said farmers were the backbone of the economy and
the land for self-sustenance.
"We have to be thankful
to the Government for reclaiming the land from
colonial masters and, as
farmers, we should ensure the country has enough
food so that nobody goes to
bed with an empty stomach," he said.
He said the Government was going an
extra mile to adequately supply farmers
with inputs such as seeds,
fertilisers and farming equipment at affordable
At the field
day, Mr Khama Mukau was honoured for being the best burley
this farming season.
"I feel proud to have been recognised by ZFC for my
efforts and hope other
people would emulate," said Mr Mukau.
the Government should facilitate cheap access to finance and
equipment for small-scale farmers within their areas.
have complained that often they are denied access to
loans from banks on
grounds of lack of collateral.
Speaking at the same occasion, ZFU
vice-president Mr Wilfanos Mashingaidze
said the Government was willing to
assist farmers but in many instances the
farmers themselves were disorganised
and did not co-operate with the
He said the Government
introduced the Tobacco Growers' Trust (TGT) to which
farmers can apply for
The trust oversees the growing of tobacco by small-scale farmers
country, empowering them with information on producing the
It also helps farmers get farming resources from depots in their
instead of sourcing them from distant places.
took a swipe at people who apply for loans from agricultural
finance houses as farmers only to channel the funds to
"These people are a let-down to the nation and
discredit genuine farmers
with the potential to do well. They should be
reminded that the land is back
forever and there is no going back," he
He said there were loop-holes in the distribution of agricultural
from the Government.
Farmers also expressed dissatisfaction
over the tobacco prices at the
market, saying they were low and discouraged
many from venturing into
"We are not pleased by the
money we get at the tobacco auction floors and we
get demoralised to
cultivate the crop as we get little at the end," said Mr
However, Mr Mashingaidze said the Government had made a
tobacco buyers could now buy direct from farmers in a move
that is going to
reduce transport costs.
Zim, Mozambique Trade Set to Increase
March 22, 2004
Posted to the web March 22, 2004
IT used to be a pastime for some, but cross border
trading has since become
the livelihood of thousands of Zimbabweans who were
retrenched or failed to
get formal employment.
At a time when formal
employment has become scarce, thousands of youths have
ventured into informal
trading that was now estimated to be sustaining
Previously women were the most notable cross border
They were generating millions of dollars in foreign currency
regional and international ventures annually.
Chihota of Msasa in Harare said through learning what other people
over a period of time, she had now joined the informal trading
and since last
year, she has never looked back.
"It needs hard work and determination
but it is worth the sweat," said Mrs
Chihota, a single mother with four
She said the informal sector became her only salvation
after the death of
her husband, who used to the family's breadwinner, in a
bus accident four
While others are forced by circumstances
beyond their control to engage in
cross border trading, there are others who
have voluntarily left their lowly
paid jobs to try their lucky in the
"I am proud of what I have achieved so far despite the fact that
I have been
in this business for just two years," said Mr Lazarus Nyamukapa
Mr Nyamukapa said he only got to
know that cross border trading pays and it
was contributing immensely to the
economy of the country after his neighbour
bought a second hand commuter
omnibus from the proceeds of this trade.
"If you know what to sell at
which parts of the country you will be trading
in, you can make money and
live a normal life.
"I now specialise in selling things like tea bags,
margarine, butter and
others that are on demand in Mozambique and when I come
back, I bring some
rice for sale," said Mr Nyamukapa, showing off his fancy
designer jeans, and branded sports shoes.
border traders expressed concern that the business had been
affected by stringent conditions imposed by the Department of
the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
"We are sometimes asked to carry
just a few quantities of goods into
neighbouring countries, particularly
Mozambique and it no-longer makes sense
to get a profit that is less than the
cost of a visa and transport," said Mr
Wilbert Bepura (26), also a cross
He said it was high time governments of neighbouring
countries waived visa
requirements to facilitate the smooth movement of
traders between countries.
Mr Bepura said because of the need to maximise
profits in the cross border
business, most people were now tempted to jump
the border illegally,
carrying foodstuffs for re-sale in Mozambique where
there was a ready
Other experienced traders had now spread
their wings to as far away
countries as Angola where business was reportedly
"The Angolans like almost anything from Zimbabwe and cross border
making us earn enough money to live," said one middle-aged man
as he was waiting to pay for his visa at the Angolan
Trade between Zimbabwe and Mozambique in particular where most
traders flocked to, is poised to grow following the recent
signing of a
bi-lateral preferential trade agreement between the two
countries in January
The signing of the agreement that was
long overdue, came after almost 10
years of discussions and ironing out of
legal modalities, which had
negatively impacted on the ability of business
people to continue trading
between the two countries.
The signing of
the agreement marks the beginning of a zero tariff agreement,
buying and selling of goods much easier.
To complement the signing of the
trade agreement, the Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce opened a link
office in Chimoio, Mozambique to offer
legal services, match making and joint
venture facilitation, consultancy
services and the organisation of business
and appointments for local and
Mozambican business people.
traders were also flocking to Namibia capitalising on the
Preferential Trade Agreement, which allows traders from
either country to do
business for up to three months.
The main products that were imported by
Namibia from Zimbabwe were
agricultural products, building materials, mining
and textile products.
On the other hand,
Zimbabwe imports mainly fish products, beverages and salt
Trade between the two countries has grown from a paltry $10
million in 1992
to more than $600 million in 2001.
Mail and Guardian
'Mbeki has become Mugabe's best
22 March 2004 13:41
Human rights are not fundamental for President Thabo Mbeki, but
depending on the political interests and allegiances of the ANC,
Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Tony Leon.
In a Human Rights Day
speech prepared for delivery in Bushbuckridge,
Limpopo, the DA leader
launched a sustained attack on Mbeki, saying "again
and again" Mbeki "sides
with oppressors like Saddam Hussein and Mugabe
Last month, according to Leon, Parade magazine in the
published a list of "The World's Ten Worst
Two of these were Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (number
four on the list),
and King Mswati III of Swaziland (number ten). The ANC had
spoken out against abuses of human rights and democracy in
Swaziland. But it
refused to do so with Zimbabwe.
President Mbeki has become Robert Mugabe's best friend, his
and his strongest defender. For President Mbeki, human rights
fundamental. They are flexible, depending on the political interests
allegiances of the ANC," Leon said.
Two other dictators on this
list, according to Leon, were Fidel Castro
of Cuba and Teodoro Obiang Nguema
of Equatorial Guinea -- "both of whom are
good friends of the ANC and its
The ANC had said nothing about gross abuses of human
rights in these
countries, nor about the rights abuses of former Haitian
"The ANC government picks and
chooses which human rights abuses it
condemns and which it condones,
depending on its ideology and political
interests. Again and again, President
Mbeki sides with oppressors like
Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe against
At home the government had failed to honour some of
enshrined in the Constitution, Leon said. He visited the town of
weeks ago and observed that at the Desmod Park Housing Project
"no houses at all".
"There is only a pile of bricks,
cement, door frames, toilet pans and
roof sheets. The government delivered
the materials but did not bother to
build anything with them. They are just
lying there, a year later, on the
ground. Already the cement has been ruined
by the rain," he complained.
Meanwhile, the people of the community
were still living in shacks.
"They are still waiting for the
government to build the houses that it
promised them. They are still waiting
for their constitutional right to
housing to be fulfilled."
This, Leon said, was the story of human rights in South Africa.
"The building materials are there, in the pages of our Constitution.
houses have not yet been built. We have rights on paper, but not
He cited Cambridge township in East London where
people lived in
"poverty and squalor" and Bushbuckridge where people were
still waiting to
receive the houses they were promised and where 10 000 jobs
had been lost
between 1996 and 2001, as further examples of how the
of the people had not been fulfilled.
month, said Leon, the SA Human Rights Commission inspected the
hospital, which served almost one million people in the region.
Human Rights Commissioners found the conditions at the hospital to
"It is because of the neglect and mismanagement of the
that Tintswalo hospital does not have the proper staff and
it needs," Leon declared.
Turning to crime, Leon
said the ANC government had clearly failed to
protect the rights of ordinary
people and victims of crime. The government
had also admitted it had "lost"
R15-billion over the past decade meant to be
spent on social
"The state simply lacks the capacity to uphold the
rights of the people. We cannot let the bricks of Bochum lie in
the sun and
rot in the rain. We cannot let the people of Bushbuckridge wait
decade to see a real change in their lives."
concluded with his party's election slogan: "We must act today.
We must vote
DA. Because South Africa deserves better." - Sapa
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2004 10:59 PM
Subject: you just cant keep a good
An open letter to friends and fellow activists,
the second year running I spent International Women's Day, 8th March
Police custody! Fortunately last year it was just a few hours before
prevailed and myself and the 18 other women were released. This year I
arrested on the eve and only made $ 10000 bail on the 9th March
spending over 48 hours in terrible conditions in Police cells. This was
eighth arrest and brings my tally to over 160 hours in Police custody
February 14, 2003. I am not ashamed at all and regard these hours as
investment in my future well being as a Zimbabwean. I find solace in
words of Ghandi "the real road to happiness lies in going to jail
undergoing suffering and privations there in the interest of one's
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) was born as a
national movement on that
Valentines Day 2003. Over 78 of us were arrested in
Harare and Bulawayo.
That was my first arrest and I was honoured to be one of
48 women, 6
journalists and my teenage son who was watching the march from
road. On that day I was charged under the repressive Public Order
Act (POSA) but was freed after signing a warn and cautioned
WOZA sisters back home in Bulawayo fared worse and spent the
custody and were only released under the pressure of our daybreak
outside the Police station. On Valentines Day we had marched in
POSA calling on our brother and sisters to learn to love again
and felt that
we had a God given right to deliver this message to Zimbabweans
seemingly forgotten how to love each other in all the chaos.
am a founding member of WOZA, a civil disobedience movement for
community women who need to speak out and act to expose the
suffering they and their families are undergo as political leaders
for power forgetting completely the people they should serve. We
and demonstrate peacefully, Ghandi and Martin Luther King style,
POSA, Police and Politicians. I regard POSA as an attempt to stifle
nation of Gods gift of speech and human association. Martin Luther King,
said "One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him is unjust,
who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse
conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing
highest respect for the law". That is why I and members of WOZA continue
march to demonstrate what we think of POSA.
I write this letter
having spent the last 3 days in retreat and fasting to
developments and strengthen my commitment the cause. I reflected
hard on many issues, including my apparent notoriety due mainly to
activism. Last year, I had been asked to speak at a local meeting.
advised that Police clearance had been sought under POSA, but Police
declined to allow the event if "Jenni Williams" was one of the
local state newspaper had advised the "Jenni Williams" name
could not be used
in an advert. I was told that the offices of the
organisation had been
visited to search for me. Sadly, since that time I
have received no further
invitations to speak at this organisations events
and whenever I meet the
people associated, they recount their amazement at
the Police reaction. Just
this week someone elaborated further and told me
that the Police called me a
On the 7th March, WOZA was attending a National
(NCA) meeting whose agenda was elections for the
WOZA had elected to join NCA' s call for a new
constitution and therefore
attendance at this meeting was vital. Despite a
caution from the MC that
WOZA was not to 'disturb' his meeting, WOZA was
graciously given a platform
to read its position statement out and did so. We
had already visited the
NCA and advised them of our activity for 8th March
and requested their
support and endorsement. Dr Lovemore Madhuku, a brave
constitution reform and NCA Chairman addressed the meeting and
gave a no
holes barred call for activists to get out into the streets and be
to "die for a new constitution". I admired his courage in delivering
speech candidly to an audience with at least 4 state intelligence
present. He has only just recovered from wounds inflicted by brutal
who were prepared to "leave him for dead". During that meeting, one of
colleagues arrived and informed me that she had been followed from home by
plain-clothes intelligence agent. Two Riot Police men in their full riot
were seen patrolling around and the MC announced their presence. It
apparent that the state agents in the meeting had been detailed to
colleagues and myself before we left. We marveled at this
intelligence as we
thought they had come to arrest Lovemore.
we should have taken the tip off more seriously in light of our
protest march the next day but we are in God hands. We were fully
be arrested in 'action' on International Women's Day, but not
decided to make an early exit and asked for some activist friends
us to the car. Three agreed to come with us but unfortunately as
out of the parking, 2 Riot Policemen stopped us saying "Our boss
speak to you at Bulawayo Central Police". Lawyers were contacted
played for time fully expecting 'our comrades' in the meeting to come
support us. Our friends who had escorted us informed us not to
as the meeting continued on undisturbed. Although Lovemore
did do his best to
get us lawyers. We eventually accepted our fate and
followed the WOZA
tradition of walking ourselves, under Police escort to
initially charged with distributing our newsletter WOZA MOYA (come
Spirit), calling for a new constitution and Valentine Cards, which
message: Our beloved Zimbabwe is crying. We must defend our right
and let love overcome hate." On arrival at Police Central, we did
'the boss'. We spent over an hour being verbally abused by
lawyer finally arrived and was advised that it was a Sunday
and she should
only make representations for us on Monday. My two
Mahlangu and Patricia Khanye had never been arrested
before and could not
believe the flimsy charges. As we were led to the jail
cell we knew in our
hearts that those policemen were just out to suppress
women's voices on their
All three of us feel frustrated at the lack of active
support from the NCA
activists and as Patricia told them - "one day it could
be you and what
would you want us to do." Not one came to visit us or bring
us food in jail
and not one of them came in solidarity to the court
I must mention another frustration in that, despite all these
one cleric has visited us or thought to bring us a cup of tea.
Many of those
that meet me in the streets bemoan that the situation is tough
but do little
else. Martin Luther King Jr wrote of the clerics of his time by
often the Church has had a high blood count of creeds and an
deeds." I must however give thanks to one pastor who has given me
performed the prayer service in Harare before the march and remained
observer throughout the march, praying and giving the WOZA women
We shared our jail cell with 3 illegal foreign currency
(moneychangers) and other youngsters on various charges. At 4am,
prostitutes joined us bringing our total to 15 women. The first night
sang in protest at the lack of blankets refusing to be silenced. We had
jolly good time and built up a real sisterhood. It was great and
colleagues admitted that they had been afraid of jail and that they now
it to be just fear of the unknown.
The next day, a businesswoman
found herself in custody for suspected fraud.
She stood at the door,
reluctant to come in. Then she sat on the cement
floor a distance from us. I
got up to use the toilet, which is in view of
all cellmates. This shocked the
newcomer into saying, "so you just wee and
we all watch", 'yes sister', I
said and that broke the ice. Within 20
minutes she was singing and dancing
with us, her woes and the filth
surrounding us forgotten. Again we protested
through song to the Policemen
for blankets and water to drink. We were denied
both. Some moneychangers in
the next cell formed a chorus with us. When we
went out for headcounts which
happens frequently, other prisoners kept asking
me (the only white skinned
person) what I had done and I replied that I am a
women's rights activist
charged under POSA.
This time, there was less
abusive intimidation towards me personally by
uniformed Police managing the
cells. In previous times they have pointedly
engaged me abusively and tried
to intimidate me. From the first arrest of
WOZA activists, we have accepted
an additional task and phase in our civil
disobedience and that is to engage
every officer that we can. We call on
their common sense to prevail and for
them to admit that times are hard and
we need to be allowed to speak out. We
do this in a feminine and of late, I
have found myself having moments when I
pity a police officer that starts to
provoke one of us. He gets it thick from
at least 5 women, in concert and
with high-pitched voices. I feel that this
could be one of the reasons the
Police sought to arrest a few of us
beforehand as they know in the demo they
will have to arrest over 20 women
and then labour to process us all. They
apparently don't like working late
and being harangued.
On the Monday morning, as International Women's Day
dawned we said a prayer
for WOZA and especially the secondary leadership
painstakingly trained for
such a test. Police had hoped that our arrest would
demonstrations by holding the leadership as 'hostages' in jail.
quieter and prayed harder as the appointed times of the protest
Our silent prayer was that our arrest would not be in vain. We
to face any charges and even spend a month in jail, if only the
continued their march. And March they did, all though Bulawayo,
block from the Police Station. In Harare too, women
marched. No arrests or intimidation from Police. Our prayers
The Police had tried to disable WOZA by arresting the leadership,
amply demonstrated that WOZA is theirs and the issues are theirs.
that International Women's Day afternoon Police began processing
charges - from distributing leaflets to encompass the demonstrations
POSA section. The next day they failed to charge us under POSA and
take us to court on lesser charges. These were, "Contravening Section
(2) (b) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act as read with Section
(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act. The essence of the charge:
other people to demonstrate and cause a public disorder and/or
and/or nuisance. We posted bail and were remanded to this
Tuesday, 23 March
2004 when our lawyers hope to get the charged dropped
completely. I must say
that I would much rather go to jail than pay a fine
admitting to a guilt I
do not feel.
I pay tribute to the organisations
that stand alongside us as we perform
this fight for freedom and conduct our
form of national service. These
include the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
and Crisis Coalition who
called for our release. Thank you also to
international friends for their
emails of support and care packages sent to
us. We urge Women's Coalition to
stand alongside us as we fight for an
amplified women's voice within this
current crisis. Their official 'silence'
when WOZA women are arrested on
flimsy charges is deafening! As an individual
I call on fellow activists to
not be scared away by state propaganda. By now
all activists should know
that the state would work day and night to create
disunity. Stand alongside,
support in anyway you can, without fear, any
activist fighting for democracy
and freedom. God himself will fortify you as
he has always done throughout
history when common citizens stand up for their
God given rights.
United we stand, divided we fall. After all it is not
just Jenni Williams,
Patricia Khanye and Magodonga Mahlangu that were
incarcerated, we were
symbolic hostages for 54 percent of the
of Zimbabwean women crying to end the suffering and calling for
rights to be upheld. Most of all, we called for love to overcome
dignity on International Women's Day. We must develop a culture
cherish our champions. Will you attend the WOZA court hearing on
Will you bring us a cup of tea when we are imprisoned?
If you do, you
will have understood that this is OUR collective struggle and
will win freedom and equality but we must be prepared to endure
Freedom does not come easy. We have to fight (albeit passively),
right to be free!
Sunday 21 March 2004
ZIMBABWE: Increase in malnourished children at clinics
March (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's economic crisis has seen
deepening vulnerability in
urban areas and an increase in the number of
malnourished children attending
clinics in the two largest urban centres.
In its latest situation report
the World Food Programme (WFP) noted that
"there is an increased need for
assistance for malnourished children under
the age of five in the cities of
Harare [the capital] and Bulawayo [the
second city], as evidenced by an
increased turnout at clinics".
WFP spokeswoman Makena Walker told IRIN on
Monday that "the economic
downturn in Zimbabwe has had a severe impact in
"When household incomes fall, one of the strategies to cope
is cutting down
on meals and changing the kind of food a household will eat.
generally in a less than standard diet, which is what is
children under five," Walker said.
A recent urban
vulnerability assessment showed the impact of the current
coupled with the country's sharp economic decline, on
"Before [the assessment] we were estimating there were
1 million needy
people in urban areas. The assessment quantified the number
stating that there were 2.5 million," Walker noted.
increase in the number of malnourished children attending clinics in the
major cities "shows the great impact [the economic decline] has had in
areas, as the most vulnerable people, when there is a crisis, are of
children and women".
WFP and its implementing partners are working with
40 clinics to prevent a
deterioration in the condition of malnourished
children between the ages of
six months and six years. "Over 80,000 children
received food aid under the
programme during February," the aid agency
Walker added that the programme has been running for a year now.
as a pilot programme in Harare and then extended to Bulawayo and
of the clinics in the cities. WFP is working with the NGO, Help
the children are referred to this programme through the clinics
are registered as 'growth faltering'," she explained.
was also implementing school feeding programmes in primary schools
selected high-density suburbs.
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