Between 50 and 100 members of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) are
marching from Pretoria's CBD to the Union Builings where they intend handing
over a memorandum on Zimbabwe for President Thabo Mbeki's attention. Ntsie
Mohloai, the PAC national organizer, says marchers will then hand over a
letter of solidarity to Zimbabwe authorities at that country's
In its memorandum to Mbeki, the PAC demands that government not
allow the country to be used as a springboard for the re-colonisation of
Africa. It also demands that the government not allow Cosatu and the MDC to
use South Africa as a base in "undermining and destabilising the
sovereignity of Zimbabwe".
The PAC wants Mark Thatcher, a British
businessman and son of Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister,
banned from South Africa permanently and wants all Apla political prisoners
released. The PAC is also demanding that its former liberation fighters be
integrated into the SAPS and the traffic department.
Neighbors 'Unconcerned' by Zimbabwe Media
Clampdown Nairobi, Kenya (CNSNews.com) - A continuing media clampdown in
Zimbabwe has prompted fresh concerns among journalists in Africa that other
repressive regimes on the continent may follow suit.
the head of the Media Council of Kenya, said the harassment of media
organizations by President Robert Mugabe's government was even more worrying
than it would otherwise be, because none of the neighboring countries
appeared to be particularly concerned.
Ahead of parliamentary
elections on March 31, Zimbabwe has stepped up a long-running campaign to
control the media.
In the most recent case, a government-controlled
media commission shut down an independent newspaper; the Weekly Times, after
just eight weeks of publication, saying the paper violated media
Three other papers, the Daily News, the Daily News on Sunday,
and the Weekly Tribune have also been closed over the past two
Foreign correspondents, and some Zimbabwean journalists, have
left the country, citing harassment by the state security
Odero said free communication was an important human
right. Without it, Zimbabweans would face "the worst form of colonization --
that of the mind."
Mugabe frequently rails at the outside world --
primarily at former colonial power Britain and the United States -- accusing
the governments are promoting "colonization."
Zimbabwe is a
member of a regional body known as Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC), which has a protocol designed to promote human rights. Other members
are South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi,
Swaziland and Lesotho.
Odero questioned neighboring states' silence.
"Zimbabwe is breaking this protocol and yet the other SADC members do not
seem to be acting. That bothers me much more."
In Cape Town
Wednesday, South African President Thabo Mbeki told reporters that Zimbabwe
was adhering to the SADC protocol, and claimed that issues like "access to
the public media ... have been addressed."
Speaking alongside Mbeki,
another SADC state leader, Namibian President Sam Nujoma, said of Zimbabwe:
"There is really no serious problem there, no problem
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher recently condemned
what he called "a pattern of shutting down newspapers, shutting down civil
society, restrictions on civil society, [and] a climate where the opposition
... fears for its safety."
"Open environment for journalists, the
open environment for the opposition to peacefully contest the elections
needs to be ensured," he said.
Mugabe has vowed to "bury" the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the election. MDC members
have in past elections been attacked, and even killed, by Mugabe party
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
said the Mugabe government's repeated use of repressive laws and harassment
of reporters made clear its intention to silence views that differ from its
official version of events.
"The African and international
communities should condemn this very unfortunate pattern," said CPJ
executive director Ann Cooper.
Many African journalists feel a wider
use of online journalism would counter efforts by repressive governments to
stifle unpopular views.
Reuben Kyama, a political scientist and
journalist, said international support for online journalism in Africa was
needed, because insecure regimes were trying to restrict the free flow of
"African media needs to establish a common voice to
fight dictatorship regimes," he said. "What is happening in Zimbabwe will
definitely send wrong signals to other dictators in
Kellys Kaunda, the head of the Zambian chapter of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zambia) said the African Union must to
pressure Mugabe to repeal the tough media laws.
2002 passed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, under
which journalists can be jailed for up to two years if they work without
being registered with the state's media commission.
journalists caught freelancing for foreign media can also be jailed for two
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this year labeled
Zimbabwe an "outpost of tyranny."
Mugabe's retirement mansion fit for a despot Gavin du
Venage, Johannesburg March 04, 2005 CHINESE, Arab and South African
interior decorators are putting the finishing touches to Zimbabwean
President Robert Mugabe's retirement mansion - turning the residence into a
fortress that can house a small army.
Construction of the $US12million
($15.3 million) mansion on 17ha has been under way for several years and it
is almost ready for occupation, according to a report this week by the
Institute for War and Peace Reporting.
All that is left to do are the
finishing touches, and the institute says specialists have been brought in
to design formidable defences to protect Mr Mugabe as he enjoys his sunshine
years in his retirement home. The defences include chemical and biological
sensors to warn of a poison or germ attack.
Radiation detectors are
located around the house, and the guards carry sensors on their belts to
record levels of radiation within the premises.
Sniffer dogs patrol the
boundary to check for bombs. At least 50 full-time riot police will be
stationed in luxury barracks on the grounds and their ranks will be boosted
by members of Mr Mugabe's feared secret police, the Central Intelligence
The skies above the mansion
already have their own helicopter and aircraft patrols, and some of the
recently acquired jetfighters bought from China last year will be placed on
duty to keep the airspace above the mansion free of intruders.
property is located in the exclusive Borrowdale suburb of Harare, where most
of Zimbabwe's wealthy elite live. It has taken three years to build and is
said to be lavishly furnished with items Mr Mugabe's wife, Grace, has
collected over the years on her shopping trips to Asia, and, before the
British imposed a ban on her, Harrods in London.
Mr Mugabe says no
tax money has been used to build the home, which he plans to live in when he
retires. Instead, the state media reports, gifts from countries such as
China, Serbia and Malaysia have made construction of the home
The President is expected to hand over power to an as-yet
unnamed successor in the next few years.
News of the mansion's
completion came as the US announced it would extend a freeze of assets
belonging to Mr Mugabe and about 80 other Zimbabwean nationals.
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Mar 2005 (IRIN) - The efficacy of agricultural relief programmes run in
response to recurring drought and food shortages in Zimbabwe could be
greatly improved, says a report by the International Crops Research
Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
The report titled 'The
Distribution of Relief Seed and Fertiliser in Zimbabwe: Lessons Derived from
the 2003/04 Season', highlighted the need for improved targeting and
monitoring of agricultural relief programmes.
"Despite the frequency of
agricultural relief programmes, little is know about their efficacy. Seed
distribution is assumed to contribute to an expansion of cropped area. But
it is difficult to find independent data measuring such gains. Fertiliser is
assumed to increase production levels and productivity. But most relief
programmes simply assume these gains. Nonetheless, each year drought
re-occurs, these programmes are simply started afresh," the report
The authors noted that "while the relief seed and fertiliser
[distributed in the country] were generally well used, there remain
substantial opportunities for improving the effectiveness and impact of
these input distribution programmes".
One key area they identified
was the importance of draught power for improved crop
Zimbabwe experiences recurring droughts, and in intervening
years, parts of the country are periodically affected by floods. As a
result the country frequently benefits from relief programmes aimed at
assisting the recovery of smallholder agriculture.
"The most common
programmes, involving the distribution of seed and fertiliser, have been
implemented in one or another part of the country during at least 10 of the
24 years since the country achieved its independence in 1980," the study
The country experienced drought again during the 2001/02 and
2002/03 cropping seasons, "the impact of these recent droughts was
measurably worsened by a rise in unemployment, high (100-500 percent) rates
of inflation, a decline in gross domestic product, and an estimated 26
percent rate of HIV/AIDS incidence among adults".
Maize import and
price controls contributed to severe shortages of grain on both urban and
The study, based on the results
of three major farm surveys designed to assess the distribution of seed and
fertiliser inputs during the 2003/04 cropping season, reveals that while
relief seed and fertiliser were generally well used, the targeting of
households destined to receive relief needs improvement.
of the NGOs distributing inputs identified explicit criteria for the
selection of needy households, these lists were difficult to implement in
practice. In consequence, there was little difference in the poverty levels
of households that received relief inputs compared with those that did not
receive these inputs.
Many NGOs tried to target households affected by
HIV/AIDS. Yet households with orphans, or female-headed families were just
as likely to have received relief inputs as male-headed households or those
without orphans," the report noted.
Almost 15 percent of households
received input packages from more than one NGO and "in some districts, more
than 25 percent of households received similar packages or relief inputs
from multiple NGOs," the report said.
The authors argued that targeting
of relief inputs could be improved through better information sharing on
needs and the relief activities of NGOs.
They also pointed out that the
distribution of seed did not appear to have resulted in a significant
expansion of the area cropped during the 2003/04 season.
much of the relief seed appears to have replaced stocks available on local
markets. This includes seed saved by many households from their previous
harvest. Despite shortages of grain on the local market, and despite two
consecutive years of drought, many households were still able to retain seed
stocks," the study said.
Farmers, however, appear to have benefited from
the distribution of new, improved varieties of seed.
"This was the
first season in more than two decades that relief agencies were allowed to
distribute open pollinated maize varieties. While virtually all smallholders
had adopted hybrid maize, the rising costs of this seed in recent years had
led many to replant seed derived from their previous season's grain
production. This was contributing to a decline in average maize yields. The
delivery of open pollinated varieties offered farmers a cheaper, more
sustainable, alternative," the study found.
However, in some cases there
were problems with the quality of relief seed. During the 2003/04 season,
much of the seed distributed, especially for crops other than maize, was of
"In at least two cases, seed of poorly adapted
varieties was imported and distributed to farmers. This produced limited
yields late in the production season (which fortunately was prolonged by
late rains). In these cases, the recipients of relief seed would have been
better off planting seed available on local markets. These problems were
worsened by poor and incomplete seed labelling, and in some cases, wrong
labelling," the report said.
Beyond the impact of seed deliveries, the
study revealed that substantial gains in production and productivity were
derived from the targeted application of small quantities of chemical
fertiliser. "In effect, small doses of nitrogen-based fertiliser appear to
offer much higher returns than the delivery of seed - particularly if this
seed is of uncertain origin," the report noted.
IMPORTANCE OF DRAUGHT
The report found that "the major determinant of the area planted by
poorer households was not the availability of relief seed, but access to
It said families owning cattle or donkeys planted 60
percent more land than those without. This was linked with an 80 percent
average increase in grain harvests.
"A key inference to be drawn from
this data is that efforts to expand area planted following a drought should
concentrate less on distributing seed and more on improving access to
"NGOs could provide vouchers encouraging the sharing of
available animals, perhaps in exchange for supplementary feed and veterinary
care. Alternatively, relief programmes should concentrate more effort on
improving the stability and productivity of production on a smaller area,"
the report said.
Larger gains could also be achieved by strengthening
the technical assistance provided with agricultural relief programmes, as
"less than one-quarter of the recipients of relief inputs received any kind
of extension advice. And the majority of these extension contacts occurred
only once," the study found.
Overall, the evidence strongly suggested
that agricultural relief programmes need to move away from an emphasis on
handouts to encompass the pursuit of more explicit development
"These programmes may still target subsidised assistance to poorer
households most severely affected by poor rains or socio-economic
constraints. Yet many of these households are likely to remain chronically
poor unless they are more methodically assisted with improved varieties,
better extension advice or strengthened markets," the report
Larger, more sustained gains could be achieved by improving
the quality of agricultural relief assistance, "rather than concentrating
... on the numbers of households assisted, and the numbers of input packages
30 Days until the election: Why the World should
watch Zimbabwe Closely by Scott Morgan
Thursday, March 3,
There are approximately 30 days until the mid-term elections in
Zimbabwe. These elections are very crucial as they may determine not only
the future of democracy in that nation, but also the stability of Southern
Africa itself. If the elections go as many insiders believe they will then
Zimbabwe will be an authoritarian government with a rubber stamp
One of the first areas that should be watched with great
scrutiny is the assault on the independent media. Within the last two weeks,
four journalists have been forced to flee the country. Also another
independent newspaper, the Weekly Times has been ordered to cease
publication by the Media and Information Commission. Zimbabwe has a very
repressive law. AIPPA (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act)
has been used to shield Government members and supporters from the media.
The Media Commission certifies journalists and news outlets and has been
able to silence voices that have been critical of the ruling ZANU-PF
(Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front). There are rumors that the
commission is planning on targeting yet another newspaper.
area of concern is the targeting of NGOs. In December, 2004 the Parliament
passed a controversial bill regulating these organizations. At this time,
the legislation has not been signed into law by President Mugabe. There are
major problems with this legislation. A Parliamentary Committee found that
this bill violated at least a dozen sections of the Zimbabwean Constitution.
This bill tries to prevent foreign funding of NGOs. On Feb. 25th, the Public
Welfare Minister announced that 30 NGOs may be closed down because of
misappropriation of funds. It is felt that this is an attempt to make
ordinary Zimbabweans more dependent on Government sources for food, legal
services and medical care. A challenge to the bill of the President by a
group of NGOs has not been answered as yet. IF this is signed, it will not
be the answer that they want.
There is an ominous sign on the horizon
and it is the potential involvement of the Armed Forces of Zimbabwe. They
have gone on record as saying that the Opposition would not take power even
if they won any elections. That statement is bold and should concern people.
There also have been two large arms shipments from the People's Republic of
China delivered in recent weeks. Most of the equipment delivered is designed
for crowd control. Also retirees have been called back to service for duty.
There are also rumors of a potential coup if things go bad. This is a
Lastly, there is a new outside enemy. One of the planks
of this campaign used by ZANU-PF has been anti-Tony Blair. Britain has been
a long-standing target of the Government, but there is a new target now. It
seems that they are now taking shots at the United States. In recent weeks,
the Government has taken some shots at Condeleeza Rice referring to her as a
fascist and a slave to President Bush. The Government of Zimbabwe and
President Mbeki of South Africa have taken offense to the testimony of Ms.
Rice when she referred to Zimbabwe as an "Outpost of Tyranny". It is the
position of the United States and others that these elections be free and
fair, but these elections may not be.
These are some indications that
there is a concerted effort to limit the free flow of information and to
prepare for a crackdown after the official results are released. It also
appears that instead of attacking London, the authorities are intent on
blaming President Bush and his administration for the problems that plague
Zimbabwe. Regional actors have been silent regarding the procedures for
elections, so questions can be asked of them after the elections.
Johannesburg - Confrontation is looming between Zimbabwe and the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum over
Zimbabwe's general election due later this month. The forum, which includes
permanent representatives from most countries in the region, wrote to
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe last week expressing outrage at its
omission from the list of invited observers. Secretary-general Kasuka
Mutukwa reportedly asked why his group had been excluded when it had always
monitored elections in SADC countries. The SADC forum declared Zimbabwe's
hotly disputed 2002 presidential election not free and fair. It was widely
attacked by Mugabe's government for its decision - which was similar to that
of other observers such as Commonwealth, invited European Union countries,
Japan and some African countries including Ghana and Senegal. SA and other
SADC countries, China and Russia gave the election a clean bill of health.
It is understood Mugabe has not yet replied to the
Zimbabwean parliamentary speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa led
SADC's election team to observe the Malawian election last year. Zimbabwe,
is already on a collision course with SADC countries over its refusal to
adequately comply with the regional bloc's election guidelines. The dispute
between Mugabe's government and the SADC forum came as Zimbabwe started
accrediting local and foreign observers yesterday after weeks of uncertainty
over the issue. Zimbabwe has only invited 23 African countries, five from
Asia, three from the Americas and only Russia from Europe to observe its
election. After a lot of uncertainty, Zimbabwe finally sent out invitation
letters to observers last week. President Thabo Mbeki, who chairs the SADC
organ on politics, defence and security, is currently trying to form the
regional grouping's observer mission. SA, trying to help to ensure a free
and fair election in Zimbabwe, will also send a parliamentary and a ruling
African National Congress team to the country to observe the election.
JOHANNESBURG - The United
States of America has extended by one year personal sanctions and a freeze
on assets belonging to President Robert Mugabe and 80 other Zimbabweans
close to him, the White House has announced.
actions were initially imposed on 6 March 2003, in response to
anti-democratic measures taken by the Zanu PF government in Harare. The US
said the freeze would be extended for another year, beginning March
The White House said in a statement, issued on Wednesday,
the Zimbabwean government's "actions and policies pose a continuing unusual
and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United
The decision by the United States to extend travel
sanctions on Mugabe and his officials comes two weeks after the European
Union (EU) resolved to extend sanctions against the 81-year-old former
guerilla leader, accusing him of rigging parliamentary polls five years ago
as well as his own re-election in 2002.
Both the United
States and the EU accuse Mugabe and his allies, such as the youth militias
and veterans of the war of liberation, of using violence to silence
supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) during the
run-up to the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential
President Mugabe is on record defending his
government, saying the sanctions by both the US and EU are designed to
punish him for seizing land from white commercial farmers to resettle black
Zimbabweans, who President Mugabe says are the rightful owners of the
The latest measures by US against President Mugabe and
his top officials are calculated to force him to introduce democratic
reforms in Zimbabwe, a country once touted as a role model in Africa in the
The advent of the MDC as a formidable opposition to
Zanu PF rule shook Mugabe and his officials. Sensing imminent loss of power,
Zanu PF, youth militias and war veterans unleashed a reign of terror against
perceived enemies of the ruling party, during the run-up to both the 2000
parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections.
International observers, with the exception of regional ones from countries
with close ties to Zimbabwe, condemned the results of the polls as neither
free nor fair. The MDC won 57 seats, close to half of the 120 contested
ones, while its leader Morgan Tsvangirai has gone to court challenging his
alleged defeat by Mugabe.
Zanu PF has also been accused of
using violence and other foul methods in effort to win the forthcoming March
31 parliamentary elections.
Although Mugabe has announced he
wants a violence-free campaign, incidents of beatings and intimidation
against opposition supporters continue to be reported in
The independent press and international journalists
have also been targeted by President Mugabe's government in its bid to
silence any critics ahead of the poll. A recently launched newspaper , The
Weekly Times, has been closed while four correspondents of foreign news
media have been hounded out of the country.
PF and its sympathizers insist that the party has done a lot to meet
regional guidelines on holding free and fair elections, the opposition says
this is all a smokescreen. The reality on the ground is that measures are
being implemented to rig or steal the elections once again.
JOHANNESBURG - The
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has lashed out at South Africa's
President Thabo Mbeki, accusing him of being totally misinformed about
political events in Zimbabwe.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the party's
spokesman, made the remarks in response to reports from South Africa that
quoted President Mbeki as saying he believed the forthcoming elections in
Zimbabwe would be free and fair.
This was in direct contrast to
the views of opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, Tony Leon, who
claimed the March 31 polls had already been rigged in favour of President
Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu PF party.
Themba-Nyathi said he was
stunned to hear Mbeki's comments in the run-up to the parliamentary
election. "It's wrong. President Thabo Mbeki is totally misinformed," he
told the BBC.
"He probably knows things that those of us who
are on the ground do not know," he said. "Trying to reward Zanu PF by
pre-empting the results on 31st is not helpful."
Themba-Nyathi said the electoral changes Mbeki spoke about were superficial.
For example, state media news broadcasts continued to ignore opposition
rallies and give blanket coverage to Zanu-PF, although he admitted that MDC
adverts were now being broadcast.
Mbeki, speaking after meeting
outgoing Namibian President Sam Nujoma in Cape Town on Wednesday, said the
Mugabe government was complying with a new Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) protocol on free and fair elections.
have no reason to think that anybody in Zimbabwe will act in a way that will
militate against the elections being free and fair," said Mbeki, rejecting
suggestions that Zimbabwe had failed to comply with the SADC protocol on
"I don't know what has happened in Zimbabwe which is
a violation of the SADC protocol," said Mbeki. "As far as I know, things
like an independent electoral commission, access to the public media, the
absence of violence and intimidation ... those matters have been addressed.
What SADC is interested in is a free and fair election in Zimbabwe, as in
all of its member states."
South Africa's official
opposition party, the DA, has come out in support of the MDC saying the
March 31 elections have already been rigged in favour of President Mugabe's
Tony Leon, the DA leader, said the elections would be
neither free, fair nor legitimate. While addressing the Alliance of Liberals
and Democrats for Europe in the Belgian capital Brussels, on Wednesday, Leon
said the behaviour of the Zimbabwean government in recent times had left
little room for doubt.
Leon insisted Harare has violated
all of the most basic conditions for elections it agreed to at the meeting
of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Mauritius in August
While Pretoria has come to President Mugabe's
support, the United States and the European Union have extended personal
sanctions against President Mugabe and 80 of his top officials, accusing
Harare of applying undemocratic means to remain in power.
International and local human rights organizations have also come in full
force accusing President Mugabe of using violence and intimidation to cow
supporters of the MDC.
Authorities in Harare have been accused
of denying the MDC access to the public media and enacting laws that make it
impossible for the opposition to campaign freely.
independent media and foreign correspondents have also been targeted by the
ruling party in its quest to crush dissent ahead of the crucial
South Africa is seen as a key player in efforts to end
Zimbabwe's crisis. As the regional power, it has considerable influence but
Mbeki has consistently refused to openly criticise Mugabe, who is accused of
using fraud and violence to ensure victory in the 2000 and 2002
Mbeki insists that his policy of "quiet diplomacy"
is more effective.
HARARE, March 3 (Xinhuanet) -- Zimbabwe's
land reform has touched on Italian owned farms that have been listed for
acquisition underthe program, Italy's Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mario Bologna
said on Thursday.
"The land reform program is a decision taken
by the Zimbabwean government and it touched on some Italian owned farms,"
the ambassador told journalists soon after paying a courtesy call on Vice
President Joseph Msika.
"We agreed that the problem would
be solved in due course according to the agreement between Zimbabwe and
Italy on protection of investments," he said, adding that the meeting with
the vice president touched on various issues, including bilateral relations
between the two countries.
Zimbabwe embarked on the land
reform program in 2000 to acquirewhite owned land and resettle landless
blacks. The controversial reform was heavily criticized by western countries
such as Britain.
Commenting on Zimbabwe's forth-coming
parliamentary elections on March 31, Bologna said Italy would also send
observers to the poll.
"We hope everything will go well and
that the outcome will be supported by the international community," he said.
MISS Tourism World president John Singh, against whom a
writ of arrest was issued by the High Court on Wednesday evening, sneaked
out of the country hardly three hours after the order was granted. He
left aboard an Air Zimbabwe flight to London at around 10 pm the same
night. Justice Antonia Guvava issued the writ following an urgent
application by a London-based television station, Original Black
Entertainment Television (OBE TV), to stop him leaving the country before he
met his financial obligation with the station. The application was made
after Singh allegedly refused to pay 10 percent from the deal he had entered
into with the television station to promote Miss Tourism World pageant held
in Harare at the weekend. Asked why Singh was refusing to pay, OBE TV's
director of strategic business, Michael Orji, said the pageant president
argued he had contracted a South African company - Diversity Management
Company - to do the production and stagework for the finals instead of OBE
TV as initially agreed. When the television station realised that Singh
was due to leave the country on Wednesday, it filed an urgent court
application to bar his departure before he settled the debt. The High
Court gave Singh up to 7 pm to respond, but he did not. When The Daily Mirror
contacted him on his Harare mobile number (011606248), he said he was in a
meeting at a local hotel and asked this reporter to call back at around10.30
pm. This would have been 30 minutes after his scheduled departure for
London. OBE TV's lawyer, Aston Musunga of Musunga and Associates, alleged
that a police officer stationed at the Harare International Airport denied
the Deputy Sheriff, Everton Kunze, entry into the VIP lounge, where Singh
was waiting for his flight, to serve the writ. However, there was no
immediate comment from Police General Headquarters concerning Musunga's
allegation. According to Musunga, OBE TV was supposed to be paid 10 percent
of the US$2 million licence fee Singh was paid by the Zimbabwean government
to host the pageant. He was also alleged to have refused to pay another 6
890 British pounds for expenses incurred by Singh and the first batch of
contestants to arrive in Zimbabwe. Soon after Guvava issued the writ, Kunze,
Orji and Musunga made their way to the airport, but were allegedly barred by
the policeman from entering the VIP lounge. Kunze confirmed that their
efforts to stop and arrest Singh on Wednesday night were fruitless but
refused to give details on what had prevented him from effecting the
order. "The nature of our job does not allow us to talk to the press, but
perhaps Mr Musunga can help you with what happened," said Kunze. Musunga
said soon after the order was granted, they proceeded to the airport after
being told that Singh had checked out of the Sheraton Harare Hotel. He said
they arrived at the airport about 45 minutes before the London flight, but
officers manning the VIP lounge denied them entry. Orji blamed the police for
letting Singh out of the country. "The way the police officer blatantly
refused to let us in and in the process stopped the Deputy Sheriff from
carrying the order that the High Court had given to have him (Singh) stopped
is a slap on the face of the country's judicial system," said Orji. The
officer had argued that the High Court judge should have specified her name,
title and office of jurisdiction for him to allow the men into the
lounge. He said he was disappointed by the officer's action, as it would
now be difficult for them to recover their money. He said it was highly
unlikely that Singh would be extradited to Zimbabwe. Orji said it was
imperative for them to press charges against Singh in Zimbabwe as the
contract between the two parties was signed here, and that the country had
hosted the pageant. An employee at Air Zimbabwe said Singh flew out of the
country aboard an Air Zimbabwe plane at 10 pm on Wednesday. Contacted for
comment, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena
professed ignorance of the whole matter. "I don't have any comment as I did
not receive any reports," said Bvudzijena.
Pamenus Tuso in Bulawayo issue date :2005-Mar-04
WITH the general
elections just around the corner, Zimbabwe's war veterans have warned fellow
members against campaigning for disgruntled ruling party members who opted
to stand as independent candidates, in particular former information
minister Jonathan Moyo, who is eyeing the Tsholotsho parliamentary seat. The
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association's (ZNLWVA) interim
chairman, Andrew Ndlovu, yesterday chided "misguided" war veterans and
threatened to read the riot act if they dare campaign for "deserters" in the
run-up to this month's watershed general election. He blasted colleagues
accused of being aligned to Moyo's camp and other discontented Zanu PF
members standing as independents after losing party primaries, that they
risked losing their monthly pensions from the War Veterans Fund. "Any war
veteran who is benefiting from our Zanu PF government and is seen
clandestinely campaigning for Moyo should be prepared to face the
consequences. These people if they continue with their game could lose their
pension benefits," Ndlovu warned. "Moyo and those other independents are
now history in the party and war vets should not bite the hand that is
feeding them by aiding these people in their campaigns." The warning
comes in the wake of claims that some war veterans, ex-detainees and war
collaborators were campaigning for the Zanu PF rejects in Tsholotsho and
Beitbridge. Dismissed ruling party Matabeleland South chairperson Lloyd
Siyoka, will battle it out as an independent against Zanu PF's Kembo Mohadi,
the incumbent MP, and Murunwa Siphuma of MDC. Ndlovu said war veterans in
Matabeleland North will soon descend on Tsholotsho and Binga to mount
vigorous door-to-door campaigns. "The thing is we want to concentrate in the
area as we feel the enemy has an upper hand. As war veterans we have agreed
to work together and extinguish the enemy in this region," he added. He
said due to the increase in the arrests of war veterans on 'dubious'
charges, the association had since recommended the setting up of a committee
made up of members from both former Zipra and Zanla to deal with all such
cases before they are forwarded to the police for prosecution. He also
called on the government to vet some of the former freedom fighters,
especially Zipra cadres, he claimed were left in the initial exercise in
1999 for various reasons. "I know some cadres whom I trained together
with who have not been vetted. Some were out of the country when the
exercise was completed while others had been in jail or hospitals when the
exercise was carried out," said Ndlovu, who also urged the government to
seriously consider vetting living spouses and children of deceased war vets.
Moyo fell out of favour with the ruling party after he defied President
Robert Mugabe and his vice, Joyce Mujuru not to stand as an independent in
Tsholotsho. That seat among others, had been reserved for women in accordance
with the ruling party's rules and regulations. However, Moyo thought
otherwise and ostracised himself from Zanu PF when he filed his nomination
papers to stand as an independent. He was then booted out of the government
and soon from the President's guesthouse in Gunhill where he enjoyed maximum
protection. Other benefits Moyo enjoyed from the government will soon be
retrieved, The Daily Mirror was told.
THE regional chairperson of
the combative National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Farai Jiji, who has
reportedly encouraged the electorate in Marondera to boycott this month's
parliamentary polls, was dragged to court early this week on allegations of
breaching the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). Allegations against Jiji
(35) are that on February 23 this year at a local hotel in Marondera, he
organised a public meeting without notifying the regulatory authority for
the area in accordance with the requirements of POSA. At the meeting,
Jiji and seven other accused persons from the NCA allegedly discussed
matters pertaining to the March parliamentary elections and the need to
educate the public against voting.The State is also alleging that the group
discussed the need to change the country's current constitution. Jiji and
his co-accused were remanded out of custody on free bail to April 26.The NCA
is against the holding of elections in Zimbabwe under the current
constitution and has staged a number of demonstrations in Harare demanding
the promulgation of a new supreme law.