1. Introduction Amnesty International
is deeply concerned by the repression of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
The government, in an effort to conceal human rights violations and prevent
public protest and criticism of its actions, has become increasingly
intolerant of the work of human rights defenders and is actively seeking to
The repression of human rights defenders takes many forms.
In recent years the government has used the law to violate defenders' rights
to freedom of expression, association and assembly, preventing them from
freely forming organizations, meeting together and criticizing government
policy. Individual defenders are arbitrarily arrested and detained,
assaulted and harassed by state agents. Some have been subjected to torture
and inhuman or degrading treatment. Human rights organizations are also
subject to intrusive and unwarranted state surveillance of their
In 2004 the government introduced legislation that, if
enforced, would ban international human rights organizations from operating
in Zimbabwe and could be used to close down or severely restrict the work of
national human rights organizations. Despite criticism from human rights
groups worldwide, the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Bill was passed
by Zimbabwe's Parliament on 9 December 2004. (1) However, it was not signed
into law before Parliamentary elections on 31 March 2005, and its future is
now unclear. Amnesty International believes that the NGO Bill was introduced
in order to intimidate human rights organizations through the threat of
Since the Parliamentary elections Amnesty International has
noted, with growing concern, the government's continuing repression of human
rights defenders, including numerous arbitrary arrests, serious assaults and
This report documents the Zimbabwe government's
escalating repression of civil society, and looks in particular at how
organizations and individuals that are critical of the government's human
rights record or that mobilize peaceful public demonstrations have become
key targets of this repression. The report contains recommendations to the
Zimbabwean government for action to protect human rights defenders.
Specifically, Amnesty International is calling for the repeal of all
legislation that violates internationally recognized human rights and
undermines the work of human rights defenders, and an end to state
harassment of human rights defenders.
2. Zimbabwe's human rights
obligations under international and national law Zimbabwe's human rights
obligations include both the commitments contained in the Constitutional
Bill of Rights and the international treaties to which it is a State Party.
Zimbabwe is State Party to, amongst others, the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights (African Charter).(2)
Under Zimbabwe's legal system,
international treaties which have been acceded to or otherwise ratified are
not automatically incorporated into national legislation. According to
Section 111b of the Zimbabwean Constitution,(3) international conventions,
treaties and agreements which have been acceded to, concluded or executed
only form part of Zimbabwean law once an Act of Parliament has been passed.
Neither the ICCPR nor the African Charter has been incorporated into
Zimbabwe's domestic laws.
However, under international law, international
treaties must be observed in good faith by those States which have ratified
or acceded to them. Furthermore, a State Party may not invoke the provisions
of its national law as justification for its failure to implement a
treaty.(4) In this sense, States Parties are obliged to repeal or amend
domestic laws to ensure that they are consistent with international treaties
as well as to adopt measures to ensure the implementation of the obligations
contained in the treaties to which they are party.
expression, association and assembly The rights to freedom of expression,
association and assembly are fundamental to the work of human rights
defenders. These rights are enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe
(sections 20 and 21), the ICCPR (Articles 19, 21 and 22) and the African
Charter (Articles 9, 10 and 11).
While the rights to freedom of
expression, association and assembly are not unlimited, international human
rights law prevents governments from arbitrarily restricting these rights.
In respect of rights contained in the ICCPR the UN Human Rights Committee
has stated: "States Parties must refrain from violation of the rights
recognized by the Covenant and any restrictions on any of those rights must
be permissible under the relevant provisions of the Covenant. Where such
restrictions are made, States must demonstrate their necessity and only take
such measures as are proportionate to the pursuance of legitimate aims in
order to ensure continuous and effective protection of Covenant rights. In
no case may the restrictions be applied or invoked in a manner that would
impair the essence of a Covenant right."(5)
The African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights (African Commission) has repeatedly affirmed the
rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. The African
Commission's Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa,
adopted at the 32nd Session of the African Commission held in October 2002
in Gambia, reaffirms the fundamental importance of freedom of expression as
a means of ensuring respect for all human rights, stating that freedom of
expression is a fundamental human right and an indispensable component of
democracy.(6) The declaration makes clear that any restrictions on freedom
of expression should be prescribed by law, serve a legitimate interest and
be necessary and in a democratic society. This echoes the language of the
ICCPR which states: "No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of
[the right to freedom of association] other than those which are prescribed
by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of
national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the
protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and
freedoms of others."(7)
The African Commission Resolution on the Right to
Freedom of Association also makes specific reference to the limits of any
restriction on the right to freedom of association: 1. The competent
authorities should not override constitutional provisions or undermine
fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution and international
standards; 2. In regulating the use of this right, the competent
authorities should not enact provisions which would limit the exercise of
this freedom; 3. The regulation of the exercise of the right to freedom
of association should be consistent with State's obligations under the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights." (8)
human rights standards and human rights defenders In clear recognition of the
important work of human rights defenders, the UN Declaration on the Right
and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote
and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
(referred to as the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders) was adopted by
the UN General Assembly in 1999.(9) This Declaration sets down a series of
principles and standards aimed at ensuring that states fully support the
efforts of human rights defenders and ensure that they are free to conduct
their activities for the promotion, protection and effective realization of
human rights without hindrance or fear of reprisals.
Key articles in
the Declaration include the right to be informed about fundamental rights
and freedoms, and to meet and assemble peacefully for the purpose of
promoting universally recognized human rights. The Declaration also confirms
the right to criticize government policy and action in relation to human
rights, and the right to adequate protection and an effective remedy when an
individual's rights are violated as a result of efforts to promote
fundamental rights and freedoms.
Articles of the Declaration also deal
specifically with the practical work of human rights defenders, such as
funding and resources for their work. Human rights defenders cannot rely on
being paid for the services they provide; the victims of human rights
violations and the other people represented or assisted by defenders are
often poor. The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders guarantees to
everyone the right to "solicit, receive and utilize resources for the
express purpose of promoting and protecting human rights through peaceful
The Declaration further states that human rights defenders,
whether individuals or organizations, should be subject only to such
limitations as are in accordance with applicable international
The African Union (and the Organization of African Unity
before it) has repeatedly affirmed the importance of human rights defenders
and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. At the first Organization
of African Unity (OAU) Ministerial Conference on Human Rights at Grand Bay,
Mauritius in April 1999, the OAU called "on African governments to take
appropriate steps to implement the Declaration in Africa".(12)
2004 the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights appointed a Special
Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders in Africa. In its resolution, the
African Commission called upon member states: "to promote and give full
effect to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, to take all
necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and to
include information on measures taken to protect human rights defenders in
their periodic reports". (13)
The African Commission on Human and
Peoples' Rights: fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe In 2002 the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights sent a fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe. The mission took place in the context of Zimbabwe's obligations
under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Although the report
of the fact-finding mission was adopted by the African Commission in
November 2003, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the African
Commission, it was not officially made public until it had been considered
by the African Union in January 2005.(14) In the report, the African
Commission makes a number of findings and recommendations that are relevant
to the work of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
Commission found that "the government had failed to chart a path that
signalled a commitment to the rule of law" and in its recommendations stated
that "the independence of the judiciary should be assured and that court
orders should be obeyed".
The Commission found that the government had
introduced laws which undermined freedom of expression and recommended that
such laws be amended to meet international standards for freedom of
The Commission further stated that: "Legislation that
prohibits the public participation of NGOs in public education and human
rights counselling must be reviewed. The Private Voluntary Organizations Act
should be repealed."
3. The tools and tactics of repression Despite
these international laws and standards Amnesty International has found that
human rights defenders in Zimbabwe are under siege. Human rights defenders
have played a vital role in exposing the human rights violations that have
taken place in Zimbabwe, particularly over the last five years. They have
also been instrumental in organizing peaceful public displays of protest
about human rights issues. In response, the government has attempted to
undermine and curtail their work by subjecting them to serious violations of
their human rights.
Additionally, because they are critical of the
government, human rights defenders are viewed as political players and
supporters of the political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). The Government of Zimbabwe has repeatedly expressed the view that the
MDC and certain human rights organizations are being used by foreign
governments to oust the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) from power and effect "regime change".(15) Human rights defenders
have been branded as "subversive", "foreign-controlled" and
The following sections of this report examine the specific
tools and tactics which the Government of Zimbabwe has used in recent years
in its attempt to silence human rights defenders and thereby prevent
exposure of and accountability for human rights violations.
as a tool of repression(16) Since 2002 the Government of Zimbabwe has
introduced or revived several pieces of legislation which restrict freedom
of expression, association and assembly, rights which - as noted above - are
fundamental to the work of human rights defenders. The authorities have used
provisions in such legislation in a discriminatory manner, applying the
restrictive provisions to critics of the government, but rarely to
Laws which have most severely constrained the work
of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe include the Public Order and Security
Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Private
Voluntary Organizations Act and the Miscellaneous Offences Act. Many
provisions of these Acts directly contravene international human rights law
The Public Order and Security Act In January 2002, the
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders
sent an urgent communication to the Zimbabwean authorities raising concerns
that the Public Order and Security Bill, if enacted, would restrict the
rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.(17) The Public
Order and Security Act (POSA) became law on 22 January 2002. Amnesty
International believes that POSA fails to comply with international law on
the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, in particular
because it places unreasonable limitations on the enjoyment of these
Since its introduction POSA has been used by the authorities in
Zimbabwe to arbitrarily arrest hundreds of opposition supporters,
independent media workers and human rights defenders. This targeted use of
POSA has resulted in violations of Zimbabwean's rights to freely assemble,
criticize the government and President, and engage in, advocate or organize
acts of peaceful civil disobedience.
Under POSA the police must be
notified four days in advance of any public meeting or demonstration. In
practice the police have interpreted the requirement to "notify" as meaning
that police permission is needed before a public event can take place. The
Act allows the police to prohibit public events if they believe such events
will result in public disorder. Amnesty International believes this
provision has been misused to prevent civic groups and the political
opposition from holding public meetings. Furthermore, in practice the police
have used arbitrary criteria to distinguish between "private" and "public"
gatherings, and have used POSA to arrest people for meeting in their own
homes or places of business.
Many human rights defenders arrested under
POSA for allegedly participating in "illegal" meetings or demonstrations
have had the charges against them dropped or dismissed in court due to lack
of evidence.(18) Others have been arrested under POSA only to have the
charges changed to those of "conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace",
an offence under the Miscellaneous Offences Act (MOA). According to Arnold
Tsunga, Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, MOA is being used in
conjunction with POSA to "create a minefield for human rights activists", as
virtually any conduct can be deemed to be behavior likely to cause a breach
of the peace.
"Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights' experience has been
that in the majority of cases where human rights activists have been
targeted for persecution, the state initially charges them with violation of
POSA and if they meet with resistance, they normally downgrade the charges
to violation of a section of the MOA."(19)
Amnesty International is
also concerned by the way in which the Zimbabwe Republic Police use MOA to
regularize arbitrary arrests. When human rights defenders are arrested they
are frequently offered the option to pay fines under MOA - effectively an
admission of guilt - in order to be released from custody. Police have
reportedly told detainees that if they do not pay a fine then they will be
detained for 48 hours or more and could face more serious charges.(20)
Squalid conditions in police holding cells and fear of physical harassment
force many defenders to pay fines for offences they have not committed. This
practice, which means police avoid a judicial review of the legal grounds
for the arrest, constitutes an abuse of police power and establishes an
environment in which the practice of arbitrary arrest can
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act In many countries the media is a powerful tool for exposing human rights
abuses and holding governments to account. As a consequence media is often
severely restricted in countries where governments seek to commit abuses
with impunity. Over the past three years Zimbabwe's independent media has
come under sustained attack. The government has attempted to legalize this
repression - introducing the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) in March 2002. Amnesty International believes AIPPA is
inconsistent with international law and standards on freedom of expression.
The African Commission has described AIPPA as likely to have a "'chilling
effect' on freedom of expression and introduce a cloud of fear in media
circles" and has recommended that the law should be amended to meet
international standards for freedom of expression. (21)
enactment AIPPA has been used to close down independent media, arrest scores
of journalists and prevent foreign journalists from working in Zimbabwe. In
2003 this legislation was used to close down Zimbabwe's only independent
daily newspaper, the Daily News, and the weekly Daily News on Sunday. It was
also used to shut down the Daily Tribune, in 2004, and the Weekly Times of
Bulawayo in February 2005.
The case of the Daily News The Daily News,
Zimbabwe's only independent daily newspaper, was closed on 12 September
2003. Prior to its closure the paper, founded in 1999, was strongly critical
of the government's human rights record and regularly published information
on human rights abuses by state agents. The newspaper was the target of
repeated verbal attacks by government officials.
The Daily News was
closed the day after the Supreme Court had ruled that the newspaper was
publishing illegally because it had not registered with the state-controlled
Media and Information Commission (MIC). Registration with the MIC is a
requirement of AIPPA. Amnesty International and other human rights groups
have criticized the MIC as a biased body which has severely curtailed the
independent media in Zimbabwe.
The Daily News had initially refused to
apply for registration with the MIC, considering the requirement to be
unconstitutional. However, following the 12 September Supreme Court ruling,
the publishers applied for registration. The MIC refused to register the
paper. The Daily News challenged the MIC's refusal to grant registration
and, on 24 October 2003, the Administrative Court ordered that the Daily
News be issued with a certificate of registration. The MIC appealed this
decision.(22) The day after this court ruling the police took up occupation
of the Daily News offices and refused to allow the staff to resume work. On
19 December the Administrative Court upheld the 24 October ruling. The
authorities again failed to obey this court order.(23) The two
Administrative Court judges, who handed down the rulings of 24 October and
19 December respectively, were subjected to unfounded allegations of bias in
the state newspaper, The Herald, and threats to their safety. (24) On Friday
9 January 2004 the High Court ordered the police to vacate the Daily News
premises. The police initially failed to comply with the court
The police finally left the offices of the Daily News on 21
January 2004. However, in February the paper was forced to close again after
the Supreme Court ruled on a constitutional challenge to sections of AIPPA,
brought by the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ). The
Supreme Court ruling found that sections of AIPPA relating to registration
of journalists, which IJAZ challenged as unconstitutional, were in fact
constitutional. This left unregistered journalists open to
Despite the 24 October 2003 Administrative Court ruling,
detailed above, the MIC has consistently refused to register the Daily News
or journalists working for the paper.(27) On 14 March 2005 Zimbabwe's
Supreme Court once again ruled that AIPPA was constitutional, this time in
response to a challenge brought by Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe,
publishers of the Daily News, but also ordered that the MIC should
reconsider the newspaper's application for registration.(28)
time of writing (April 2005) no decision on registration of the Daily News
had been announced. Whether or not the Daily News is finally registered
there remains an urgent need for the repeal or amendment of the law which
was used to close the paper in the first place. Failing this the possibility
remains of future de-registration, as well as further persecution of
independent newspapers and journalists in Zimbabwe.
Voluntary Organizations Act, the NGO Bill and government repression of human
rights organizations Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) - through which
many of Zimbabwe's human rights defenders work - have become a major target
of government repression in Zimbabwe. While organizations working on human
rights, democracy and governance have often been singled-out as targets,
many other organizations, including those engaged in humanitarian and
development work, have also been subjected to government attempts to curtail
Once again the government has sought to use the
law to legitimize its attempts to place unreasonable restrictions on the
work of human rights defenders. In 2002 it revived the Private Voluntary
Organizations (PVO) Act, (30) a repressive law introduced under white
minority rule. In September 2002, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare published a notice in the government newspaper, The Herald,
advising NGOs to register with the Ministry through the High Court in
accordance with Section 6 of the PVO Act. Section 6 reads: "[n]o private
voluntary organization shall commence or continue to carry on its
activities; or seek financial assistance from any source unless it has been
registered in respect of the particular object or objects in furtherance of
which it is being conducted." Section 25 of the PVO Act makes
non-registration a criminal offence, punishable by up to two months in
prison. The notice warned that NGOs that continued to operate without being
registered risked prosecution and arrest. The attempt to enforce this
repressive legislation was seen by civic groups as an attempt to control and
silence organizations perceived to be supporting the political opposition
and those investigating and exposing human rights violations.(31)
PVO Act has been widely condemned. The African Commission on Human and
Peoples' Rights has recommended that it be repealed.(32) The Special
Representative of the UN Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders
expressed her concern that repressive provisions contained in national
legislation, including the PVO Act, were being used to prevent human rights
defenders and NGOs from carrying out their work. She stated that many NGOs
that had been performing human rights activities for a long time had been
rendered vulnerable by such overly restrictive legislation.(33)
July 2004, the government introduced the NGO Bill, to replace the PVO Act.
The NGO legislation retains many of the PVO Act's more repressive
provisions, but also includes new provisions which further undermine the
work of human rights defenders. It makes specific reference to organizations
that "promote and protect human rights" and places added restrictions on the
operation and funding of such organizations. International human rights
organizations are barred from operating in Zimbabwe and national human
rights organizations are prohibited from receiving "foreign" funding.(34)
Under the NGO Bill all NGOs must register with a government-appointed NGO
Council, which is given very broad powers to regulate NGO activities. It is
a criminal offence, punishable by up to five months in prison, for any
person to be involved in the management or running of an NGO that is not
registered. Amnesty International believes that the NGO Council - like the
Media Information Commission provided for under AIPPA, does not offer the
necessary guarantees of independence and impartiality and could be used to
prevent the registration of any organization perceived to be critical of the
government, or to interfere unduly with the activities of such
organizations.(35) As with POSA, AIPPA and the PVO Act, the NGO Bill is the
subject of widespread criticism, from both inside and outside
For example, in November 2004 Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Legal
Committee, which comprises members of both main political parties, ZANU-PF
and MDC, submitted an adverse report on the NGO Bill to Parliament which
stated: "the Bill, when read as a whole constitutes a determined and
pervasive attempt to curtail and extinguish the fundamental freedoms of the
people of Zimbabwe enshrined in the constitution.this bill is a cynical and
comprehensive attack on the rights of the people to organise themselves in
the promotion, protection, defense and advancement of their freedoms and
liberties.rather than seek to address the human rights situation as recorded
and reported by these NGOs, the government has, instead, chosen to kill the
messenger by seeking to control and close down NGOs."(36)
International believes the NGO law is inconsistent with international law
and standards on, inter alia, the rights to freedom of expression,
association, assembly. Amnesty International's concerns about the Bill's
implications for human rights and human rights defenders were conveyed to
the Government of Zimbabwe by members of the movement in late
Despite such criticism, on 9 December 2004 the Parliament of
Zimbabwe passed the NGO Act. However, President Mugabe did not sign the Act
into law before the dissolution of Parliament on 30 March 2005 ahead of the
Parliamentary elections.(37) The future of the legislation is now unclear,
but it may be revived by the new Parliament. Amnesty International believes
that if the NGO legislation is revived it could be selectively implemented
to target critics of the government.
However, even as a Bill, the NGO
legislation has had a significant negative impact on NGOs in Zimbabwe, and
particularly on human rights organizations. Since its introduction in July
2004 directors and staff of NGOs have been forced to divert time and
resources away from core human rights work and into challenging the proposed
law and trying to predict and manage its possible impacts on their work.
NGOs have engaged in counter-advocacy and contingency planning, and
participated in NGO and government-run consultations on the legislation.
Despite the government's consultation process, almost none of the
recommendations made by NGOs were incorporated into the legislation that was
finally passed by Parliament on 9 December 2004.(38) Moreover, the
uncertainty surrounding the future of the legislation and the possibility
that it could be revived by Parliament, without any attempt to address human
rights concerns, is in itself a source of considerable concern and
contributes to a highly insecure and tense working environment for
The insecurity surrounding the future of human rights NGOs has
affected funding for their work with some funders unwilling to disburse
funds until the situation becomes clearer. This has obvious knock-on impacts
on NGO work and programmes. Several NGOs have reported to Amnesty
International that they have suspended or restricted some aspects of their
human rights work in the last six months.
Many human rights
organizations believe that the timing of the introduction of the NGO
legislation - in the months leading up to the 31 March elections - may have
been a deliberate attempt to restrict monitoring and documentation human
rights abuses and limit criticism of the government at election
Since the elections the government has reverted to using the PVO
Act. Under its provisions the Minister of Public Service Labour and Social
Welfare is reported to have established a team of investigating officers,
which has been investigating NGOs in respect of various aspects of their
operations.(39) The government "probe team", as it is known, reportedly
includes intelligence officers. Zimbabwe's National Association of
Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) has stated that the probe team has
been paying unannounced visits to NGOs, and demanding to see documents
relating to activities and funding. NANGO has expressed concern that these
"raids" may be carried out for political rather than regulatory
purposes.(40) The investigation process is reported to be intimidating and
intrusive. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, one of the organizations
reportedly subjected to investigation, has described the process as
compounding "the climate of fear and harassment of human rights defenders"
The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders states
that human rights defenders, whether individuals or organizations, "shall be
subject only to such limitations as are in accordance with applicable
international obligations and are determined by law solely for the purpose
of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of
others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and
the general welfare in a democratic society".(42) Amnesty International
believes that the PVO Act and the NGO Bill are wholly inconsistent with this
provision and are being used by the Government of Zimbabwe as tools to
intimidate and harass those organizations that are critical of
Amnesty International strongly supports the recommendation of
the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights that the PVO Act be
repealed. Amnesty International further believes that any law governing the
operations of NGO and the work of human rights defenders must be fully in
line with Zimbabwe's human rights obligations. The NGO Bill and the PVO Act
both limit basic freedoms in a way that is unnecessary and unlawful under
international human rights law and impose unacceptable restrictions on the
activities of human rights defenders.
Violating the human rights of
individual defenders Individual human rights defenders in Zimbabwe have
increasingly become the victims of human rights violations. Since 2000
hundreds of human rights defenders, including media workers, lawyers, judges
and NGO staff, have been subjected to intimidation, arbitrary arrest,
assault and torture, targeted because of their work to uphold and defend
human rights. Many of these abuses are carried out by state agents; in the
majority of cases those responsible have acted with impunity.
of Dr Frances Lovemore and harassment of Amani Trust Amani Trust is a
Zimbabwean human rights organization dedicated to assisting victims of
torture and organized violence. Many of the staff of Amani Trust are medical
professionals. The organization has consistently produced detailed reports
of human rights violations in Zimbabwe. Since 2002 Amani Trust has been
subject to a continuous campaign of harassment by the authorities, which
Amnesty International believes is directly related to the organization's
exposition of human rights violations. In August 2002, Dr Frances Lovemore,
Medical Director of Amani Trust, was arrested and charged with "publishing
or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state". The charges
against Dr Lovemore apparently stemmed from press reports which referred to
Amani Trust's work with victims of torture and politically-motivated rape in
Zimbabwe. The offices of Amani Trust were raided and searched by police. Dr
Lovemore was released the day after her arrest and all charges against her
were dropped due to insufficient evidence.(43)
Gabriel Shumba and four others On 15 January 2003 police arrested Gabriel
Shumba, then a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, together
with an MDC Member of Parliament, Job Sikhala, and MDC supporters Bishop
Shumba, Taurai Magaya and Charles Mutama. All five men were reportedly
tortured in police custody. Medical examinations later revealed that Job
Sikhala and Gabriel Shumba had injuries consistent with electric shocks to
their genitals, mouth and feet. Both had reportedly been forced to drink
urine. In February, charges of treason against the five men were dismissed
by the Harare High Court for lack of evidence.(44) No investigation into the
alleged torture of Gabriel Shumba, Job Sikala and those arrested with them
is known to have taken place. No-one has ever been charged in connection
with the alleged torture. Gabriel Shumba's case is now before the African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
Serious assault on Dr
Lovemore Madhuku, Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly On 4
February 2004 Dr Lovemore Madhuku, Chairman of the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), an organization campaigning for constitutional reform in
Zimbabwe, was severely beaten when police officers broke up a peaceful NCA
demonstration outside Parliament. More than 100 NCA demonstrators were
arrested by police who reportedly used tear gas, dogs and batons against
them. Many sustained injuries. They were all released the same day, on
payment of fines under MOA. Dr Madhuku was taken from the site of the
demonstration to another location in Harare where police severely beat him
before dumping him on the outskirts of the city. (45) Dr Madhuku was
hospitalized for several days. As far as Amnesty International is aware no
investigation into the assault was ever conducted, nor has anyone been
charged in connection with the assault on Dr
Brutal assault on youth activist, Tinashe
Chimedza On 22 April 2004 police in Harare brutally assaulted youth activist
Tinashe Chimedza when he arrived to speak at an education forum. The police
reportedly detained him at the venue and assaulted him with batons, booted
feet and open palms. The police subsequently arrested him, charged him with
assaulting a police officer, and took him to Marlborough Police Station. At
the police station lawyers representing Tinashe Chimedza were verbally
abused by the police and one lawyer was briefly detained, without charge.
Tinashe Chimedza was later taken to hospital for treatment. He remained in
hospital for almost a week. (46) No investigation is known to have been
conducted into the assault on Tinashe Chimedza and no-one has ever been
charged in connection with the incident. This was not the first time Tinashe
Chimedza had been assaulted by the police. In 2002 Amnesty International
reported on the assault of Tinashe Chimedza by police at Harare Central
Police Station. Since 2001, Tinashe Chimedza has been arrested at least
eight times in his capacity as a student and youth activist.
of defenders Obert Chinhamo and Masawuko Maruwacha On 2 September 2004 Obert
Chinhamo of Amnesty International's Zimbabwe section and Masawuko Maruwacha,
then an employee with human rights organization Non-violent Action and
Strategies for Social Change, went to investigate reports that police were
forcibly evicting people from Porta Farm - an informal settlement on the
outskirts of Harare - in defiance of a court order. When they arrived on the
scene they were immediately arrested. Although both men requested to know
the grounds for their arrest police refused to tell them. They were held
overnight and charged the following day with "inciting public violence", an
offence under POSA. Following more than five months on remand and repeated
court appearances, in February 2005, their lawyer applied to the court for a
refusal of further remand on the basis that the prosecutor had failed to try
the two human rights defenders within a reasonable period of time as
required by the Constitution. The prosecutor was apparently unable to
produce witnesses in support of the charge of inciting public violence. The
court granted the application and on 21 February Obert Chinhamo and Masawuko
Maruwacha were taken off remand and no further action has been taken against
them.(47) The pattern of repeated court appearances but failure by the state
to mount a prosecution has become commonplace in Zimbabwe, and is a
significant drain on the time and resources of human rights
A combination of politicization of the police
force, repressive legislation and subversion of the rule of law has
encouraged widespread abuse of the power of arrest in Zimbabwe, with human
rights defenders a major target. Arbitrary arrest and detention, sometimes
followed by the misuse of the law to prosecute human rights defenders, is
one of the most frequently reported violations instigated against defenders
to deter them from carrying out human rights work. The use of the law or
legal procedures as instruments to harass defenders rather than to protect
them was recently highlighted by the UN Special Representative on Human
Rights Defenders in her report of October 2004 to the UN General
Assembly.(48) Such abuse is exemplified in the case of the group Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).
Case study: the repeated arrest, detention and
physical abuse of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)(49) Since February 2003
WOZA activists have repeatedly been arrested by the Zimbabwe police while
taking part in peaceful demonstrations to protest the worsening social,
economic and human rights situation in the country. The treatment of WOZA
illustrates the government's increasing intolerance of peaceful public
demonstrations expressing criticism of government policies. It also
highlights the way in which the law, particularly the combination of POSA
and MOA, is being used to effect arbitrary arrest and detention and
facilitate a range of other human rights violations by the
WOZA activists have been verbally and physically abused in police
custody and denied access to lawyers, food and water. Babies and young
children have been detained with their mothers, sometimes overnight in
The repeated pattern of arrest and detention (invariably in
poor conditions) has not deterred WOZA from organizing peaceful protests.
WOZA activists know and accept the risks attached to their activism. Between
February 2003 and March 2005 hundreds of WOZA members were arrested and
dozens assaulted by police officers.
For example, on 16 June 2004, 43
WOZA activists were arbitrarily arrested while attending a private meeting
in Bulawayo. Seven of the women had small babies or children who were taken
into custody with them. At Western Commonage Police Station, a number of the
activists were reportedly verbally abused and assaulted by the police.
Winnie Muzhanje was forced to kneel and was hit with a sjambok (whip) on the
soles of her feet while another policeman slapped her. Nancy Malabwe and
Patricia Mahole were also hit on the soles of their feet and verbally abused
by police officers. The officers allegedly told the detainees that if they
asked for a lawyer, they would be held for several days. A human rights
lawyer was initially denied access to the activists. After further
intervention by the lawyer, 39 of the activists were released without charge
on the same day. The four remaining activists were charged under Section 24
of POSA, with failing to notify the authorities of a public meeting, and
detained overnight. However, when they went to court the following day the
prosecutor refused to press charges.
Arrested for participating in a
sponsored walk and for "praying in public". On 19 September 2004 more than 30
WOZA activists began a 440 km sponsored walk from Bulawayo to the capital,
Harare, to protest the NGO Bill and to raise funds for women's rights work.
Other activists joined the walk at different stages. On 28 September police
arrested 48 WOZA activists, together with 4 men who were assisting them on
the walk, some 60 km from Harare. The police claimed the walkers had
contravened POSA. Another woman, Siphiwe Maseko, was arbitrarily detained
the same day when she attempted to deliver food to those in custody; she was
released the following day without charge. The rest of the group was held in
custody until 1 October, when a magistrate ruled that they had no case to
answer. All were released.
On 29 September WOZA activists who had not
been arrested the previous day finished the walk, gathered at Africa Unity
Square in Harare and held a brief prayer service for those in detention. As
they began to disperse, nine activists were arrested by police, who
reportedly claimed that they had contravened Section 19 of POSA by "praying
in public". Section 19 of POSA refers to "gatherings conducing to riot,
disorder or intolerance". The group was detained at Harare Central Police
Station where three of the women were allegedly assaulted by a plain-clothes
officer during interrogation. All of the activists were released on bail on
1 October. When they appeared in court on 13 October, no charge sheets were
presented and all were released.
Arrests in 2005 In the first three
months of 2005 when Amnesty International was researching this report no
less than 300 WOZA activists were arrested or detained by police on four
On 17 January 2005 more than 20 women were
arbitrarily arrested in Harare after a WOZA demonstration to protest falling
education standards. The WOZA activists had dispersed when police officers
arrived and began forcing women they believed to be WOZA into police trucks.
Several women were assaulted by police with baton sticks while getting into
trucks and inside the trucks. A child being carried on her mother's back was
hit by a police officer who was assaulting the women. At the police station
the assaults continued. A 57-year-old woman was reportedly kicked in the
lower back. Several older women were taken to a room where they saw what
appeared to be blood on the floor and were reportedly told that "people die
here - you will die here". The women were subsequently released on payment
of fines under MOA.
On 12 February 2005 some 53 women were arrested after
a WOZA demonstration in Bulawayo to mark Valentine's Day. The activists
marched with banners proclaiming "The Power of Love can conquer the Love of
Power" and handed out roses to the public. At least three of the women
arrested were reported to be bystanders, not involved in the WOZA action.
None of the women were taken to court to face any charges. The prosecutor
reportedly refused to take court action under POSA. The activists were
released over the following three days on payment of "admission of guilt"
fines under MOA.
On 8 March 2005 approximately 24 WOZA activists were
detained by police in Bulawayo when they attempted to stage a demonstration
to mark International Women's Day. Several of the women reported that they
were taken to their homes which police officers then searched. The police
officers did not produce search warrants. All of the activists were released
later the same day without charge.
On the evening of 31 March, the
day of Zimbabwe's Parliamentary elections, police arrested approximately 260
women, some carrying babies, when WOZA attempted to hold a peaceful
post-election prayer vigil at Africa Unity Square in Harare.(50) During and
after the arrests, several of the WOZA activists were badly beaten. Some
were forced to lie on the ground and were beaten on the buttocks by police
officers. Amongst those beaten by police was a 74 year-old woman, who
reports that she was told to "pray because you are going to die". Others
were beaten while trying to get out of police vehicles. Several of the women
were seriously injured and subsequently hospitalized. None were given access
to adequate medical treatment during their detention.
The women and
children were detained overnight in an open-air courtyard, under armed
guard. The detainees were initially denied access to lawyers. Police
reportedly told the women that they could pay a fine if they pleaded guilty
to minor offences under MOA, and would be released.(51) However if they did
not pay the fine, they were told they would remain in detention over the
weekend until 4 April when the courts re-opened, to face charges under POSA.
Over the course of 1 April all of the women - several of whom were elderly,
injured or with their children - elected to pay fines rather than spend the
weekend in the cells, during which time they could be subjected to further
harassment, threats and poor conditions. Once again MOA was used to elicit
"admissions" of guilt. Amnesty International believes that in this case the
"admissions" of guilt were elicited under duress and constitute an abuse of
due process and the rule of law. Human rights lawyers acting for WOZA now
plan to challenge the forced payment of fines in this
Undermining the justice system A well-functioning justice
system is vital to virtually all efforts to improve respect for human
rights. Zimbabwe's human rights defenders have worked for truth, justice and
reparation on behalf of the victims of human rights violations and have
consistently insisted on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary
as the cornerstone of human rights protection.
The Zimbabwean judiciary
has members who have rigorously handed down decisions that reflect their
impartiality and independence. However, since 2000 several of these judges
have been subjected to harassment and threats by state agents and
state-sponsored agents - targeted precisely because of their neutrality and
For example, in November 2003 Justice Michael Majuru,
the Administrative Court judge who presided over the Daily News appeal
against the MIC's refusal to register the paper (see page 8, above) and who
ordered that the paper be registered, was forced to step down from the case
after he was accused of bias by the government-controlled newspaper, The
Herald. While hearing the Daily News case Justice Majuru was reportedly put
under severe pressure by senior ZANU-PF political figures not to allow the
Daily News to resume publishing. Justice Majuru subsequently left Zimbabwe,
following repeated threats to his safety.(53)
effectiveness and independence of the judiciary has contributed to a culture
of impunity for politically-motivated human rights violations in
The legal profession has also come under attack in Zimbabwe.
Lawyers, particularly human rights lawyers and those who represent members
of the political opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), have
been subject to intimidation, arrest and physical abuse.(54)
On 18 March 2003 human rights defender and lawyer Gugulethu Moyo was
assaulted by the wife of an army commander when she went to a police station
to represent a detained photographer from the independent newspaper, the
Daily News. The woman apparently attacked Ms Moyo when she discovered she
worked for the Daily News. When another lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, tried to
come to her aid, he too was assaulted. Reports indicate that up to 60 police
officers witnessed the assault on Ms Moyo, but made no effort to intervene.
Both Gugulethu Moyo and Alec Muchadehama were then taken to Harare Central
Police Station. In the truck used to transport them Gugulethu Moyo was again
assaulted, this time by police officers reportedly acting on the orders of
the wife of the army commander.(55) She was beaten with baton sticks and
kicked with booted feet. Gugulethu Moyo was kept in police custody, without
charge, until 20 March. (56) No-one has ever been charged in connection with
the assault on Gugulethu Moyo, and indeed police subsequently charged Ms
Moyo with 'inciting public violence', based on allegations made by the wife
of the army commander.(57) b.. On 12 October 2003 human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa was severely beaten by a police officer when she called for
assistance after thieves tried to break into her car. She was reportedly
punched and kicked all over her body, sustaining severe bruising and cuts to
her face, throat, arms and legs. Other police officers reportedly witnessed
the assault but did not intervene. Beatrice Mtetwa has represented fellow
human rights defenders, opposition politicians and the Daily
News.(58) c.. Lawyers are also frequently frustrated in their work -
denied access to clients and even to court buildings. Lawyers working with
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, an organization that, amongst other
things, provides legal assistance to other human rights defenders who are
arrested, report that they are regularly prevent from accessing clients in
police custody and verbally abused by police officers. d.. The UN
Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Mr Param
Cumaraswamy(59), has repeatedly expressed very grave concerns over the
deterioration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe, and what he has described as
"systematic attacks on the independence of judges and lawyers by the
Government and its agencies".(60)
State media as a tool of
repression Zimbabwe's government-controlled media has become a powerful tool
for intimidating human rights defenders. State newspapers, television and
radio have been used to vilify both human rights organizations and
individual human rights defenders. These attacks attempt to portray human
rights defenders as involved in criminal or subversive activities, or as
unpatriotic and undermining the image of the nation. The Special
Representative of the UN Secretary General on the situation of human rights
defenders has repeatedly expressed concern that defenders in Zimbabwe have
been subjected to defamation campaigns in government-run
For example in January 2002 the government-controlled
newspaper, The Herald, alleged that Amani Trust had been ''funding covert
operations against Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF)''.(62) On 9 May 2002 the Chronicle newspaper named Amnesty
International, ZimRights, the Legal Resources Foundation as "three
organizations known to be on an anti-Zimbabwe and anti-government
crusade".(63) In a series of articles in July and August 2003 the Sunday
Mail accused the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights of "having
a political agenda to demonize the Zimbabwe government" and of being a
creation of Britain that "was allegedly formed to prepare a dossier meant to
document false accusations of human rights abuses".(64) On 29 November 2003
The Herald newspaper described Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights as "a
phoney non governmental organization which in fact does the bidding of
foreign governments, and sees rights of all those that are not white farmers
or members of the MDC as non-human rights".(65)
In mid-2004 several
human rights organizations were subjected to attacks in the
government-controlled media in connection with a report on Zimbabwe produced
by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. Although the report
was not officially made public until 2005, the content, which is critical of
the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, was widely leaked at the time of the
African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July
The state-controlled media printed several stories naming and
vilifying human rights organizations, and individuals who work for those
organizations, claiming that they "wrote" the African Commission report or
gave misleading or false information to the fact-finding mission. Amongst
those subjected to written or verbal attacks, including by government
ministers, were Amani Trust and the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
For example The Herald, a state-controlled
newspaper, wrote on 6 July 2004: "According to the sources, the (African
Commission) report was similar to reports produced by the British-funded
Amani Trust, which is well-known for its anti-Zimbabwe stance and falsifying
the situation in the country".
On 11 July 2004 an article in the
state-controlled Sunday Mail accused the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights of being a political group and a vehicle through which "forces
are trying to spread malicious reports about the human rights situation in
An editorial in the Sunday Mail on 11 July stated:
"Reading through the [African Commission's] report one detects the hand of a
known Zimbabwean lawyer and the Amani racists."(67)
Rather than engage
with the findings and recommendations of the African Commission, the
Government has sought to discredit its report and further undermine national
human rights organizations.
Amnesty International believes that such
unsubstantiated accusations are intended to divert attention away from the
abuses that human rights defenders report and create a climate of fear
within the human rights community in Zimbabwe. They can also be seen as the
state condoning attacks on human rights defenders.
4. Conclusions and
Recommendations Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed serious
concern about government harassment and intimidation of human rights
defenders and the misuse of national legislation to suppress freedoms of
expression, association and assembly and silence dissent in Zimbabwe.
Amnesty International believes that this campaign of repression is aimed at
curtailing the activities of human rights defenders and preventing the
investigation, documentation and reporting of human rights violations.
Amnesty International has noted with concern the unrelenting nature of the
government's repression of human rights defenders, including numerous recent
incidents arbitrary arrests, serious assaults and intimidation.
rights defenders are entitled to enjoy the rights and freedoms recognized in
the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the ICCPR and the African
Charter, and the protection of the national law. They should be free to
carry out their human rights activities, without interference. Their work
must be protected and supported, rather than restricted, because of the
vital contribution they make to any community, at any stage of social or
The organization therefore makes the following
recommendations to the Government of Zimbabwe.
Recommendations to the
Government of Zimbabwe:
1. Repeal or amend all national legislation which
is incompatible with international human rights law and standards including
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African
Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. In particular, the government must
amend or repeal repressive provisions of the Public Order and Security Act,
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Private
Voluntary Organizations Act. Any law that replaces the Private Voluntary
Organizations Act should be fully in line with Zimbabwe's human rights
obligations and international standards in respect of human rights
defenders. 2. Ensure that the principles contained in the Declaration on the
Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to
Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms are incorporated into national law and fully
implemented. Authorities at all levels of government should explicitly commit
themselves to promoting respect, protection and fulfilment for human rights,
and to the protection of human rights defenders. 3. Fully implement the
recommendations contained in the report of the African Commission
fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe. Amnesty International urges the Government
of Zimbabwe not to undermine the African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights in its efforts to discharge its mandate under the African Charter, to
which Zimbabwe is a state party. 4. Incorporate international human rights
law and standards into national law and ensure all provisions are fully
implemented. As Zimbabwe has ratified, inter alia, the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights, national legislation must be brought into line with the fundamental
rights and freedoms contained in these legal standards, recognizing and
impartially enforcing them. 5. Issue invitations to the following: the UN
Special Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment, the promotion and protection of the right to
freedom of opinion and expression, the independence of judges and lawyers
and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on the situation
of human rights defenders and the African Commission Special Rapporteur on
Human Rights Defenders. 6. End the human rights violations by the police and
other law enforcement officials and ensure that police officers abide by the
highest standards of professionalism and respect for human rights. The
Government of Zimbabwe must cease to use the police and other law
enforcement officials for political purposes, including for the suppression
of peaceful public assemblies and the persecution of opposition parties,
independent media workers and human rights defenders. 7. Protect the
right of all Zimbabweans to an effective remedy, including access to
justice, restitution, compensation and rehabilitation, by respecting the
judgments of the courts of Zimbabwe (without prejudice to the right of
appeal) and enforcing judicial remedies. 8. Protect the independence and
impartiality of the judiciary as the cornerstone of a State committed to
upholding its human rights obligations. Measures should be put in place to
ensure that the independence of the judiciary is safeguarded in line with
the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary. 9.
Investigate all cases of torture, ill-treatment, unlawful arrest and
detention and, if sufficient evidence is gathered, prosecute the suspected
perpetrators. Ensure that prompt, thorough and impartial investigations
are conducted into all human rights violations, including those committed
against human rights defenders. If sufficient evidence is gathered, the
suspected perpetrators should be prosecuted and the victims or their
relatives provided with full reparation. The results of such investigations
should be made public. 10. Ensure that human rights defenders have equal
access to the law and that judicial investigations and proceedings against
them are conducted in accordance with international law and standards for
Recommendations to the international
Recommendations to all members of the African Union: 1.
Publicly state that human rights violations in Zimbabwe are unacceptable. 2.
Publicly call on the Government of Zimbabwe to fully implement the
recommendations made by the African Commission in the report of its 2002
fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe. African Union (AU) members should
provide assistance to Zimbabwe - consistent with the mandate of the AU - to
implement these recommendations.
Annex 1: An analysis of human rights
concerns in Zimbabwe's NGO Bill In the NGO Bill the definition of an NGO has
been broadened, now covering almost every category of civic organization.
All NGOs must register with a government-appointed Non-Governmental
Organizations Council and NGOs must reapply for registration under the
legislation each year. It is a criminal offence, punishable by up to five
months in prison, for any person to be involved in the management or running
of an NGO that is not registered.
The NGO Council provided for in the
Bill consists of six representatives of NGOs and nine representatives of the
government. The government's representatives must hold at least the rank of
under-secretary, and will be drawn from various government ministries. All
members of the Council will be appointed by the Minister for Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare. While NGOs can nominate their NGO
representatives, the Minister has the power to accept or reject any nominee,
and to appoint an alternative representative who does not have the backing
of the NGO community. Quorum for the Council is eight - which means that the
Council can carry out its activities with only government representatives
The Council will have very broad powers to regulate all
activities of NGOs. For example, the Council can reject an application for
registration "if it appears to the Council that the organization is not
operating bona fide in furtherance of the objectives stated in its
application for registration". The Council can also issue a certificate of
registration subject to "such conditions as the Council may impose", and can
cancel certificates of registration at any time. Zimbabwe's Parliamentary
Legal Committee described the registration process prescribed in the NGO
Bill as "inconsistent with sections 17, 19, 20 and 21 of the
Constitution"(68), which respectively uphold the rights to privacy,
conscience, freedom of expression, association and assembly.
Council is empowered to investigate any NGO if "maladministration" is
discovered. "Maladministration" is very broadly defined and includes "any
contravention of any provision of a code of conduct as may be prescribed".
The Code of Conduct does not exist and will be formulated by the Council.
Given the composition and rules of the Council, the Code of Conduct will
need to be scrutinized in respect of human rights protection.
International believes that the NGO Council - like the Media and Information
Commission provided for under AIPPA, which has overseen the severe
repression of independent media in Zimbabwe - does not offer necessary
guarantees of independence and impartiality and it is likely to prevent the
registration of any organization perceived to be critical of the government,
or to interfere unduly with the activities of such organizations. In its
analysis of the NGO Bill the International Bar Association described the NGO
Council as having "virtually open-ended powers to control the fate and
activities of NGOs when compared to [the PVO Act]."(69)
An issue of
particular concern for human rights is that the NGO Bill contains specific
references to NGOs that work on human rights, stating that "no foreign
non-governmental organization shall be registered if its sole or principle
objectives involve or include issues of governance." The Bill defines
"issues of governance" as including "the promotion and protection of human
rights". A "foreign" NGO is defined as any NGO that "does not consist
exclusively of permanent residents or citizens of Zimbabwe".
provisions mean that several human rights organizations will no longer be
able to legally operate in Zimbabwe. Amnesty International views these
restrictions on NGO operations as a violation of the right to freedom of
association and contrary to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,
which affirms the right of everyone to, individually and in association with
others, promote and strive for the protection and realization of human
rights at the national and international levels.
prohibits national NGOs from receiving "foreign funding or donations to
carry out activities involved in or including issues of governance" (again
activities defined as including the promotion and protection of human
rights). This provision has several grave implications for human rights
defenders and for victims of human rights violations in Zimbabwe. The
funding which NGOs need to operate legal and medical programs cannot be
found in Zimbabwe, particularly in the current economic climate which is
characterized by severe contraction of the economy, unemployment and high
inflation.(70) Several human rights organizations are heavily dependent upon
"foreign" donations. Amnesty International believes that this provision of
the proposed legislation is inconsistent with Article 13 of the UN
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders which guarantees everyone the right to
solicit, receive and utilize resources for the express purpose of promoting
and protecting human rights through peaceful means. This provision is also
detrimental to victims of human rights violations, who are often
(1) For a human rights critique of the proposed
NGO Act see, amongst others: Amnesty International, "NGO Act is a gross
violation of human rights", 10 December 2004, AI Index: AFR 46/039/2004;
International Bar Association, "Analysis of the Zimbabwe Non-governmental
Organizations Bill, 2004", 24 August 2004; Human Rights Watch, "Proposed law
on NGOs would violate basic rights", 4 September 2004; Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights, "Zim NGO Bill: Dangerous for human rights defenders", July
2004; Parliament of Zimbabwe, "Parliamentary Legal Committee adverse report
on the NGO Bill [H.B. 13, 2004]", 9 November 2004.
acceded to the ICCPR in 1991 and ratified the African Charter in
(3) The Constitution of Zimbabwe (As amended to No.16 of 20 April
(4) See articles 26 and 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of
Treaties (1969). Although Zimbabwe is not a party to the Vienna Convention
on the Law of Treaties, Article 26, which refers to the principle of pacta
sunt servanda stating that "Every treaty in force is binding upon the
parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith", is recognized as
a rule of customary international law. Further to Zimbabwe's accession to
the ICCPR in 1991, Article 49.2 of the ICCPR states that "[f]or each State
ratifying the present Covenant or acceding to it . the present Covenant
shall enter into force three months after the date of the deposit of its own
instrument of ratification or instrument of accession."
Comment No. 31, Nature of the General Legal Obligation Imposed on States
Parties to the Covenant, 26 May 2004, CCPR/C/21/Rev.1/Add.1, para.
(6) African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Declaration
of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, I(1), October 2002,
(7) ICCPR, Article 22 (2).
(8) African Commission on Human
and Peoples' Rights, Resolution on the Right to Freedom of Association,
Tunis, March, 1992.
(9) A/RES/53/144, 8 March 1999.
Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and
Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights
and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 13.
(11) Ibid., Article 17.
Organization of African Unity, Grand Bay (Mauritius) Declaration and Plan Of
Action, adopted at Grand Bay, Mauritius on 16 April 1999, para 19.
African Commission, Resolution on Protection of Human Rights Defenders in
Africa, 35th Ordinary Session, Banjul, the Gambia, June 2004. See also,
Amnesty International, "Towards the Promotion and Protection of the Rights
of Human Rights Defenders in Africa. Amnesty International's recommendations
to the Focal Point on Human Rights Defenders of the African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights", 19 March 2004, AI Index: IOR
(14) The report of the mission, containing its findings and
recommendations to the government, was adopted by the African Commission at
its 34th Ordinary Session in November 2003. See: Final Communiqué of the
34th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights, para 16, Gambia, 20 November 2003; In accordance with its Rules of
Procedure the African Commission forwards its final mission reports to the
governments concerned for comments. The report and the government's comments
- if any - are then submitted to the African Union (AU) Assembly of Heads of
State and Government. The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights
(African Charter) provides that all measures taken within the provisions of
the Charter remain confidential until the AU Assembly decides otherwise.
Following consideration by the AU Assembly, the Commission's Annual Activity
Reports, which include reports on missions and other activities, shall be
made public. See: Article 59 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
(15) See for example: Comments by the Government of Zimbabwe
on the Report of the Fact Finding Mission of the African Commission on Human
and Peoples' Rights; Response by the delegation of the Government of
Zimbabwe to statements by Non-governmental organizations. The Herald
(Zimbabwe) "NGOs have failed to effect regime change", 30 July
(16) This section draws on Amnesty International's research on
repressive legislation presented in "Zimbabwe: Rights under siege", May
2003, AI Index AFR 46/012/2003
(17) Special Representative of the
Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, Report to the 59th Session of
the UN Commission on Human Rights, February 2003, E/CN.4/2003/104/Add.1,
(18) See Amnesty International, "Zimbabwe: Rights under siege",
May 2003, AI Index AFR 46/012/2003; Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
"Human Rights Defenders Emergency Fund, Programmatic Report",
(19) Tsunga, A., "An overview of the human rights situation in
Zimbabwe, with specific reference to repressive legislation, impunity, the
state of the administration of justice and selective application of the
law", 20 February, 2004.
(20) See for example the case study on Women
of Zimbabwe Arise, page 16 of this report.
(21) African Commission on
Human and Peoples' Rights, 17th Annual Activity Report, Annex II, Executive
summary of the report of the fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe 24th to 28th
(22) The MIC appealed to the Supreme Court. The appeal was
noted on 31 October 2003, case No. SC-320-03.
(23) In a Supreme Court
ruling in March 2005 the court held that the noting of the appeal by the MIC
by the Supreme Court suspended the order of the Administrative Court. See:
Judgement No. SC. 111/04.
(24) Tsunga, A., "The legal profession and the
judiciary as human rights defenders in Zimbabwe in 2003. Separation or
consolidation of powers on behalf of the state?", July 2004.
Amnesty International press release, "Zimbabwe: Unlawful suppression of
independent media", 13 January 2004, AI Index: AFR 46/001/2004.
(27) Media Institute of Southern Africa Media Alert, "No
Accreditation for ANZ journalists", 10 February 2004
No. SC. 111/04
(29) Amnesty International, "Zimbabwe: Power and hunger -
violations of the right to food", October 2004, AI Index 46/026/2004,
(30) The PVO was enacted in 1967. For an analysis of the PVO
see Amnesty International, "Zimbabwe: Rights under siege", May 2003, AI
Index AFR 46/012/2003.
(31) Kagoro, B. Legal opinion on the notice to
all PVOs not registered with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare in terms of section 9 of the PVO Act [Chapter 12:04], 24
(32) African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights,
17th Annual Activity Report, Annex II, Executive summary of the report of
the fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe 24th to 28th June 2002.
Promotion and protection of human rights defenders, Report submitted by Hina
Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of
human rights defenders, E/CN.4/2004/94/Add.3.
(34) In the draft Bill the
definition of "foreign funding" is any funding or donation made by a person
who is not a permanent resident of citizen of Zimbabwe domiciled in
Zimbabwe, any company that is not incorporated and operational in Zimbabwe
or any group or association of people that does not consist exclusively of
persons who permanent residents of citizens of Zimbabwe domiciled in
(35) For a full analysis of the implications of the NGO Bill
for human rights defenders see Annex 1 of this report.
(36) Report of
the Parliamentary Legal Committee in the Non-Governmental Organizations
Bill, [H.B. 13, 2004].
(37) The President has 21 days after receipt of
legislation passed by Parliament to sign such legislation into law. It is
unclear when the NGO Bill was sent to the President's office. Amnesty
International has been informed that the legislation was delivered to the
President's office in late January. According to Section 51 (3a) of
Zimbabwe's Constitution "Where the President withholds his assent to a Bill,
the Bill shall be returned to Parliament, and subject to the provisions of
subsection (3b), the Bill shall not again be presented for assent.
Subsection (3b) reads "If within six months after a Bill has been returned
to Parliament in terms of subsection (3a), Parliament resolves upon a motion
supported by the votes of not less that two-thirds of all members of
Parliament that the Bill should again be presented to the President for
assent, the Bill shall be so presented and, on such presentation, the
President shall assent to the Bill within twenty-one days of the
presentation, unless he sooner dissolves Parliament."
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations, "The NGO Bill process, as a
matter of record", 16 December, 2004.
(39) IRIN, "Govt. confirms probe
into NGO activities, funding", Johannesburg, 2 May 2005.
National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, April 2005.
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, "Situation of Human Rights in Africa.
Statement by ZimRights at the 37th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR", April
(42) Article 17 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights
(43) Amnesty International, "Zimbabwe: Government authorities
intensify their campaign to silence dissent", 2 September 2002, AI Index:
(44) Amnesty International Report 2004, AI Index:
(45) Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Human Rights
Defenders Emergency Fund Programmatic Report 2004.
International interview with Tinashe Chimedza, May 2004.
International interviews with Obert Chinhamo and Masawuko Maruwacha in
January and February 2005 and with human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama in
(48) UN doc. A/59/401Report by the Special Representative of
the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, 1 October 2004.
The information contained in this case study is based on Amnesty
International interviews with individual WOZA members who have been arrested
and with interviews with human rights lawyers who have acted for
(50) Some activists were arrested after they began to gather in
Africa Unity Square. However, police also arrested women in the vicinity of
the Square and women at a railway station believed to be members of
(51) Initially the women were reportedly told they could plead
guilt to road traffic offences, although there is no traffic in Africa Unity
Square. The police subsequently referred to MOA.
International reports 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
(53) See: Amnesty
International Report 2004, AI Index: POL/004/2004.
(54) Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights have reported on numerous incidents of lawyers being denied
access to clients, detained and assaulted by police. See for example,
"Arrest and detention of Bulawayo lawyers and civic leaders", 6 June 2003;
"ZLHR laments the brutal attack on a leading human rights lawyer", 16
(55) Amnesty International believes that the serious
assault on Ms Moyo underlines the deeply compromised nature of the police in
Zimbabwe - not only did police officers fail to prevent the assault, they
allegedly acted on the instructions of the wife of an army commander - a
person with no authority within the Zimbabwe Republic Police command
(56) Tsunga, A., "The legal profession and the judiciary as
human rights defenders in Zimbabwe in 2003. Separation or consolidation of
powers on behalf of the state?", July 2004.
(57) On 30 June 2003, the
police charged Gugulethu Moyo with 'inciting public violence' an offence
under section 19 of POSA. This alleged crime was supposed to have taken
place at the time on 18 March 2003, when she alleges she was being assaulted
by the police. According to police officials in Zimbabwe's Law and Order
Department, the alleged crime had been reported to them by wife of the army
commander - the person Ms Moyo alleges assaulted her. This charge has not
been pursued in the courts.
(58) Amnesty International report 2004, AI
Index: POL 10/004/2004.
(59) Mr Cumaraswany finished his term as Special
Rapporteur in July 2003 and was succeeded by Mr Leandro Despouy.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers,
Dato' Param Cumaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human
Rights resolution 2001/39, E/CN.4/2002/72, 11 February 2002 and Report of
the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Dato'
Param Cumaraswamy, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights
Resolution 2002/43*, E/CN.4/2003/65 10 January 2003.
submitted by Hina Jilani, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary
General on the situation of human rights defenders, E/CN.4/2004/94, 15
(62) Amnesty International press release, "Zimbabwe:
Baseless allegations against civil society are an open invitation to attack
them", 21 January 2002, AI Index AFR 46/003/2002. See also: Statement by
Mashonaland Trustees of Amani, 28 January, 2002.
(63) The Chronicle,
"Crusade to demonize Zimbabwe", 9 May 2002 quoted from, Zimbabwe Human Right
Association (ZimRights), "Onslaught against Human Rights Defenders in
Zimbabwe - 2002 Report", 31 December 2002
(64) Quoted from Media
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, Monday August 18th - Sunday August 24th 2003,
Media weekly update 2003-33. See also: Sunday Mail, "Doctors implicated in
human rights scam", 20 July 2003; Sunday Mail, "Uproar over attempts by UK
to politicize doctors' association", Sunday Mail 17 August and "Suspicious
doctors' group pushed out", 24 August 2003
(65) See: Tsunga, A., "The
legal profession and the judiciary as human rights defenders in Zimbabwe in
2003. Separation or consolidation of powers on behalf of the state?", July
(66) The Herald, "AU rejects damning report on Zimbabwe", 6 July
2004; Sunday Mail, 'Obscure political doctors group renews efforts to join
Zima', 11 July 2004.
(67) Quoted from Tsunga, A. and Mugabe,T.,
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights "Zim NGO Bill: dangerous for human rights
defenders - Betrays High Degree of Gvt Paranoia and Contempt For the
Regional and International Community", July 28, 2004.
(68) Report of
the Parliamentary Legal Committee in the Non-Governmental Organizations
Bill, [H.B. 13, 2004].
(69) International Bar Association, An analysis of
the Zimbabwean Non-governmental Organizations Bill, 2004, 24 August
(70) Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by 30% over the past five
years. Poverty has doubled since 1995 (source: IMF, 2004).
Confidence all but disappears Zimbabwe's turnaround
effort leaves nation short of food and fuel By CRIS CHINAKA Reuters News
HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Zimbabwe's business confidence has plumbed new
lows as the government's efforts to turn around the embattled economy have
sparked a fresh wave of food, fuel and foreign currency shortages, analysts
"The latest shortages and the government's response have
knocked down business confidence to such a low level, maybe the lowest level
we have seen in the past year," private economic consultant John Robertson
"It's extremely difficult to have a positive outlook when things
look so depressing and when the responsible authorities spend most of their
time blaming everyone else."
A six-year recession The economy
has been in recession for the last six years, a decline critics blame on
President Robert Mugabe's fiscal policies, including the seizure of
white-owned farms, which has disrupted the country's commercial agricultural
In the past year, the economy seemed to be headed for
recovery under a turnaround program driven by central bank governor Gideon
Gono, which saw inflation slowing to 130 percent in January from over 620
percent the year before.
But analysts say in the last two months, the
southern African country - whose economy has contracted by 30 percent in the
last five years - has suffered severe fuel and power supply shortages blamed
on a lack of foreign currency for imports.
The central bank has said
the latest round of fuel and electricity shortages, which have crippled
public transport and industrial operations, resulted from state spending in
the run-up to general parliamentary elections on March 31.
polls were won by the ruling ZANU-PF amid charges of
Mugabe, 81 and in power since independence from Britain in
1980, denies he has rigged the last two major parliamentary polls and the
2002 presidential election to stay in office against an opposition challenge
fueled by the economic crisis.
Mugabe's government accuses its
domestic and foreign opponents of a "vicious economic sabotage" campaign to
undermine national confidence.
Media get blame Last week his
government accused "some sections of the media" of spearheading a crusade
against its economic turnaround program after reports that Gono was facing
resistance from Mugabe's Cabinet over plans for a big devaluation of the
Zimbabwe dollar against the U.S. dollar.
A Ministry of Information
statement said Gono "enjoys the full and unstinted support" of the
government, and negative reporting on Zimbabwe's economic revival program
"is meant to dampen, dishearten and divide through gossip."
economic analysts say Mugabe will struggle to turn around the economy
without massive external support from Western powers, which cut aid and
imposed sanctions on his government over Zimbabwe's election issues and land
Mugabe said he has adopted a "Look East" policy and added that
his once-prosperous nation is poised for an economic rebound with assistance
from countries such as China, Iran, Malaysia, Indonesia and
Food shortage widespread For now, Zimbabwe is struggling
with food shortages, affecting about a quarter of its 12 million population,
caused by drought and problems in its agricultural sector, and has seen a
resurgence of a black market in foreign currency and fuel.
media reports say the U.S. dollar is trading at about Z$20,000, compared
with Z$6,200 on the official market.
Zimbabwe's main business bodies,
wary of the government's sensitivity to criticism, have over the last two
months been calling on "the authorities" to step in to stop the
"Both the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Zimbabwe
National Chamber of Commerce know the political problems and cannot speak
too loudly and openly ... but they will tell you privately that business
confidence in the turnaround program has collapsed," one Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries member said.
Harare - Authorities discovered a false visa racket operating
through Harare's international airport, leading Zimbabwe police to arrest
two immigration officials, the government daily reported on
Five other immigration officials were fired, after investigators
discovered at least 26 false visas had been issued to Nigerian, Lebanese and
Pakistani nations, the Herald Newspaper reported.
officer Elasto-Marvellous Mugwadi told the paper that clerks at Harare's
airport and at a remote post on the border with Botswana and Zambia were
suspected of illegally selling documents to foreigners.
He said the
clerks had tampered with the system for issuing residence and temporary work
permits, giving false receipts and pocketing the money.
Zimbabwe vice-president to seek treatment in South
Africa Tue 10 May 2005 HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's first
Vice-President Joseph Msika is reportedly ill and sources said he might be
travelling to South Africa "soon" for treatment.
sources, who work in the health industry, Msika, who has been out of the
public eye since last month, is suffering from a respiratory infection and
has been receiving treatment from the state-owned Parirenyatwa
Last night, a visibly pale Msika was shown at his
Harare home on state-owned television in what observers said might have been
an attempt by the government to dispel rumours that he was ill. Mugabe's
health and those of his senior government officials is kept a closely
guarded secret in Zimbabwe.
At the weekend Mugabe's spokesman
George Charamba also told the Press that the 82-year old Msika was not ill
and that his absence from the public - until his reappearance on
television last night - was because he was busy attending to private family
But sources said Msika, who was promoted vice-president
after the death in 1999 of founder of Zimbabwean nationalism and former vice
president Joshua Nkomo, was admitted to Parirenyatwa on Tuesday last week.
He was discharged from the hospital two days later, they said.
"He is on the mend now but he still has to get some specialist medical
attention in South Africa," said one medical official in Harare, who
insisted on not being named for professional reasons. He added: "He (Msika)
was attended to by two specialist physicians last week. He looked much
better after the treatment, but he needs some more attention which
can only be available outside the country."
The same sources
said Msika's wife, Maria, had also been to the privately-owned Avenues
Clinic in Harare for treatment for a similar disease as the one afflicting
her husband. It was not clear whether she will also travel to South Africa
A pioneer of the bitter struggle that brought
Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980, Msika was deputy president of
Nkomo's PF ZAPU party that fought for independence together with Mugabe's
He is expected to step down together with Mugabe in 2008
and in the event that Msika is unable to continue in office because of
illness, his earlier departure would add a new twist to the unresolved and
divisive question of Mugabe's succession.
At present, second
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is regarded as the leading candidate to succeed
Mugabe and anyone appointed to replace Msika would certainly be well
positioned to rival Mujuru for the top job.
Mugabe may however opt
not to name a replacement for Msika, which could be seen as virtual
confirmation he does not wish to have anyone challenging Mujuru for the
Reporter THE Cold Storage Company (CSC), Zimbabwe's largest beef processor,
is still battling to settle its debt amounting to over US$20 million
comprising both local and foreign creditors.
The Government took over
$10 billion debt from the parastatal, which has been facing serious
financial constraints for several years, but despite the State's generosity
the CSC has been unable to clear the balance.
Among the local creditors
owed is another State entity, National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim), and
various beef industry service providers.
However, this paper could not
ascertain the external creditors by the time of going to print.
are not in a position to repay our debt as a result of foreign currency
problems that are emanating from the depressed export markets," confirmed a
senior company official who requested anonymity.
suspended beef exports to the lucrative European Union (EU) in 1999,
following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease resulting in beef earnings
declining from US$48,2 million in 1998 to US$1,5 million in
Arrangements had been put in place to service the debt as the
company has "engaged the Government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
service the debt", said the official.
"The central bank and the
Government are now looking at ways to resolve the debt issue and transform
the parastatal from loss-making entity into a viable one.
company is also looking at ways of establishing new foreign markets to
broaden its foreign currency streams as well as to consolidate the existing
ones," said the official, stressing that it was the parastatal's aim to
resume beef exports to EU by the beginning of 2006.
"Obviously, if we
broaden our foreign market base it means we will be in a better position to
enhance our foreign currency inflows," he said.
CSC has on several
occasions mooted several strategies to transform the company without
success. Last year, the Government turned down the company's request for
$117 billion in the 2005 National Budget.
Since the company has been
failing to access funding from the market, part of the bid ($100 billion)
was meant for rebuilding the national herd, especially in the commercial
sector, which experienced a decline from 1,7 million to 300 000 due to
The company is also set to receive $350 billion from
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under the Parastatals and Local Authorities
Re-orientation Programme (PLARP), which is meant to breathe new life into
local authorities and parastatals, described by the central bank as the
"missing link" in the country's turnaround efforts.
reporter SIX Zanu-PF supporters, who allegedly went to Domboshava Training
College and demanded the immediate dismissal of suspected MDC supporters
employed at the centre, appeared before a Harare magistrate
Siphelile Zhakata (48), Petros Derera (45), Mary Manziyatunya
(49), Letwin Sefast (49), Francisca Makanza (42) and William Hondu (40) were
not asked to plead to the charges of contravening the Public Order and
Security Act when they appeared before magistrate Ms Marehwanazvo
Ms Gofa remanded the six out of custody to May 23 this year on $20
000 bail each.
The State alleges that the accused, who are residents
of Pote Ward under Chief Chinamhora, allegedly led a group of Zanu-PF youths
and went to the Domboshava Training College singing revolutionary songs and
chanting ruling party slogans.
It is alleged that the six demanded to
see the college executive officer, Mr Steven Macheza, and the deputy
principal, Mr Martin Matsenhura.
When they saw the two, they allegedly
demanded to know why they had employed MDC youths as general hands at the
centre instead of Zanu-PF youths who stirred the ruling party to victory in
the just-ended parliamentary elections.
They allegedly demanded to
see the workers at the centre whom they later forced to remove their
overalls before telling them that they were no longer employees of the
The State alleges that they handed the overalls to the
caretaker and then submitted a list of their youths whom they said should be
employed by the training institute.
Lessons at the centre were also
disrupted as a result of the incident, the court also heard.
court also heard that before leaving, the six allegedly threatened Mr
Matsenhura with bodily harm if he failed to take heed of their demands. A
report was made to the police leading to the arrest of the six.
Archie Wochiwunga of the Attorney General's appeared for the State.
Herald Reporters ABOUT 40
tonnes of maize went up in smoke at Musonzowa Farm in Banket, Mashonaland
West Province, yesterday after farm workers from an adjacent plot started a
fire while clearing a patch of land they wanted to act as a
The farm belongs to A2 farmer Mr Aiden Mutasa who is the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) Banket depot manager.
Mr Mutasa said he
was still trying to come to terms with the loss after investing a lot of
money to produce the crop.
"My neighbour's workers started the fire
without any means of controlling it and all hell broke loose. The maize in
the field caught the fire and everything in the field was destroyed," he
He said this was not the first time that neighbours around his farm
had started fires that went on to destroy crops.
"Year after year,
fires have been caused in this area and crops are destroyed. This is not the
form of agriculture we want because it's a typically poor form of farming,"
said Mr Mutasa.
He was resettled at the 120-hectare farm in 2002 and this
year he was expecting to deliver about 100 tonnes of maize to the
Mr Mutasa said last year he managed to produce 120 tonnes of maize
and the loss came as a huge drawback in his endeavours.
electricity bills to pay and now I don't just know where to start from.
Where is the money going to come from?" he lamented.
Some parts of the
country this year experienced reduced yields of the maize crop because of
Over the past few years, the country has suffered
perennial droughts and cyclone-induced floods that destroyed crops and
infrastructure such as roads and bridges in most parts of the
In Harare, a stack of wheat screening was smouldered on Sunday
afternoon at the National Foods Aspindale depot in Workington industrial
The smouldering, which was due to normal build-up within stacks was
discovered by the company's personnel during a routine process.
fire brigade was promptly called and arrived at the scene within 15
"The smouldering was put under control to the wheat
screening area, which is situated far away from the factory and, hence, no
damage was caused to the factory," said a company official.
chaff is sometimes used in low-value ruminant feeds.
Being chaff, the
company said, the monetary loss was minimal and salvaging efforts were in
When The Herald visited the factory yesterday, company
officials were still assessing the monetary loss.
agri-business director Dr Remi Chihora said there had been some
exaggerations with respect to the damage the fire had caused.
the factory is operating normally and no customer has been prejudiced as all
orders would be delivered according to schedule," said Dr Chihora.
Reporter SOME retailers and bakeries in Harare and surrounding rural areas
have unilaterally increased the price of bread by about 60 percent with some
of them selling a loaf of bread at $5 000 instead of the gazetted price of
A survey by The Herald yesterday in Harare and surrounding
areas such as Domboshava and Musana communal lands showed that some shops
had illegally hiked the price of bread.
In Harare some shops in the
city centre and outlying suburbs of Mbare, Mabvuku and Tafara were selling a
loaf of bread at prices ranging between $4 000 and 5 000.
bakeries were even selling a loaf of bread for as much as $5 500.
official with one of the small bakeries in the city centre said they had no
option but to increase the price of bread without Government approval
because of rising operational costs.
"Everything is going up
including the price of flour and it is no longer viable to sell a loaf of
bread at $3 500," he said.
A businessman at Muchapondwa Business Centre
in Musana communal lands, who said the profit they derived from selling
bread was very minimal, echoed the same sentiments.
"Imagine I am
buying bread on a wholesale price of about $4 000 a loaf from an indigenous
bakery in Bindura and if you factor in transport costs we are left with no
option but to sell the bread for at least $5 000 per loaf," he
Efforts to get a comment yesterday from the National Bakers'
Association were fruitless as the association's chairman Mr Armitage
Chikwavira's mobile phone was unreachable.
There has been a shortage
of bread during the past few weeks and bakeries have attributed this
shortage to increased demand of the commodity.
Zimbabwe requires about 7
500 tonnes of wheat a week to produce 6 000 tonnes of flour to feed the
Of this amount, more than 5 000 tonnes are supplied to the baking
industry while the remainder is channelled to other purposes.
price of bread was last increased officially last December by about 10
In June last year, some retailers and bakeries were forced
to reduce the price of bread from $2 900 to between $2 500 and $2 800 per
loaf following consumer resistance.
May 10, 2005, 8:04 a.m. China's Zombie
Countries Bringing dictators back to life.
By Dana Dillon
Haitian folklore, zombies are people reanimated from near death and enslaved
to the witch doctor that revived them. Could it be that China's leaders are
taking their cues from Haiti?
From Burma to Nepal to Zimbabwe, China is
providing political, diplomatic, and security support to failing
dictatorships. Beijing gives just enough help for the dictator to survive
sanctions and domestic popular revolts, while the PRC gains a dependent
The faux-Communist witch doctors of Beijing are not propping up
these unsuccessful governments for ideological reasons - quite the opposite.
Nepal is an absolute monarchy, Burma is a military dictatorship, and
Zimbabwe is governed by a once democratically chosen leader gone bad. In
repayment for reanimating these near-dead regimes, the PRC is demanding -
and getting - obedience to its nationalistic policies of creating strategic
space around China, isolating Taiwan, securing critical resources, and
guaranteeing markets for Chinese products.
The partial enslavement of
the zombie countries is clearly demonstrated in China's newest acquisition,
Nepal. Nepal is struggling through a bloody civil war with Maoist rebels.
The Maoists have managed to gain the upper hand in a large part of the
country and can, on occasion, isolate Katmandu. King Gyanendra's response to
his failing counter-insurgency strategy was to dissolve the government and
declare his monarchy absolute. He then ordered the Nepalese security forces
to suppress all opposition. Consequently, India, the United States and
Britain all condemned the king's actions and cut off military aid to Nepal.
China stepped up with a zombie-making potion of political acceptance and
China's Foreign Minister, Li Zaoxing, visited Nepal
and declared that the King's seizure of power was "an internal matter for
Nepal." For his part, King Gyanendra announced that "China is a reliable
friend of Nepal." On April 22-24, Gyanendra will visit China for an economic
conference, his first visit abroad since he seized power.
for Beijing's diplomatic support, Nepal is turning on its defenseless
Tibetan refugees. China's ambassador declared that "Nepal is very important
to the stability and prosperity of Tibet." King Gynandera replied to the
Foreign Minister that "Nepal firmly supports the one-China policy of your
government and will never allow any anti-China activities in Nepal's
territory." Gyanendra subsequently shut down offices representing the
Tibetan government-in-exile that had operated in Nepal since 1960 and began
a pogrom of persecution of Tibetan refugees that included forced
Furthermore, China is enslaving Nepal's economy as
well. China is among the top-five donor countries to Nepal, but Chinese aid
is largely aimed at supporting Chinese businesses and tapping Nepal's
natural resources to the exclusion of Nepalese businesses. Nepal had been
pushing for more equal trade terms to counteract its enormous trade
imbalance with China, but since Gyanendra took over the country concrete
remedies have failed to materialize.
Zimbabwe's descent to zombie
status is no more mysterious than Gyanendra's near-death experience.
Zimbabwe is a resource-rich southern African nation, suffering a major
economic crisis, with inflation at 400 percent and unemployment at about 70
percent. Zimbabwe's per-capita income has nosedived over the past eight
years from $682 in 1998 to $521 in 2002. President Robert Mugabe abused his
office to suppress opposition parties and maintain his grip on power. His
ruling party won an overwhelming victory in March 2005 in elections not
believed to be free or fair by most Western countries.
imposed by the European Union and the United States, China delivered $240
million in military goods to Zimbabwe including thousands of AK-47 assault
rifles, riot gear, and mobile water cannons. Mugabe's security forces used
the weapons to break up opposition political rallies and demonstrations.
Beijing also provided radio-jamming equipment to Harare, thwarting
pro-democracy broadcasts during the last "election" campaign.
for China's military equipment, President Mugabe is said to have promised
China land and access to mineral resources. In November 2004, Wu Bangguo,
chairman of the standing committee of China's National People's Congress,
paid a visit to Zimbabwe and signed six economic agreements. Emmerson
Mnangagwa, speaker of the Zimbabwean national assembly said the national
assembly would lay down laws to ensure that high priority be given to the
Although there are no Tibetan refugees to persecute
in Zimbabwe, Mugabe does his best to please his new master by helping to
isolate Taiwan. The ministry of foreign affairs of Zimbabwe said in March
2005 that Zimbabwe firmly supports China's anti-secession law, which
authorizes the use of military force to prevent Taiwanese
Burma and North Korea have been zombies so long that they
may now be in permanent vegetative states, but the persistence of these two
regimes beyond their long-expected demise is a clear demonstration of the
efficacy of China's policy. Burma has been under strict international
sanctions since it violently suppressed a popular revolt in 1988, but there
is no sign of the junta's imminent collapse. North Korea's economy
completely failed in the 1990s, starving to death an estimated 1.5 million
people, but Kim Jong Il blithely clings to power and is grooming his son as
Forced to compete with the American model of representative
democracy, the government of the People's Republic of China offers the third
world a non-ideological choice - liberty or tyranny. Of course, Beijing does
not offer this option to the third world's people, who no doubt yearn for
freedom and prosperity. Instead, the Chinese vision appeals only to failed
despots whose regimes can survive only with Chinese resuscitation - the
- Dana Dillon is a policy analyst at the Heritage
Clergy defy sceptics - urge talks between govt and MDC
[ This report does
not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 10 May 2005 (IRIN) - Human rights groups in
Zimbabwe are sceptical that renewed efforts by the clergy will break the
current political impasse between the ruling ZANU-PF party and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
chairman of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said on Tuesday that
despite their "good intentions", it was unlikely that the clergy would be
able to broker a deal between the two main political parties.
week Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare, head of the Protestant Zimbabwe
Council of Churches, confirmed plans to ask both parties to return to the
negotiating table. As a first step, Bakare told the Financial Gazette, an
independent local weekly newspaper, efforts were being made to secure an
appointment with Nathan Shamuyarira, ZANU-PF's secretary for
In July 2003 Bakare and two other prominent religious
leaders met with President Robert Mugabe and opposition leaders in attempt
to thaw relations between the two parties, but the effort was reportedly
aborted when both sides took intransigent positions.
between the two parties have been on and off since the 2002 presidential
election, which many poll observers rejected as flawed and marred by
Human rights activists said religious leaders might
find it difficult to convince ZANU-PF to re-engage with the MDC, after the
ruling party scored a two-thirds majority in parliament in legislative
elections on 31 March.
"Despite their good intentions, attempts by the
church to get both parties to engage in meaningful discussions have so far
failed. Now, with ZANU-PF having won an overwhelming majority in the
elections, it is going to be even more trying to get them [ZANU-PF] to the
negotiating table. We would all like to see some kind of breakthrough, but
past experiences have proved otherwise," Musarurwa told
However, just days after the legislative, Mugabe said he would be
willing to work with the opposition inside and outside parliament, so long
as the MDC did not resort to mass political action.
Paul Themba Nyati last week also seemed to encourage efforts towards
"As MDC we remain devoted and determined to engage in
dialogue with anyone who approaches us for engagement - that has always been
our position," he was quoted as saying.
Neighbouring South Africa
said it was still optimistic that the parties would find ways of working
together and would assist if asked.
Addressing journalists last week in
Pretoria, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said South Africa would
wait for emotions in Zimbabwe to settle before attempting to find solutions
to the political and economic crisis.
However, the MDC broke ties
with South Africa soon after the March poll, accusing President Thabo
Mbeki's government of not having done enough to ensure free and fair
Zimbabwean analysts have suggested that Mugabe's government
would do well to at least appear to be engaging with the opposition and
civil society, if only to arrest economic decline.
economist Denis Nikisi said: "Despite its loss at the polls, the MDC still
enjoys the sympathy of the international community, especially major western
countries, such as Britain and the United States.
"It would be a wise
move if the government opens itself up to some kind of cordial discussion
with the MDC. This could possibly lead to the international community
softening its stance on the country, and we could see some foreign business
interest in the economy."
Amid the calls for renewed dialogue between the
opposition and the government, concerns remained over allegations of human
rights abuses. Amnesty International (AI) on Tuesday called on the
Zimbabwean authorities to stop harassing human rights campaigners, which AI
claimed had been under "sustained attack" in recent years.
In a new
report, 'Zimbabwe: Human rights defenders under siege', the London-based
rights group said those campaigning against rights abuses were particular
targets, and catalogued actions against them, such as the arbitrary arrest
of hundreds of activists.
AI also noted that rights campaigners had been
discredited in the state-controlled media, while the independence of judges
and lawyers was being undermined by repeated harassment and assault.
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) says it has reduced its debt to SA's
power utility, Eskom, from US$66m to US$2,4m.
Zesa corporate affairs
manager Obert Nyatanga said that the power utility had been able to reduce
the debt, which had earlier resulted in Zimbabwe being classified an
"interruptible customer" by Eskom, because of financial support from the
Zimbabwe imports 35% of its power needs from Eskom,
Mozambique's Hydroelectrica Cahora Bassa and the Democratic Republic of
The three utilities in the past cut supplies to Zimbabwe
because of nonpayment.
Nyatanga said Zesa had already cleared its
debt with HCB, and Snel. Zimbabwe, mired in a deep political and economic
crisis, was currently paying for its power imports in advance due to its
poor credit rating.
Eskom spokesman Fani Zulu confirmed yesterday that
Zesa had been servicing its debt, and said: "We anticipate that they will
liquidate the debt in a month or two."
The country needs $17m every
month for electricity imports - but it has been unable to raise the money
due an acute foreign-currency shortage.
As a result of the forex crisis,
there are also shortages of fuel, food, and drugs.
There is also a
scarcity of basic commodities like maize meal, bread, milk, cooking oil and
The shortages, caused largely by diminished production and
damaging price controls, resurfaced after the disputed parliamentary
election in March, won by President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu
Last week 28 supermarkets in Harare were fined Z$31 million by
police for allegedly hoarding basic commodities.
More than 400
vendors were arrested on allegations of overpricing goods in the black
As the foreign currency crisis deepens, the government has
resorted to raiding hotels to get hard currency.
A government task
force has of late been going around searching hotels for foreign
Zimbabwe is failing to repay a mere $306m International
Monetary Fund debt which has resulted in its voting rights being suspended.
In February, Harare was given a second six-month grace period to repay or
Zimbabwe's foreign debt is more than US$5bn, while the
domestic debt is topping Z$10-trillion.
The foreign-currency crisis
is set to worsen as exporters face worsening viability problems due to the
widening gap between the official and parallel market exchange
The official exchange rate is US$1:Z$6 500, while the black market
rate is US$1: Z$21 500.
The 62 South African alleged mercenaries in
Zimbabwe may now be released only on Wednesday, their lawyer, Alwyn
Griebenow, said on Tuesday.
He said he has been told by
prison officials the group might be released on Wednesday, "but nobody is
prepared to commit to this".
The officials told Griebenow
that once the men are released, they will be handed over to immigration
officials to be deported.
According to Zimbabwean law, if
foreigners are fined more than Z$200, they have to be deported once the fine
is paid and the sentence served.
"So, obviously they are
been seen as prohibitant immigrants."
Griebenow said he has
been told that the chief officer of immigration is personally handling the
matter, but he was not available on Tuesday.
to see him tomorrow [Wednesday] so I can find out what his plans are," he
The men were supposed to be released on Tuesday, as
their sentences have expired. They were convicted of breaching Zimbabwe's
aviation, immigration, firearms and security laws.
how the men are doing, Griebenow said he has only managed to see four of
them, as prison officials only allow him to meet two of them at a
"I don't know why they decided this. It's never been
like this before.
"They are physically and mentally
drained. The lack of assurances and guarantees is really getting to them,"
The group has spent more than 12 months in prison.
They are still awaiting the outcome of an appeal lodged by Zimbabwe's
Attorney General, Sobuza Gula-Ndebele, against a reduction of their
sentences, which would have seen the men released in early
Zimbabwean court officials confirmed on March 2 that
the men were scheduled for immediate release after a successful appeal to
the high court for a reduction of their sentences.
later, with all the paperwork completed, their lawyer and families waited in
vain for their return which was delayed when Gula-Ndebele filed an
application to appeal against the court's decision.
that early release only applied to Zimbabweans.
said the appeal would now only be of value to two pilots who had received
16-month sentences for aviation and immigration-related
Two of the men due for release on Tuesday --
Francisco Marcus and Melane Moyodue -- are ill with tuberculosis, believed
to have been picked up in prison.
The group was arrested
at Harare International airport when they apparently landed to refuel and
pick up military equipment.
Zimbabwean authorities said they
were on their way to join 15 other alleged mercenaries -- including eight
South Africans -- arrested in Equatorial Guinea around the same
The group in Equatorial Guinea were convicted and given
long prison sentences, in what has been called a flawed trial, for
attempting to overthrow the country's long-time dictator Teodoro Obiang
Nguema. -- Sapa
LUSAKA, May 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Countries in the
southern African region still have not granted journalists a conducive
environment to operate in as they have to operate under oppressive media
laws,the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said here
"The media environment is still infested with a
labyrinth of laws that impede the full realization of press freedom and
freedomof expression," Kellys Kaunda, chairperson of MISA Zambia chapter
said during the launch of a report on the 2004's state of media freedom in
Kaunda said though some countries have made
progress in establishing conducive environments for the media, the general
outlook still remains "oppressive" to journalists.
According to the report, a total of 169 incidences of violations against the
media were recorded last year in the region,a drop of 19 from the 2003
figure of 188.
For the second year, Zimbabwe reported the
highest number of violations with 47 incidences followed by Zambia with 33,
Swaziland with 29 while Malawi had 20. Angola and Tanzania recorded the
Kaunda said the reduction in incidences of
media violations should not be the cause for celebrations because a number
of mediaviolations go unreported.
"We would like all media
practitioners to develop a habit of reporting media violations immediately
when they occur. Our failure to report violations is leading violators to
regard their actions as acceptable or an admission on our part that we may
be in the wrong," he said.
MISA has offices in 11 countries in
the region which includes Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique,
Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
ZIMBABWE is to experience
electricity cuts beyond June this year as a result of Zesa's poor power
generating capacity due to lack of spares, Zesa Holdings has said. The
power cuts started early last month following simultaneous power failures at
Zesa's Hwange and Kariba power stations. Ben Moyo, the managing director of
the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZEDC), a subsidiary of Zesa
Holdings, said the break-down of power generators was further compounded by
a technical fault that hit the electricity transmission system between
Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Moyo, however said
the rehabilitation of the two local power stations would do little to
mitigate the present power crisis, which is expected to continue beyond next
month due to growing electricity demand. Said Moyo: "Our Kariba and Hwange
machines, which had broken down last month are now back on stream. However,
power shortages may be with us until the end of June." "But, we're
working closely with the RBZ to help us to obtain foreign currency to
acquire spares to improve our power generation capacity. Meanwhile, the
power supply gap will have to be plugged by imports," he added. The power
crisis alarm was first sounded by David Murangari, the chief executive
officer of the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines (ZCM) in June last year when he
predicted that electricity shortages, would persist beyond 2008 unless the
power sector received priority in foreign currency allocation. The central
bank governor, Gideon Gono, has been battling to stabilise the power and
energy sectors since taking office in December 2003, in a bid to cushion
industry from the pinch. But Wozani Moyo, a socio-economic analysts told the
Daily Mirror that the foreign currency shortages bedevilling the power
sector have been aggravated by the government's rural electrification
project that has increased the power demand load, without increasing ZESA's
load-bearing capacity. Said Moyo: "The government failed to realise that
electrifying the rural areas would overburden ZESA. The project is noble,
but the government should also have remembered to invest in ZESA to boost
its electricity generating capacity. It is not wise to try and electrify
rural areas through imported electricity when you do not even have the
foreign currency to import both the electricity and the electrical
equipment. It is the same as budgeting, expecting to borrow against income
from a loan application. It's simply not sustainable." Zimbabwe, which
imports about 100 mega watts from the DRC on credit basis, also owes ESKOM,
a South African power corporation, about US$11,16 million incurred through a
concessionary credit facility. The chain credit facilities were sealed to
bail the country from another grave power crisis that hit the country less
than three years ago. ZEDC boss also said Zesa had successfully negotiated a
partnership deal with two unnamed foreign investors and the investment
project is expected to churn an additional 900-mega watts. Sources at
Zesa said one of the investors is a Chinese company to which the local
parastatal has ceded extensive operational rights over its Hwange and Kariba
power stations. Zesa board stirred a hornet's nest last year when it tried to
increase electricity levies by more than 300 percent to break even and was
ordered to either reverse the tariff hike or resign if it insisted it could
not make do with the pegged price level.
THE government faces a critical
financial crisis following its repeated failure to borrow from local credit
markets to finance its vast expenditures, compounded last month by the
expanded Cabinet and buoyant inflation. The government had in the running
year, pegged its budget deficit at 5 percent of the gross domestic product
(GDP), which in the absence of offshore capital injections from
multi-lateral aid agencies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it
hoped to borrow from local credit markets. But this deficit component of
public finances - about $4.5 trillion in nominal terms - is likely to be
driven up by the upswing in inflation and expanded public expenditures
following the extension of the Cabinet by eight ministries. Local money
market dealers told the Business Mirror that the government is increasingly
failing to entice local lenders to buy its long-term bonds through which it
traditionally raises money for deficit spending. They argued that the
government would remain enmeshed in this financial web unless it briskly
revised the coupon rates that it is offering on long-term time
deposits. The rates, they argue, do not adequately cushion lenders from the
inflation rate, which started rising at high and unpredictable rates in
January this year after a promising downward start in the comparable period
last year. Rational investors would not lock up their monies in long-life
securities for fear that inflation might catch up with and overtake the
interest income accruing to the instruments over their life, up to
maturity. Economist John Robertson said of late the government has found
itself unable to meet its borrowing requirements from the money market to
support its expenditures. "The government is increasingly failing to borrow
money from the money market because it is offering low coupon rates on
long-term securities. Yet, the inflation rate is going up at a high and
unpredictable rate," said Robertson. The poor performance of the
long-term government bonds has effectively left the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) with fingers burning, amid growing anxieties over its little progress
with regards mopping up excess liquidity from the market. This means that
monetary authorities will have to either revise upwards deposit rates on
long-life securities, or drift back to the short-term paper, an option that
only provides temporal reprieve given the accompanying risk of more rapid
maturities. When trading opened this week, the 91-day treasury bill was
trading at about 70 percent, the 90-day negotiable certificate of deposit
(NCD) at 60 percent, while the call rate plunged to 16 percent. The
one-year to two-year treasury bond continues to get a cold shoulder from
disinterested investors, particularly insurance companies and pension fund
managers. In the financial period to December 31 last year, NicozDiamond
Limited and other insurance companies, the conventional bidders for
government bonds offloaded all their government bonds from their ambit of
money market investments and ended the year with zero bond-holding. This
is a premonition of unfriendly monetary policy shocks threatening to depose
monetary authorities from a zone of policy comfort.
Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, yesterday summoned two missionaries from
their home along Herbert Chitepo Avenue in Harare following reports the pair
was providing food to people who queue at the Passport Office and later sell
their places to passport seekers. The missionaries, Marth Joan Trevelyan and
her son Craig Victor Howard Trevelyan, work for the Central Church of Africa
Presbyterian (CCAP) and operate from a house opposite the Passport Offices
in the capital. Riot police were also called in to flush out the queue
holders, while Mudede warned the Trevelyan family to stop feeding
them. Said Mudede: "I am not happy with this family. We are not declaring
peace with them. We cannot have a situation where people are being fed and
have energy to come and steal from our people, painting a very bad picture
on the state of affairs here." He said most of the queue holders who were
briefly detained by the police were street kids who also engaged in criminal
activities. Speaking to The Daily Mirror, Marth Joan Trevelyan argued
they were Christians who had come to Zimbabwe specifically to assist less
privileged people. "But God said you should feed the hungry despite who they
are and where they are coming from," she said, almost in tears. She said
they were also assisting the Department of Social Welfare, which seemed to
have many children to look after. The Daily Mirror caught up with Shackie
Phiri, who was among the group netted by the police during the
operation. Phiri admitted that he would take a place in the queue and later
sell it for $20 000 to passport seekers who came late.